In cultures with dominance hierarchies, gender definitions often exalt being male as embodying masculine principles, while the feminine ones are treated as inferior and are oppressed. Hence if one is born a biological female, one will likely have a diminished sense of participation and worth in society. And, if one is born male, one might not accept and acknowledge one's own feminine aspects, since they are excluded from the definition of manhood. "Man" is here defined as the essence of full human realized by adult males. Full human-ness is identified with being male, where this sets of the masculine in opposition to the feminine. Masculine and feminine are thus seen as opposites, rather than as complementaries. Under these conditions, the forms of identification and development of sense of self will proceed to stress strong differentiation based on gender, and membership in gender will carry privileges based on sexual identity.
The stereotyping of sexual roles in society is part of a widely accepted rigid ideology and social structure. In one aspect it manifests as a traditional division of labour, claiming descent from supposed pre-historic patterns where males were typically migrant and aggressive foragers and hunters, while females reared children, prepared food and did not go far from tribal encampments and dwellings. In another aspect, sexism manifests as the custom of disproportionate rewards, the greater share being demanded by, and given to, the male.