People adopt gender roles when they act according to widely shared
expectations about how males and females are supposed to act
•Expectations on how men and women are supposed to act has
only changed somewhat over the last 40 years
oEx. Boys in the 1960s-1970s were expected to hide their
emotions. Today it is true to a lesser extent, but boys still
learn that crying in public is associated with being a ‘sissy.’
oThere are pressures on individuals who don’t conform to gender roles. The
following highlight that biology alone does not define males or females.
Transgendered people are individuals who want to alter their gender by
changing their appearance or resorting to medical intervention.
•1 in every 5000 to 10000 Canadians are transgendered
Transsexuals are people who believe they were born in the wrong body;
they identify with the opposite sex and often go through procedures (i.e. to
have a sex-change operation).
•1 in 30000 Canadians
WHO classifies transgendered individuals as suffering a psychiatric
•Margarit Eichler points out that if masculinity and femininity were
less rigid, gender identity issues would not be seen as a problem
and sex-change operations would not be needed.
•Transgendered individuals are only seen as a ‘problem’ because
people don’t recognize intermediate sexes.
Evidence suggests gender reassignment tends to be successful before
the age of 18 months
Box 4.1: The Third Way: Refusing to Gender Identify
•Matt Lundie was born Fiona
oDoesn’t want to be a woman or a man but will begin taking
male hormones and undergo a mastectomy (removal of
boobs) but not genital reassignment