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Fair warning - Her Most Regal Majesty, the Queen of Snark
void where prohibited, except by law
Fair warning
A couple of my friends feel that it's acceptable to use the phrase "sexist crap" as a refute in discussions relating to that old chestnut the nature/nurture debate. It's naive, it's insulting, and it's disrespectful. Frankly I don't have a problem with you believing that there's no nature component to gender difference. What I do have a problem with is you belittling anyone who doesn't share your opinion as being beneath contempt in a manner analogous to creationists. There's plenty of scientific explanation for theories of physiological and/or genetic brain difference, and if you can't accept that there's a logical argument behind the idea that physical gender difference exists, then you can't even stick to your own high minded rationalist principles.

Frankly I'm not going to stand for that kind of dismissive attitude any more. Expect me to stop liking you if you don't stop.
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rysmiel From: rysmiel Date: December 13th, 2005 09:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
Um, my considered position is that any overall systemic difference between physiological males and females [ or indeed between chromsomal males and females, if you want to split it that way ] is orders of magnitude smaller than the meaningful differences between individuals and is greatly overlapped by said differences, such that systemic differences are minimally useful in most circumstances, and that more of the consequences of thought based on the premise that gender differences are essential that I have seen are negative than not. I've no intention of going around proselytising about this, or being intentionally rude or disrespectful about it, but it is something about which I feel rather strongly. [ and am entirely happy to engage in civilised and mutually respectful argument on the matter should that ever be apt. ]

Given this, can we still be friends ?
sesquipedality From: sesquipedality Date: December 13th, 2005 09:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
Certainly. I'm of agreement that overlap exists, but that doesn't mean that anyone talking about general trends in gender difference is spouting sexist crap. Frankly I'm not convinced it makes a difference whether the difference is physiological or cultural - it's enough that differences exist to make talking about 'what men do' or 'what women think' an interesting exercise.

I don't at all object to people disagreeing with me. My problem comes when they feel they can dismiss an argument just because it relates to a theory of gender difference. Sorry if I didn't make that clear. I don't think they're right any more than they think I am, but I don't go around insulting them for believing otherwise.
leathellin From: leathellin Date: December 13th, 2005 10:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
Aha. I am now less confused as to what sexist crap had to do with the nature/nurture debate. that'd be in relation to gender then.
pjc50 From: pjc50 Date: December 13th, 2005 11:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
Indeed. In order to pretend that there isn't a difference people have to pretend that hormones don't have an effect on mood or behaviour for either gender.

How people should be treated is another matter: we can treat people the same despite their differences with only minor cognitive dissonance.
From: ex_lark_asc Date: December 13th, 2005 11:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
Didn't someone recently do some research that suggested nurture actually has an effect on genetic mutation, which blows the whole nature/nurture debate out of the water anyway? I think I read it on the Beeb the other day.
ewx From: ewx Date: December 14th, 2005 03:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
Put your baby in a Plutonium cot!
davywavy From: davywavy Date: December 14th, 2005 09:58 am (UTC) (Link)
There are identifiable and statistically significant differences in the structure of the brain between men and women. Oddly, there is also a statistically significant incidence of gay men have more 'female brains' and gay women having 'male' brains.
it was this interesting fact that convinced me as a callow, arrogant and smug 19-year-old that any sort of prejudice based upon sexuality was bloody stupid as it is plainly genetic.
What those differences actually equate to in terms of behavoiur is a different matter, as we don't know.
ewx From: ewx Date: December 14th, 2005 03:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
Agreed, though I'd hope you also agree that there are also times when "sexist crap" is indeed the appropriate response.
sesquipedality From: sesquipedality Date: December 14th, 2005 06:28 pm (UTC) (Link)

"Men can't raise chidren" is sexist crap. "Women, on average, tend to be more nurturing than men" is possibly an arguable point, but isn't sexist crap.
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