Gender Identity Essay

1545 words - 7 pages

Gender Identity Paper
Brandie Thurman
May 25, 2013
Dr. Stephanie Sencil-White

There are many biological, psychological, and sociological factors involved in the formation of gender identity. Gender identity is not completely understood as it is much more complex than the joining of a sperm and an egg. For many people, the terms “gender” and “sex” are interchangeable. Biological sex and gender are different; gender is not inherently connected to one’s physical anatomy as biological sex is. When one thinks’ of the term “gender”, we are referring to the role and personalities one assumes within society, for example in American culture females tend to be perceived as more ...view middle of the document...

The biological factors to affect gender are the chromosomes are found in every cell of the body. An XX or an XY genotype is the first biological part of gender identity followed by the gonads, prenatal hormones, internal assessory organs, and external genital appearance (Board of Health and Science Policy and Committee on Biology of sex, 2011). At conception both parents contribute one-half of the genotype, the mother or female supplies the X and the father or male supplies the X or the Y which is the determining gene that gives gender its first definition (Board of Health and Science Policy & Committee on Biology of sex, 2011). Hormones play a large part on the biological factors of gender. In females, hormones such as estrogen or progesterone and testosterone for males are considered internal and external organs in the female genitalia such as the vulva, clitoris, and vagina, penis, and testicles for assigned males. Because women and men are chromosomally different they will act, think, and feel differently because of how the brain works differently in each. These brain differences may result from either chromosomal differences or hormonal differences (Sociology of gender, 2011).
Gender on the other hand, is far more complicated. Along with one’s physical traits, it is the complex interrelationship between those traits, and one’s internal sense of self as male, female, both or neither as well as one’s outward presentations and behaviors related to that perception (Sociology of gender 2011) . According to Sandra Bem, our attitudes and behaviors are based on our “gender schema” that she defines as a cognitive network of assumptions about the personalities’ and moral qualities of men and women (1991). There are many similarities that can be drawn between the impacts of gender versus the impact on culture. Cultures differ in nature and the intensity of differentiation between the sexes; gender, gender roles, gender-role ideologies, and gender stereotypes (Nevid, 2008). The biggest argument related to gender identity is the nature versus nurture, the role played by hereditary and environmental factors as well as their relationship to gender identity (Nevid, 2008). The debate about how much of a person’s gender identity is biological made up of nature and how much is because of our social surroundings and how we are brought up which is also referred to as nurture (Sociology of gender, 2011).
The nature vs. nurture issue dates back to the times of Aristotle and John Locke, with each philosopher projecting their own individual thoughts on the matter. Although nature explains the development of a persons in terms of their appearance and certain personality traits, nurture, and the environmental setting in which a person grows up, lives and spends significant time is more important in explaining the development of a person. Ultimately a person is an overall reflection of the environment of which they were brought up in (West, Fenstermaker 1995)....

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