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Did anyone ever say there wasn't an influence though? I think that the shouting match in the other thread was one side going "behavior and roles do not have to be determined by biology" and the other side going "but biology influences behavior!!!"

influence and determination, and the male psyche

valleys of your mind (mh), Wednesday, 15 February 2012 21:48 (2 years ago) Permalink

I love that judith post.

Janet Snakehole (VegemiteGrrl), Wednesday, 15 February 2012 21:52 (2 years ago) Permalink

judith's post invokes Gilles Deleuze and Genesis P. Orridge, and beauty

― valleys of your mind (mh), woensdag 15 februari 2012 22:44 (6 minutes ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

Flag post? I hardly knew her! (Le Bateau Ivre), Wednesday, 15 February 2012 21:52 (2 years ago) Permalink

I kind of figure that one error we heave tended to make in the 'scientific era' is one of conflating our social values w/norms. Perhaps trans ppl and queers and dumb jocks and beauty queens and smart jocks and nerds and quiet ppl and partiers and moralists and hedonists are all part of the human genome for friggin genetic adaptive reasons, even if they're not particularly well adapted to the era they live in - maybe they were once or that behavior was/is associated w/another adaptation that meant the difference between life and death for some geneaolgy.

le ralliement du doute et de l'erreur (Michael White), Wednesday, 15 February 2012 21:53 (2 years ago) Permalink

I have no good reason other than prejudgement to believe that my encounters with aggression and competitiveness have been with people who are biologically predisposed to display these qualities.

gbx otm wrt phrenology. Laurel otm wrt reading list. And I empathise with WCC's frustration.

― Unleash the Chang (he did what!) (Austerity Ponies), Wednesday, February 15, 2012 1:45 PM (1 minute ago) Bookmark

as far as any given instance of aggression goes, of course not. we know that insects can carry disease, but this doesn't mean that all disease is caused by insects.

like i said before, there's a clear, scientifically established connection between testosterone and competitive behavior in males. i don't claim to be an expert, but this is what i gather. and there's obvious connections between competition, aggression and violence. i honestly find it baffling that this argument would be objectionable to anyone, even if there were less scientific support for it. i simply do not understand what even might be objectionable about it. and even if i did, the argument has sufficient scientific and logical merit to at least be worthy of consideration, imo.

i'm honestly not trying to troll or ruffle feathers here...

Little GTFO (contenderizer), Wednesday, 15 February 2012 21:54 (2 years ago) Permalink

Did anyone ever say there wasn't an influence though? I think that the shouting match in the other thread was one side going "behavior and roles do not have to be determined by biology" and the other side going "but biology influences behavior!!!"

― valleys of your mind (mh), Wednesday, February 15, 2012 1:48 PM (5 minutes ago) Bookmark

valuable distinction, but all i've ever talked about was influence, not straight-up determination. and the blowback has been severe. so, uh...

Little GTFO (contenderizer), Wednesday, 15 February 2012 21:55 (2 years ago) Permalink

So, in theory, if one side were conflating the two, and the other side kept responding in kind, causing a feedback loop...

valleys of your mind (mh), Wednesday, 15 February 2012 21:58 (2 years ago) Permalink

I don't see any casual and happy acceptance of biological determinism on the free will thread, at least not in a way that could possibly inform this debate. I won't speak for others, but my anti-free will stance is deterministic on a universal level, which is to say that there can be no conscious choices because the mind does not exist independently of the body, and choices cannot be made by a 'will' that exists outside of the physical universe, unless you invoke magical beliefs.

It's important to understand, however, that this point at which a choice is (not) made, occurs in an instant. The brain at that instant is in a certain state, which determines the next instant, and so on and so forth. Viewing it as a continuous flow of instants however, you have an extremely fluid, complex, dynamic series of realities. The world affects the mind/brain and the mind/brain affects the world.

