Posts Tagged ‘nature/nurture debate

22
Jun
12

Identifying with the other

So, recent comments on my intersex post have led me to feel the need to write another post. Hooray for you! (sarcasm)

The discussion (for those who don’t want to read all the comments) is about identifying with the other. Wanting to be the other to justify why a person feels the way they do, the other not understanding why anyone would desire to be that other, feeling they don’t understand what being other entails. Thus, I’m going to lay it all out there…

It seems many trans individuals want to have a label so that they understand WHY they feel like their parts don’t match what they feel in their hearts and minds. Having a diagnosis that explains why stuff doesn’t match up. OK. I get that. I get that it is difficult to deal with the internal cognitive dissonance that comes with the external incongruence. It makes complete sense.

The reality, though, is that for all the similarities between trans and intersex (having to deal with stupid doctors, a medical community who rarely understands the needs of the individual when it comes to both the internal and external organs, etc) the differences are ignored. Intersex people do not WANT their genitals to match the dichotomy. They do not wish to be shoved in a pigeon holed description of what sex and gender are to the majority of non-intersex people. They want to live as they are (or were before being hacked upon by some self important asshole).

Like trans people, intersex people want to be able to use the public restroom without fear of retribution. But that fear is based solely on the structure which dictates what is too small or too big. They want to go through their day and not have to hear a joke about how much size matters, that someone needs to ‘grow a pair,’ or that a man isn’t a man if his penis is ‘too small.’ They want to have their clitoris be loved as it is. Not have a mate turned off because she is too big to be a woman. They want to live life, not having to wonder how things might have been, had they not been reassigned without their permission and without their parents being pushed to have it done (if they were consulted at all). They want to hear someone speak of female genital mutilation, knowing it wasn’t done to themselves, ripped apart because some stupid doctor with a tape measure could see her parts when the doctor felt it shouldn’t be seen. They want to know that their size really doesn’t matter, despite what the jokes and snide comments say.

I want it understood…I am NOT saying that the intersex road is harder than the trans. They are both two very difficult rows to hoe. But I think trans people sometimes underestimate the daily struggles of living in a world where, the only way a person can be judged of their full worth, is by what is or is not in their pants.

20
Jun
12

intersex is NOT a disease

Claim: That is an opinion and I can accept that is where you stand and you have the choice to hold that view if you wish.

The words sex and gender have often been skewed to indicate that these are entirely determined by culture. They are not. They are however a combination of cultural and individual experience and the genetics with which a person was born. Such fallacies are implemented due to the poor research and misleading publications, not of a social psychologist, as this photo suggests, but rather by those of a psychoendocrinologist who developed these theories (Dr. John Money).

We, as animals, do not have a gender, but as social creatures we do. This statement in the picture, however is contradictory to the statement above it which states that gender is biological in nature.
Nouns do have gender, as do pronouns (for the most part), however it is very ethnocentric to make said statement about all languages, as many have gender in items such as desks, pencils, chairs, etc. Secondly, this statement is also stated quite poorly as ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ are not in fact nouns, but adjectives.

To say that XX, XXY, XYY, and the myriad of other variations are ‘deformations’ is both condescending and purposefully inflammatory. Green eyes are a ‘deformation’, as are many other characteristics that are easily seen about any individual’s appearance. The assumption that any of these variations are believed to be newly discovered is, at best, misguided. XX and XY, while being the most commonly occurring genetic variations, however the explanation that follows is incorrect. The XXX, XXY, and XYY variations do not occur due to random mutation of a normal gene. They are, in fact, genes of their own consistency, that is to say they are heritable. Also, to equate said variations of intersex with Down’s Syndrome is incorrect. Those individual with Down’s are most often infertile, and when not, Down’s is not heritable. Additionally, there are many other types of intersex variation that do not include the genetic variations listed above. Some of those are random mutations, yes, but mutation does not equal deformity, only difference.

‘Hermaphrodite’ is a medical term that describes none of the three intersex variations listed above in the picture. The terminology here is very off, which would indicate that the individual who created it is not informed on the correct terminology. Hermaphrodism refers only to individuals who have BOTH male and female primary or secondary sex characteristics and does NOT include those of the ambiguous variations.

99% of XY women do not reach puberty? That statistic is blatently false. I’m not exactly sure how many of them do, as that would actually be a suicide or accident statistic, but the vast majority do in fact reach puberty, but because pubertal onset means an increase in both estrogen and testosterone production, the secondary sex characteristics can be either male, female, or both, depending on the individual. Secondly, the bad grammar here again diminishes the accuracy of this picture (more taller).

“Take the brain that occurs the most” doesn’t even make sense, see comment above. The male brain has no different ‘parts’ than the female brain. This entire section makes no sense whatsoever if anyone is even remotely educated in brain structures. There are relatively few sex differences between male and female brains. The ones that do exist occur after pubertal onset, when there is a major change in growth and a pruning of unused neural pathways. Some suggest that the cultural norms of what females are expected to do vs males may be responsible for these differences, other evidence suggests that it may be hormonal. The reality is that they just aren’t sure. The only significant difference between the two is size. Women’s brains tend to be somewhat smaller, but have an increased number of gyri, thus increasing the overall surface area.

There is not a legitimate scientist (endocrine, geneticist, neural, or otherwise) who would use brain structure as a determining factor of sex. That is another blatantly false claim. Again, male and female brains do NOT have different parts.

