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Biology Versus Culture view

Culture View

According to sociologist Cynthia Fuchs Epstein the differences between the behavior of males and females are solely the result of social factors specifically, socialization and social control. According to her the anthropological record shows greater equality between the sexes in the past. In earlier societies, women, as well as men, hunted small game, made tools, and gathered food. In hunting and gathering societies, the roles of both women and men are less rigid.

This proves that hunting and gathering societies exist in which women are not subordinate to men. Anthropologists claim that in these societies women have a separate but equal status. When these socially constructed barriers are removed, women's work habits are similar to those of men. The types of work that men and women do in each society are determined not by biology but by social arrangements.

This division of work by gender serves the interests of men, and both informal customs and formal laws enforce it. Biology "causes" some human behaviors, but they are related to re- production or differences in body structure. Female crime rates are rising in many parts of the world. This indicates that aggression, which is often considered a male behavior dictated by biology, is related instead to social factors.

Biology View

Sociologist Steven Goldberg questions the premise that anyone should doubt "the presence of core-deep differences in males and females, differences of temperament and emotion of masculinity and femininity."

Goldberg's argument is that it is not environment but inborn differences that give masculine and feminine direction to the emotions and behaviors of men and women. The anthropological record shows that all societies are patriarchies Stories about long-lost matriarchies are myths.

In all societies, past and present, the highest statuses are associated with men. In every society, "hierarchies overwhelmingly dominated by men" rule politics. Male dominance of society is "an inevitable resolution of the psychophysiological reality." Socialization and social institutions merely reflect and sometimes exaggerate inborn tendencies.