1) Broderick & Blewitt (2020) state that gender identity is a person’s awareness of his or her own gender assignment and understanding its meaning. When reflecting on my gender identity now, I identify as a female. I am considered less privileged than males. I grew up wearing dresses and enjoyed playing with animals, barbies, and dolls. I enjoyed spending time with my mom and grandma and looked up to them as role models. My favorite colors were pink and purple. Now, what if I were to grow up a male instead? I would have gravitated more towards playing with trucks, dinosaurs, and legos. I also feel like I may have watched and modeled my dad and step-dad’s behaviors. As a boy, I would have worn different clothing and my favorite colors would have been blue, green, red, or orange.
Biological and Social Influences
Dobrescu & Atudorei (2018) state that gender identity is learned through primary and secondary socialization. As soon as we are born we are immediately exposed to social influences on gender. The attitudes of our parents, their values, their behavior models influence our thoughts of gender roles. Early on we are socialized that you are being a “good girl” or “good boy”. We then learn from watching our family and others of the same gender that we should like certain activities such as sports, fishing, cooking, or dolls. Most of the time as young children our parents conform to gender norms as they dress girls in dresses that are pink and purple and dress boys in jeans and t-shirts that are red, blue or green. We then look to father and mother figures on how we should act. Boys learn early on that it is okay to be active and rough, but that they must control their feelings to not be sensitive (Dobrescu & Atudorei, 2018). On the other hand, girls learn that they should be caring, kind, and sensitive. As children go through school you see that boys gravitate towards peers of the same gender and classes such as science, social studies, shop classes, and P.E. Whereas, girls begin to build relationships with other females and tend to enjoy courses in reading and writing. When an individual steps outside of these so-called gender norms a male is thought of as “too sensitive” and a girl as a “tomboy”.
The biologocial factors that impact our gender identity is our sex chromosomes and our exposure to androgens such as testontorone and estrogen (Broderick & Blewitt, 2020).
Differing Gender Development
Broderick & Blewitt (2020) inform us that there is a three-step process for gender identity development. The first step in the gender identity process is learning to categorize oneself as male or female (Broderick & Blewitt, 2020). We learn this early on as we hear individuals call us “boy” or “girl”. The second step in the process is gender stability, as young children, we start to show an understanding that girls grow into women and boys grow into men (Broderick & Blewitt, 2020). The third step of the process is gender constancy, this is when we learn that our gender category membership is permanent even if our appearances change to resemble that of the other gender.
As we grow up we are influenced by our parents and family on how we should act in our gender roles. Broderick & Blewitt (2020) state that boys and young men are socialized to maintain a degree of separation from others. Whereas, girls and young women are socialized to maintain connections with others. As children enter school we begin to see gender segregation intensify as children are drawn to interact with individuals of the same gender. As we move into middle school children begin to participate in more mixed-gendered activities. When children start to segregate by gender other behaviors start to change. Boys start to play together in more physical and aggressive play compared to girls (Broderick & Blewitt, 2020). Boys use “rough and tumble play” to help them establish dominance and hierarchy. Girls also tend to have their dominante rankings based more on social skills and leadership compared to toughness (Broderick & Blewitt, 2020). When boys engage in pretend play they involve heroic and warlike themes. Whereas girls pretend play involves themes of beauty such as brides, princesses, or other romantic things (Broderick & Blewitt, 2020). As children grow older boys start to demonstrate domineering speech and girls start to use more collaborative or affiliative speech (Broderick & Blewitt, 2020).
Differences in Gender Identity
Now, how would my gender identity change if I was born male? Starting from birth I would be given a more masculine name so that others would know I was a boy. I then would have watched my dad, step-dad, grandpas, and uncles to see how I should act like a boy. As a baby, I would have been dressed in more masculine clothes like jeans and t-shirts, that was colored blue, green, red, and orange. I would play with trucks, cars, dinosaurs, superheroes, and legos. Growing up I would have participated in more activities such as fishing, hunting, farming, and sports. I would choose to play with other boys and my play would be more active and tough. As a child I would learn to be more independent and that I need to control my emotions to not show I am sensitive, because “boys don’t cry”. As I went through school I may have gotten into more trouble because I would rather be playing than listening to my teacher. I may also get into trouble for being physical with my peers. My dad and stepdad would have been much harder on me because I am a boy. I would also learn that I have more freedom compared to if I were a girl. I can stay out longer because my parents don’t have to worry about me as much. Throughout school, I would have preferred science, social studies, P.E, and shop classes. When it came time for college I may not have chosen to go because I would rather start working in a trade. On the other hand, I may have chosen to follow the path of my role models and chose to go to a technical college to learn to be a welder, mechanic, or carpenter. I would remain heterosexual but instead of preferring men (as a female), I would prefer women. As a male people would not shame me for being sexually active because it is “just who I am.” Finally, I would be part of the dominant gender and would see the benefits.
