Devogenes's Reviews > Inferior: How Science Got Women Wrong—and the New Research That's Rewriting the Story

Inferior by Angela Saini
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`I enjoyed this book. I particularly found the medical stuff very interesting — the differences between male and female immune systems, the set of diseases unique to people with Y chromosones, etc. Pretty neat.

But, while there was a lot of great content in the book, I often found myself a bit annoyed with the biased presentation of some of that content. Despite claiming at the beginning that she "had no axe to grind", it's very clear that she actually did.

I especially had issues with her discussion of the anthropological data. She concludes that "science" has "proven" that men and women have evolved biologically and culturally performing the SAME tasks, which is not only, I would say, highly controversial but which she provided counter-examples to in her own book! She points out that women in certain communities kill animals with their digging sticks, and therefore women are hunters, and therefore women and men are exactly alike. I don't find that argument convincing.

She includes but doesn't comment upon the very interesting fact that women almost without exception are responsible for weaving cross-culturally. And somehow she completely ignores war. That,to me, is an incredible omission. If you're going to make the argument that there are no population-wide behavioural differences between men and women, how can you leave out war? (Of course you can find examples of warrior women throughout history, but I think it's utterly disingenuous not to recognize how steeply gendered warfare is and has been). I don't see a convincing way to account for that that is based purely on socially constructed gender norms.

It would have been nice to see inclusion of the Batek people indigenous to Malaysia. They are (or were) a completely non-authoritarian society with almost no social hierarchies whatsoever. Any person could do whatever they liked, and compulsion was viewed as a crime. Women could and did hunt. Men could and did weave baskets. And yet what anthropologists found is that men were overwhelmingly the hunters, while women were overwhelmingly the weavers. Even without any overt or implicit social pressures! Highly regarded men could and did weave, but most men still didn't. No one told them they couldn't, their status wasn't threatened if they did, but most men preferred to spend their time elsewise. The same goes for women hunters. They weren't ostracized or discouraged, and yet very few women dedicated themselves to hunting. Why?

I think Saini makes the same error that so many of her opponents make in conflating difference with inferiority. So she is right to point out that women are just as important as men in the development and maintenance of human culture. I really liked her discussion of Woman the Gatherer, where the argument is made that the kinds of activities women end to be responsible for cross-culturally in small-scale societies (gathering tubors, picking fruit, etc) are just as important (if not more important) than the large-game hunting that men often pursue in terms of calories. But the behavioural differences there are very hard to ignore, and Saini didn't do a good job at all of demonstrating that those differences don't exist. In fact, she switches between presenting the argument that "women's work" provides more calories than "men's work" and the argument that men and women do the same work. That would be fine if she were simply presenting all the various theories, but she makes it clear throughout the book that women and men are functionally the same, and that "science" supports that view.

She brings up intersexed people, and talks about the ramifications, for example, of surgically assigning an intersex person with underdeveloped testes a female gender, but she doesn't seem to acknowledge the significance of those ramifications for her argument that men and women are fundamentally the same. If a person born with underdeveloped testes grows up with gender dysphoria because they were made to believe they were female, then obviously there IS something significant about the psychological differences between males and females. Indeed, the entire transgender movement now is premised upon there being fundamental differences between men and women — you can't have dysphoria if gender differences are purely social. It would have been nice if Saini had discussed transgender people more broadly.

She dismisses scientists like Baron-Cohen for not having had their experiments reproduced, but then is happy to include without qualifications untested speculation about things like whether language developed so that babies could communicate with mothers.

She also dismisses Baron-Cohen because his findings (that men are more interested in systems and women in people from birth) is sexist because it implies that women are "more suited" to low-paying jobs like teaching, childcare, and nursing.

Okay. So this is interesting. What, exactly, is wrong with those jobs? Those are perfectly fine and necessary vocations. Her problem seems to be that they aren't especially high-paying, and so I guess the implication is that only high-paying jobs are worthwhile. But this presents a problem, because the fact is that women dominate in exactly those kinds of jobs. So how do you explain the dramatic over-representation of women in those careers?

Baron-Cohen would say that this distribution is entirely consistent with his findings (women tend to prefer working with people). Saini suggests that it is purely a result of social factors. Her argument is that women have to face a lot more discrimination and hardship than men, and so they stay out of male-dominated, high-paying careers like STEM or finance (this explanation, of course, doesn't offer any account of how those careers became so gendered in the first place — saying that "women's jobs" are low status simply begs the question).

To prove her point, she gives the example of Iran and Latin America, where women make up proportionally more of the STEM field.

Okay. So. Does that mean, then, that women in IRAN are facing LESS discrimination that women in the U.K or Canada? Personally, I find that argument very hard to believe. Saini doesn't consider the fact that the economic situation in Iran is very different, and that women might be facing more pressure to take high-paying jobs that they might not actually prefer in order to survive.

She also ignores the fact that in Iran (as far as I know, and I could be wrong), the state plays a significant role in determining the post-secondary careers of students based on test scores. IE, women in Iran have LESS CHOICE in career than women in the United States, and so the social pressures in this case might very well be working to increase gender equity in STEM, rather than to diminish it, contrary to her assumption.

This is consistent with the data from Nordic countries, where increasing attempts to remove gendered barriers through things like maternity/paternity protections etc. are resulting in MORE differentiation between men and women into traditionally male and female dominated fields.

If that's true, then the situation now really isn't that different from the situation with egalitarian hunter-gatherer communities like the Batek: men and women might naturally tend to differentiate across different fields of activity, without that differentiation producing or resulting from any perceived inferiority on the part of either gender.

Saini, I'm sure, would reject that suggestion on the grounds that it is sexist and that it promotes stereotypical gender norms. But there is a difference, for example, between saying that women don't have the intelligence or the fortitude to be software engineers, and saying that women might tend to prefer other careers over software engineering. Just because someone CAN do something, doesn't mean that they WANT to do it.

Obviously women can do anything that men can do (except pee standing up). Anyone who suggests differently is sexist. But I don't see, and I was not convinced by this book to believe, that any population-wide behavioural differences or distributions between men and women must be the result of sexist attitudes.

Saini says that there are some people who "assume that there is a fundamental difference between men and women". Well, I mean, that's not really an assumption, is it? There ARE fundamental differences between men and women. We're significantly different morphologically. We differ chromosonally. But, most significantly and most obviously, only women can get pregnant. This is not a trivial difference, and it's one which you would expect would produce some variations in gendered behaviour over millions of years of evolution. Which is exactly what we see in other animals. Is the lioness inferior to the lion, simply because they have slightly different behaviours?

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message 1: by Sorento62 (new) - added it

Sorento62 Thank you for presenting your disagreements with some of the author's arguments.
Check out:
http://www.wikihow.com/Urinate-Standi...


message 2: by Randie (new)

Randie Below is a presentation by Eastern College Christian and Gender Scholar psychology professor Dr.Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen which talks about how much abundant consistent psychological research studies find few gender differences,and much more overlap similarities between them.



Trinity 2007

Opposite Sexes or Neighboring Sexes?
C.S. Lewis, Dorothy L. Sayers, and
the Psychology of Gender

Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen


Gender and Modern Social Science


C. S. Lewis was no fan of the emerging social sciences. He saw practitioners of the social sciences mainly as lackeys of technologically-minded natural scientists, bent on reducing individual freedom and moral accountability to mere epiphenomena of natural processes (See Lewis 1943 and 1970 b). And not surprisingly (given his passion for gender-essentialist archetypes), aside from a qualified appreciation of some aspects of Freudian psychoanalysis (See Lewis 1952 (Book III, Chapter 4) and 1969). “Carl Jung was the only philosopher [sic] of the Viennese school for whose work [Lewis] had much respect” (Sayer 102).



But the social sciences concerned with the psychology of gender have since shown that Sayers was right, and Lewis and Jung were wrong: women and men are not opposite sexes but neighboring sexes—and very close neighbors indeed. There are, it turns out, virtually no large, consistent sex differences in any psychological traits and behaviors, even when we consider the usual stereotypical suspects: that men are more aggressive, or just, or rational than women, and women are more empathic, verbal, or nurturing than men.



When differences are found, they are always average—not absolute—differences. And in virtually all cases the small, average—and often decreasing—difference between the sexes is greatly exceeded by the amount of variability on that trait within members of each sex. Most of the “bell curves” for women and men (showing the distribution of a given psychological trait or behavior) overlap almost completely. So it is naïve at best (and deceptive at worst) to make even average—let alone absolute—pronouncements about essential archetypes in either sex when there is much more variability within than between the sexes on all the trait and behavior measures for which we have abundant data.



This criticism applies as much to C. S. Lewis and Carl Jung as it does to their currently most visible descendent, John Gray, who continues to claim (with no systematic empirical warrant) that men are from Mars and women are from Venus (Gray 1992).


And what about Lewis’s claims about the overriding masculinity of God? Even the late Carl Henry (a theologian with impeccable credentials as a conservative evangelical) noted a quarter of a century ago that:Masculine and feminine elements are excluded from both the Old Testament and New Testament doctrine of deity. The God of the Bible is a sexless God. When Scripture speaks of God as “he” the pronoun is primarily personal (generic) rather than masculine (specific); it emphasizes God’s personal nature—and, in turn, that of the Father, Son and Spirit as Trinitarian distinctions in contrast to impersonal entities... Biblical religion is quite uninterested in any discussion of God’s masculinity or femininity... Scripture does not depict God either as ontologically masculine or feminine. (Henry 1982, 159–60)




However well-intentioned, attempts to read a kind of mystical gendering into God—whether stereotypically masculine, feminine, or both—reflect not so much careful biblical theology as “the long arm of Paganism” (Martin 11). For it is pagan worldviews, the Jewish commentator Nahum Sarna reminds us, that are “unable to conceive of any primal creative force other than in terms of sex... [In Paganism] the sex element existed before the cosmos came into being and all the gods themselves were creatures of sex. On the other hand, the Creator in Genesis is uniquely without any female counterpart, and the very association of sex with God is utterly alien to the religion of the Bible” (Sarna 76).



