Nature and Dynamics of Gender Identity(ies)

Nature and Dynamics of Gender Identity(ies)
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In contemporary times, gender difference and gender identities are no longer a subject of facet which is encompassed in the macro socio-economic problems of the country; rather they have gained momentum in the international arena and have assumed international dimensions because through the process of globalization the peoples of the world are incorporated into a single world society, global society (Albrow, 1990). The process of Liberalization, Privatization, and Globalization has led to the strengthening of wide-reaching global social relations which connect distant localities in such a way that local events and decision making are fashioned by events and decision making happening many miles away and vice versa. These processes have made social issues in general and gender related issues in particular common to all.
Feminism is a series of political arrangements, philosophies and social activities that share a joint goalmouth: understanding and realizing equality of sexes – economic, political, individual, and social (Mary, 2006). The growth and development of feminism in the past many decades has resulted in manifold attempts by the sociologists, social scientists, feminists and others to eliminate gender inequality and social stratification on the basis of gender. Gender is the shared wisdom in a given society which encodes womanly and manly roles. The gender construct is a socially construct thing and hence, gendered encodings-behavioral norms for women and men vary over space and time.
Gender identity is well-defined as an individual idea or notion of oneself as masculine or feminine (Ghosh, 2015). It is the personal intelligence or wisdom of one’s own gender (Morrow & Messinger, 2006). The subject of gender identities and gender based inequalities and problems have become an important subject of sociology and social science research. Such subjects lay emphasis upon the fact that the notion of gender goes beyond the genetic differences between men and women and relates to socially constructed alterations between them in terms of characteristics, roles, and relationships (Rao & Ahuja, 2007).
Gender identity is a function of many aspects. There are many factors that affect gender identities like socialization, culture, religion, education, media, and circumstance or social environment. Socialization is a process of learning which cannot be a hereditary but is cultivated, cultured, and learnt in the society as a member of the society. The process of socialization develops social learning, the process of learning new-fangled and establish behavior-forms by a person as a member of the society (Rao & Ahuja, 2007). At different time periods women undertake different activities. At one time period she gives birth, and nurse babies which are unavailable to men. And, at another time period or another level, both men and women are found in cultural backgrounds that form their experiences and activities of personification and embodiment in a different way depending on class, caste, ethnic, and religious factors. Socialization makes both men and women aware of their rules and norms of conduct of their gender. Gender socialization comprehends the learning activities of the society’s gender related starring roles and characters and their pros and cons. There should be a good interface between Gender identity and Gender socialization for a bad interface and interaction will prove very harmful for an individual’s sagaciousness of self-esteem ( IGNOU, N.d:ESO-14).
Culture is a mode of life of members of a society and the amalgamation of ideas and lifestyles which they pick up, share and transmit from one generation to another generation. It realizes the series of processes that are diffused through socialization and social learning. In the words of George Simmel (1971) culture is “the cultivation of individuals through the agency of external forms which have been objectified in the course of history.” Traditionally, culture has been viewed as the main protagonist in the structure of gender identity. It does affect gender identity due to the gender roles and normative gender conduct and manners attached with each gender (Raeisipour, n.d.). In the contemporary times, the emphasis has shifted from learning tasks and experiences at a micro-level to the creation of research and debates which form the gender theories and notions (Weeden).
Education underpins or reinforces gender identity and school is a significant platform in which one can showcase one’s gender identity and confirm one’s machismo or feminineness and consequently uphold one’s gender identity (Revise Sociology, 2018). The formal years of schooling brainwashes or instructs gender roles through which self gradually gets shaped and affects gender identity. The gender identity is a function of mass media because media largely affects perceptions of women through portraying the body of females as the perfect body. With the onset of globalization and technological advancements, and information and communication revolution, the rules and guidelines for gender identity have come to be culturally diffused by way of consistent and standardized pictorial imageries. Both verbal and non-verbal means of language express and construct gender identity. We find the evidences of semantic construction of language affecting gender classifications (IGNOU, N.d:ESO-14).

Gender identity is constructed on a social basis and the perception of gender turns out to be dominant to our understanding of the nature and causes of gender identity and women’s personification in the ordinary business of life. Gender identity is not stationary and unchallengeable rather it is fabricated. It is for that reason, continually engaged in the process of communication and dialogue making, sprouting through the unremarkable life experiences of womenfolk.

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The author is a Research Scholar at the Department of Economics, Central University of Kashmir, an Academic Counsellor, IGNOU STUDY CENTRE 1209,S.P. College, Srinagar and Editor in EPH – International Journal of Business and Management Science & Asian Journal of Managerial Scienc. She is also an Ezine Articles Export Author and IJRULA title awards, 2018 winner (Best Researcher, 2018). She can be reached at: