Sex Differences and Feminism

Philosophicus
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Sex Differences and Feminism

Do you think there are differences between the sexes?  Do you think gender is more influenced by genetics or sociology?  I've never been a fan of radical feminism, but it appears they think sociology plays most of the role in gender; I have to go with biology on this one. 

 

 


cj
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using formal definitions

I don't buy most of the crap they try to sell as "women's studies". 

But gender is usually defined differently from sex - gender is sociological, sex is biological.  There is no question in anyone's mind that the physical differences are real and they do affect your brain as well as the other obvious physical characteristics.  And people who have multiple copies of either X or Y chromosomes can have very different combinations of physical characteristics as well as other developmental problems.

Yet, the sociological environment we grow up in also affects our brains.  And it also affects the gender we express in our society.  There are societies that recognize more than 2 genders.  Hijras in SE Asia-India.  Fa'afafine in Samoa.  Social virgins of the Balkans take on the social role of their opposite sex (male or female), but swear virginity and do not have sex with anyone.  The Two-Spirit of some North American tribes.  (Most of these are men taking on a female gender role.)  Their societies accept them as they are with a set of social expectations about taking on the role.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hijra_%28South_Asia%29

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fa%27afafine

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sworn_virgin

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two-Spirit

Cultural Anthropologists do not recognize "Queens" or "Tom Boys" or "Dykes" in western culture as third genders because there isn't a "formal" societal recognition for these people.  Personally, I'm not sure I agree as we have a lot of jokes about and formalized concepts of behavior associated with the personal expressions of people who self identify in one of these categories.

I still think of myself as the Tom Boy I was as a girl.  I am fascinated with heavy equipment.  I want - more than just about anything - to have the space for model trains.  I enjoy science and technology and have worked in a technical field most of my life.  I have been the main bread winner in my family for years.  Yet I am definitely heterosexual - not attracted sexually to other women at any time in my life.

Your gender role is determined by society.  I have never felt comfortable in the "female" role as exemplified by western media.  Shopping - meh - unless it is the hardware store.  Clothes - meh - what is wrong with jeans and a sweatshirt?  And high heels are for breaking your ankles.  Makeup - meh - I am allergic and break out in bumps if I try to wear it.  Yes, even the hypoallergenic stuff.  Babies - meh - I'm really glad mine are grown and I am not interested in yours.  And so on.

I have lesbian friends who self identify as Dykes who are more 'girly' than I am.  And that is the difference between sex and gender.  Gender is what you self identify as your personal role in your society.  Sex is the plumbing.

 

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Philosophicus wrote:Do you

Philosophicus wrote:

Do you think there are differences between the sexes?  Do you think gender is more influenced by genetics or sociology?  I've never been a fan of radical feminism, but it appears they think sociology plays most of the role in gender; I have to go with biology on this one. 

There are clearly some =sex-based= differences which seem to be consistent with Evolutionary Biology, as well as with what's seen within other species where reproductive energy / investment is taken into consideration.

That said, I'm 100% in agreement with what cj wrote.  There is a difference between "sex" and social gender.  One is real, more or less, and the other is a social construct.

"Obviously I'm convinced of the existence of G-d. I'm equally convinced that Atheists who've led good lives will be in Olam HaBa going "How the heck did I wind up in this place?!?" while Christians who've treated people like dirt will be in some other place asking the exact same question."


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This is one of those

This is one of those topics.
I know there are some things females can do better or more efficiently than males (on average), and that the reverse is true. But there are such differences between any two people, and a list detailing the differences between any two random people could be much longer than a list of differences between genders.

I'd like men and women be treated as equally as possible. Which means a woman should be treated no differently than a man in the work force and justice system. No preferential treatment for either gender under any circumstances. Including custody battles and wages.

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I can never understand why

I can never understand why certain feminist movements cannot accept the notion that equality does not mean being the same. There is neurobiological evidence that men have more innate visuospatial abilities and women have more innate verbal skills. Does it necessarily follow that women cannot be pilots? Absolutely not!!!! Indeed if women are better equiped with verbal skills, then all doctors, lawyers and policiticians should be women. Clearly the status quo is not determined by genetics.

I read an article by a radical feminist (who follows the works of Simone de Beauvoir) who made the claim that women who wear lipstick have been negatively conditioned by patriarchical beauty standards. Lipstick is a form of oppression. And in this same journal I read another article describing the fate of women holocaust survivors in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. After being raped, tortured and nearly starved to death these women felt human when they wore lipstick. I take it that this liberating beautifying act, this final rebellion against their Nazi tormentors was nothing more than patriarchical brainwashing? Rather, is it not conceivable that there could be innate gender differences in grooming and adorning? Is it truly sexist to make the claim that to a certain extent it may be natural for women to beautify themselves?

I think that some feminists create rigid ideological circles and cling to moral absolutes that in the end only serve to hurt women rather than help them. Anything that they disagree with is the result of the evil patriarchy. And all to often as with other rigid ideologues, they can wander in and out of the circles while everyone else must either obey and stay in or be a heretic and kicked out. They're worse than "champagne" Marxists who fly first class.


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Philosophicus wrote:Do you

Philosophicus wrote:

Do you think there are differences between the sexes?

Certainly.

Quote:
Do you think gender is more influenced by genetics or sociology?  I've never been a fan of radical feminism, but it appears they think sociology plays most of the role in gender; I have to go with biology on this one.

I can't say that genes makes more of a difference than environment or vice versa. I don't know.

I'd say this question should be left to the empirical evidence, and there's undoubtedly a little bit of subjectively in determining what we consider as more or less "different."   

