Psychological Theories On Binary Gender Identity Essay

Psychological Theories On Binary Gender Identity Essay

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In this paper I will examine different psychological theories on binary gender identity and diverse gender identity. My intention is not to argue which set of theories is more accurate but more to provide information and let the reader decide for themselves in the light of their own experiences what theory makes the most sense to them. The psychologically charged debate over gender identity and its presence in society has taken the form of intuitions because of social necessity. On one side, diverse gender identity argues that traditional binary gender norms are no longer relevant nor an accurate reflection of the society that we live in today. The other side argues the more traditional concrete male/female gender identifications are paramount for a healthy family, proper social dynamics, and the prevention of damage to individuals’ lives. From both sides of the fence, proponents have been using psychological analysis and statistics to bolster their claims and you can see this debate play out in everything from heated debates in politics to which store you choose to buy your kids’ toys at. First, let’s discuss the theories for binary gender identity.

Cognitive Development Theory
According to Lawrence Kohlberg, “Children form concepts or schemas, about gender and then conform their behavior to their gender concepts. These developments occur in stages and are entwined with general cognitive development.” (Rathus, Jeffrey, & Fichner-Rathus, 2014) These stages develop between the ages of 3 and 7 years old. “First, at about 2 ½ years, children acquire gender identity or gender labeling, in which they can label the sexes and identify their own sex. Next, by 3 ½, children acquire gender stability, in which they understand the invarianc...


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... your brain functioning, that holds primacy” (Ehrensaft, 2015).
Other arguments that are against the pro-binary gender identity is that men and women change over time and across cultures and there is no single feature exclusive to just one gender. That, because of this, “there is no possibility of a shared feature or features common to all women or to all men that determine kind membership” (Witt, 2011).
While I have a side of the developmental debate that I rest more comfortably, my intention was not to argue in favor of one side or the other. Both sides of this debate are arguing for a society they firmly believe to be the best for cultivating happy lives. It is up to us as individuals, in the light of our own experience, given the information we have to decide what side we rest comfortably, that is until science can give us something more definitive and concrete.

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