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Feminism on MN confuses gender equality with men and women being the same

(110 Posts)
Bookwormqueen Fri 09-Feb-18 21:50:47

Why is it hard for people to conceive that men and women may have innate differences in the way they behave and their preferences etc? After all they are different physically and in their hormones, so is it so difficult to see that their brains may be wired and function differently aswell?
Why does anyone who expresses that they may have different preferences get accused of holding sexist views? To be fair, I only find these views very prevalent on MN and I find this quite naive
I believe in gender equality, but I also believe each gender has its strengths and weaknesses (physically and emotionally) and these differences should work to complement each other rather than competing and trying to be the same in the name of feminism

Poffley Fri 09-Feb-18 21:51:31

Gender is a made up social construct. Do you mean sex?

PurpleDaisies Fri 09-Feb-18 21:52:13

Is this in response to people saying men shouldn’t be obliged to pay for first dates and chivalry is an outdated concept?

Eltonjohnssyrup Fri 09-Feb-18 21:56:28

Why is it so hard to understand that neither men nor women are homogeneous groups who all share the same preferences or characteristics and shouldn't be assumed to?

It's not hard. It's like not saying all black people are great dancers.

SuperLoudPoppingAction Fri 09-Feb-18 22:00:44

Complementarianism is usually only found in the far reaches of fundamentalist religious groups these days.

I don't think it's just 'feminists on MN' who think boys and girls, and men and women can do whatever suits them, and who think that there's a spectrum of characteristics within groups 'male' and 'female.

Some boys like dolls. Some girls like lego. Nobody should be made to feel 'wrong' for their preferences. Everyone should be able to explore and discover what they are good at. Girls aren't encouraged to exercise enough IMO and are surrounded by sexism and it could well lead to all the 'innate' traits you believe are unavoidable.

Mawalls Fri 09-Feb-18 22:01:04

Nah elton- ots more like saying men are taller than women only for some halfwit to say not all men and there is more difference in height between women than between mena nd women

BronwenFrideswide Fri 09-Feb-18 22:01:32

Surely it's equality of choice and opportunity irregardless of the sex you were born?

All humans have their strengths and weaknesses.

One sex should not be discriminated against on the basis that they are the ones who are designed to carry and birth the next generation.

picklemepopcorn Fri 09-Feb-18 22:03:03

There is some I teresting child development research that shows adults treating crawling baby boys very differently from baby girls.

IF there is much difference between Male and female brains, it's due to our appalling socialisation.

Mawalls Fri 09-Feb-18 22:04:48

''IF there is much difference between Male and female brains, it's due to our appalling socialisation.''


this is not true, the earth is not flat

there are many many differences

ChickenPaws Fri 09-Feb-18 22:07:19

I think socialisation and pressure is largely responsible for the ‘differences’. I’d love to sit around on my arse all day reading and drinking tea like dh, but I’d feel guilty if I did that as I’m a woman and my home is meant to look nice and be clean hmm

SuperLoudPoppingAction Fri 09-Feb-18 22:08:37

It's worth reading 'Delusions of Gender' by Cordelia Fine if you think there might be significant differences between male and female brains, and also maybe bearing in mind that 'man brain' and 'woman brain' has been used to shore up sexist ideas for a very long time.

Fairenuff Fri 09-Feb-18 22:12:32

OP you are confusing gender with sex. Which are you talking about?

Mawalls Fri 09-Feb-18 22:13:49

its worht throwing delusions of gender int h ebin and understanding its not science it entertainment- read some actual papers on the science

male and female brains are different- anyone denying men are taller or that women and men have the same lungs/heart/kidney/genitals is a luddite

hazeyjane Fri 09-Feb-18 22:26:25

Males and females have different biology - these differences in biology are the cause of the massive societal and cultural influences on what we do, how we react and how we are treated. (hence the patriarchy and all that steaming horseshite).

In order the justify this steaming pile, the concept of gender came into being....x does this because they are a girl.....y does that because he is a boy.

All humans have different personalities, maybe that's what you are thinking of.

picklemepopcorn Fri 09-Feb-18 22:30:30

The brain is plastic right through life.

If we constantly treat males and females differently, particularly in infancy, then their brains will develop differently. We may end up with Male brain and female brain, but only as a result of experience.

