In “Night to his day” by Judith Lorber, the difference between gender and sex are specified and the three categories of gender are determined: Individual, society, and gender. She begins by explaining that humans are born sexed but are not gendered from birth. The sex is determined from birth but the gender is inherited from society (54). Society teaches humans how to dress, act, and talk according to their gender, and it also teaches how to either be masculine or feminine (58). Lorber claims that society creates specific demands for the way a specific gender should act and what kinds of responsibilities and jobs it is expected to perform within the society.
Inequality between men and women are then mentioned, and Lorber explains how the institution of gender then determines that what they each do has to be seen as different, though it may be the same job or hobby. Gender is used to set values and norms that then empower each gender to specific responsibilities, where in many cases, even nowadays make women hide behind or shadow men and then they can not be more successful than men are. Gender makes a man’s job be more valued than a woman’s and it does not let them succeed. Lorber’s article brought up the question, is gender identity is acquired through nature or nurture?
In the article, “ Gender Identity: Nature Vs. Nurture” by Lee Barder, proofs of his belief that gender identity is constructed by nature rather than nurture is provided. Barder begins his article with stating that there are many scientists who believe that gender identity is constructed by nurture and that it is affected by surroundings, and the way the child was brought up from birth. He then goes into discussing the John/Joan case, which was an experiment that took place after two twin boys went into surgery for circumcision, but one of them came out of surgery and their genitalia was damaged. He then explained that the boy was named David, his genitalia was damaged and that led him to become surgically changed into a more feminine appearance, which meant he started dressing as a girl, and playing with girl dolls and toys for thirteen years of his life.
Once he was old enough and his parents revealed to him that he was actually a boy, he transitioned back to his original sex. Barder then brings in other case studies where similar situations have happened and each time most of the boys transitioned back into a boy gender, once they learned what sex they really were. Therefore, Barder states that these children are an example that gender identity develops not only in the absence of the penis, but even after the removal of testicles. (Barder). Therefore, nature plays a much larger role in the gender identity process than nurture does.
Backing up the idea that gender identity is acquired through nature rather than nurture, the article, “What Influences Gender Identity?” by Anthony Lindsay, provides an examination of how human behavior is conducted. Lindsay begins with explaining the different opinions that scientists have on what defines gender identity. He then explains the biology that affects the human behavior such as the effect of hormones on the brain.
Hormones such as androgens, estrogens, and progestins all have an affect on the human behavior but they do not determine the gender of the person. Lindsay says that the Hypothalamus, which is the main hormone distribution gland is what controls sexual development and differentiation rather than being the way the human was raised. He then ends his article by stating that the endocrine system plays a much larger role in gender identity than conscious does.
However, in the article, “Gender Identity Development in the Shadow of Socialization: a Grounded Theory Approach” by Mousavi and others, the idea that gender identity is influenced mainly by nurture is provided. In the article, Mousavi describes a study that was done on Iranian teenage girls. He explains that the study was done on 55 girls and it revealed that “sexual self-expression during puberty, attachment to parents and peers, tendency towards the opposite sex, and effort for social skills” were the key factors in determining gender identity for most of these girls (Mousavi).
By doing the study on adolescent teenage girls, it can be concluded that gender identity development takes time and can not be fully casted or studied on in earlier years, as the human has not yet fully developed. The study shows how media, and environmental factors affect the way that females see themselves and determine a gender identity through their adolescent years.
Although nurture is a key factor in the way humans act and behave, I believe that nature plays a much larger role in the process of gender identity. Nature trumps nurture because each human being is born either as a male or female with a specific and unique DNA that can not be changed. The DNA makes all of us who we are and the biological factors and the way our body and brain work together is what identifies our gender identity. Nurture is also important since we tend to follow and do what most people of the same gender as us do.
This led me to believe that both factors are are key to development in gender identity since they both have massive influence in the way human beings act and behave. Growing up is where society kicks in its norms and we are taught what men are supposed to do and women are supposed to do, but the biology behind all of this is truly what makes you who you are and the way you will act when you are older and developing your true instincts.