Monday, December 5, 2011

Seven Proofs that Women are Women

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  1. ….yyyyeah, I’m still stuck back there on #3 and #4. I personally know men who are very turned on by emotional gestures and deep soulful glances, and women who may be all kinds of emotionally happy, but still need actual physical stimulation to be turned on. As far as nurturing vs. non-nurturing goes… look. I know women who are sweet cookie-making pushovers and women who are hard-ass bitches and women who manage to be either or both depending on the circumstances or everything in between, and they’re all womanly. I know men who are stoic and logical and refuse to cry, and men who are big ol’ sensitive softies, and men who run the gamut, and they’re all manly.

    Of course, this is all anecdotal – I haven’t done a study or anything, and anecdotal evidence doesn’t prove anything. Except this: your stereotypes are not universal. And I think that’s important. Even if the exceptions aren’t the majority, even if there was only ONE woman or ONE man on earth who didn’t fit the stereotypes, feminism (etc.) would be important, because that one woman or one man deserves the right to live his or her life freely and happily and without being judged.

    And that’s the thing, Tally. Feminism isn’t telling anyone to change who they are or what they do (unless what they’re doing is actively hurting someone.) If you’re a woman who truly is emotional and nurturing and all that good stuff, good for you. Go and be happy. Same if you’re a man who truly is logical and physical and stoic. Be who you are, that’s cool with us. But if you’re NOT – if you’re a naturally unemotional, non-nurturing woman who is a natural leader, if you’re a sensitive, caring man who’s happiest in a supporting role – that is cool too. Or if you’re something else entirely. Whatevs. Do your thing.

    I can fully acknowledge that men have an outie and women have an innie (not even getting into the trans issue with you, that seems like the advanced class and we’re still getting past the 101) without believing that this physical difference can and must control who I am as a person, how I think, how I feel, and how I should lead my life.

  2. I think I see where you're confused, Tally. No one (not even feminists and, er, "homomaniacs") think that women are men, or that women should be men. But the fact is that women are human, just like men are. While men and women are different physically (I don't think anyone disputes that females as a group can bear children and males can't), what they have in common is more important. They are not two separate species, shrouded in mystery from one another, forever incapable to truly understand or communicate with each other. Men get hungry and tired and sweaty and emotional and cold and horny and depressed and talkative and curious and rational. Women get hungry and tired and sweaty and emotional and cold and horny and depressed and talkative and curious and rational. Because women are human.

  3. another view point.

    in my life, i've met EXACTLY ONE male human with an IQ that is equal to mine - and this was my father, and in fact his IQ is 2 points lower than mine. [my mother's? is one point lower than my fathers.]

    what should i do? i can't have children, it's medically impossible for me - so those who tell me i was "given" this high IQ so that i can "bear extremely smart sons" are blowing smoke.

    if one believes in God, and believes said God makes us as God wants us to BE, it would be blackest blasphemy for me to ignore the obvious signs that God gave me this large measure of intelligence, talent and reasoning for a purpose. a purpose only *I* can fill - not sons i can never have, ME.

    "innate difference" explain the less than 1% difference between male and female humans. my father was the better parent. my mother wasn't a BAD parent, per se - but my father was better. part of my mother's problem, for YEARS, was that she didn't WANT to be a mother ONLY - but society guilted her into believing that was her only choice. once she got past that and started working again - and she was one of the best OB nurse practicioners in the COUNTRY, and went all OVER the world with Red Cross, i can't even count how many lives she's saved - she became a better mother.

    SOME women - and some men, too - are good in the role of "stay at home parent". not ALL are, i'd say not even MOST are - because most adults need adult stimulation, and SAHPs? get less than they need, quite often.

