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17-10-2009
  106
Power to the 99%
 
fashionista-ta's Avatar
 
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^ I would imagine there's some testosterone in the mix too ...

However, there are plenty of women (and I am one of them) with testosterone as the primary driving factor behind their personality (again, see Why Him? Why Her? for the scientific basis of this assertion). That doesn't prevent us from being feminine of course ... because this isn't simple or black and white, as some would like to believe. There are also plenty of men with estrogen as the primary driving factor behind their personalities.

Every one of these traits occurs on a spectrum. It's highly wrong-headed to believe that men are risk takers and women are not (hello Amelia Earhart), that women communicate well and men do not, etc. There are both cultural and physical reasons behind the strong performance of one gender over the other in each arena, but there's nothing to prevent a member of the opposite gender from becoming a high achiever in any arena, given the right mix of nature/nurture/practice. As well, who's to say that the fact that men (in general, on average) don't pick up on every little detail and respond to it means they aren't good communicators? In fact this can be viewed as a strength ...

You can always pick the whole thing up, stand it on its head, and look through another facet of the prism.

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17-10-2009
  107
trendsetter
 
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As long as there is more variation within each group than between them, you can't make sweeping generalizations like these, about how women and med are.

Of course biology has it's part to play in this, but I like to think that human beings are a little more complex that that. I believe the way we behave and think are emergent properties that can't be predicted by just looking at what blocks have been made to build us, be they genetic or social.

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17-10-2009
  108
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What a fascinating discussion.
One of my profs made a really interesting statement this week. He said that there are nearly no things in which men and women are not different. He is a psychologist and a human biologist so I guess he knows what he is talking about.
Of course the differences are not the same in everyone but I still believe that they exist.
I embrace the differences because the world is way more interesting with them and of course because I live in a society where being female doesn't mean that there is only one role model for me.

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17-10-2009
  109
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Yes it's interesting, I had never heard the thing about men being driven by estrogen and women by testosterone...

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17-10-2009
  110
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PinkGoddess View Post
Every single attribute assigned to the Jews was negative. Women's roles as nurturing mothers (to give one example of a gender-based characteristic) is a positive and objective one (except of course, to those who see women as inferior). A society that seeks to keep women powerless would either deny that such a characteristic exists, or reduce its importance.
you seem to be conflating the biological capacity to have children, and the idea of a role, which is not even mostly determined by one's ability or inability to have children. to call such a sentiment "objective" is laughable. even a casual observation of the world around you should lead you to the conclusion that many women do not define themselves by motherhood. what do you say to a woman who cannot or does not wish to have children? is she not fulfilling her role? motherhood should be valued but it is not "women's role".

you also conflate "natural" and "good" as I already said but you never responded. racism and xenophobia are natural human tendencies. should we submit to them as well?

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18-10-2009
  111
THE STRANGER
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PinkGoddess View Post
By "physical" I didn't mean merely appearance-based; "physiological" is a better word.
Really now? That's quite far-fetched of you to say. If we replaced every "physical" you used in your posts with "physiological", then your statements would contradict themselves. Biological differences ARE physiological. I am certain that you believed that the biological differences between races were purely physical until you were corrected.

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19-10-2009
  112
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lite_Brite View Post
you seem to be conflating the biological capacity to have children, and the idea of a role, which is not even mostly determined by one's ability or inability to have children. to call such a sentiment "objective" is laughable. even a casual observation of the world around you should lead you to the conclusion that many women do not define themselves by motherhood. what do you say to a woman who cannot or does not wish to have children? is she not fulfilling her role? motherhood should be valued but it is not "women's role".
And I repeat for the tenth time, WHO is talking about "defining" men and women by anything? I know I wasn't. Motherhood IS a natural female role, regardless of the fact that not all women will be mothers, because females (and females only) have the potential to become mothers.

