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Sex, Gender & Culture. Males & Females . Facts that separate these two groups are carried out largely among all species Different reproductive organs. Sex, Gender & Culture. No society we know treats females and males exactly the same Females usually have fewer advantages to males

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males females
Males & Females
  • Facts that separate these two groups are carried out largely among all species
  • Different reproductive organs
sex gender culture1
Sex, Gender & Culture
  • No society we know treats females and males exactly the same
    • Females usually have fewer advantages to males
  • Gender Concepts
    • U.S. & many western societies
      • Only two genders
        • Assigned at birth based on external biological attributes
      • Not all individuals feel comfortable with their gender assignments
male female division
Male-Female Division
  • Very common cross-culturally
  • Cheyenne Native Americans of the Great Plains recognize a third gender
    • Referred to by as “two spirits”
    • Usually biological males
      • Gender status of a “two spirit” was often recognized after a boy finished his vision quest
      • During pre adolescent years
two spirits
      • Wear women’s dress
      • Take on many activities of a woman
      • May even be taken as a second wife by a man
      • Unknown if they engaged in sexual activities
  • Role of a “Two Spirit” person was not equivalent to becoming a woman
    • Two spirit females are rare
      • Have occurred in a number of Native American populations such as the Kasha of Yukon Territory, the Klamath of Southern Oregon, and the Mohave of the Colorado River
the oman
The Oman
  • Arab state in southwest Asia on the southeast coast of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to the northwest, Saudi Arabia to the west, and Yemen to the southwest.
oman xaniths
Oman Xaniths
  • Anatomically male
  • Speak of themselves as women
  • Have own distinct dress


  • Wear white
  • Short hair
  • Women
  • Wear bright colors & patterns
  • Long hair
  • Secluded in house
  • Can only leave house with husbands permission
  • Xaniths
  • Wears unpatterned pastels
  • Mid-length hair
  • Free to come & go from household
  • May serve as servant
  • May serve as prostitute
xaniths cont
Xaniths Cont.
  • Gender role is not necessarily forever
  • May decide to marry
    • Considered a “man” if marriage is consumated
physique physiology
Physique & Physiology
  • Wider pelvis
  • Larger proportion of weight in fat
  • Typically taller
  • Heavier skeleton
  • Larger proportion of weight in muscle
  • Greater grip strength
  • Larger heart & lungs
  • Greater aerobic capacity



men v women
Men v. Women
  • North American culture tends to view “taller” and “more muscular” as better…

This may reflect a bias toward males

natural selection s role in physique physiology
Natural Selection’s Role in Physique & Physiology
  • Natural selection: The process whereby organisms better adapted to their environment tend to survive and produce more offspring.
  • Women grow taller sooner
    • Bear children
      • Less ultimate height so that the nutritional needs of a fetus would not compete
      • With a growing mother’s needs.
gender roles productive domestic activities
Gender Roles: Productive & Domestic Activities
  • all societies assign or divide labor somewhat differently between males and females
strength theory
Strength Theory
  • Focuses on the generally greater strength of males and their superior capacity to mobilize their strength in quick bursts of energy
compatability with child care
  • Emphasis on women’s tasks needed to be compatible with child care
    • WHY
  • Males can take care of infants
  • Most traditional societies rely on breast feeding

Chaz Bono

Portia de Rossi

Ricky Martin

Tyler Clementi

Ted Haggard

gender roles cont
Gender Roles Cont.
  • In most societies women breast feed infants for two years on average
  • Women’s tasks may be those that do not take them far from home for long
    • Tasks that do not place children in potential danger
    • Tasks that can be stopped and resumed if an infant needs care
compatibility with child care cont
Compatibility-With-Child-Care Cont.
  • There are practically no universal female only roles/activities because of the need for nursing and child care
  • Also explain why men perform
    • Hunting
    • Fishing
    • Collecting honey
    • Lumbering
    • Mining
      • Tasks are dangerous for infants
      • Difficult to coordinate with child care
why do men almost always
Why do men almost always….
  • Perform soil preparation for planting
  • Make objects out of wood/bone
    • These are all tasks that could be stopped to tend a child
        • SO WHY???
economy of effort theory
Economy-of-Effort Theory
  • Helps explain what cannot readily be explained by the strength and compatibility theories
  • May be advantageous for men to make wooden musical instruments because men generally lumber
    • More knowledge
    • Know physical properties of wood
eoe theory cont
EoE Theory Cont
  • It would be advantageous for one gender to perform tasks that are physically located near each other
  • Women have to be near home to take care of nursing and young children
  • Economical for them to perform chores near home
expendability theory
Expendability Theory
  • Suggests that men, rather than women, will tend to the dangerous work in a society
    • Loss of men is less disadvantageous reproductively than loss of women
critics of strength theory
Critics of Strength Theory
  • Point out that women in some societies do engage in very heavy labor
  • If women in these areas can develop the strength to do such work, perhaps strength is more a function of training
critics of compatibility theory
Critics of Compatibility Theory
  • Suggests labor is divided to conform to the requirements of child care
  • However, women who spend a good deal of time in agricultural work have others watch their children
    • Wet nurses