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Expansive Gender

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Biological basis of sexual orientation. CONTACT: Stanford University News Service (415) 723-2558 Biological basis of sexual orientation STANFORD -- Research into the biological basis of sexual orientation "presents a clear double message.

Biological basis of sexual orientation

Understanding Gender - Gender Spectrum. For many people, the terms “gender” and “sex” are used interchangeably, and thus incorrectly.

Understanding Gender - Gender Spectrum

This idea has become so common, particularly in western societies, that it is rarely questioned. We are born, assigned a sex, and sent out into the world. For many people, this is cause for little, if any dissonance. Yet biological sex and gender are different; gender is not inherently nor solely connected to one’s physical anatomy. The Gender Spectrum. Printer-friendly version Illustration by Olaf Hajek When we meet a newborn baby, most of us ask the same question: boy or girl?

The Gender Spectrum

Often, the answer is easy. Androcentrism: It’s Okay to Be a Boy, but Being a Girl… Sociologists use the term “androcentrism” to refer to a new kind of sexism, one that replaces the favoring of men over women with the favoring of masculinity over femininity.

Androcentrism: It’s Okay to Be a Boy, but Being a Girl…

According to the rules of androcentrism, men and women alike are rewarded, but only insofar as they are masculine (e.g., they play sports, drink whiskey, and are lawyers or surgeons w00t!). Meanwhile, men are punished for doing femininity and women… well, women are required to do femininity and simultaneously punished for it. Illustrating this concept, much more concisely, is this altered photograph of James Franco in drag. Sent along by Stephanie V., the photo was originally for the cover of Candy, a “transversal style” fashion magazine. I’m not sure who added the copy,* but I like it: * So Caro Visi, where I found the image, credits Virus, but I can’t find it there. UPDATE: Sarah and John, in the comments thread, pointed out that the language is borrowed from a movie titled The Cement Garden.

The Problem with Tomboys — Gender Justice/Feminism. One night, after a particularly rough break-up, I told a close male friend of mine that my ex had once told me he wished I were more feminine.

The Problem with Tomboys — Gender Justice/Feminism

When Women Wanted Sex Much More Than Men. In the 1600s, a man named James Mattock was expelled from the First Church of Boston.

When Women Wanted Sex Much More Than Men

His crime? It wasn’t using lewd language or smiling on the sabbath or anything else that we might think the Puritans had disapproved of. Rather, James Mattock had refused to have sex with his wife for two years. Though Mattock’s community clearly saw his self-deprivation as improper, it is quite possible that they had his wife’s suffering in mind when they decided to shun him. The Puritans believed that sexual desire was a normal and natural part of human life for both men and women (as long as it was heterosexual and confined to marriage), but that women wanted and needed sex more than men.

Yet today, the idea that men are more interested in sex than women is so pervasive that it seems almost unremarkable. The idea that men are naturally more interested in sex than women is ubiquitous that it’s difficult to imagine that people ever believed differently. Yet the times were clearly changing. The First Sex Manual Published in North America, 1766. The first sex education text printed in North America may have come with a fake pedigree, but it went on to distinction as the go-to for thousands of sexually curious young people.

The First Sex Manual Published in North America, 1766

The first American edition, printed in Boston in 1766, is titled Aristotle’s Complete Master-Piece, In Three Parts; Displaying the Secrets of Nature in the Generation of Man (find a copy online here). Since its first publication in England in 1684, it has seen dozens of editions, some more “Complete” than others, and with various titles, with publishers adding, editing, and rewriting material as they saw fit. The first American copy (title page above) appends a work called A Treasure of Health, or The Family Physician, as an attempt, most likely, to give the controversial Master-Piece legitimacy as a medical textbook.

There’s quite a bit of meaning for early modern literary scholars to tease out and religious conservatives to agree with. Via Booktryst Related Content: Male and female brains wired differently, scans reveal. Scientists have drawn on nearly 1,000 brain scans to confirm what many had surely concluded long ago: that stark differences exist in the wiring of male and female brains.

Male and female brains wired differently, scans reveal

Maps of neural circuitry showed that on average women's brains were highly connected across the left and right hemispheres, in contrast to men's brains, where the connections were typically stronger between the front and back regions. Ragini Verma, a researcher at the University of Pennsylvania, said the greatest surprise was how much the findings supported old stereotypes, with men's brains apparently wired more for perception and co-ordinated actions, and women's for social skills and memory, making them better equipped for multitasking. "If you look at functional studies, the left of the brain is more for logical thinking, the right of the brain is for more intuitive thinking. So if there's a task that involves doing both of those things, it would seem that women are hardwired to do those better," Verma said.