Part I:  What Is Socialization?  How Do We Form Gender Roles?  Where do Stereotypes Fit into the Picture?


In completing the task, we must take several steps in adding to your basic knowledge of socialization, gender roles, and stereotypes.

First, we must review the process of socialization.  Visit the following websites, for they provide an adequate explanation of the process of socialization.  For your own benefit and as a way for checking to make sure you know enough about socialization to move one, I strongly encourage you to click the link "quiz" and complete it to check your own understanding of socialization.

Socialization Explained (With quiz)

Adolescent Socialization - ProQuest
PLEASE NOTE: If in the event you cannot link to this website, inform me immediately.  I will provide the proper steps on how to access the article through the school library's resources. 


In particular, let's focus on the socialization of gender roles.

Gender Socialization - United Nations

Gender Roles

Television and Gender Roles 


Finally, let us divert our study of the socialization of gender roles to gender stereotypes, the formation of gender stereotypes, and the influence of socialization on stereotypes.

Stereotype Identification

Gender Stereotypes - United Nations

Gender Stereotypes -



Second, discuss (and record your group's answers) the following review questions (Remember that you WILL revisit these questions when you work on your movie.):

1.  What is socialization? How does it occur?  Where does it occur?  Who is responsible for this process?  Is socialization a powerful force in determining human behavior?  Why or why not?

2.  What is the difference between a one's sex and one's gender?  What is a gender role?  How do they form?  List some examples of gender roles.  What makes these gender roles?  How has gender roles influenced your life?  Are gender roles so important to society? Why or why not?

3.  What is a stereotype?  Can socialization lead the spread and establishment of stereotypes?  Explain.  Are gender roles a series of stereotypes based on gender?  Explain.  Reflect on your own life.  Do you act according to one or a series of specific gender stereotypes?

Once you finish reflecting on and discussing these questions, post a group answer (make sure it is an in-depth answer) to the discussion board located on the supplemental wiki site for this webquest.  Make sure everybody's voice is heard and all members of your group are equally included in your response.  Your discussion question is located at the following link:

Discussion Question 1 


Part II:  Socialization from the Family, School System, and Media

Now that we formed some background knowledge of socialization, gender roles, and stereotypes, let us now look towards how our society socializes us to act through specific gender roles.  In particular, let us examine the family, school system, and media.

1.  Family-  Before you break off into your group, I want you to read the first article on "Parents and Gender Roles" and complete the assignment associated with Jamaica Kincaid's Girl by yourself.  After, you can get into groups and discuss what you found.

Read the following Susan Witt article about the influence of parents on the socialization of a child.  Once you are finish, write down some ways in which parents teach their children to act through specific gender roles.

Parents and Gender Roles

Now, lets reflect on our own experience as we try to understand some of the ways in which our parents and elder family members assist in developing a specific series of gender roles. Jamaica Kincaid's "Girl" is a great example of how we listen to our parent's "rules for life."  I want you to now read and write your own Boy/Girl Narrative that models the one you will read when you click the following link

Girl - Jamaica Kincaid

After you read this story, I would like for you to take a few moments and write your own Girl (or Boy) Narrative the same way Kincaid wrote hers.  Before you begin writing, consider this:  How old do you think Kincaid was when she heard her elders' "life-advice"?  Who are these elders that engraining these ideals within Kincaid?  Which of these people do you think are most influential? 

Once you are finished writing, share your story with your other group members and discuss the following questions: 

1.  Are your stories a final product of gender socialization?  Explain.  Who motivates you to uphold these ideals?  Why do they motivate you? 

2.  Do you notice any stereotypes in the words you wrote?  Explain your answer.  What do you think this activity says about the relationship between family socialization and the formation of stereotypes?  Explain.

Once you complete this, as a group, post an answer to the second response question.  The link is listed below:

Discussion Board Question 2


2.  Schools - First, I want you to think about the power that schools have over socialization.  To do so, I would like you to read the following articles about the effects of schools on socialization and of peers.  Remember that many of your friends and interactions with other people your age occured inside of school (but hopefully not during my Sociology exams )  Additionally, I want you to read an interesting piece about the potential differences of school and homeschool socialization:

School and Reading Materials Effect on Gender Role Socialization

The Influence of Peers on Gender Socialization

CBN News: School and Homeschool Socialization

Now, I want you to sit silently (no groups) and reflect back on your past years of schooling.  Were there any ways in which your teachers or principals taught you to act according to a specific set of gender roles?  Write down your experiences.  To assist you, think back to when you were in kindergarten or pre-k (if you can).  What happened when the teacher announced it was "play-time"?  Once you finish looking back, discuss your experiences with your group and answer the following questions.

1.  To what degree does a school contribute to the socialization of gender roles?  Make sure you explain your answer. 

2.  Write a list of some of the ways in which our school supports gender role socialization.  Without thinking of Brooklyn Tech as the enemy, why do you think Tech supports these gender roles?  In a larger context, what are some of the pressures schools face with regards to teaching students "proper" gender roles?    

3.  Do you think that in teaching students "proper" gender roles, schools must reinforce gender stereotypes?  Explain the reasoning behind your opinion.

