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Describe some of the ways in which gender categories can be used to explain the formation of gender identities in children.

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Introduction

Carl Andrade DD100 TMA 01 Part A Question part (a) 50% Describe some of the ways in which gender categories can be used to explain the formation of gender identities in children. In order to describe some of the ways in which gender categories can be used to explain the formation of gender identities in children, we must first look at what is meant by the term gender category, define what is meant by identity and how these are formed in young children. From this we may then be able to establish how gender categories relate to identity formation in young children. So what is 'Gender Category?' When a child is born we categorise its gender as being either male or female and give it a label of being either a Boy or a Girl. But how is it decided which gender category a baby will fall into? One method that can be used to categorise which gender a child falls in to is through the use of genetic evidence. ...read more.

Middle

This is the basis of our social structure. We are identified by a title of either being masculine or feminine. We are then registered on a Birth Certificate which takes on an identity in itself, it tells people who we are and what we are, the day we where born, where we were born and the time we were born. The birth certificate and anatomical evidence are ways of identifying, who and what we are. However, it can be argued that the gender category we have been assigned at birth and the identity we have been given in the way of legal documents may not be the gender category or identity a child wishes to have. This is evident for example in a male who wish to change his genetic appearance through gender reassignment because he feels he is a female and wants the identity of a female. Further are these the only factors at work in the formation of a child's gender identity? Turner (1987) ...read more.

Conclusion

He believes many other factors such as social class and ethnicity are at play reinforcing gender identity. In conclusion, it can be said that gender categories are defined at birth. This is based on Anatomical evidence and legal documentation at birth. This in most cases forms our gender identity. Children it would seem discover their gender identity from their parents. Our parents construct our identity by ensuring we pursue interests and adopt mannerisms that are stereotypically male or female. This means that a child at a very early age identifies the gender category they fall into. This process is slow but as the child develops so does the child's knowledge of its gender and its gender identity. It would seem that many factors interact in the construction of a child's identity and as a result we must remember that gender categories and the way it relates to the formation of general identities in small children is not as clear cut as explained. Gender construction is only one part of identity formation it is also developed by such factors as ethnicity and social class. It may be suggested that these factors may reinforce a gender and sometimes outweigh them. ...read more.

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