Well, for all the arguing against any rights for intersex individuals, at least it makes a good argument for transsexuals. False, but convincing, nonetheless. In reality, what the photo to the left fails to indicate (as does the text to the right) is that the hypothalamic activity (and yes, that is what the photo to the left is actually showing) is changed with high levels of chronic stress. MTF transsexuals have an incredibly high level of chronic stress and, thus, would have the levels concurrent with those of females. A good example of this contractual error is the SIDS research of the early 20th century. Hundreds of thousands of children’s brains were irradiated to reduce the size of the hypothalamus because they thought that large ones caused SIDS to occur. In reality, they were only comparing upper class SIDS deaths to those of poor (and highly stressed) infants lost to other causes (such as starvation). Bad sample, much? Point being, this is being misattributed to sex differences when it is in fact a stress difference.

Cisgendered is an act of choosing not to PERFORM gender, not to identify that one is not present. Again, false. And why, exactly does this photo repeatedly compare intersex to physical illness or life threatening differences? Intersex is not life threatening (unless someone who is ignorant or misinformed beats someone to death).

And now, we get personal. Call it logical fallacy if you wish, but as I have offered fact alone up to this point, I really don’t give a shit. The last comment on the right would indicate that A. intersex individuals are sterile (which is true in the minority, but most are fertile) and that B. fertility should be somehow controlled, or intersex individuals should be somehow contained so as not to spread their ‘disease’. There is a reason that there is no source information on this photo. It promotes genocide, is inflammatory, and uses (at best) half truths to make a point for hurting people who deserve nothing but the same humane treatment every other person receives. How dare you, or anyone else imply that intersex people are any less people than you are. It is exactly this type of ignorance and half education that cause people to die at the hands of doctors who think they know how to hack a person’s genitals to pieces, or at the hands of ignorant bastards who believe that a person’s worth lies in his/her pants.

But I ask you now, what is it exactly that gives you the knowledge to back any of the statements made in this graphic? Is it a degree? Is it hours of research on intersex variations, articles about those variations, history of those? Weeks, months, and even years of talking to experts in the field or the individuals who are affected daily by the ignorance this graphic displays? Perhaps it is the daily experience of facing the challenges often associated with the intersex? Or maybe it is grant writing to the NIH to advance study of the consequences of this type of ignorance on the individuals who suffer it’s wrath? You see, it isn’t culture, biology, or society that cause intersex individuals problems. It isn’t their health, or their fertility, or their brain activity. It is the ignorance of people who refuse to do the work necessary to actually learn something other than the regurgitated (and false) shit that gets thrown at them by a grossly falsified graphic. THAT, is what needs to be fixed.

23
Apr
12

harold* and the purple crayon (*names have been changed to protect from homophobes)

Bullying is a major problem, we know this. There are anti bullying initiatives, programs, and classes. Schools tell kids to report it. They tell them to stop it. They tell them not to do it. That’s great and all, but me think we are not getting to the crux of the situation. We are pulling at weeds, picking the leaves, and not touching the roots. Yeah, yeah…Enough metaphors. My point?

Parents. We spend millions of dollars per year trying to keep kids from beating the crap out of each other and making each other feel like shit, and yet parents are ignored or enlisted to help teach. This is where so, so, SO many of the teachers need to be the students. PARENTS teach hate. PARENTS teach homophobia. PARENTS teach bigotry. These are not traits that a small child picks up at the local bar on a Friday night. Four year olds don’t judge because someone’s crayon isn’t the right color.

I don’t share a great deal of personal information here, but today it seems necessary. My daughter was upset when I picked her up today because one of the other girls yelled at a little boy for having a purple crayon. My daughter had a blue one. She informed the other girl that if she could have a blue crayon, then the boy could have the purple one, then proceeded to retrieve said purple crayon from the trash (the other girl threw it away) and hugged the little boy.

I get that children have developmental milestones they reach at different times, including indication that ‘blue is for boys’ and (in this case) ‘purple is for girls’. Yeah. I get that. They gender divide. BUT belittling the little boy for the purple crayon? Throwing it away in the trash? THAT is NOT a milestone. That is hateful, mean, and spiteful. I don’t blame the little girl. She did not know that it was hateful, mean, or spiteful, she only knows that is something an adult in her life would never tolerate.

30
May
10

Rise of Patriarchy?

I’m asking for your input here. Please only reply to the question at hand and not to the replies. I’m looking for reasonable responses with actual support. No hate speech please. Anyway, to the question….

Functionality of egalitarianism in small societies is not up for debate. Historically, it existed in societies worldwide, but as societies grew and humanity began to globalize, egalitarian structures failed. Through this gradual process, patriarchy slowly rose to become a dominant societal structure.

My point here is not to argue the positives and or negatives of patriarchy, but to examine WHY patriarchy arose. Why did patriarchy become the dominant structure and not matriarchy? There have been very few matriarchal societies. Predominately the one’s that have existed did so under a matriarch, but still under the patriarchal structure, in other words, the place of men was still above that of women as a whole. Again, I am not arguing the consequences of patriarchy (positive or negative) only stating historical fact.

But why? Why has larger society, regardless of geographical region, tended toward patriarchy?

12
Feb
10

In Response to Alice Walker

                There is no externally valid scientific evidence that proves that women are any more capable of gentleness and nurturing than are men.  On the contrary, there is no way to test these qualities before social construction has occurred.  From the youngest ages, girls are taught to play with dolls, play in tiny pink, plastic kitchens, and solve their problems through words and not fists.  Boys, on the other hand are taught to play with trucks and construction equipment, build forts and play war with plastic guns, and “stand up for themselves”.  Boys are encouraged to fight; girls are encouraged take care of the children and the home. 

                These are not inherent, inborn, or natural tendencies.  These are social constructs that reinforce gender stereotypes.  If socialization can teach girls to be peace seeking, supportive, and nurturing; socialization is capable of doing the same for boys.  Through early childhood interventions, preventing physical aggression does not have to fall to women alone.  Mothers and fathers of today can put an end to this violence in future generations simply by eliminating useless gender stereotypes.




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