And if the God of creation does not privilege maleness or stereotypical masculinity, neither did the Lord of redemption. Sayers’s response to the cultural assumption that women were human-not-quite-human has become rightly famous:Perhaps it is no wonder that women were first at the Cradle and last at the Cross. They had never known a man like this Man—there never has been such another. A prophet and teacher who never nagged at them, never flattered or coaxed or patronised; who never made arch jokes about them, never treated them either as “The women, God help us!” or “The ladies, God bless them!; who rebuked without querulousness and praised without condescension; who took their questions and arguments seriously; who never mapped out their sphere for them, never urged them to be feminine or jeered at them for being female; who had no axe to grind or no uneasy male dignity to defend; who took them as he found them and was completely unself-conscious. There is not act, no sermon, no parable in the whole Gospel which borrows its pungency from female perversity; nobody could possibly guess from the words and deeds of Jesus that there was anything “funny” about women’s nature. (Sayers 1975, 46)



It is quite likely that Lewis’s changing views on gender owed something to the intellectual and Christian ties that he forged with Dorothy L. Sayers. And indeed, in 1955—two years before her death, Lewis confessed to Sayers that he had only “dimly realised that the old-fashioned way... of talking to all young women was v[ery] like an adult way of talking to young boys. It explains,” he wrote, “not only why some women grew up vapid, but also why others grew up (if we may coin the word) viricidal [i.e., wanting to kill men]” (Lewis 2007, 676; Lewis’s emphasis). The Lewis who in his younger years so adamantly had defended the doctrine of gender essentialism was beginning to acknowledge the extent to which gendered behavior is socially conditioned. In another letter that same year, he expressed a concern to Sayers that some of the first illustrations for the Narnia Chronicles were a bit too effeminate. “I don’t like either the ultra feminine or the ultra masculine,” he added. “I prefer people” (Lewis 2007, 639; Lewis’s emphasis).



Dorothy Sayers surely must have rejoiced to read this declaration. Many of Lewis’s later readers, including myself, wish that his shift on this issue had occurred earlier and found its way into his better-selling apologetic works and his novels for children and adults. But better late than never. And it would be better still if those who keep trying to turn C. S. Lewis into an icon for traditionalist views on gender essentialism and gender hierarchy would stop mining his earlier works for isolated proof-texts and instead read what he wrote at every stage of his life.


Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen is Professor of Psychology and Philosophy at Eastern University, St. Davids, Pennsylvania.



This essay originally was presented as the Tenth Annual Warren Rubel Lecture on Christianity and Higher Learning at Valparaiso University on 1 February 2007.


The Cresset


Bibliography


Evans, C. Stephen. Wisdom and Humanness in Psychology: Prospects for a Christian Approach. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1989.
Gray, John. Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus. New York: Harper Collins, 1992.
Hannay, Margaret. C. S. Lewis. New York: Frederick Ungar, 1981.
Henry, Carl F. H. God, Revelation, and Authority. Vol. V. Waco, Texas: Word, 1982.
Lewis, C. S. The Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis, Vol. III. Walter Hooper, ed. San Francisco:
Harper San Francisco, 2007.
_____. The Discarded Image: An Introduction to Medieval and Renaissance Literature. Cambridge: Cambridge University, 1964.
_____. The Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis, Vol. I: 1905–1931. Walter Hooper, ed. San Francisco:
Harper San Francisco, 2004a.
_____. The Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis, Vol. II: 1931–1949. Walter Hooper, ed. San Francisco:
Harper San Francisco, 2004b.
_____. “On Three Ways of Writing for Children,”[1952] Reprinted in Of Other Worlds: Essays and Stories, ed., Walter Hooper, 22–34. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1975.
_____. “Priestesses in the Church?” [1948]. Reprinted in God in the Dock: Essays on Theology and Ethics, ed. Walter Hooper, 234–39. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1970a.
_____. “The Humanitarian Theory of Punishment,”[1954]. Reprinted in God in the Dock: Essays on Theology and Ethics, ed. Walter Hooper, 287–300. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1970b.
_____. “Psychoanalysis and Literary Criticism,”[1942]. Reprinted in Selected Literary Essays, ed. Walter Hooper, 286–300. Cambridge: Cambridge University, 1969.
_____. [N. W. Clerk, pseudo.] A Grief Observed. London: Faber and Faber, 1961.
_____. The Four Loves. London: Geoffrey Bles, 1960.
_____. Till We Have Faces. London: Geoffrey Bles, 1956.
_____. Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life. London: Collins, 1955.
_____. Mere Christianity. London: Collins, 1952.
_____. That Hideous Strength. London: John Lane the Bodley Head, 1945.
_____. The Abolition of Man. Oxford: Oxford University, 1943.
_____. A Preface to Paradise Lost. Oxford: Oxford University, 1942.
The Cresset
_____. Perelandra. London: The Bodley Head, 1942.
Martin, Faith. “Mystical Masculinity: The New Question Facing Women,” Priscilla Papers, Vol. 12, No. 2 (Winter 1998), 6–12.
Reynolds, Barbara. Dorothy L. Sayers: Her Life and Soul. New York: St. Martins, 1993.
Sarna, Nahum M. Understanding Genesis: The Heritage of Biblical Israel. New York: Schocken, 1966.
Sayer, George. Jack: C. S. Lewis and His Times. San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1988.
Sayers, Dorothy L. “The Human-Not-Quite-Human,”[1946]. Reprinted in Dorothy L. Sayers, Are Women
Human?, 37–47. Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity, 1975.
Sayers, Dorothy L. Gaudy Night. London: Victor Gollancz, 1935.
Sterk, Helen. “Gender and Relations and Narrative in a Reformed Church Setting.” In After Eden: Facing the Challenge of Gender Reconciliation, ed., Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen, 184–221. Grand Rapids:


Eerdmans, 1993.

Copyright © 2007 Valparaiso University Press


www.valpo.edu/cresset

http://thecresset.org/2007/VanLeeuwen...


Devogenes Randie wrote: "Below is a presentation by Eastern College Christian and Gender Scholar psychology professor Dr.Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen which talks about how much abundant consistent psychological research studie..."

Um. That sure is a long comment. Can you give me the TLDR version?


message 4: by Randie (new)

Randie A Sword between the Sexes?: C. S. Lewis and the Gender Debates


https://books.google.com/books?isbn=1...

Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen - 2010 - ‎Religion


C. S. Lewis and the Gender Debates Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen ... indicates that women and men, boys and girls, are overwhelmingly more alike than different.


message 5: by Randie (new)

Randie Christian psychology professor Dr.Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen's college course presentation Beyond Malacandra and Perelandra:Men are From Earth,Women Are From Earth where she demonstrates what a large amount of psychological research studies shows,that most of the psychological sex differencesare really small and there is a large overlap between the sexes.



https://vimeo.com/39417183

Beyond Malacandra and Perelandra: Men are from Earth, Women are from Earth

vimeo.com


March 16, 2012 Eagle Great Room, Eastern University Dr. Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen presents a lecture based on her book, A Sword Between the Sexes? C.S. Lewis and the


message 6: by Randie (new)

Randie Psychologist Dr.Janet Shibley Hyde in this 2005 major meta-analysis of hundreds of studies by all different psychologists from decades that was written in American psychologist,the journal of The American Psychological Association,found that the sexes are more alike than different in almost all personality traits,abilities,etc.


http://www.apa.org/research/action/di...


message 7: by Randie (new)

Randie In these extensive studies by psychologist Dr. Janet Shibley Hyde and others that is still on the American Psychological Association's web site since 2006 and that was published in American psychologist the journal of The American Psychological Association,Think Again:Men and women Share Cognitive Skills.


It's reported that Psychologists have gathered solid evidence that boys or girls or men and women differ in very few significant ways-- differences that would matter in school or at work--in how,and how well they think.


http://www.apa.org/research/action/sh...


message 8: by Randie (new)

Randie In 2014 Psychologist Dr.Janet Shibley Hyde updated her 2005 major meta analysis that found that the sexes are more alike than different in 80% of their psychological traits,behaviors and abilities including personality.In this 2014 article by Curt Rice he says that by the end of her article Gender Similarities and Differences,she has you convinced that the sexes are more similar in almost every way and he says that she she says this is not surprising since the sexes share 23 of the same chromosomes and only one of them is different.


http://curt-rice.com/2014/03/04/2-way...


2 ways men and women aren’t different — and 1 way they are ...

curt-rice.com
Are men and women basically the same, or are they fundamentally different? Stand-up comedians love this topic, and researchers do, too. The Annual Review of ...


message 9: by Randie (new)

Randie January 2015 major study of over 100 meta analysis and of 12 million people by two male,lead researcher is psychology professor Dr.Zlatan Krizan and one female psychology professor found what many other psychologists over decades have found,that the sexes are more alike than different in most areas psychologically including personality.It is published in American psychologist the journal of The American psychological Association


http://www.news.iastate.edu/news/2015...

Gender roles: Men and women are not so different after all ...
www.news.iastate.edu


Gender roles: Men and women are not so different after all. Posted Jan 29, 2015 7:00 am


message 10: by Randie (new)

Randie Very good radio interview with psychology professor Dr.Zlatan Krizan of Iowa State University Zlatan Krizan and cultural anthropology professor Emily Wentzell( who rightfully points out how clothes and toys for the sexes are much more gender stereotyped than they were 30 years ago) discuss the findings of the recent extensive gender study that found the sexes are 80% more alike than different.


http://iowapublicradio.org/post/isu-p...


ISU Professor: Men and Women Not So Different After All ...


iowapublicradio.org
The book “Men are From Mars, Women are from Venus” popularized the idea that men and women are as different as night and day. But Iowa State University ...


message 11: by Randie (new)

Randie Why So Slow?: The Advancement of Women


Pub. Date: February 1999
Publisher: MIT Press

by Virginia Valian

Overview

Why do so few women occupy positions of power and prestige? Virginia Valian uses concepts and data from psychology, sociology, economics, and biology to explain the disparity in the professional advancement of men and women. According to Valian, men and women alike have implicit hypotheses about gender differences — gender schemas — that create small sex differences in characteristics, behaviors, perceptions, and evaluations of men and women. Those small imbalances accumulate to advantage men and disadvantage women. The most important consequence of gender schemas for professional life is that men tend to be overrated and women underrated. Valian's goal is to make the invisible factors that retard women's progress visible, so that fair treatment of men and women will be possible. The book makes its case with experimental and observational data from laboratory and field studies of children and adults, and with statistical documentation on men and women in the professions. The many anecdotal examples throughout provide a lively counterpoint.


