03:21 GMT30 October 2020
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    With a pronounced gender-neutral approach now manifesting itself more often in all walks of life, Radio Sputnik has asked Gina Rippon, a neuroscientist and Professor Emeritus of cognitive neuroimaging at Aston University in Birmingham, to explain why so many people try to fight gender stereotyping.

    “Boys and girls of different ages seeking out ‘who am I?’ and ‘what can I do?’ in gender is an important sign in all cultures. The idea is that somebody who isn’t of much value in [a particular] culture, feels very vulnerable,” professor Rippon said. 

    With the problem of body image and a lot of bullying occurring on social networks, maybe this is why the whole neutral gender idea really came about.

    “I think that one of the ways you can cope with bullying is by being resilient, by removing the feeling of one being of lesser value or lacking self-esteem, Rippon noted.

    There has been a huge rise in the number of young people saying that they identify themselves as being of an opposite sex.

    “I think the notion of gender identity has been around for a long time. We know that people are interested in what gender they are. Society has always linked social gender very strongly to biological sex. There has always been an assumption that if a child was born a girl, there is a particular pathway associated with her biology, which is different from the pathway associated with a boy. And now there is this very strong pressure from society to characterize gender in a particular way, how you should look like, what you should be interested in. Children start feeling uncomfortable and thinking this has to do with their biology. So they might want to change it. ‘I don’t really feel like a girl, maybe I’m not actually a girl, so I need to change my biology," Rippon continued.

    She added that this has also prompted some boys to look at girls in a different way and treat them as equals.

    “There has been a change in some of the boys’ behavior towards girls [which in turn, has served to increase the girls feeling of self-esteem,” Gina Rippon said.

    Learn more about this in today's edition of our 'Weekend Special' program.

    The views expressed in this article are solely those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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