Gender Identity

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These stereotype environmental effects also evolve with time as the trends in recent decades have seen changes in gender behaviors and roles. Today, there is an expectation that women will show a more feminist and assertive side, while can now show a more compassionate and softer feminine side (Blakemore et al 23). Rather than reinforcing the aspect of nurture, however, this shows that one should not try too hard to nurture a child to conform to the environment. Therefore, nature must be more important in gender identity development because the child is born with a pre-determined identity. Modern research and science have contended that gender identity is not a choice made consciously. Rather, it is a result of factors in one’s biological make up, such as the difference in size of specific brain areas, genetics, and hormone levels. There is evidence suggesting that genetics plays a critical role in sexual identity. Sexual identity is wired into infant’s brains as they develop because of these genetic factors. For example, there are various genes involved in brain development that are active during sexual organ development. Infants and young toddlers show typical differences in gender identity (Blakemore et al 24), which suggests that gender is the first and most important player in gender identity development. Youngsters will normally start identifying with their gender before they reach mid-childhood (Blakemore et al 32). Their awareness of being a girl or boy starts in the initial year of their life by the tenth month of their lives, especially as they become mildly aware of their genitals. By the time children are two years of age, they begin to realize the physical differences between girls and boys, while it is possible for them to call themselves a girl or boy by the time they are three, acquiring a better and stronger concept of the self-concept.

The gender identity of the child is already established and stable by the time they are four years of age (Blakemore et al 32). By this time, it is possible to say that they know that they will always be girls or boys. It is also possible for anyone to observe a behavior and classify it as being “girlish” or “boyish”. For example, without being nurtured, boys prefer playing with toy guns and truck-cars, prefer science and math, are more active physically and more aggressive, and possess better hand-eye coordination and spatial reasoning (Blakemore et al 33). Girls, on the other hand, prefer cooperative play and dolls, have better motor skills, learn to talk and read earlier, and possess more empathy and emotions. Most of these things are inborn and innate without any need to teach them. This shows that nature has an important role in shaping gender identity. Even when parents choose to treat their children in a gender-neutral manner, the results are always according to nature (Blakemore et al 33). For example, a parent who insists on her young girls playing with trucks will find that her daughters refer to the trucks as mommy trucks that are on the way to pick their children from baby-care. On the other hand, a boy given a truck will fill it action heroes, while racing it all over the playing area and making noises of squealing tires.

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