(Fwd) Re: guidelines/ethics

Kathryn Aegis (aegis@igc.apc.org)
Sun, 15 Dec 1996 23:43:51 +0000

>You don't believe that there is physical og psychological diffrences
>between man and woman. That it's something we are simply tougth?

Let's not extrapolate beliefs here. Beliefs create the traps we find
ourselves in when we try to discuss issues related to gender
socialization. Beliefs lead to expectations, and expectations lead
to judgments of other persons.

Yes, of course there are physical differences between men and women,
it would be silly to claim otherwise. However, there exist
individuals possessing physical characteristics of both genders,
calling into question the significance of these differences. There is
also some compelling brain research to the effect that there are
some differences in the way each gender processes information, but no
one has yet made a compelling case that these are significant enough
to form a basis for gender roles.

My focus is more on the way we are taught to behave, the ways we are
taught to think, the expectations that we are told we can have, and
the ways in which a given society would enforce these norms.
Concepts of femininity and masculinity vary so much from culture to
culture and have changed so much over the centuries that it is high
testament to the power of socialization processes that we buy into
these concepts.

To me, actual (as opposed to constructed) gender differences boil
down to to things: reproductive choices and the tailoring of one's
clothing. That's it, period. Anything else is a culturally-based,
sociologically-based, education-based, or faith-based expectation.


Kathryn Aegis

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