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16 responses

22 02 2010
D. Lynn Thompson

But you neglected to mention that I acknowledged that men need that same choice in your comments.

The reaction is to Alice Walker’s introduction in “The Other Side of War” by Zainab Salbi. In this introduction, Walker repeatedly suggests that the only way to end the violence in the Congo, Afghanistan, Rwanda, and other places is for women to end it. She states that it is women’s inherent capability of nurturing that will end the murders and rapes and men’s inherent tendency toward violence that perpetuate them. I disagree with her. To say that men have an inherent need to rape and murder is, to me anyway, more than a tad extreme. But you are, of course, entitled to your opinion.

I make the point about the research, not to invalidate all research on human motives and behavior, but to punctuate the fact that it simply is impossible to remove social influence as a factor. The only studies that are able to remove these influences are case studies of feral children. Children who are incapable of human interaction.

And (while I try to remain respectful in my posts) I must say that, if you honestly think that a white, middle class, protestant woman in the US has the same social “disadvantages” (and yes, I say that with sarcasm) as say a black, poor woman in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, you are not quite as observant as I previously thought. Whether or not you think intersectionality is BS, it still exists. Rich white men and poor Latina women are not likely to have even remotely the same set of experiences, regardless of your opinion.

Last but not least, Alice Walker is a writer and activist.

Let the deluge begin…

22 02 2010
kidojo

Growing up, my mother was not a nurturing type. She did not tend to me when I was sick, and told me to “suck it up and stop being selfish” when I would cry. She still does this to this day. She hates cooking for my father, and not for lack of ability, but for lack of wanting to be a good wife. I was not encouraged to “play house” or with barbies. My sister and I built forts. I used to climb the crab apple tree in our back yard. I cut off the hair on my barbies to compensate for a lack of Ken dolls. I was encouraged to play with whatever toys were given to me, and not to complain if it was something I wouldn’t have preferred. I was told I was “lucky to even have toys at all”. With that, I was in no way “taught to play with dolls, play in tiny pink, plastic kitchens, and solve…. problems through words and not fists.”. Especially the latter (On that note, I give my own two girls the opportunity to choose what toys they want to play with, and eight times out of ten they gravitate towards “girly” toys on their own with no influence by me).

Yet with all that being said, I have these internal urges to mother, nurture, stay home and raise my family, and, if I had one, take care of a man. If it is true that a woman’s desire to be a “housewife” is a direct result of childhood conditioning, then I should be showing a subtle contempt towards my children and burning my bra, much as my own mother does.

Of course its a “choice” to be either a working woman or to raise a family. You just can’t do both simultaneously. Period. I know this because I’m forced to do both and my children suffer, and I suffer.

I think that if you agree to be a couple (man and woman) and you agree to raise a family, the assumed roles are there for a reason and should be adhered to. They are not in place to oppress women, or because women are less in worth then men, but simply because it’s a system that works (so long as both parties are in agreement to these rolls and they do their fucking job). Don’t get me wrong, I’m a firm believer that a woman should learn to fend for herself, so to speak, and learn skills that would benefit her and her children should something happen to the man (hence a cure for the “bored housewife”. She could be taking the time to learn stuff). Bottom line is women are better at the nurturing and “attending” stuff then men, and men are better at providing.
Not for lack of ability; its a matter of instincts.
It’s like this for a reason. The survival of our species depends on a system of provisions and nurturing.

22 02 2010
RP-in-TX

How, pray tell, would Ms. Thompson explain the case of David Reimer? Of course it is only one case, but that one case has done much to demolish the “social construction” view of gender. And it is an almost perfect test case since every possible effort was made from infancy to socialize Mr. Reimer as female. Explanation?

Further, how exactly does Ms. Thompson maintain a “social construction” view in the face of an onslaught of opposing data from evolutionary psychology?

23 02 2010
Snark

Dogmatic belief in social constructionism, to the point of not permitting any evidence to the contrary through logical tangles, is a case of ideology trumping progress. It’s very convenient for feminism if gender can be reduced to social constructionism. It’s downright inconvenient for feminism if there are real, evolutionary and innate differences between males and females. One thing I have noticed about feminists is that they tend to work backwards from a conclusion which is determined in advance based on what they feel should be right.

