Nowadays, it became a common trend among many anthropologists and sociologists to refer to the very concept of gender as an essentially social/cultural construct. This trend’s origins can be traced to the works of Margaret Mead, who was the first anthropologist to suggest that the notions of ‘femininity’ and ‘masculinity’ are culturally relative: “We are forced to conclude that human nature is almost unbelievably malleable, responding accurately and contrastingly to contrasting cultural conditions” (280).
Such culturally-relativist perspective onto the actual significance of people’s gender affiliation became especially popular during the course of recent decades, as it correlates rather well with the conventions of political correctness. Therefore, it does not come as a particular surprise that, as of today, Mead’s ideas are being often referred to as such that represent an undeniable truth-value.
This simply could not be otherwise, given the fact that people in Western countries are now being encouraged to indulge in quite literally ‘unisex’ living. After all, as it was pointed out by McEwan: “The mind is an all-purpose, infinitely adaptable computing machine operating a handful of wired-in rules. We are born tabula rasa, and it is our times that shape us” (52).
Nevertheless, the closer analysis of culturally-relativist view on gender leaves few doubts as to this view’s conceptual fallaciousness. The reason for this is simple – even today, just about all the aspects of people’s social functioning cannot be discussed outside of what happened to be the specifics of these people’s affiliation with a particular gender.
In its turn, this presupposes that, even though one’s gender-based attitudes are often being influenced by a variety of purely environmental factors, these attitudes nevertheless never cease reflecting the essence of his or her physiological constitution. In this paper, I will aim to explore the validity of an earlier articulated idea at length.
The fact that men and women address life’s challenges in qualitatively different manner, which in turn defines the nature of their socio-cultural positioning, has been recognized since a long time ago. After all, it does not take a psychologist to realize that, when it comes to assessing the emanations of a surrounding reality or tackling life’s challenges, women tend to be much more emotional and irrational, as compared to what it appears to be the case with men.
It also does not take a historian to be aware of the fact that, as compared to what it used to be the case with women, men played a substantially greater role in establishing objective preconditions for the continuation of social, cultural and scientific progress, which even today allows Western civilization to enjoy an undisputed geopolitical dominance in the world.
According to culturally-relativist (politically correct/feminist) point of view, this is nothing but a direct consequence of men having been subjecting women to different forms of ‘patriarchal oppression’ for duration of centuries.
As particularly ‘progressive’ social scientists imply, this continues to be the case even today: “Job segregation by sex… is the primary mechanism in capitalist society that maintains the superiority of men. Married women must perform domestic chores for their husbands. Men benefit, then, from both higher wages and the domestic division of labor” (Hartmann 139).
Nevertheless, while discussing what they consider the sheer inappropriateness of women’s traditional submission to men’s authority, these scientists never make an inquiry into what made such a submission possible, in the first place. Had they done it, however, they would come to realize a simple fact that it is namely the objective laws of nature that are predetermining such state of affairs.
It is important to understand that, as representatives of Homo Sapiens sub-specie, people are essentially primates. In societies of primates, males dominate over females – pure and simple. The same can be said about human societies, in which, as compared to women, men have traditionally been enjoying a much higher social status.
However, unlike what it is being the case in the societies of apes, men’s dominance over women cannot solely be attributed to the fact that the latter simply happened to be physically weaker. Let me elaborate on this at length.
Nowadays, it is being rightly assumed that one’s chances to attain social prominence are being reflective of the level of his or her educational attainment. After all, we do not get to see many successful politicians, businesspersons or scientists who do not hold university diplomas.
In its turn, people’s varying ability to succeed in educational pursuits is being reflective of their endowment with low or high Intellectual Quotidian (IQ), which is essentially the biologically predetermined measure of one’s ability to operate with highly abstract categories.
And, as most recent anthropological studies have shown, people’s rate of IQ relates to the strength of their animalistic urges in counter-geometrical progression. To put it plainly – the more a particular person’s physiological/psychological constitution has in common with physiological/psychological constitution of our biological ancestors (apes), the slimmer are the chances for such a person to succeed in academia (Lynn & Vanhanen 2002, 64).
