However, our biological sex and gender are completely different things. According Monica Alga’s gender is a person’s private sense of, and subjective experience of, his or her own gender (Sex Roles peg. 5). Sex is biological and includes physical attributes such as our sex chromosomes, gonads, sex hormones, internal reproductive structures, and external genitalia; essentially everything that makes us physically male or female. On other hand, gender is not inherently connected to our physical anatomy; it is learned.
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We are instilled with stereotypical notions of what defines gender from birth and throughout our adolescent years. Gender is all around us; we are constantly embarked with its message and what is expected of us. Ann M. Gallagher and James C. Kaufman both believe that gender identity begins at the age of three years old and throughout puberty. Once installed it is very difficult to try to change ones gender Identity (Gallagher, James). Blue is for boy and pink if for girls. How many of us were blessed enough to remain in our nurseries, now bedrooms, I was.
My bedroom remained the same pastel blue colors up until my Junior year in high school; my older sisters room remained pink until she graduate from college. Little Boys are taught at a very young age by their families and communities on how to behave as boy: to play with monster trucks, collected cars and airplanes and to play sports throughout their adolescence; you should’ve seen my hot wheel collections as a child. Little girls also taught how to behave at a young age: pink is your favorite, play house instead of running around playing with the boys, to play with their dolls, do hair and to Join the cheer team.
We all tend to fall into line of our upbringing; but our cultures, peers, communities, the media, and religions all help influence us on how to shape our understanding of gender identity. The way we interact and learn with gender as a child has a direct influence on how we view the world as an adult. The toys that we play with, the clothing on our backs and the behaviors that we exude are all example of how society tries to categories gender. Most people rarely question this, due to conditioning by our societies’ and or personal preferences.
However, there are those who do not fall into line of their upbringing. Many, teeter the lines of gender. Unlike western societies views on gender diversity is considered a normal part of unman expression; it is known and documented across many cultures from around Americans, and the hajji of India as examples of societies that represent more complex understandings of gender. The Calais are those who have the anatomy of a male, but whose dress codes, behavior, occupation and sexual orientation resemble that of a female.
The Calais are those who have the anatomy of a female, but whose dress codes, behavior, occupation and sexual orientation resemble that of a male (Wearing peg. 8). The Calais also take a vital in religious practices; they participate in deeding and others ceremonies within their culture. According to Khakis Eleanor Wearing the Bugs society in South Sulkies, Indonesia, is recognized by a gender system that has five categories, rather than the usual two categories found in western societies (Wearing peg. 8).
The Business people have an understanding that though the body is a very important factor in gender identity, it is not the only factor that defines our gender. Before the Native Americans were westernizes, they did not define gender in the same reductive binary categories, nor did they assign the same values to gender roles as we currently do. The practice of breach, now known as Two-spirit usually indicates a person whose body simultaneously manifests both a masculine and a feminine spirit (Weber). They often preformed the work and wore clothing associated with both male and female.
A male-bodied Two-spirit person was allowed to go off to war and participate in other male activities such as sweat lodges. They also took on female roles in the tribe such as cooking and other domestic responsibilities. Female-bodied Two-spirit persons are seen as individuals who are not in a position to adapt them too masculine role set by their culture (Weber). The Male bodied Two-spirit hold active roles within the tribes, they include: a healer, they pass down oral traditions of their ancestry, seer, conferrers and so on (Weber). These Two Spirit persons are not shunned from their tribes.
They hold positions of power and worth. The hajji people of India combine the characteristics of both man and woman; it is an institutionalized third gender role in India. The hajji people are seen as neither man nor woman, and fulfill a socio-cultural role that is reserved only for them. The most well known role for hajjis is the performance of religious ceremonies t weddings and for newborn male babies to bring fertility and good luck. It is illegal to be a homosexual in Indian. Unlike the Calais, and Calais of Indonesia and Two- Spirit Native Americans, the horal are shunned for their society.
The way that the Indian government tried to relieve some of the tension between the hajji and the rest of the Indian society, was to create a gender reassignment program, to help assist with some of the cost. Living in American, we are instilled with an askew notions of what gender is and what roles that are supposedly assigned to male and female. Males are expected to be independent, aggressive, assertive, and competitive; females are expected to be more nurturing, passive, sensitive, and supportive. These beliefs have changed little over the past twenty or so years within the United States.
However, there is some variation in cultural gender role standards both within the United States and across cultures within the United States. When it comes to the United States, standard on gender roles it varies depending on ethnicity, age, education, and occupation. Perfect examples of this are African American families hey are less likely to adhere to strict gender-role distinctions when socializing their children. Unlike African American families, Mexican American families are more likely up watching American television we see the male figure, the “dad” as the main breadwinner of the household. Dad” works his nine to five Job, mows the lawn on the weekends and does the handy work around the house. Abnormally “handsome” actors, compared to the general population, always portrayed “Dad”. He was tall, handsome, stern, has a nice physique and always knew what to say to make things better. Then there was “Mom”, your average housewife/homemaker. Mom get the kids ready for school, takes care of all the household needs, make sure that she had dinner ready for “Dad” upon his arrival home from a hard day of work and kept up her appearance. Well those days are long.
