when an expecting mother finds out that she will be having a son, images of footballs, trucks, soccer balls, the color blue, and stinky laundry may run through her mind. But what would happen if the baby boy she brought into this world, that she pictured to be the varsity quarterback, ended up wanting to be on the cheer team instead? You may be laughing at this thought, but this is a real life struggle that many people face with their children. In the film, a girl like me, A single mother struggles with the fact that from a very young age her eldest son, the son that was supposed to be the man of the house, ask very feminine and everything he does. She has to struggle with the fact that her child that was born a boy, it may actually want to be a girl. This movie shows the real live trials and tribulations that families go through when their child wants to be the opposite gender. in the end, her son was murdered for being who he felt he should be. Quinn’s mom did all she could to try to make her stand what society thought he should be, but it never worked. She forced him into like in boy activities and criticized him when he liked girly things. Basically, he was never good enough for her. This whole situation was very agonizing and she got a lot of heat from society for having a transgender child. Society and Gwen’s friends did not think that gender fluidity what is acceptable and this greatly influenced his mom in a way not to accept him. but Gwen could not help that he felt that way. So, this leads to the question of, is gender based on genetics or how we are raised?
The controversy of gender fluidity relates to the idea of nature versus nurture. Are we born with a specific gender or are we shaped as we grow up into our gender based on our sex organs? Well, this is where the controversy arises. Psychologist say that when we are bored, we are already pre-programmed with our gender and other say that the people that we surround ourselves with shape us who we are going to be. However, there are some people, like me, and experts who said that it is the influence of both nature and nurture that make up our gender.
our nature as human beings in the way we are nurtured growing up both have rules in the development of our gendered expression. let me be specific as to what I mean by nature versus nurture. Nature is our genetic and hormonal make up that is present from conception and it is usually referred to as our sex differentiation. Most people think the nature aspect of this topic is simply what our body looks like. But the nature of our sexual being also includes the hormonal and genetic make up. Nurture has to do with the environment that we are placed in and the life experiences that we go through. The way we perceive ourselves has a lot to do with nurture because our experience in the people we have around us develop it. this is referred to as our gender identity. It is my believe that there are a variety of factors that can influence someone’s gender identity and that includes, one is genetic make up and outside influences.
when a baby is born, it is either wrapped in a pink blanket or a blue blanket, which signifies it’s gender. Children are put in one of two categories the minute they are born based on their biological genitalia. But, this is not the end of the story. As Erving Goffman, A Canadian sociologist asserts, people are actors in a never ending play, which he refers to as life. In his book on performative self identity titled, the presentation of self it every day life, he states that, “When we are born, we are at the rust on to a stage called every day life, and that our socialization consists of learning how to play our assigned roles from other people” (Goffman 1). Irving believes that from a young age, gender is demonstrated to us and it is not “in-born.” I like this theory because it shows that people that surround us from the start have a big impact on our gender whether they know it or not. For example, balls or bought for a little boys the minute that they have acquire the skills to kick the ball, therefore influencing the traits that they need to be athletic and tough.
The ways that people affect our gender as we are growing up is summed up very well in an article written by Susan Golombak and Robin Fivush who are professionals from Cambridge University. They stated, “parents perceive boys to be stronger and rougher than girls, and girls to be more delicate and prettier than boys” and I believe that this is very true. Parents must nurture their children differently depending on their gender. If parents “baby” their son, he is more likely to turn out more sissy then the other boys he hangs out with. The same goes for girls, if the parents treat their daughter the same way they would treat their son, she would grow up being tougher than her girlfriends. A more specific example of how parents treat their kids differently depending on if their gender is through enrolling them in gender specific sports. It is unlikely for someone to enroll his or her daughter in football versus enrolling her in cheerleading.
there are some obvious biological differences between men and women in this is one of the challenges many researchers and philosophers face when talking about this topic. thanks to nature, it is sometimes easier for parents to identify their child’s gender. Once the gender is determined, the parents, grandparents, friends and so I know how to treat the child once it is born. Judith Butler is a philosopher and a gender theorist who is very influential in the academic world. She wrote an essay on feminist theoriesand she claims, “the body is invariably transformed into his body or her body, the body is only known through it’s gendered appearance” (Butler 523). The majority of society identifies gender in this way. The physicality of the body determines your gender, which is why it is difficult for some to members of society to understand others who don’t believe they are in the right body. Although there are some expectations as to where are born with some mail parts which that complicates this issue even more. But as for now, I am only going to focus on the people that are born with normal body parts.
how the body is born is it to the end of its gender identity. In the book, persepolis, Marji, The main character, can you tell that her body is going through changes as she is growing up. She states, finally my chest developed and buy center of gravity was balanced out by the pounds on my butt!” (Satrapi 35). this is what society likes to call puberty. Both men and women go through puberty, although it is slightly different for each gender, it is due to nature. For example, men grow facial hair, their voice deepens and they grow taller. For women, they grow breasts in their hips widen. Puberty turns us into more of what nature assigned our gender to be.
my life experiences have shown me in proven to me that gender is not only biological but there’s also learned. I grew up with an older brother and throughout our childhood I always knew we were different. This is both because of our biological differences and the way we were raised by our parents. My parents would reinforce that he was a boy and I was a girl. For example, if I were to fall and scrape my knee on the sidewalk, I would cry for a lot longer than he would if he were to fall and scrape his knee. As we grew older, his physicality became more dominant because he was always bigger and stronger than I was. We also developed in typical gender roles. For example, I was more sensitive and compassionate a while he was more rough and straightforward.
recently I had an experience that magnify the gender fluidity issues. If you weeks back, I went to my first drag show. While I was there, I saw Mann transform into women to perform. If I didn’t know that they were men, I never would have thought they weren’t women. The men were doing the splits, going up and down stripper poles and putting on skits that were originally performed by women. These men have the urge to be and act out as a woman personality and figure just like women do. This is an abstract example of both nature and nurture. These men were born feeling as if they should be both women and men which is the nature portion and they are going against society’s norms of not being the gender associated with their genitalia which relates to nurture. They are going against their parents and society’s claims of the typical boy/girl roles.
The controversy surrounding gender fluidity is obviously going to be around for years and years to come and it will continue to be debated. Everyone has different opinions on whether it is nature or nurture that affects our gender the most, but at the end of the day they should not matter. Of course, there will never be a happy medium. I think that regardless of whatever side you are on, or if you are on both sides like me, everyone should be treated with compassion. regardless of why someone may be struggling with his or her gender identity, nature or nurture, we are all human beings and should be excepted. If everyone was treated with this kind of compassion and acceptance, the controversy wouldn’t exist anymore.