Also unknown as Zora (Surfing At Work), Wednesday, 15 February 2012 22:01 (2 years ago) Permalink

sure, but i think most people itt get the distinction? i mean, to say that biological gender likely has some influence on human behavior (in a general sense) does not mean that any given human behavior was caused or even influenced by biological gender.

Little GTFO (contenderizer), Wednesday, 15 February 2012 22:03 (2 years ago) Permalink

I always assume that gender roles have been 'assigned' by history as a result of whatever 'accidental' adaptation the assigning culture survived whether frankly germane or not and I assume that ppl who lived to reproduce perhaps once or twice before dying and who had far poorer language and technological skills than we have didn't question 'gender' as much as we do. Perhaps moralistic systems w/their weird (to us, at least) exclusions and normative expectations were part of the 'socio-technological progress' of the agrarian revolution (civilization) and some kind of halcyon Golden Age (such as posited by Rousseau) had existed where the full spectrum of different expressions of gender existed. We know of Amazons in mythology and warrior queens and there's no end of homosexuals (though not usually as fey as they became recently) in history...

le ralliement du doute et de l'erreur (Michael White), Wednesday, 15 February 2012 22:04 (2 years ago) Permalink

Who thinks anything is a one way street these days? Nature/Nurture, Biology/Culture, etc/... These are dichotomies imnposed on phenomena. It's the phenomena that are interesting.

le ralliement du doute et de l'erreur (Michael White), Wednesday, 15 February 2012 22:06 (2 years ago) Permalink

When I said the brain is in a certain state at a given instant, I of course mean the universe is in a certain state.

Also unknown as Zora (Surfing At Work), Wednesday, 15 February 2012 22:08 (2 years ago) Permalink

The world affects the mind/brain and the mind/brain affects the world.

yeah, that was my response to determinism (which i reject, btw). it's a loop, thus the self is part of a system that is self-determining, and the question of ultimate responsibility becomes a chicken/egg wormhole.

but anyway, the brain isn't isolated from the body. the brain is an electrochemical machine. the "state" of the brain seems to be determined by the chemicals flowing through it at any given point, among other things. i mean, i think the crossover to this discussion is p obvious, and i don't want to get sidetracked.

anyway, i had really hoped that this thread would be less contentious, more cooperative and wide-ranging. i'm starting to get a bit depressed about the general tenor of the discussion itt. maybe trayce was right ("God these dicussions feel so depressing to me :/"). like it's not that there's anything wrong with talking abt this stuff, necessarily, but maybe it's just too hard to have a productive, noncombative discussion.

Little GTFO (contenderizer), Wednesday, 15 February 2012 22:11 (2 years ago) Permalink

Also, this is going to sound really weak, but I love WCC's passion and committment to the reading but I really have to admit I approach gender first off (even before sex or possible privilege) from a negative personal POV mostly wrt violence, like violence against me or my ppl, and my violence-dar does not go off around women anyway near as much as it does around men, unless the women are around and attracted to the kinds of guys who are good at that stuff. I am not a fighter by any stretch of the imagination and I am pretty good at reading when situations are getting or likely to get hairy and I will take French leave and it's much rarer around women, though hardly unheard of.

le ralliement du doute et de l'erreur (Michael White), Wednesday, 15 February 2012 22:12 (2 years ago) Permalink

Egg obv came first btw

le ralliement du doute et de l'erreur (Michael White), Wednesday, 15 February 2012 22:12 (2 years ago) Permalink

i honestly find it baffling that this argument would be objectionable to anyone, even if there were less scientific support for it. i simply do not understand what even might be objectionable about it. and even if i did, the argument has sufficient scientific and logical merit to at least be worthy of consideration, imo.

Speaking only for myself, obv, I'm really reluctant to engage this disc because it feels like even a hard-fought argument of point-for-point overly emphatic posting about it would at best only solve a teeny, tiny problem (if it solved anything), be unnecessarily nit-picky and unpleasant, and still leave us marooned on the isle of the next small problem, whatever it was.

