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Gender Identity

Essay by   •  September 20, 2015  •  Coursework  •  1,200 Words (5 Pages)  •  1,291 Views

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Gender Identity

The term “Gender Identity” is often presumed to be related solely to the anatomical sex or apparent gender that one is born with but the presumption is far from correct. In actuality, gender identity, by definition is “a person’s concept of being male or female.” (Definition-of community dictionary, n.d.) Within this paper I will discuss the determining factors of gender identification and gender roles. This will include clearly stating what the determining factors are in gender identification and an explanation of how a person’s masculine /feminine traits can be described using the continuum of masculinity-femininity will be discussed. I will further examine gender identity by looking into my own personal gender identification. First, by describing three factors in my own life that have determined my gender identity. Lastly, I will discuss the masculine and feminine traits that I attribute to myself using the continuum of masculinity/femininity.

Determining Factors

How ones gender identity is formed is not fully understood nor known to a scientific fact, but there are a few different factors that we do know for sure can and do play a role in determining gender identity. These factors are genetic factors, sexual hormones, psychosocial factors, and even environmental factor can play a role. The genetic factors begin to contribute to gender identity from the moment of conception. This is when a sperm with 23 chromosomes fertilizes an egg with 23 chromosomes creating what is referred to as a zygote. (Rathus, Nevid, & Fichner-Rathus, 2011). Between six to seven weeks later the gender is already known and the genetic code begins to come to life. At this point the gender will either be girl (XX) or boy (XY), however, during the pregnancy there can be a sexual chromosomal abnormality in which one can develop both male and female genitals. (Rathus, Nevid, & Fichner-Rathus, 2011). Now comes in the sexual hormone factor. During development, “once genetics have done their work, and testes develop in the embryo, they begin to produce male sex hormones, or androgens.” (Rathus, Nevid, & Fichner-Rathus, 2011). These hormones are of great importance due to the fact that a lack of them would result in the production of only females.

The psychosocial and environmental factors that contribute to ones gender identity are somewhat different than those previously spoke of. These two things are effective one in the same or intertwined. The environment you are raised within and the norms within the society in which you live can greatly affect a person’s gender identification. When we are growing and forming our sense of self we look for ques that tell us right and wrong. In our society we have toys that are oriented toward either the male or female sex, for example action figures of masculine army men are aimed toward boys, while Barbie’s have a very feminine figure, dressed in very “girly” clothing are directed toward girls. Another example for boys is that many people say things like “man up”, “toughen up”, or “boys don’t cry”. Such sayings push the viewpoint that to be masculine or manly you must carry yourself a certain way, be strong (physically and emotionally), and must not be sensitive. For female it is said “that is not ladylike”, “it is your job to maintain the home and rear the children”, or “you are a girl, you cannot do that”. These things are reinforce the thoughts or beliefs that say in order to be accepted or even loved you must fulfill the societal gender role assigned to the anatomic sex you were born with. This can become an issue for some if not most individuals, first simply because regardless of ones gender identity we naturally want to just fulfill our own feeling of self not what other expect of us. Second, someone who

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