Michelle or Michael or Whatever
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This creative piece was written to explore self-discovery in a new age. College has become an experience that more and more people are going through as they attempt to invent or reinvent themselves, and the protagonist of my story struggles with the big questions people face at this stage of life. As she is feeling lost, she sees how her life could have been different, had chance or her choices been different. In one of these lives, she sees what her life could have been like had she been born genetically male. My question was: is biology or societal construct is what creates a person’s gender identity. I predicted that there would be a heavy biological influence to gender identity. Another question that is explored is that of sexuality, with the prediction that sexuality would be more fluid for women than men. These questions were researched through analyzing a mixture of gender theory research and biological gender studies. The thesis was upheld. In regards to sexual stimuli, straight women reacted with positivity when shown naked images of their same sex while men were averse to nude images of their same sex. Studies thus far have not pinpointed a chemical in the brain that influences sexuality for women as they have for men, indicating that homosexuality is a trait men are or are not born with while most women have some desire for both sexes. This research bred the decision that, though the female protagonist will struggle with her sexual, her male counterpart will not do the same. He will be a straight male because that is likely the genetic inclination he would have, as most men are straight. His life will be different, however, due to what he was able to do as a male in American society (football player instead of a dancer) and how he was raised. Finally, no question of gender identity will arise, as it is unlikely that both characters would have been exposed to the prenatal hormones that can cause transgenderism.
Arabia, Ashley (2019). Michelle or Michael or Whatever. Undergraduate Research Scholars Program. Available electronically from