• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

‘Gender Identity is not simply a matter of biology’

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Sociology -Culture and the formation of identities/ Gender identities 'Gender Identity is not simply a matter of biology' Human beings are born sexual. They develop a strong sense of being male and female, the human behaviour of being a man or a woman is called gender identity. The characteristics of being a man or a woman involve biological, psychological, and sociological factors. People from all cultures have acted in relationships in different ways that are influenced by their cultural traditions and laws about sex. Human sexuality and how males and females act within the relationship can be considered as physically influenced by biology, for example hormones, brain centres, networks of nerves, and sex organs all shape the character of the male and female. However there are various arguments to this. Among the influences of gender identity, are body development and socialisation. Gender identity is related to physical appearances, feelings of attraction, wanting to dress and act in ways considered to be male and female. Cultures have acceptable roles for behaviours based on sex, called gender roles. These roles are partly determined by a person's position within the family and economy. In Western culture the family represents a unit based on love, care and preparing the young for adult life. Physical work outside the home in the past has been considered as part of the male role, work- related gender roles have changed. The female role was to give birth and maintain the home. ...read more.

Middle

A research of brain lateralization has been produced, which looks at the hemispheres of the brain. According to Gray and Buffrey, hormonal differences do make a difference. Tests have shown that girls have a greater verbal ability than boys, however boys perform better in mathematics. Bleier opposes this, she says that the difference could result from differences in socialisation rather than brain lateraliztion. 'Gender differences were noted, are small, and are almost certainly exacerbated by social factors'. Evolutionary ideas have also been a way to try and understand the difference between males and females, today this is called socio-biology, sociologists such as E.O Wilson argue that it is not just physical characteristics that evolve but also behaviour patterns. Barash backs this up by pointing out that males produce millions of sperm during their life, whereas females produce one egg at a time and only 400 in her life. The male is also interested in making as many women pregnant as possible, the female acts differently and takes a lot of time and energy in the pregnancy progress, so looks for quality in who she has sex with. Therefore she chooses the most genetically suitable male partners. Wilson says that 'it pays to be aggressive, hasty, fickle and undiscriminating. In theory, it is more profitable for women to be coy, to hold back until they can identify males with the best possible genes'. Wilson also claims that rape can be explained in this way. ...read more.

Conclusion

In other words men and women learn the behaviour of what is expected of them in their society. She sees four main ways in which socialisation in gender roles take place. Firstly a child learns through manipulation e.g. mothers tend to pay more attention to girls hair and dress them in 'feminine' clothes. Secondly the direction of boys and girls towards different objects gives them a good idea of what is expected of them in the future e.g. girls are given dolls (caring is practised) and boys bricks and guns (aggressive behaviour is practised and logic). Thirdly, verbal appellations ' you're a naughty boy' and 'you're a good girl' leads children to identify with their gender. Lastly boys and girls commit to different activities, girls are encouraged to become involved in domestic tasks. Recently there has been an increase on the explanations for differences between women and men, there are a variety of ways to be 'masculine' or 'feminine'. What needs to be realised is the inequalities of different amounts of male and female hormones in people. This can effect how masculine or feminine a person is for there are no strict borders of being feminine or masculine, so can partly consist of biological matters. However more evidence suggests the individuals are shaped in their gender identities by their upbringing in life, how their culture, religion, general environment and socialisation shape their roles. ?? ?? ?? ?? Hayley McGrath 02/05/07 16:31 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Sociology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Sociology essays

  1. Is identity given to us or do we create our own?

    Structural sociologists believe that individuals are born into an ongoing independent social system, which determines individual behaviour. The individual acts accordingly to these forces and thus is the product of society. Writers with this perspective stress the importance of socialisation and the way people learn the already existing norms of expected behaviour.

  2. Gender is determined by society, forming a self-concept whether we are male or female ...

    He developed four scales of measuring prejudice. These are: - 1) F-scale which measures the potential for fascism 2) E-scale which measures ethnocentrism 3) PEC-scale which stands fro political- economic- conservatism 4) AS-scale which is Anti-Semitism Moreover, Adorne found that ethnocentric people tend to share certain characteristics; they had rigid personalities and were very conventional in their attitudes.

  1. In conclusion, I think that cross-cultural studies into gender differences has certainly provided a ...

    Her conclusion to this was that culture is the major socialising and conditioning agent, particularly in the early years. There's no relationship between biological sex and gender role. Although this has been a hugely studied work, there is some criticisms that should be brought up.

  2. What do sociologists mean by culture? What functions does it perform in society? How, ...

    There are many different kinds of subcultures varying from ethnic groups, to football supporters. One person could be a member of one or a hundred different subcultures (Giddens, 1997). The functions of culture in society Culture is learnt and taught to us in socialization, the learning of culture.

  1. To try and find out why girls are outperforming boys in GCSEexaminations?

    didn't even say sorry and explain to the teacher why they were late! Nearly all the students were organized but most were chatty and some didn't hand in homework but this was a minority of people! Overall I think the questionnaire, interviews and classroom observations were beneficial and played a great impact on my research!

  2. classifications and social identity What have you learnt thus far about your identity and/or ...

    British citizen to living in England, but will also show my individuality in terms of me being a mixed race female, with black hair and brown eyes. An insight into this is gained by my picture also showing that I have a piercing on my lip.

  1. Investigation of the Difference in Educational Achievement between Males and Females.

    However, I found out that one person left halfway through. To gain fair results, I decided to discard this result and the new average boys' result was 15.45. This shows that the boys achieved immensely higher grades than girls did in this particular class.

  2. Assess the part played by socialisation in the development of gender roles and identities

    Ann Oakley3 whom I mentioned earlier based her findings on a study by Ruth Hartley around infants in a contemporary trading communities. Oakley wrote that at a young age, children's self-concept was affected through a childwear fashion manipulation. This adherence to bigger cultural norms is further expanded upon with the

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work