    one can be a VERY feminine woman and STILL also be a great businessperson, or a great cop, or a great diplomat. we don't HAVE to only fill "one role" just because we have innies instead of outies. Men have always been able to be both parents and active members of the larger community - and, pre-Christianity, in many many MANY parts of the world, so were WOMEN. it's only been recently [historically, i mean] that women were restricted to the home [and even then, it was only RICH women who didn't HAVE to work outside the home to ensure there was enough food for the whole family. non-rich women have ALWAYS had to work to supplement their husbands' income]

    and you shortchange all the AWESOME of being a woman everytime you sit there and expound on how we can ONLY be X, Y and Z because "we are born women". it's BS; it's NOT TRUE. if women really were so inately different, we would NEVER see the success stories we've seen. if women were THAT different from men, we'd be different species. because this whole "women are inately different" idea can ONLY be applied when one doesn't understand basic genetics. the apocryphal "original" man and woman may have had these HUGE difference - but once their DNA mingled, the differences? spread across BOTH sexes. a basic understanding of genetics tells you that the ONLY way things can be "innate differences" is if they attached only to the sex chromosome - and there isn't much at ALL attached to the X chromosome, and even LESS attached to the Y [in fact, the Y? looks to be a trunicated X, and it appears that FEMALE is the base state of all sexed creatures], certainly none of the traits that people hold out as "inately" feminine or masculine are attached to the XX/XY chromosome pairs!

  4. I would like to thank you all for taking the time to comment. Time seems to be one of the things most lacking today. I would also like to thank you for doing so politely. Charity is rarest only next to being un-rushed. I will respond to your comments and your points, after giving each due consideration.

  5. Dear denelian:
    Thank you for your comment. I'm afraid I do not understand the first half of it. My post was not about any characteristic you personally possess, or a need to pass that characteristic on, or even a religious need to use it. I never mentioned or implied anything about women having to stay at home. I never mentioned anything about fulfilling only a single role. The point of my post was, if anything, to prove that there are certain things WOMEN just ARE--not that they can't be anything else in addition. Maybe I didn't make that clear, but there you have it--I'm a horrible writer! You also catch me in the beginning stages of longer lecture; this is not a stand-alone blog post and to judge the entire argument on the scant words here would not do the logic justice. No, we are not different species (except in poetic hyperbole, which I or others may use later). That said, there are innate differences, some biological, some not. Men are not women, or vice versa. My seven reasons are not the only reasons, nor can even all the reasons women are not men be explained in words of list-form; hence my seventh "proof," which is left open to the remainder of the SHB series.

  6. Dear bitwise:
    Thank you for your post. It was very polite. This is a new venture for myself and my fellows, and so to get feedback which disagrees yet is not harsh is very...well, helpful. Yes, men and women are both human! It was never my intent to suggest otherwise. And yes, we have a lot in common. But there are differences; I propose that these matter. Many times, we can appreciate things by what they are not as much as by what they are. Blue and yellow are both colors, but blue is not yellow, and that is a good thing. I like blue because it is not yellow--and a whole world that was just yellow or just blue would be ineffably boring. Likewise, silence can be appreciated and understood by the existence of music, and vice versa. Our appreciation for and fuller understanding of all of these things comes by a knowledge of what they are not. I propose that it is no different for men and women. Both are valuable, both are different, and both hold the key to each other.

  7. there's a technical term for the communication problem we're having - "rupture" - but it's not important.

    what i was trying to explain to you is that any "innate difference" - nurting or analitical or whatever - is NOT an "innate difference" biologically - ALL these traits exist in ALL humans on a SCALE. and it may appear in OUR society that one sex will, on average, be more common on end of the spectrum or the other, we can easily go to other cultures and see that they don't have the same experience. in Japan, for instance, "nurturing" is viewed completely differently. in India, MEN are considered the "emotional" sex, while women are considered to be "more rational" or at least more able to take advantage of male "emotionality". and etc.

    most of the difference between men and women - aside from basic reproduction - are SOCIAL CONSTRUCTS. and the basic reproduction differences shouldn't be used to justify sexism. and you've delved periliously close to sexism in this post, and the one that immedietly follows. i'm not trying to be rude, nor am i trying to attack you.

    perhaps you should google "feminism 101" and learn the basics of feminism. your stated beliefs about feminism are NOT part of feminist theory, nor things that feminists advocate. femism is the "radical" notion that women are just as human as men - are entitled to do all the same things men can do, and have the right to a life that DOESN'T REVOLVE AROUND MEN. that we are MORE than just brood-mares and free housekeepers.

    and you may not think what you've written is advocating that women be only brood-mares and free housekeepers - but each and every argument you have laid out has been used by anti-feminists who are working TOWARDS pushing women back into the bad days where we WERE only broodmares and free housekeepers, denying agency to women, denying their fundamental personhood.

