Gender Socialization in Aging

Beginning at birth, individuals are subjected to gender socialization, a process by which an individual’s gender is shaped by cultural norms as to what is considered appropriate (e.g., appearance, clothing, behavior, ways of thinking, opinions). The expectations for men and women are different for various ages and stages of life. Age can be compared to Candace West and Don Zimmerman’s “doing gender” theory in that one “does age,” meaning that age is performed along with gender expectations. Individuals across the life span who do not “perform” or fit nicely into gender stereotypes are often ostracized and ridiculed for being different, which has negative implications for self-esteem. This entry outlines the gender socialization process across the life span.

Gender, Self-Concept, and Historical Context

Gender role attitudes learned in ...

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