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To What Extent Does Gender Socialization Contribute to the Development of Homophobia Among Young Adults (aged 18-30) in Community W?

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Problem statement, Statement of Problem

To what extent does gender socialization contribute to the development of homophobia among young adults (aged 18-30) in Community W?

Gender socialization is the tendency for boys and girls to be socialized differently defined by (Sparknotes.com). Boys are raised to conform to the male gender roles, and girls are raised to conform to female gender role. Homosexuality is increasing and as a result the researcher sees the importance to examine the extent to which gender socialization contribute to the development of homophobia among young adults .Socialization is a continuing process whereby an individual acquires a personal identity and learns the norms, values, behaviour and social skills appropriate to his or her social position. Being homosexual is not seen as the norm in society and is highly discriminated by heterosexual members in society. Community W is located in the community of Westmoreland, Jamaica. Community W is a traditional community which has a mixture of different ethnic groups and socio-economic backgrounds. With the increased number of migrants now living there, Community W was seen fit to investigate this topic as homosexuality is becoming prominent due to the increased number of migrants in the community and as Community W being traditional, high rates of homophobia is present. The researcher intends on finding out what is the main contributor to this intolerance of homosexuality within Community W. At the end of the research, the researcher expects to have a better understanding of how effective the methods detected in the research are on the members of Community W, and then be able to draw an appropriate and accurate conclusion. This research also helps to raise awareness of the impact gender socialization contribute to the development of homophobia among young adults and highlighting possible solutions to problems faced.

Aims and Objectives

AIM: To identify how gender socialization contribute to the development of homophobia among                young adults.                                 

OJECTIVES:

  • To identify how gender socialization has an impact on the development of homophobia among young adults
  • To identify how gender socialization affects the development of young adults
  • To find a solution to what cause the breakdown in the gender socializing process to lessen the development of homophobia among young adult

Literature Review

The purpose of this review is to discover the extent of how gender socialization contributes to the development of homophobia among young adults. Gender socialization is the process by which individuals are taught how to socially behave in accordance with their assigned gender, which is assigned at birth based on their biological sex.

Negative attitudes towards homosexuals, sometimes referred to as homophobia, refer to anti-homosexual sentiments, prejudices, and stereotypes. Such attitudes are presumed to underlie hate crimes against gay men and lesbians (Herek, 1989). Majority of such assaults are committed by juveniles or young adults. Homophobia plays a role in gender socialization, because it enforces a very strict definition of the "norm"-this is especially true for boys and men. Boys will be victimized for any actions that seem to deviate from the social norm--which is anything that does not display strength and masculinity. But this form of socialization only spreads the hate and hostility towards homosexuals.

Homophobia plays an important role in gender socialization because it encourages stricter conformity to traditional expectations, especially for men and young boys. Slurs directed against gays encourage boys to act more masculine as a way of affirming for their peers that they are not gay. As a consequence, homophobia also discourages so-called feminine traits in men, such as caring, nurturing, empathy, emotion, and gentleness. Men who endorse the most traditional male role also tend to be the most homophobic (Burgess, 2001; Alden, 2001; Basow and Johnson, 2001). In this way homophobia is one of the means by which socialization place genders in to expected gender roles takes place. The consequence is not only conformity to gender roles, but a learned hostility towards gays and lesbians. The relationship between homophobia and gender socialization illustrates how socialization contributes to social control. Boys are “manly” by repressing feminine characteristics in themselves. Being called a “fag” or a “sissy” is one of the sanctions that forces conformity into expected gender roles. Similarly, pressures on girls to abandon “tomboy” behaviour are a mechanism by which girls are taught to adopt the behaviour associated with womanhood. Being labeled a lesbian may cause those with a strong love of women to repress this emotion and direct love towards men. Once people internalize societal expectations, they do not challenge or question the status quo. This defines the social construction of gender. Gender has great significance in society, but the specific forms it takes are learned. Gender therefore fluid, and because gender expectations are learned, it is possible to redefine and learn them in new ways. Little is inherent in the social definition of women and men as gendered persons that could not be reconsidered and changed.

According to (Clarke, 2008) quotes, “Girls play with dolls and boys play with soldiers”, their parents and teachers work tirelessly to make them productive worthwhile, responsible men and women of tomorrow. This is a part of the nurturance, play and early learning of the gender socialization process. This is the practice that promotes positive parent-child interaction, emotional support of a child intellectual curiosity and reflection as well as their approval of children’s emotional expression. This means there must be an adult preferably parents or grandparents to be the socializing agent at an early age of a child’s life. Children from higher social classes have little parental involvement. This has an impact on the gender socializing process of these children and left to figure their gender on their own. With the influence of their peers and the society helps in the development and behaviors of young adults. Culture is learned and socially shared and affects all aspects of an individual's life. Social responsibilities, sexual expression, and belief system development are all things that are likely to vary by culture. The title of seminal ethnography by Clarke (1957) summarized the gender of the parent where the mother and father plays a role in the socializing process in: My Mother Who Fathered Me.

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