The society in which we live in plays an enormous role in shaping the different attitudes and behavior of all those who are a part of it. These differences are reflected most strongly perhaps in the development of certain gender-related social roles and behavior traits. Within every society, gender is a socially constructed term, and the development of gender roles often begins as early as infancy. .
Gender is socially constructed to make clear distinctions between the two sexes, and to define their characteristics through gender roles. Culture shapes much of what people consider masculine or feminine (Williams, 1983). In most societies, the "feminine" is usually characterized by delicacy, sensitivity, innocence, compassion, and care for others. The "masculine," however, is characterized by strength, aggressiveness, independence, intelligence, and hard work. A clear representation of this is demonstrated in an experiment conducted by Condry and Condry, in which couples were asked to describe a newborn infant. If the couple was told the infant were a boy, they would describe the newborn using words such as strong, mischievous, and alert. In contrast, if the couple was told the infant were a girl, it would commonly be described as weak, beautiful, and delicate. A similar experiment had been done by Rubin (1974), in which parents described their newborn child and produced the same results. The babies actually showed no differences in height, weight, or health. The results from both experiments show that the differences in the response to the baby's gender seem to be based on gender-role stereotypes and that gender-role socialization begins at birth. .
There are many sources that contribute to the development of gender roles. Already mentioned is the influence of the parents' expectations for their sons and daughters. According to Jeanne Block (1983), "parents give their girls roots, and their boys wings.