  8. Thank you for replying to my comment, Tally. It's rare to find blogs where the writer is interested in interacting one-on-one with the commenters.

    I agree with you that it's good to have variety in our lives, and to appreciate that variety. Blue is good and important, and so is Yellow. They're just different. But there are more than two colors, existing forever as opposites. There are many colors, and combinations of colors, and variety in hue and brightness. You can try to sort colors into two groups, maybe by 'left-' vs. 'right-' side of the color wheel, or by 'dark' vs. 'light' colors, or by 'bright' vs. 'muted' shades, but none of these schemes come at all close to accounting for the great variety within colors, and these divisions are useless for making predictions about the colors outside of the definition of the criteria. For example, people could be divided into 'people who like carrots' and 'people who don't like carrots'. Can we say that people who like carrots are more emotional? Or more arrogant? Or prone to theft? No. All we know about the group, 'people who like carrots' is that they like carrots. Is the carrot-liking distinction important? It is, if you're planning on serving carrots at dinner. But for having meaningful friendships with others, for understanding humans, for maintaining love and justice, it's nearly irrelevant. Likewise, what can we say about the categories 'man' and 'woman'? You might refer to Denelian's explanation of the chromosomes. Men and women have anatomical differences, they have different ways of going through puberty. But otherwise, the distinction simply isn't that important.

    I agree that differences between people enriches life. If we were all the same, the world would be a drab, boring place. When people hear about placing less emphasis on gender distinctions in society, they sometimes picture a group of bland people, wearing the same drab jumpsuits, all with simple, unisex bowl cuts. But that's not what it has to be like. When you get past gender, a whole world of individuality opens up. Get to really know people, their opinions and thoughts, and the 'Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus' paradigm will crumble away as meaningless.

    There are more than two colors, there are more than two political parties, there are even more than two opinions on the palatability of carrots. And there are more than two types of people; there are 7 billion types.
    Not two. Seven Billion. 7,000,000,000.

    So no, I wouldn't want everything to be just yellow or just blue. I agree that that would be ineffably boring. But I don't want to have everything be only yellow or blue. I want to see in full color and celebrate that variety, not a false two-color "variety".

  9. Dear Mary:
    Thank you for taking the time to read and comment.
    My comment that it “takes a woman of a rare stern nature to be…an executioner” admitted that these stereotypes are not universal in their exaggerated extreme. There are women who have more or less of these characteristics. But I still assert that they have these tendencies, and that it goes against the grain of the gender collectively and sometimes even the nature of the individual for them to lack them. Generally, women are nurturing and emotional; evolution and the advancement of our species would have not worked otherwise. Being a “bad-ass bitch” does not get rid of the emotional or nurturing aspect of womanhood, nor does it mean that that woman’s brain works like a man’s. It is a fact that women think differently from men. They may come to the same conclusion and be equally correct, but they think differently. And while I do not think that solely biology accounts for the differences between men and women, I will continue to believe that biology plays a part and that differences do, in fact, exist.
    Rather explicit in my first post on feminism, and implicit in this one, is the fact that I do not advocate fewer rights for women. I do not claim that women are less valuable or less capable or less anything. I claim that they are different, and that these differences need to be respected. Feminism began (with the whole “Yes, we ARE smart enough to vote” thing) as a very good cause. However, in an attempt to escape past oppression related to womanhood, I think it has begun to escape womanhood itself. It threw the baby out with the bathwater. This is why modern feminists cannot grasp the foundation of all-male priesthood, or boyscouts, or guy-related anything. You say it is a live-and-let-live cause, but I beg to differ. It is a lifestyle which has become a major social force and, as with all social forces, it has begun to affect society at large. This is why women who do stay at home with the kids or who have twelve kids are automatically considered brain-washed Christians…or simply crazy. This is why the Catholic Church is painted to be anti-woman. This is why our children’s cartoons portray dads as pansies (though admittedly the mothers are control freaks). This is why anyone who is against abortion is automatically assumed to be male or a traitor to women. They see the womanhood they are trying to forget as an attack on their cause, and they attack anyone who openly displays it. There are many harms which feminism has had on women; the movement as seen today erodes the nobility of womanhood in various ways, which I intend to cover over the course of several posts, not here.
    Your genitals should not control your entire life; but you should also be able to be proud of your gender and the differences it brings, not trying to ignore them as though they are a bad thing.


