Delusions of Dimorphism Drawing on the latest research in neuroscience and psychology, Cordelia Fine debunks the myth of hardwired differences between men’s and women’s brains, unraveling the evidence behind such claims as men’s brains aren’t wired for empathy and women’s brains aren’t made to fix cars. Good reviews here and here report that Fine tackles an often-cited study of newborn infants’ sex difference in preferences for staring at things, by Jennifer Connellan and colleagues in 2000. They reported: …we have demonstrated that at 1 day old, human neonates demonstrate sexual dimorphism in both social and mechanical perception. Male infants show a stronger interest in mechanical objects, while female infants show a stronger interest in the face.
When Teachers Highlight Gender, Kids Pick Up Stereotypes When preschool teachers call attention to gender in any way, kids pick up on it. A new study found that in classrooms where boys and girls line up separately — and even in settings where teachers say things like, "Good morning boys and girls" — children express more stereotypes about gender and even discriminate when deciding who to play with. "The children in these classrooms expressed less interest in playing with children of the other sex," said developmental psychologist Lynn Liben of Pennsylvania State University, who conducted the study with graduate student Lacey Hilliard. "Not only in surveys, but we also observed kids playing in free playtime, and there was a significant drop in the amount of time children in those classrooms were seen playing with children of the other sex."
So what if your porn is feminist? At a suburban office in Canberra, Susan* looks solemnly toward the carpet and blinks back the tears. Her marriage counselor watches on from a few feet away. Susan first explains, and then pleads to be heard. Gorillas Agree: Human Frontal Cortex is Nothing Special In a humbling moment for our species, the following big news has just been published: When it comes to the frontal lobes, we’re not so special after all. For years, scientists have attempted to pinpoint the bits of our brain that might help explain our uniquely human intelligence. The frontal cortex, which resides toward the front of the brain, has frequently been singled out as large relative to other species. But the results have been mixed, with some researchers arguing for a disproportionate expansion, other researchers arguing for no expansion relative to great apes, and still other researchers arguing that it depends on which species are being analyzed. Why the mixed findings? One potential reason is that some researchers based their conclusions on unscaled measurements, such as absolute brain size or total brain volume.
The Fementalists Lady lazarus tweets at @ladylazarusblog and blogs at Lady Lazarus Blogs [Content note: briefly mentions self-harm] I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) in 2004. The first time I ever heard of it was when my male psychiatrist gifted me the label. He suggested I go home and look it up, and we’d discuss it in my next session. Two Sexes Are Not Enough By Dr. Anne Fausto-Sterling Posted 10.30.01 NOVA In this excerpt from her recent book Sexing the Body: Gender Politics and the Construction of Sexuality, Brown University biologist and historian Anne Fausto-Sterling argues for a redefinition of our two-sex-only world. She also offers new guidelines on how doctors should handle intersex babies. Intersexuals, formerly called hermaphrodites, have been around as long as humans have, though until recently few felt comfortable enough to "come out" about their conditions. Enlarge Photo credit: Antique photograph of circus performer from Freaks, Geeks and Strange Girls by Randy Johnson
When Women Wanted Sex Much More Than Men In the 1600s, a man named James Mattock was expelled from the First Church of Boston. 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.
The Case Of Pansexuality 101 And The Sea Of Biphobia And Gender Erasure. I am in the middle of writing a cheerful, if somewhat personal, post about several different labels (specifically bisexual, queer and pansexual) that people who fancy people of more than one gender use and why. This is not that post. This is the post that I tried to shoehorn into that other post when I came across an article, but that couldn’t fit into it because holy fucking ignorance, Batman, and there is no space for all the swearing I would really like to do in an article like that. Identification of risk loci with shared effects on five major psychiatric disorders: a genome-wide analysis Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd All rights reserved. Original Text Cross-Disorder Group of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium‡ Background Findings from family and twin studies suggest that genetic contributions to psychiatric disorders do not in all cases map to present diagnostic categories.
Eating disorders and women’s roles Olivia tweets at @nenfeataiko and blogs at Why Do They Do It? [Trigger warning: discusses eating disorders, without numbers.] Often when we hear about feminism and eating disorders we hear things like “the media’s focus on thinness is causing eating disorders!” or “unrealistic beauty expectations are the cause of eating disorders!” As a feminist, a woman, and someone with an eating disorder, I find these kinds of statements offensive. The real relationship between gender expectations and eating disorders is far more complicated than that.
The brains of men and women aren’t really that different, study finds In the mid-19th century, researchers claimed they could tell the sex of an individual just by looking at their disembodied brain. But a new study finds that human brains do not fit neatly into “male” and “female” categories. Indeed, all of our brains seem to share a patchwork of forms; some that are more common in males, others that are more common in females, and some that are common to both. The findings could change how scientists study the brain and even how society defines gender. The Truth About “Pink” and “Blue” Brains Cross-posted at Ms. and the Huffington Post. I loathe to weigh in on the “war on men” conversation, but… alas. While one can use both logic and data to poke gaping holes in Suzanne Venker’s argument that women need to surrender to their femininity and let men think that they’re in charge if they ever want to get married, I just want to point out one thing — one endlessly repeated thing — that she gets very, very wrong. Venker claims that there has “been an explosion of brain research” that proves that men and women have different brains. This research, she claims, shows that men are loners who like to hunt and build things and women are nurturers who like to talk and take care of people. This false on two fronts.
20 Reminders Every Feminist Needs (But No One's Telling Us) Back in 2013, my friend (and would-be lover, if not for our pesky current monogamous relationships) Jes Baker wrote an incredibly important blog post called “Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls… So I Will,” in which she details 14 affirming reminders for a group that is always torn down. The piece was so wildly popular (and rightly so) that she turned the concept into a book – “a handbook for unapologetic living” – due out in October. (Psst. Pre-order it.) Brain-Training Games Don't Actually Make You Smarter A decade ago, a young Swedish researcher named Torkel Klingberg made a spectacular discovery. He gave a group of children computer games designed to boost their memory, and, after weeks of play, the kids showed improvements not only in memory but in overall intellectual ability. Spending hours memorizing strings of digits and patterns of circles on a four-by-four grid had made the children smarter. The finding countered decades of psychological research that suggested training in one area (e.g., recalling numbers) could not bring benefits in other, unrelated areas (e.g., reasoning).