Thursday, April 5, 2012

Stop Blaming Testosterone

Today, we have some feminist critique of the viewpoint that men "can't help" oogling women. Inspired by the trendy article, "5 Ways Modern Men are Trained to Hate Women," and it's scathing response; "Mysogyny isn't caused by male horniness."

Even after reading this critique, which makes a great point that hey, maybe women and men don't act differently just because of biology, but because of what society teaches us, some guy still found the need to cry out (comment #265: mcguinty):

You’ll also notice that I never said the average male traits make the average male better than the average female. I just said it makes the average male different from the average female. Personally I would like to be able to have some of the average female traits: better social intelligence, better empathy, and so on. But I can’t because of my biology.

O. M. Gee.

Our response:
Dear @mcguinty. by assuming these male SOCIAL traits are biological, you just spit out a whole bunch of disabling sexism. " I would like to be able to have some of the average female traits: better social intelligence, better empathy, and so on. But I can’t because of my biology." What the hell? ANYONE can have better social intelligence and better empathy, all you have to do is make an effort and try to LEARN.

Women are told from day 1 that they must consider other's feelings in everything they do, and give up their own needs to support others. This is why women have these traits in wider abundance than men, not because it's "biological." You using biology as an excuse as to why you don't have them, is just making a lame excuse to justify your continued behavior as a selfish, offensive asshole. Biology is not an excuse to treat women badly, or act like an asshole in general. That is is the whole problem with this cracked article, and this why it DOES matter if men's different behavior is based in biology or not.

If it was really based in biology, then it could not be changed. (If that was actually true, then I think all men should be imprisoned and removed from all positions of power, since they "naturally" are inclined to hurt women.) But if macho, objectifying, tit-gazing behavior is LEARNED, then we can UNLEARN it, which would be a HUGE SOCIAL IMPROVEMENT. We need to stop blaming biology and recognize the social conditioning that is all around us.

So. Why is this so hard to understand? Because I have heard men who claim to be "progressive" blame their biology all the time. You almost might think, that they don't want to understand it..


  1. the sad truth is that it's an easy cop-out. Who wants to do hard work, struggle or overcome serious obstacles, nah, just blame biology! People do the same thing with "social disorders". For example the term "autism" is overly abused. Some people are actually born with physical issues that cause them difficulty in social situation but a lot of people were just never properly taught social skills! I've seen a family that literally taught their child that if he screamed like an arse hole he could get whatever he wanted. But do you think they take the responsibility for his behavior, of course not! It's not their fault, it's "autism"!
    Let's also remember the brilliant people who burn themselves with coffee but sue because there wasn't a warning on the cup (and win!). Welcome to America, where nothing is your fault and you can always find someone or something to blame for your stupidity!

  2. well, at least that cracked article pointed out that sexism is definitely still a huge problem, even if it got the origins of sexism wrong.

  3. @ Dianiee Mommy -
    The woman who spilled the coffee suffered 3rd degree burns. She was right to sue McDonalds.
    And by suing she brought awareness to the problem and now they serve their coffee at a temperature that won't require hospitalization and skin grafts if you accidently spill it on yourself. Being as I have spilled purchased coffee on myself on more than one occasion-I can say that I am grateful for the litigation.

  4. @Fernweher
    It's a problem in society of not accepting responsibility and it's widespread, not just in sexism.
    For decades we were told that boys preferred to play with trucks and girls preferred to play with dolls. Now we know that it was society and not biology that was at work here. And it's the same with Math. Girls were told that they were not equipped to excel in math and were led to take other courses. We now know that girls can excel in math. Again society at work here. And I am sure it's not biology but society at work trying once again to convince us that men are violent because of testosterone. Anyone notice that societal views are almost always the views of men?

  5. I definitely agree with what you've said here. I've been trying to do a little research into sex-differences when it comes to psychology, and when you look at different primitive societies around the world, the differentiation suddenly becomes very fuzzy. Men and women in one area's societies may act completely different from our 'normal' depending on how they were raised. Also, the note about men ogling women strikes me as somewhat humorous, due to something that happened just today. An older woman came through my line at the grocery store and commented on how nice my ass was...multiple times. X3; It seems to me that we're all wired to check each other out, though of course it's best to watch how you come across and not step on each others' toes. =3