Nature Vs. Nurture: The Gender Edition

There is an age-old argument entitled “Nature Vs. Nurture”. This argument is based on the notion of whether or not the actions of human beings are based on inborn morals and dispositions or how they are brought up by their guardian. This argument takes a different turn when gender is introduced.

On the Nature side, we are born as either female or male. Whether or not we feel that our gender represents who we really are is something that we determine ourselves. Nowadays, I see people on the news talking about how their children immediately became attracted to “girly” or “boyish” things. These stories can argue for the nature side of this argument. Since, these girls and boys are becoming attracted to stereotypically opposite sexed things, it can serve as evidence for the notion that these children were never influenced by their parents in the first place. However, this argument can be flawed in some ways, because even if the guardian did not have anything to do with the child’s initial view on gender, our society around them could have.

In class, we watched a video of a young girl in the toy section of a department store expressing her frustrations with how society aims to “point” certain people of certain genders in the direction they believe they “should” be going in. Although this girl is very young, she is saying something that many people can underestimate. We are told from the very beginning (maybe by the clothes our parents go at the baby shower) that girls like pink and boys like blue. This little girl was able to recognize that boys and girls should be allowed to play with whatever toys they want to play with. Even the words “It’s a Boy” or “It’s a Girl” are in either pink or blue on whatever t-shirt or sign that announces a newborn baby. When it comes to how we are nurtured by our parents and our society, we are all subject to gender-typed stereotypes. No matter how hard our parents may try to hide these stereotypes from us, they are always going to be there and they are always going to find some way to be present in our lives.

Maybe there is hope for our future generations. Maybe that little girl in that department store is the start of a new generation of people that understands the repercussions that stereotypes can have on people. Maybe just maybe this little girl is on to something that is going to change the world.

One thought on “Nature Vs. Nurture: The Gender Edition”

  1. I think this is a great topic to analyze. I believe that there could be some kind of nature factor that could maybe influence children on the toys they want to play with and the gender they identify as, but I support the nurture factor a lot more. The reason I say this is because from the moment a child is born, based on their sex, their parents, family, and others will look on at a boy and say something like “Look at that handsome, strong man!” and at a girl like “Look at that sweet, precious, pretty girl!” From the moments we are born, whether others know it or not, the societal norm of what gender is is thrust upon the baby and it learns from a very young age that they need to conform to their gender roles or else they aren’t normal. A great article to read if you are interested on the idea of society upholding the strict gender binary is called “The Story of X” by Lois Gould. The article is a story about a baby who grows up without knowing its gender, along with everyone else, and shows how it affects Baby X and everyone around it.


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