One of the most useful things for me to understand each of the zodiacs was by learning the different categories they can be grouped in as this allowed me to break down their energy.
You can break down the signs into dualities: masculine and feminine, elements: fire, earth, air and water, and the modalities: cardinal, fixed and mutable. When I refer to masculine and feminine this is not boy verses girl or pink versus blue. Masculine energy is what we have to project into the world the masculine strength comes from what we physically do. Masculine signs tend to be more extroverted whereas feminine signs tend to be more introverted. Feminine energy is the energy that lies within, it is our inner strength and these signs usually need more downtime to recharge their energies.
The masculine signs are Aries, Gemini, Leo, Libra, Sagittarius, and Aquarius.
The feminine signs are Taurus, Cancer, Virgo, Scorpio, Capricorn, and Pisces.
By understanding which duality the sign is, you can understand which field the energy works on. If we are talking about Capricorns for example, this is about an inner discipline that will take you to the top, but if we're talking about Sagittarius we are talking about the outer exploration of the world.
Everyone has both masculine and feminine energy within whether you're male, female, both or neither. We all have inner strength and physical strength. We have the ability to have an inner and outer world as we have the energy needed to explore both.
A lot of people question whether gender plays a role in astrology. A lot of people are quick to say gender doesn't matter, however, this is ignoring how the gender we are raised as impacts the way we express our energy.
Think of a Pisces man for instance. Growing up he may have been very vulnerable to negative energy around him. Pisces energy is sensitive. It feels and understands subconsciously and that is its inner feminine strength. When a Pisces learns how to master this energy it is amazing. However, if growing up the Pisces boy was always told to toughen up and quit being sensitive, he will grow up to suppress his feminine energy. Rather than using his gift of understanding to help others, he begins to use it in a more negative expression. He learns to use manipulation, even if on a subconscious level, to get what he wants. Rather than embracing his feminine energy, the Pisces man tries to fit it into a masculine mold and it just doesn't work.
I believe the clash between female gender expectations and masculine energy is a little easier to deal with than a male as a feminine sign. Most women will find that they are perfectly happy as a Gemini or Sagittarius however, there is still room for tension. Aries is the sign that may have the most problems, Aries is ruled by Mars which represents pure masculine energy. Thinking of a young Aries girl with a mother who tries hard to get her to be feminine. She signs her up for female-orientated clubs, buys her dresses and makeup. The Aries does not want to be dainty, she wants to be passionate and competitive. If the Aries finds resistance, she will learn to use her Aries energy for War. Aries will use anger to get what they want, this child would learn to be aggressive with her wants so that she can be heard.