Until the late 1400s the word 'girl' just meant a child of either sex. If you had to differentiate between them, male children were referred to as 'knave girls' and females were 'gay girls'. Equally, a boy could be called a 'knave child' and a girl a 'maiden child'.
The word 'boy' also didn't used to mean ‘boy’ in the modern sense but ‘servant’. The word 'boy' meaning ‘young man’ probably derived from the way the 'servant' meaning was used as a pejorative term. It doesn't occur before 1440 so before then if you wanted to talk about a boy you called them a ‘girl’.
The ‘pink for a girl, blue for a boy’ coding is actually the opposite of the system that prevailed until quite recently. Until the 20th century toddlers of either sex were normally dressed in white, but when colours were used, boys were dressed in pink. At the turn of the 20th century, Dressmaker Magazine wrote: 'The preferred colour to dress young boys in is pink. Blue is reserved for girls as it is considered paler, and the more dainty of the two colours, and pink is thought to be stronger (akin to red).' As late as 1927, magazine reported that Princess Astrid of Belgium had been caught out when she gave birth to a girl, because 'The cradle…had been optimistically outfitted in pink, the colour for boys.'
Studies have shown that women asked to hold babies dressed arbitrarily in blue and pink show a marked tendency to hold the pink ones facing inwards towards them, and the blue ones facing outwards.
Inside every older woman is a young girl wondering what the hell happened.
Boys used to be dressed in gowns or dresses until the age of five to seven, when they were put in their first pair of breeches.
Women have Adam's apples just like men – the only difference is that men's tend to stick out more.
The Adam's apple is the protruding piece of cartilage which surrounds the larynx. As the male larynx enlarges and changes shape during puberty, the cartilage surrounding it is thus also forced to change in shape – what is seen as the Adam's apple is in essence the pointy end of that triangle.
In women, the change of shape in puberty doesn't usually happen. Whereas men's larynxes become triangles with the largest angle about 90°, for women the large angle of the triangle is in the region of 120°. Therefore, the Adam's apple is usually less apparent - it doesn't stick out as much. You can’t see it, though you can feel it (but only with the owner’s permission).
It's generally assumed that the adam's apple is named after the Biblical story of Adam and Eve, and the serpent; a piece of the forbidden fruit stuck in Adam's throat and created the anatomic Adam's apple. Another idea, however, points out that the Latin for Adam's apple is pomum Adami, and that this might be a mistranslation of the Hebrew tappuach ha adam or 'male bump.'
Medically, the Adam's apple is called 'prominentia laryngea' (prominence of the larynx). The male apple being bigger seems to have no value or function; it’s considered a secondary sexual characteristic, like increased body hair.
Men tend to perform better than women in map reading tests due to the different way their brains operate, according to researchers from the University of California and the University of New Mexico.
The human brain is composed of two types of tissue – grey matter and white matter. Using magnetic resonance imaging equipment, researchers scanned the brains of 26 female and 22 male volunteers. All participants had similar IQs but when they were given intelligence tests, men used 6.5 as much grey matter as the women did, and the women used nine as much white matter as the men.
Grey matter helps to process information and helps with maths, map-reading, and intellectual thought. White matter, on the other hand, connects the brain's processing centres and is vital for emotional thinking, use of language, and the ability to do more than one thing at once. Because women use less grey matter, which is essential for map-reading, they tend to have more difficulty with this skill than men.
Women's use of white matter means girls tend to develop larger vocabularies quicker than boys.
When I grow up I want to be a little boy.
Florence Nightingale was the first popular female Florence - it was originally a name for boys.
Princess Anne was the only woman not to be gender-tested at the 1976 Montreal Olympics.
The Bhutanese for 'girl' is bum.
The word 'harlot' originally meant a disreputable young man.
As a child, Salvador Dali pretended be a girl by dressing in a cape and gold crown and hiding his genitals behind his legs.
About 5% of all animal species are hermaphrodites.