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Gender Identity, Gender Role, and Emotions

Gender identity is defined as someone’s personal conception of himself/herself, which in turn leads to the concept of gender role. In other words; gender identity refers to how a person identifies himself/herself based on a combination of inherent and extrinsic or environmental forces.

While on the other end, gender role is a person’s manifestation of personality, behaviors, and appearance that reflect his/her gender identity.

Societal norms, as well as societal expectations, are what dictate both men and women on how they supposed to behave, act, and dress within society.

Those norms/expectations set by society impact everything both men and women do in life as well as how far they succeed.

Men are always associated with strength, success, and aggressiveness. While women are often associated with passivity, nurturing, subordination, etc.

In many societies, women are expected to stay home and put their families’ wellbeing above their own well-being. Often times, even when the woman is a professional, society still expects her to perform her gender role activities, such as cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, and take care of the kids to name a few.

(Difference between Gender and Sex)

People often confuse gender with sex or sexual orientation. They are two different things:

As mentioned before, the term gender is defined as the psychophysiological processes that involve self-identity and social role. While on the other hand, a person’s sex is defined based on the gonads, or potential gonads, whether phenotypically or genotypically.

To make this a little clearer, a person's sex can be defined as his/her primary state of anatomic or physiologic parameters. While a person's gender is a conclusion reached in a broad sense when individual gender identity and gender role are expressed (Medscape, 2015).

What exactly emotion is?

Above the surface, emotion is nothing but just a feeling. However, when going deeper, an emotion is a lot more than just a feeling; it's a complex psychological state that involves three distinct components known as; subjective experience, physiological response (s), and behavioral response.

Emotions whether healthy or unhealthy, are the driving force behind, many of our behaviors. Our emotions can also affect our judgment and perception. In fact, every decision a person makes throughout his/her life regardless how simple or difficult that decision or may be, it's often driven by his/her emotions like love, hate, anger, fear, or worries to name a few.

For example;

If a person has negative feelings about another person, since people are biased by nature, this will negatively affect his/her view of that person and everything he/she does.

(Gender's Role in Expressing Emotions)

Just like gender role and expectations, society has established norms as well as expectations on how both men and women should express their emotions. When growing up, boys are told to suck it up in order to show their toughness, while girls are told to let it all out. This stereotypes of reserved men and emotional women are widespread and do affect the way both boys and girls are raised and how they react to various situations.

As a result, men appear to be less emotional than women. In fact, strong evidence has been found that there are differences in the way men and women detect, process, and express emotion in many types of research and experiments. However, there are other studies that also show both men and women share more emotional similarities than differences.

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