Gender: Nature or Nurture?

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorCollege, Undergraduate February 2008

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There has been much debate between biologists and social scientists about whether gender identity, the strong belief that one belongs to either the male or female sex category, is the result of humans being obedient to their biological genes (nature) or to their environmental upbringing (nurture). Biologists tend to believe that nature and prenatal exposure to natural sex hormones, especially androgens, determines one?s gender. Social scientists tend to believe that nurture and socialization are responsible in determining one?s gender. Many experiments have shown that biologists are correct, that human beings follow nature and other biological factors in forming gender identity. (I am changing it to: Biologists are correct though, human beings follow nature and other biological factors in forming their gender identity.) OK...what?s your argument? Social scientists believe that humans are psychosexually neutral at birth, meaning that humans are not born with a male or female gender identity, only male or female genitals.

They believe that humans choose a gender after several years of life. Nurture supporters presume that during childhood, humans form gender-related behaviors through a series of rewards and punishments; children are ?rewarded? if they play with the toy of their gender and are ?punished? if they play with a toy of the opposite gender. Nurture supporters also believe that children learn how to be only one gender, and this learning occurs through watching the parent and other role models of that gender. Could you then argue that boys who grow up in single mother households are much more likely to be gay? Biologists, nature supporters, on the other hand, believe the opposite about gender identity formation. They feel that exposure to certain sex hormones while in the womb determines gender identity. Prenatal exposure to androgens, male sex hormones, determines male gender identity in normal XY male...