The earlier observation directly relates to the subject matter, discussed in this paper, because it is specifically the fact that, as compared to men’s lives, women’s lives appear being much strongly affected by a number clearly biological (animalistic) factors, which prevent many representatives of a ‘weak gender’ from establishing themselves socially on their own.
Despite the fact that this suggestion may be well labeled ‘sexist’, it is nevertheless thoroughly scientific. After all, contrary to feminist claims, female sexual urges have long ago been proven much stronger than male sexual urges. As it was noted by Weininger: “The condition of sexual excitement is the supreme moment of a woman’s life.
The woman is devoted wholly to sexual matters, that is to say, to the spheres of begetting and of reproduction… The female principle is nothing more than sexuality; the male principle is sexual and something more” (54). The legitimacy of Weininger’s suggestion can be illustrated in regards to how the particulars of men and women’s bodily constitution define the workings of male and female psyches.
It is a well-established fact that; whereas, men have penises, women have vaginas. It is turn, men’s possession of penises, on the one hand, and women’s possession of vaginas, on the other, affects the nature of representatives’ of both genders mental predisposition. Given the fact that men’s penises are essentially ‘external’ organs, it comes as not a particular surprise that most men tend to draw parallels between how they deal with sexual arousal and how they deal with some skin itching, for example.
Just as it is being the case with a skin-itch, which goes away after having been scratched, men’s sexual excitement disappears into the thin air, after the act of copulation. This is exactly the reason why, as many women are being fully aware of, after having had sex, their partners simply turn around and fall asleep.
Apparently, men are being capable of mentally detaching themselves from their sense of sexuality, which explains the phenomenon of many men referring to their penises as ‘little friends’, as if men’s genitals were endowed with the mind of their own. This also explains why most men think of their sexuality as something incidental, as something that comes and goes and as something that the least defines the essence of their self-identity.
In its turn, this causes many men to experience a sense of shame due to having acted as ‘wild beasts’, while having sex. On subconscious level, men understand that, during the act of copulation, they were not ‘themselves’. This is the actual reason why, after having participated in ‘bed activities’ with women, most men do not want to reflect on what just had happened – hence, causing their sexual partners to come up with rather silly questions ‘why don’t you want to talk?’.
After having had sex, men return to their ‘normal selves’, which in turn create objective preconditions for them to consider indulging in a variety of ‘non-biological’ pursuits, the most prominent of which is studying. And, as it was mentioned earlier, in human societies, it is specifically the level of people’s educational attainment, which is being reflective of their chances to act as society’s productive members.
Thus, there is nothing incidental or oppressive about the fact that men have traditionally been discussed as the representatives of a ‘socially preferred’ gender. The particulars of men’s biological makeup naturally cause them to act as ‘semi-sexual’ beings, which in turn allows them to have a ‘spare time’ to indulge in science, sports, business, art, etc.
The same can be said about how the specifics of women’s physiology define the essence of their existential mode. Given the fact that female genitals are essentially ‘internal’, there is nothing odd about the fact that most women experience a hard time, while trying to distance their inner ‘selves’ from their sexuality. The reason for this is simple – women’s sexuality is in fact an integral part of their innate sense of self.
Whereas, male sexuality can be compared with an accidental skin-itch, female sexuality is best compared with an allergic skin-rash, the scratching of which only increases itch’s severity: “The sexual instinct is always active in woman, whilst in man it is at rest from time to time… the sexual impulse of the male is eruptive in character and so appears stronger. The real difference between the sexes is that in the male the desire is periodical, in the female continuous” (Weininger 55).
Whatever inappropriate it may sound to one’s sensitive ears, but from biological perspective – woman’s whole body is in essence one big sexual organ. This is exactly the reason why, whereas, men have only one ‘G-spot’, women have a number of ‘G-spots’ all over their bodies. After all, it does not represent much of a secret that most women become sexually aroused because of being simply touched.
