Lecture 15 Sex and gender

Lecture 15 Sex and gender - Lecture 15 Outline 10/13/11...

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1 Lecture 15 Outline 10/13/11 Understanding sex Sex: the anatomical characteristics that distinguish the two forms of individuals, known as males and females, in many species whose interaction by coitus is required for reproduction. Sexual dimorphism: the phenomenon that the two sexes of a single population have two different forms of size and appearance. Human beings are sexually dimorphic ---- that is, the females and males in our species are generally different in size and appearance. In addition to the primary and secondary sexual characteristics, females and males generally differ from each other in: Females: - typically shorter - proportionately wider pelvises - larger proportion of body weight in fat Males: - typically taller and heavier skeletons - proportionately larger hearts and lungs
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- a larger proportion of body weight in muscle - greater grip strength and greater aerobic capacity Understanding gender Gender: the cultural definition of norms (attitudes and behaviors) considered appropriate for each sex. Gender is culturally constructed: While the biological distinction between female and male is common to all human societies and this distinction may inform the cultural definition of gender, the ways in which the distinction is understood and the meanings assigned to the distinction vary from culture to culture. Cultural definition of gender may differ in: - ways in which male and female bodies are distinguished - the supposed role that male and female play in reproduction - local understandings of the biological basis of the sexual differences - cultural attributes assigned to the masculine and the feminine - the importance attached to the differences The Minangkabau (in Perters-Golden pp. 142-157) West Sumatra of Indonesia is the home of the Minangkabau. Accounting for 90% of Sumatra’s population, the 4
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Lecture 15 Sex and gender - Lecture 15 Outline 10/13/11...

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