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Gender Intergration

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As a child I was taught to be a gentleman. My father taught me to pull out my chair for my twin sister, take out the trash, and kill cockroach when she takes off running and screaming! Those gender values and roles stick with me today. Now I have children, and I've enhanced my teachings to include cooking, sewing, and cleaning. Those traits don't belong exclusively to females anymore. As time marches on, more men are stay-at-home dads, and more women have climbed the corporate ranks. In this essay, I will explain gender identification and roles, and how these roles are rapidly changing in our world.

We know that males and females are biologically different (physical/anatomical characteristics); however, are we different in terms of our intellectual or emotional traits? How do we develop our likes, interests, and abilities? In other words, how do we learn to be who we are? An individual's sex is determined biologically through chromosome assignment (xx=female, xy=male), whereas gender is determined by attitudes and societal expectations. The combination of these biological (natural) and psychological/social (nurture) influences shape us as individuals. To what degree these factors influence our behaviors are widely debated. The nature/nurture controversy serves as a starting point for our exploration of gender roles in our society.

Nature described in males and females are the beliefs, attitudes, and behavior that are innate, biological, and are fixed. Nurture, on the other hand, is learned and very changeable due largely to an individual's environment. The old adage, "I'm a product of my environment is true. I have friend that have tried to leave the thuggish lifestyle, but for whatever reason, he is drawn back to it. He has all the potential in the world, but for some reason, enamored with mischief. His decision making alone has caused some undue strain on our relationship, but no one is perfect. I guess you can take the man out of the hood, but you can't take the hood out of the man.

Growing up in my mother's house she often would say, "You're measured by the company you keep." Understanding those words today have a deeper meaning than I realize. The attitudes and beliefs that shaped my life to this point are both learned and innate, in my opinion. However, some researchers and scientists have different opinions. Scholars continue to debate how much of our behavior reflects nature and nurture. Although biology is important, there is little evidence that women are naturally better parents, which men are naturally more aggressive, or that men and women are inherently different in other than anatomy and physiology. Children learn their behaviors from watching and imitating others. Parents are the most influential role models to a child because they are visually present, and they provide the emotional support. As the old saying, "do as I say, not



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