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CALLING WONDER WOMAN
Remember when you were a little girl and used to run around the house in just your Wonder Woman underoos and no shirt? Feeling so free and comfortable in your own skin before any of those pesky body issues had time to set in. Anyone? Okay maybe not everyone grew up with Wonder Woman, but for me it was the first time my mother presented the expectations of what girls should do and what boys should do. And turns out little girls are meant to wear shirts. Thus began my fascination (and occasional battle) with gender and the idea of gender roles.
Gender: Is it merely biology or culture? Are we—as females—preprogrammed with an identity at birth or is it something we learn from our parents and society? In her lecture, “Cracking the Gender Communication Code” Dr. Marianne J. Legato insists that it is a little bit of both. According to Dr Legato, an internationally recognized expert in gender-specific medicine, “sex determines our biology and our brains have a [gender] at birth.”
It doesn’t take a doctor to see that men and women function in completely different ways, like the never-ending battle over positioning of the toilet seat, but Dr. Legato believes human biology plays a role both, in forming gender identity and how humans decide what roles should be assigned to those identities. According to the Human Genome Project in 2000, genes express themselves differently in men and women, from how muscles react in each gender to the proteins they produce.