Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Greta Christina: Gender- Differentiated Behavior Comes in a Wide Assortment of Flavors

Greta Christina at Alternet today, on the fallacy of assigning hard, fast gender characteristics (and roles) to men and women, on the basis of "natural" differences engraved in our DNA by "divine order":

On average, men may be genetically predisposed to be more competitive than women -- but that doesn't tell you anything about any one particular man or woman, and how likely they are to whip your ass at Scrabble.

Promoters of the Catholic theology of the body may think it's all about--that it's as simple as--taming whoring daddy and sly mommy looking for the perfect high-status male.  But it's never so simple in real life.

Sometimes it's promiscuous mama and louche papa shopping around for the right man.

It is simply fatuous to imagine that the biological difference between men and women yields air-tight descriptions of psychological difference between men and women--man souls and woman souls--so that biological complementarity dictates gender complementarity.  In which one gender predictably happens to receive an assortments of flavors revolving around aggression and dominance and the other a set of tastes pointing to passivity and subordination . . . .  Nature is far more complex than "natural" law, with its pretense to observe nature dispassionately and discover laws transcending all cultural particularities, recognizes.