Living with XY Chromosomes

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Comments

  • Nick Tamen wrote: »
    On reflection, I think it's fair to say that rough housing is common among boys . . . .
    I’m not sure it’s quite that simple; I think there may be, for want of a better way of putting it, cultural effects at play to.
    It seems ludicrous to me to not consider cultural effects. Especially as we are not evolved to coexist in the mass populations we have.


  • mousethief wrote: »
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    Truths about lived experiences. Truth is not immune to questions. If you posit that behaviour is sex or gender based, questioning the nature of that connection doesn't change the what of the experience, but can reshape the why. It reshapes the conversation about the continuation of the behaviours.
    I could frame experiences of my life and make it sound very agro-male, very "alpha". I could frame experiences of my life and make it sound very female. All the experiences are real. And yet I am very cis.

    I'm not talking about finding a definition, but questioning the ones that we have. Understanding is rarely counter-productive, avoiding it often is.

    However sometimes the way to understand something is to put it off to the side for a time, leaving it fuzzily defined or not at all, and have a conversation, and see where it fits in. Otherwise you may be committing the fallacy of "since there is no clear definition of the boundary, there must be no difference between the categories."
    Just having a conversation leads to the reinforcement of outmoded models. cf the boys will be boys, punchy, punch, punch arguments proffered here.

  • Would you ban conversations then?
  • RooKRooK Admin Emeritus
    Quite.

    My enjoyment of martial arts is partly based in the lizard-brain need to be attendant to danger. Confidence and capability in the face of violence reduces ones fear, and fear is where humans tend to go wrong. We can over-react and do something regrettable, or under-react and enable others to do something regrettable. This is true regardless of gender identity or biological sex.

    That we are sociologically programmed to think that this is a male drive is something we should re-think. How do we let humans vent and/or address their lizard brain desire for fighty-ness without permissive "boys will be boys" bullshit?
  • GwaiGwai Epiphanies Host
    I think this discussion is sometimes mixing up competition and aggression with physicality. I think everyone has varying levels of all three and guys may tend to have higher competition than women in general but many women can be quite competitive. I would say that rough housing appeals to many people (aggression or competition and physicality) but girls are told not to much more than boys. As another fairly serious martial artist, I see rough housing/sparring etc as entirely different than fighting. If X and Y are trying to take care of each other, either by not doing certain strikes, by avoiding certain targets, or by pulling their punches for instance, then X and Y may seem to be fighting but they probably want to keep it relatively consensual. I think a child might put this as 'Don't seriously hit them or you'll get in trouble.' I think girls are more likely to be trained to redirect these impulses into social comforting or grooming (physicality) and jockeying for social position, which can shade into bullying, (aggression) and competitive games or academic competition (competition).
    And I also perceive that the younger children at our dojang are relatively evenly split by gender--more boys than girls at the tests but not a ton in our case--but by the time they are teens, there are a lot more boys. And it keeps dropping off. I suspect we have at most 10 active female black belts* and easily 50 male ones.

    *Black belts can overlap with teens though of course most drop off before then but basically don't overlap with 'children' the way I am using the term.
  • RooK wrote: »
    Quite.

    My enjoyment of martial arts is partly based in the lizard-brain need to be attendant to danger. Confidence and capability in the face of violence reduces ones fear, and fear is where humans tend to go wrong. We can over-react and do something regrettable, or under-react and enable others to do something regrettable. This is true regardless of gender identity or biological sex.

    That we are sociologically programmed to think that this is a male drive is something we should re-think. How do we let humans vent and/or address their lizard brain desire for fighty-ness without permissive "boys will be boys" bullshit?
    Wherever you are, unless it is breaking trail in an untamed wilderness, look around you. Nothing you see is part of how our lizard brain works. How we live, how we interact, etc. are not part of our basic behaviour, they are adapted behaviours. So, even if fight was part of our makeup as oft posited, we modify everything else, so why is that special?
    And whilst the scholarly debate about the nature of our violent tendencies continues, the preponderance of evidence at the moment swings against things like war being inherent.
    Outside of formalised violence,* like the marital arts, violence tends to be the result of pressures.
    We have violence as part of our behaviour, but calling it a desire is a bit too far.

    *And often inside it.
  • I don't think it's going too far at all. It's all part of thantos, and indeed of eros, and indeed of play, which is a basic human need. The value judgements - play good, physicality good, anything else dangerous and bad - are simply that; they offer little by way of meaning or insight, at least into anything other than the mindset of the speaker.
  • Doc Tor wrote: »
    It's probably more fair to say we accept rough-housing among boys, but not among girls, and therefore it is more common among boys than girls. If we accepted it from girls, but not from boys, I wonder what would happen?

    This is the whole nature / nurture problem. Is there more rough housing among boys because society accepts it (nurture) or because it is something that occurs more in boys (nature)? I can't think of a way to be sure.
  • lilbuddha wrote: »
    Just having a conversation leads to the reinforcement of outmoded models. cf the boys will be boys, punchy, punch, punch arguments proffered here.

