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A man is a male human. The term man is usually reserved for an adult male, with the term boy being the usual term for a male child or adolescent. However, the term man is also sometimes used to identify a male human, regardless of age, as in phrases such as "men's basketball".
Like most other male mammals, a man's genome typically inherits an X chromosome from his mother and a Y chromosome from his father. The male fetus produces larger amounts of androgens and smaller amounts of estrogens than a female fetus. This difference in the relative amounts of these sex steroids is largely responsible for the physiological differences that distinguish men from women. During puberty, hormones which stimulate androgen production result in the development of secondary sexual characteristics, thus exhibiting greater differences between the sexes. However, there are exceptions to the above for some transgender and intersex men.
Etymology and terminology
The English term "man" is derived from a Proto-Indo-European root *man- (see Sanskrit/Avestan manu-, Slavic mǫž "man, male"). More directly, the word derives from Old English mann. The Old English form had a default meaning of "adult male" (which was the exclusive meaning of wer), though it could also signify a person of unspecified gender. The closely related Old English pronoun man was used just as it is in Modern German to designate "one" (e. g., in the saying man muss mit den Wölfen heulen). The Old English form is derived from Proto-Germanic *mannz, "human being, person", which is also the etymon of German Mann "man, husband" and man "one" (pronoun), Old Norse maðr, and Gothic manna. According to Tacitus, the mythological progenitor of the Germanic tribes was called Mannus. Manus in Indo-European mythology was the first man (see Mannus, Manu (Hinduism)).
The term manhood is used to describe the adult period in a human male's life. A man reaches manhood after he has passed through puberty and has generally attained male secondary sexual characteristics. The word man is used to mean any adult male. In English-speaking countries, many other words can also be used to mean an adult male such as guy, dude, buddy, bloke, fellow, chap and sometimes boy or lad. The term manhood is associated with masculinity and virility, which refer to male qualities and male gender roles.
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Humans exhibit sexual dimorphism in many characteristics, many of which have no direct link to reproductive ability, although most of these characteristics do have a role in sexual attraction. Most expressions of sexual dimorphism in humans are found in height, weight, and body structure, though there are always examples that do not follow the overall pattern. For example, men tend to be taller than women, but there are many people of both sexes who are in the mid-height range for the species.
Examples of typical human male secondary sexual characteristics include:
- Pubic hair;
- Facial hair;
- Larger hands and feet than women;
- Broader shoulders and chests than women;
- Larger skull and bone structure than women;
- Larger brain mass and volume than women;
- Greater muscle mass than women;
- A more prominent Adam's apple and deeper voice than women;
- Greater height than women; and
- A higher tibia-to-femur ratio than women.
In mankind, the sex of an individual is determined at the time of fertilization by the genetic material carried in the sperm cell. If a sperm cell carrying an X chromosome fertilizes the egg, the offspring will typically be female (XX). On the other hand, if a sperm cell carrying a Y chromosome fertilizes the egg, the offspring will typically be male (XY). Persons whose anatomy or chromosomal makeup differ from this pattern are referred to as intersex; there are also transgender and transsexual men, who were assigned as female at birth.
Like most other male mammals, a man's genome typically inherits an X chromosome from his mother and a Y chromosome from his father. The male fetus produces larger amounts of androgens and smaller amounts of estrogens than a female fetus. This difference in the relative amounts of these sex steroids is largely responsible for the physiological differences that distinguish men from women.
The term primary sexual characteristics denotes the kind of gamete the gonad produces. The ovary produces egg cells in the female, and the testis produces sperm cells in the male. The term secondary sexual characteristics denotes all other sexual distinctions that play indirect roles in uniting sperm and eggs. Secondary sexual characteristics include everything from the specialized male and female features of the genital tract to the brilliant plumage of male birds or facial hair of humans.
Biological factors are not always sufficient determinants of whether a person considers themselves a man or is considered a man. Intersex individuals, who have physical or genetic features considered to be mixed or atypical for one sex or the other, may use other criteria in making a clear determination.