What People Are Saying


The MIT Press

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher


Publishers Weekly


Social psychologist Valian thinks that the Western world has gotten gender all wrong. "As social beings we tend to perceive the genders as alternatives to each other, as occupying opposite and contrasting ends of a continuum," she writes, "even though the sexes are not opposite but are much more alike than they are different." Indeed, despite nearly three decades of feminism, "gender schema"the assumption that masculine and feminine characteristics determine personality and ability continue to influence the expectations and thinking of most Americans. Just about everyone, Valian writes, assumes that men are independent, task-oriented and assertive, while women are tagged as expressive and nurturing. As such, women lag behind in many professions and continue to do the lion's share of housework and child-rearing. Girls remain less attentive in math and science, while even women who attend medical school tend to steer themselves into "gender appropriate" slots such as family practice or pediatrics. Valian bases her findings on research conducted by social scientists in fields as disparate as psychology, education, sociology and economics, and the result is a work that is both scholarly and anecdotally rich. But it also posits concrete suggestions for changing the way we view the sexes, from stepped-up affirmative action programs, to timetables for rectifying gender-based valuations. Accessible and lively, Why So Slow? is a breakthrough in the discourse on gender and has great potential to move the women's movement to a new, more productive phase. (Jan.)
Product Details


ISBN-13: 9780262720311

Publisher: MIT Press
Publication date: 2/5/1999

Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 421

Table of Contents

Preface

Acknowledgments
A Note on Method and Scope
1 Gender Schemas at Work 1
2 Gender Begins - and Continues - at Home 23
3 Learning About Gender 47
4 Biology and Behavior 67
5 Biology and Cognition 81
6 Schemas That Explain Behavior 103
7 Evaluating Women and Men 125
8 Effects on the Self 145
9 Interpreting Success and Failure 167
10 Women in the Professions 187
11 Women in Academia 217
12 Professional Performance and Human Values 251
13 Affirmative Action and the Law 277
14 Remedies 303
Notes 333
References 353
Author Index 385
Subject Index 393

© 1997-2013 Barnesandnoble.com llc


message 12: by Randie (new)

Randie In her very good important 1998 book,Why So Slow? The Advancement Of women, psychologist Virginia Valian says for parents who recognize and actively oppose the limitations of gender schemas matters are more complex she demonstrates clearly that many studies have shown that even parents who say they are egalitarian and who do encourage their children especially girls to consider a wide range of possible occupations and that encouragement influences the children's aspirations.She then says but without realizing it on the other hand,they are affected by gender schemas,dressing their children in ways appropriate to their gender.


She then says that their egalitarian beliefs prevent such parents from perceiving that they do encourage gender-specific patterns and from seeing how closely their children conform to the norm.She then says that gender schemas are powerful cultural forces and that adults cannot simply abandon them especially when they are unaware that they hold them and they too conform to them in such matters of dress.On another page she says that everyone,it appears is likely to be affected deeply and nonconsciously by their culture's view of what it means to be male and female.Then she says that even people who consciously espouse egalitarian beliefs do not realize how profoundly they have internalized the culture's norms and applied them to their children.



She then says that there is wide implicit consensus across income level,education,and sex about the core features of gender schemas and for these features parents are much more alike than they are different.She then says regardless of demographic variables,most subscribe to basic gender norms ,dress gender stereotypically themselves,and unwittingly treat their children gender-stereotypically.Then she says parents who actively endorse gender schemas or are unaware of the impact of gender schemas on their perceptions and interpretations,perceive children as gendered from birth and treat them accordingly.



She also says that studies show that even parents who deliberately try to rear their children nonstereotypically are subject to the influence of gender schemas.She says a study of six year olds for example compared children whose mothers explicitly tried to bring them up in gender-neutral ways with children whose mothers had conventional attitudes about gender roles. And that when independent observers who were unaware of the parents beliefs rated the children's clothes as masculine or feminine the ratings showed that the boys and girls in both types of families were dressed according to gender norms.She explains that the mothers who were committed to gender equality however saw their children's clothes as less gender-stereotypical even though they were not.



She shows how parents perceive and treat their daughters and sons so differently from the moment they are born and she says in chapter 1 called Gender Schemas At work that gender schemas oversimplify and that masculine and feminine traits are not opposites of each other and they are not contradictory and that everyone has both to some degree and expresses different traits in different situations.She then says that differences exist, but the sexes are more alike than they are different and she says it is easy to lose sight of that reality,even though most differences between the sexes are small.


message 13: by Randie (new)

Randie There is an excellent online article that I printed out around 2002,by Jungian psychologist Dr.Gary S.Toub,called,Jung and Gender:Masculine and Feminine Revisited. On his site it now only has part of this article and it says you have to register to read the full article. I emailed Dr.Toub years ago and he wrote me back several nice emails,in one he said he really liked my letter,and that it was filled to the brim with excellent points and references.



In this article he talks about what parts of Jungian thought he finds useful and what he finds problematic. The first thing he says he finds useful is, In the course of Jungian analysis, he often assists female clients to discover traditionally,masculine qualities in their psyche and that he likewise frequently assist male clients to recognize traditionally feminine qualities in their psyche. He says this process frees each gender from the straight-jacket of stereotyped sex roles and expands his clients identities. He then said that the process also mirrors and furthers the breakdown of male-female polarization in our culture,and the cultural shifts towards androgyny.



He also says that most importantly, his practice of Jungian analysis places the greatest emphasis on facilitating his clients individuation process. He says this means that he tries to assist clients,male or female,to search for their authentic self-definition,distinct from society's gender expectations.He also says that many Jungian definitions of masculine and feminine are narrow,outdated and sexist.


He also says that he has found that generalizing about what is masculine and what is feminine is dangerous,often perpetuating gender myths that are discriminatory and damaging.He says while there is some research supporting biological roots to personality differences,the majority of studies suggest that much of what is considered masculine or feminine is culture determined.



He also says that viewing masculine and feminine as complementary opposites,while useful at times,is problematic. He then says as his gay,lesbian, and transsexual clients have taught him,gender is more accurately viewed as encompassing a wide-ranging continuum. He then says that likewise,the more people he sees in his practice,the more he is impressed at the great diversity in human nature. He says he has seen men of all types and varieties,and women of all kinds. He then says,he is hard-pressed to come up with very many generalizations based on gender.He says he knows that there are some statistical patterns,but how useful are they when he works with individuals and in a rapidly changing society? He says if each person is unique,no statistical norm or average will be able to define who my client is.



He then says,from a psychological perspective,men and women are not, in fact,opposite. He says his clinical experience is that they are much more psychologically alike than different,and the differences that exist are not necessarily opposing.


message 14: by Randie (new)

Randie Psychologist Dr.Gary Wood’s description of his great important gender myth debunking book,Sex Lies And Stereotypes:Challenging Views Of Women,Men And Relationships



It says it even offers free non-surgical gender reassignment for every reader and this book first came out back in March 2005 before the transgender explosion and transgendering of children became so disturbingly common.




https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sex-Lies-Ste...




And here are the great customer 5 reviews of this great important book,mine is one of them from March 2006.



https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sex-Lies-Ste...


Devogenes Obviously we're more alike than we are different. We're the same species. We're different from pelicans and starfish and acorns.

Being alike is not equivalent to being the same. Being alike does not mean there are no statistically significant differences. Being alike does not mean, in Saini's words, that there are no "fundamental" differences".

"When differences are found, they are always average—not absolute—differences. And in virtually all cases the small, average—and often decreasing—difference between the sexes is greatly exceeded by the amount of variability on that trait within members of each sex."

Right but that's just how population-level differences manifest. That's what an average is. The point though is that small variations can produce significant effects over population-wide distributions.


message 16: by Randie (new)

Randie I have an excellent book from 1979 written by 2 parent child development psychologists Dr. Wendy Schemp Matthews and award winning psychologist from Columbia University, Dr.Jeane Brooks-Gunn, called He & She How Children Develop Their Sex Role Identity. They thoroughly demonstrate with tons of great studies and experiments by parent child psychologists that girl and boy babies are actually born more alike than different with very few differences but they are still perceived and treated systematically very different from the moment of birth on by parents and other adult care givers. They go up to the teen years. They also show that surveys show that boys are overwhelmingly preferred over girls,(sadly nothing has changed and sexist woman-hating,girl-hating Tee shirts that say( I'm Too Pretty For Homework So I Let My Brother Do It For Me) (and other sexist anti-female ads,pornography,etc do too) like these both reflect and contribute to this injustice.


They also explain that when people guess if a pregnant woman is having a girl or a boy,and they list a whole bunch of false unproven sexist, gender myth,gender stereotyped,old wives tales,that assign all negative characteristics to a woman if they think she's having a girl,and the imagined girls or given all of the negative characteristics. For example they say that author Elana Belotti(1977) explained these examples, The man and woman each take hold of one end of a wishbone and pull it apart.If the longest part comes away in the man's hand,the baby will be a boy. If you suddenly ask a pregnant woman what she has in her hand and she looks at her right hand first ,she will have a boy;if she looks at her left hand it will be a girl.If the mother's belly is bigger on the right-hand side a boy will be born,and also if her right breast is bigger than her left,or if her right foot is more restless. If a woman is placid during pregnancy she will have a boy,but if she is bad-tempered or cries a lot,she will have a girl.If her complexion is rosy she's going to have a son;if she is pale a daughter. If her looks improve,she's expecting a boy;if they worsen,a girl.If the fetal heartbeat is fast,it is a boy;if it is slow it is a girl.If the fetus has started to move by the fortieth day it will be a boy and the birth will be easy,but if it doesn't move until the ninetieth day it will be a girl.( Belotti 1977,pp.22-23)



Dr.Brooks-Gunn and Wendy Schempp Matthews then say, now rate each of the characteristics above as positive or negative. A woman expecting a girl is pale,her looks deteriorate,she is cross and ill-tempered,and she gets the short end of the wishbone,all negative characteristics. They then say,furthermore ,a girl is symbolized by the left-the left hand,the left side of the belly,the left foot,the left breast. They say,left connotes evil,a bad omen,or sinister,again the girls have all of the negative characteristics. They then say,that sex-role stereotypes about activity also characterize Belotti's recipes:boys are believed to be active from the very beginning and girls have slower heartbeats and begin to move around later.They then say,the message although contradictory(girls cause more trouble even though they are more passive) is clear in that it reflects the sex-role stereotype that boys "do" while girls "are" and the belief that boys are more desirable than girls. They also say that parents have gender stereotyped reasons for wanting a girl or a boy,obviously if they didn't it wouldn't matter if it's a girl or boy.When my first cousin was pregnant with her first of two girls people even strangers said such false ridiculous things to her,that they were sure she was going to have a boy because she was carrying low or how stomach looked.