Sometimes I am really tit-for-tat about small problems and get way bogged down in them, but I'm feeling inspired on this topic, I want BIG SWEEPING IDEAS instead.

one little aioli (Laurel), Wednesday, 15 February 2012 22:13 (2 years ago) Permalink

I've read so many books about transgender positioning, people's personal strugges, in adults, in children (so sad), lots of fucked up hypothesizing by doctors ruining people's lives and sometimes their bodies in irreversible ways. And even now, what we have is better than like 20 years ago but it's still news articles about judges in Germany forcing a minor to go through puberty when she wants to be on puberty-delaying drugs just to give her a few more years until she's considered capable of deciding what she wants, how to live, and like IS THIS ALL THESE IS??? No way, Jose. Give me something else, give me a different world, this is bullshit.

one little aioli (Laurel), Wednesday, 15 February 2012 22:17 (2 years ago) Permalink

I'm really reluctant to engage this disc because it feels like even a hard-fought argument of point-for-point overly emphatic posting about it would at best only solve a teeny, tiny problem (if it solved anything), be unnecessarily nit-picky and unpleasant, and still leave us marooned on the isle of the next small problem, whatever it was.

yeah, i agree. that would lead nowhere. maybe part of the reason i wanted to have this discussion (which i'm now happy not to abandon, exactly, but to progress from) is that i wanted to be able to speak openly about this stuff, to expose my operating POV without being shouted down like a heretic or told i that had to provide SCIENTIFIC PROOF before my thinking would even be considered. i mean, i basically just hope it's understood that we can differ on this issue without being idiots, bigots or trolls.

and fuck yeah, BIG IDEAS PLS!

Little GTFO (contenderizer), Wednesday, 15 February 2012 22:21 (2 years ago) Permalink

judges in Germany forcing a minor to go through puberty when she wants to be on puberty-delaying drugs just to give her a few more years until she's considered capable of deciding what she wants

uh isn't the minor's body forcing the body to go through puberty?

max buzzword (Shakey Mo Collier), Wednesday, 15 February 2012 22:21 (2 years ago) Permalink

my hatred of the pharm industry possibly trumping my hatred of gender conventions there tbh

max buzzword (Shakey Mo Collier), Wednesday, 15 February 2012 22:21 (2 years ago) Permalink

Michael White OTM.

Part of why I usually just throw my hands up at these kinds of discussions and don't participate is that I find biological determinism (or at least our piss poor attempts at interpreting/explaining the biological 'causes' of things) and social determinism (geneder is all a construct) to be equally unsatisfying, and because I think the interplay between biological and social factors is probably too complext to sort out. For example, mh says above that maybe society just encourages males to be more aggressive. And I think that's probably right -- gender is reinforced by societal pressures to behave as our gender, and by our own internalization of these pressures. But at the same time, this doesn't rule out that there might also be genetic factors in that aggression. And even those genetic factors may have been shaped in part by societal expectations, i.e. women are given the idea that male aggression is a good trait in a mate, they choose aggressive males. Gross oversimplification obviously, and I'm starting to sound too much like David Brooks for my liking.

But one thing that makes this even more messy for me -- I never hear a good explanation from people who lean toward the "social construct" side of things as to WHY society is expecting males and females to behave certain respective ways. Utility? Historical accident?

Anyway I think that biology and societal forces shape each other and over time produce fluid but distinct gender identity constructs, and also that at any given time there are multiple competing claims as to what makes a man or a woman, but that at any given time there exist these claims and a general idea of division between male and female. And also that of course at any given time there are many people who do not fit within either of these gender constructs (or sets of gender constructs), but I don't think this means the entire thing is a figment of peoples' imaginations.

happiness is the new productivity (Hurting 2), Wednesday, 15 February 2012 22:23 (2 years ago) Permalink

Flag post me all you want for this but my god, Contenderizer you are acting like a butthurt asshole still going on about how outraged you are that you might have to back up opinion on a controversial subject with some science. Really not doing yourself any favours not letting the sniping thing go.