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Originally Posted by Lite_Brite View Post
you also conflate "natural" and "good" as I already said but you never responded. racism and xenophobia are natural human tendencies. should we submit to them as well?
When did I say that every distinction between men and women was purely positive? They each serve a specific purpose, which is positive, but many are bound to have negative repercussions. Physical and psychological aggression are qualities necessary for the natural leadership qualities in men, but they also mean that male criminals (particularly the most dangerous) vastly outnumber female ones. Pretending that men and women are equal in all ways will only exacerbate gender-rooted problem behaviours like this.

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19-10-2009
  113
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Quote:
Originally Posted by michyed View Post
Really now? That's quite far-fetched of you to say. If we replaced every "physical" you used in your posts with "physiological", then your statements would contradict themselves. Biological differences ARE physiological. I am certain that you believed that the biological differences between races were purely physical until you were corrected.
"Physical" does not mean superficial. So why did you believe that my use of the word "physical differences" in regards to race excluded twinning rates, gestation periods, premature infant mortality rate, etc?

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19-10-2009
  114
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dego View Post
Exactly what is that "fact"? Not all women are mothers, not all women can have children. Not all women are "nurturing".
Well of course; its existence as a feminine role doesn't imply that EVERY female experiences it, just that it's a role exclusive to females.

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Originally Posted by Dego View Post
..and do you actually believe that all of these differences are all because of genes and hormones?
Cross-cultural studies and primate studies keep showing the exact same differences over and over, so the evidence is that they ARE due primarily to biology.

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19-10-2009
  115
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fashionista-ta View Post
Every one of these traits occurs on a spectrum. It's highly wrong-headed to believe that men are risk takers and women are not (hello Amelia Earhart), that women communicate well and men do not, etc. There are both cultural and physical reasons behind the strong performance of one gender over the other in each arena, but there's nothing to prevent a member of the opposite gender from becoming a high achiever in any arena, given the right mix of nature/nurture/practice. As well, who's to say that the fact that men (in general, on average) don't pick up on every little detail and respond to it means they aren't good communicators? In fact this can be viewed as a strength ...

You can always pick the whole thing up, stand it on its head, and look through another facet of the prism.
Why do people insist that the existence of exceptions disproves general trends? Nobody would proclaim that jumping off of bridges is safe merely because many people do indeed survive the experience; some even survive losing games of Russian Roulette. But let there be one exception to a behavioural rule, and suddenly people want to claim that the rule is "disproven".

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19-10-2009
  116
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dego View Post
Of course biology has it's part to play in this, but I like to think that human beings are a little more complex that that. I believe the way we behave and think are emergent properties that can't be predicted by just looking at what blocks have been made to build us, be they genetic or social.
The fact that people "like to think that" is a big part of the problem. When it's a case of people concluding that the facts don't fit their theory, it is the facts which must be disposed of, and that is a dangerously biased state.

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19-10-2009
  117
scenester
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PinkGoddess View Post
And I repeat for the tenth time, WHO is talking about "defining" men and women by anything? I know I wasn't. Motherhood IS a natural female role, regardless of the fact that not all women will be mothers, because females (and females only) have the potential to become mothers.
You're misusing the word "role". A role is a behavioural pattern imposed on an individual by society. Hence, roles can never truly be natural. I believe what you mean is that motherhood is a natural female capability, or possibly a natural female inclination. I would argue with you if you mean the latter, but my purpose right now is only to clarify your misnomer.

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19-10-2009
  118
Power to the 99%
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PinkGoddess View Post
Why do people insist that the existence of exceptions disproves general trends? Nobody would proclaim that jumping off of bridges is safe merely because many people do indeed survive the experience; some even survive losing games of Russian Roulette. But let there be one exception to a behavioural rule, and suddenly people want to claim that the rule is "disproven".
PinkGoddess, I'm beginning to think you're 'naturally' argumentative

If you'll read what I said again, you'll see I more than acknowledged the idea of gender 'trends.'

I find discussions much more interesting than arguments ...

