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MaskProjectEssayGenderIdentity

JaneyRusk

Theyallwalkdowntheschoolhallwaywearingtheirmasks.Itwasaquiteassortmentof
people,somesmall,sometall,someconfident,somenotsoconfident,Eachpersonwasalittle
different,buttherewasonethingthesameaboutthem,theywereallwearingmasks.Showing
peopleonlywhattheywantthemtosee.Wesitinclasswearingthismaskbarelyrecognizing
ourowntrueselvesbecausewehidthemfromtheworld.Wehavecertainstandardsforbeauty
butthatbeautyisalsomasked,butbehindthemasksiswheretruebeautylies.Someofus
wearonemaskaroundcertainpeopleandanotherarounddifferentpeopleandthishasbecome
normal,toshowonlycertainpartsofourselvestopeople.Wevebecomepawnstosociety's
game.Butwhatifforoncesomeonetookofftheirmask?Ifsomeoneshowedwhotheytrulyare,
whatwouldhappen?Wewouldwalkdownthehallshappierbecausewearefinallyourtrue
selves.Finallybeingwhoweareinsteadofwhowearetoldandexpectedtobe1.Iwas
socializedwhenIwasyoungertobelieveIwasagirl.Thisnegativelysocializedmeinmanys
ways.Wearetaughtbysocietyinmanyways,wearetoldourgender,religion,race,sexualitity,
andmanyothers.Wearetaughttoactandsaycertainthingsbasedonwhatwearetoldand
thisishowwelive.Intheprojectwehavelearnedtobreakawayfromthat,andtoseewhat
societytellsusandlearnfromit.Gender,Ifeel,isoneofthemainthingswearesocializedby.
Musicisapowerfulforceingendersocialization.Whensomeonegetinthecarinthe
morningsabouttogotoworkorschool,theyautomaticallyturnontheradioandlistentomusic.
Musicisabigpartofmanypeopleslives.Iknowithasbeeninmine.Butsomesongsthatare
outforpeopletolistentoarenotthebest.Theydonotteachusthebestidealsaboutgender
roles.Inmostsongsontheradiosungbygirls,thesongsareaboutgainingmaleattention2.In
anarticlebyJustineHarmanshesays,therearesomewherebetweentenand12songs(of16
soloandcollaborativeefforts)thatareperformedbyawomananddirectedatamalelisteners.
Womenhavebeensocializedtoalwayswanttogainmaleattention.Theyareexpectedto
alwayscareifmenaretakingnoticeofthem.WhileIfeelmeninallthesongstheysingthey
sexulizegirls,likeinthesongBlurredLinesbyRobinThickeWithlineslike,Iknowyouwantit
andyou'reananimalindicatingthatgirlsarethereforhisuseandeverygirlwantsit.Men
alsosingsongstotrytogainfemaleattention,likesinthesongStayWithMebySamSmith.
Eventhoughhedidnottechnicallywritethesongaboutgirlsitcanbetakenthatway.Menhave
beensocializedtotobelievethattheyshouldbeplayersandalwayswantagirl,andthatall
girlswillwanttobewiththem.Peopleareexpectedtofitintheserolesofgirlsalwayswantinga
guy'sattentionandmensexualizingandobjectifyinggirls.Thesestereotypesarenotgood.
Theycausepeopletothinktheyhavetoactacertainwaywhentheydont.Ifpeopleallbehaved
howtheywantedtocomparedtohowtheyaresocializedtoIfeellikeitwouldbeacompletely
differentworldwelivein.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ikGVWEvUzNM
IdentityShortFilm,KalhilKJAdames,Oct29,2015

http://www.elle.com/culture/music/a27923/top50musictrends/
,WhenDidPopMusicBecomeSo
Subservient.JustineHarman,Oct.272015
1
2

