Gender and Behavior

Topics: Gender, Gender role, Male Pages: 4 (1482 words) Published: June 7, 2006
Gender and Behavior

When examining human diversity in the United States or any other society, it is important to first understand the criteria commonly used for making group distinctions. There are many ways in which diversity and complexity can be explained. These generally are based on cultural and/or biological factors. So what defines gender? When put into a biological category, it is meaningless because gender is socially constructed and defined mildly different in each society. Gender cannot be measured or tested, yet gender is the key factor to determining so many things in life. From the time a person is born, as soon as the sex is determined the parents begin to visualize what the life of the baby will be like as a girl or boy, man or woman. When humans speak of gender, they refer to differences among people from the characteristics that are expected to be exerted. Through family, peers, and mass media, society will simplify lives by dictating how a person is to look, what to wear, what names should be, whether or not that person can join a combat infantry and whom each can marry.

Though biological factors set the stage for the direction of one's physical being it is society that reinforces masculine and feminine qualities. Tradition has conditioned people to respond to individuals according to their sex. From birth, families add to the perception of what characteristics are considered as masculine and feminine. Traditionally, parents raised boys much differently than girls by giving each gender specific toys deemed appropriate by societal norms spread through media. Toys given to girls tend to be dolls and kitchen appliance replicas, such as an Easy-Bake Oven, which will prepare the girls for future "duties;" whereas, boys will play with toy cars and video games of violence or sports which will give the boys the masculine mindset necessary for future "success." Aaron Devor comments in "Gender Role Behaviors an Attitudes" about gender...
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