Gender over the Life Cycle

What are the cultural names for stages in the life cycle? Do they differ for the different genders? Which passages from one stage to another are publicly marked and how do they differ by gender? Any changes in rights and responsibilities accompanying the transitions?

Socialization of Boys and Girls. The aim of this section is to convey the ways in which boys and girls are reared similarly or differently from infancy through childhood by parents and other socialization agents (extended families, other kin, neighbors, peers). Are boys and girls valued equally, or are there cultural ways that convey a preference? What are the expectations that parents and other caretakers have for boys and girls? Which traits do they value in boys and girls? Do they expect different behaviors or work? Do boys and girls have different patterns of play, games, or leisure? Are there different rites and rituals in infancy and childhood for boys and girls? Do caretakers educate, instruct, or discipline boys and girls differently? Who are the major caretakers? Are there differences or similarities in formal education or apprenticeship? If there are few obvious differences in socialization, this section discusses the common features of socialization. (How boys and girls are introduced to sexuality, rules of modesty, or sexual expression is mostly discussed in a later section.)

Puberty and Adolescence. Is there a named stage for adolescence? Is there continuity in socialization around the time of puberty or are there significant changes from childhood socialization? Similar questions raised in the previous section are addressed for this stage too, if the culture identifies a separate stage. Are there special rites or genital modifications that are not associated with the attainment of adulthood?

Attainment of Adulthood. This describes any special rites of passage marking the transition from boyhood to manhood and/or from girlhood to womanhood. If there are no special rites, when are the genders considered adults? What behavioral changes are expected with adulthood?

Middle Age and Old Age. Aside from adult roles described in later sections, are there any important gender changes associated with middle age and old age (such as changes in respect)?

Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

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