AsalittlegirlIwassocializedbytoys.WhenIwasalittlegirlIwasalwaysboughtthe
girltoys,Ididn'trealizethenthatthiswassocializingme.Iusedtoalwayswantedtoplaywith
mybrothercausehehadstufflikelegosandtoymotorcyclesandboyishtoys.Watching
commercialsasakidtheyalwayshadgirlsplaywithdollsandanythingpink,whilecommercials
withboysinthemwerealwaysredandhadtoyswhereyoubuildandgotdirtyandwere
destructive.Forexamplealegocommercialforagirltoyispinkandtheyjustplaywithdolls3.
Whileaboyslegocommercialhasthemdefeatingdragonsandkillingmonsters!4Typicalgirls
toysteachgirlstobenurturing,lovingandcaretakers.Peoplealwaysseegirlsplayingwithfake
babiesandfakecleaningsupplies.5Girlsaretaughttocareabouthowtheylookbyplayingwith
fakemakeupandhairaccessories.Whileontheotherhandboystoysfacilitatecompetition,
control,agency,anddominance6.Allofthisissocietyenforcinggenderrolesmorestrongly,
thoughnotcompletely,Ibelievethissocializationthatchildrengetisnotgoodforthem,inthe
articlelinkedinfootnotefouritsays,Socializationisn'tjustimposedbyothersachildactively
selfsocializes.Onceachildrealizes(atabout2to3yearsofage)onwhichsideofthegreat
genderdivideheorshebelongs,thewellknowndynamicsofnorms,ingrouppreference,and
outgroupprejudicekickin
.
andGenderedtoyandbookmarketingdoesn'tcreategender
stereotypes,roles,andnorms,butitdoesreinforcethem.Thesequotesshowthattoysand
booksdonotnecessarilycreategenderrolesbutthatitissomethinginsideofusthatweknow
andtoysandsuchjustreinforcethatmore.Ithinkhavinggenderedtoysisnotproductive,It
wouldbemorebeneficialtokidsIthinkiftoyswerejusttoysthereisnolablesforgirlorboy
onthem.
Parentsplayahugeroleinsocializationofgender.Parentsareinmostcasesthepeople
toraiseachild.Theyarethefirstthingachildknows.Parentsaretheonesthatteachachildin
thefirststagesofthatchild'slife.Thefirstthingsomeoneasksanewparentisifitsaboyora
girl,thisgenderingstartsbeforeabayisevenborn.Parentsaretheonesthatdeterminewhat
toysthechildplayswithandwhatmusictheylistento.Beforeapersoncandeterminewhat
musictheylikeandwhattoystheyplaywith,aparentgivesallofthattothem.Thenwhena
childgetsolderparentsstilltellthemwhattheycanandcantbuy,eithertheparentwillbe
supportiveofachild'sdecisionsornotatall.Parentalattitudestowardstheirchildrenhavea
strongimpactonthechild'sdevelopingsenseofselfandselfesteemsaysSusanD.Witt.,she
alsosays,Often,parentsgivesubtlemessagesregardinggenderandwhatisacceptablefor
eachgendermessagesthatareinternalizedbythedevelopingchild.Sexrolestereotypesare
wellestablishedinearlychildhood.7Thisissayingthatparentshaveaverystronginfluenceon

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LKT6uR5_3kA
,LegoFriends2012,HeartlakeCityVetCommercial,
LegoCompany.Oct.26,2015
4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0R2l1ChBGXU
Ninjago2015SummerSetsTVComertial,Lego
Company.Oct.26,2015
5

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014/01/05/sportsdirectgirlstuff_n_4545055.html
,TwitterFuroreOver
SportsDirect,ItsGirlsStuffCleaningToys,HuffingtonPost,Oct.27,2015
6

http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/new_scientist/2014/04/girl_and_boy_toys_childhood_pref
erences_for_gendered_toys_are_not_innate.html
,WhyAreToysSoGendered,CordeliaFine,Oct27,2015
7

http://gozips.uakron.edu/~susan8/parinf.htm
ParentalInfluenceOnChildsSocializationtoGender,Susan
D.Witt,Oct28,2015
3

achild'sgender.Girlsarealwaystoldbytheirparenttoactlikealady,buthowdoesaladyact?
Wealwaysthinkwheneversomeonesaysthisthatthatmeanstobepoliteandrespectful,but
aregirlstheonlyoneswhoshouldactlikethis?No,Everyoneregardlessofage,gender,
sexuality,race,religionshouldalwaysberespectfulofpeopleit'scommondecencybuttheway
wearetaughtdoesnotnecessarilyreflectthis.Girlsaretaughtbyadultsthatifaboyisbeing
meantothemheprobablyjustlikesyou.Whatthisteachesgirlslateronthatsitsokifamanis
meantohispartnerandit'sshowingaffection.Thisisnotok.Itsalsonotoktoteachbothatit
finetotreatgirlsthatway.Thisiswhatwearetaught.Thisisnothealthytoteachkids.Parents
arethepeopleweknowtolookupto,theyneedtoteachwhatisrightinsteadofharmful
stereotypes.
Weallhavebeensocializedtobeagirloraboy.Wehavebeensocializedbytoys,
teachinggirlstobenurturingandboytobeproviders.Wehavebeensocializedbymusic,telling
peoplethatthefemalebodyisanobjecttobeusedbymen.Socializedbyourparents,teaching
ushowboysandgirlsshouldactandbehave.Wearetaughtbysomanythingsinsocietyabout
ourgenders.Wewerethemasksofwhowearetaughttobe,andveryfewpeopleeverbreak
outofthoserolls.Whatifwealldidntwearourmaskforaday,whatwouldhappenthen?