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People From Planet Earth. Mechanisms Of Gender Socialization - Society
People From Planet Earth. Mechanisms Of Gender Socialization - Society

Video: People From Planet Earth. Mechanisms Of Gender Socialization - Society

Video: People From Planet Earth. Mechanisms Of Gender Socialization - Society
Video: Cycle of Socialization; Gender 2023, March

In 1992, John Gray's book "Men from Mars, Women from Venus" was published, which became a real world bestseller. Its main metaphor is that women and men differ so much as if they came to Earth from different planets, and therefore, in order to establish a dialogue, they need to specially "learn" each other's languages

Women are encouraged to “nag” their partners less, “inspire” them to accomplishments and more often ask for help in household matters. For men - try to restrain irritation when they listen to women, correctly “translate” female statements into “their” language, and often discuss feelings and emotions with partners 1. The idea of a total discrepancy between male and female qualities inherent in any person on the basis of his gender, in general, is good for everyone, except for one thing: this is not true.

How are men and women psychologically different from each other? If you turn to the Russian-speaking segment of the Internet with this request, you can find a huge number of articles explaining the "natural" or even "genetically determined" difference between representatives of different sexes.

Differences are found literally in all spheres of the psyche: from cognitive abilities (the notorious "girls are humanities, boys are techies") to social skills ("women prefer to act covertly, men directly") 2. After reading a couple of such texts, one involuntarily ponders: how in general such dissimilar creatures can be attributed to the same species of homo sapiens?

Biology or culture?

The division of mankind into men and women is so tightly and rigidly built into society that any deviations from the binary concept of gender are perceived by the broad masses as something absurd and impossible. The arguments of the supporters of "Venus and Mars" are based on the fact that, like other mammals, humans are characterized by sexual dimorphism. We differ from each other in the chromosome set, the structure of the reproductive system, physique, hormonal regulation and associated physiological characteristics, etc. And since there are biological differences, it means that there will certainly be psychological ones, isn't it?

No not like this

The main problem of "biologizing" theories is that they completely ignore the fact discovered and proved by Lev Vygotsky at the beginning of the 20th century: "The highest mental functions of a person are of social, not biological origin" 3. In other words, personality traits that are usually attributed to "male and female principles" are not innate, but acquired in the process of human interaction with his social environment. And this is where the fun begins.

Pants color differentiation

Psychological research shows that adults show different attitudes towards boys and girls literally from the first hours after birth. Children of different genders are handled differently, react differently to crying and are provided with different physical activities 4.

Further - more: from the first days, babies are surrounded by colors of clothing, furniture, strollers, and so on that are "appropriate" for their gender - thereby strengthening the child's identification with the corresponding gender.

Color "marking" predetermines the attitude of those around them to the child as a "real hero" or "expectant mother." In a well-known experiment, it was clearly shown that children dressed in blue and blue are more often offered by adults toys associated with active movement: cars, balls, etc., and children in pink and white suits are offered toys aimed at improving household and social skills: dolls, soft toys, etc. 5 Of course, the participants did not know that in half of the cases girls were dressed in blue overalls, and boys were dressed in pink ones, so their choice of activities with children was dictated solely by the external attributes of “masculinity” and "Femininity".

The emphasized division into "pink" and "blue" has another important consequence. Any thing is marked as belonging to either one or another camp; common things, there are practically no “intersection points”. Moreover, the interests of the child himself are subjected to strict filtration: even if the parents are calm about the fact that the boy plays with dolls, and the girl rolls cars, society will surely remind that it is "supposed" to love both.

The label “just a kid” for an active and strong girl, the insult “you are like a girl” for an emotionally sensitive boy - all this emphasizes the abnormality of behavior that does not correspond to the Procrustian bed of gender stereotypes.

From outside to inside

The peculiarities of the child's psyche are such that at the age of five to seven years, ideas and rules that are transmitted by adults who are significant for the child are perceived uncritically and are assimilated by him as normative. In other words, the model of attitude towards others and towards oneself, which is demonstrated and voiced by parents and teachers, becomes an internal norm for the child himself. This happens as a result of interiorization - the transition of skills and attitudes from external to internal 6.

Lack of criticism is a very important point for socialization. Since the amount of knowledge to be studied by a person in the first years of life is incredibly large, the child's brain practically does not "filter" the information entering it. On the one hand, this allows you to absorb knowledge "like a sponge" - without the application of special efforts, and on the other hand, it leads to the fact that kids copy adults in everything indiscriminately and sincerely consider their own beliefs what they hear from their immediate environment.

As he grows up, a person can, if desired, change his system of values and worldview, but this process will require, firstly, a conscious desire, and, secondly, considerable effort and time. The worldview inherent in childhood, in any case, will be perceived as a kind of "zero level" that determines the entire psychological "coordinate system".

Needless to say, most people carry the beliefs they receive from their parents throughout their lives and transmit them to future generations? This leads to an eternal paradox: living conditions are changing, and traditional attitudes come into obvious confrontation with reality. But the inertia of thinking is so great that it becomes easier for many to declare the surrounding reality “wrong” than to change their own ideas about the norm. This is how dreams of the lost “golden age”, “wisdom of ancestors” and other “crunch of a French roll” are born, when everything was good-looking and highly spiritual (not what it is now).


  1. Berezina K. Visual summari for the book by John Gray "Men from Mars, Women from Venus." URL: (date accessed: 01.03.2019).
  2. Kozlov N. I. Differences between male and female psychology // Psychologos. Encyclopedia of Practical Psychology. URL: (date accessed: 1.03.2019).
  3. Vygotsky L. S. Problem of the cultural development of a child (1928) // Bulletin of Moscow University. Ser. 14, Psychology. 1991. No. 4. P. 5–18. URL: (date of access: 01.03.2019).
  4. Rubin JZ, Provenzano FJ, Luria Z. The eye of the beholder: Parents' views on sex of newborns // American Journal of Orthopsychiatry. 1974. V. 44 (4). P. 512-519. URL: (date accessed: 01.03.2019).
  5. Will JA, Self PA, Datan N. Maternal behavior and perceived sex of infant // American Journal of Orthopsychiatry. 1976. V. 46 (1). P. 135-139. URL: (date accessed: 01.03.2019).
  6. Golovin S. Yu. Dictionary of the Practical Psychologist. Minsk: Harvest, 1998. URL: (date of access: 01.03.2019).

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