 

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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There are many different

There are many different kinds of feminist. The most I am glad to say are quite sensible. They understand that being equal means being treated equal. I don't think any sane feminist wants us to accept women into jobs such as the army with lower qualifications. They want to compete and that is fine by me. For the most part the physical differences between men and women should rarely come into the equation. The only day to day place where I can think of one gender getting something that the other does not because of gender is that I think that men should give up their seats on public transport to pregnant women. And that's more to do with men not being able to be pregnant.

Yes men can run faster than women but frankly most women who are sprinters and long distance runners can outrun the average man so it's kind of pointless as an argument. To all intents and purposes we are the same and our capabilities are the same in terms of what we work and our potential effect on society in nearly every normal facet of society. There is nothing either gender can do that the other gender cannot.

That being said there is a fringe (just like in every movement) of batshit insane feminists. I particularly LOATHE the idea of Schrodinger's Rapist which I came into contact when arguing for Rebecca Watson. Basically it boils down to "Majority of Rape is comitted by men on women with 1/3 women being forced, coerced, threatened into sex that they didn't want to have while only 1/10 men reporting such behaviour and the majority of both genders were forced and coerced by men. Therefore it is fair to assume that most men are potential rapists and take precautions regarding that."

I voiced some concern regarding that since I felt it cheapened the argument by invoking the same argument that people have used for decades to search black people and to excuse racism that I have felt when travelling. I am not white and look a bit middle eastern or pakistani and so I get stopped in airports a lot for special screening (usually they learn that I wear boxers). But I got into an argument with a more crazy feminist who claimed that since all men are potential rapists they should avoid doing threatening things like travelling in elevators with women who may feel uncomfortable.
 


Philosophicus
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...

Avicenna wrote:

That being said there is a fringe (just like in every movement) of batshit insane feminists. I particularly LOATHE the idea of Schrodinger's Rapist which I came into contact when arguing for Rebecca Watson. Basically it boils down to "Majority of Rape is comitted by men on women with 1/3 women being forced, coerced, threatened into sex that they didn't want to have while only 1/10 men reporting such behaviour and the majority of both genders were forced and coerced by men. Therefore it is fair to assume that most men are potential rapists and take precautions regarding that."

I voiced some concern regarding that since I felt it cheapened the argument by invoking the same argument that people have used for decades to search black people and to excuse racism that I have felt when travelling. I am not white and look a bit middle eastern or pakistani and so I get stopped in airports a lot for special screening (usually they learn that I wear boxers). But I got into an argument with a more crazy feminist who claimed that since all men are potential rapists they should avoid doing threatening things like travelling in elevators with women who may feel uncomfortable. 

I never even heard of Schrödinger’s Rapist before.  I just looked it up and read a blog entry about it after I read your post.  For any of you who have also never heard of it, here's a link (it's the first entry that popped up when I googled it):

http://kateharding.net/2009/10/08/guest-blogger-starling-schrodinger%E2%80%99s-rapist-or-a-guy%E2%80%99s-guide-to-approaching-strange-women-without-being-maced/


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Indeed but this is a rather

Indeed but this is a rather mild application of the term. I mean every single argument made here is quite "sensible". Random strangers may not be appreciative of conversation, rape jokes on T-shirts may not be appreciated by all...

However if you begin to start treating dates as potential rapists then I as a man would be deeply insulted to the point where I would say "fuck you" very loudly and possible make you leave the house or leave myself on the basis of "I spend a large amount of time being treated by the assumptions that people have about me because of the colour of my skin" and anything along those lines doesn't sit right with me.

The ultimate joke was that I was on the side of those arguing for Rebecca. I don't think hitting on women in elevators in that manner specifically after this one in particular stated she didn't like being objectified at such events was a good idea. I don't even think it's a bad idea. It's a insanely terrible idea that would go horrifically wrong in so many ways.

The moment this argument came out I completely lost all interest in arguing for her. I didn't think using this argument is healthy especially in name since it has insanely bad connotations that simply demonise men for potential crime.

 


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  Did anyone see the

  Did anyone see the Youtube video of the Black transgender woman who beat up some guy in New York because he made a disparaging remark ?  I fisrt saw it on the Huffington Post but Youtube took it down.

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A bit more depth

There are biological differences in the statistical distribution of both physical (non-brain) and mental (brain) aspects of males versus females.  This, of course, does not mean that every man is bigger than every woman.  However, it may very well mean that females are more likely to tend towards the traditionally feminine gender roles while males are more likely to tend towards the traditionally masculine gender rolls even in the absence of social conditioning.

To get at this, you need to look at gender roles across cultures.  Yes, there are cultures with extra gender roles, but how common are members of that gender in that culture?  If you have a culture with masculine males, feminine females, and sex-gender opposites as three recognized gender roles, is that third role common?  If you have two dozen cultures, each with a male-prescribed gender role and a female-prescribed gender role, do these roles bear striking similarities?  If most cultures independently develop male-prescribed gender roles containing something along the lines of "men are warriors," then men probably have a biological predisposition toward filling the "warrior" role.  In this sense, the role is not just a social construct.  It actually represents a biological tendancy (which again does not mean that every man will fill that role, nor that zero women will).

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My recollection is that a

My recollection is that a lot of early socialist kibutzim in Israel experimenting with "egalitarian" child rearing and it worked not at all.  I've known a few hippies (and other such people ...) who've tried that with kids and it also didn't work at all.  One friend once described sex differences this way -- if you took a bunch of toddlers, shaved their heads, and dressed them in burlap bags, you'd still be able to figure out the children's sex with a pretty high degree of accuracy.

THAT said, no one should be forced to be a way they don't want to be.

"Obviously I'm convinced of the existence of G-d. I'm equally convinced that Atheists who've led good lives will be in Olam HaBa going "How the heck did I wind up in this place?!?" while Christians who've treated people like dirt will be in some other place asking the exact same question."