Gender is a what we make it. We, as in our community and cultural ideals. What is gender to you?
Psychologists and sociologists can both attest to this fun fact: Gender is socially created. The way we feel about our own spectrum of masculinity to femininity, the way culture defines these terms, and how much and how we feel each of these characteristics can all be defined on a spectrum.
Discovering ones gender identity includes a deep dive into four intersecting factors.
Expression, Internal Feeling, Societal Influence, and Sex Assigned at Birth.
To elaborate on the factors, I break it down briefly here. First, expression defines how a person wants to socially show their appearance on the sliding scale from femininity through masculinity, neither or both. Second, their own internal alignment toward societies definitions of womanhood, manhood, neither, or both. Three, their sex assigned at birth- the biological make up, their attitudes toward their body, and how their genes or hormones relate to their underlying desire. Lastly, societal influences toward their sex identification and any struggles with this.
Knowing this, one could see how gender identity could vary from person to person, and not be solely related to their physical anatomy. It is much more than that, and much more fluid.
The traditional categories of male and female are considered limiting as more vocabulary and identity labels are being used to explain gender (Oswalt et al., 2016). Here are some examples of various gender identities. Remember, this list is not exhaustive, and whatever label someone chooses to use to identify themselves is valid, as people discover new ways to explain how they identify.
• Agender – does not align with any gender or feels lack of gender
• Bigender– identifies as 2 genders
• Cisgender – aligns with the gender assigned at birth
• Fluid– aligns with many labels for gender identity or sexuality
• Gender nonconforming – does not follow social norms for dressing and activities based on their assigned sex at birth
• Genderqueer – identifies outside the gender binary but may identify as both or neither, transgender and/or queer
• Intersex –identifies sexual anatomy or chromosomal makeup that does not fit with traditional male or female anatomy
• Nonbinary– identity does not fit with male or female
• Nonlabeling- does not describe their identity with labels
• Pangender– identifies with all genders
• Questioning- unsure or exploring current identity
• Transgender– an overarching label used when their sex assigned at birth does not align with their gender identity
• Two-spirit- an umbrella term used by some indigenous North Americans to label non-conforming gendered persons in their communities
• Undecided- not yet aligned with a label
(Oswalt et al., 2016)
Please share and let me know what else you would like to see written and discussed about in the blog!
Hyde, J. S. (2017). Gender similarities. APA Handbook of the Psychology of Women: History, Theory, and Battlegrounds (Vol. 1)., 1, 129–143. https://doi.org/10.1037/0000059-007
Hyde, J. S., Bigler, R. S., Joel, D., Tate, C. C., & van Anders, S. M. (2019). The future of sex and gender in psychology: Five challenges to the gender binary. American Psychologist, 74(2), 171–193. https://doi.org/10.1037/amp0000307
Oswalt, S. B., Evans, S., & Drott, A. (2016). Beyond alphabet soup: helping college health professionals understand sexual fluidity. Journal of American College Health, 64(6), 502–508. https://doi.org/10.1080/07448481.2016.1170688
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