Biological sex : male / female

biological and social factors that affect sexual identity is so intertwined that would have required Herculean efforts for their unraveling.Imagine that you have just had a baby, but at the maternity hospital is forbidden to inform parents of the baby gender.Perhaps you have experienced strong impatience.It would be caused by your passionate desire to find out the sex of the child.But why is it so important to you?Very simply - with the birth of children, we consciously or unconsciously treat them differently depending on their gender.From the moment of birth, children are becoming aware of their gender.

Physical differences

Of course, there are some physical differences between the sexes.Male babies usually slightly longer and heavier than girls, their muscles a little bit stronger than girls;In addition, as a rule, they are the heart and lungs are also larger.By the age of 18 women muscle strength by almost 50 per cent lower than men's.female babies usually start to walk, talk earlier than boys, in

addition, they used to cut through bones and teeth develop;girls reach sexual maturity at one to two years earlier than boys.However, some of these differences may be due not only to biological agents;boys stronger muscles can form because they are more encouraged to engage in sports than girls.

relatively short life expectancy of men is probably partly due to the wars, accidents, stress arising at work in the atmosphere of competition.Due to changes in sexual roles, these differences probably are also subject to change.

Biological basis of sex

Formation floor begins at conception.When merging sperm and egg combined 23 chromosomes father and mother 23 chromosomes to form a new set of 46 chromosomes of a child.Sperm can carry a sex chromosome X or Y and the egg only the X chromosome.Set of 46, XX is the code of the female, and a set of 46, XY- men.Chromosomes contain all the information necessary to build a complex and unique organism.

next stage in the development of sex becomes the formation of gonads.This process begins with the sixth week of embryonic development.Up to this point to determine the sex by external signs is impossible, because they are vague, uncertain.Both sexes single source of development, and only if the embryo is present male Y-chromosome, there is a transformation of indeterminate sex glands in the testes, and it is possible the emergence of the male body.During this transformation is responsible specific H-Y antigen, which is on the male chromosome.If not, then at 12 week of embryo development it is automatically included the formation of the female gonads - ovaries.

subsequent development of internal and external genitalia is determined by sex hormones, which soon begins to produce just emerged gonads (testes or ovaries).This third stage in the development of sex begins at the end of the second month of fetal life.Only under the influence and with a sufficient amount of the male hormone - testosterone - formed the typical male genitalia, and in case of lack of alternative develop female sex organs.Now it should be noted that in the male and female body hormones are present both sexes (in small quantities, they are produced by the adrenal glands).The differences are only in their proportions: women have more female hormones and, on the contrary, men - men.Hormones are carried by the blood throughout the body and are a very powerful and effective tool for the control and co-ordination, development and operation of various cells, organs and body systems.

crucial in the development of an organism belongs andro-genes (male hormones) in some node, the so-called critical periods of fetal development.This is the period during which the development can go for any option - male or female, and if there is no additional impact is applied in the form of male hormones, or they will not be enough, the body independently implementing the program of formation of the female fetus.The first such period is associated with the formation of the genital organs (3-4-th month of pregnancy) and is responsible for their "look".

next critical period is associated with the formation of the sexual orientation of the brain (probably on 4-7-th month of fetal development).It is less visible, but can seriously affect the whole destiny of man.Functionally, immature developing brain structures under the influence of hormones become irreversible capacity for the formation and regulation of certain physiological processes in the body (including sexual dysfunction), readiness to implement some behavioral programs.There is a period of "constructing" male or female hypothalamus (brain center responsible for the integrity of the body's reaction).

Sex ratio.While theoretically the amount of "male» (Y) and the "female» (X) chromosomes equally during conception ratio of male and female zygote is 160 to 100 (1), the time of implantation is the ratio comes already to 120 to 100 (2), and at the moment of birth, the light appears 107 boys to 100 girls (3).

