Male and female gender constructs

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Our cultural beliefs dictate that there are only two biological sexes corresponding to two genders (Newman, 2001). The male and female constructs often carry with them misconceptions and stereotypes, such as the belief that gender and sex are synonymous or that gender assigned at birth indicates a specific preference for toys, interest, clothes, and eventual erotic attraction (Newman, 2001). Males are expected to exhibit masculine personality traits and be attracted to women while females are expected to exhibit feminine personality traits and be attracted to men. Research in many countries reveals that stereotyping of personality traits increases steadily in middle adolescence, becoming adult like around age 11 (Berk, 2010). For example, children regard “tough”, “aggressive”, “rational”, and “dominant” as masculine and “gentle”, “sympathetic’, and “dependent” as feminine (Berk, 2011). Male and female gender constructs are considered the norm, and any other combination of biological sex, gender, and sexuality is commonly considered unnatural or pathological (Mintz, & O’ Neil, 1990; Newman, 2002).

Despite cultural beliefs, other gender and sexual role combinations are possible. A child whose biological sex is that of a typical female can have a gender identity of a boy and as an adult, this person may self-identify as transgender or transsexual and live as a man Newman, 2001(). On the other hand, a biological male can have a gender identity of a boy/man, be attracted to other men, and identify as gay (Newman, 2001). It is not necessary for people who feel attracted to others of the same gender to express any gender nonconformity (). Gay men can be comfortable in their male bodies and exhibit no gender variant behaviors, just as ...

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Newman, L.K. (2001). Sex, gender, and culture: Issues in the definition, assessment, and treatment of gender identity disorder. Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 7, 352-359.
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