Discuss the Biosocial approach to Gender Development (24)

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  • Created by: TFoulg
  • Created on: 08-01-15 01:15


Rather than just focusing on one aspect, the Biosocial approach postulates that gender is in fact determined by both biological and social factors, and that it is the interaction between pre and post natal influences which determine our gender. The model believes that we are predisposed to a gender through our hormones, genes and brain development however our social environment can nurture or change this natural development path. Dr Money claimed that as long as it was done during the child’s critical period (2-3), gender rearing was proposed to be a more influential factor than biology. There are many cases which have led bio-socialists being able to see the effects of nature and nurture on gender development. Bradley et al. (98) researched a case of a male who’s penis was accidentally damaged as a baby. He had gender reassignment surgery and was raised as a girl. In adulthood, the individual preferred female company and successfully identified as a female. This suggests that biology does not determine our gender and that it is social influences which have a major impact on our gender development. Dr Money believed that how a child was raised determines their gender identity. He claims that gender can be easily manipulated and although biology plays a significant role in our development, it is through social experiences that our gender identity is molded into the way it is today.


The case study of Mrs DW is one of the main studies which supports the Biosocial model. She was a genetic male who suffered from Androgen Insensitivity Syndomr. This meant that his body was immune from the effects of testosterone. Mrs DW grew up to look like a woman and to be treated as a woman. In adulthood, despite learning of her condition, Mrs DW continued to live happily as a female. This case proves that gender is something that is not bound solely by Biology, and can be influenced by social factors.

As well as this, a family in the Dominican Republic were used to demonstrate the poeer of biology and how social factors cannot override nature. In this family, four sons were raised as girls because they appeared to be XX at birth. When they began to develop male genitalia at 12 years old, they happily adjusted to the…


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