Under the influence of testosterone male brain becomes more and more difficult due to increased growth of the gray matter of the cerebral cortex.With the influence of hormones on the brain associated with the development of a number of psychological characteristics of men and women: language abilities and better communication skills, emotional interaction, fine motor skills in women;benefits men in logical, analytical and visual-spatial tasks in solving mathematical problems.Testosterone reduces the development of the right brain and left-brain enhances specialization, leads to a greater level of aggression in men.Sex hormones contribute to the emergence polospetsificheskogo (characteristic of the floor) behaviors affect the programming of sexual orientation.

A. On the 6th week of pregnancy vulva embryos not yet characterized.

B. At 7-8 week of pregnancy there is a future extension of the penis and the female fetus membrane disappears and opens primitive vagina.

B. By 11-12 weeks' gestation in a male fetus grows together median seam, while the female - external genitalia become distinctive look.

Formation of the external genitalia of the fetus.On the seventh week of fetal development of the sex organs begin to be transformed under the influence of sex hormones.In a male fetus under the influence of the Andes-Rogen folds, which in female embryos turn into labia, form the body of the penis.Genital tubercle develops in women in the clitoris, and men become the head of the penis.abdominal folds become the labia majora in women and give rise to the scrotum in men.

Formation of the internal reproductive organs of the fetus:

A. On the 6th week of pregnancy, male and female rudiments of internal genital organs do not differ from each other.

B. At the 8th week of pregnancy, the fetus formed in the male testicles start to allocate two active ingredients: an inhibitor of Müllerian ducts leads to atrophy and disappearance of the ducts themselves and testosterone stimulates the development of the Wolffian ducts to the epididymis, vas deferens and seminal vesicles.In the absence of male hormones (as is the case in a female fetus) Mueller you ducts develop into the uterus, fallopian tubes and the inner third of the vagina, and the Wolffian ducts dissolve and disappear.

B. moved into the scrotum, and the female fetus from Mueller tubes formed foul lopievye pipes, which will move the egg into the uterus of the 40th week of pregnancy, the male sex gland.

gender identity and ideals: masculinity / FEMINITY

Most members of the public believe in the conventional gender ideals - idealized representations about the purpose, behavior, and feelings of men and women.Children who do not meet these ideals, call tomboy and sissy.The girl was called a tomboy when she was self-confident, he loves to compete with others and interested in sports;sissy boy feel if it is sensitive and prone to empathy, he does not like football and running away instead of fighting back.Children who called a tomboy or a sissy, soon realize that their behavior is frowned upon, they often react to negative reinforcement and begin to carry themselves according to their sex.

negative reaction to "inappropriate" behavior is not the only factor influencing the development of gender identity.Maccoby and Jacklin suggest that it affects three main processes: modeling, reinforcement and samosotsializatsiya.


In this process, the children imitate the behavior of adults.First imitate the man who more than anyone else cares about them - my mother or another person (usually a female), to give them a lot of attention, such as babysitter, housekeeper or employee of the manger.Although, as a rule, fathers spend with their children is much less time than mothers, the majority of children largely take their lead and with his father, and mother, and later with family friends, teachers and the people they see on TV.

interesting to note that when the models of both sexes are close by, young children do not necessarily mimic the behavior of an adult of the same sex.Studies show that preschoolers and pupils of elementary grades, involved toys, "relevant" to their sex, and prefer to be friends with children of their own sex, generally tend to imitate adults having power and authority, irrespective of their sex.For example, if children have the choice of a role model between mother, cooking dinner at home, a man and a chef working in the restaurant, and boys and girls are more inclined to imitate the chef skills.

Nancy Chodorova argues that most modeling is carried out in the early childhood.She believes that the tender ideals differences persist due to one of a kind of intimacy between mother and daughter."Under the influence of early experiences of girls and boys, to feel feminine care, formed an expectation that mothers interests are fully focused on children and the main point of their life associated with care for the welfare of children.

Daughters grow up identifying themselves with their mothers, in accordance with these expectations ... As a result, maternal care, experienced in childhood, the girls certainly laid the desire for maternal care of the babies, and they will be ready to assume the long-term care of children ".

