Sample Cultural Studies Paper on Cultural Background Impact on My Life

Communities today are divided on the place of nature and nurture in the development of beliefs and practices. While some believe nature determines the characteristics of different genders, others think that it is nurturing that affects how males and females behave. There are several theories that explain the development of behavior and character in different genders, such as sociobiology and social learning theory, among others. Theorists believe that understanding why men have different character attributes from women can be facilitated by comprehending the role played by genetics, environment, and different developmental stages. Social learning and sociobiology concepts are important in understanding behavior and character among different genders because they offer varied theories about how behavior and character are developed between males and females.

I am a Hispanic born to a monogamous family, and we live in the same compound with my extended family. I was born and raised in Brooklyn and, apart from my mother, father, and other siblings, we also live with my grandparents. My aunts and uncles do not live far away from us, and we meet during the weekends for family dinner. Hispanics Value family because they believe that family is the only unit that is usually helpful in times of difficulties. Moreover, the Hispanic culture, men and women are free to mingle. Women are mainly the homemakers, while the men are the breadwinners (Arreola & Association of American Geographers, 2005). I remember growing up seeing my mother and grandmother take charge of the house chores while my father and grandfather would go out in the morning and come back in the evening with dinner. Therefore, in traditional Hispanic culture, men are the breadwinners, while women are homemakers.

Times have changed, and now Hispanics have let go of some of their gender traditions. For example, gender equality is encouraged, and different types of families exist, just like in many other communities. In the past, it was hard to see single Hispanic parents, but currently, several people are divorced, and many people have children before they are married. I have an aunt who is a single parent following a divorce, and my family does not treat her any differently than our married aunts. Moreover, women are now taking up roles that were previously considered to be male-dominated due to a shift in gender roles expectations. The standard definition of a family is people in a committed relationship and living together, who deeply care for one another, and they may or may not have children, and they have deep emotional ties with each other (Benokraitis, 2012). Although I was brought up in the traditional family, my family does not ignore the fact that times have changed. Nevertheless, my grandparents are of the opinion that a family should consist of a man, a woman, and children, which indicates that some people still hold traditional beliefs.

I prescribe to the Catholic faith, and I believe that religion has helped me keep an open mind about the changes occurring in families as well as a shift in gender roles. Akers & Jennings (2016) in their work “Social learning theory”  indicate that individuals develop beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors through their interactions with other people and social institutions (. The article collaborates the same findings found in Benokraitis article “marriages & families: changes, choices and constraints” that culture affects how people perceive and interpret life events. Religion teaches that all individuals are born equal before God despite their gender, and thus I have grown up believing that men and women are equal. Moreover, my family has taught me that both genders are equally important despite the chores they choose to perform, so I do not view any of the genders as superior to the other. It would be inaccurate to state that there exists no difference in behavior and character among men and women since I have witnessed these differences among genders. Sociobiology theory explains that genetics affect the way people behave and interpret situations. Wilson (2000)“Sociobiology: The new synthesis” also makes the same findings as Benokraitis that genetic make up also affects the behavior and attitudes of different genders. According to sociobiology theory, men are more aggressive than women due to high testosterone, while women are perceived as caring due to low levels of the same hormone. However, I believe that upbringing has the biggest impact on how people behave and interact with each other.

Marriage is an important ritual that everyone ought to consider participating in because it helps to bring two families together. My parents, as well as grandparents, have always talked to me about the importance of family, and I look forward to the day I will get married. Marriage involves two individuals who are in a loving and caring relationship who want to make a commitment to each other through marriage, and I believe that is important because people are social beings. I believe in the institution of marriage because my parents and grandparents have been happily married for several years, and I hope I will get a spouse who will remain with me for the rest of our lives. However, marriage does not guarantee that individuals will remain committed to each other, and this is the reason why there is an increase in the number of divorce cases across the world (Benokraitis, 2012). While I believe that marriage works, I also know that it is not the case for all marriages. In fact, in the modern-day, a lot of marriages fail for different reasons. Clarke-Stewart & Brentano (2006) acknowledge that in today’s society marriage does not last and divorce rates are high just like Benokraitis states in his work. According to the authors infidelity, domestic violence, and the inability to remain committed to the same person are some of the reasons for high rates of divorce in recent years (Clarke-Stewart & Brentano, 2006). Although the divorce rates are an all-time high, I still believe in marriage, and I will get married someday because I want to try to have what my parents and grandparents have.

Completing this project has helped me to understand that there are several factors that determine human behavior and attitudes. Social learning theory has helped me understand that the community has an impact on the way that people behave and act. On the other hand, the sociobiology theory has enabled me to comprehend that genetics can also affect the behavior of men and women. Nevertheless, I believe that nurture has more of an impact than nature because many of the beliefs I have stemmed from my cultural background.

References

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Benokraitis, N. V. (2012). Marriages & families: Changes, choices and constraints. Boston, MA: Prentice Hall.

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Clarke-Stewart, A., & Brentano, C. (2006). Divorce: Causes and consequences. New Haven [Conn.: Yale University Press.

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Wilson, E. O. (2000). Sociobiology: The new synthesis. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.

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Arreola, D. D., & Association of American Geographers. (2005). Hispanic spaces, Latino places: Community and cultural diversity in contemporary America. Austin: University of Texas Press.

Akers, R. L., & Jennings, W. G. (2016). Social learning theory. Wiley Handbooks in Criminology and Criminal Justice, 230-240.