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Describe and evaluate the biological explanation of Gender

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Introduction

´╗┐Describe and evaluate the biological explanation of Gender (24) The biological approach of gender development believes that an individual?s gender is decided at the same time that their sex is decided. An individual?s gender is influenced by their chromosomes and hormones. The pair of sex chromosomes dictates whether the foetus will be male or female. These are present from conception. The female chromosome pair is XX and the male chromosome pair is XY. At about 6 weeks, the SRY gene on the Y chromosome causes the gonads (sex organs) of the embryo to develop as testes. Without the SRY gene, the gonads will develop as ovaries. As they develop, they begin to secrete sex specific hormones into the body which masculinise or feminise the foetus. Hormones are chemicals produced by the body that affect cells and organs. Males and females have the same hormones; it is just the levels that differ. Oestrogen and progesterone are the hormones, which dominate female development. Testosterone is the hormone, which is predominating in males. ...read more.

Middle

Hines (1994) examined the amount of ?rough and tumble? play in girls and boys aged 3-8 years, who had CAH. Comparisons were made to a control group. The only differences between girls with and without CAH were that those with CAH preferred playing with boys. This suggests that exposure to high levels of male hormones lead to only minor effects on behaviour. This contradicts the biological explanation of gender as it shows that elevated testosterone levels in the womb do not necessarily cause masculine behaviours after birth. This is shown in the level of differences between the girls with CAH and without CAH, therefore contradicting the biological explanation of gender. Durkin (1995) proposed evidence against the biological explanation of Gender. He said that if sex differences are due to biological differences we would expect to see these differences before social experiences start to have an effect. There is no evidence of early differences between baby boys and girls in terms of temperament or behaviour. ...read more.

Conclusion

Nature refers to Gender being determined by innate factors, while nurture deems culture and social environment as responsible. The biological perspective suggests that a person?s gender is innate and the same as their biological sex, as it is determined by genetic makeup and hormonal influence at conception. Therefore, the biological approach only supports the nature side of the debate, which does not address the importance of nurture and sociocultural environment on human gender identity. This limits the theories influence ? as it is important to recognise that most human behaviour is due to a combination of both nature and nurture. The biological explanation of Gender can be seen as Deterministic. Determinism states that an aspect of human behaviour is ingrained in us and that we are pre-programmed robots allowing no room for an individual?s free will. The biological perspective suggests that a person?s gender is innate and the same as their biological sex, as it is determined by genetic makeup and hormonal influence at conception. Therefore, the biological approach only supports the deterministic approach, which does not allow any movement for the effect of free will on human gender identity and doesn?t apply for gender disruption. ...read more.

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