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Learned Gender: Psychology

             "Members of a social group neither make up gender as they go along nor exactly replicate in rote fashion what was done before. In almost every encounter, human beings produce gender, behaving in the ways they learned were appropriate for their gender, or resisting or rebelling against these norms" (Lorber).
             The world that exists today divides up masculinity and femininity into an either or category. As children grow up and experience the world, they fall within the male world, or the female world. From the day of birth a child is sex-typed and socialized as either a girl or a boy through the clothes, toys, and attitudes their parents inflict upon them teaching them how to act or behave according to their sex. The nature-nurture dilemma explains this as "social construction," or how individuals learn gender based on their sex, which is given. Messner states in his article, Boyhood, Organized Sports and the Constructions of Masculinity, and I agree with his discussion on how gender is constructed, " people are not passively shaped by their social environment the construction of feminine gender identity ha[s] pointed out, girls and women are implicated in the construction of their own identities and personalities, both in terms of the ways that they participate in their own subordination and the ways that they resist subordination" (99). .
             The Nature-Nurture controversy aids us in understanding how individuals learn gender, through the definition of what gender is. Gender is learned, while sex is what you are born with. How society interacts with a specific sex, whether it be male or female, determines how one learns gender. Gender is based on teaching and nurturing, it is learned. However, the sex of an individual determines how one will be nurtured and treated. Parents, grandparents, family members, media, school, church, and society send signals to children informing them of what is the appropriate behavior for girls and boys, therefore, producing gender as a "social construction.

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