Socialization as a process had become one of the most instrumental ways through which innumerable individuals all over the world are programmed with behavior modes, various values and codes of ethics that are taken to be unilaterally and universally acceptable. It is a process so deep-rooted that we would feel a void if it didn’t exist. These in doctrines heightened by the process of socialization lead to stereotyping and discrimination of gender according to roles. A typical example lies in what is observed in my own family, both nuclear and extended as I was growing up. My father, and all the other males in our extended family set up were expected to behave in a certain manner that was definite and distinct and well distinguished from the other roles of the females in the family.
My dad was expected to be the head of the family. He is the person who holds and makes the final decisions in the homestead. He was, and still is, expected to behave in such a way that leads to the manifestation of the masculinity nature in him. He is expected to be strong, to be capable of facing any kind of scenario and challenge. Another notable expectation of the societal and family on him is the ability to provide for his family. It is an unwritten rule that my father is the one who is supposed to make sure that all the bills are taken care of, that our fees in schools are taken care of as well as other many bills which the household incurs.
My mum, on the other hand is expected to retain and exhibit her feminism touch. She is expected to be soft, relaxed, loving and supportive of her husband, my dad. She is even allowed to express her fears, love and other feelings through being emotional. Where it is unseen or unheard of my dad crying when a certain scenario has touched his heart, I have seen my mum shed tears countless times to express her anger, love, pity or some other emotion. On the financial front, my mum does not have to take care of any bills incurred in the housed and when she volunteered her help in that sector, most of the time my dad wouldn’t hear of it. She makes all the meals according to the unspoken expectation of the society and family and when dad decides to help, she declines most of the time. She is expected to make sure that we, her siblings are well looked after, we eat well, dress well and engage in the right kind of company. In short, my mother acts as the personal and public relations officer of our homestead with dad expected to act as the mechanism that keeps the household running. It is her obligation, though unspoken of keeping the house tidy and making sure that everything is neat and should be where it should be when needed.
And when I fronted the question of who defined these roles and divided them as such according to their gender, my question was met with a blank answer. No one is quite sure how this came to be. They all grew up being shaped by a socialization aspect and phenomenon no one had an idea how and where it originated from. And the fact that all this was unspoken and happened without either party’s notice and questioning, only proved to strengthen the stereotyping impressed upon the gender roles. It should be noted that this aspect of socialization stretches even beyond the gender roles at the family level to encompass other features that affect the family at a time. Some of these features are poverty, which is a predominantly warping issue in the context in the influence of how children develop and how they eventually envelop this aspect of socialization. This paper will offer a further illumination of this subject in question by taking a cognitive and unbiased approached towards the examination of the different agents and principals propagating this socialization concept. Notably, the effect of poverty on the socialization stereotyping will also form a major part of the discussion in this paper. The paper will also offer a glimpse on what other authors have found out in their research with respect to the socialization concept. This will be done through the exploration of some of the literature written on the socialization concept. Also, the paper will give an analysis of the interactive sessions that I have passed through in a bid to synthesis this aspect comprehensively. This are collected excerpts from interactive sessions at the park and public places where I had the chance to witness on a primary level how different adults interact with their children.
From the various BBC recordings and interviews, it has been observed that the first 1000 days of a child are very vital in the determination of how the child will evolve in the future (BBC recording, 2012). The health of the child is also determined by these days or even less. Isn’t it disturbing to know that the first two years of your childhood determine the way your health or behavior will be influenced for the rest of your normal life? The various personnel in the BBC videos ascertain for sure that the formative period of the child will determine in one way or the other the way this particular child will behave during the process of childhood and adulthood.
During the stage of pregnancy, the embryo needs all the nutrients that the mother can give. These determine the way the child grows and the kind of health that the child will have. Also, the behaviors of the mother during this period is also an important determinant of the way the child shall develop and grow during childhood and maybe even extend to adulthood.
Some diseases like diabetes are linked to the eating habits of the mother during her pregnancy period. If the mother had a tendency to devour sugary stuff like chocolate and other sweet delicacies as such, these sugars tend to pass direct through the fluid and into the baby. If this is kept on, there is an increased chance that the unborn child may experience the risk of acquiring diabetes at a later date in the future. Some diseases linked to the heart such as coronary thrombosis and arteriosclerosis also result from the eating habits of the mother during the period she was with child. The child will most certainly experience notable defects in their later life.