Mawalls Fri 09-Feb-18 22:38:02


No, this is just flat out wrong- you wouldnt say this about beards or muscles

Male and female brains are different from birth, we can MRI infants at one month old and they are different

NauticalDisaster Fri 09-Feb-18 22:42:09

YABU and tedious

RainOnATinRoof Fri 09-Feb-18 22:44:48

I do think there are innate differences between men and women (though I would say they are more like tendencies rather than anything set in stone).

However, throughout history many differences between men and women have been embellished and amplified and simply invented, in order to keep women subservient to men. For this reason this subject remains too risky for public discourse, and for political purposes I feel it's best to stick to "women and men are the same once you strip away the socialisation".

Bookwormqueen Fri 09-Feb-18 22:48:46

Yes I am using gender to describe sex
The problem is that I find it quite unscientific (even ignorant) to deny the biological differences between men and women.
So do some people really believe that the only differences between men and women are in our outward appearances? And that there can’t possibly be any other more subtle differences?
As an example I believe men are generally more physically stronger than women. (due to more muscle mass). This could make them more suited to certain jobs/roles in life. Would it be considered sexist to think like this?

Thisusernamethingistricky Fri 09-Feb-18 22:51:52

Male and female brains are different from birth, we can MRI infants at one month old and they are different

Can you provide links for this? I didn't think that they could tell which brains were male and which were female from MRIs?

I was under the impression that there are certain characteristics/areas that are generally more prevalent in the brains of more males than females or vice versa (eg. Spatial awareness) but that that does not apply to all males/females and if a woman's brain is 'wired' to have great spatial awareness skills, that does not mean she has a 'male' brain. Sorry, I have zero science language!

Obviously testosterone may have an effect as well.

But, despite all of that, brains are plastic and there are so many things that we socialise boys and girls to do or be from birth that it is probably very difficult to measure what the bare differences are.

HeadBasher2018 Fri 09-Feb-18 22:56:23

I kind of see where OP is coming from actually.

I would be surprised if there are not any personality traits that are innately more likely in males, or innately more likely in females.

Similar to the fact that most men are taller than most women, it MIGHT be the case that most men are more empathetic than most women for example, or vice versa.

However, as far as I know we have no way of knowing what innate differences might be in existence, because of the differences in socialisation between boys and girls in all cultures from birth.

Would be interested in anyone who knows of studies that have proved any innate differences one way or the other.

Even if there are innate differences in average personality traits though, I don’t think that should change anything in terms of how each individual should be treated, as the personalities of the sexes will overlap massively.

The danger is that any small innate differences will be naturally exaggerated because young people will be influenced by what they THINK they should be interested in or good at.

Don’t agree with your latest point OP about certain roles/jobs being more suitable for either sex although maybe it’s just the way it is worded. Yes more men will always be firefighters and that is fine, but the criteria should be about fitness/strength, the sex of the individual applying irrelevant as long as the criteria are met.

SuperLoudPoppingAction Fri 09-Feb-18 22:57:15

It's not sexist to know that generally men have greater physical strength than women. It's not sexist to know that women can get pregnant, and men can produce sperm.

It's definitely iffy ground to start talking about preferences etc because at that point you can't separate socialisation from physicality. You can't know what's innate.

Thisusernamethingistricky Fri 09-Feb-18 23:01:47

The danger is that any small innate differences will be naturally exaggerated because young people will be influenced by what they THINK they should be interested in or good at.

Yes, this. Just because men tend to be bigger and stronger than women, that doesn't mean that women can't be interested in engineering, science, construction. None of those things necessarily require greater strength physically, but are very much thought to be a 'man's domain', and kids are socialised to believe this from birth.

ChickenPaws Fri 09-Feb-18 23:02:25

I wonder what it is in men’s brains which means they’re incapable of putting the toilet roll onto the toilet roll holder 🤔

I have aspergers which has been described as an ‘extreme male brain’. Certainly, my pragmatic and logical nature and sometimes brusque manner has been known to upset people, but only because I’m a female and society expects me to be fluffy and nice. If I was male, nobody would bat an eyelid at the way I am.

lilly0 Fri 09-Feb-18 23:06:33

Nope that's just generalisations but many males/females aren't sterotypical to their gender i have some very feminine male friends and some very butch female friends. We can't fit in everyone into neat little boxes of what they are like.
I am female, I like makeup I also like playing Xbox I would play it all the time if I could I also like star trek and sci fi things , I don't like shopping or wearing high heels .

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