In contrast to more modern today views on women roles in society Jamaica Candid “Girl” gives glimpse into the world of a woman who is preparing her daughter to be a “perfect” housewife, how to been seen but not heard. ” This is how to set a table for lunch; this is how you set a table for breakfast; this is how to behave in the presence of men who don’t know you very well”. These so called vital life lessons, skills and techniques that this woman in passing onto her daughter is stereotypical beliefs of what a woman should be, which all women don’t fall into this mode. Not all women dream about being the perfect wife, homemaker and mother.
Some woman dream about being a Coos, business owners, police officers, construction workers or even the first black president, some women want more then to be confined to their homes. According to the United States Census Bureau as of 2010 thirty percent of the households in America are single-family homes. Where the woman are the single breadwinner and head of the mom. The roles that women play in the home have changed a great deal. Women are doing twice the work they once did 50 years ago. Unlike Jamaica Candid “Girl”, women have taken on the male position within the home and or no longer Just seen as a homemaker.
They are work nine to five Jobs to sustain their lives and the lives of their children. They are now the handymen, gardeners, mechanic, electricians and protectors of their homes. They also have to bare the burden of being a mother to their children as well. As mothers they have to maintain their homes to provide a safe and nurturing environment for their children. Single mother do not have the luxury of taking any breaks, they still have to take on their motherly duties: doing the grocery, clothes, and school shopping, cooking, nurturing, loving and helping the kids with their homework and their personal problems.
Then there are the single fathers, the men that are raising their children in a single parent home. Men tend to have a harder time raising children on their own. They are taught to be independent, aggressive, assertive, and competitive during the adolescence. So providing for their children is an issue, they know how to get up and go to work. They tend to lack the returning, passive, sensitive, and supportive aspects of being human. Its seems as if we loose a piece of who we’re initial intended to be growing up in western cultures.
Instead of exploring our own gender and having a greater understanding of who and what we can be, we shun and demonic those who are different. In order to explore gender identity more in-depth we must have a better understanding of sexual orientation, gender expression and trans-genders. Sexual orientation refers to being romantically or sexually attracted to people of a specific sex. Our gender and sexual orientation are completely separate entities. As children we are not aware of our children we are more gender fluid, meaning that we do not feel confined by restrictive boundaries of stereotypical expectations of boys or girls.
Some children may identify themselves as a boy one day and as a girl the next or feel that neither term actually describes whom they are or how they may feel. This does not necessarily mean that child may be homosexual; he or she is Just “living the best of both worlds”. Those who identify themselves as gay or homosexual are attracted to people of the same sex. Men identify themselves as gay; women identify themselves as lesbians. Within these two categories there are a slew of sub categories. In the gay community there are three categories: bottom, top and versatile.
Bottoms generally to exude more feminine attributes; they take on the role of the female in the relationship. Tops are your typical average aggressive males; they take one the male role in the relationship Those who identify themselves as versatile, generally embodies both masculine and feminine traits. Lesbian women are generally identified as being a stud if they present themselves to be masculine; if they are feminine they are called lipstick lesbian or “flowers”. These are all generalized categories; if you would like to know more, go down to local gay club next Friday.
Gender expression is basically how we choose to express our gender; rather it is the way we speak, dress, or act. In the gay community some men, not all are consider being fashion forward. They are not afraid not cross the lines of femininity; they prance around in women and formfitting clothing without a care. Some Lesbians don’t have a problem with taping down their breast and dressing up as a guy. Gays have their own lingo; they can talk about you up and down without you even knowing. Gays and lesbians can choose to either display femininity or masculinity, just like heterosexuals.
Trans-gender refers to a person whose gender identity does not match their assigned birth gender. Being transgender does not imply any specific sexual orientation. Consequently, transgender people may identify themselves as straight, gay, lesbian, or bisexual. Trans-gender can either live their lives out as their birth gender or undergo psychiatric therapy, which can untimely lead to the decision of gender reassignment surgery. We as American can learn from other cultures from around the world. We can learn how to accept the unknown and explore our own gender identities.
Having a better understanding of gender and sex will allow us to move away from our close-minded views on how male and female should behave in western society. Ignorance is not, in fact, bliss. Alga’s, Monica, Peak Scintilla, and N. K. Sandbag. “Conflicted Gender Identity, Body Dissatisfaction, and Disordered Eating in Adult Men and Women. ” Sex Roles 63. 1-2 (2010): 118-25. Protest. Web. 25 May 2013. Gallagher, Ann M. , and James C. Kaufman. Gender Differences in Mathematics: An Integrative Psychological Approach. Cambridge, I-J: Cambridge UP, 2005.