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Gender socialization is how an individual learns what it means to be a male or a female in the society in which the individual lives. While gender socialization occurs in all parts of the world, the way males and females are socialized can differ drastically depending on the geographic region and culture. This entry focuses on the socialization process as it occurs most generally in the United States. Gender socialization begins in early childhood and continues through the teenage years. As young children, gender socialization teaches us the difference between boys and girls and that the genders dress, look, and can be treated differently. For the young child’s mind, this firm dichotomy is the only way by which the child can understand the topic of ...

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