Nature Vs. Culture: A Debate in Gender Development

The nature Vs Culture debate is a debate between gender and development. Here I am going to discuss this debate between nature and culture in detail.

Gender differences are an ongoing debate that contains arguments that different biological or social differences cause gender differences.

Nature Vs. Culture: A Debate

Both arguments are filled with controversy and have been subjected to different theories that have stemmed from various research to articulate and explain the causes of one’s gender and how their differences manifest into either social or scientific biological realms.

As it stands today, gender in our current society is rather ambiguous; however, different factors pertaining to different research discoveries, involving neuroscience studies, evolutionary psychology, social learning theory, and other biological factors have attributed to the notion that gender development is in fact closely related to biological factors.

This development is also closely associated with heterosexuals, but also provides a plausible relation to gender roles with homosexuals due to containing a strong link to not only their sexual preference but also their biological gender roles.

Researchers agree that heredity determines physiological differences in males and females. Some of these differences are present at birth, and some differences don’t present themselves until the child reaches puberty. Heredity causes girls to reach puberty earlier than boys.

It also causes boys (once they have reached puberty) to have more muscle composition and be taller than girls in general.

Researchers have also argued that hormones may play a role in the differences observed in visual-spatial and verbal abilities among children. A small difference has been found among researchers indicating boys have slightly higher visual-spatial abilities while girls have slightly higher verbal abilities.

On the other side of the debate are the nurture folks who hold that sex, the physical characteristics of a person may be biological, but gender- the way that sex is shown in the outside world, is socially manufactured. They believe that men and women are taught explicitly and implicitly how to be men and women.

In fact, there are environmental factors that exert their influence after conception. In other words, how a person is raised drives development. Level of attachment, beliefs, values, and how much attention one is given are all examples of environmental influences.

In almost every culture we see practices that promote gender-specific behaviors. The environment and specific cultures foster the idea that behaviors are more appropriate for males and others are more suitable for females.

Nature vs. Nature Group

Nature via Nurture enters a third, smaller but growing group. Those who believe in the nature-via-nurture origin of gender think that both biological and environmental aspects combine to create what we recognize as men and women the way they think, act, dress, and even how to look.

Many who are partial to the nature-via-nurture explanation also assert that what is determined by a person’s sex chromosomes and what is determined by the environment is not entirely clear and can’t be separated.

Within gender, there is a range of behavior that spans time periods. Throughout history, there have always been women who just weren’t ladylike enough, and men who weren’t tough enough. This suggests some biological roots, but not a binary one of two separate sexes determined by an X or Y chromosome.

Traits that have largely been shown to be genetic can vary with surrounding factors. Height, for example, is influenced by environment and nutrition, even if it is inherited. So if gender is biological, this does not rule out culture playing a big role in how gender is shown.

Gender stereotyping begins even before a baby is born-male babies are thought to behave one way and female babies another. With such stereotyping early on, it seems nearly impossible to say which behavior is actually biological and which is nurtured through beliefs about gender.

Attempts to raise children of the opposite sex -raising those who were born physically male as girls and children who were born physically female as boys-has turned up mixed results which could be taken to mean that both genes and environment ultimately create gender.

These and more lead us to believe that sex and gender, are like many behavioral and physical traits. The product of nature and nurture, often working together. Without one or the other, what we know as men and women wouldn’t be quite the same.

Evolutionary Psychology caters to the notion that the differences between genders and sexuality are a result of evolution and the different factors in men’s and women’s strategies for success.

Cognitive Social Learning Theory purposes that gender is attributed to different social and learning factors that influence one’s gender role and predicts that individuals express and explore their gender roles based on what is deemed socially acceptable, or popular in the media.

Genetic Factors play a major role in how one physically looks as well as if a person is born male or female. Most individuals have two sex chromosomes that are inherited from each parent. Girls contain the XX and XY for boys.

However, genes and chromosomes sometimes contain differences that can lead to different physical features that can appear abnormal. One of these syndromes is called Turner’s syndrome and this syndrome causes individuals to only inherit one chromosome.

When this occurs ovaries, or testicles will not be developed. Many different genetic discoveries are being made and some scientists conclude that our genes can essentially tell our future for physical appearance as well as different predispositions to illnesses that will develop based on one genetic code, Genes also show a correlation between one’s gender role and cannot be altered by nurture.

Role of  Homosexuality in this Debate

Homosexuality and gender play a significant role in the debate between nature and nurture primarily due to gender being viewed as being nature or nurture, but also because of the significant findings that have been established to the cause of homosexuality. The cause is if homosexuality is something, biological, or socially learned.

Homosexuality has Caused Debate not only in the United States but also worldwide as to the cause of homosexuality. This debate has raised significant questions as to the cause of homosexuality and if homosexuals have the ability to be nurtured into homosexuality, or if certain biological factors attribute to one being a homosexual.

Some researchers argue that homosexuality is a learned behavior, but there is significant evidence to support that children raised by homosexuals do not necessarily become homosexuals. The conclusions of these studies have shown there is no direct correlation between children being raised by homosexuals and learning the behavior or gender roles of the rearing couple sexual preference, or gender roles.

Environmental Influences on Gender Differences

Parents treat their sons and daughters differently. Specifically, they typically respond more frequently to requests for help from daughters, while sons are usually encouraged to solve problems independently.

In addition, many parents encourage gender-typical behaviors by offering gender-specific toys such as dolls for girls and trucks for boys.

The media can also influence and perpetuate gender stereotypes. The behavior of peers is another strong influencer of gender stereotypes. Teachers also perpetuate gender differences. They tend to give more attention to boys partly because boys ask more questions and present more discipline problems.

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