chapter  3
Inhumane Treatment Leads to Inhuman Behavior: The Socialization Process
Pages 19

These stories illustrate what is well known to gender psychologists: that males and females are subject to different and rather sharply defi ned expectations for behavior. Each story contains the same basic theme. They all convey to the boy that, to be considered masculine and worthwhile, he must deny and repress a natural response (like avoiding pain, expressing tender feelings, gravitating toward certain interests and activities, or seeing females as equals) and replace it with a “masculine” response (like submitting to pain, suppressing emotional responses, having only those interests that are socially defi ned as gender-appropriate, or viewing females as less capable and valuable than males). These inhumane treatments teach children to behave in less than fully human ways. And, although we have presented defi ning childhood moments for purposes of illustrating gender messages, one should be aware that gender socialization is a daily event, not only in the life of a child, but also in the everyday experiences of adults. The gender socialization process is powerful, (sometimes) subtle, and pervasive. All too often, we learn how we are expected to behave before we learn who we want to be.