genders

‘It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs, and I didn’t know what I was doing in New York.’ –Sylvia Plath

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Girls’ brains can begin maturing from the age of 10 while some men have to wait until 20 before the same organisational structures take place, Newcastle University scientists have found.

{ Telegraph | Continue reading }

Men who have daughters also grow less attached to traditional gender roles: they become less likely to agree with the statement that “a woman’s place is in the home,” for instance, and more likely to agree that men should wash dishes and do other chores. Having a sister, however, has the opposite effect, making men more supportive of traditional gender roles, more conservative politically, and less likely to perform housework.

{ The Atlantic | Continue reading }

Pies made from apples like these

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Specifically, they reported that men’s brains had more connectivity within each brain hemisphere, whereas women’s brains had more connectivity across the two hemispheres. Moreover, they stated or implied, in their paper and in statements to the press, that these findings help explain behavioral differences between the sexes, such as that women are intuitive thinkers and good at multi-tasking whereas men are good at sports and map-reading. […]

So, the wiring differences between the sexes aren’t that large. And we don’t really know their functional significance, if any. […]

[L]et’s set this new brain wiring study in the context of previous research. Verma and her team admit that a previous paper looking at the brain wiring of 439 participants failed to find significant differences between the sexes. What about studies on the corpus callosum – the thick bundle of fibres that connects the two brain hemispheres? If women really have more cross-talk across the brain, this is one place where you’d definitely expect them to have more connectivity. And yet a 2012 diffusion tensor paper found “a stronger inter-hemispheric connectivity between the frontal lobes in males than females”. Hmm. Another paper from 2006 found little difference in thickness of the callosum according to sex. Finally a meta-analysis from 2009: “The alleged sex-related corpus callosum size difference is a myth,” it says.

{ Wired | Continue reading }

A small sample of the more credulous media uptake:

“Male and female brains wired differently, scans reveal”, The Guardian 12/2/2013

“Striking differences in brain wiring between men and women”, EarthSky 12/3/2013
“Is Equal Opportunity Threatened By New Findings That Female And Male Brains Are Different?”, Forbes 12/3/2013

”The hardwired difference between male and female brains could explain why men are ‘better at map reading’ and why women are ‘better at remembering a conversation’”, The Independent 12/3/2013

”Sex and Brains: Vive la différence!”, The Economist 12/7/2013

“Differences in How Men and Women Think Are Hard-Wired”, WSJ 12/9/2013
“Brains of women, men are actually wired differently”, New Scientist 12/12/2013
“Gender differences are hard-wired”, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review 12/15/2013

Some more thoughtful reactions:

“Study: The Brains of Men and Women Are Different… WIth A Few Major Caveats”, Forbes 12/8/2013
“Do Men And Women Have Different Brains?”, NPR 12/13/2013
“Time to ditch the ‘Venus and Mars’ cliche”, The New Zealand Herald 12/14/2013

{ Language Log | Continue reading }

art { Pablo Picasso, Portrait of Sylvette David in Green Chair, 1954 }

Oh wait, DOUBLE FUCKING NEWSFLASH

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More young men in California rise in pitch at the end of their sentences when talking, new research shows.

This process is known as “uptalk” or “valleygirl speak” and has in the past been associated with young females, typically from California or Australia.

But now a team says that this way of speaking is becoming more frequent among men.

{ BBC | Continue reading }

photo { Dennis Stock }

I should go home and do what? Paint my fucking nails?

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Even though boys express a wider range of emotions than girls do as infants, boys are typically discouraged from showing their emotions as they grow older due to traditional ideas about masculinity and gender roles. Crying frequency between boys and girls shows little difference until the age of eleven or twelve when girls overtake boys. 

Being told that “big boys don’t cry,” boys are socialized against any display of strong emotion considered inappropriate while crying is specifically targeted as being “feminine” behaviour. There can be enormous culture differences over when and under what circumstances men and women are allowed to cry but men are often expected to be more stoic and unemotional in most situations. […]

Though crying among men seems more tolerated, there are still strong biases against men crying in public. In a 2001 study of undergraduate males in the United States, only 23 percent of males reported crying when feeling helpless as opposed to 58 percent of females with similar sex differences being noted in the United Kingdom and Israel.

{ Psychology Today | Continue reading }

photo { Stephen DiRado, Martha’s Vineyard/Beach People: Aquinnah, MA. }

She was more like a beauty queen from a movie scene

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In the construction of advertisement images, emphasis is placed on information that is thought to be influential within the dominant culture of the target audience, such as commonly held values and beliefs (Wolin, 2003). Goffman (1978), proposed the idea that human models in advertisement images are intentionally choreographed to convey particular values concerning social identity and expectations. The values chosen for representation by human models in advertisement images are a reflection of the dominant cultural beliefs regarding social identities. As a result, the representation of human relationships in advertisement images offers research a unique view of normative discourses regarding social identities related to sexual orientation and gender.

