December 10, 2011

Literature on sex and gender differences

My blog post on the statistical differences between men and women has caused a lively debate.

One reader even implies that this is yet another male rapist plot to suppress women.

Below you will find some of the studies I have made use of when preparing the blog post. They are all reflections on  the cultural bias of modern biological sex and gender research.

Note that all the books are written by women.  It says a lot about the toxicity of the current sex and gender debate that an argument based on feminist thinking can be interpreted as a male attack against women.

Studies of science

Anne Fausto-Sterling: Sexing the Body: Gender Politics and the Construction of Sexuality

Anne Fausto-Sterling: Myths Of Gender: Biological Theories About Women And Men

Cordelia Fine: Delusions of Gender: How Our Minds, Society, and Neurosexism Create Difference

Lise Eliot: Pink Brain, Blue Brain - How Small Differences Grow into Troublesome Gaps



Transgender lives

I would also draw your attention to a recent study of the lives of transgender people, that documents a significant shift from gender stereotypes to a deeper respect for gender diversity among transgender men and women:

Brett Genny Beemyn and Susan R. Rankin: The Lives of Transgender People

Post-structuralist feminism

I have also been reading Judith Butler's books on the social construction of gender. They are very interesting, although I think her way of completely ignoring the biological basis for human life is too extreme. Moreover, she is very hard to read.

Still, if you have a university course in post-modern philosophy, you might want to take a look at these two books:

Judith Butler: Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity

Judith Butler: Undoing Gender


A more popular presentation of post-structuralist feminist thinking can be found here:

Susan A. Speer: Gender Talk: Feminism, Discourse and Conversation Analysis 


Nature studies

I also recommend Joan Roughgarden's book on gender and sexuality among animals and humans. This is the best study yet on the tendency of male biologists to project their own prejudices as regards sex and gender onto nature.

Joan Roughgarden: Evolution's Rainbow: Diversity, Gender, and Sexuality in Nature and People


Relevant blog posts

18 comments:

Kelly said...

This line of thinking was very helpful to me. I really appreciate the time you put into your posts.

Jack Molay said...

@Kelly

Thank you for your kind words!

Jack

Deena said...

Toxicity? Jack don't be so melodramatic. Feminism has gone through many stages. And then there is also Radfem.

Perhaps you are unfamiliar with the term intellectual rape. It is very similar to pontification. A person has chosen a desired result and proceeds to assemble evidence to support it. It is entirely logical that you would choose articles and books by feminists for the simple reason that many feminists seek to attack the concept that men and women are different in any fundamental way. You certainly wouldn't choose the Bible or McKinsey studies.

My grandmother always said eliminating wars is easy, just castrate all the men. Think about it. World peace made simple and it would also tackle the number one problem of overpopulation in a rather straight forward manner.

My mother taught me to never argue with men. She said that accomplishes nothing and there are much more effective ways to obtain whatever a woman seeks. She is also a wise woman.

You do not seek an honest and open discussion. You want acquiescence to your world view. I could be wrong but isn't that the very essence of misogyny?

Deena said...

Mic check.

Pebbles said...

I think we should ignore this person and her psychotic rants and move on. Jack, there are lots of interesting topics for future posts your readers are waiting for. Jack, you do an excellent job for all crossdreamers. You are awesome and there's no way we can be grateful enough.

Deena said...

@ Jack. Are you noticing anything? The very differences you would relegate to statistical insignificance are being exhibited in the behavioral attributes of the responses to your posts.

I have always found it extremely easy to sort the men from the women on the internet. The names don't tell you nor do the assertions or the proclamations. It is blatant in the behavior and the tactics of web interactions.

Namrata said...

Deena,
As if you re behaving like a Barbie in your constant non-stop blabbering!
Real women are not supposed to argue endlessly with irrational assertions. You behave like an aggressive gay queen.

Deena said...

Jack does a good job of staying on topic. I seldom see Jack attacking the messenger even when that person disagrees with Jack. I admire his maturity.