White Chocolate Cheesecake, Wednesday, 15 February 2012 22:26 (2 years ago) Permalink

I'm happy to engage on this stuff if Contenderizer can point up the studies that confirm a causal link, as I failed to find any?

Some time - probably tomorrow night - I will post highlights from chapter one of Delusions that I think will be of interest and hopefully move this aspect of the conversation forward. Apologies in advance for what will inevitably be a rather narrow focus from me while I'm reading this book.

Also unknown as Zora (Surfing At Work), Wednesday, 15 February 2012 22:28 (2 years ago) Permalink

and like IS THIS ALL THESE IS??? No way, Jose. Give me something else, give me a different world, this is bullshit.

okay, see, that makes sense to me. i sort of get why one might want to categorically reject thinking that seemed associated in even a slight way with a culture of horror that one hoped to transcend. like, why cling to the old when new thinking might offer the possibility of transformation? why not just make something better?

i get that. it's just that i (i don't know how to say this) i don't work that way. i can only see and say what seems sensible to me, what seems right or likely or true or w/e. i guess i assume that by being as rigorously objective about things as possible, i can cut through the bullshit, even the culture bullshit that frames perception and "objectivity", and that this will ultimately provide a more reliable shot at real transformation.

i won't say that either approach is better, and i can certainly see how they might conflict.

Little GTFO (contenderizer), Wednesday, 15 February 2012 22:31 (2 years ago) Permalink

uh isn't the minor's body forcing the body to go through puberty?

― max buzzword (Shakey Mo Collier

SEEEEE!!! This is interesting!! So, okay, first: the blockers/drugs are not harmful, they just delay the onset of male puberty, so if the transwoman/girl wants to transition once she's considered old enough to "know" "herself" (wtf here, btw), she won't have to fight with physically male characteristics like facial hair, a lower voice, physical size, etc. If she WANTS to allow her body to do what it chemically wants to do later, she can always go through puberty later, too. It doesn't take that away, it's just a delaying tactic.

Second, WHY SHOULD WHAT HER BODY "WANTS" BE MORE "NATURAL" FOR HER?

one little aioli (Laurel), Wednesday, 15 February 2012 22:31 (2 years ago) Permalink

Laurel otm. The mind takes the body into account all the time, but the reverse can't be said of the body taking the mind into account.

Flag post? I hardly knew her! (Le Bateau Ivre), Wednesday, 15 February 2012 22:34 (2 years ago) Permalink

So, okay, first: the blockers/drugs are not harmful,

deeply, deeply skeptical of this claim, to put it mildly.

max buzzword (Shakey Mo Collier), Wednesday, 15 February 2012 22:35 (2 years ago) Permalink

Flag post me all you want for this but my god, Contenderizer you are acting like a butthurt asshole still going on about how outraged you are that you might have to back up opinion on a controversial subject with some science. Really not doing yourself any favours not letting the sniping thing go.

― White Chocolate Cheesecake, Wednesday, February 15, 2012 2:26 PM (4 minutes ago) Bookmark

hey, WCC. if you want to take my articulation of my feelings as the ravings of a "butthurt" "asshole", that's up to you, and i have no problem with that. i'm not "outraged", though, and nothing i said there had anything to do with you in particular. my point was simply what i hope we (the universal we) can amicably agree to disagree on certain points without derailing the conversation.

