Society plays a huge roll in the way males behave. Everyone wants to fit in and be “normal”, and often a person will go along with whatever is going on in society. For example, these days, males tend to do the whole “sagging” thing where their pants sag down to their knees or below. A lot of the time, it’s the media who has a huge impact on the way people act and for males, video games play a huge part in their behavior. Games like “Grand Theft Auto”, “Zelda”, or “Jaks”, where they show males being violent and females as whores (“Grand Theft Auto”), really tells males that this is how they should behave because that’s how a “hero” would act. Also, music videos showing males as “pimps” with “bling-bling” and baggy clothes is what is considered “cool” and what males want to be like.
Often times, people agree with Freud’s approach in studying gender development in that the father’s more important in the development of gender roles. However, others agree with Chodorow’s theory in that the mother is more important in gender identity. I believe that Freud’s theory is very sexist and implies that girls go through a process of “penis envy” and that they are jealous of the fact that they do not carry the male genitals. He also implies that the boy, at a young age, is in love with his mother, while the girl, at a young age, is in lust with her father. On the other hand, I do agree with Chodorow when she implies that gender identity comes from a child’s attachment to his or her parents and that the mother is the dominant influence in the child’s life. I believe that since the mother is the one who carries the child for the first nine months, and is often the only parent in single-parent homes these days, shi is the one that the child comes to depend on and who they look to for influence.
I think that the whole theory of nature verses nurture plays a part in these theories of gender identification because there are things that people are born knowing how to do, but I believe that , the majority or the time, the person has to learn these things. For instance, there was the story of the “Wild Boy of Aveyron” and Genie, the California girl who was locked in a room when she was about one and a half until she was thirteen. These children had been isolated from humans for years and were, thus, called “uncivilized” because they could not really function as a “normal” person. But, what is “normal”? We define what is “normal” by figuring out what the dominant social form is. I think that people should realize that everyone is different and you don’t have to look like the wrestlers of today or the men in these movies to be considered a “real man”, or look like a Barbie doll in order to be considered beautiful. I read or heard somewhere that the average size of a woman is a 14, this is definitely not the size of a Barbie doll. Also, some of these men we see on television use steroids to “pump up”, so we definitely can not call that normal.
All in all, I think that it is nurture that defines gender identity. The things around us, our environment, have a huge impact on us as a person. We are only born with the ability to learn how to do things, not the actual ability to do them.