Week 4 post response 2 | BEHS 220 Diversity Awareness | University of Maryland Baltimore

Discussion 4: Gender roles and Gender Identity


Loveline Che posted Sep 10, 2023 11:56 AM




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What is the difference between biological sex and gender?

Biological sex is a term that refers to the physical characteristics that distinguish males, females, and intersex people such as our hormones, genitalia and chromosomes. Gender involves how a person identifies themselves (gender identity), how they express their gender (gender expression), and how they interact with others based on their gender (gender norms).  It simply sets expectations on how a person from a particular sex express themselves or behave in society (Haefele- Thomas & Combs 2019)

What are some of the “single stories” (Adichie, 2009) that people in the US have about men and women? In other words, what are the stereotypical gender roles in the US?

According to Nigeria author Chimamanda Adichie, single stories can cause misunderstanding and prejudice to other people. Stereotypical gender starts as soon as we start to walk, act and talk. These roles are often based on traditional notions of masculinity and femininity, which are influenced by biological, and social factors. However, stereotypical gender roles can vary across cultures, historical periods, and individual preferences. For examples, a few genders’ role stereotyped include.

 Men are expected to be strong, assertive, competitive, rational, and independent. They are to provide for their families, protect their loved ones, and excel in their careers. Men are seen to be more likely candidates of household repairs, expected to be self-confident and aggressive. While women on the other hand are expected to be nurturing, caring, cooperative, accommodating emotional, and dependent (Kimmel & Aronson, 2016). They are thought to take care of their children, and their partners. They are seen more likely to tend the house than men. Women should be nurses not doctors, and not as strong as men. Or the saying women are supposed to make less money than men.

These stereotyped can affect society in various ways, such as influence the way people perceive and interact with other people causing other people to develop a low self-esteem, justifying discrimination and Prejudice against the many different diverse groups.

How did you learn how to be the gender that you are? Provide at least 3 examples.

 I learned how to be the gender that I am through a combination of factors, such as my biological sex, my social environment, and my personal choices. My parents had a significant influence on my gender development.  For example, engaging me in play was one area where I learned my gender. I learned to play with barbie dolls and paint pretty flowers. I spent the summer with my cousins and female friends for girls sleep over. My mother use decorates for kids’ birthday party, and I would help her sort out the blue colors for boy’s birthday party and the pink or purple for girl decoration. Sorting the different colors help me identify where I belong. I believe this was my parents’ ways of reinforcing my gender.

 I also learned my gender through domestic work, while my brothers would cut the grass and help my father washing the car I would help my mom with the cooking, cleaning, and laundry. However, domestic work is not inherently gendered. It is a social construct that reflects the power dynamics and cultural values of a society.

 I grew wearing dresses most of the time. Especially when I had to go out special event such birthday party, church or wedding. Of course, I liked the pants because I could jump and run how I pleased (TEDx, 2018) but dresses seemed more appropriate. And even now is a habit I can’t let go. I have grown to love the dresses in all pretty colors.  Parents are not the only factor that shape a person’s gender. Other influences may include biological traits, peer interactions, media exposure, cultural values, and personal experiences.

 How do people in the US treat people who don’t “fit in” to gender roles? How might this relate to the treatment of transgender, non-binary, genderqueer, and other individuals?

People in the US have diverse and evolving views on gender identity. Some people may be supportive, respectful, and accepting of people who don’t “fit in” to gender roles, while others may be hostile, intolerant, and discriminatory. Some people may change their views over time or depending on the context. I have come to believe that the reason for discrimination that some people may have towards other is ignorance.

Many People suffer a variety of negative effects in their everyday life, eighter at work or in public just because of who they are. No one should have to be ashamed, and everyone needs to understand that every is different. It is important to note that everyone deserves respect regardless of their gender identity or expression. Understanding and showing respecting pronoun is one way to show support for transgenders and nonbinary individuals.



TEDx, (2018, January 19). Toilets, bowties, gender and me| Audery Mason-Hyde| TEDx Adelaide {video}



Haefele -Thomas, A.& Combs, T. (2019). Chapter 1: Sex and Dender: Stories and Definition. Introduction to Transgender studies. Harrington Park Press, LLC.

Kimmel, M. S., & Aronson, A. (2016). 
The Gendered Society Reader (6th ed.). Oxford University Press

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