23 02 2010
D. Lynn Thompson

@ Snark: I don’t maintain that there are not innate differences, but I do maintain that they can not be measured outside of the feral children studies because of the influence of social interaction from birth. If you figure out how (ethically, that is) show me the evidence and I will gladly observe.

@ RP: Again, I do not deny innate difference between human beings. As for David Reimer, I would say that A) he was not socialized as a girl from infancy as the accident that lead to his reconstruction did not occur until Bruce was 18 months of age. B) I despise John Money. While I do recognize the validity of some of his claims, he is definately not at the top of my list in any professional (or personal) categories. C) “Of course it is only one case, but that one case has done much to demolish the “social construction” view of gender” On the contrary, clinicians world wide continue to claim that Money’s theories on gender identity are completely correct. Based on Money’s theories, children all over this and every industrialized nation are surgically altered every day so that their genitals match the SOCIALLY CONSTRUCTED norm. And it is socially constructed as those same children would be (and are) left alone in cultures that are not as “medically advanced” as industrialized nations.

It is my opinion (and it is just that) that gender is not based soley on social construction nor on biology. It is a combination of factors ranging from heredity, prenatal environment, and social experience that forms a gender identity.

“It cannot be too frequently emphasized that the behavior of any animal must depend upon on the nature of the stimulus which it meets, its anatomic and physiologic capacities, and its background of previous experience.”~Alfred Kinsey

BUT, as Caveman acknowledges that intersectionality of experience is “BS”, there is no way that he could acknowledge any social construction whatsoever.

23 02 2010
Snark

“If you figure out how (ethically, that is) show me the evidence and I will gladly observe.”

David Reimer. Case study right there. His penis was accidentally destroyed by a circumcision machine (yeah, some things you just shouldn’t leave to machines, am I right?) and every effort was made to ‘reassign’ his gender and raise him as a girl.

In a way, it seems like the kinder thing to do. But it could only work so long as there are not innate differences between men and women.

Do you know what David Reimer did? He KILLED HIMSELF. He had known all along that he wasn’t female. When his father told him (at age 14) that he was in fact male, he responded that he had known all along that something hadn’t been right, and from that moment on he identified as male.

Men are NOT women with penises.
Women are NOT men who can get pregnant.

Peddling the opposite view is mischevious.

23 02 2010
Snark

“Based on Money’s theories, children all over this and every industrialized nation are surgically altered every day so that their genitals match the SOCIALLY CONSTRUCTED norm.”

What?

Is this some feminist abstraction? ‘Surgically altered by the patriarchy enforcing its gender binary’ etc.?

23 02 2010
D. Lynn Thompson

It’s not an abstraction. There is this lovely medical measure known as “phallometrics” (no, I didn’t make that up). Acording to this scale, if a girl’s clitoris is “too large” or if a boy’s penis is “too small”, they are surgically removed. As I mentioned before, this is only done in industrialized nations and it is done because of John Money.

Note that I said the combination of both biological and social factors in my last post.

23 02 2010
Snark

I was not aware of phallometrics. I thank you for bringing it to my attention.

24 02 2010
D. Lynn Thompson

http://aiclegal.org/

This website has more information on these practices.

27 02 2010
Weekend Linkfest – Goodbye Anakin Niceguy edition « Seasons of Tumult and Discord

[…] Caveman: Internet Mind Readers and the Fragile Fat Girl Ego, More on Feminism, Bullshit, The Weekly Standard Article, Part […]

5 11 2010
Ben

Thompson,

“I don’t maintain that there are not innate differences, but I do maintain that they can not be measured outside of the feral children studies because of the influence of social interaction from birth.”

While your isolationist approach is admirable, it is flawed. Are we to throw out all medical and scientific knowledge which are done on adults due to your policies?

I think not.

I always laugh when people like you believe in the nature vs nuture. I assure you nature and nurture are not on the same level. Nature can exist without nature. Nurture is dependent on nature (single cell organisms). Everyone who is knowledgeable says that Biology determines everything. Nurture is the way those different biological elements are triggered.

Since you have so much faith that not raising David from childbirth is what is flawed with the study, could we do it to your children? There may be no direct scientific evidence but we do know about how biology impacts society which therin impacts society.

