The Role Of Socialization On Gender Identity

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The Influence of Socialization on Gender Identity & Gender-Role Conformity As evident from the generalized patterns found in differences in behaviour and outlook observed between the sexes, it may be tempting, as has been done in the past, to conclude that gender is an unavoidable aspect of human existence as determined purely from one 's genes. Indeed, human physiology is subject to sexual dimorphism; statistically significant differences in brain size and rate of maturation of specific substructures in the brain exist between males and females (Giedd, Castellanos, Rajapakese, Vaituzis, & Rapoport, 1997), yet these physical differences fail to explain how individuals form their concept of their own gender, and why they tend to conform to their perceived gender roles as defined by the society in which they live, when these roles are ever-changing. Thus, it is important to differentiate between the physical and nonphysical traits, and how the labels of femininity and masculinity should not confuse the two aspects. As defined by Unger (1979), “sex” would be used to refer to the biological differences in males and females, while “gender” describes socioculturally determined, nonphysiological traits which are arbitrarily designated as being appropriate for either females or males. With more recent awareness and interest in matters of gender nonconformity and individual gender identity, new research now explains how these concepts of gender are shaped by social influences (Perry
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