Debate:Are Gender stereotypes a result of societal influence?

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Parogar (talk) 19:08, 11 November 2014 (UTC)


It seems to be the prevailing logic in articles around here that gender and gender traits are a construct of society and not something that has developed all on its own. Yet when one looks at the actual scientific data available, it becomes clear that many of the traits that feminists claim are a product of society are actually inherent in some way to our species. Also, I'm not an MRA, nor am I a feminist.

To begin with, let's look at toy preferences. Feminists claim that it is society, not nature, that implemented the longstanding idea that toy dolls are for girls and cars are for boys. Experimental data suggests otherwise, yet when this point is brought up to feminists, they claim that even children in laboratory settings are having their opinions influenced by society.

That's why I bring up an important study about monkeys, which I think we can all agree are not influenced by societal concepts -- at least not human ones, anyway.

In September of 2009, a study showed that, among primates, our closest biological relatives, males preferred to play with toy trucks and cars, whereas females showed a preference for toy dolls. [1] This study suggests that toy preference is driven more by nature than nurture.

Similarly, modern feminism argues that color preference is also a product of society, with marketing influencing boys to prefer blue and girls to prefer pink. They also cite a period in history in which pink was a color for boys.

However, recent studies by neuroscientists have shown that, while all people like blue, females had a tendency to prefer redder shades of blue. [2]

Feminists often criticize what is known as "male behavior" as also being a construct of society. Yet to them, I must ask: are you denying that the hormone known as testosterone exists?

Testosterone makes males more aggressive. Testosterone makes men seek to behave in a way that is dominant. [3]

While this may be an issue, it's something that feminists need to accept, in my opinion. That men and women are not the same on a biological level, and that while there will of course be exceptions, there is in fact a rule. Many of the complaints feminists have concerning gender "stereotypes" are actually illogical, because they're arguing against nature.

It's a scientific fact that men, on AVERAGE, have more powerful libidos than women do. [4]

This is what the science says. We should accept science for what it is. Is that not the point of this wiki's existence? We may not like where the science leads us, but we should accept our responsibility to follow it. And what the science says on this matter is clear: society plays a role in gender, but it does not define it and it does not rule over it. Gender is a natural thing, as are the traits that stem from it.

The monkeys and societal concepts[edit]

It's certainly true that the toy-preference-expressing monkeys aren't influenced by human concepts in the same way, but they are FAR from uninfluenced. The group in question was a captive group living in Lawrenceville Georgia in a research facility, cared for by humans going back at least 25 years. I can't even hypothesize how such an influence might come about, but I can say that they are certainly not free of human influence. Based on this research, we now have evidence that captive male rhesus monkeys, of all ages, are slightly more likely to play with wheeled toys and slightly less likely to play with soft toys. That may be one element in the chain of proof, but it is not enough to prove that human male children prefer dumptrucks (I preferred a toy hay-baler and blankets made into caves). MarmotHead (talk) 20:26, 11 November 2014 (UTC)

Evolution and child handling[edit]

But do you think it is unreasonable to think that human and primate females are naturally inclined to want to play with a doll because of the link it shares with caring for one's young? Parogar (talk) 10:46, 12 November 2014 (UTC)

