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July 27, 1946

Sex and the Social Order

JAMA. 1946;131(13):1102. doi:10.1001/jama.1946.02870300070028

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Among lower animals sex is primarily a matter of biology says Professor Seward, psychologist at Simmons College, Boston. As one ascends higher in the evolutionary scale the mere biologic aspects become less important, while the psychologic and social aspects emerge and in mankind are decisive. Since the cultural differences in the roles of the two sexes are largely traditional in our Western civilization and seem to be modified easily, she concludes that the attempt to put men and women into two different spheres on the basis of sex is not justifiable. In fact, she thinks the differences between men and women should not be emphasized as much as at present; both should be regarded as human beings primarily rather than primarily male or female. Men should accept more of the "feminine values," while women should be given access to much more of the world's work that has hitherto been largely monopolized by men. The main value of the book is in the enormous amount of material digested and summarized, covering the development of sexuality, its manifestations in human beings and its educational and social ramification. The well written treatment includes some original contributions of the author and will be a convenient and authoritative source of material for those concerned with the relationships between the sexes in any part of the animal kingdom or at any age in the human species.

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