Discuss the three influences on gender. Which of the three i…

Discuss the three influences on gender. Which of the three influences do you feel is the most influential in development and why?  Be sure to support your response. (Response should be no less than 150 words in length and information from our textbook should be used to support the responses.  Citations must be included in the body of the post and a reference section should be included at the end of the po

Gender is a complex construct that is influenced by a variety of factors. In the study of gender development, researchers have identified three main influences: biological, social, and cognitive. These influences interact and shape an individual’s understanding and expression of their gender identity. In this response, I will discuss each of these influences and argue that the social influence is the most influential in gender development.

The biological influence on gender is based on the biological differences between males and females. These differences, such as genitalia and reproductive organs, are present at birth and are used to assign an individual’s sex. However, it is important to note that biological sex does not determine gender identity. Gender identity refers to an individual’s deeply felt sense of being male, female, or another gender. While biological factors, such as hormones and genetics, can contribute to gender-related behaviors and preferences, they do not exclusively determine an individual’s gender identity. For example, individuals with intersex traits, who may have a combination of male and female physical characteristics, may identify as male, female, or non-binary.

The social influence on gender emphasizes the impact of socialization and cultural expectations on the development of gender identity. From birth, children are socialized into gender roles through various socializing agents, such as family, peers, media, and society at large. These agents transmit gender norms, expectations, and stereotypes to children, shaping their understanding of what it means to be a boy or a girl. For example, boys are often socialized to be assertive, independent, and interested in activities like sports, while girls are often socialized to be nurturing, cooperative, and interested in activities like nurturing and domestic tasks. These socialization processes reinforce and perpetuate gender inequalities and stereotypes.

The cognitive influence on gender focuses on individuals’ cognitive processes and how they internalize and interpret societal messages about gender. Cognitive processes influence how individuals understand and categorize themselves and others in terms of gender. One prominent cognitive theory of gender development is Kohlberg’s cognitive development theory. Kohlberg proposed that children go through a series of stages in their understanding of gender, ranging from a basic understanding of gender constancy (around the age of 4) to a more nuanced understanding of gender stereotypes and gender roles (around the age of 7-8). According to this theory, children actively construct their gender identity through their cognitive development.

In considering which influence is the most influential in gender development, I argue that the social influence is the most significant. The social influence encompasses the socialization processes that occur from birth and the cultural expectations that are imposed on individuals based on their gender. These socialization processes shape individuals’ gender identity, behaviors, preferences, and aspirations. From early childhood, children are bombarded with messages about what it means to be a boy or a girl, and they internalize and comply with these messages to fit into societal norms.

Evidence from our textbook supports the importance of the social influence in gender development. For instance, one study cited in the textbook found that children who were raised in households with more equitable gender roles exhibited less adherence to traditional gender stereotypes and had more flexible views of gender compared to children raised in households with more traditional gender roles (Martin & Ruble, 2004). This suggests that the social environment plays a significant role in shaping individuals’ understanding and expression of their gender identity.

Furthermore, the social influence is also reflected in the ongoing cultural discussions and movements surrounding gender, such as the LGBTQ+ movement and the push for gender equality. These social movements challenge traditional gender norms and advocate for a more inclusive and diverse understanding of gender. This highlights the power of social influence in shaping societal understanding and acceptance of various gender identities.

In conclusion, gender development is influenced by biological, social, and cognitive factors. While all these influences play a role, the social influence is the most influential in the development of gender. The socialization processes and cultural expectations transmitted from birth shape individuals’ understanding and expression of their gender identity. Our textbook provides evidence of the significant impact of the social influence on gender development, and ongoing cultural discussions and movements further highlight the power of social influence in shaping understanding and acceptance of diverse gender identities.