Culture And Gender Roles
Sexual Dimorphism has led primates into different gender roles in their socities. Some of these role differences are biological and others are cultural. Here are some examples of cultures with different human gender roles:
You are born with your sex: you are male or you are female, based on your anatomical components. Although it might surprise you, gender is acquired. Gender is something you work for, are granted by a society. Although certain aspects of your gender are given at birth, such as ability to give birth to children, others are not. Who says that the men are the only ones who can go out and hunt the food?
The Tchambuli men were very feminine based on Western standards. They obsessed with art, beauty, and interior decorating. The women provided the sustenance of the tribe: they did the hunting. In the Arapesh both men and women equally shared tasks, both sexes equally provided for the children, hunted, and cleaned. The Mundugamor were hostile, aggressive, and uncompromising to their own tribe, outsiders, and even family. Neither the men or women behaved differently, there was essentially one gender.
Certain traits are given at birth, such as anatomical components, ability to bear children: there are also a few minor differences which perhaps help societies classify gender. Males are more aggressive than females, this is due to testosterone. Females have a poorer sense of direction then men. This begs the question of what came first: the chicken or the egg.
Are males typically the hunters because they have a better sense of direction, or were men always the hunters and evolved to have the sense of direction? Did males acquire testosterone to be more aggressive in combat situations, or did the testosterone push them into the combat situations?
Unfortunately, this question is as lacking of answers as that of the chicken and the egg. Part of the answer might be explained in sexual dimorphism. This is when different sexes have different sizes and shapes. Not all of our ancestors are sexually dimorphic. The Gibbon was not dimorphic, the Chimpanzee was moderately dimorphic, however the Gorilla and Homo Sapiens are both extremely dimorphic. Perhaps this points to a certain evolutionary chain which allows for roles in a society to be equally distributed based on sex.
Definitive answers are not available at the moment, only hypothesis.