Bruce Reimer

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Hormones as a Foundation for Gender and Gender-Role Development
In 1997, Rolling Stone Magazine published The True Story of John/Joan. This true story, about the real life Bruce Reimer, chronicled the diagnosis and lifetime of a man who was given gender reassignment surgery as a small child due to an accident during the circumcision process. Every attempt was made by both parents and doctors to raise him as a female and according to the female gender roles appropriate to the times. Nonetheless, Bruce remained adamant in his own gender identity as a male, rejecting feminine options from the very beginning (Colapinto, 1997). Despite clear evidence of the enormous social impact on the development of gender roles and suggestions that gender roles …show more content…

Disorders of sex development (DSD) are cases where there is a discordance of genetic sex and internal and/or external sex organs at birth related to suppression of, or overexposure to sex hormones in utero. DSDs can also stem from insensitivity to androgens. When these hormonal abnormalities occur, the best general description is that either internal or external genitalia do not form or do not form correctly. In some cases, for example, female genitalia may have a more masculine appearance or the girl may present with both male and female external genitalia, but no internal components such as a uterus (Helgeson, 2012). Wisniewski specifies that study of DSD has provided a greater understanding and appreciation of the impact of hormones on behavior, which has in part caused a reassessment of DSD-related treatments. However, she also emphasizes that socialization and learning have significant influence on gender and gender-role development, but only when prenatal androgen exposure is not a factor. Wisniewski added that she would like to see a gender marker that could be identified from birth and used as part of the formula for predicting gender development. Unfortunately, her own research demonstrates far too much societal and cultural involvement in gender and gender-role development …show more content…

They believe that those same androgens Wisniewski (2012) discussed cause sex changes that occur in the ultrastructure of the nervous system, specifically affecting brain areas that relate to behavior. Additionally, they allege that testosterone levels in boys spike significantly in something of a mini-puberty in the first few months after birth, creating an excellent opportunity for ethical human research and a basis for longitudinal studies. In research regarding later development, Alexander and Wilcox found that girls exposed to higher androgen levels in utero show stronger preferences for male-typical toys and playmates. Additionally, they have stronger male related personality traits such as aggressiveness and reduced interest in more feminine toys (2012). Their review suggests that the increased masculine behavior cannot be attributed to socialization (Alexander & Wilcox, 2012), implying that either imposed gender roles did not change the behavior, or the behavior was accepted and gender roles were modified or not imposed at

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