Margaret Mead cultural differences/sex and gender
Margaret Mead’s study of three primitive societies in New Guinea (1935) • Mead noticed huge differences in the roles, behaviours and expectations of males and females
The Arapesh tribe • Males and females showed similar behaviours • Men and women were gentle and affectionate • Child rearing was shared equally
The Mundugomor tribe • Males and females showed similar behaviours • Men and women were aggressive and competitive • Children and child rearing were disliked
The Tchambuli tribe • Distinctive gender roles • Males were dependent, and spent lots of time grooming and making crafts • Women supported and managed the family and were more dominant.
Mead concluded that sex differences were cultural, not biological. However, critics say Mead exaggerated, even made up, the differences between the tribes. She later argued against some of her own ideas.