Gender is influenced by everything from the media to the government. These influences can affect an individual’s personal identity, interpersonal relationships and their place in the community. In today’s society, gender is one of the many controversial topics that most people don’t know all the facts about.
Defining the common terms for gender and gender identity is an important first step in understanding. Some of these terms being; sex, referring to the biological differences between males and females, such as the genitalia and genetic difference. Gender refers to the social roles, behaviours and traits that a society may assign to men (masculine) or to women (feminine). Gender expression, being the way, a person chooses to display is or her gender to others. Gender identity is the sense a person has of themselves, who they are and what they think is important and defining of themselves. Stereotype, referring to an oversimplified and/or unfair belief or idea that groups of people have characteristics or that all people in a group are the same and conforming is to fit in with a group or groups’ expectations. This can be harmful depending on the stereotype. For example, a wrongful gender stereotyping can lead to the failure of criminalizing marital rape based on societal perception of women as the sexual property of men, and no effective investigation, prosecution and sentencing of sexual violence against woman (add something about first prosecution on martial rape) . This is based on the stereotype that woman should be able to protect themselves from this by not dressing and behaving provocatively.
The nature versus nurture debate is about whether the way people identify themselves is due to how they were brought up or if genetics play a greater role. The nurture advocates, that the way you’re treated by your parents when you’re a kid, influencing our thoughts about towards gender. These differences are based on society’s stereotypes towards gender and how accepting people have become. The nature argument refers to the traits that are inherited or genetics. The fact is that most aspects of human development are initially determined by the persons genetic makeup, whether that is indirectly or directly. The way we respond to particular situations can also be partially determined by our genetic makeup.
The media can also influence and perpetuate gender stereotypes. TV, movies and books often portray male figures as aggressive and in leadership roles while portraying females as domestic and obedient. Media plays a large role in creating norms everywhere in the current culture. Gender roles consist mainly because society, as a whole, agrees to them and is continued by the media. Gender stereotypes can also be influenced and continued by the media.
Due to the stereotypes and societies role on gender and gender norms, it makes it harder for people to be themselves. Young people who are gender diverse or do not identify with the gender they were assigned can live exciting and fulfilling lives. But, discrimination and transphobia, along with a lack of understanding and or acceptance, can contribute to an increased risk of depression, anxiety, self-harm and suicide. Suicide is the second leading cause of death in youths aged ten to twenty-four. The youth of today that are a part of the LGBT are around three more times as likely, from gender conforming youth, to consider suicide. Forty percent of transgender adults have been reported to have made an attempt on suicide, ninety-two percent of these are before the age of twenty-five. One in three LGBT youth have attempted suicide on average seven times.