  10. To bitwise’s (Dec. 11, 10:24AM) comment:

    “But there are more than two colors, existing forever as opposites,”

    I’m afraid you misunderstand me. The colors were not allegories for personalities. They were allegories for gender, of which there are only two. My post did not in any way limit personality or imply cookie-cutter people. The only time I mentioned personality, was in numbers 3 and 4. I did not say to what degree individual women must possess these characteristics, or that they are the only characteristics women must possess. I do not know how you came to the conclusion that I think women are all the same.

    “Is the carrot-liking distinction important?”

    I never suggested any sort of action based on the difference of women. I merely said that they are different from men. And they are.
    …You ask me to consider denelian’s post on the chromosomes, and I have certainly read and understood it. I disagree with her assertion that the only difference, biologically, between men and women are the existence of sex organs, and with your assertion that the only thing they have different is puberty. I am currently composing a more in-depth reply for denelian, but I would suggest that you begin with the link I gave Mary:


  11. just a point - even if one assumes, as you seem to do, that "gender" and "sex" are the same, there are STILL more than 2.

    Intersexed people mean that there are AT LEAST 6 different sexes [and sex and gender are different; this is why i suggested feminism 101 - you misunderstand MANY things.] if one believes God creates us as we are, then we must accept that Intersex people are made as God wished them to be.

    that link you gave to Mary and then to bitwise is to a study that has not been replicatable. [if an experiment or study cannot be replicated, it isn't considered to be valid [unless/until it *IS* replicated]] further, a LOT of info is not given in that link. like the fact that ONLY 8 of the women had those "differences" light up on the fMRI.

    all that study proved was that SOME people access some things different ways - a total of 30 participants, half male and half female, and only HALF of the female half showed differences.

  12. My mother is a staunch feminist - and was a stay-at-home-mom. I'm also a staunch feminist - and if my husband could support us on his salary, when my baby is born I'd like nothing better than to quit my job and stay home with my child. So I'm going to have to call bullshit on that part. You're arguing against tired old stereotypes of what feminism is, ones that bear no resemblance to actual feminism or feminists.

    Will it make you happy if I agree that there are trends - tendencies, even - that men and women tend to fall into? Fine. Granted. But that is all they are! Those trends aren't prescriptive; hell, they're only barely descriptive (and even that is debatable.) No single person is ever going to hit 100% of the "this is what a man is" or "this is what a woman is" descriptions. And even where people do fit the stereotypes, the jury's still out as to how much is nature and how much is nurture.

    Not sure what I mean? Ok, here's an example. A toddler falls down onto concrete, resulting in a skinned knee, and starts to cry. If it's a little girl, most of the time someone will pick her up, soothe her, and dry her tears. If it's a little boy, most of the time someone will tell him to be a big boy and not cry, it's not that bad. The boy learns not to show emotion or react to pain; the girl learns it's ok to show emotion, and that someone will always come along to take care of her. Repeat these same lessons in a thousand small ways all throughout childhood, and is it any wonder men and women act differently? But how much of it is "natural," and how much is because of what they've been taught from their earliest years?

    I don't know. Neither do you, in point of fact.

    But the point I'm trying to make is that, trends or no trends, people are individuals. You're absolutely right that it would be boring if men and women were exactly the same. I don't think anyone's the same. But I don't think the differences between people can be split up neatly along male-female lines, simply because, in spite of the trends, there are just too many people who don't fit the stereotypes.