Hormones is a perfect example. Here is one done on rates. I know we humans are different but earlier vertebrae forms of mammals follow much of the same rules as us. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6T0P-482RBVK-BX&_user=10&_coverDate=04/30/1990&_rdoc=1&_fmt=high&_orig=search&_origin=search&_sort=d&_docanchor=&view=c&_searchStrId=1529235030&_rerunOrigin=google&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=a72c56ae3836cd6796ba80ee5a96f324&searchtype=a

23 03 2011
D. Lynn Thompson

I just happened upon this post from awhile back and decided to respond. I will frame my response simply, as that is apparently necessary.

Social construction vs biology (ie nature vs nurture)

I DO NOT believe soley in social constructionism. Rather I believe that a combination of social and biological factors influence human behavior. Go back to the Alfred Kinsey quote posted above.

Alice Walker

Is a puliter prize winning author of feminist literature. I would think that, given one of her most famous novels was made into a movie, you would have heard of her (“The Color Purple”).

The majority of arguments above

I am assuming, from the fact that most are arguing biology alone, that you would agree with Walker that all men are violent and no man has the capacity to solve issues without resorting to violence.

The study mentioned about rats above

Anthropomorphism is a logical fallacy. Because the link does not work, I am left to assume that this is a hormone study regarding the implantation of testes or the injection of testosterone, which leads researches to believe that the increased mounting behaviors are related to sexuality and/or violence.

Last but CERTAINLY not least, it is mentioned just above that “Since you have so much faith that not raising David from childbirth is what is flawed with the study, could we do it to your children? ” A) That is the least of my concerns with Money’s “study”. He lied, manipulated his information, and his mistakes continue to ruin the lives of intersex children worldwide. B) No, you can NOT do it on my child. You see, Ben, a great deal of my familiarity with Dr. Money is BECAUSE I have an intersex child. My child is monitored my a urologist to insure his medical safety, however he has never and will never have genetic testing while in my care. He is what he identifies to be. I refuse to allow his genitals to be chopped off because “people like YOU” feel that his genetic signature is more important thatn his personal identity. Furthermore, “sir” I will add that the rest of my knowledge on the subject of Intersex and identity is due to my expertise as an instructor at a university, not on what I have googled this week.

My apologies for allowing myself to stoop to your level, however you can take your terribly flawed rat studies and shove them up your ass.

14 06 2011
Dan Fox

What “expertise” do you have Ms. Thompson.

24 08 2011
D. Lynn Thompson

Years of research, experience, and education. But for some, Google and Wiki seem to carry more weight.

I might add some reading materials, should someone decide to educate themselves.

“Sexing the Body” ~ Ann Fausto-Sterling
“Intersex in the Age of Ethics” ~ Alice Dreger
The ISNA website and the Oii website.

These materials go into the ethical problems of defining sex based on chromosomes, genital appearance, or any other individual factor alone. Please take note that the term “DSD” on the ISNA website is a controversial term that is generally not appreciated.

3 11 2011
WeiLee

I understand you aren’t fully behind the social only argument, but I still disagree that no studies can be done without major societal influence.

What about the monkey studies. The monkeys couldn’t have observed human boys and girls to see that boys *should* play with trucks and girls with dolls. Yet the males were significantly more likely to play with trucks and cars anyway. The girls were slightly more likely to favor dolls over trucks and balls, but not significantly. did this anyway. See:

Alexander, G. M., & Hines, M. (2002). Sex differences in responses to children’s toys in a non-human primate,

Kahlenberg S.M., Wrangham R.W. (2010) Sex differences in chimpanzees’ use of sticks as play objects resemble those of children

Furthermore, if boys are playing with male-oriented toys, not because of their hormonal influence, but because of society, why is gender non-conforming behavior one of the best indicators of future homosexuality.(1) Another good indicator of homosexuality in men is differences in finger length (a proxy for the hormonal levels).(2) I highly doubt it was a coincidence that males with hormonal levels similar to women are also more likely to favor traditional female toys.

See:
1:
Rieger, G., Linsenmeier, JAW. (2008) *Sexual orientation and childhood gender nonconformity: Evidence from home videos.

Baily, J.M., Miller, J.S. (1993) Maternally rated childhood gender nonconformity in homosexuals and heterosexuals

2.
Williams, T.J. et al. (2000) Finger-length ratios and sexual orientation

Putz, D.A. et al.(2004) Sex hormones and finger length:: What does 2D: 4D indicate?

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