Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Nurture vs. Nature

Lately I have been thinking a lot about the Nurture vs. Nature argument. It has long been debated that our personalities are either a result of our own nature (meaning we are born with a predisposed personality) or as a result of the nurture we receive from our family and the environment we live in as we are growing up. Most people believe that it is some combination of the two that really determines what type of person we become. While nature may predetermine some personality traits like whether we are an introvert or an extrovert; the nurture we receive will encourage some personality traits and discourage others. The nurture portion of our rearing is what makes siblings have similar value systems despite having different personalities. 

India is an incredibly patriarchal society. Women here are often considered second class citizens, especially in the more rural parts of the country. Even if parents can afford to send their children to school, they are usually unwilling to spend that money on their daughters' education. Sons are the sought after child, the ones given the place of honor. Such gender discrimination is not new to me, but it is something that has never really pertained to me. My parents raised me to be a strong independent woman. They always told me I could do anything I wanted to, as long as I was willing to work for it. 

As I watch these girls accept their fate and their role within their families and Indian society, I can't help but wonder how different my life and my personality would be if I had been born here instead of in Bothell, WA. 
Would I still be a strong independent woman? Or would I be like a majority of the girls here who gladly accepts their role as house wife and baby maker?
 I would like to think that I would be different... that I would fight for my right to an education and try to act as a leader to other women in the area to do the same... But honestly there is no way of knowing. If nurture is half of what makes our personalities, then would my inherent nature as an adventuresome strong woman have been overridden by a society that normally oppresses such women. 

 Luckily for me, I have come to realize that the Nurture vs. Nature argument is irrelevant for me. Because I was born into a society and a family who encouraged me to be a strong woman and to dream big. I will never have to worry about being forced into a role I do not want to play. I have the freedom and the power to determine my own own life...And I couldn't be more grateful for that freedom which is denied to so many others, especially to other women. 

Today I am grateful for my freedom, my family, my childhood, and for the opportunity to be myself, a strong independent womn with big hopes and dreams. 

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