It's perfectly possible that girls have a natural tendency to prefer playing with dolls for the reason you cite. It's hard to deny, however, that such 'natural' inclinations would be further enforced through social normative pressure. If we suppose that women (or men) have innate inclinations towards certain gender roles, that still doesn't mean it's right for society to force all women (or men) to comply to such norms, since "natural" isn't synonymous with "good" or "desirable". Furthermore, as our society evolves, the need for these perceivedly natural inclinations may disappear; in the 'old days', it may have been preferable for women to stay safely at home while men went out hunting, but in our modern era, humans are no longer regularly threatened by wild animals or hostile tribes and child death has gone down dramatically, so there's really no evolutionary reason why women in present day can't venture out into the world, have carreers, and just have some fun. And if our society continues moving away from traditional gender roles, it'd be perfectly natural for women to completely lose the inclinations in question over time (assuming that they were innate to begin with). (talk) 12:48, 12 November 2014 (UTC)
Well, yeah, of course not. Why should women be forced into any one specific role? Or men for that matter? But I feel that it is still important to always remain vigilant that, speaking for the general population and not any one individual, men and women have certain differences. There is a reason why I'd like this point to be accepted, but it's not in the scope of this debate. But in the interest of full disclosure, I'll elaborate. See, if we accept that there are certain genetic components to SOME male behavior even while accepting it does not apply to the whole, then there should be no real reason why feminists attack video games. It IS a scientific fact that men have higher libidos. It IS a scientific fact that testosterone has an affect on our behavior. When this is accepted as fact, it becomes unclear to me why a videogame (a product of complete fantasy) would be shunned for fulfilling what even I, a gamer, admit is strictly a male power fantasy.
(cont.) I'm no MRA, and I sure as hell do not consider myself a member of GamerGate, but I nevertheless enjoy indulging in male power fantasies, a label that makes many other male gamers uncomfortable. But it's true. There's no reason to lie or to deceive. In a strictly fantasy sense, I need an outlet for my testosterone-infused male-power fantasies. But the key to making clear why I need that is to drive home the scientifically backed point that women cannot understand men fully, just as men cannot understand women fully. As a different sex, we tend to have (in most cases) our own needs fueled by nothing more than genetics. In a sense, casting a negative light on men who play sexist videogames despite being respectful to women in real life is to punish men simply for being men.Parogar (talk) 14:38, 12 November 2014 (UTC)\
In fact, I won't even shy away from the accusation that videogames are sexist. They are sexist. And while some may frown upon me for saying what I'm about to say, I've decided to go down the path of truth instead of peddling bullshit that most people on here are probably too smart to fall for anyway. And so, having said that, I will admit: Yes, enjoy playing games in which my character can completely and utterly objectifies fake women because it satisfies a primitive fantasy that my morality would forbid me from even considering in real life. It is definitely sexist. And it is definitely exclusive to women. And I definitely like it that way. And the reason why I like it that way is because I have certain characteristics that other men simply refuse to admit exists. That's a problem I have with GamerGate. No one will take them seriously because they don't bother to just be honest and admit what feminists already know is true: that we don't want feminists screwing with our videogames. Why is it better to lie and deny that? And just so you know that I am who I say I am and that I'm not merely putting on a false front, I wrote this[5] over a year ago and it has been read almost two-hundred thousand times. Mostly, I don't see what anyone can possibly gain by lying about it. If something is true, it's true. Trying to cover up how I'm sure many other people besides myself feel for reasons of embarrassment solves nothing. To progress, we must be open about the problem. This is how I feel. I feel that as a man I have different needs from a female, and videogames in their current form satisfy them. I just hate bullshit. I hate false fronts.
OK. I see where you're coming from. I don't share that view, but I can follow the logic. To take a different perspective, it seems as if you feel better if an interest of yours (these games) comes from a biological trait of yours (your gender). That means that, in some way, your preferences are normal/natural/understandable. I don't think it's that simple. To paraphrase you, I feel that you, as a Parogar, have different needs from a non-Parogar. I think it's oversimplifying to say it's your gender. I, too, hate false fronts, but I also oppose overly-simplistic fronts (except when I'm being hypocritical). I think that an almost unknowable range of causes conspired to produce you as you are and to cite your gender as so uniquely powerful is just too simple. You don't want feminists screwing with your videogames? Cool. On the other hand, I do want feminists screwing with our overly-dichotomized views of gender. The presence/absence of a Y chromosome in my genome makes a difference, but it's only a far distant starting point from which I, if I choose, can transcend. MarmotHead (talk) 19:12, 12 November 2014 (UTC)