Now back on topic. What Jack is doing is as easy as selling drugs to drugs addicts. But I have never bought drugs for 2 simple reasons. I don't need to escape real life and I have seen drugs wreck many lives. I believe (and I may be wrong) that if Jack tried to sell his "no differences" line of goods to mothers he would be laughed at and they would question his credentials if not his sanity.

Last night I was at a Christmas party held by a women's association. No husbands, bf's or males were there. One lady brought her 6 month old child. There were lots of discussions about everyone's children when their children were young. Had Jack been there as an observer he would have probably thought them all deluded because many of those discussions included personal experiences with the differences in raising girls versus boys. We weren't talking about children exposed to socialization. The observations were about children in the very early stages of interacting with their environment. You know, like learning to walk, reacting to strangers, grasping objects and other simple early life traits.

Let me suggest this. Do a study to identify how many hours a week mothers interact with children less than 3 years old versus fathers. I believe you will find a huge difference in those numbers. Then, presuming that mothers have the greater experience levels, ask the real life experts if there are no significant differences between girls and boys. Perhaps the answers would validate what Jack is saying. I suspect it would be quite the opposite. Whatever the case such a study should not be done with a "STFU" attitude or "psychotic gay Barbie queens should be ignored" approach. I doubt Jack would approach it that way.

Have a wonderful day.

Lindsay said...

Deena, you seem to have missed the point. Jack is not saying there are "no differences". What he's saying is that there are an infinite spectrum of traits that anyone, regardless of sex, can have. Some of these traits, by varying degrees, are more likely to be male or female but any one trait can be shared by either sex. I think from some of your posts that you might actually support this idea.

Babies from birth are immersed in a sexual world. Boys are dressed in blue and girls in pink from birth. Parents talked to them them differently from birth. Parents tend to be more physical with boys and more delicate with girls. Differences are bound to show up in babies due to this social interaction. There are other causes and some of it may be inborn but we can not ignore other factors.

You criticize Jack for using personal experience for examples (northern Norwegian women) but you site personal examples as proof of your theories. And theories are what we are talking about. At least Jack is siting scientific papers to back the theories he presents. If you want us to follow and perhaps back your ideas you need to present real data, like Jack does. Don't site heresay and undocumented personal observations.

Deena said...

Oh Gosh Lindsay you have access to the web. Google "childhood differences between the sexes". That will get you 4,120,000 results.

This one

http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/debate05/debate05_index.html

Is very interesting because although it is focused on women in high level academia it contains quite a bit of review of the findings of many "difference" studies. It is a lengthy read but there are also video links if you prefer.

Another .... http://www.mastersofhealthcare.com/blog/2009/10-big-differences-between-mens-and-womens-brains/

I could paper this blog with links but that is really not the point. Jack's original advice was in essence "the differences are so small and irrelevant between the sexes that a crossdreamer should ignore them and just "be yourself". Or put in simpler terms "don't worry". My position is in the simplest terms "worry". Whether form nature or nurture the subtlest of cues is enough for others to "place you" in one sex or the other in their mind.

So there you have it. I concede that many of Jack's findings are important to know and recognize. I take issue with his advice. I would advise the opposite. Be very aware that this is a complex world and the slightest misstep can blindside you. If you were born or raised a man expect women to pick up on it.

Lindsay said...

Deena, you just don't get it. Your observations may apply to the general population. But they have no bearing on the transgendered. You are now invisible to me.

Good work Jack. Keep it up!

Deena said...

Lindsay that is just another STFU comment and I expected it. You are whatever you are. I wish you all the best.

Anonymous said...

Deena,

I wonder what you are trying to accomplish here. You are on a board of people who are primarily TG (not true TS or women). You obviously feel hurt by what is said here but you are not attempting to constructively present arguments and shift the conversation.

I personally can see both viewpoints. I think women are both very much alike in certain ways and very different in others. Most of the time I compare the differences to colorings subtle but very important things.

I feel that feminists have become too trapped in arguing we are all the same because they want equality and overall that is good; but we can be different and equal. I don't share issues with everyone in this world and perhaps few understand me but that doesn't mean I can't aim to respect them.

My experience growing up and living has sometimes been less than human and I am very aware of ways which I differ from a certain population. I have been called a freak and submitted to pain and tears. Are you afraid someone is going to take that away from you?

