Sex Differences

In the United States, a real boy climbs trees, disdains girls, dirties his knees, plays with soldiers, and takes blue for his favorite color. A real girl dresses dolls, jumps rope, plays hopscotch, and takes pink for her favorite color. When they go to school, real girls like English and music and "auditorium": real boys prefer manual training, gym, and arithmetic. In college the boys smoke pipes, drink beer, and major in engineering or physics; the girls chew Juicy Fruit gum, drink cherry Cokes, and major in fine arts. The real boy matures into a "man's man" who plays poker, goes hunting. drinks brandy, and dies in the war: the real girl becomes a "feminine" woman who loves children, embroiders handkerchiefs, drinks weak tea and "succumbs" to consumption (Brown, 1965, p. 141; emphasis in original)

This example is a somewhat whimsical and obviously stereotyped description of the sexes, even those of bygone days. Such caricatures ignore the wide range of differences, within as well as between the sexes, differences that vary with age, physical features, culture, and other biological and socio-cultural variables. On the average, however, males differ significantly from females in many ways other than anatomically, and the opinion of many people is aptly expressed in the cliché, "Viva la difference!"

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