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Biological Limits of Gender Construction


Udry, J. Richard (2000). Biological Limits of Gender Construction. American Sociological Review, 65(3), 443-457.


A biosocial theory of gender is constructed on both the macro and micro levels. A micro-model of within-sex differences among females integrates the biological model current in primatology with the prevailing social science model. It shows how sex differences in hormone experience from gestation to adulthood shape gendered behavior (that is, behavior that differs by sex). On the macro level, this model also illustrates how socialization and environment shape gendered behavior. It then demonstrates how hormone experiences can facilitate or dampen the effects of socialization and environment on gendered behavior. Data are from a sample of women who were studied from before they were born to the end of their third decade. I speculate about the constraints placed by biology on the social reconstruction of gender.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

American Sociological Review


Udry, J. Richard