Finally, as a group, post a response to the following question on the class discussion board:

Discussion Board Question 3


 3.  The Media

I want you to look at some of the following episodes of the four television shows listed below.  I want you try to identify some of the ways in which the show support specific gender roles.  In addition, think of some stereotypes that the show depicts.  Finally figure out how these shows contribute to the gender socialization of a child.  Write down a list and share what you have with your other group members.  Try to accomplish this at home so you can move through this section rather quickly.

Family GuyTV-Family Guy Website 

The Simpsons: TV- The Simpsons Website

Grey's Anatomy: TV- Grey's Anatomy Website

Lost: TV: Lost Website

Once you finish watching some of these shows, assemble as a group and discuss what you observed about each show.  Be sure to discuss, within your group, the following questions:

1.  In what ways do these shows depict specific gender roles?  Be sure to use examples.  

2.  Why do these shows play a strong role in the socialization of a child?  adolescent?

3.  What type of audience do these shows appeal to?  What are the messages they send to these audiences about what is proper of a specific gender?  What are some stereotypes that these shows embrace?  Why do you think these shows support these messages and stereotypes?


After your discussion about these shows, I would like for you to look at some television commercials that are available on YouTube.  Look at the following three links and be sure to look at the ways in which each advertisement depicts gender with regards to women.

1.  Gain Laundry Detergent

2.  Calvin Klein

3.  Swiffer Dusters

After viewing these commercials, assemble back into your groups and discuss the following questions:

1.  Describe the way in which these commercials depict women. 

2.  What stereotypes do these depictions support?  Why do these commercials support these stereotypes?  Do you thing expressing these stereotypes helps sell their product?  Explain. 

3.  Do advertisements like these have the power to socialize a child into believing a specfic idea about gender? women? 


Finally, I would like you to look around at some of the following online advertisement images.  Once again, try to think of ways in which these images support specific gender roles.  Write down your ideas.

1. Sketchers Footwear

2. Dolce & Gabbana

3. TAG Body Spray

Meet as a group and discuss the following questions:

1.  How do these images portray women? men?  Why do they portray gender the way they do?  What kind of gender specific behavior do these images support?  In particular, what do these advertisements express as proper gender roles?  Why do they express these roles the way they do?

2.  What are some stereotypes that are portrayed in these images? Why do companies use these stereotypes to sell their product?  Can these companies increase their current profits while maintaining an un-stereotypical image of gender?  Why or why not?

3.  How can these images socialize a child?  adolescent?

 Discussion Board Question 4



Part III: Socialization Around the World

Now that we reviewed socialization and its application to schools, families, and media approaches, let us now take a cross-cultural  approach of gender socialization around the world. 

First, lets read the following articles about gender roles and gender equality in different regions of the world.  Try to think of some ways in which these nations compare to the United States.  What are some similarities that you see between these nations and the United States?

 Gender Hierarchy: Fiji

Socio-Political Status of Women- Madagascar

Closing the Gender Gap -Thailand

Gender Equality? - Poland

Gender and Education - Asia

 Family Structure: Latin America and Africa

In your groups, work to answer the following questions:

1.  What are some ways in which the major themes of these articles have the ability to socialize specific gender roles?  Why do you think that is the case? 

2.  How are the foundational values about gender roles from different regions of the world similar to and different than the values of the United States?  Why do you think this is so?

If you are from a different area outside of the United States, please share your experience and try to find similarities and differences between your experiences and those of your classmates.  Be specific and draw on examples from the readings.  Remember if you disagree with an author's point, make sure you have viable evidence to back up your claims!


Finally, I want you to look at some worldwide statistics of gender across the world.  Log onto the websites listed below and look to see how nations vary in terms of their rates of female school enrollment, domestic abuse, female infant mortality, women in the workplace, and female poverty.  Write down some trends that you notice.  What seems alarming?  Be sure to draw ways in which some of these nations' statistics compare and contrast to American percentages.  

UN Stats

International Women's Day: Politics and Power

The World Bank: Gender and Development

UN Population Fund: Stats

Answer the following questions in your groups:

1.  In what ways do the categories you researched have the potential to affect the socialization of specific gender roles? 

2.  Use the statistics you found to try and form conclusions about the nature of socialization around the world.  Is gender socialization similar around the world?  Is it different?  Why do you believe this way? 

3.  From these statistics or any other statistics from the websites, can you find any evidence of universal stereotypes around the world?  Explain your answer.

Once you finished this, post a response to the fifth and final response question posted on the class discussion board.  

 Discussion Board Question 5



Part IV:  The Final Project

The remaining class periods should be designated to the completion of your final project for this unit.  Details of the project are located under the task part of the webpage.  Make sure you cover all of the following requirements:

1. The length of your video is at least 10 minutes long.
2. All members of your group take an active role in the production of your video.
3. You include visuals and specific examples from the readings or viewings you looked at throughout the unit. 
4.  You give your sources proper credit at the end of the video.
5.  Make sure you answer the following major questions that they unit discusses:  
                  a.  Does gender socialization support gender stereotypes?  
                  b.  How are we socialized?  
                  c.  Are there any common stereotypes and features of gender
socialization that are expressed throughout the world?
6.  Prepare a brief explanation and prepare for any questions about your video.  You will provide a brief presentation of your video the day your project is due. 

If you have any further questions, you can log onto the webquest's discussion board and post you questions for others to read and answer.  The link is:

Ask and Answer Questions Here

Feel free to ask any questions.  If you would like to be considered for extra credit, you can help your classmates and provide answers for their inquiries.