How Our Gender Identity Is Formed

The two sexes, to which we owe our existence, are the only option for the continuation of the human race. However, the interesting thing is; This is how the male and female fetus, which looks almost the same in the womb, can differ so much as an adult. It is quite interesting that when there are so many similarities between men and women, one dominates the other, determines which gender can and cannot do what, and that its historical roots are so strong.

While people’s ethnic origin, eye color, physical structure and skin color vary, there are only two (biological) genders. Actually, technically, the increased number of sexes is an advantage for the species. Although about 99% of living things are bisexual, there are very few polygamous creatures (that is, there are varieties such as skin color rather than female or male). Although there is a theory that the chromosomes may mutate and the species may be in danger of extinction, the exact reason is not known.

A chromosome in our genetic makeup determines our biological sex. At the first moment of conception, a human baby has the potential to be male or female. It differs depending on the genetic code represented by the characteristics of the XY chromosome structure for males and the XX structure for females. Under the influence of the genetic code, testicular hormones are secreted in males, which has a blunting effect on female characteristics. In the absence of adequate testosterone levels, differentiation always takes place in the feminine direction, regardless of genetic program. In other words, even if the genetic code is male, a deficiency in testosterone will result in the development of feminine sexual characteristics. The principle of feminization precedes masculinization.

If a baby with a female genetic code is exposed to excessive androgen (male hormones) in the mother’s womb, when he is born and grown, his behavior may be found to be more “masculine”, and may be very active and aggressive. Likewise, a baby with a male genetic code may be found passive and “feminine” in later life due to insufficient androgen in the mother’s womb. However, this does not affect his main sexual identity. In other words, our biological sex, which is determined in our genetic program while in the embryo, is shaped by being exposed to the effects of hormones in the mother’s womb. This way of buying; It will change further with the pressures and directions of the postnatal social environment and the expectations, attitudes and behaviors of the parents.

Psycho-Social Development of Gender

With the birth of a human baby, he experiences a painful separation from his peaceful and comfortable environment. Now he is born and breathing gaseous air with his lungs; sucking using the mouth; Giving up from a comfortable position for 9 months; tolerates clothing that touches his skin; getting used to the sounds and images around him; He needs to find solutions to his problems. All she can do is cry and she tells all her problems by crying. Observes, discovers, learns, socializes over time. When he is born, he establishes the first bond with the caregiver (mother), experiences different relationships over time, and gets to know new people. The first new person he meets is the father. In these early years of his life, he observes his own-sex parent and his opposite-sex parent and the relationship between them. Identifies with his fellow parent; that is, he takes his attitudes and behaviors as a model, imitates his expressions of emotion, and tries to emulate him. It reconstructs its gender by observing the behaviors it is exposed to in the environment in which it was born, in a way other than the sex determined by its chromosomes. From the age of about 2, a child knows his own gender, recognizes the genitals, and tries to act according to the roles his family finds suitable for this gender. Examines other children of different sexes in terms of their behaviors and genitalia, plays sexual games. In this process, if adults are not exposed to harsh and oppressive interventions and adults show constructive examples, it is expected that the personality and emotional characteristics of the child will develop in accordance with the gender code they have. In his psycho-sexual development theory, Freud examines how children become socially “female” and “male”.

When we examine the development process of people’s sexual characteristics, we see that the psycho-social interactions between the baby and its parents play an important role in determining the sexual behavior and the effect of genetic and hormonal factors decreases relatively. If there is a healthy family system, the existence of the child is confirmed as it is, and it is allowed to express its feelings; for example, she doesn’t have to cry because she’s a boy, some of her behaviors are corrected because she’s wrong, not because she’s a girl; she is not asked to behave in a certain boy/girl manner, she is expected to be a boy/girl as she feels.

However, sometimes traumas or some abnormal situations can prevent the formation of a healthy personality. Absence of one of the parents in the family, inability to give attention and love, one of the parents having a serious physical or mental illness, the child’s inability to play with friends of the same sex, the child’s being treated as if they were the opposite sex, excessive protection, indifference, highlighting the physical beauty cause a disorder in the child’s sexual identity and orientation. why could it be.

How We Look: Gender Roles

When we look at the people around us, we make an evaluation based on what we can see and try to place them within the definitions that have already formed in our minds. If she wears a long dress and has a veil on her head, we think she is a woman. But in another society, in another geography, it may also mean that there is a man. The image of women and men change according to time and place. We know that the appearances of men and women have changed in different geographies throughout history. Not only appearance, but also the division of labor between men and women varies according to geography and history. In some societies, sensitivity, compassion and changing emotionality can be seen in men, while aggression and cunning can be seen in women. Diving, canoeing, and building a house are in some cases women’s work, while knitting, weaving and cooking can sometimes be men’s work. From time immemorial, women were subordinated to men in status, mobility, public leadership. This inequality could not be changed because of childcare and primitive technological conditions. The extent of inequality varied according to ecology and division of labor, but in any case, inequality was more a matter of survival than a human cultural imposition. By examining the sexual division of labor, anthropologist Levi Strauss concludes that it is not a biological specialization, that is, whether people do certain jobs because of their biological sex, but must have some other purpose. Because what is seen as a male/female job in some societies may be the opposite in another society. If the things that are male/female jobs are not of a purely biological/vehbi origin, they should be the same in every society. While the gendered division of labor is rigidly separated in many societies, what work is entirely variable. Strauss explains this by the interdependence between the two sexes and the kinship systems we build for survival.

People learn to behave in accordance with their gender from the people around them. When a baby is born around us, it is dressed in blue if it is a boy and pink if it is a girl. Different behavior patterns are taught according to the gender, some emotions are deemed inappropriate and some traits are encouraged. It is tried to be raised in accordance with the “normal” or “ideal male/female target”. When someone is called “woman” or “man” in society, not only biology is mentioned, but an opinion about its appearance is expressed. In fact, we cannot know which chromosome, which sexual organs it has, which hormones it secretes, and how much it secretes, in fact, we do not need to know, the only thing we know is whether it looks like a man or a woman. However, we unconsciously make comments about how many men or how many women there are. Therefore, we can say that the roles attributed to male and female gender are artificial.

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