What is Gender to You?

Gender is a very interesting and complicated subject. We don’t fully understand gender and there are a lot of taboos around it. As a result, different people have different beliefs about gender. To some, gender is as simple as you’re either a boy or you’re a girl and how you are born determines how you will be when you grow up. To others, you are born male or female, but your gender is separate. In that group, some feel that you are born a certain way and you will always be that way. You may be a more feminine or masculine child and you will grow into an adult with the same level of masculine of feminine traits. Others believe that gender is more fluid and ever changing. A masculine child can grow up to be a feminine adult.

There are also many beliefs about raising children where gender is concerned. Some parents believe that it is damaging to allow children to experiment with their gender. These parents believe that pink and dolls are for girls and only girls while boys should prefer trucks and blue. Others are okay with a certain degree of experimentation, but are not okay with all experimentation. For example, they are not okay with boys wearing dresses. Still other parents are weary of gender stereotypes and encourage their children to experiment.

We navigate gender norms and societal expectations every day, but everybody accepts these social norms to different degrees. Some people accept them and comply fully, others defy them at all costs, and everybody else is somewhere in the middle. So what are your beliefs about gender? What is gender to you?


4 responses to “What is Gender to You?

  • samcroarkin

    The question “What is gender to you?” is simple: it is a set of characteristics prescribed by a term or classification. I think the question you really mean to ask is, “What does your gender mean to you?”

    In that case, I can say, confidently, that while I may act out of my gender, I definitely am not attempting to completely redefine it. Part of functioning in my environment requires conformance, but that does not mean I do not have a say. Being too conformative or too liberal are both extremes that should be avoided. I acknowledge my role but seek to expand it where appropriate it and contract it as needed. Gender is not all about the individual: it is reactive as well as proactive.


  • Brandon R.

    To me, gender is very specific, but that’s how I’ve been raised. Knowing what I know, I’d just make sure my kid doesn’t kill themselves. Aside from that, they are their own being and what they choose is up to them. Mind you, this is all hypothetical talk and I might change my mind if actually involved in something concrete. If we want gender neutrality, maybe we should mimic aphids. And good luck disestablishing years of reinforcement. It will happen, but we’re going to need some time.


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