In its turn, this indirectly explains why the majority of even hard-core feminists do not think that there is anything wrong about them appearing in public in sexually suggestive clothes – that is, if these women happened to be physically attractive, of course. Even though that feminist women’s rationale causes them to think of ‘sexual harassment’ as something utterly inappropriate, their subconscious psyche nevertheless prompts them to seek such‘harassment’, as the actual pathway towards self-actualization.
Apparently, nature itself intended women’s foremost social function to be almost exclusively concerned with childbearing, which is why the observable emanations of femininity appear biologically rather than socially predetermined. For example, it has been noted that, even those young girls that had never participated in socialization with their peers, nevertheless chose of favor of playing with dolls, as opposed to playing with toy-trucks.
What it means is that, contrary to what politically correct social scientists imply, children’s (as well as adults’) gender-reflective behavior has very little to do with environmental/social aspects of their upbringing: “It is becoming less and less likely that ‘gender socialization’ is the reason why boys and girls prefer different toys, and more and more likely that there are some genetic, hormonal, and other biological reasons for the observed sex differences in toy preference” (Kanazawa 2008).
There can be only one possible objection to the above argument – the fact that the qualitative nature of some people’s behavior does not always correlate with what happened their gender affiliation (the phenomenon of feminine men and masculine women).
This phenomenon, however, can be well explained within the theoretical framework of genetics, without any references being made to the specifics of these people’s social upbringing. Apparently, feminine men have an abundance of a female hormone of estrogen in their blood, which causes these men to preoccupy themselves with polishing their fingernails, as one of their foremost priorities.
Alternatively, masculine women have an abundance of a male hormone testosterone in their blood, which results in both: these women’s physical unattractiveness and in their tendency to choose in favor pursuing clearly masculine professional careers, such as police officers, firefighters and truck drivers.
I believe that the earlier provided line of argumentation, in defense of a suggestion that biological factors do account for the making of male and female self-identities rather substantially, is being fully consistent with this paper’s initial thesis.
We need to understand that it is namely the basics of male and female biological makeup, which define the essence of men and women’s social functions, and not the specifics of their mental predisposition towards these functions. To suggest otherwise, is to be consciously striving to violate the most fundamental laws of nature.
Nevertheless, it would be equally wrong to think of men and women’s biologically predetermined differences in how they assess surrounding reality and their place in it, as such that correspond to the notion of inferiority/superiority. Even though men and women are being endowed with differently functioning mindsets, which in turn reflect the particulars of their physiology, the affiliates of both sexes are absolutely equal, in social and legal senses of this word.
After all, it would prove impossible for women to be able to survive without men, as well as for men to be able to survive without women. It is specifically the realization of this simple fact, upon which social policies, designed to facilitate ‘gender equality’, should be based, and not upon the politically correct but utterly anti-scientific assumption that the psychological differences between men and women are merely superficial (culturally relative).
Hartmann, Heidi. “Capitalism, Patriarchy, and Job Segregation by Sex.” Signs 1.3 (1976): pp. 137-169. Print.
Kanazawa, Satoshi. “Why do Boys and Girls Prefer Different Toys?” Psychology Today. 17 Apr. 2008. Web. 20 Nov. 2011. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-scientific-fundamentalist/200804/why-do-boys-and-girls-prefer-different-toys
Lynn, Richard & Vanhanen, Tatu. IQ and the Wealth of Nations. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Publishing Group, 2002. Print.
McEwan, Ian. “Literature, Science and Human Nature.” Human Nature: Fact and Fiction. Eds. Robin Headlam Wells & Johnjoe McFadden. Cornwall: MPG Books Ltd., 2006. 40-63. Print.
Mead, Margaret. Sex and Temperament in Three Primitive Societies. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1935. Print.
Weininger, Otto. “Sex and Character.” The Absolute.net., 2003 (1906). Web. 20 Nov. 2011. www.theabsolute.net/ottow/schareng.pdf