Ganga Anand: “Sex and Temperament”. Male and Female

Mead, Margaret. “Sex and Temperament”. Male and Female. HarperCollins Publishers Inc. 2001. 119-30. Print.

This chapter “Sex and Temperament” from the book Male and Female not only talks about the primary sex membership, that is, a child’s acceptance of his or her own sexual inclination, but also answers the question growing children have, “how male?” or “how female?” She talks about how by putting a group of humans, in two groups of Masculine and Feminine, there will be others who seem to fall in the middle, to display fewer of pronounced physical features that are more characteristic of one sex than of the other.

In the latter half of the chapter, Mead also talks about identifying the most “girlish” among a group of boys and the most “boyish” among a group of little girls and also about how they would be the easiest to “train into identification of the opposite sex”. This is a rather strong statement to make as this classifies tomboy like girls and slightly effeminate boys as homosexuals, and that might not be the case with all of these children. Mead ends this chapter, by talking about the differences(physical) among people across cultures. She talks about how Balinese woman would be “boyish” with their narrow hips compared to the Western women.


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