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Chapter Socialization to Gender Roles: Popularity among Elementary School Boys and Girls

SOCC38H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter Socialization to Gender Roles: Popularity among Elementary School Boys and Girls : Designer Clothing, High Top, Interpersonal Communication

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Ann Mullen
Socialization to Gender Roles: Popularity among Elementary School Boys and Girls

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Socialization to Gender Roles: Popularity Among Elementary School Boys and Girls
Where gender differences begin, where they are particularly supported, and how they become
Elementary schools. "Second curriculum." "Unofficial school". Own norms, values, and styles within
school setting that constitute peer culture. "Kid society."
"Identity work" learning and evaluating roles and values for their future adult behaviour, of which
their "gender regimes" are important component
Producing differential "symbolic identity systems"
Peer cultures contribute significantly to creation of gender differences because they constitute
enclaves in which boys and girls can escape the well-intentioned efforts of their schools and parents
to shape or individualize them, freeing them to cleave instead to their own normative molds
Role of popularity in gender socialization. Arrange themselves into cliques and into strata within
cliques according to their perceptions of each other as relatively popular or unpopular.
Determinants of popularity vary by gender with gender-appropriate models relevant to each
As they learn and direct themselves to fit within these perceived parameters of popularity, socialize
themselves to gender roles. Factors that constitute the determinants of popularity for elementary
school boys and girls and in so doing, assemble cultural norms of appropriate gender identity
constructed by children
Changes in society, influenced by women's movement and vast entry of women to work force
profoundly affected adult women's gender roles, expanding and androgenizing them.
Ways in which roles have both changed and remained constant over time
Data gathered by 3 authors. Participant observation. Observed and interacted with inside and
outside of school. Parent, friend, school aide, student teacher, counselor, coach, volunteer, and
Stratification and Socialization
Children's knowledge of social position is influenced by conception of status
Popularity as main focus
Who liked by greatest number of peers, who most influential in setting group opinions, and who
greatest impact on determining boundaries of membership in most exclusive social groups
Boys' Popularity Factors
Not as clearly defined as girls. Rationale underlying stratification in daily interaction and group
Athletic Ability
o Major factor.
o Proficient in sports, more popular. Best athlete was most popular boy in grade
o Upper grades, most popular boys all had keen interest in sports even if not adept in athletics
o Fighting. Formal fights or informal pushing, shoving, or roughhousing. Means of establishing
social order. More popular boys often dispensed physical actions of superiority
o Less popular boys more often hurt and least frequently assisted during games
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o Being "cool" generated great deal of peer status. Definition in constant flux. Individuals' self-
presentational skills, accessibility to expressive equipment, and impression management
o High top tennis shoes unlaced at top eyelets or left untied. Baggy designer jeans that were rolled
up at cuff. Loose fitting button down shirts, not tucked in or so shirttails hunt out, or T-shirts
with surfing and skateboarding logos. Hairstyles, back and sides cut short so ears exposed wit
top left longer and moussed to give "wet look" or to stand straight. Denim jacket. Portable
stereo receivers-cassette players. Roller blades
o Defiant of adult authority, challenged existing rules, and received more disciplinary actions than
boys in other groups. Defiance related to "focal concerns" of lower-class culture. "Trouble and
o Getting into trouble recognized as prestige conferring
o Involved displays of physical prowess, athletic skills, and belligerency, especially in repartee with
peer and adults. "Class clowns" "troublemakers" become center of attention
o Boys who demonstrated "effeminate" behaviour referred to by pejorative terms, consequently
lost status
o Children's sophistication in social and interpersonal skills. Interpersonal communication skills as
being able to initiate sequences of play and other join lines of action, affirmation of friendships,
role-taking and role-playing abilities, social knowledge and cognition, providing constructive
criticism and support to one's peers, and expressing feelings in a positive manner. Social skill
stop establish friendships with peer and adults both within and outside school, thereby
enhancing popularity
o Depended on children's maturity, adroitness, and awareness of what was going on in social
world around them. Higher degree of social awareness knew how to use social skills more
o Often manipulative, domineering, and controlling. Set potential friends against each other, vying
for favours. Set attitudes for all to follow and then changed rules by not following them.
Defined and enforced boundaries of an exclusive social group. Maintained social boundaries by
keeping others on periphery and at marginal status
o Certain individuals possess more proficient social and interactional acumen and to sustain it
from year to year
o Those with poor savoir-faire difficult social lives and unpopular. Little peer recognition, yet
wanted to be accepted. Lack social skills, and could not maintain relationships with other less
popular individuals.
Cross-Gender Relations
o Social control mechanisms such as "rituals of pollution" and "borderwork" reinforced
intragender activities as the socially acceptable norm. intergender activities were often viewed
as romances by children's peers, made them highly stigmatized and therefore difficult to
o Most boys, interested only in select girls from popular group
o Preadolescence is stage during which "Cross sex interactions became more salient." during the
later elementary years, it generally became more socially acceptable for members of male and
female groups to engage in intergender interactions, form of boys talking with girls in the
protected enclave of social group.
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