The Impact Gender and Sexuality Have on Our Lives from the Perspectives of Socialization and Sociological Imagination
Two of the most important concepts to sociologists, which can also be considered as processes, are socialization and the sociological imagination. They help explain why people behave in a certain way and also assist in understanding the world from the perspective of an individual. Their impact on human life is observed in the manner in which people behave according to their gender and sexuality. Owing to socialization and sociological imagination, people have to conform to definite expectations that relate to the group they belong to in terms of gender and sexuality. It is also important to note that gender or sexual socialization, or the manner in which an individual is influenced by society to behave according to his or her gender or sexuality, occurs through education, family, peer groups, and mass media. These are the agents that teach individuals how to obey the cultural norms and values. In this essay, the impact of gender and sexuality on the life of a human being will be discussed from the perspectives of socialization and the sociological imagination.
Socialization is the process that integrates individuals into their group culture, specifically to the norms, values, traditions, and other aspects expected. It is how people learn the culture’s language and the roles they should play in their lives. Notably, human infants do not have any culture when they are born. Their social knowledge depends on the impact of those around them: their parents, relatives, teachers, and others who appear during socialization. On the other hand, the sociological imagination is a term that denotes individual awareness that enables people to relate personal experience to the situation in the wider society. This concept was formed by C. Mills who explains that the society is responsible for most of the problems that individuals have to deal with. He argues that the main task of sociology is to transform personal problems into political and public issues. Having understood the concepts of sociological imagination and socialization, it is easier to understand the impact of gender and sexuality on a person’s life.
To comprehend the influence of gender and sexuality on human lives, one should analyze the at gender roles. As children grow older, they are introduced to certain roles in their culture that are typically associated with their sex. This stimulates the appearance of gender role that implies the concept given by the society regarding the manner in which women and men are expected to behave and act. Notably, the roles are based on standards and norms that the society has created. For instance, in many societies, men are associated with roles that are masculine in nature while women belong to feminine roles. Masculine roles are characterized by aggression, strength, and dominance, whereas feminine roles are related to nurturing, passivity, and subordination. One of the ways how children begin learning gender roles is a play. As early as possible, most children are provided with the tools of play that denote their gender. For instance, girls receive dolls while boys play with toy guns. Actually, research has established that children often choose toys that they consider gender-appropriate, even when they have cross-gender toys available to them. This tendency has roots in the positive feedback that the children hear from their parents for showing appropriate behaviour. Thus, is addition to socialization, individuals learn how to play roles that are in consistence with their gender.
Furthermore, gender and sexuality affect human gender identity. This refers to an individual’s self-awareness of his or her gender which might be achieved by a certain gender role. Apart from the gender self-awareness, an individual is compelled to behave or act in a certain manner to feel satisfied for being engaged in gender-normative behaviour.
The impact of gender and sexuality can also be seen with a concept of social stratification. It is a system in which a certain gender or sexuality is denied an equal access to valuable social resources. Therefore, the term gender inequality can also refer to social stratification that is based on gender and sexuality. In this case, a gender defines who has an access to resources. This situation is rooted in socialization. Sometimes, communities tend to believe that the representative of one gender is better in something that another gender, and this misconception leads to gender inequality in society.
The sociological imagination reveals how the societal causes personality problems. The impact of gender on an individual’s life can be understood by looking at the way the media influences its social constructions. The females are particularly affected. Over the years, the media has engaged in conceptualizations of femininity that contribute to the negative perceptions of the female gender. Television programmes, for instance, have depicted women much weaker, and they have even portrayed certain roles that only women can have. Owing to this fact, it can be concluded that the sociological imagination on how women should act can suffer from media influence. Even though media make an effort to empower women with the new programmes and other innovations, subordination is still prevalent, especially in underdeveloped societies. Besides, the sociological imagination can be referred to the sexual minorities that consist of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered communities. They face the stigma from the society. In fact, most of the problems that they face while pursuing equal opportunities can be attributed to inability of society to accept individuals of different sexualities. As a result, a major political and social issue has appeared. Consequently, some feel that LGBT should be recognized while the others strongly object it. In fact, what started as a personal problem might gain more global significance.
In conclusion, socialization and the sociological imagination are two concepts used by sociologists to explain why people behave in a certain manner and why society is full of predetermined patterns and behaviour. Socialization explains how a person integrates into a given culture whereas the sociological imagination seeks to understand the personal issues from the perspective of the wider society. Gender and sexuality are two aspects of the world that help to comprehend how socialization and the sociological imagination influence human beings when they emerge in a particular culture. Naturally, every act has its influence, even if a person experiences it in the early childhood. The environment is vital for human self-awareness. It defines how people are expected to act. Thus, it is clear that the differences observed in society with regard to their genders and sexualities can be explained better with the help of the influence socialization and the sociological imagination have on a human being.