We are socialized at every stage in life to conform to our gender identity. Societal reinforcement of tendencies of gender identity is relentless. For example, in hospitals, little girls are wrapped in pink and little boys in blue. This difference in colors influences how we learn and how we internalize our role in our society.
Girls tend to grow up to play feminine roles and boys tend to grow up to play masculine roles. This differentiation of gender identity has implications in social stratification. The videos given below will provide you with a better understanding of the differentiation of sexual identity from an earlier generation.
Search for and watch an episode of at least one of the following shows. You may find these videos using a variety of search methods including visiting your local library, using Netflix or your local video store, or searching on YouTube. If you have difficulty locating an episode of one of the following shows, contact your instructor for assistance in finding an alternative.
- I Love Lucy
- All in the Family
- The Mickey Mouse Club
- The Honeymooners
- Leave it to Beaver
- Father Knows Best
- Gilligan’s Island
- The Brady Bunch
- I Dream of Jeannie
As you watch the video, ask yourself the following questions:
- To what extent have things changed and to what extent have they remained the same in regards to gender roles, expectations, division, and identity from the time this show was originally popular and today?
- How conscious and sensitive are the characters regarding gender prejudice, power inequality, and subordination?
- Did they take inequality of the sexes for granted?
Based on your readings and understanding that you have gathered after watching the above-noted video, write a short biographical description of your life if you were to wake up tomorrow morning in the time period of the video you watched and find you have a different gender identity. Write a description of how you lived your life a day after your hypothetical change in gender as you answer the following questions:
- Discuss how you would react on finding out that your sex is opposite. Would you feel a sense of relief, indifference, or elation? Why?
- Discuss three ways your attitude towards the opposite sex was enlightened or would change as a result of what you learned from this project. If you would not change your attitude, why?
- Write down the ideas and attitudes you have taken for granted a member of your actual gender. Consider how your roles at home and in the office would change if you were a member of the opposite gender.
- Relate the ideas of sexism and racism to the videos. How do you think sexism and racism have changed since the 1950s?