Nature VS. Nurture
Science widely demonstrates that it is nature AND nurture - biological AND social processes — that create differences among the sexes.
In other words, our social, cultural world heavily interacts with our genes and hormones to magnify differences between boys and girls.
In fact, boys’ and girls’ brains are remarkably alike. But small differences at birth become amplified over time, as we — parents, teachers, peers, the culture — unwittingly reinforce gender stereotypes.
Rigid gender expectations negatively affect health:
More than biology, family, friends and society influence impressions of what it means to be a boy or a girl, placing rigid gender expectations on children from a young age. A growing body of global research shows these expectations are associated with lifelong risks of mental and physical health problems.
Boys, especially those who try to buck traditional gender norms, are at higher risk of substance abuse, suicide and shorter life expectancy than women. The risk for girls include sexually transmitted infections, violence, pregnancy, leaving school early, and child marriage.
Of course, your child might naturally fit the stereotype for their gender. Some girls are naturally traditionally feminine, some are naturally traditionally masculine and many fall somewhere in between. The same goes for boys. And one person can have both very masculine and very feminine traits. Fitting into the norm isn't a bad thing. It can be destructive, however, when it's hoisted on us.
Read on to find out more about the ways small differences increase among boys and girls due to stereotypes, magnification, and implicit bias.