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19-10-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PinkGoddess View Post
And I repeat for the tenth time, WHO is talking about "defining" men and women by anything? I know I wasn't. Motherhood IS a natural female role, regardless of the fact that not all women will be mothers, because females (and females only) have the potential to become mothers.
maybe you don't mean to use the word "role". with_the_wind said it well.

Quote:
When did I say that every distinction between men and women was purely positive? They each serve a specific purpose, which is positive, but many are bound to have negative repercussions. Physical and psychological aggression are qualities necessary for the natural leadership qualities in men, but they also mean that male criminals (particularly the most dangerous) vastly outnumber female ones. Pretending that men and women are equal in all ways will only exacerbate gender-rooted problem behaviours like this.
I was referring to your insistence that we not deny our natural inclinations.
what is interesting is that you seem to think there is little difference among women or that differences come mainly in the form of anomalies. from what I can tell you hold the distinction between men and women as more significant than that variation and that is, in my view, your mistake.

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22-10-2009
  120
don't look down
 
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The flat strikes back (guardian.co.uk):

Quote:
Real women wear flat shoes

The magazines are full of precarious 6in heels, but in the real world, Clarks is doing a roaring trade in mid-height shoes. What is behind this collective act of fashion disobedience?

As I walked down Oxford Street a couple of weeks ago, my eyes slid to the left and I noticed a window full of sensible shoes, and they were quite nice in a modest sort of way. But in despair I saw the sign above the entrance: Clarks, the home of regulation school sandals, the shop where I was taken by my mother to have my feet measured and x-rayed with an exciting machine that could see through to the bones.

Fashion disobedience … Alexa Chung wears Russell & Bromley loafers. Photograph: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Yet peering further, I noticed that the shop was crammed with fashionable young people trying on footwear with low heels and rounded toes. Venturing inside, this startling vision was confirmed. All around were rows and rows of shoes that looked comfortable. My feet sighed with pleasure at the sight of them. They had nice straps to hold them on and the soles were airy cushions of padded leather. There was not a single pair of what the magazines call "fierce heels", shoes inspired by Chinese footbinding, designed to cruelly entrap the toes in sharp points and elevate the heels to such heights that walking becomes a hobble. There were no bondage shoes at all. Nor were there many ballet flats, those flimsy little numbers with papery soles, sending shock waves up your spine every time your foot hits the pavement, making your calves scream.

The shoes in Clarks had low, stumpy heels. They were visitors from a strange world. But were they in fashion again now? Not a single magazine article had proclaimed the death of the uncomfortable shoe. At London fashion week, models continued to wobble along the catwalk in vertiginous platforms and there had been no reports in the financial pages of the decline of Manolo Blahnik (who refuses even to make wedges) or Christian Louboutin. Yet the shop seemed to be minting money. I sat down next to an exquisite Italian woman in the kind of skinny jeans that are artfully folded around the ankle, requiring the centuries of visual acuity only granted to a country of people who can wear beige without looking like a geography teacher. She carried a Prada bag, and dozens of shoes lay all around her as she kept trying on more and more pairs. Every time she cast one off, I moved them towards me.

But I had to ask myself whether it is possible to wear sensible shoes when you are no longer young. It is perfectly all right to wear ugly, clumpy clothes when you are 16, but if you wear them when you are 50 it might look as if you never understood style in the first place, or have given up, ­ surrendering to the idea that you can wear a red hat with a purple dress, on the spurious grounds that you are old and what does it matter because no one wants to look at you anyway.

But my God, those shoes were comfortable. It was like wearing slippers. I gave in and bought two pairs: patent T-bars with a spongy wedge, and black leather Mary Janes. Experimentally trying the Mary Janes out on a day when a friend wanted me to accompany her to the flagship Marks & Spencer at Marble Arch, so she could examine every single item of stock, I kept interrogating my feet: "OK down there? Still holding up?" But my feet were doing the job of carrying me around without complaint; they had fallen into silence. By the end of the day I had totally forgotten about them.

