Explain and Briefly Evaluate How Feminine Identities Are Developed

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A person’s identity is the self of sense they have, that can be reflected by the way society, peers, and the individual sees themselves. Class, ethnicity, age, religion, and gender are very much parts of our identity. Our gender, which is based on the socio-cultural expectations of males and females being associated with masculinity and femininity, affects how we behave and how we view things. Traditional gender roles mean that a female must be feminine, and a male must be masculine. Agents of socialisation, like the Media, Family, and Peer groups, can either reinforce traditional gender roles or create new gender roles – like Metrosexuality. Movements like Feminism have changed the way femininity is viewed.

Feminine identities are first developed by the family, an agent of socialisation that socialises us during Primary Socialisation. A family can consist of individuals that are law/blood-related, and share a common residence. Families use Gender Role Socialisation (GRS), socialising males/females into certain roles depending on their sex. Ann Oakley (1978) identified four ways GRS is used, one being Canalisation. It’s when parents encourage certain interests by playing with certain toys that are ‘suited’ for our gender. For example, boys may be given masculine ‘action’ figures, or footballs that will soon lead to masculine behaviours. Girls may be given dolls, toy jewellery and make-up that will later lead to feminine behaviours. These toys reinforce the idea that women must be attractive, and girly to be feminine. Feminists don’t feel the need for traditional gender roles, as they feel that it’s a social construction which helps oppress women in a patriarchal society.

Social institutions like Schools/Education can develop feminine identities, it persuades individuals to conform to society’s norms/values (i.e. Social Control) regarding Gender. Girls and boys are treated differently in school, as it reinforces the traditional gender roles of how girls...
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