University of South Carolina
When examining an individual’s appearance, what are the first few characteristics that you identify? Is it their gender? How about their race, or social class? As a society we immediately categorize each other; we classify every aspect of our personalities and presentations. If a certain characteristic of an individual seems to deviate from the social ‘norm’, we cast that individual off and claim them to be different from us. But who are we, and where has our society received these notions of right and wrong? It is important to note that reality is completely relative and totally depends on the culture and the time period. Reality is also fluid and ever changing. It continues to evolve as society either agrees or disagrees on what is acceptable. Today, the media plays a vital role in portraying who and what members of our society should be. Disney has been around for generations and continues to be a dominant media conglomerate that aids in gender socialization of our youth while also painting a vivid picture of our society’s concepts of race, class, and sexual orientation. Disney’s media messages convey strong ideas on reality, and our society is so receptive to these media messages that we don’t think twice about the way we live or the roles we willingly take on.
While sex is biological, gender is social, learned behaviors and characteristics that indicate masculinity and femininity. Our society has assigned traits (gender) to biological states (sex). Men, for example, are supposed to be aggressive, assertive born leaders. Women on the other hand are deemed passive and nurturing. This socially constructed notion sets up a dichotomy, only allowing us to see boy or girl, and assign meaning to biological attributes. Throughout our lives society teaches us acceptable behaviors that are considered either masculine or feminine. Through gender socialization...