I once spoke with Dr.Brooks-Gunn in 1994 and I asked her how she could explain all of these great studies that show that girl and boy babies are actually born more alike with few differences but are still perceived and treated so differently anyway, and she said that's due to socialization and she said there is no question, that socialization plays a very big part. I know that many scientists know that the brain is plastic and can be shaped and changed by different life experiences and different environments too and Eastern College gender and Christian psychology professor Dr.Mary Stewart Van Leewuen told this to me too when I spoke to her 15 years ago. Dr.Van Leeuwen also said that human beings don't have sex fixed in the brain and she told me that humans have a unique highly developed cerebral cortex that allows us to make choices in our behaviors and we can learn things that animals can't. There was another case in Canada that I read about online some years ago about another case in which a normal genetic male baby's penis was destroyed when he was an infant and in this case he was raised as a girl from the much younger age of only 7 months old,not as late as 21 months as was David Reimer,and research shows that the core gender identity is learned by as early as 18 months old.


http://www.noharmm.org/canadianboy.htm




In this other case,it was reported in 1998 he was still living as a woman in his 20's but a bisexual woman. With David Reimer they raised him as a girl too late after he learned most of his gender identity as a boy from the moment he was born and put into blue clothes, treated totally differently, given gender stereotyped toys, perceived and treated totally differently than girls are in every way(in the great book,He and She:How Children Develop Their Sex Role Identity it explains that a lot of research studies and tests by parent child psychologists found that they give 3 month old babies gender stereotyped toys long before they are able to develop these kinds of preferences or ask for these toys. They also found that when adults interacted with the same exact baby they didn't know was a girl or boy who was dressed in gender neutral clothes,they decided if they *believed* it was a girl or boy. And those adults who thought the baby was a boy,always handed the baby a toy foot ball ,but never a doll and they never gave an infant they perceived to be a girl a toy football, were asked what made them think it was a girl or boy and they said they used characteristics of the baby to make the judgement . Those who thought the baby was a boy described characteristics such as strength,those who thought the baby was a girl described the baby as having softness and fragility,and as the Dr.Jeanne Brooks-Gunn and Wendy Schempp Mathews explain,Again remember that the same infant was being characterized as strong or soft,the actual distinction by sex characteristics being only in the minds of the adults. They also explain that in the toy preference studies,girl toddlers often show an initial interest in the trucks,but eventually abandon them for a more familiar type of toy.



Also check out Kate Bornstein's books,Gender Outlaw and My Gender Workbook,and recently a co-written book,Gender Outlaws. Kate used to be a heterosexual married man who fathered a daughter and then had a sex change and became a lesbian woman who now doesn't identity as a man or a woman. I heard Kate interview in 1998 on a local NPR show and she totally debunks gender myths,and rejects the "feminine" and "masculine" categories as the mostly socially constructed categories that they really are.She even said,what does it mean to feel or think like a woman(or man) she said what does that really mean.


message 17: by Randie (new)

Randie It really isn't surprising at all that the sexes brains are more alike than different,( although given the fact that there is a lot of evidence from neuroscience that human brains are plastic and easily molded and shaped by different life experiences and different conditioning,and environments, and the fact that the sexes are born biologically more alike than different with very few differences but are still perceived and treated very differently systematically in every way by parents and other adult care givers, from the moment it's learned they are a girl or a boy, before they are born it's amazing that our brains are still more alike than different,and that we are psychologically more alike than different to despite all of this!) the clitoris and penis are very similar because they come from the same exact tissue, so does the male scrotum, the female vulva and even the ovaries and testicles. And men even have the same breast tissue that is responsive to estrogen and they can even develop full breasts ready for a bra right away if for some reason their testosterone level goes down,the small amount of estrogen(they also have progesterone which is necessary for healthy bone development,intelligence,healthy thyroid function,an anti-depressant, in both sexes and other things for health http://www.livestrong.com/article/290...) that is normally in their bodies,causes this it's a condition called gynecomastia.




But of course none of all of these similarities are even recognized much less emphasized because we still all live in a very sexist,artificially gender divided,gender stereotyped,male dominated society that is totally obsessed and oriented to making the sexes into opposite artificial ''feminine'' and ''masculine'' categories.


message 18: by Randie (new)

Randie "Feminine" and "masculine" are really *HUMAN* traits,thoughts,feelings and behaviors. And there is plenty of decades worth of great psychological research studies by many different psychologists that shows that the sexes are much more alike than different in most traits,abilities and behaviors with a very large overlap between them,and that most of the differences between them are really small average differences,many of which have shrunk even smaller,and they find much greater individual *people* differences! Biologically the sexes are more alike than different too!



As comedian Elaine Boosler said in the 1980's, and she still says,I'm only a human being trapped in a woman's body. Feminists(such as Robin Morgan,,Gloria Steinem, Sheila Jeffreys etc) who have rightfully pointed this fact out,are not afraid of transsexuals or prejudiced against them,the issue is what I said it is. The only transsexual woman who actually debunks these common sexist gender myths,and gender stereotypes is Kate Bornstein author of Gender Outlaw:On Men,Women And The Rest Of Us,Gender Outlaws,My Gender Workbook etc. She was a heterosexual man who was married and had a daughter,then had a sex change and became a lesbian woman and then decided not to identify as a man or a woman. I heard Kate interviewed in 1998 on a local NPR show and she totally debunks gender myths,and rejects the "feminine" and "masculine" categories as the mostly socially constructed categories that they really are.She even said,what does it mean to feel or think like a woman(or man) she said what does that really mean.



And as cultural anthropologist Roger Lancaster wrote in his introduction, in his very good 2003 book,The Trouble With Nature sex In Science when he's talking about how scientists constantly search for a ''gay brain'',a ''gay gene'' or ''gay intergovernmental'' patterns. Roger came out as a gay man in college. He then says (One can hardly understate the naive literalism of present-day science on these matters: Scientists still look for the supposed anatomical attributes of the opposite sex embedded somewhere in the inverts brain or nervous system.)



He then says and this notion now enjoys a second,third,and even fourth life in political discourses.He then says it is by appeal to such conceits that Aaron Hans,a Washington,D.C.- based transgender activist,reflects on his uncomfortable life as a girl:''I didn't *think* I was a boy,I *knew* I was a boy.'' He says,Hans elaborates: ''You look at pictures of me- I actually have great pictures of me in drag-and I literally look like a little boy in a dress.



Roger then says,Far,far be it from me to cast doubt on anyone's sense of discomfort with the ascribed gender roles.Nor would I question anyone's sense that sexual identity is a deeply seated aspect of who they are .But testimonies of this sort and appeals to the self-evidence of perception beg the obvious question:Just what is a little boy or girl * supposed* to look like?


The photograph that accompanies Han's interview shows a somewhat robust girl.Is this to say that (real) girls are necessarily delicate and (real) boys athletic? He then says (If so,virtually all of my nieces are ''really'' boys,since not a one of them is delicate or un presupposing) Roger then says,There is indeed something compelling about such intensely felt and oft- involved experiences-''I knew I was gay all along''; ''I felt like a girl'' - but that compulsion belongs to the realm of outer culture,not nature.That is, if ''inappropriate'' acts,feelings,body types,or desires seem to throw us into the bodies or minds other genders,it is because acts,feelings,and so on are associated with gender by dint of the same all-enveloping cultural logic that gives us pink blankets ( or caps,or crib cards,I.D. bracelets) for girls and blue for boys in maternity ward cribs.



He then says,when we diverge one way or another from those totalizing associations,we feel-we really feel;in the depths of our being-''different''.Therein lies the basis for an existential opposition to the established order of gendered associations. Roger then says But therein also lies the perpetual trap: Every essentialist claim about the ''nature'' of same sex desire in turn refers to and reinforces suppositions about the ''nature'' of ''real'' men and women (from whom the invert differs), about the ''naturalness'' of their mutual attraction(demonstrated nowhere so much as in the inverts inversion),about the scope of their acts,feelings,body types,and so on( again, marked off by the deviation of the deviant).



Aping the worst elements of gender/sexual conservatism,every such proposition takes culturally constituted meanings -the correlative associations of masculinity and femininity,active and passive,blue and pink- as ''natural facts''. Roger then says,In a twist as ironic as the winding of a double helix that goes first this way,then that,the search for gay identify gradually finds it's closure in the normalcy of the norm as a natural law.In the end,I am not convinced of the basic suppositions here. I doubt that most men are unfamiliar with the sentiment given poetic form by Pablo Neruda:''It happens that I became tired of being a man. ''




Even psychiatrists who treat ''gender dysphoria''- a slick term for rebellion against conventional gender roles -admit that at least 50% of children at some point exhibit signs of mixed or crossed gender identify or express a desire to be the ''opposite'' sex. Roger has a note number to the reference in his notes section to a March 22,1994 New York Times article by Daniel Goleman called,The 'Wrong' Sex:A New Definition of Childhood Pain. Roger also says that the way the media reported the David Reimer case was very gender stereotyped and and biological deterministc. He also said that they raised him as a girl too late.


message 19: by Randie (new)

Randie "Feminine" and "masculine" are really *HUMAN* traits,thoughts,feelings and behaviors. And there is plenty of decades worth of great psychological research studies by many different psychologists that shows that the sexes are much more alike than different in most traits,abilities and behaviors with a very large overlap between them,and that most of the differences between them are really small average differences,many of which have shrunk even smaller,and they find much greater individual *people* differences! Biologically the sexes are more alike than different too!



