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This research has been carried out in order to establish whether there are evidences in advertising, movies, and televisions reinforcing the claim that traditional age specific roles that are assigned to both men and women have greatly influenced the formation of age norms in a social context.
In this paper, we aim at understanding the major components that affect the individual growth of both boys and girls with reference to their agents of socialization being the mass media. In these recent times, the factor that contributes mostly to the reinforcement of their specific age roles is the role played by their own gender roles which contribute to their decision making process and upbringing in their societies. Many societies have set aside ideals expected of both boys and girls which have taken a toll on the youngsters' impressionable minds. As boys and girls grow, they develop differently. Many of both genders want to excel in school and work very hard in attaining good grades while those students who want to disrupt the peace of those serious students will bring to school video games, movies which cause a lot of commotion in class. These students will not really have the time to concentrate in school work which will mean that they will not be in a position to pass knowledge and culture to the future generation hence thy will not contribute to the developmental programs of their society (Cremin 107-120).
There are key terms that should be considered when tackling this research topic: adolescence- the transition existing in an individual from childhood to adulthood, association- establishment and maintenance of existing relationships with others, independence- being able to control the things you are engaged in doing and the direction of life you choose to take, gender role- non physical aspects of being either a boy/male (masculinity) or girl/female (femininity), susceptibility- suffering from emotional insecurity.
There are some sociological perspectives applied in this topic and include: functionalist, conflict and interractionalist theories. Functionalism paradigm views society as an organized system where people hold same values, symbols and support which is given to all major parts of the society. For example, these shared values will provide individuals with societal expectations while the symbols will be a base of communication in the society. Conflict theory has the same view of society as functionalism only that conflict bases its idea of societal control and management on the existing powerful groups in the society. Control will be based on money, wealth, and economic power driven toward change and not status quo. Interactionist theory mainly focuses on the identity, meaning, sub-cultures and social relationships. Human behavior usually involves choices based on the meaning of situation which are unpredictable (Cremin 121-150).
With the growing trend of modern technology, children are at a danger of being influenced negatively by the media. Parents are advised to be on the alert so as to guide them. Failure to do so in time will lead to serious implications that may damage the laid morals of the child. Gender stereotypes are considerably flexible for a short period of time due to the transition period experienced (adolescence). It is during this time that educators are able to present to them the new and varying views of societal gender roles.
The research primarily used questionnaires to get the answers to the questions presented so at to reach a conclusive objective relating to the topic. Questionnaires are very reliable methods since they give findings which are recorded immediately. The information obtained is from a face to face encounter with the affected clients. Those questions that pose to be difficult to understand can be simplified by the individual circulating the questionnaires. This method is cumbersome and very involving, but is effective compared to the open ended sessions. The questionnaire had around twenty questions.
TV shows and movies
In the United States, many households own television sets, DVD players and Cable TV. Students watch TV for approximately 29 hours in a week. Daily children shows are very educative and entertaining. The dominant characters are the males whence females play the marginal roles if they are there. The reason as to why this is applied to many shows is because no boy will watch a show with a female having a leading role and no female will want to watch a program that has males being the leads. The prime time television programs portray traditional gender roles having thin and attractive females hosting them. Many people have associated these female images with eating disorders because there is no program with plump host. News programs mostly watched by men has been conclusive in saying that not many males pursue degree in journalism but they prosper more in the fields of corporate management in newspaper firms, general managers and book/article/journal publishers and editors. Women have vowed to gain more positions in the news media and will look forward to having male counterparts as colleagues (Cremin 151-170).
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Upcoming movies have really changed compared to those of early times. Long time, there was no room for showing horror movies to the children, nowadays, teenage are more entertained when watching them. They argue that it makes their adrenaline boil to great heights which is good since they are left active and anticipative. Females like watching the love story kind of movies that are less engaging since they want to relax their tired muscles and learn from the best on the new terminologies to apply when it comes to the opposite sex. During the old days, women were taught by their mothers concerning the opposite sex, but today, the young girls are asking their mothers views and opinions relating to very sensitive issues. The mothers are the ones who end up learning from their young girls how things are done in this era. Examples of films are: the difference between women and men, gender socialization and the whole idea of gender (Corsaro and Miller 45).
Age specific and gender roles
Age specific and gender roles have gone through many changes shifting to a democratic display gender role. In the time of our ancestors, women were seen to be servants and not leaders. Today, many women have opted to do managerial courses, be leaders in their societies and even do jobs associated to be men's. Social arrangements in the traditional setting of societies reinforced their gender roles, but in this century, this has taken another turn. Parents still hold the lead role in their children's lives of communicating to them as sons and daughters differently. They help them develop their gender senses and expose them to these gender learning.
Gender roles of socialization normally begin at birth and continue till the time when the individual is lifeless. As we interact with each other, we gain values, attitudes and behaviors appropriate for our ages and sex. Boys in elementary school have a high self esteem compared to the girls their age. Females and males having both masculinity and expressive instruments have high sex typing issues when it comes to self esteem. Females often underestimate their abilities to do something. This has made them have low self confidence, whereas males do over estimate their abilities. Traditionally, people conformed to cultural gender roles which made them healthier. Nowadays, female seek help for their problems, but men hide it in. Unemployed men are very stressed because they know that there role is to provide for their families (Pantry 30).
When it comes to friendships, men align themselves with those whom they share same activities with. Women on the other hand search for those who are going to give them emotional support, nurturance and intimacy. Women's language of communication speaks of intimacy and connectedness while that of men is of status and independence.
This paper has managed to show that these channels of communication have really influenced the age and gender roles of both men and women in the society. Gender roles contribute to factors that are relevant to events in adolescent lives. Gender roles are set by the society but during adolescent period, new perspectives are acquired (Pantry 31). Several theories are also used by researchers in developing their topic and showing the readers the difference and importance in the process of socializing. We have been able to see the implications of socialization as confidence, self esteem, health, communication language and the friendships created during this whole process.
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