No one is ever going to completely understand another but we have to deal with others as teachers of sometimes stubborn and obstinant students rather than as opponents. We have lived different lifes and I would suspect that we are very different people but we can still carry on intelligent conversations and arrive at the middle ground.

Jack is bound to his nature. He fundamentally sees things as a crossdreamer male. He is going to write from that bias and sometimes it is going to blind him. I can be blinded too. I can see a male in a dress and feel horribly insulted by the mockery he makes of the female condition and how much has actions deny all women the respect they deserve as human beings. I can feel insulted by the way a person feels that being gay is somehow wrong but because they are TG sleeping with men for them is suddenly right or people who feel their sexuality can suddenly magically change.

Male blends into female in intriguing ways and neither is inferior just different. There are a lot of different human conditions and who am I to judge. I don't always understand enough.

Still, I find that the quickest way to lose an argument is to get angry. If you are calm, collected, and thoughtful, you might just change people's minds. I can't show Jack my world. He will never have my life and I will never have his but we should try to build bridges of common understanding or we will all lose. The TG umbrella.. is in many ways an evil thing that destroys our identities by making us all the same. We are not the same. Not all TS are the same. BUT, we need to find a way to respect everyone with our differences. At the end of the day, all people deserve respect but you can't listen to what someone calls themselves but rather how they feel to you especially in this "community".

This can't be about one sex being better. Both sexes have their advantages and disadvantages and we really can't assume that killing all men would end all wars. Women can be competitive, backstabbing, hierarchical, prone to cliques, and often worse at social manipulation and passive aggressive behavior than any men. Men can be physically aggressive, prone to not understanding the consequences of their actions, dismissive, cold, can sometimes forget the human dimension, etc. There is no better sex. Gender identity issues are about who you are with all the warts not who you would like to be.

I wish I had enough time to spend constantly viewing blogs and trying to help others but unfortunately, my time is precious. Please do not waste yours if all you want to do is fight an unfightable battle. If you want to educate, please try a different path.

- Amanda

Deena said...

Thank you Amanda. Your points are well made. I am a guest here and have tried to avoid trashing anyone.

Via con Dios

Pinky said...

Amanda,
"Gender identity issues are about who you are with all the warts not who you would like to be".

Well I guess this is what distinguishes the MTF transsexuals from effeminate males, and FTM from butch females.
I still don't understand how this really happens though I try hard to accept people for what they sre and how they identify.
Maybe gender expression and identity are not same or related.
One thing however bugs me. If being gay is a matter of just gender role rather than true gender identity, how is it that numerous studies still point out that gay male brains are closer to females than males? Or that, lesbians have a more masculine brain than straight females?
Is it just a matter of gender role or sexuality for those 'transgenders' that are not transsexual?

Anonymous said...

With gay males and lesbians, I think the problem is that there is overlap in male and female traits. Some men have some female traits and some women have some male traits. It is almost like there is a tipping point where suddenly someone identifies as male or female. So, a person can have a slightly feminine brain and still see themselves as male or vice versa. I suspect such cognitive simplification is a very human trait. It also becomes more complicated because we don't know that all gay people are gay for the same reasons. In fact, there is evidence that suggests that like many groups gay men and lesbians are not entirely homogenous groups.

Second, correlating gender expression and identity is somewhat troublesome. Some (probably many) parts of gender expression are socialized rather than innate. I suspect there is a correlation here but we are probably not always looking at the right factors.

-Amanda

Pinky said...

Yes Amanda, therare a lot of gay males who are hypermasculine and many lesbians are the lipstick lesbian kind.Alexander and Hephastion were masculine gay men, for instance. Many sumo wrestlers have also been gay.
This entirely shatters the myth of gay males and lesbians having intermediate brains.

Pinky said...

Yes Amanda, therare a lot of gay males who are hypermasculine and many lesbians are the lipstick lesbian kind.Alexander and Hephastion were masculine gay men, for instance. Many sumo wrestlers have also been gay.
This entirely shatters the myth of gay males and lesbians having intermediate brains.