    And that is the POINT of feminism. The woman who wants to be taken seriously when she speaks at a tech conference isn't fighting for it because she hates being female and wants to act manly instead; she's doing so because she IS a woman, a woman who happens to be good in the tech field, and she wants to be respected for her very own qualities rather than being denigrated because she doesn't fit the role other people think she should be in (hint: "traditionally feminine.") Similarly, a man who wants to teach kindergarten without being laughed at fights for respect not because he dislikes being a man, but because, for him, being a man includes being nurturing and caring for small children.

    Lists like yours only serve to alienate and devalue the many, many people who don't fit into it. All the women who aren't overly emotional, aren't particularly nurturing, etc. are basically being told "You don't matter. Your life, your experiences, your unique view of the world - they don't count." Is it really a surprise that people are both angry and perplexed by it?

  13. To denelian’s (Dec. 10, 11:11PM) comment:

    Please forgive my delay in commenting. I did not have access to the blog over the holidays. I think I understand what you are trying to say. Correct me if I am wrong: you are asserting that, since nothing of consequence is attached to the sex gene, there are no consequential characteristics that are necessarily, or even as a tendency, possessed by a single sex. You are saying that any difference other than organs and a Y gene are learned. I simply disagree. Besides sex organs (uterus, testicles, etc.) there are various hormones which affect the masculinity and femininity of men and women. Though many of these hormones are not specific to one gender or the other, their levels are. Oxytocin, as a simple example, is known as the “love hormone” and makes people more trusting, loving, and loyal. Women naturally have a higher level of oxytocin than men. In fact, men’s oxytocin levels only rival that of women during the sexual act, after orgasm and during copulation. (^ Marazziti D, Canale D (August 2004). "Hormonal changes when falling in love". Psychoneuroendocrinology 29 (7): 931–6. ) Oxytocin plays a large role in whether or not mothers are “nurturing” toward their children ( This is what I was going on when I said they are more nurturing, and what I hinted at in #5.
    That’s a pretty big part of the human body you left out when you began to focus solely on the sex organs (forgetting what makes them work) and genes (forgetting what they make work). It’s a very complicated subject—and hence beyond the scope of this blog—but it is very interesting. I highly suggest you look into it.

    As for “intersexed people” as you call them—those with Klinefelter syndrome, XYY syndrome, and even Turner syndrome, I suppose—yes, I know. What about them? It depends on their individual case, what hormones they have and need, etc. but they will show characteristics that are more male, more female, or both simultaneously. It’s highly relative depending on their specific case, and such conditions are rather rare, also beyond the scope of this blog.


  14. (Ctd)

    “femism is the "radical" notion that women are just as human as men - are entitled to do all the same things men can do, and have the right to a life that DOESN'T REVOLVE AROUND MEN. that we are MORE than just brood-mares and free housekeepers.”

    Yes. But it has veered off on many tangents (birth control, abortion, etc.) and has worked rather badly so far. Thank you, Margaret Sanger.

    “that link you gave to Mary and then to bitwise is to a study that has not been replicatable.”

    My fault. I apologize.

    “sex and gender are different; this is why i suggested feminism 101 - you misunderstand MANY things”

    I know very well the difference you see between sex, gender, and gender role. Sex is male/female, gender is masculinity and femininity as defined by society, and gender role is practically synonymous with masculinity and femininity. I am using sex and gender synonymously because I disagree with your extreme disassociation between the two. For me, sex is being male or female genetically and gender is those tendencies and characteristics brought about because of sex (you disagree that tendencies can be brought about because of sex, but there we will just have to agree to disagree). And for me, gender role is how these tendencies are played out (or not played out) in a specific society. I never mentioned gender role, and so my post cannot, by definition, be sexism.

    “and you may not think what you've written is advocating that women be only brood-mares and free housekeepers - but each and every argument you have laid out has been used by anti-feminists who are working TOWARDS pushing women back into the bad days where we WERE only broodmares and free housekeepers, denying agency to women, denying their fundamental personhood.”

    There is no way anything I wrote can be construed to mean what you fear. Please do not read what isn’t there. I never mentioned gender role. There are differences between men and women. I didn’t say how they should be acted upon or even if they should be, I merely pointed out that they were there. Ignoring differences or things because you fear them is as pathetic as trying to abuse them.