As comedian Elaine Boosler said in the 1980's, and she still says,I'm only a human being trapped in a woman's body. Feminists(such as Robin Morgan,,Gloria Steinem, Sheila Jeffreys etc) who have rightfully pointed this fact out,are not afraid of transsexuals or prejudiced against them,the issue is what I said it is. The only transsexual woman who actually debunks these common sexist gender myths,and gender stereotypes is Kate Bornstein author of Gender Outlaw:On Men,Women And The Rest Of Us,Gender Outlaws,My Gender Workbook etc. She was a heterosexual man who was married and had a daughter,then had a sex change and became a lesbian woman and then decided not to identify as a man or a woman. I heard Kate interviewed in 1998 on a local NPR show and she totally debunks gender myths,and rejects the "feminine" and "masculine" categories as the mostly socially constructed categories that they really are.She even said,what does it mean to feel or think like a woman(or man) she said what does that really mean.



And as cultural anthropologist Roger Lancaster wrote in his introduction, in his very good 2003 book,The Trouble With Nature sex In Science when he's talking about how scientists constantly search for a ''gay brain'',a ''gay gene'' or ''gay intergovernmental'' patterns. Roger came out as a gay man in college. He then says (One can hardly understate the naive literalism of present-day science on these matters: Scientists still look for the supposed anatomical attributes of the opposite sex embedded somewhere in the inverts brain or nervous system.)



He then says and this notion now enjoys a second,third,and even fourth life in political discourses.He then says it is by appeal to such conceits that Aaron Hans,a Washington,D.C.- based transgender activist,reflects on his uncomfortable life as a girl:''I didn't *think* I was a boy,I *knew* I was a boy.'' He says,Hans elaborates: ''You look at pictures of me- I actually have great pictures of me in drag-and I literally look like a little boy in a dress.



Roger then says,Far,far be it from me to cast doubt on anyone's sense of discomfort with the ascribed gender roles.Nor would I question anyone's sense that sexual identity is a deeply seated aspect of who they are .But testimonies of this sort and appeals to the self-evidence of perception beg the obvious question:Just what is a little boy or girl * supposed* to look like?


The photograph that accompanies Han's interview shows a somewhat robust girl.Is this to say that (real) girls are necessarily delicate and (real) boys athletic? He then says (If so,virtually all of my nieces are ''really'' boys,since not a one of them is delicate or un presupposing) Roger then says,There is indeed something compelling about such intensely felt and oft- involved experiences-''I knew I was gay all along''; ''I felt like a girl'' - but that compulsion belongs to the realm of outer culture,not nature.That is, if ''inappropriate'' acts,feelings,body types,or desires seem to throw us into the bodies or minds other genders,it is because acts,feelings,and so on are associated with gender by dint of the same all-enveloping cultural logic that gives us pink blankets ( or caps,or crib cards,I.D. bracelets) for girls and blue for boys in maternity ward cribs.



He then says,when we diverge one way or another from those totalizing associations,we feel-we really feel;in the depths of our being-''different''.Therein lies the basis for an existential opposition to the established order of gendered associations. Roger then says But therein also lies the perpetual trap: Every essentialist claim about the ''nature'' of same sex desire in turn refers to and reinforces suppositions about the ''nature'' of ''real'' men and women (from whom the invert differs), about the ''naturalness'' of their mutual attraction(demonstrated nowhere so much as in the inverts inversion),about the scope of their acts,feelings,body types,and so on( again, marked off by the deviation of the deviant).



Aping the worst elements of gender/sexual conservatism,every such proposition takes culturally constituted meanings -the correlative associations of masculinity and femininity,active and passive,blue and pink- as ''natural facts''. Roger then says,In a twist as ironic as the winding of a double helix that goes first this way,then that,the search for gay identify gradually finds it's closure in the normalcy of the norm as a natural law.In the end,I am not convinced of the basic suppositions here. I doubt that most men are unfamiliar with the sentiment given poetic form by Pablo Neruda:''It happens that I became tired of being a man. ''




Even psychiatrists who treat ''gender dysphoria''- a slick term for rebellion against conventional gender roles -admit that at least 50% of children at some point exhibit signs of mixed or crossed gender identify or express a desire to be the ''opposite'' sex. Roger has a note number to the reference in his notes section to a March 22,1994 New York Times article by Daniel Goleman called,The 'Wrong' Sex:A New Definition of Childhood Pain. Roger also says that the way the media reported the David Reimer case was very gender stereotyped and and biological deterministc. He also said that they raised him as a girl too late.


message 20: by Randie (new)

Randie Th is a Great sociology book with a lot of great research studies and other information debunking common gender myths,The Marriage & Family Experience Intimate relationships In A Changing Society that debunks common sexist gender myths and how the sexes are actually biologically and psychologically more alike than different and how the very sexist,artificially gender divided,gender stereotyped,male dominated society,that is totally obsessed and oriented to making the sexes into these false ''opposite'' ''feminine'' and ''masculine'' categories.






The Marriage and Family Experience: Intimate Relationships in a Changing Society








https://books.google.com/books?id=9Cb...






The Marriage and Family Experience: Intimate Relationships in a Changing Society
books.google.com
referenced within the product description or the product text may not be available in the ebook version.


message 21: by Randie (new)

Randie Devogenes, no,the very sexist,artificially gender divided,gender stereotyped male dominated society,that is totally obsessed and oriented towards making the sexes into these opposite ''feminine'' and ''masculine'' categories,totally,extremely exaggerates the very small average differences between the sexes and makes mountains out of molehills and in addition
socially creates most of these differences,and then also exaggerates them too.


message 22: by Randie (new)

Randie STUDY FINDS FEMALE BABIES CRIES ARE DISCOUNTED PROVING GENDER STEREOTYPING STARTS FROM DAY 1


https://www.romper.com/p/female-babie...

Female Babies' Cries Are Discounted More, Proving Gender ...
www.romper.com

Gender stereotyping happens every day, and I'm sick of it. Between people telling a person to smile on the streets or the cat calls I hear from windows daily, it isn ...


http://bmcpsychology.biomedcentral.co...

DOI: 10.1186/s40359-016-0123-6 - BMC Psychology
bmcpsychology.biomedcentral.com
Despite widespread evidence that gender stereotypes influence human parental behavior, their potential effects on adults’ perception of babies’ cries have been.


message 23: by Randie (new)

Randie Article by Charlie Sorrel When Female Babies Cry,Men Discount Their Distress he says at the end,now if only parents would stop dressing their boys in blue & their girls in pink.


http://www.fastcoexist.com/3059328/wh...

When Female Babies Cry, Men Discount Their Distress

www.fastcoexist.com


If female babies can’t even beat gender stereotypes about their “tone,” then how will Hillary?


message 24: by Randie (new)

Randie John Lennon is a great example of people can change and are not fixed to be a certain way as a man or a woman.Yoko changed John into a much better person as a pro-feminist man and the feminist changes *are* for the better, and many pro-feminist men have recognized this too! They say it has freed them and allowed them to develop and express more of all of the shared common *human* traits,emotions,behaviors,abilities and reduce and prevent male violence against women and children etc. Definitions of "masculine" and "feminine" differ across time periods, and in different societies.




John Lennon is a great example of how feminism changing limited artificial gender definitions and roles,changed him for the much better. John as a child and teenager had a lot of traumas that permanently psychologically damaged him,but because of his and Yoko's beautiful loving relationship,and as he said she was a feminist before he met her,(and he said that because she was a feminist before he met her,they were going to have to have a 50/50 equal relationship which he never had before) he went in to primal scream therapy and Yoko went with him and he dealt with all of his pain and anger for the very first time at age 29. When John was a young guy,he was often drunk getting into fist fights with men,hitting women,and womanizing including cheating on his girlfriends and then his first wife Cynthia.Of course Paul,George and Ringo did the same with all of the groupies all 4 of them had while touring from 1963-1966.



I hadn't watched these Mike Douglas shows in years until December 2010 when it was the 30th anniversary of John's tragic crazy murder by the crazy horrible piece of sh*t that had been a huge Beatles fan since he was 11,and John had been his favorite Beatle and gave him an autograph on his new album for him only a few hours before he shot John 5 times and killed John right in front of Yoko . Out of the 5 Mike Douglas shows that John and Yoko co-hosted for a week that was taped in January 1972 and aired in February,a young criminal lawyer Rena Uviller(she went on to become a Supreme Court Judge) who worked with juveniles was on, and she,Mike Douglas,John and Yoko were discussing the then very recent women's liberation movement. George Carlin was on too.



Rena said,she agrees with Yoko,that the idea of Women's lib is to liberate all of us,and she said ,I mean we could talk hours on the way men really suffer under the sex role definitions.Yoko agreed with what she said too.




Rena said that men don't really realize they have only to gain from Women's Lib,and that she thinks that maybe with a little more propaganda we can convince them. John then said,yeah there is a lot to gain from it,just the fact that you can relax and not have to play that male role,he said we can do that,and he said that I can be weak,( but notice how then in a male dominated gender divided,gender stereotyped,sexist society,and even unfortunately still now in a lot of ways,the "female" role was defined as the weak one,and the male role as the strong one) I don't have to protect her all the time and play you know that super hero,I don't have to play that,she allows me to be weak sometimes and for me to cry,and for her to be the strong one,and for me to be the weak one.


John then said,and it really is a great relief,after 28 years of trying to be tough,you know trying to show them,I don't give a da*n and I'm this and I'm that,to be able to relax.and just be able to say,OK I'm no tough guy forget it. Rena then said,I think in some funny way,I think girls even as children,have a greater lattitude because a little girl can be sort of frilly and feminine or she can be a tomboy and it's acceptable,but a little boy if he's not tossing that football,there's a lot of pressure on him.John said,there's a lot of pressure,not to show emotion,and he said that there was a lot of pressure on me not to be an artist,to be a chemist and he said he discussed this on another Mike Douglas episode.



Rena said that unfortunately some of the leaders in the Women's Liberation movement fall victim to being spokesmen,for Women's Lib, and yet at least in public personality they seem to really have a certain amount of contempt for the hair curled housewife and there is a kind of sneering contempt,and she said I think it's a measure of their own lack of liberation.And Yoko said it's snobbery,and Rena said yeah,they really don't like other women,but I'm sympathetic,and Mike Douglas then said a sexist woman-hating statement,saying,well women don't like other women period. Rena said,no see that's very unliberated and Yoko said, in response to what Mike Douglas said,that's not true,that's not true.