{ The Qualitative Report | PDF }

photo { Leo Berne }

Convinced you’ve been wronged in a past life?

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In a male-supremacist society, female power must logically appear illogical, mysterious, intimate, threatening.

{ The New Inquiry | Continue reading }

‘If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.’ –Mark Twain

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{ Men who score high on psychopathy are better at lie detection; opposite pattern for women. | via BPS }

art { James Turrell }

Correctamundo. And that’s what we’re gonna be. We’re gonna be cool.

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XYY syndrome is an aneuploidy (abnormal number) of the sex chromosomes in which a human male receives an extra Y-chromosome.

Some medical geneticists question whether the term “syndrome” is appropriate for this condition because its clinical phenotype is normal and the vast majority (an estimated 97% in Britain) of 47,XYY males do not know their karyotype.

{ Wikipedia | Continue reading }

Triple X syndrome is a form of chromosomal variation characterized by the presence of an extra X chromosome in each cell of a human female. The condition occurs only in females. […]

Because of the lyonization, inactivation, and formation of a Barr body in all female cells, only one X chromosome is active at any time. Thus, Triple X syndrome most often has only mild effects, or has no unusual effects at all.

Symptoms may include tall stature; small head (microcephaly); vertical skinfolds that may cover the inner corners of the eyes (epicanthal folds); delayed development of certain motor skills, speech and language; learning disabilities, such as dyslexia; or weak muscle tone.

{ Wikipedia | Continue reading }

Klinefelter syndrome, or XXY syndrome, is a genetic disorder in which there is at least one extra X chromosome to a standard human male karyotype, for a total of 47 chromosomes rather than the 46 found in genetically normal humans. […]

This chromosome constitution exists in roughly between 1:500 to 1:1000 live male births but many of these people may not show symptoms. […]

Affected males are often infertile, or may have reduced fertility. […] XXY males are also more likely than other men to have certain health problems, which typically affect females, such as breast cancer and osteoporosis.

{ Wikipedia | Continue reading }

photos { Frieke Janssens }

REDЯUM

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On the evening of August 13, 1967, two women were attacked and killed by grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis) in separate incidents within Glacier National Park (GNP). Following these incidents, there was speculation that due to odors associated with menstruation, women may be more prone to attack by bears than are men (Rogers et al. 1991).


In a study designed to test the hypothesis that bears are attracted to the odors of menstruation, Cushing (1983) reported that when presented with a series of different odors (including seal scents, other food scents, non menstrual human blood, and used tampons), four captive polar bears elicited a strong behavioral response only to seal scents and menstrual odors (used tampons).

Herrero (1985) analyzed the circumstances of hundreds of grizzly bear attacks on humans, including the attacks on the two women in GNP, and concluded that there was no evidence linking menstruation to any of the attacks. The responses of grizzly bears to menstrual odors has not been studied experimentally.

[…]

Menstrual odors were essentially ignored by black bears of all sex and age classes.

{ Bearman’s | Continue reading | Thanks Tim! }

Another possible root for the modern spelling of the word ‘evil’ is Eve

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Most sleeping pills are designed to knock you out for eight hours. When the Food and Drug Administration was evaluating a new short-acting pill for people to take when they wake up in the middle of the night, agency scientists wanted to know how much of the drug would still be in users’ systems come morning.

Blood tests uncovered a gender gap: Men metabolized the drug, Intermezzo, faster than women. Ultimately the F.D.A. approved a 3.5 milligram pill for men, and a 1.75 milligram pill for women.

The active ingredient in Intermezzo, zolpidem, is used in many other sleeping aids, including Ambien. But it wasn’t until earlier this month that the F.D.A. reduced doses of Ambien for women by half.

Sleeping pills are hardly the only medications that may have unexpected, even dangerous, effects in women. Studies have shown that women respond differently than men to many drugs, from aspirin to anesthesia. Researchers are only beginning to understand the scope of the issue, but many believe that as a result, women experience a disproportionate share of adverse, often more severe, side effects. […]

Until 1993, women of childbearing age were routinely excluded from trials of new drugs. When the F.D.A. lifted the ban that year, agency researchers noted that because landmark studies on aspirin in heart disease and stroke had not included women, the scientific community was left “with doubts about whether aspirin was, in fact, effective in women for these indications.” […]

Women also react differently to alcohol, tobacco and cocaine, studies have found.

