Gender identity is the manner in which people see themselves, that is either male, female or in between the former and the latter. In most individuals, there is no significant dissimilarity between gender identity and biological characteristics. Gender identity can also be described as one’s self-conception as either being male, female or transgender. There is a close association between sex roles and gender uniqueness, where the former is an outward expression of the latter (Rathus, Nevid & Fichner-Rathus, 2005).
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Factors that determine gender identity
Social factors can be used to determine a person’s gender. Dressing code, body shape, how someone speaks and hairstyle are some of the social factors that can be used to determine a person’s sex. The male and the female sexual category have their own approach of practicing the above mentioned social factors except for the transgendered person’s. Considering natural factors, the misassigned gender (that is in biological terms) can be altered to the proper one; however, a shift from the correct biological sex is usually rare.
A typical individual has two sex chromosomes. Males have (x y) while females have (xx) chromosomes (Rathus, Nevid & Fichner-Rathus, 2005). If two x chromosomes, one from the man and the other from the woman are combined together, a female child is conceived. While the vice versa (x and y) chromosomes from female and male respectively, will yield a male child.
Psychological factors: there have been some instances whereby individuals with unusual sexual development experience changes in their gender uniqueness, role and assignment at puberty. The bodily changes experienced by a person such as changes in body shape and traits help one identify his/her gender identity at puberty.
Environmental factors i.e. society, accord children proper gender roles which reinforce their sexual identity. For example males are encouraged to engage in tough and rough activities which is a contrary to what females are encouraged.
How a person’s masculine and feminine traits are described using the continuum of masculinity-femininity
On a scale, masculinity is on one extreme end while femininity on the other end. The continuum related to masculinity-femininity is portrayed when a person lies someplace in the middle of the scale. This depends on traits linked to either males or females.
Traits that are attributed on the masculine end of the scale are: superior leadership abilities, emotion free, logical and rational, competitive and very forceful (Borgatta & Montgomery, 2000). On the other hand traits that are considered to be more feminine are: caring, empathetic and sympathetic, indecisive, shy and affectionate (Borgatta & Montgomery, 2000)
Three factors in my life that have helped determine my gender identity
As an individual, my gender identity has been determined by various factors. Considering biological factors, I have X and Y chromosome attributed to the male gender as proven by the biological experts. My deep voice, masculine body shape, and bald hair style are some of the social factors that have helped identify my gender identity (Litosseliti & Sunderland, 2002).
Since the above listed traits are mostly attributed to the male gender, I automatically consider myself as male with respect to social gender factors.
I have great passion for rough, tough and technical activities. For example in sports I have great interest in football, rugby, basketball. In my society such sporting activities are majorly associated with the male gender. Being influenced by my parents, relatives and friend to participate in such tough sporting activities and eventually loving them, I consider these as environmental factors that helped me identify my gender identity as male (Litosseliti & Sunderland, 2002).
Masculine and feminine traits attributed to me using continuum of masculinity-femininity
Using continuum related to masculinity-femininity, I lie in the extreme end of the male side (less feminine). This makes me posses more mannish traits than female traits.
I posses a variety of masculine traits which include: good headship qualities considering that I hold a position which requires great leadership skills, I am logical and rational though at times I get entrapped by emotions, logic still prevails, thus coming up with rational decisions. I am competitive since I appreciate, enjoy and love competition since it’s the only way to gauge performance upon comparison to others.
It is not forgotten that respect is earned in competition whether one emerges a winner or loser. I possess female traits such as being caring, empathetic and sympathetic as evident in sympathizing with the less fortunate and at times assisting them in various aspects of life.
Borgatta, F. & Montgomery, J. (2000). Encyclopedia of sociology, New York: Macmillan
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Rathus, A. Nevid, J. & Fichner-Rathus, L. (2005). Human sexuality in a world of diversity. (6th ed.) Boston: Allyn and Bacon.
Litosseliti, L. & Sunderland, J. (2002). Gender identity and discourse analysis, Netherlands John Benjamin’s publishing co.