Chapter 4 Sex Differences: Nature and Nurture
Humans think or act in a certain way because of inherent nature or because social and
physical environments in which they are nurtured.
Biological Determinism- Belief human behavior caused by biological factors.
Human behaviors are caused by BOTH biological and social factors.
EX: Identical twins share same genetic make-up but appearances change because of
social environment they’re raised in.
Nature (Thornhill Palmer): Rape is an evolutionary byproduct that increases
reproductive success of unsuccessful males. Rape is primarily sexually motivated. Rape
is a reproductive strategy found throughout the animal kingdom. Rapists are not excused
CRITICISMS OFTHORNHILL+PALMER: Narrow definition of ‘rape’validity
of examples, ignore significant proportion of rapes are unlikely to provide
reproductive advantage. Dismiss all ‘nurture’explanations as subject to unscientific
assumptions. Their ‘Nurture’arguments lacked depth.
Nurture: Rape occurs because of environmental factors like culture/psychology. Diverse
theories based on power relationships or cognitive processes sexual gratification is a
secondary factor. Rape is NOT a cultural universal.
Women are the weaker sex and are by nature, more nurturing, emotional, patient, and less
intelligent, than men primarily because their primary role is to reproduce. (Men’s sperm
held the human/women were just incubators for infants ~Aristotle)
Nature of Race
Finding scientific explanations for gender differences was linked to the search for
evidence of ‘racial’differences.
Race was later coined as a ‘fixed’biological category and people begin getting
characterized by physical traits. NO BIOLOGICALCONNECTION TO RACE.
RACE ISASOCIAL CONSTRUCT.
Ethnocentric assumptions about race identified ‘dark skinned’people as ‘savages’
and believed them to be incapable of higher thinking.
• Ethnography:Ann Ferguson Bad Boys: Public Schools in the Making of Black
Masculinity Science gaining prestige. White upper-class men used science to explain why they
had greater accesses to power and resources.
Naturalizing Power: making unequal distribution of power, privileges and resources
among social groups appear as the natural and inevitable outcome of supposed
Study 1: Incline Predictions- Both male and female were able to climb an incline as
infants.Assumption that ‘boys are more physical’caused parents to wrongly project and
encourage boys to do more physical activity assuming girls were less capable of doing so.
Study 2: SocialActivity- Parents less likely to quiet boys crying because they are
expected not to cry giving them less social interaction.
Study 3: emotional Expression-As childs age increased parents were less likely to notice
childs facial expression changes to force them to conform to appropriate cultural
demands and expectations for expression.
Intersexed- Individuals with anomalous chromosomal makeup and anatomical sex organs.
(ambiguous genitalia and/or chromosomal make up)
Binary biological sex: 1843 Levi Suydam was required to be inspected by doctor to
determine biological sex. Presence of menstrual cycle, fondness for gay colors, aversion
for bodily labor, and occasional sexual yearning for women
Western Views today: clear line between men and women etc.
An intersex condition in which an individual is born with both ovarian and testicular
Can grow together to form Ovote