Gender Differences


Essay #2


Are gender differences biological or society influenced? This is one of the biggest questions that has baffled scientists since the begging of modern science. Is femininity and masculinity an innate trait, or are they shaped by society? We know the gender roles that are expected in Western society, but do other cultures expect the same? To make it possibel to discuss what differences betweent the sexes are based on physiology and what differences rest on cultural ideas and social organization, scientists have developed a some what special language. The term “sex” is applied to the biological distinction between females and males, and “gender” refers to the culural elaborattion placed on sex.



A gender role is defined as the different behaviors expected from those occupying the female and male status. These expectations are culturally specific; although woman are biologically similar in all parts of the world, the social roles they play very widly and are shaped by the society’s definition of gender. From the begginnig of birth, our future path has already been pre determind based on one’s sex. According to society’s norms, we are given appropiate names for either male or female. From the early years of life we are encouraged to act and play the way our gender is expected too.


From birth, a female child is shaped by society based on the assumptions about gender. She is seen as pretty, delicate, sweet and loving. Society assumes the development of personal qualities of caring, support, nurturing and consideration of others. As a woman, I can relate to this type of child rearing at first hand. In my early childhood years, I struggled with my role as a girl. I grew up in an enviroment consisting mostly of males, therefore I felt the need to take on the role of a little boy. My days consisted of participating in mostly male activities, where I would often come home covered from head to toe in mud. This type of behavior form a little girl was not excepted in my family, it was seen as “ unlady like”. My parents tried anything they could to try to convince me act like a little girl. They bought me barbies and hoola hoops, even thought I wanted tonka trucks and lego. They insisted that I wear dresses, but I wouldn’t have them on for a minute before they were covered in mud. My parents struggled for many years, but I eventually grew up to be the young lady that was ezpected of me. This personal experience, shows the conflict between being a female and acting like a male.


These female traits are expressed through a life long career that encompasses roles as daughter, sister, wife, mother and grandmother and in social roles that are much different that those of males. For a male, society assumes the development of toughness, aggressivness, determination, and independnece. These traits are carried through a life time of roles such as, son. Brother, husband, father and grandfather.


Culture results in the different treatment of boys and girls. Differnent techniques of child raising, help girls identify thmeselves as female and boys as male, in oder to take on the role play of the appropriate sex. But does biology have any influence in the differnces between men and woman?


Biology plays a major role in the differences between men and woman. Such differences betwwen the sexes arise, genetically, from differing sex chromosomes and physiologiaclly, from differing sex hormones.Genetically speaking, men carry a X and Y chromosome and woman carry two X chromosomes. This chromosome difference accounts for the physical differences between men and woman, such as body composion. Men are typically taller and heavier then woman, for a greater precentage of their body wieght is muscle. By having a physical advantage over woman, this could expian why men are more aggressive and independent then woman. Woman on the other hand are typically built with lighter skeletons, and less physical strength then men. These physical characteristics in woman, help to explain why woman are less aggressive and more dependent then men. Woman are built to bear childeren and to nuture, whereas men are built to protect and to provide.


Sex hormones influence