Gender Genesis

Is it a Boy or a Girl?
The first question that is ever asked about most human beings in
America and much of the world is related to gender: "is it a boy
or a girl?" While technically this is a question about the sex of the
child, the sex of an infant is relatively unimportant. What is
critical is how people will relate to the child socially in terms of
gender; whether the infant is called "he" or "she" tells you
whether to buy blue or pink clothes, whether to plan for football
or ballet, and whether the child will be the bread winner or the
bread buyer.

In some cases, gender identity is begun even before birth. In
Rigoberta Menchú: An Indian Woman in Guatemala, Menchú
said that among her people a child was introduced to the world in
the seventh month of pregnancy, told and shown the daily
routines of the sexes, and told never to abuse nature. In the U.S.,
Native American traditions and those of Spanish,
English-speaking European, Asian and African people all
influence the construction and view of gender. But everywhere,
the construction of gender image is affected by historical factors,
political systems that are often patriarchal, and social forces that
determine how that child is raised and what he or she will be
exposed to.