This article will provide you with what you need to understand the basic concept of gender identity and gender roles, how they are correlated, and the differences that set them apart. Hopefully, by the end of reading this short piece, you will be able to grasp the meaning of both terms and understand how they apply to certain life situations.
First, we’ll start by understanding the basic meaning of gender identity, which is the conscious or subconscious acknowledgment of one’s sex. Typically, it is what you adopt as your sex, whether deliberate or not; it’s essentially your psychological perspective towards your sexual identity.
For example, say an individual considers herself female and is comfortable addressing her gender in feminine terms, then we can say her gender identity is female.
However, while sex itself has always been medically considered binary (having male and female as the only option), gender identity explains a broader concept of sexuality. Granted that the difference between sex and gender identity isn’t the contention of this article, it is essential to make known beforehand that the meaning of gender identity in this article isn’t binary.
On the other hand, gender role is the expectations of society based on one’s gender identity. Typically, we can say it’s an attribute that has its standards set by the society, unlike gender identity, where the person gets to decide.
For example, say we’re considering a female individual, who shows the typical behavior expected from a female in terms of dressing, and attitude, then we can say her gender role is feminine. In this case, we say that her gender identity and gender role are congruous.
At any rate, most people will show congruity. Thus, gender role is often an expression of gender identity. However, this isn’t true for all instances, as in some cases, incongruity may arise; thus, there is a divergence between one’s gender identity and gender role.
Further Breaking It Down
To better understand and grasp the differences between gender identity and gender roles, we must consider the distinct definitions of both terms in detail.
Gender identity is one’s perception of their gender. It isn’t chosen based on the opinion of others; rather, everybody arrives at theirs from a psychological level. It can either be the same with the assigned sex of birth (male or female, or both or none from the variables entirely.
However, gender roles are characteristics and behaviors that society expects from individuals with specific gender identities. Nothing more than the stereotypical assumption of how people should behave.