Psychoanalytic research has shown that in the early stages of the socialization of boys and girls identify with their mothers.In the later stages of the girls tend to retain their attachment to the mother;boys begin to converge with their fathers or other strong male personalities.Thus, the boy has to change its orientation in the period when he is in need of emotional support, and therefore there can be problems.Hederingtona studies suggest that under the influence of a strong masculine identity formed by his father the boy.In addition, we can assume that the domineering mother may prevent rapprochement young son with his father.


This concept is associated with rewards and punishments.Parents are encouraged to conduct appropriate sex of the child, and expressed disapproval of inappropriate behavior: boys are praised, if they have learned to throw a ball 50 feet on;adults usually grumble when full girl eat a second lunch portion.Probably, the boys often praise and abuse than girls.This is especially true when it comes to common patterns of behavior corresponding to the floor.Parents are more concerned if their children behave like a sissy, than when their daughters behave tomboy.While parents tend to blame lack of independence of the boys, they allow girls to be dependent on others and even disapprove of it.As a result, the boys learn the principle that you should rely on their own achievements, to gain self-esteem, while the girls' self-esteem depends on how they are treated others.

Maccoby and Jacklin found that strangers to a greater extent than their parents perceive the child on the basis of generally accepted stereotypes of sexual behavior.Parents know their child's individual characteristics and take them into account.Strangers are people who do not know the child, expect him to behave "like a boy" or "like a girl."


This process, which wrote Lawrence Kohlberg, due to the fact that children "do prepare themselves for life in society" based on verbal and non-verbal social interaction.Like actors, trying to find a different interpretation of the role, the children reproduce the tricky behavior, rough and generous, etc.people - these are the criteria for responses peers.Gradually, getting into thousands of situations in life, children begin to realize that the implementation of certain samples is respected or condemnation of others.

While in some cases this process reflects the standards of their parents, samosotsializatsiya has its identity.This partly explains the fact that sometimes children sprouting gender identity does not correspond to the wishes and expectations of their parents.

ideals and identity

During the three just discussed processes (modeling, reinforcement and samosotsializatsii) children learn to recognize themselves as girls or boys, they have formed the concept of "masculinity" and "femininity".As the formation of such behavior at the same time add up gender identity and ideals.Children begin to consider their behavior "natural" because they are boys or girls.Most of us usually undoubtedly identify themselves as male or female, but there is some lack of clarity on how to behave to men or to women, how formed male or female gender identity of the individual.

The table shows the psychological differences between men and women.

fact that gender identity and ideals are not always consistent with each other.For example, homosexuals inherent gender identity, but they do not feel a romantic attraction to women, personifying tender ideal man.This behavior is typical for transvestites, people who both are men's and women's clothing - they are aware of their biological sex, but their behavior does not conform to generally accepted ideals Any doctor emergency can tell you about men who wear underwear with lace under the three-piece suit.Finally, transsexuality phenomenon also indicates a lack of automatic matching between gender identity and ideals.

sexual role "man's place" / "A woman's place»

We have discussed the concept of biological sex, gender identity and gender ideals - the first three components of sexual identity.The fourth component is related to sexual roles.They correspond to the expectations of behavior that defines the status of men and women in society.With regard to gender roles, the biological factors do not determine the destiny of man - not to say that the ability to procreate limits in all societies women purpose household and taking care of the family hearth.For example, earlier in America pregnant usually went to work and stayed at home for twenty years, they are often housewives stayed forever.Currently, women usually take a three- or six-month leave of absence for child care, and then start to work.While in America, this change occurred only recently, in other countries for a long time there has been a similar trend.

Margaret Mead dealt a crushing blow to the belief that men and women are "by nature" created for certain roles.She wrote about it in his book "Sex and Temperament," which presented its observations lives of three tribes in New Guinea.At baseline, Mead was convinced that there are some fundamental differences between the sexes.