It’s not just because women tend to be smaller than men. Women metabolize drugs differently because they have a higher percentage of body fat and experience hormonal fluctuations and the monthly menstrual cycle. “Some drugs are more water-based and like to hang out in the blood, and some like to hang out in the fat tissue,” said Wesley Lindsey, assistant professor of pharmacy practice at Auburn University, who is a co-author of a paper on sex-based differences in drug activity.

{ NY Times | Continue reading }

And with loving pencil you shaded my eyes, my bosom and my shame

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Far more insidious is the insistence by some feminists on mocking transsexual women and denying their existence.

The word that annoys these so-called feminists most is ‘cis’, or ‘cissexual’. This is a term coined in recent years to refer to people who are not transsexual. The response is instant and vicious: “we’re not cissexual, we’re normal - we don’t want to be associated with you freaks!” Funnily enough, that’s just the kind of pissing and whining that a lot of straight people came out with when the term ‘heterosexual’ first began to be used as an antonym of ‘homosexual.’  Don’t call us ‘heterosexuals’, they said - we’re normal, and you don’t belong.

{ Laurie Penny | Continue reading | via Nathan/Zungu Zungu }

art { Astrid Klein }

It wouldn’t be pleasant if he did suppose our rooms at the hotel were beside each other and any fooling went on in the new bed

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Evolutionary psychologists who study mating behavior often begin with a hypothesis about how modern humans mate: say, that men think about sex more than women do. Then they gather evidence — from studies, statistics and surveys — to support that assumption. Finally, and here’s where the leap occurs, they construct an evolutionary theory to explain why men think about sex more than women, where that gender difference came from, what adaptive purpose it served in antiquity, and why we’re stuck with the consequences today.

Lately, however, a new cohort of scientists have been challenging the very existence of the gender differences in sexual behavior that Darwinians have spent the past 40 years trying to explain and justify on evolutionary grounds. […]

Everyone has always assumed — and early research had shown — that women desired fewer sexual partners over a lifetime than men. But in 2003, two behavioral psychologists, Michele G. Alexander and Terri D. Fisher, published the results of a study that used a “bogus pipeline” — a fake lie detector. When asked about actual sexual partners, rather than just theoretical desires, the participants who were not attached to the fake lie detector displayed typical gender differences. Men reported having had more sexual partners than women. But when participants believed that lies about their sexual history would be revealed by the fake lie detector, gender differences in reported sexual partners vanished. In fact, women reported slightly more sexual partners (a mean of 4.4) than did men (a mean of 4.0).

In 2009, another long-assumed gender difference in mating — that women are choosier than men — also came under siege. In speed dating, as in life, the social norm instructs women to sit in one place, waiting to be approached, while the men rotate tables. But in one study of speed-dating behavior, the evolutionary psychologists Eli J. Finkel and Paul W. Eastwick switched the “rotator” role. The men remained seated and the women rotated. By manipulating this component of the gender script, the researchers discovered that women became less selective — they behaved more like stereotypical men — while men were more selective and behaved more like stereotypical women. The mere act of physically approaching a potential romantic partner, they argued, engendered more favorable assessments of that person.

Recently, a third pillar appeared to fall. To back up the assumption that an enormous gap exists between men’s and women’s attitudes toward casual sex, evolutionary psychologists typically cite a classic study published in 1989. Men and women on a college campus were approached in public and propositioned with offers of casual sex by “confederates” who worked for the study. The confederate would say: “I have been noticing you around campus and I find you to be very attractive.” The confederate would then ask one of three questions: (1) “Would you go out with me tonight?” (2) “Would you come over to my apartment tonight?” or (3) “Would you go to bed with me tonight?”

Roughly equal numbers of men and women agreed to the date. But women were much less likely to agree to go to the confederate’s apartment. As for going to bed with the confederate, zero women said yes, while about 70 percent of males agreed.

Those results seemed definitive — until a few years ago, when Terri D. Conley, a psychologist at the University of Michigan, set out to re-examine what she calls “one of the largest documented sexuality gender differences,” that men have a greater interest in casual sex than women.

Ms. Conley found the methodology of the 1989 paper to be less than ideal. “No one really comes up to you in the middle of the quad and asks, ‘Will you have sex with me?’ ” she told me recently. “So there needs to be a context for it. If you ask people what they would do in a specific situation, that’s a far more accurate way of getting responses.” In her study, when men and women considered offers of casual sex from famous people, or offers from close friends whom they were told were good in bed, the gender differences in acceptance of casual-sex proposals evaporated nearly to zero.

{ NY Times | Continue reading }

photo { George Brassaï }