Nature vs nurture is a debate I really like to take part in because I find the whole subject so fascinating.
I believe in nurture.
I honestly believe that given the right environment a person can grow up to be very different to one who grows up in another environment.
In college I studied sociology, where we discussed various things around socialisation, the norms and values that are instilled in us from a young age. The fact that before we begin school our only real contact is with our families is significant. Then when we get out there, in the world, we are exposed to so many more different things.
I honestly believe that’s why the world has so many problems it has.
Racism, homophobia, it all comes from the people in your life. People aren’t born racist. Hitler wasn’t born a killer…and I think it’s completely absurd that there was backlash when Will Smith said the very same thing. Babies aren’t murderers. The only people who are murderers are the teenagers or adults that babies grow into.
To an extent, I do believe that sexuality can be considered nurture. I’m not saying that someone who is gay is only gay because of the environment they grew up in. I’m saying the opposite. That people grow up straight because they’re not exposed to a world which is full of and completely accepting of homosexuals.
Nobody ever asks “are you gay or straight?” they just assume you’re straight until you state otherwise.
What sort of message does that send to the next generation? That everyone is straight…unless someone tells you they’re not.
So if you grow up in a heterosexual family with little exposure to homosexual life then you don’t really get the opportunity to discover whether that’s something that fits for you.
In the same way that a child who grows up in a family where both parents are unemployed, they’re not going to grow up with much desire to push forwards with their lives and do something spectacular – like get a career, earn thousands of pounds. But had they been adopted at aged three, taken out of that environment and placed into a “better” (really, wealthier, more ‘intelligent’) family then maybe their outlook on life would be very different.
There are some things you can’t change no matter what and that’s your genes/hormones. There’s people out there who grow up to believe they’re one gender but actually when it comes down to it they’re not very comfortable in their skin – that’s more to do with the hormone levels that are in their body, fighting with the nurture that they’ve been given, to believe that they’re one gender when their body is telling them they’re another.
That, in my opinion, is where nature is more significant…but most other things in life, it’s got to be nurture for me.