The Importance of Gender in Forming Indentity

The Importance of Gender in Forming Indentity

  • Submitted By: pegleg
  • Date Submitted: 03/10/2009 12:45 PM
  • Category: Social Issues
  • Words: 925
  • Page: 4
  • Views: 1

Show how gender may be important in forming our identities.

In an attempt to show ‘how gender may be important in forming our identities’ I will investigate some of the theories behind what shapes our gender identities. I will take into account how fluid identity is, and give reason to how and why our gender identities might change.

Gender identities are formed by different factors i.e. individual and collective, social and biological. The diagram in ‘appendix 1’ shows some of the different concepts and theories which I found to shape our identities.

“It refers to the social meanings attached to being a male or a female… Gender can be thought of as encompassing the social dimensions of masculinity and femininity”
(Turner and Rubinson, 1993, p.121)

Biological factors i.e. genetic and anatomical difference determine whether we are male or female. Girls have two X chromosomes, boys have one X and one Y chromosome. The different chromosomes normally lead to different hormones. These hormones lead to anatomical differences. Although, sometimes people are born with more than two chromosomes, so which category of sex should they go under?

The fact that people can have ‘gender reassignment’ changes how much agency can be involved in our gender identities. However we can only legally class ourselves as the sex given at birth.

“Sex swap will mean 2 Ids…one for their old identity and another for their new one” (Daily Record Saturday, November 22, 2008. P.5)

Psychoanalytical theories such as Sigmund Freud’s ‘Oedipus complex’ (Haralambos and Holborn, 2000, p.352) theory concentrate more on the personal and individual factors that are thought to form our gender identities. As do cognitive development theories which emphasizes more on a child’s understanding and self - socialization into gender identity. According to cognitive development theory, children develop a gender identity around the age of 6 when they begin to realize that...

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