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Differential Premises Arising from Differential Socialization of the Sexes: Some Conjectures

Jeanne H. Block
Child Development
Vol. 54, No. 6 (Dec., 1983), pp. 1335-1354
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Society for Research in Child Development
DOI: 10.2307/1129799
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1129799
Page Count: 20
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Differential Premises Arising from Differential Socialization of the Sexes: Some Conjectures
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Abstract

The sex-differentiated socialization emphases of parents and other representatives of societal institutions are considered as they influence the personality development and behavioral orientations of males and females. Specifically, sex-differentiated socialization emphases, "shaping" behaviors, and teaching styles are evaluated with regard to the nature of the "meta-messages" conveyed to boys and girls during their early, formative years. These messages are assumed to differentially influence the self-concepts evolved, ego structures, personal goals, and the cognitive-adaptational heuristics of boys and of girls. Differences in the socialization environments experienced by the 2 sexes can be seen as related to gender differences in personality characteristics. To integrate the empirical findings surrounding gender differences in personality and socialization experience, some conjectures are offered regarding the different self- and world views our current culture may be creating and fostering in males and in females. The potential and even likely influence of biological factors conjoined with the bidirectional effects of child and parent interaction are recognized as confounded with an interpretation in terms of differential socialization. But also, it is noted that until the effects of differential socialization are specifically evaluated by cultural, subcultural, or individual family changes, the role of biological and bidirectional factors cannot be assessed.

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