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I'm glad ThatBritGuy's question forced me to elaborate a bit more and thus clarify why your fascinating diary reminded me of Fausto-Sterling's work. One of the challenges in doing interdisciplinary work such as hers, and one of the reasons I think she makes important contributions, is the difficulty of understanding the concepts and language of the various disciplines as well as the ability to talk to the different audiences in a language that they understand and can take seriously.

Thanks you for sharing your "entirely unscientific, unapologetically impressionistic ... statistical sample of one"! And doing so with great rhetoric style.

by Alexandra in WMass (alexandra_wmass[a|t]yahoo[d|o|t]fr) on Tue Jul 18th, 2006 at 04:08:10 PM EST
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Personally I feel that there are real differences beyond cultural pressures. I simply don't believe we are born a blank canvass on which experience writes our character. Our individualities are determined before birth, life chances will encourage, gift or deny us from our happiest expressions, but our primary tendencies are long set before culture gets its claws on us.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Jul 18th, 2006 at 04:35:23 PM EST
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Nature/nurture interaction would involve influencing the growth of various brain regions and hormone reactions during early and later childhood and adolescence, that sounds a bit stronger than experience writing character. Even the color of a baby's clothes and the tone of the mothers' and fathers'/aunts'/uncles' voice might be such an influence.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Jul 18th, 2006 at 04:51:02 PM EST
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Well, speaking personally, I had a normal boy's upbringing, not only was I encouraged in all boy's pursuits, but I specifically denied myself anything ambiguous, even from an early age (I self identified as a girl at 18 months and was terrified of that knowledge, doing everything I could to deny deny deny).

I have a fair sized description of how the process works and what I did to embrace nurture and deny nature. But nature won in the end. I just wish it had happened 30+ years before.

Culture is only powerful when it works with the grain of personality, when it goes against, unhappiness results. eg gayness

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Jul 18th, 2006 at 04:59:08 PM EST
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This is an interesting conversation. I unfortunately have to make this a short reply as other duties call. I hope we can continue the discussion in the next diary or later here.

Your description reminds me of several stories I've heard  before and why I agree that nurture is not enough of an explanation. It just seems to me there is a dynamic process at work not a static one and biology by itself is not always that clear.

by Alexandra in WMass (alexandra_wmass[a|t]yahoo[d|o|t]fr) on Tue Jul 18th, 2006 at 05:22:08 PM EST
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I know happy gays. Aren't you going a little far in your identification of sexual orientation and gender?

The unhappiness of gays seems mostly externally (i.e., socially) motivated.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 19th, 2006 at 02:29:48 AM EST
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I self identified as a girl at 18 months

You remember being 18 months? That's spectacular! (My first memory is from when I was 26-27 months old, and nothing much self-conscious -- a boat trip on a river in then Yugoslavia.)

I have a fair sized description of how the process works and what I did to embrace nurture and deny nature. But nature won in the end.

To reiterate what I wrote, nature-nurture interaction can involve influences during babyhood, which lead to biological developments that stay with you for life (thus also limiting possibilities of further culturally-induced biological changes in later stages of development). On the other hand, you (still) like football and trains, two areas with rather strong gender imbalance, so maybe you did effect some later lasting changes in yourself, too.

A further point to make is that what is "manly" and "womanly" can on ocassion differ greatly between cultures. There is that African tribe (the Bororo?) in which it is young men who paint themselves, whose beauty concept involves perfect teeth, gracility and dance, and who perform in a beauty competition for the sturdy women to pick from among them. These men have a concept of manhood which compares to the concept of womanhood of a "cross-dresser" in Western culture, though in the first case it's nurture and in the second nature that seems dominant.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Jul 19th, 2006 at 04:21:34 AM EST
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I see the anthropologist in the family has some influence ;-)
by Alexandra in WMass (alexandra_wmass[a|t]yahoo[d|o|t]fr) on Wed Jul 19th, 2006 at 09:25:34 AM EST
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You mean my brother?

He is more into Central to Southeastern European ethnography than anything beyond. I think I got to this myself even before he got to learn about it.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Jul 19th, 2006 at 10:13:36 AM EST
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I did mean your brother but I see I should have ment you!
by Alexandra in WMass (alexandra_wmass[a|t]yahoo[d|o|t]fr) on Wed Jul 19th, 2006 at 02:44:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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