And John said,you see they are brought up to compete with men. Yoko said that even though in Japan they say they don't have much of a woman problem and women already had some liberation,there is still a long way to go that she really agrees with Rena that so many female liberation movement people basically hate women,and we have to first start to understand women and love them whether they are housewives or not,and she said that snobbery is very bad and we have to somehow find out a way to co-existing with men,and she asked Rena don't you think so and she said most definitely.



George Carlin said,that actually many successful women are acting out male roles just like a lot of blacks think they escaped are acting out white roles.John also said that he thinks that women have to try twice as hard as to make it as men,and he said you know they have to be on their toes much more than a man. On another Mike Douglas episode from the same week,former actress and acclaimed film maker Barbara Loden was on and Yoko had requested her as a guest.John asked her ,Did you have any problems working with the men,you know like giving them instructions and things like that and Barbara said,I did, but I think it was because I was afraid that they would not accept what I said,and I wasn't quite that authoritative in my own self.John said it's certainly a brave thing to do,and Yoko said it is.



Mike Douglas asked Yoko if John's attitude had changed much towards her since The Female Liberation Movement,and at first Yoko says John's attitude from the beginning was the same,and that they met on that level.John then says,twice, I was a male chauvinist and Yoko says,yes he was a male chauvinist but,and then John says,Can I say how you taught me,and Yoko says yes.John says,How I did it in my head was,would I ask Paul or George,or would I treat them the way I would treat a woman? John then said,it's a very simple thing maybe it's fetch that or do that ,and I started thinking if I said that to them,they'd say come on get it yourself,and if you put your wife or your girl friend in the position of your best friend,and say now would I say that to him,then you know when you're treading on some delicate feelings.


Mike Douglas said years later that after this week of John and Yoko co-hosting his show,many young people who had never watched his show before,(and his main audience was middle America and people older than their 20's and even mostly their 30's) told him they loved the show,and that it was great and his ratings went up high for those shows.Even if John didn't always live up to his feminist ideals and beliefs in his personal life,(although he did with Yoko because of her and this why and how he emotionally evolved into a caring,nurturing,house husband and father to Yoko and Sean),just the fact that he spoke out as a man in support of the feminist movement on a popular TV show back in early 1972 when most of the sexist male dominated woman-hating society looked down at it and considered it crazy which in some ways it's still unfortunately wrongly misunderstood(and it's really the male dominated,sexist,woman-hating society that has always been so wrong and crazy!),and the fact that John was (and still is) greatly admired and influential to many young people male and female,he did *a lot* to legitimize it and show it was rational,reasonable,needed and right!



A few months later he was performing Woman Is The Ni**er Of The World on The Dick Cavett Show and then months after that live in Madison Square Garden.


In his very last radio interview done by Dave Sholin etc from RKO Radio just hours before he was tragically shot and killed, John said I'm more feminist now than I was when I sang Woman Is The N**ger,I was intellectually feminist then but now I feel as though at least I've put not my own money,but my body where my mouth is and I'm living up to my own preachings as it were. He also said what is this BS men are this way, women are that way,we're all human.He had also said that he comes from the macho school of pretense of course *all* men really are they are just too conditioned all of their lives to realize and admit it.


And he said that men are trained to be like they are in the army,and that it's more like that in England but he knows it's this way over here too,he said that they are taught as boys and men don't react,don't feel,don't cry,and he said he thinks that's what screwed us all up and that he thinks it's time for a change. John also said in his last radio interview,isn't about time that we destroyed the macho ethic? And he then said where has it gotten us all of these thousands of years? Are we still going to have to be clubbing each other to death? He then asked,do i have to arm wrestle you to have a relationship with you as another male? Can we not have a relationship on some other level?


https://www.thenation.com/article/len...


message 25: by Randie (new)

Randie Barbara Graystark of Newsweek interviewed John September 1980 and part of what she said to John is,You've come a long way from the man who wrote at 23,''Women should be obscene rather than heard.'' And she asks John how did this happen? And John said that he was a working-class macho guy who was used to being served and Yoko didn't buy that. John then said that from the day he met Yoko,she demanded equal time,equal space,equal rights. He said that he said to Yoko then,don't expect him to change in any way and don't impinge on his space. John said that Yoko said to him then she can't be here because there's no space where you are everything revolves around him and that she can't breath in that atmosphere.



John then says in this interview that he's thankful to her for the ( meaning feminist education.)


http://www.beatlesinterviews.org/db19...


message 26: by Randie (new)

Randie In this January 1971 interview with Red Mole John says that Yoko was well into liberation before he met her and that she had to fight her way through a man's world and he said the art world is completely dominated by men and said so Yoko was full of revolutionary zeal when they met. Then John said there was never any question about it that they had to have a 50-50 relationship or there was no relationship and he said he was quick to learn and he said that Yoko did an article in Nova more than two years back in which she said Woman is the Ni**er of the world. A year later he co-wrote with Yoko the song Woman Is The N*gger of The World,and bravely performed it live on The Dick Cavett show and at Madison Square Garden in 1972 and the song was banned off a lot of radio stations.


John also says in this same interview that it's very subtle how you're taught male superiority.


http://www.beatlesinterviews.org/db19...


message 27: by Randie (new)

Randie And before world war two,people used to dress baby girls in blue because it was described as a delicate ''feminine'' color,and boys were dressed in pink because it was described as a light red strong ''masculine'' color and then they totally reversed this,which just further demonstrates how totally artificially socially constructed all of this gender bullsh*t really is!


message 28: by Devogenes (last edited Sep 17, 2017 11:02PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Devogenes "And before world war two,people used to dress baby girls in blue because it was described as a delicate ''feminine'' color,and boys were dressed in pink because it was described as a light red strong ''masculine'' color and then they totally reversed this,which just further demonstrates how totally artificially socially constructed all of this gender bullsh*t really is!"

No, it truly doesn't. This isn't a strictly dichotomous debate: it's not either 100% one way or 100% another way. That something as trivial and shallow as gender-associated colours can change over time tells you nothing whatsoever about gender as a complex psychological phenomenon.

Why do men fight wars, almost universally, if gender is as ephemeral as dressing boys in blue?

Is the complete neural parity between sexes unique to humans? If not, how do you explain consistent gendered behaviour accross other species? Why do male squirrels behave differently than female squirrels? How can behaviours that differentiate, say, male lions from female lions be realized in any way other than psychologically?

If it is unique to humans, what is the explanation for that exceptionalism?

Bio-psychology is exceedingly complex. Human culture is exceedingly complex. And so of course the continuously cycling interactions between these two formally distinct systems will be immensely complex. Some phenomena are largely social. Some are largely biological. Almost nothing is uniquely one or the other. To claim that a trait as deep and sophisticated as gender is entirely a social construct is silly. Has anyone ever found evidence of any group of people anywhere where women exclusively hunt and wage war while men dig for tubors and weave baskets? Why not?

"Deborah Cameron very rightfully points out that even though today many women and men are getting the same educations,doing a lot of the same jobs,and interests,they still *want* to believe that deep in their brains and minds they are still fundamentally different because social changes in gender roles,are scary. "

Except that, as the author of the book being discussed points out explicitly in the introduction, there are many jobs that are still very highly gendered. Men are very highly over-represented in dangerous jobs, for example. Men are over-represented in STEM. Men are over-represented in manual labour.

Women are over-represented in social work, education, nursing, etc. I address in my original comment the problems I see with the standard socio-constructivist explanation for this divergence. Obviously women CAN do any job a man does, both in the sense of being physically and mentally capable as well as in the sense of being allowed to do so. And yet they don't. Why? The explanation is bound to be highly complex, and saying "it's a social construct" is insufficient. Women are leading entire countries, running major corporations, serving in the military, but you're telling me the "social construct" won't allow them to lay bricks or log?

"Many anthropologists like Walter Williams author of the award winning,The Spirit and The Flesh,and many other anthropologists have done field work for decades in places like Tahiti and Malaysia"

If you care to re-read the comment to which you are ostensibly replying you'll see that I bring up the indigenous Malaysian Batek, and how even in this horizontally organized, non-coercive and egalitarian society, men and women presumably free from implicit or explicit social proscriptions still delineated into largely gendered fields of activity which parallel those in more conventional societies. This is, contrary to your point, strongly suggestive of real biological differences between men and women significant enough to result in divergent activity preference.

I can't figure out why you're talking so relentlessly about John and Yoko.


message 29: by Evie (new)

Evie Randi is correct. Your diatribe is merely you trying to convince yourself. If you did enough research you'd find women did a lot more hunting than you think they did. Really, your entire review is just you trying to convince everyone to go back to the "good old days". Of course, the 'research' you (sort of) already did is you picking out details out of context to promote your own argument. Arguments like yours are why we need books like this one - you just keep pushing an archaic and biased agenda.

Now go on and write for an hour about how I'm wrong. Come on, you know you want to...


message 30: by Devogenes (last edited Nov 14, 2017 06:36PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Devogenes Seregon wrote: "Randi is correct. Your diatribe is merely you trying to convince yourself. If you did enough research you'd find women did a lot more hunting than you think they did. Really, your entire review is ..."

Yikes, salty. Commenting on my review to insult me for taking time to write it... But somehow I'm the anti-intellectual one?

I never said anything about "the good old days". I said I don't buy the argument that there are no biologically rooted population-wide behavioural differences between men and women. And yes, I am always "trying to convince myself" — that's what thinking is.

If you would like to actually address any of the points I made I'd be happy to engage you in a conversation about what is, contrary to your righteous certitude, a complicated topic with no obvious answers. Otherwise you're just projecting a whole bunch of shit that isn't interesting to anyone.

For example, "women did a lot more hunting": okay, so I guess you can provide evidence for that? I would be particularly interested if you have any evidence for high-risk/big-game hunting. Pointing out that some women do/did isn't what we're looking for, because of course what you're trying to do is demonstrate that all gender-differences are merely social, and so you should have no problem finding plenty of evidence for widespread participation of women in big-game hunting, cross culturally.

I'll also accept evidence of widespread male participation in, say, basket weaving. Just so we don't stray beyond the context of my original "diatribe".

I await your reply.


message 31: by g.balakhadze (new)

g.balakhadze I agree with Devogenes' arguments.


message 32: by Tzurky (new) - added it

Tzurky hey, so I came across the book and your review from the finalists lists and this topic (inherent cognitive and behavioural differences between men and women) has been preoccupying me for some time, so I would like a discussion, if you are amenable. I haven't read the book yet, so can't make an informed comment on that but I would like to address two aspects that you pointed out: 1) that men predominantly wage war and 2) that women are largely absent from some fields and very prevalent in others.

