Gender Identity is something that everyone experiences. Just like any other major contributor to life, there are many factors that help in the determination of gender identity. Some believe that gender identity is determined by either nature, nurture or a little bit of both. A person’s gender can be determined by the hormones produced during gestation. The combination of hormones determines if the sex of a fetus will be a boy or a girl.
In some cases, “Some individuals are born with both ovarian and testicular tissues” (Spencer A. Rathus, 2011) When this occurs, a person is considered to be a hermaphrodite. Although an individual in such situation has parts of bot h sex, they usually consider themselves to be the sex that is assigned at birth. When a child is born a hermaphrodite, the gender at birth is determined by the combination of X and Y chromosomes. The X,X chromosomes combination produces female organs on the inside and external sexual organs that mimic those of a male. “The clitoris is enlarged and may resemble a small penis.” (Spencer A. Rathus, 2011)
An individual who was born this way may have a hard time identifying with their gender identity. A hermaphrodite can be classified as a female based on the chromosome combination, but have a hard time identifying with the female gender because of the external sexual organs.
According to the masculinity and femininity continuum, some individuals are considered to be more masculine and feminine than others. For example, a female who goes against a male for his position in the workplace would be considered more masculine. According to the text “A person who is highly masculine, whether male or female, may also possess feminine traits- and vice versa.” (Spencer A. Rathus. 2011)
In my life, the number one factor that contributed to my gender identity is the way my family has treated me. As a child my mother dressed me in girly clothes and didn’t allow me to do the things my brother could do growing up because I was a girl, and he was a boy. Another thing that contributed to my gender identity is when I went through puberty and started to develop my feminine body parts.
The changes in my body contributed to my feeling like a woman and more feminine. Although I am feminine, I do possess attributes that can be considered to be masculine. I go for what I want and don’t allow boundaries based on gender to determine my choices in life. I am a woman that does handy work around the house, so for that I would be considered masculine based on the continuum of masculinity-femininity.
Although I have several masculine traits based on the continuum of masculinity-femininity, I also possess feminine traits. I am a nurturing woman who expresses herself with emotion. When a person is considered to be masculine, they are considered to me more instrumental; when a person is considered to be feminine they are considered to be more expressive and sensitive.
I think it is very possible for someone to be both masculine and feminine, I think most people have both masculine and feminine traits. There are many of stereotypes that fall under the titles of masculine and feminine. Not all men have to be construction workers and not all women have to be stay-at-home moms. I don’t fully believe in gender roles. I believe a man can play a women’s role and vice versa, and for doing so an individual shouldn’t be stereotyped. I don’t think if a man cooks and cleans and stays home with the children that it makes him less of a man.
According to the continuum of masculinity and femininity, he would be considered to be more feminine. To be androgynous is to be both masculine and feminine. Some suggest to be androgynous is to be in better shape psychologically then those strictly feminine or undifferentiated. I believe that a person who is androgynous is well rounded and may be in a better position psychologically than those who are undifferentiated.
Gender identity is something that starts in gestation, it is determined once a child is born and develops even more as the individual gets older.
Rathus, S. A., Nevid, J.S., and Fichner-Rathus, L. (2005). Human sexuality in a world of diversity. (6th ed.) Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.