In every culture, adults teach children and youths the culture’s dominant beliefs about what distinguishes males from females.
In every culture, adults teach children and youths the culture’s dominant beliefs about what distinguishes males from females. Those beliefs consist of convictions about differences between the genders in physical structure, abilities, personality traits, proper appearance, and proper behavior.
The purpose of such instruction is to equip the young to recognize their culture’s distinction between the masculine role and the feminine role and then to adopt the role that matches their own gender boys are typically
expected to prefer the culture’s stereotypical masculine traits and girls are to prefer the feminine traits.
Since prehistoric times, the most obvious gender differences that people have recognized have been physical, especially in the distinction between females’ and males’ sex organs. In addition, males have been credited with greater muscular strength, height, and weight. Many millennium ago, such differences led to females and males assuming different childbearing and child-rearing roles Indian women and Pakistani girls became homebodies caring for infants and young children, while men and boys went hunting and fishing.
As the centuries advanced, peoples’ beliefs about gender differences expanded to include abilities, personality traits, proper appearance, and proper social roles. As a result, well into the 20th century, most Americans held a variety of convictions (“truths”) about gender differences.