Gender is defined as a set of characteristics or traits that are associated with a certain biological sex (male/female). These characteristics are generally referred to as “masculine” or “feminine.”

The formation of gender is something that has been highly controversial in many scientific fields. Specifically, researchers and theorists take different perspectives on how much of gender is due to biological, neurochemical, and evolutionary factors (nature), or is the result of culture and socialization (nurture). This is controversial because there are political implications for either side being right. For example, if gender was proven to be completely biologically based, some people believe that this would be used to promote social inequalities.

I believe that an integrative model provides the most accurate resolution to this debate. Essentially, my approach is that gender (being masculine or feminine) encompasses a variety of domains including personality traits (consistent ways of being in the world), gender role (attitudes, behaviors, and self-presentation), and self-concept (identities and beliefs); and is determined by a complex blend of nature and nurture influence. We will look at these in more depth in the other sections.