Gender Development Essay

1791 words - 8 pages

Nature vs. Nurture in Gender Development

The interest in the Interaction between hormones and behavior is not new there has long been a question of whether an individual is born with a specific identity or whether they are nurtured or pushed into a certain role, and how well they can adapt to and assimilate into a specific gender. First it is important to understand that gender is complicated and consists primarily of of three elements. The Gender role, this is the assumption of behavioral traits which are either masculine or feminine and considered to be correct or characteristic of a specific sex. The second element of gender is gender identity; this is a individuals private and ...view middle of the document...

” There are many psychologists who follow this belief that gender is the result of outside influences, specifically the treatment that we receive from parents, guardians, friends and relatives. The second viewpoint is that an individual’s gender and identity is solely from nature because of hormones and their effects on the individuals developing brain. The lives of substantial numbers of people have been significantly altered because of the application of these theories. There are many individuals who believe that children are taught to be feminine or masculine by the way that they are reared, and the value that individuals around them place on the different traits that are thought to be associated with particular genders. There is a significant amount of information that shows how an individual is raised does have considerable influence on their gender identity but, that is not the whole story.
During the development of a mammalian fetus the external genitalia and brain, are female until they are exposed to androgens in in utero. There are a number of research studies which manipulate the sexual behavior of mammals just through the control of hormones which are present during early development. There are on occasion instances where the influencing hormones are not properly balanced, in these cases specifically girls who in utero were exposed to higher testosterone exhibit masculine tendencies, and behaviors into adulthood even though they are born as females. There are important implications for human development because of this finding. Once a fetus has developed in utero, outwardly it will have the appearance of a sex whether it is male or female however, as the brain is developing the addition or removal of various hormones associated with sexual development can alter the behavior. This is evidence which strongly suggests that an individual’s gender is not the result of rearing rather the hormone exposures that they are subject to in utero, after the physical body has developed. The developments of gender role behaviors are influenced by exposure to androgen prenatally. There are behaviors that tend to be gender specific, i.e. boys playing cops and robbers or using building blocks and play tools; and conversely girls playing dress up tea parties or nurturing baby dolls (Berenbaum (1999). Though it is not always the case there is a tendency for there to be differences between adolescent boys and girls in regards to activities and job interests. “Male adolescent gender role activities are a desire to work with engines and electronics, Sports, Ride motorcycles, Fishing, building models (Berenbaum,1998) while female adolescent gender role activities; encompass such things as thoughts about becoming a secretary or typist hobbies such as needlepoint, embroidery, macramé, Collect dolls, Play dress-up or with make-up” (Berenbaum, 1998 ). In line with the nurture view of psychosexual differentiation this young age of...

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