Biosocial Approach to Gender Development Essay

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The Biosocial Explanation takes into account both biological and social explanations. It is the interaction between biology and social factors which is seen as important. This is viewed as more comprehensive account than a purely biological fact or social approach because it can account for universal human traits as well as cultural variations. Money and Ehrhardt’s biosocial theory suggests gender development is down to sex of rearing. Once a biological male or female is born they are labelled sexually. This determines how the child is raised then socialised, therefore affecting the child’s gender identity and sexual orientation. They say it matters what gender you are told you are, and this must happen before the age of three. Biology is likely to determine sex of rearing because babies are sexed at birth on the basis of their external genitalia, which are usually in accord with genetic sex. However those individuals who are intersexes and may be mistyped at birth causing them to be raised as a gender incompatible with their genetic sex. Money and Erhardt predicted that if a genetic male is mislabelled as a girl and treated as a girl before the age of three, he would acquire the gender identity of a girl. So after the sensitive period the reassignment of gender can cause psychological disturbance. In both cases, gender identity will be determined by subsequent socialisation based on a person’s gender assignment. Furthermore, Money and Ehrhardt studied 10 people with CAIS, where these individuals showed a strong preference for the female role which supports the view that gender of rearing is more important than biology. The case study of Mrs DW who suffered with CAIS evidence supporting Money’s theory, at puberty she developed no pubic hair and didn’t menstruate, although she did develop

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