The male sex organs are part of a man's reproductive system, consisting of the penis, testicles, vas deferens, and the prostate gland. The male reproductive system's function is to produce semen, which carries sperm and thus genetic information that can unite with an egg within a woman. Since sperm that enters a woman's uterus and then fallopian tubes goes on to fertilize an egg which develops into a fetus or child, the male reproductive system plays no necessary role during the gestation. The study of male reproduction and associated organs is called andrology.
In mammals, the hormones that influence sexual differentiation and development are androgens (mainly testosterone), which stimulate later development of the ovary. In the sexually undifferentiated embryo, testosterone stimulates the development of the Wolffian ducts, the penis, and closure of the labioscrotal folds into the scrotum. Another significant hormone in sexual differentiation is the anti-Müllerian hormone, which inhibits development of the Müllerian ducts. For males during puberty, testosterone, along with gonadotropins released by the pituitary gland, stimulates spermatogenesis.
In general, men suffer from many of the same illnesses as women. In comparison to women, men suffer from slightly more illnesses. Male life expectancy is slightly lower than female life expectancy.
Standards of manliness or masculinity vary across different cultures and historical periods. While the outward signs of masculinity look different in different cultures, there are some common aspects to its definition across cultures. In all cultures in the past, and still among traditional and non-Western cultures, getting married is the most common and definitive distinction between boyhood and manhood. In the late 20th century, some qualities traditionally associated with marriage (such as the "triple Ps" of protecting, providing, and procreating) were still considered signs of having achieved manhood.
Anthropology has shown that masculinity itself has social status, just like wealth, race and social class. In western culture, for example, greater masculinity usually brings greater social status. Many English words such as virtue and virile (from the Indo-European root vir meaning man) reflect this.
The Parsons model was used to contrast and illustrate extreme positions on gender roles. Model A describes total separation of male and female roles, while Model B describes the complete dissolution of barriers between gender roles.
- American Heritage Dictionary, Appendix I: Indo-European Roots. man-1 Archived 19 May 2006 at the Wayback Machine. Accessed 2007-07-22.
- John Richard Clark Hall: A Concise Anglo-Saxon Dictionary
- The Vitruvian man
- Ferrante, Joan (2008), "Gender and sexualities: with emphasis on gender ideals", in Ferrante, Joan, ed. (1 January 2010). Sociology: a global perspective (7th ed.). Belmont, California: Thomson Wadsworth. pp. 269–272. ISBN 9780840032041.
- "Gender, Women and Health: What do we mean by "sex" and "gender"?". who.int. World Health Organization. Archived from the original on 8 September 2014. Retrieved 17 September 2014.
- Kimmel, Michael S.; Aronson, Amy, eds. (2004). Men and Masculinities: A Social, Cultural, and Historical Encyclopedia, Volume 1. Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-CLIO. p. xxiii. ISBN 978-1-57-607774-0.
- Arnett, Jeffrey Jensen (1998). "Learning to Stand Alone: The Contemporary American Transition to Adulthood in Cultural and Historical Context". Human Development. 41 (5–6): 295–315. doi:10.1159/000022591. ISSN 0018-716X.
- Gilmore, David D. (1990). Manhood in the Making: Cultural Concepts of Masculinity. Yale University Press. p. 48. ISBN 0-300-05076-3.
- "Virtue (2009)". Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. 2009. Retrieved 8 June 2009.
- "Virile (2009)". Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. 2009. Retrieved 8 June 2009.
- Brockhaus: Enzyklopädie der Psychologie, 2001.
- Andrew Perchuk, Simon Watney, bell hooks, The Masculine Masquerade: Masculinity and Representation, MIT Press 1995
- Pierre Bourdieu, Masculine Domination, Paperback Edition, Stanford University Press 2001
- Robert W. Connell, Masculinities, Cambridge : Polity Press, 1995
- Warren Farrell, The Myth of Male Power Berkley Trade, 1993 ISBN 0-425-18144-8
- Michael Kimmel (ed.), Robert W. Connell (ed.), Jeff Hearn (ed.), Handbook of Studies on Men and Masculinities, Sage Publications 2004