Gender Roles and Sexuality: Biology or Culture?

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Gender Roles and Sexuality: Biology or Culture?
A gender role is all of the things which make up their gender identity; gender identity is the actions and behaviors one takes to present whatever gender (male, female, et cetera) which they choose. Western society sees people's gender roles usually in accordance with biology; biologically people are born with sexual organs making them a certain gender and giving them a certain sexuality. However, there are many other views outside of the United States and Western culture which suggest that gender roles and sexuality are constructed from culture rather than biology. The Polynesian, Thai and Euro-American cultures show how sexual preference is not limited to ones biological body parts and may or may not determine the gender role of any person.

In Polynesia, "Sexual expression, gender relations, and attitudes toward gender diversity are all grounded in the Polynesian cultural emphasis" (Nanda, 2000: 58). The practice of males whom take on feminine characteristics is deeply embedded in Polynesia. Unlike many other societies, Polynesia uniquely allows people to move in and out of gender roles and differing sexuality. "Sexuality, in particular, is associated with personal desire" (Nanda, 2000: 58). Polynesian people (especially the men) are able to choose their desirable sexuality at any given time; later on in life, their sexual desire may change, and therefore so does their gender role and sexual identity. Gender variants in this society are not labeled as more like a man or a woman, but are a gender all it's own, somewhere in the middle; they are not classified by their biological parts or their behavior. The gender roles and sexuality of the people of Polynesia are not predetermined by biology, but are determined by their culture and personal preference.

According to Jackson, in Thai culture, "homosexuality has become central in the cultural construction of the kathoey" (Nanda, 2000: 74). Before...
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