Also, the exogenous conditions surrounding the duration the mother is with child may and also lead to an indirect effect or influence on the unborn child and its possible that the child may have defects that may not be directly attributed to these conditions but upon close scrutiny and illumination of what had transpired in the mother’s life when she was pregnant, one may be able to provide a link between the two. A good example would be in a scenario where there were fights in the family when the mother was pregnant. Take a situation of where maybe divorce was imminent. The atmosphere in such a homestead is tensed and disaster looms at every angle. The mother’s feelings and reactions to this scenario will most likely be related to the unborn child. A child like this may go through child hood experiencing a lot of insecurity, always angry and having notable lapses of confidence in one. This phenomenon is said to have resulted from a lack of a conducive environment when the embryo was forming and developing. During the formative stages (less than 1000 days of a child’s life) the mother is supposed to be given peace of mind so that her child in the womb can take shape without mishaps. According to the various experts in early childhood from the BBC recording, the first 1000 days, the fetus is very sensitive and responds in correlation to the mother’s emotions at a particular time. An angry and insensitive mother at the time of pregnancy will most certainly give birth to a sensitive, insecure and lacking in confidence child if statistics are anything to go by.
Children should be allowed a fair chance of proper formation during pregnancy so that they are capable of passing through childhood and adulthood with ease (American life, 2012). This is done through allowing the mother to have peace of mind during this time period as well as controlling the kind of foodstuff she consumes.
The other aspect that has a great impact on the socialization concept of children as they pass through the process of childhood to adulthood is poverty. Poverty has a very strong influence on the way children behave and develop in later years. According to Krugman (2008), poverty is depicted as being equivalent to poison. Kruger, in his article Poverty is poison, relates lack or little excellence to poverty. Children who were born into poor families are at a greater risk of dropping out of school compared to their counterparts from rich families. This is essentially true and applicable where such kids develop inferiority complexes when among their richer counterparts. Being born into a situation of want has an adverse effect on the way the brain of these children performs and may precipitate into these kids dropping out of school to go back to their ‘hoods’ where they feel comfortable, welcomed and appreciated. Poverty takes away the pride and erodes the confidence of a child. Instead of a child concentrating in class or other activities as required of him or her, the child becomes more concerned with trying to conduct an analysis into the reason why his family cannot provide for him or her, the amenities that come naturally to the other kids from rich families. Lack of a proper answer to this question always results into mental depression with the kid feeling that perhaps he does not belong to the same class as the other children. This forces the child to seek his peers who belong to his class. More often than not, these peers are to be found back into the desolate homestead where the child hails from. It is to be expected that the kids would be inhibiting the same concepts, governed by the same principals and facing similar challenge of poverty. Among these, schooling is loathed because schooling exposes these kids to another world where they feel that they are looked down upon and treated as outsiders. School drop outs are present here in larger percentages than among those kids who have been born into rich families.
The aspect of social class is also instrumental in the determination of the socialization concept. More often than not, matter of fact, almost always, people are inclined to socialize among the peers they recognize to be belonging to their own class.
The rich will want to associate themselves with the other rich people and the poor find solace and comfort by being among other poor colleagues. This tends to make me ask the question; why is it structured like that? Who came up with such an ideology?
As much as nobody sat down and dictated the rule that the rich should associate themselves with other rich people and socializes in the same levels, and the same applying for the poor people also, this gap is very much evident. It is unspoken, yes, but still very much in existence in the society. The reason behind this could be because people often tend to feel more comfortable among other people that they recognize as their own. For example, is a person deemed to be poor gets a stroke of luck and suddenly becomes rich, he will want to isolate himself from the poor class and even move to a residential area where other people said to be rich stay. All this is done in a bid to protect his wealth. And how better to do that than going to stay in a place where nobody is much concerned with what you own because they have the wealth too. Am sure that if the poor guy still stayed at the ‘poor’ residential area as the one he used to before he got the wealth, he would be inclined to be very insecure every time, wondering when the poor people will decide to come and rob him.
The concept of socialization will force him to seek a place where he could feel comfortable that his wealth is not in jeopardy and in the process, he even attains new friends befitting his new status.
The ramification of gender roles could also be exemplified here. With the increased need for specialization based on gender, these consequences could be established. For example, taking a situation of a major company or corporate organization run by a woman as the overall, the first major notion that jumps into the mind of a person affected by the stereotyping evident in the socialization concept would be maybe the company is not profitable or it could be having serious management issues. However, this could not be the case but the socialization doctrines and dogmas put a veil in their eyes and web in their brains and they fail to see beyond the obvious. Many women have been known to run great companies and have done so with such great dexterity, zeal and charisma unknown and not exhibited by the male species.
In conclusion therefore, it is important to note that most of the issues that are present in the human life in regard to the way he relates to others are influenced by a great deal by this concept of socialization. The roles played by the different genders are defined, without a word spoken, by this concept of socialization. This concept however is being undermined in the world of twenty first century with gender roles becoming reversed and slowly becoming acceptable unilaterally and fundamentally without raising eyebrows.
The question remains, how long will this take before the society stops stereotyping roles and behaviors in regard to the socialization concept. The answer to this question is ingrained in each of our individual minds.