Gender Identity Essay

2302 words - 9 pages

Gender Identity
Gender identity is an extremely relevant topic today. Many people have their own ideas on what is right and what is wrong for each gender to act, and these people are very vocal and opinionated about their ideas. One recent controversial story about gender identity was when a couple refused to tell anybody whether their child named Storm was a boy or a girl. Their oldest child, Jazz, who was originally born male, “always gravitated to dresses, the colour pink and opted for long hair often fixed into braids” (Poisson, 2013). Jazz now asks to be called “she”, and her experiences with gender identity are what inspired her parents to raise Storm as a gender neutral child. People were so upset over this decision that it sparked a huge controversy about whether or not this was a bad thing for the child (Poisson, 2013). In this paper, I will be discussing the many different theories that cover gender identity and also will be explaining differences and simulates between being male and being female. Gender identity is a large part of development that is a spectrum defined by a combination of culture and biology, and is best created by raising children as gender neutral as possible.
Sigmund Freud’s theory of psychoanalysis explains cultural differences in gender as a result of the unconscious. This theory comes from his idea that human life is driven by the need to satisfy desires for gratification. These desires, however, are repressed in early life and pushed into the unconscious. In terms of child development, Freud discovered what he called infantile sexuality, where infants have different stages of desires that need to be gratified in order to survive. During these stages, the child has no sense of identity, only drives and desires that need to be fulfilled. The first phase is the oral stage which is focused on objects and the mouth, the second stage is the anal stage which related to toilet training, and the third stage is the phallic stage which focuses on the genitals. During this stage comes the Oedipus complex which in his theory is a significant part of child development. Before the Oedipus stage, there is only the direct relationship between the child and the mother. When the Oedipus stage arrives, the father comes into play (Flitterman-Lewis, 1992, p. 205). The same sex parent becomes a rival for the child because the child desires the parent of the opposite sex, but the same sex parent is in the way. From fear of castration, a boy will repress his desires for his mother and identify with the father and therefore develop masculine traits. The girl realizes she is already castrated and represses her desires for her father and identifies with the mother, causing her to have feminine traits. Although this theory seems sexist, Flitterman-Lewis justifies Freud’s theory by saying that the Oedipus complex signifies the transformation of the child developing its own identity as part of society. She also claims that the fear of...

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