How are games related to socialization and gender roles


Question: Summarize the ways in which play and games are related to socialization to gender expectations, identities, and roles. Answer: Gender expectations can be seen in boys and girls in play and games. For instance, according to the textbook, “girls play in one-to-one relationships or small groups of twosomes and threesomes; their play is relatively cooperative, emphasizes turn taking, requires little competition, and has relatively few rules.” This affects how they will act as adults, as women generally are less competitive and generally put more emphasis on others rather than themselves. The textbook also reads “in feminine games like jump rope or hopscotch, the goal is skill rather than winning.” This could help explain why women in general are less concerned with winning, as relates to ambition in the business world, etc.

According to the textbook “boys more often play in fairly large groups, characterized by more fighting and attempts to effect a hierarchical pecking order.” This explains why men tend to be so competitive, and need to establish a leader or order of leadership in other areas of life. Failure to conform to these expectations in children often leaves them in ridicule by their classmates, which is very undesirable. So deviation from these roles is minimal. The textbook reads “From preschool through adolescence, children who play according to traditional gender roles are more popular with their peers; this is more true for boys.” Popularity is very desirable and thus is a driving factor to keep children within their gender role in play and games. Another interesting point brought up by the textbook is that during adolescence and for some males into adulthood “males are expected to put the guys first in their priorities. Peer status for adolescent girls, in contrast, more often rests on being popular with boys.” This shows signs at a very early age of the domination of males in our society. Whereas males can be socially accepted without females, females require male attention and or acceptance to be socially accepted. These differences in childhood games and social acceptance teach boys and girls to act differently than the opposite gender. Whether good or bad, as the textbook reads, “the process is reinforced in schools.” The word “reinforced” indicates that the process begins somewhere besides school, most likely at home with parental influence. This influence on children is something that cannot be avoided by them, and is just an accepted part of a society that differentiates between the roles of men and women.

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