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Government

Although we do not think about it, many of the rites of passage people go through today are based on age norms established by the government. To be defined as an “adult” usually means being 18 years old, the age at which a person becomes legally responsible for themselves. And 65 is the start of “old age” since most people become eligible for senior benefits at that point.

Each time we embark on one of these new categories—senior, adult, taxpayer—we must be socialized into this new role. Seniors must learn the ropes of Medicare, Social Security benefits, and getting a senior discount where they shop. When American males turn 18, they must register with the Selective Service System within 30 days to be entered into a database for possible military service. These government dictates mark the points at which we require socialization into a new category.

Mass media

Mass media refers to the distribution of impersonal information to a wide audience, such as what happens via television, newspapers, radio, and the Internet. With the average person spending over four hours a day in front of the TV (and children averaging even more screen time), media greatly influences social norms (Roberts, Foehr, and Rideout 2005). People learn about objects of material culture (like new technology and transportation options), as well as nonmaterial culture—what is true (beliefs), what is important (values), and what is expected (norms).

Girls and movies

Pink baby clothes and other baby shower gifts are shown here.
Some people are concerned about the way girls today are socialized into a “princess culture.” (Photo courtesy of Emily Stanchfield/flickr)

Pixar is one of the largest producers of children’s movies in the world and has released large box office draws, such as Toy Story , Cars , The Incredibles , and Up . What Pixar has never before produced is a movie with a female lead role. This will change with Pixar’s newest movie Brave , which is due out in 2012. Before Brave , women in Pixar served as supporting characters and love interests. In Up , for example, the only human female character dies within the first 10 minutes of the film. For the millions of girls watching Pixar films, there are few strong characters or roles for them to relate to. If they do not see possible versions of themselves, they may come to view women as secondary to the lives of men.

The animated films of Pixar’s parent company, Disney, have many female lead roles. Disney is well known for films with female leads, such as Snow White , Cinderella , The Little Mermaid , and Mulan . Many of Disney’s movies star a female, and she is nearly always a princess figure. If she is not a princess to begin with, she typically ends the movie by marrying a prince or, in the case of Mulan, a military general. Although not all “princesses” in Disney movies play a passive role in their lives, they typically find themselves needing to be rescued by a man, and the happy ending they all search for includes marriage.

Alongside this prevalence of princesses, many parents are expressing concern about the culture of princesses that Disney has created. Peggy Orenstein addresses this problem in her popular book, Cinderella Ate My Daughter . Orenstein wonders why every little girl is expected to be a “princess” and why pink has become an all-consuming obsession for many young girls. Another mother wondered what she did wrong when her three-year-old daughter refused to do “non-princessy” things, including running and jumping. The effects of this princess culture can have negative consequences for girls throughout life. An early emphasis on beauty and sexiness can lead to eating disorders, low self-esteem, and risky sexual behavior among older girls.

What should we expect from Pixar’s new movie, the first starring a female character? Although Brave features a female lead, she is still a princess. Will this film offer any new type of role model for young girls? (O’Connor 2011; Barnes 2010; Rose 2011).

Summary

Our direct interactions with social groups, like families and peers, teach us how others expect us to behave. Likewise, a society’s formal and informal institutions socialize its population. Schools, workplaces, and the media communicate and reinforce cultural norms and values.

Short answer

Do you think it is important that parents discuss gender roles with their young children, or is gender a topic better left for later? How do parents consider gender norms when buying their children books, movies, and toys? How do you believe they should consider it?

Based on your observations, when are adolescents more likely to listen to their parents or to their peer groups when making decisions? What types of dilemmas lend themselves toward one social agent over another?

Further research

Most societies expect parents to socialize children into gender norms. See the controversy surrounding one Canadian couple’s refusal to do so at (External Link)

References

Associated Press. 2011. “Swedish Dads Swap Work for Child Care.” The Gainesville Sun , October 23. Retrieved January 12, 2012 ( (External Link) ).

Barnes, Brooks. “Pixar Removes Its First Female Director.” The New York Times , December 20. Retrieved August 2, 2011 ( (External Link) ).

Bowles, Samuel and Herbert Gintis. 1976. Schooling in Capitalistic America: Educational Reforms and the Contradictions of Economic Life . New York: Basic Books.

Crampton, Thomas. 2002. “The Ongoing Battle over Japan’s Textbooks.” New York Times , February 12. Retrieved August 2, 2011 ( (External Link) ).

Kohn, Melvin L. 1977. Class and Conformity: A Study in Values . Homewood, IL: Dorsey Press.

National Opinion Research Center. 2007. General Social Surveys, 1972–2006: Cumulative Codebook . Chicago: National Opinion Research Center.

O’Connor, Lydia. 2011. “The Princess Effect: Are Girls Too ‘Tangled’ in Disney’s Fantasy?” Annenberg Digital News , January 26. Retrieved August 2, 2011 ( (External Link) ).

Roberts, Donald F., Ulla G. Foehr, and Victoria Rideout. 2005. “Parents, Children, and Media: A Kaiser Family Foundation Survey.” The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Retrieved February 14, 2012 ( (External Link) ).

Rose, Steve. 2011. “Studio Ghibli: Leave the Boys Behind.” The Guardian , July 14. Retrieved August 2, 2011. ( (External Link) ).

“South Koreans Sever Fingers in Anti-Japan Protest.” 2001. The Telegraph . Retrieved January 31, 2012 ( (External Link) ).

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 2010. “Number of Jobs Held, Labor Market Activity, and Earnings Growth Among the Youngest Baby Boomers.” September 10. Retrieved January 31, 2012 ( (External Link) ).

U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. 2004. “Average Length of School Year and Average Length of School Day, by Selected Characteristics: United States, 2003-04.” Private School Universe Survey (PSS) . Retrieved July 30, 2011 ( (External Link) ).

Questions & Answers

what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
Rafiq
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
Damian
How we are making nano material?
LITNING Reply
what is a peer
LITNING Reply
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
LITNING Reply
What is STMs full form?
LITNING
scanning tunneling microscope
Sahil
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Santosh
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
Mahi
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
Rafiq
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
Bob
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
brayan
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Damian
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
Renato
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
?
Kyle
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
Adin
why?
Adin
what school?
Kyle
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
Joe
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
research.net
kanaga
sciencedirect big data base
Ernesto
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
Bharti
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
Daniel
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
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it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
Maciej
characteristics of micro business
Abigail
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
Anassong
How can I make nanorobot?
Lily
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
NANO
how can I make nanorobot?
Lily
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
s.
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
Tarell
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
Damian
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
Tarell
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Berger describes sociologists as concerned with
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Source:  OpenStax, Introduction to sociology for the university of oklahoma. OpenStax CNX. Jan 11, 2013 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11482/1.1
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