chapter  3
13 Pages

Preculture and Gender

ByMelford E. Spiro

Any attempt to assess the possible determinants of the counter-revolutionary changes that have occurred in the kibbutz movement in such institutions as marriage, the family, and sex-role differentiation is beset with formidable difficulties. This chapter focuses on only one need for which, according to our analysis of the behavior of sabra children, there are precultural sex differences. According to the ideology of the kibbutz pioneers, attitudes and orientations to sexual behavior and sexual anatomy are cultural artifacts. Insofar as the female sabras value parenting as a phase-specific role in the life cycle, the gratifications they derive from this “feminine” role obviate the need to strive for status in “masculine” roles. Of course, the content of any system of sex-role differentiation is culturally constituted, so that such systems can—and many do—become ossified and exploitative. The behavior of sabra children indicates that both sexes share the same needs, the differences between them consisting of differences in the strength of these needs.