Gender identity commonly referred to as core gender identity is the gender an individual identifies with. In simpler terms, it is the feeling that one is male, female or transgender. An individual’s gender is influenced by many factors. They may be biological or social factors. Biological factors that influence an individual’s gender identity include gene control and hormone concentration. Some of the social factors that influence gender identity include the family, mass media, the church, schools and other social institutions. They manipulate one’s gender through the communications and messages they put across. In some situations, the factors do not always match up. For instance, transgender arise because the biological and the social factors conflict. The individual will have particular sex organs but will identify with the associated and expected behavior of another sex. If the family is one factor that determines gender identity, was it influential in my gender identity and was this influence beneficial or destructive?
My family has had immense influence in the creation of my identity and sense of self. I spent most of my early years with them. They gave me a sense of belonging. From the influence that my family had on me, I realize that the family unit is the primary site for the art of socialization and identity formation. It shapes the relationship patterns we have with ourselves and with other people. Unfortunately, the traditional family is now been viewed as something of the past. This has been triggered by the emergence of such groups as career women in the modern society. There has been an increase in the number of women joining the formal employment word. This makes it acceptable for men to stay back at home and look after the children. Modern family roles have undergone drastic changes.
Although my upbringing was in a traditional set up, the modern society and era we are currently living in has brought up new ideas to the issue of gender identities. In the traditional family set up, women were only to take care of the household’s chores and look after the children while men went to work. However, the modern family structure encourages women to acquire as much education as possible and to compete against men for available job opportunities. Since both the man and woman will be working outside the house, there will be no one to take care of domestic chores. This triggers the gender equity debate. Men argue that household chores traditionally belong to women thus they should carry out their traditionally duties. Women on the other hand argue out that since both of them go to work and earn money together, both should be involved in attending to duties around in the house. Considering each of the arguments, they both have some weight and sense. However, my view on this debate is that all members of society should realize that family systems have changed and the best course of action is for all members of the family to participate in family affairs and help each other deal with challenges experienced in the family.
On the issue of child bearing, parents especially the mother have a critical role in the growth and development of the child. Although it is a wonderful thing that women have taken up places in the work environment and are improving career wise, this has replaced the childbearing role. Child bearing involves the woman falling pregnant and having to take up a maternity leave from work. This leads to fears that she may loose out available promotion opportunities and work experience while she is away. Due to these fears, most women prefer not have any children until when they have achieved their career goals. Husband should be ready to support their wives in all aspects of life, be it emotional, physical or financial. They should both decide on the best time to have a child. He can take a paternal leave or encourage the wife to attend to her office duties at home. This is possible with the advancement in technology such as through the internet. To help take care of the baby, they can employ the services of a nanny.
Wood, J. T., Gendered Lives: Communication, Gender, and Culture, 8 Ed., Beverly, MA: Wadsworth Publishing, 2008