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A gender role is a set of social and behavioral norms that, within a specific culture, are widely considered to be socially appropriate for individuals of a specific sex. The perception of gender roles includes attitudes, actions, and personality traits associated with a particular gender within that culture. Coinage of the term is credited to John Money in a 1955 paper. Gender roles are predominantly considered within a family context as well as within society in general and may collectively be referred to as gender stereotypes.
Gender roles are culture based, and while most cultures distinguish only two genders (boy and girl or man and woman), some recognize more. Androgyny, for example, has been proposed as a third gender. Other societies have been claimed to see more than five genders, and some non-Western societies have three genders – man, woman and third gender. Gender expression refers to the external manifestation of a person's gender identity, through masculine, feminine, or gender-variant or gender-neutral behavior, clothing, hairstyles, or body characteristics.
There is ongoing debate as to which gender differences in behavior and personality are due to innate personality of the person and which are due to cultural or social factors, and are therefore the product of socialization, or to what extent gender differences are due to biological and physiological differences.
- Eleanor Emmons, Maccoby (1966). "Sex differences in intellectual functioning". The Development of Sex Differences. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press. pp. 25–55. ISBN 978-0-8047-0308-6.
- Graham, Sharyn (2001), Sulawesi's fifth gender, Inside Indonesia, April–June 2001.
- Roscoe, Will (2000). Changing Ones: Third and Fourth Genders in Native North America. Palgrave Macmillan (June 17, 2000) ISBN 0-312-22479-6
See also: Trumbach, Randolph (1994). London’s Sapphists: From Three Sexes to Four Genders in the Making of Modern Culture. In Third Sex, Third Gender: Beyond Sexual Dimorphism in Culture and History, edited by Gilbert Herdt, 111-36. New York: Zone (MIT). ISBN 978-0-942299-82-3
- Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. ‘’GLAAD Media Reference Guide, 8th Edition. Transgender Glossary of Terms", ‘’GLAAD’’, USA, May 2010. Retrieved on 2011-11-20.
- "What do we mean by "sex" and "gender"?". World Health Organization. Retrieved 2009-09-29.
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