1) if I understand your argument here correctly, you are saying that the fact that wars have mostly been waged by men indicates that gender is not a social construct, i.e. men are by their very nature more inclined to war. This sounds like you are referring to a cognitive or behavioural difference, but I posit that there is a very simple explanation of why men wage wars which does not have anything to do with behaviour and everything to do with biology. They are, on average, stronger and faster and more endurant than women. In addition, men cannot give birth. The survival of the women is necessary to replenish population, even now, if doctors have to choose between the life of the woman and that of the child, they will choose the woman because she can have children. In my view, this adequately explains why women were not so involved in wars without necessitating any cognitive or behavioural difference. It was simply common sense. The hunting example can be similarly explained. Men are on average faster than women and hunting is more dangerous than gathering. It would be common sense for a community to ensure that the means of its perpetuation are not accidentally killed. One man would be sufficient to replenish the population given enough women, the opposite is obviously untrue. So again, biological difference is a sufficient explanation and behavioural difference is not required. (Now, I'm not saying there aren't inherent, statistically relevant cognitive differences between men and women, it will probably take some years for the scientific debate to be definitively concluded, though it is really sad, that it seems to be so affected by the beliefs of the scientists themselves.)


message 33: by Tzurky (new) - added it

Tzurky on the jobs issue. There is very likely to be a significant difference in the type of jobs women and men take on, purely based on the amount of working hours. And that again is due to biology and specifically, giving birth. Nursing ties the woman to the infant for a fairly long time and the infant may be predominantly dependent on the mother for the first years by virtue of simply seeing much much more of her than the father since it was born. This means that women will be much less able to work longer hours (especially if the man in the household does so too) and be away from the child for a very long time (as a person working on an oil rig, for instance, has to be). Add to this the obvious societal expectation that the woman is responsible for the child (even if the father helps out, she has to jump when there is an emergency in most families in most western societies) and it would be illogical for a woman intending to have children (i.e. most women) to choose a career that effectively prevents her from doing so. The prevalence in physical jobs could again be explained by phyiscal strength, which most jobs, for instance, construction jobs require.


message 34: by Tzurky (new) - added it

Tzurky also, I'm not knowledgeable on this, so I may be wrong, but has anybody proven that the brain of a male and female peacock and their cognitive process are fundamentally different? Because the gendered behaviours of different species are, to me, also entirely explainable by their biological differences. No cognitive differences required. Therefore, I don't see how that would support your point.


message 35: by Devogenes (last edited Nov 16, 2017 11:58AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Devogenes Hi Tzurky, thanks for the thoughtful response. You said:

"I posit that there is a very simple explanation of why men wage wars which does not have anything to do with behaviour and everything to do with biology. They are, on average, stronger and faster and more endurant than women. In addition, men cannot give birth."

Right, exactly. We agree completely. Although I should correct you by pointing out, as Saini describes in her book, that women actually have more endurance than men, characteristically.

I think where we disagree is that you seem to be assuming that there is a fundamental split between behaviour and biology. I do not think it makes sense to separate the two. Our behaviour is determined by and is an expression of our biology. The root fundamental difference between men and women seems to be, as you pointed out, that women give birth. This is a profound difference that has, over millions of years of evolution, resulted in differentiation on every level of description. Men and women are different on the cellular level (men have Y chromosones), on the hormonal level, on the morphological level (we have different body shapes and parts) and on the cultural level (there are marked differences in behaviour that are remarkably consistent across time and space).

Men wage wars and are more aggressive generally because aggression and violence have been an important part of our socio-biological history. Warriors have played a crucial role in the development of human culture and therefore evolution. Men are better suited to the task because we can't carry babies. This is not at all unique to humans.

You say this is behavioural, but not biological. But the behaviour is a manifestation of real biological difference emerging from the basic reality of gendered pregnancy.

That doesn't mean that men and women have different BRAINS. It requires that we have different BODIES. Cognition is distributed throughout the body and our perceptual and emotional systems are affected by our genetics and hormones in addition to neurotransmitters. Whether you call that a cognitive difference or not doesn't matter to me.

To get back to aggression, testosterone seems to play a critical role. And here's another example. Have you heard of the so-called Warrior Gene? It's a variation of the monoamine oxidase-A gene. It's a fairly common allele of the gene that reduces the production of the MOA-A enzyme. This allele is strongly associated with antisocial aggressive behaviour because of how it interacts with serotonin and dopamine etc etc yadda yadda.

Why does that matter? This allele is an x-chromosome mutation. Right? Well one way women are different than men is that they have two sets of X chromosomes, one from each parent. Men only have ONE. Men only get one allele for each X gene. A woman would need to inherit this mutation from BOTH parents to be affected. 1 in 3 people carry this gene. So a male has a 33% chance of inheriting it. A female, on the other hand, has a 33%x33%=11%. Meaning men are three times more likely to carry this gene. That's just one gene and already you have the basis for population-wide differentiation in certain behaviours based on a simple bioloical difference (men have a Y chromosome).

Genetics affect behaviour. There is no distinction between behaviour and biology, behaviour expresses biology. Culture and behaviour, evolution and history are two sides of the same coin.

Birds are actually strong evidence in my favour in that birds often display fantastically different behavioural and morpholigical gender differences, which clearly aren't socially constructed. Like the birds of paradise, for example. Is that a manifestation of patriarchal power relations?

So I think you misunderstand my point if you think that what I'm saying is that differences between men and women are NOT biological. My point is precisely that there ARE biological differences, not that there aren't.

Anyways the book is a good one and you should read it.


message 36: by Tzurky (last edited Nov 17, 2017 04:54AM) (new) - added it

Tzurky thanks in turn for your clarification. I think we are only partially in agreement. What I get from your comment is that you seem to think that behaviour is only, or at least, mostly motivated by biology(?)

"Culture and behaviour, evolution and history are two sides of the same coin."

I cannot agree with that statement, unless you think that religion, for instance, is biologically motivated as well, in which case there would be no parallel in the animal kingdom.

I wasn't very clear in what I was expressing, I'm not sure I can adequately phrase it, but my position is that biology affects and informs behaviour (among others, hormones influence behaviour), but does not fundamentally decide behaviour and, just as importantly, cannot cleanly be translated into one particular kind of behaviour. For instance, kindness. What biological aspect causes kindness? and how does that differ among men and women? Pride, envy, greed etc. also don't seem very gender-specific, though they might be differently expressed by the genders. And hormone levels vary significantly within one gender, so it is entirely possible that a women can have an abnormally high amount of testosterone and a man very little.

So what I am getting at is that, yes humanity has urges and instinctual behaviours just like any other species. But the fact that we can choose not to give in to these urges (within limits, of course) is the fact that makes us human. And biology probably significantly affects the starting point for each person's behaviour, but this is then altered by societal, environmental and other factors, sometimes even effectively negating the original impulse. To give you one, particularly irritating example, society has effectively controlled and sometimes negated the female sex-drive for a long time, for reasons which are easy to understand and similar across most cultures. Some of those reasons have ceased to apply today, thus why we are witnessing a huge (and discomforting, to many) societal shift.

that is why I draw a very clean line between behaviour and biology. For instance, yes there is no "social construct" when dealing with animals, but much of their behaviour is dependent on outside influence as well, e.g. the environment. For instance, raccoons have suffered significant changes in their foraging habits due to contact with humans. If you've ever had a dog, you will also instinctually know that part of their behaviour is innate and part of it is conditioned by your habits and how you treat them.

I would wager that conditioning affects humans much more strongly, since we have more advanced reasoning capabilities. Consider children left out in the wild growing up with wolves, for instance. how would you class their gender behaviour? Do you think it would really make a difference whether they were male or female?

Also, I think we only have a very rudimentary understanding of how biology and evolution affects behaviour and shouldn't read too much into it. I mostly see references to "evolutionary psychology" in the context of online debates, so I have become very leery of it. (especially the "men are more sexual than females part", which is simply not true.) "Males are simply more aggressive" seems too simplistic to me, especially when aggression is broadly accepted and encouraged by their male peers. Contests of strength are not really popular among women, for instance.

My position is of course informed by my personal experiences in two different countries. I noticed males and females behave very differently in each. moreover, the people I personally know would definitely not fit neatly into the "male" expectations that seem to be commonly held.

But what really and honestly confuses me are genderfluid people. I cannot, for the life of me, empathise with someone feeling "male" or "female". Because I don't and never have felt "like" my sex. I just feel like myself. So I wonder, what would you describe as "male" (or "female") about you that could not apply to a female (to the same extent)? Are those the traits that you think define you and affect your day to day behaviour? Because I can trace most of my value system, beliefs and behaviour pretty directly to my parents' influence (which even outweighed some of the cultural norms in the society I grew up in). My sibling shares very many of these traits and we are different genders.


Devogenes Tzurky wrote: "my position is that biology affects and informs behaviour (among others, hormones influence behaviour), but does not fundamentally decide behaviour"
Right but that's not the question though. The issue doesn't have to be framed as an argument about determinism. We observe generalized differences between men and women, historically and cross culturally. The question is: are all these differences merely the result of social norms. I say no. Saini says yes. I say if so, what are the basis of those norms and why are they so prevalent?

"Males are simply more aggressive" seems too simplistic to me, especially when aggression is broadly accepted and encouraged by their male peers. Contests of strength are not really popular among women, for instance."

What's simplistic about it? I just provided you with one tiny fragment of evidence showing that men are 3x more likely to inherit a gene strongly associated with aggressiveness for example. That's just one gene. Then there's testosterone. As you point out, some women have more testosterone than others. And low and behold, it appears as if women with higher levels of testosterone are more competitive/aggressive and 'thing-oriented' rather than 'people-oriented (according to Baron-Cohen). Ie. certain behaviours are linked with high levels of testosterone, and men have higher levels of testosterone than women.

"Pride, envy, greed etc. also don't seem very gender-specific" Nothing is "gender specific". That's not the point.

I don't follow your analogy with human/animal distinction at all. I've lived with many animals and all of them are unique individuals just as any human person is, and they are unique from birth. That's genetics. Animals also very much exist within "social contracts", they just tend to be orders of magnitude less sophisticated than ours. A chimp won't just attack any chinp: they are aware of their position in a social hierarchy.

