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Gender Roles: Nature vs. Nurture
Transcript of Gender Roles: Nature vs. Nurture
does nature or nurture determine gender roles?
the the pattern of behavior that a person is expected to follow because of being male or female
Women were expected to be stay at home moms and take care of the house
while the men were the family providers.
nature refers to traits that can be inherited through genetics
example eye color, hair color, etc
nurture refers to environmental influences
example friends , family, and television
the nature vs nurture debate started with scientist Francis Galton.
He was convinced that success was due to qualities that were inherited
his interest in the role of heredity led him to introduce the method of observing twins with the influences of nature and nurture
Hormones are definitely a cause for the different gender roles for they truly explain the difference in biological composition.
Genetically boys are more aggressive and this is due to having increased levels of testosterone. So this leads to males being placed in roles that are more physical and require more strength.
For women the high levels of estrogen gives the role of being more inclined to help and care for others.
Tetria, a woman blogger gives her testimony on her twins, a boy and a girl. She says that she treats them exactly the same and does not separate into certain gender stereotypes.
“My mother plonks them down on the floor… and without fail Kate will scoot on her bum to the dolls and Adam will crawl on all fours to the cars. Without prompting, without being told or shown where or what to do.”
focuses on everything that is involved in the environment. Ranging from family, peers, beliefs, values, television, and society in a whole.
It is said that babies are gender stereotyped and put into certain roles before they can even walk, “Even with 6- and 9- month-old infants, mothers talk to their daughters in a more conversational way and give more instructions to their sons.” (Kalat, 2014, pg. 175)
There is also evidence that cultures have practices that promote the gender roles and differences. They differentiate which behaviors are more suitable for men and which ones are more suitable for women.
An example would be that in some cultures, the men would be the hunters and gatherers, while the women would be the cooks and handlers.
There has even been reports from parents that say, that they treat their children differently because of society’s gender stereotypes.
A way to prove that nurture plays a big part in behavior and gender, is with the testimonial from Tetria, a blogger who said,
“I’ve seen kids of a friend of mine who have done donor eggs- those kids are mini-me’s of their moms. The same mannerism, the same outlook on life. Nurture all the way.”
“Most psychologists today conclude that both nature and nurture play significant roles in the cognitive development of children and adolescents. In many cases, nature and nurture interact and amplify each other's effects.” (Hurst, 2003)
There is also findings that say, “Traits that have largely been shown to be genetic can vary with surrounding factors. Height, for example, is influenced by the environment and nutrition, even if it is inherited.”
Nature and Nurture
With a great debate like this, there will always be those that believe that this question cannot be answered at all. “… What is determined by a person’s sex chromosomes and what is determined by environment is not entirely clear and can’t be separated.”
The blogger Alee then leads on to say that,
“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 are nurtured through beliefs about gender.”
Those that believe this cannot be answered also bring up the question of transgender people who are genetically one sex but nurtured as the opposite sex.
So to answer the question of which determines gender roles, nature or nurture? There is no definite answer to this debate.
Gender roles are just the product of both.
But one way to stop this stereotyping of genders would be in the classroom. Educators could promote gender equality through providing equal experiences for all. They also could be more attentive to their own actions when treating both sexes. This should help to eradicate and eventually stop gender role stereotypes.
Opposing the whole debate
Gender: The Nature vs. Nurture Debate. (2012, August 21). <i>aloftyexistence</i>. Retrieved May 20, 2014, from http://aloftyexistence.wordpress.com/2012/08/21/gender-nature-vs-nurture
Hurst, M. (2003, January 1). Gender Differences: The Nature Versus Nurture Debate. <i></i>.
Retrieved May 20, 2014, from http://education-portal.com/academy/lesson/gender-
Kalat, J. (2014). Ch.1 What is Psychology? , Ch.5 Development. Introduction to Psychology (). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.
Nature vs. Nurture – Will boys be boys and girls be girls? - So Close. (2006, February 5). <i>'So Close'</i>. Retrieved May 20, 2014, from
Onkal, R. (2004, January 1). Neuroscience Of Intelligence. <i>Neuroscience Of Intelligence</i>. Retrieved June 20, 2014, from