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Gender Differences

The words gender and sex are two different words with two different meanings that are, nonetheless, often confused and used interchangeably; the word gender is thought to be a softer, more polite way to talk about sex, particularly sexual differences between men and women. Sex, however, refers to the biological distinction of male and female (i.e., his sex is male; her sex is female), whereas gender refers to cultural aspects of masculine and feminine, the degree to which and how one understands what it means to be male or female. To illustrate, many languages (e.g., French, German, Spanish) assign gender to nouns (e.g., in Spanish, the noun la casa “house” is feminine, whereas el reo “river” is masculine). Many people believe that there are differences ...

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