You don't have to know what it feels like to be your sex any more than you have to know what it feels like to be a member of your culture or your race or your generation or species That category still exists though and it differntiates you in non-trivial ways from members of other categories.


message 38: by Tzurky (new) - added it

Tzurky I don't think i understand your point. If a difference in levels of testosterone leads to a measurable difference of behavior is that not deterministic? "We are our hormones." Or was there a "corrected for social influences" in there that was implied? Because then the question becomes what are these influences, never mind how do you correct for them.

In order to extricate the social component from this you would have to take two individuals with that gene you mentioned and see whether the way they are raised an socialized has an impact on their aggressiveness and competitiveness. I.e socialize one of them to be non-competitive and people-oriented. Also take a person with a lot of testosterone and someone with less and see if an education and socialization towards competitiveness leads to the same results. That's why I consider the explanation of "men are aggressive" simplistic. Because testosterone is unlikely to be the only factor determining competitiveness. Also does the book do a good job of explaining the Baron-Cohen test? Because I would like to understand that better.

My human/ animal distinction wasn't a distinction in that sense. You pointed out that there is no patriarchy with animals and I merely responded that they are subject to social influences. Did you just mean to say that the social influences don't have an ideological bent with animals? Because who is to say the social structures with hunter-gatherers had an ideology? I would find that very strange. The division of labour among men and women was the most rational based on the physiology and how we reproduce. If you want my opinion on that, patriarchy enters into this discussion much later, when this division of labour was used to argue that women are just not suited to everything from voting to owning property to governing. That is us modern humans looking back on our ancestors and interpreting things based on our limited understanding.

And since these studies are (sadly) being used to argue things like "men are just better at STEM and more drawn to the fields. Stop wanting women to go into them and forcefully pushing them forward." I think we very carefully have to consider whether they are a good basis for this. That is what I was arguing against.

If human behavior is like diseases partially based on genetics and partially on lifestyle and environmental factors (in this case the societal norms), and I honestly don't see why not, then we shouldn't use these studies to directly influence labour policies and the like.


message 39: by Arielle88 (new)

Arielle88 Hi Tzurky - it seems to me that you two are talking past each other. Devogenes seems to be arguing that biology has an impact on certain forms of gendered behaviour, while you seem to be arguing that culture has an impact on all gendered behaviour. There's no contradiction there. Some aspects of gendered behaviour could have their roots in biology, while still being molded by culture.

No one could argue that gendered behaviour doesn't vary according to culture - but culture is built on a foundation of biology. Let's take the human sweet tooth. Few would argue that humans have an innate, biology desire to enjoy and consume sugary foods. And yet! Different cultures incorporate sugar into their diets in vastly different ways. Many people find sugary dishes from other cultures unpalatable. Some modern people avoid sugar for health reasons, despite it being plentiful and widely available. Some people use sugar to make artwork! None of this changes the fact that when you get down to it, we have a powerful biological desire to consume sugar, and this trait is passed on genetically.

Back to the gender question. We've got to distinguish between biology impacting groups on average and impacting groups as a whole. Let's say you make the claim that men are on average taller than women; if I then point out that I have several female friends who are extremely tall, that would be no counterargument because we're talking about averages, not absolutes. When someone makes a claim like "men are more aggressive than women," they're not (we hope) claiming that all men are more aggressive than all women - they're claiming that if you average out the aggression levels of all men and the aggression levels of all women, you'll find that men are somewhat more aggressive. Think two overlapping bell curves. This still means that for any given man and any given women, the woman could easily be more aggressive.

If we look at the world we observe that men and women do, on average, behave differently. Any intellectually honest interpretation must conclude that these differences are partially rooted in biology, partially in culture. Devogenes has already brought up the warrior gene and the influence of serum testosterone levels. It's worth noting that prenatal testosterone levels seem to be significant as well - female mice who are exposed to male levels of testosterone in utero are more aggressive and tend to mount other females. Cultural factors also play an undeniable role. In 1950s America, women had few options outside of getting married and having babies. While this was related to biology - at the very least, females must gestate the children - this was clearly a situation where cultural rules and norms strongly curtailed the development of a full and well-rounded female personality. You could make the case that this is happening today, albeit in a different way, while still acknowledging the role of biology.

One thing that makes these kinds of questions so complicated is that biology and culture often push in the same direction, so it's not clear what kind of role each is playing. Sexuality today is a good example - there's evidence that testosterone makes men more focused on sex, but it also appears to be the case that it's more permissible for men to pursue sex single-mindedly than it is for women. In situations like these, it becomes very hard to tease apart culture and biology.

I see your argument that if we admit men and women have biological differences it could be used to justify sexist policies. However, I think the way to address this isn't to deny biology in the face of all evidence - if you do, then you're implicitly accepting the sexist's frame (that if there are biological differences between men and women, social policy should reflect them). This is very risky, since it means you're hanging your social movement on scientific claims that are almost certainly wrong. It would be like saying that gay people deserve rights because there's a gay gene - if it turns out there isn't one, you're screwed. In my opinion, a much stronger argument would be to reject that frame and say that men and women deserve equal rights and opportunities regardless of whatever biological tendencies may or may not separate them. It's easy to justify this - just point out what I elaborated above, that the differences are differences in averages, not absolutes. Even though the bell-curves might be centered on different points, there's a ton of overlap and individual variation. Looking at it this way allows you to have your cake and eat it too - you can remain firm in your political beliefs, while also allowing yourself the freedom to look at reality without desiring that it conform to your agenda.


message 40: by Devogenes (last edited Nov 20, 2017 03:41PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Devogenes Tzurky wrote: "men are just better at STEM and more drawn to the fields"
Those are two completely different statements, neither of which entails the other.


message 41: by Tzurky (new) - added it

Tzurky Thanks Arielle! Your comment captured what I had been trying to point out. I agree with you on all points, but would like to point out that I never argued for a rejection of biological studies. Just for a careful use and scientific interpretation as opposed to the one they typically receive when popularized by the media or used in arguments on the internet.

The problem with their usage is also, I feel, more complex than just using them for sexist purposes. In the most recent highly debated instance where potential mental differences between men and women were brought up, the studies mentioned by Devogenes were used to argue against a sexist company policy, which specifically supported women in coding (I'm referring of course to the now famous Google memo). Now you might argue that discrimination, whether positive or negative, is bad and I agree with you in theory. The practice would depend on the understanding of reality that the policy makers have. In this case, it was assumed that women are actively discouraged by society and a bad work climate from stem fields and the positive discrimination was intended to correct for the work climate aspect.


message 42: by Tzurky (new) - added it

Tzurky So should the studies be used to argue against sexist policies in this instance is a more tricky question.


message 43: by Tzurky (new) - added it

Tzurky @ Devogenes, I am aware of that. What do you think of Arielle's comment? Does that reflect your position? Because then we do indeed have agreement and we can move on.


Devogenes I would say so; she's a good friend of mine and we've had many long conversations on the topic which have strongly influenced my views on the matter.

On the topic of the Google memo: http://quillette.com/2017/08/07/googl...


message 45: by Tzurky (new) - added it

Tzurky Thanks devogenes. I read the post and found it very illuminating, well-written and well-reasoned. Except for the guy arguing that diversity is completely incompatible with lack of inherent differences between sexes and races. Unless one considers socialization to be such an inherent difference, I don't think that necessarily follows. Or if it does, I posit that there are inherent cognitive and behavioral differences between different occupations. What you do informs your thinking and reasoning so much that I think it would be easy to prove. E.g. lawyers and business people are generally more conservative than physics students where I live. Law and economy students vote for Christian-democratic representatives, while physics students voted for actual communists or far left groups (yes, that exists) to represent them in the students union. This is across at least 15 years consistently. So then the differentiation by race and sex becomes just another component and really "diverse" teams must feature people of different occupations, as well as different races and if we break it down enough, everybody should be represented because everybody is different. Because while there are biological differences in males and females, as far as I know they are much less pronounced (if at all to be found) across races. Also, what is the connection between e.g. sickle cell anemia and personality? (Asking for personal interest because I may be lilly-white but have it, yay!) The argument of the "diversity" people here is that different life experiences allow you to see different perspectives and that promotes a more rounded approach to problems. E.g. immigrants also have a different perspective than people that never left their country. Are we going to argue genetic differences in immigrants as a group vs people that never leave their country? In short, reducing the argument to genetics or evolutionary biology is weird. Also, personal pet peeve as non-scientist (so to be taken cum grano salis): why the assumption that e.g. Sweden has a different culture than Japan? We all went through similar societal development stages across tens of millennia and suddenly the past 50 years are enough to count ourselves as egalitarian? That's not even one generation. So, I am skeptical that we can really see the differences. Maybe if there was a culture where men were responsible for child-rearing primarily past the suckling age, then we could see how that influenced behavior.


message 46: by Mel (last edited Dec 24, 2017 11:57AM) (new) - added it

Mel Thanks for this review! If you are interested in gendered warfare, I highly recommend Laura Sjoberg's Gendering Global Conflict: A Feminist Theory of War. She is a feminist scholar in the international relations discipline but her writing is approachable to those outside of the academic field.


Devogenes Hey Mel, thanks for the suggestion. I'll add it to the list!


message 48: by heidi (new)

heidi oh. my. word. this is the longest thread of "comments" i've ever seen! that *randie* was out of control. i liked your review devogenes, which is how i got here. thanks!


Devogenes heidi wrote: "oh. my. word. this is the longest thread of "comments" i've ever seen! that *randie* was out of control. i liked your review devogenes, which is how i got here. thanks!"

Yeah. There was actually a bunch more comments by randie but I deleted several since it seemed like they had plenty of space to make their points. Pretty perplexing reaction, not sure whether they simply had all that content written out already or what,


Jehona As somebody who went to school in different countries I would like to point out that the STEM specific discrimination is culturally western. In countries like Iran, a woman getting a higher education is already doing "men stuff", so there is no point for her to study something that she doesn't like or likes less. She will face the same amount of discrimination in psychology as in engineering. In countries like UK, she is told from a very early age that going to university is normal. However, while in social sciences all that will matter is her work and talent, in STEM she will have to deal with discrimination every step of the way.


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