Broderick, P., & Blewitt, P. (2020). The Life Span: Human Development for Helping Professionals (5th ed.). Pearson.
Hoffman, A. J., Dumas, F., Loose, F., Smeding, A., Kurtz-Costes, B., & Régner, I. (2019). Development of Gender Typicality and Felt Pressure in European French and North African French Adolescents. Child Development, 90(3), e306–e321. https://doi-org.ezp.waldenulibrary.org/10.1111/cde…
DOBRESCU, A. I., & ATUDOREI, I. A. (2018). Gender and Sex Identity in Adolescents. Bulletin of the Transilvania University of Brasov. Series VII: Social Sciences. Law, 11(2), 67–74.
2:Main Post Lakesha Brown-Gender Identity
From the moment of finding out a person is pregnant, questions of gender begin to arise from friends, family, and even the parents themselves. “Do you want a boy or a girl?” “Boys are easy to raise.” Those are but a few of the many things that I remember hearing from friends and family when those close to me were expecting. Being a woman has shed much light on the questions and the curiosity that I had as a girl. What is it like as a boy? Why are they easier? In this discussion board, I will be examining how my development may have differed if I were born as a male.
Differences in Development
One of the first ways that I learned to identify is as a female, girl, and later, a woman. According to Broderick and Blewitt (2020), gender identity is about being aware of one’s gender as well as what the meaning is. As a child, I was aware that girls are softer, loving, shy, and reserved. This contrasts with boys, who were assumed throughout elementary school to be more aggressive, mean, forward, and social. According to Broderick and Blewitt (2020), women speaking their minds may appear to be threatening to their relationships. Girls were chastised for being loud, curious, or even forward. In my community, girls who were like this were often referred to as ‘fast,’ which often means that those girls are more likely to engage in high-risk activities, usually sexual. I was constantly reminded to cross my legs and avoid doing flips when wearing dresses, I developed self-consciousness due to my body’s development being seen as something that may bring unwanted attention if it was not covered properly or attention diverted from it. If I were a boy, there would be less assumption about my future behavior based on my present.
How Differences Impacted Current Identity
These differences impacted my current identity, because it affected how I was able to interact and be perceived in society. I was expected to accept rather than question, remain silent rather than speak up, and always use manners and kindness.
Biological and Social Influences
As a woman, I have heard the same question many times when I am in the heat of a discussion. “Are you on your period?” echoes like a bell when in a discussion with someone and I begin to be frustrated or show emotion. This is a problem, because, to me, it assumes that women being emotional is for other reason than what she mentions. According to Abdulina et al. (2021), gender identity shows up through gender stereotypes, which is a simplified and emotionally created version of a person. Many stereotypes assumed about women, in contrast to what I learned growing up, is that we are loud and can be frustrating to deal with due to nagging, worrying, etc. Men have a stereotype of being dominant, independent, aggressive. Though these expectations are a combination of gender and cultural, they present in different ways. Men can be aggressive, and their aggression be called a go-getter attitude. Women are assumed to be angry. I believe that if I were a man, I would be more outspoken, more accomplished, and more confident. According to DiPalma (2021), many leaders take on male-like traits to be successful in business. I believe that on the bright side of this, I would be more accomplished in the world of business and finances. On the other hand, I believe that I may not have discovered the artistic side of myself and understood the beauty in being able to slow down and appreciate the moments. Men are often expected to do a lot and be ambitious and driven, while women, at times, are expected to be calmer and supportive. It would be a drastic change if I were a boy, both in positive and unfavorable ways.
Broderick, P. C., & Blewitt, P. (2020). The life span: Human development for helping professionals (5th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Pearson Education.
Abdulina, N., Abisheva, A., Movchun, V., Lobuteva, A., & Lobuteva, L. (2021). Overcoming Gender Stereotypes in the Process of Social Development and Getting Higher Education in Digital Environment. International Journal of Emerging Technologies in Learning, 16(12), 36–50.
DiPalma, L. M. (2021). Gender and Sexual Orientation in the Workplace. Research Starters: Sociology
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