In Selfridges, I noticed a fashionable woman surreptitiously slipping off a pair of Clarks shoes and replacing them with heels. Out on the street, women all around me seemed to be wearing shoes that had not been in fashion for 15 years, and they were doing so in defiance of the rules, those intractable fashion rules. Young and old, they walked up and down in boots, flats, sandals, trainers and Clarks clumpy shoes. I'd spent so long in the shop I recognised the styles, such as the Blue Ribbon with its Mary Jane strap and shapely low heel.

This act of collective fashion disobedience is pervasive. Friends tell me that they keep their heels in a drawer in the office, in case they have to look smart for a meeting or a lunch or are going out after work. Women in the City have said that they need heels to look their male colleagues in the eye, but they are getting to work in flats. Few are able to negotiate public transport in the shoes that are being sold in the shops. Wobbling on to a fast-moving escalator during the London rush-hour in 6in heels? Running for a bus? Taking the children to school?

Fashion has given us shoes as decorative objects, not footwear. A couple of years ago, Prada brought out shoes whose heels were shaped as vases. They sent out a specific message about the person wearing them: that they had elevated themselves above such plebeian activities as walking. Like the towering wigs of women in the 18th century, or the hoops and bustles of the 19th, they signal a life lived entirely ornamentally.

Why had I not seen these sensible shoes before? Because they aren't sold in most shoe shops. I would go into the shoe departments of Harrods and Selfridges, mournfully inquiring: do you have anything a bit more comfortable? And the answer came back: no. There were a few mid-height heels, I was told, but they sold out straight away. I wonder why. More often, there were heels, or there were ballet flats, and little in between. On the Net-a-Porter website, the mid-heels section is full of shoes that are 10cm high. Outside, a vast act of collective disobedience has defied fashion, and yet still the shoe industry is failing to pay any attention. Or more likely, fashion has abandoned function to Clarks. Instead of competing with it, it simply ignores the need to wear shoes you can walk in.

This total disconnect between fashion and what people actually wear, seems to have passed almost unnoticed. Magazines continue to show us ever more crazy shoes. Fashion has decided that there can be nothing in between the 6in heel and the flat. Anything lying between those two points is moderate, average, wearable, and fashion isn't about moderation, it's about excess, stretching the boundaries into new territory. To want to wear a medium, clumpy heel is to surrender to mediocrity.

The first recognition in the media of the public's hunger for comfortable shoes was TV presenter Alexa Chung's rediscovery of Russell & Bromley loafers, a style stocked by the store for decades and which suddenly sold out when she was seen wearing them. She has now moved on to the Salvatore Ferragamo Vara, the low heeled shoe with gilt-trimmed bow beloved of Margaret Thatcher. On the Clarks website I looked to see how it categorised its clumpy, comfortable shoes which I was now seeing everywhere: they call them workwear. And going to work is what most women do every day, all day. Heels are reserved for evenings out, for parties and clubbing; few women wear them as routine, stand behind a shop counter in them or in front of a class of schoolchildren.

Perhaps the resolute refusal of women in their 20s to abandon sensible shoes goes back to a forgotten time; that of the late 80s and early 90s, when women in their late 20s today were children and teenagers. What did they wear? First they wore trainers, and then they wore clumpy shoes. Only the re-emergence of the ladylike shoe, and the colossal influence of Sex and the City in introducing us to the shoe wardrobe, convinced that generation to get into heels. They fell in love with them as a fashion statement, but continued to wear Uggs, flip-flops and ballet flats for everyday.

I now think we have been the victim of a con trick by the fashion industry. Every woman is supposed to adore gorgeous shoes. Of course it is absolutely correct that they make your legs look longer and your hips slimmer, but if your legs can only be elongated while you're standing or sitting down, there doesn't seem much point to them. I love the extra height heels give me. I like being able to look men in the eye. I like the look of beautiful shoes, but until the manufacturers start including a sedan chair and two attendants with each purchase, I shall wear ugly shoes.

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