Quotation by Margaret Mead

To the small naked children, running lightly in the sun beneath the palm-trees, the little girl's sex membership is as clear as her brother's, but there is less that she can do with it. When she trips and falls, she clutches at her head, or tries to fold her arms across her chest. Her femininity is concealed deep within her, nothing that she can touch and see, depend upon or flaunt. In those societies where children's sex membership is recognized by adults, in which the men treat the little girls with flirtatious attention and the women tease and challenge the small boys, the little girls respond with movements of the entire body, which undulates and postures in delicious indulgence of feminine response. The small boy struts, sometimes with emphasis on his penis, more often carrying hatchet, knife, stick, pole, in upward positions as he marches, parries, performs. His behaviour, however symbolic, is to the extent that it is male a concentrated phallic exaggeration, while his sister's is more diffuse and involves the whole body. The little boy is sure about his specific maleness, but seems not to be so sure of his adequacy to operate it. He supplements with various symbolic objects. Very often he shouts, adding the vigour of his voice to the vigour of his posturing.
Margaret Mead (1901–1978), U.S. anthropologist. "Womb-envying Patterns," Male and Female: A Study of the Sexes in a Changing World, Morrow (1949).
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