Is gender behavior innate or does our society define it for us?

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  1. dashingscorpio profile image86
    dashingscorpioposted 3 years ago

    Is gender behavior innate or does our society define it for us?

    Brad & Angelina Pitt's daughter Shiloh Pitt has been wearing boys clothing for years. In the photo she is in the center with her two brothers and father. If all parents allowed their children to choose whatever clothes (they wanted) to wear, toys they wanted to play with, and behave without concern of gender traditions... Do you think the world would be different? Do girls really like the color pink, want flowers, or prefer to sit with their legs crossed? Would many boys prefer to play with dolls as oppose to water pistols and cars? Do we teach our children gender behavior or is it natural?

  2. aliasis profile image94
    aliasisposted 3 years ago

    Society has created, defined and enforced gender roles. It's possible that there might be some small generalized (but not absolute) differences between the sexes, but it's basically impossible to shelter girls and boys from society's influence and see what they'd "naturally" be like.

    But the world would definitely be different, and I think, more fair and happier in general, if we didn't shove kids into these defined roles. I was pretty miserable as a young girl, because the TV shows and video games (action genre, superhero or fantasy stuff) that I loved were marketed toward boys. Not only did this make me weird, but when my mom would take me shopping, we'd have to buy clothes in the "girl" section (even though prepubescent boys and girls have basically the same body shape). Rather than cool T-shirts with the Power Rangers or Pokemon or whatever, all I could choose were pink, princessy type shirts. More than that, I hated how tight girls' clothing was - girls shorts give you like an inch of fabric and are tight, but boy shorts, despite us having the same body types, would be long, comfortable, and have pockets! (the same is true even as an adult!) Toys were also divided into "girls" and "boys", even though my brother and I would play Barbies together, or action figures, or whatever - we didn't care. I wanted dinosaurs and superheroes, not fashion dolls and play cooking sets. I wanted to do martial arts and play video games, not ballet and makeup.

    This doesn't mean I'm transgender, because I'm not. I'm comfortable with my gender, but I can say first hand that we don't do justice to girls and boys by pretending they are only interested in certain things. I don't even think I was a "tomboy" per se, it was just that my interests weren't what society told me they should be. I am quite certain that without gender roles, or stupidly dividing boys and girls toys and clothing, children would naturally express themselves a lot more similarly. I hope in the future more stores will combine toys and clothes and encourage kids to just choose what makes them happy.

    1. dashingscorpio profile image86
      dashingscorpioposted 3 years agoin reply to this

      "I am quite certain that without gender roles, or stupidly dividing boys and girls toys and clothing, children would naturally express themselves a lot more similarly." Very true!.
      It's said a woman can't {teach a boy} to be a man. Interesting!

  3. bradmasterOCcal profile image36
    bradmasterOCcalposted 3 years ago

    Gender behavior starts with gender hormones and how the brain is wired, but society and cultures can make changes.

    There are also differences between races, as some races the males don't grow facial hair very well. In most races where men can grow facial hair, the women have trouble growing substantial facial hair. And that is based on hormones.

    The Scots wore kilts, and with the cold weather that it something.

    I can't really see Angelina and Brad being icons of normal behavior.

    1. dashingscorpio profile image86
      dashingscorpioposted 3 years agoin reply to this

      I agree with you regarding Angelina and Brad.
      The more rich and famous you are the more eccentricities are overlooked. Having said that it's not uncommon for the general populace to follow trends established by celebrities.
      They do it first.

  4. jlpark profile image83
    jlparkposted 3 years ago

    I think it's a bit of both.

    Gender stereotypical behaviour is defined by society - that girls like pink, and boys blue, girls have dolls and dresses, boys shorts and trucks, girls dainty, boys all rough and tumble.

    For most people, their innate behaviour is that of the stereotypical societal defined roles - they are defined that way for a reason - a lot of people had the same roles.

    But for some, their innate is slightly different - like me, can't STAND pink (unless it's on my daughter...then it's kinda cute), love blue. Dolls weren't really my thing. So, no not all girls WANT flowers, dolls etc.

    I think we unconsciously teach our children the stereotypical behaviour that society has defined for our genders. Even when we don't particularly follow them ourselves. If we leave them to their own choices in these areas, I think it would be similar to the societal defined behaviours for MOST children, but not all.

    I think if we let them choose their own ways of defining it, I think that the world would be a more accepting place, that suicide rates for teens who struggle to fit in (because they don't fit the gender stereotypes etc) would drop etc.

    Shiloh Jolie-Pitt is a slightly different kettle of fish - from what I remember reading somewhere Shiloh prefers to be referred to as "John", so there could be more than gender non-conforming at play there. I am not Shiloh/John, so I won't speculate on what it could be.

    Anyway, good question!

  5. daydreamer13 profile image59
    daydreamer13posted 3 years ago

    As someone who has spent ALOT of time with children, I can tell you that most of what you see is innate. Of course both sexes become curious and try doing things that are intended for the other gender, but initially, boys are mechanically minded and girls are nurturers. That doesn't mean they grow up with the same state of mind. People become themselves as they grow and allow themselves to become "who they are." But, yes, society and environment does play a huge role as to how people act. I'm sure as gender equality grows, the world will change drastically. Just imagine what a someone from 100 years ago would think of the world today. So many advancements have been made. We live in a very exciting time. We can only hope that things keep getting better and someday there will be no more gender discrimination.

  6. Jefsaid profile image59
    Jefsaidposted 3 years ago

    We are defined by nature first and foremost. The animal kingdom is the eternal example of our natural state. However, as we have evolved towards an unnatural existence the more we have tried to shape ourselves to our artificial world. Those furthest removed from the norm seem to express a greater tendency towards an alternate perception of life. I suspect that if that if modern society crashed and we were back to basics we would simply revert back the roles/behaviours for which we are naturally designed.

    1. dashingscorpio profile image86
      dashingscorpioposted 3 years agoin reply to this

      That's probably true.
      Advanced technology for example has made it possible for men not to have the ability to track and hunt for food to feed their family. Guns and sophisticated weapons now make it possible for women to fight in  war.


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