Gender As A Social Process Theoretical Foundation

Gender as a Sociable Process: Theoretical Foundation


The procedure of acquiring sex identity could be described with reference in order to certain theoretical viewpoints on gender socialization. These theories are usually social learning concept, identification theory, representational interaction, and intellectual development theory. Based to these assumptive models, different parts in the procedure of gender development are accentuated simply by researchers (Lindsey, 2015). The objective of this papers would be to compare plus contrast the description of gender socialization which can be provided along with reference to these types of four theories.

Definitions of 4 Theoretical Perspectives

To be familiar with process associated with forming gender identification, it is required to make reference to particular theories and the meanings. Social learning concept explains gender development through observation plus boys’ and girls’ reactions to exterior rewards and punishments. For example, in case boys are penalized for crying “like a girl, ” plus they are expected in order to act like males, they form the vision of behavior appropriate for the particular male gender. Becoming praised for acting “like a man” (being strong, important, fearless), boys take they’re owned by men. Identification theory explains gender formation because a process associated with children’s becoming conscious of their sex and following some other people’s behaviors (Lindsey, 2015). For example, determining oneself like a lady, a female kid easily and individually chooses and likes to wear female clothing.

Furthermore, representational interaction is a theoretical model that is focused on symbolic roles children take in their interactions and when playing depending on adults’ feedback. Thus, this theory explains why girls choose to play like “moms” with their toys when boys choose to play with cars. According to cognitive development theory, children get the meaning of gender gradually, along with their intellectual development (Lindsey, 2015). For example , boys and girls can consciously choose what behavior is typical of their gender and act accordingly.

Differences Between Theoretical Models

It is possible to identify four differences between these discussed theories. The first dissimilarity is that cognitive development and identification theories differ from social learning and symbolic interaction ones in terms of accentuating the role of children’s development of mental and awareness processes to explain gender. The second related difference is that some theories reject the critically important role of interacting and following social patterns in this process when others emphasize this role (Lindsey, 2015). The third difference is that gender formation is viewed as a stimulated process by social learning and symbolic interaction theories when other theorists point at the internal development of gender identity. The fourth difference is that some theories are more biological in their nature than others.

Similarities in Social Learning and Symbolic Interaction Theories

Social learning and symbolic interaction theories explain the development of gender identity inside similar ways. These types of models describe the organization of the eyesight of self along with reference to sex while observing other people, interacting with all of them, listening to advice from them plus their behaviors. Each theories support the particular idea that people develop their knowing of gender whenever interacting in sociable environments and highlighting on other people’s behaviors (Lindsey, 2015). Consequently, children notice and learn exactly what roles are suitable for boys and girls and what rewards and feedback they receive when following selected patterns and begin to identify themselves as males or females accordingly.


The four theoretical perspectives describing gender formation are social learning theory, identification theory, symbolic interaction, and cognitive development theory. These theories are different in terms of adopting biological or social views on gender formation. However , it is possible to identify the pairs of similar theoretical models to explain how young individuals become aware of their gender and associated roles. Thus, social learning and symbolic interaction theories present related assumptions to discuss the process of gender identification.


Lindsey, L. L. (2015). Gender roles: A sociological perspective (6th ed. ). New York, NY: Routledge.

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