Every society makes social distinctions based on gender, sexuality and age. This chapter explores various ways societies construct these differences. Multiple ethnographic examples are presented to illustrate the concepts of the cultural construction of sex, gender, sexuality, age, and life stage.

·      Learning Objective 1: Understand the cultural construction of male and female roles and the concept of gender.

·      Learning Objective 2: Understand the economic and political impacts on the construction of gender and sexuality. Document the multiple historical trajectories that changes in these roles take in different political and historical situations.

·      Learning Objective 3: Explore the concept of shifting gender categories and the cultural meaning of terms such as heterosexual, homosexual and heteronormativity.

·      Learning Objective 4: Understand the concepts of age categories as social constructions; explore age grades and other types of age-based groupings.

·      Learning Objective 5: Compare concepts of aging, and care for the aging, in America and elsewhere.