Gender And Gender Identity In The United States

1258 Words 6 Pages
Gender has been a topic in the forefront of national discussion in the United States for much of 2016. Ongoing debates focus on the rights of those individuals who do not identify with the gender of their birth. However, overlooked in these discussions is what constitutes stereotypical genders and how we define them as a society. There is little discussion in the United States about what it means to identify as a “man” or a “woman” within the context of our culture. While individuals struggle with gaining acceptance for a gender identity they feel is most appropriate for them, most people do not question their own gender identity and why they associate with it. For some, however, gender identity is not a given and is something they have personally …show more content…
While my identification with the male gender has persisted throughout my life, it has not come easy. Being of the male sex, I have come to accept that there are natural features that distinguish me from being female. Apart from having male genitalia, developing attributes stereotypical of human males, such as body hair during puberty or baldness later in life, have reinforced that I am male. However, lacking any fondness for the culturally assigned behaviors for most males, it was difficult to feel fully male in American society.
Being born into a military family, I was separated from the family structure commonly found to reinforce gender roles. Similar a rhesus macaques in the study by Harry and Margaret Harlow, I did not have constant male figure present in my life to teach me how a male should behave in our society (Zuk, 2013, p. 9). While the monkeys in the Harlows’ study were deprived a real mother to teach them how a female should behave, the repeated and sustained absence of my father due to his profession, along with the routine relocation that is common for military families, left me with few regular male
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While I have never fully understood the mind of the typical male in American society, I have always identified as male. While my behavior and attributes may not have been stereotypical for a boy growing up in the United States, I would learn later in life that I wasn’t alone. Not all boys grow up thinking they have to be the toughest or strongest. Not all boys grow up to think that women are not their equal or as capable as a male. While my gender identity as male was not met without challenges, finding other males who shared similar traits validated that not fitting into a stereotype was perfectly normal and completely acceptable. Even if it means I cannot talk sports with “the

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