Little GTFO (contenderizer), Wednesday, 15 February 2012 22:36 (2 years ago) Permalink

Wtf shakey, do you say when your loved one needs medical care, "I'm deeply suspicious of this medical/pharmaceutical intervention into my loved one's well being. I'm going to need to think about it."? Look it up, then! Figure it out! Meanwhile I will google "puberty inhibitors" for you so maybe we can all learn something.

one little aioli (Laurel), Wednesday, 15 February 2012 22:37 (2 years ago) Permalink

http://www.imatyfa.org/permanent_files/pubertyblockers101.html

Puberty Inhibitors (Puberty Blockers, GnRh Analogues, Puberty Suppressors, Hormone Suppressors) are a group of medications that are prescribed by an endocrinologist to suppress or inhibit puberty. The medications work by suppressing the production of sex hormones (Testosterone and estrogen). Puberty Inhibitors are reversible and are used to prevent the devastating effects of developing unwanted secondary sexual characteristics in gender dysphoric children.
Reviewed by: Dr. Norman P. Spack, M.D.,
Associate in Endocrinology at Children’s Hospital Boston

one little aioli (Laurel), Wednesday, 15 February 2012 22:40 (2 years ago) Permalink

so if the transwoman/girl wants to transition once she's considered old enough to "know" "herself" (wtf here, btw), she won't have to fight with physically male characteristics like facial hair, a lower voice, physical size, etc. If she WANTS to allow her body to do what it chemically wants to do later, she can always go through puberty later, too. It doesn't take that away, it's just a delaying tactic.

Second, WHY SHOULD WHAT HER BODY "WANTS" BE MORE "NATURAL" FOR HER?

― one little aioli (Laurel), Wednesday, February 15, 2012 2:31 PM (5 minutes ago) Bookmark

well, this sort of elides the question of self-determination as relates to age, right? we don't allow those below a certain age to "own" themselves. they're considered the property of others, and that's part of the grounds on which we enforce (for instance) laws against pederasty. those below a certain age aren't considered capable of making the relevant decisions for themselves. i mean, i'd side with the kid, myself, but i can see why the issue would get complex fast if the parents opposed the administration of the drug.

Little GTFO (contenderizer), Wednesday, 15 February 2012 22:40 (2 years ago) Permalink

Wtf shakey, do you say when your loved one needs medical care, "I'm deeply suspicious of this medical/pharmaceutical intervention into my loved one's well being. I'm going to need to think about it."?

um... yes? having worked with medical care providers and the pharm industry let me tell you there is a lot of scary shit/questionable motives out there.

I hadn't really thought about puberty inhibitors much before, would need to look into it.

max buzzword (Shakey Mo Collier), Wednesday, 15 February 2012 22:42 (2 years ago) Permalink

xp Yes but it's the only window available to make this decision, before full-blown physical development of secondary sex characteristics. So maybe our culture of invalidating the agency of young people will also have to readjust?

one little aioli (Laurel), Wednesday, 15 February 2012 22:43 (2 years ago) Permalink

^ yeah, i'm cool with that. dreading the inevitable "preteen girls gone wild" vids though.

Little GTFO (contenderizer), Wednesday, 15 February 2012 22:45 (2 years ago) Permalink

can't find much about their long-term efficacy and safety, dunno how much googling and paper-reading I wanna do on this subject atm

xp

max buzzword (Shakey Mo Collier), Wednesday, 15 February 2012 22:46 (2 years ago) Permalink

okay, now THAT was trolling. sorry :/

in general, i think we should be more open to the idea that older adolescents might have some idea of what they want in life.

xp

Little GTFO (contenderizer), Wednesday, 15 February 2012 22:47 (2 years ago) Permalink

Really, in keeping with plax's bit from before, maybe a preferable world would be one in which a person's physical body DIDN'T inhibit them from claiming a different set of behaviors, performances, whatever, of gender, I don't really have the language to properly put this in academic terms, but we don't live there yet. Unfortunately.

