Explain Cultural Variations in Gender Roles

Explain Cultural
Variations in Gender
Patrick Bradley
IB Psychology HL
Margaret Mead
The main study that focused around
cultural variations in gender roles, is
Margaret Meads study of three tribes in
New Guinea in 1935. Her findings
ultimately suggest that gender roles can
vary from culture to culture.
Tribe 1, The Arapesh
Here, men and women were kind and
gentle and therefore displayed female
gender stereotypes and both genders
shared chores relating to raising crops
and caring for children.
Tribe 2, the Mundugumor
Both the men and women were arrogant,
competitive, and emotionally
unresponsive thus displaying male gender
stereotypes. Neither the men or the
women were interested in child rearing
and so the children quickly became self
Tribe 3, the Tchambuli
Here, traditional gender roles were
reversed. The men spent most of their
time discussing things like bodily
adornments with other men, while the
women were responsible for food
production and making tools and clothes.
Obviously all three of these tribes had
varying gender roles for men and women.
 These tribes all were within 100 miles of
each other, therefore Mead’s study
suggests that there is cultural variation in
gender roles.

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