It feels like small problem-wrangling again, but in the meantime people are having lives, having crisis moments and not being helped, not seeing solutions or being flatly told there ARE no solutions, and these are people's LIVES we're messing with.

one little aioli (Laurel), Wednesday, 15 February 2012 22:47 (2 years ago) Permalink

I think the question of whether the average 11/12 year-old should be given the right and power to delay his/her own puberty is at least worthy of a debate and not dismissive comments as though it were illiberal to raise an eyebrow.

happiness is the new productivity (Hurting 2), Wednesday, 15 February 2012 22:48 (2 years ago) Permalink

^ yeah, i'm cool with that. dreading the inevitable "preteen girls gone wild" vids though

Why do you even think this would come up in any way? It feels like you're conflating gender and sex?

one little aioli (Laurel), Wednesday, 15 February 2012 22:48 (2 years ago) Permalink

This extremely effeminate (he wore dressed his whole life), privileged homosexual is known as the grandfather of Europe (at least to Roman Catholic royalty) since he did his dyanstic job and married twice and begat appropriately. He also won the battle of Cassel in 1677 yet was once called 'one of the silliest women in France'.

le ralliement du doute et de l'erreur (Michael White), Wednesday, 15 February 2012 22:48 (2 years ago) Permalink

Er, dresses

le ralliement du doute et de l'erreur (Michael White), Wednesday, 15 February 2012 22:49 (2 years ago) Permalink

I'll just come out and say there are all kinds of things I intend to deny my 11/12 yo when she reaches that age, and serious body modification is going to be one of them, to say nothing of relatively new hormone treatments promoted by the pharmaceutical industry.

xp

max buzzword (Shakey Mo Collier), Wednesday, 15 February 2012 22:50 (2 years ago) Permalink

Saying that someone is capable of knowing whether their private, mental self is "male" or "female" or neither, or something else, has absolutely 0% to do with their availability or readiness for sex.

one little aioli (Laurel), Wednesday, 15 February 2012 22:50 (2 years ago) Permalink

Hurting, if you felt that strongly at 12 that you didn't want to turn into a man and I were your father, my sympathy would be entirely with you. I agree that 11/12 isn't adult nor think it should be but, man, if you fuck this up as a dad, your whole relationship is probably screwed.

le ralliement du doute et de l'erreur (Michael White), Wednesday, 15 February 2012 22:51 (2 years ago) Permalink

Well, Shakey, hopefully your 12 year old will never be in this particular very difficult position and you can continue to be reductive about gender on the internet.

one little aioli (Laurel), Wednesday, 15 February 2012 22:52 (2 years ago) Permalink

Why do you even think this would come up in any way? It feels like you're conflating gender and sex?

― one little aioli (Laurel), Wednesday, February 15, 2012 2:48 PM (9 seconds ago) Bookmark

lol nonononononono. with that regrettable "girls gone wild joke", i was trying to point out that if we grant what we now consider "kids" more agency over their lives, then there will be scumbags out there willing to exploit it

Little GTFO (contenderizer), Wednesday, 15 February 2012 22:52 (2 years ago) Permalink

My trans friend knew she was meant to be a woman when she was quite young.

le ralliement du doute et de l'erreur (Michael White), Wednesday, 15 February 2012 22:52 (2 years ago) Permalink

wait how am I being reductive

xp

max buzzword (Shakey Mo Collier), Wednesday, 15 February 2012 22:52 (2 years ago) Permalink

if it turns out she wants to be trans she can wait to make that decision imho. average 12yo is not a very rational actor.

max buzzword (Shakey Mo Collier), Wednesday, 15 February 2012 22:53 (2 years ago) Permalink

I think the question of whether the average 11/12 year-old should be given the right and power to delay his/her own puberty is at least worthy of a debate and not dismissive comments as though it were illiberal to raise an eyebrow.

― happiness is the new productivity (Hurting 2), Wednesday, February 15, 2012 2:48 PM (4 minutes ago) Bookmark

^ see, i agree with this, too. shit is complicated, really complicated.

Little GTFO (contenderizer), Wednesday, 15 February 2012 22:54 (2 years ago) Permalink


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