    But it's only by allowing them to be spoken that they can be refuted. As is happening here.
  • mousethief wrote: »
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    Just having a conversation leads to the reinforcement of outmoded models. cf the boys will be boys, punchy, punch, punch arguments proffered here.

    But it's only by allowing them to be spoken that they can be refuted. As is happening here.
    I think you misunderstand me, so I will phrase it differently.

    Having a conversation without questioning the definitions leads to the reinforcement of outdated models.

  • Doc Tor wrote: »
    It's probably more fair to say we accept rough-housing among boys, but not among girls, and therefore it is more common among boys than girls. If we accepted it from girls, but not from boys, I wonder what would happen?

    This is the whole nature / nurture problem. Is there more rough housing among boys because society accepts it (nurture) or because it is something that occurs more in boys (nature)? I can't think of a way to be sure.
    Sure there is. Continue developing a culture which does not lionise violence.
  • lilbuddha wrote: »
    mousethief wrote: »
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    Just having a conversation leads to the reinforcement of outmoded models. cf the boys will be boys, punchy, punch, punch arguments proffered here.

    But it's only by allowing them to be spoken that they can be refuted. As is happening here.
    I think you misunderstand me, so I will phrase it differently.

    Having a conversation without questioning the definitions leads to the reinforcement of outdated models.

    Which leads to their refutation.
  • I don't think it's going too far at all. It's all part of thantos, and indeed of eros, and indeed of play, which is a basic human need. The value judgements - play good, physicality good, anything else dangerous and bad - are simply that; they offer little by way of meaning or insight, at least into anything other than the mindset of the speaker.
    Thanatos. Freud has a lot to answer for. That it was controversial in its day and remains so doe not lend credence to its validity.
  • asherasher Shipmate
    Couple of quick thoughts..w*rk gettin in the way

    @Gwai thanks for that last post from you, I'm spending some time with it, but lots of useful stuff for me there.

    I am wondering if @lilbuddha desire for definitions might be thought of in terms of Karl Popper's Myth of the Framework. Popper suggests that the demand for definitions 'leads to infinite regression unless we admit primitive or undefined terms. These are no less problematic than defined terms'.

    Asher
  • I don't think of myself as a particularly violent chap, even though I seem to be championing violence here. However, as a result of what others have said I think I should pull my assessment down from most men, to many, or even some (but I think it's a significant minority at very least).

    My own experiences and reactions I feel pretty sure of. My observations of others must be less reliable, and I'm grateful to all those who've said, "No, it wasn't like that for me".
  • Here are two stories, one for nature and one for nurture.

    Nature: When my son was in kindergarten, age 5, I used to walk down to his school to pick him up. I would stand at the end of a long walk and watch the school doors open after the bell. Busting out first would be my son and his best friend, full run, jumping off the edge of the porch and rolling together on the ground, happy as otters. My son grew on to be very non-violent, his favorite sport being baseball, but that early rough housing and need for physical contact, seemed to be in his DNA. He wasn't taught any sort of violence from his father or me. BTW The little girls would come mincing out, two by two, daintily going down the steps.

    Nurture: I grew up out in the boon docks so we kids were bored a lot. One of my older brothers was only a year older and we played together all the time. One of our continuing, favorite games was to torture each other until the signal to stop. Things like pinching up some arm skin and flicking it over and over, or holding an arm twisted back for a long time. We got really good at it. My doctors and dentists are always amazed at my pain tolerance. I told my dentist that mentally I float myself above the chair and I think he was a little freaked out.

    A few years ago I broke two bones in my leg and torn all four big knee ligaments, and was joking all the way to the hospital with the EMS squad. They forgot to give me anything for pain until about two hours later when my husband noticed I was going into shock. My brother and I also taught each other not to cry and it seems to be a switch that once firmly turned off can not easily be turned back on.
  • I think in all these things we have to acknowledge that our own experience is sovereign, and everyone else's is suspect, if not flawed. One of the reasons for this thread is, I suspect, to allow us all to tell each other our truths.

    I have a troubled relationship with my own physicality, that in my 50s I'm only starting to remedy. I have lived most of my life in my head, from childhood onwards. Never more content than when reading novels or academic texts, making maps of imaginary places, and later on, playing games and telling stories in those imaginary places. My body was never really more than a meat-suit automaton for my brain, so the idea of deliberately inflicting pain on it is/was simply bizarre.

    My own arc eventually bent me towards a more embodied living, though. So this is where I am now. Not running to get fit, or compete as such, more of a way to feel something instead of think something. It's ... interesting.
  • Completely agree @Doc Tor . Listening to one another is one of the great benefits of the Ship.
  • asher wrote: »
    Couple of quick thoughts..w*rk gettin in the way

    @Gwai thanks for that last post from you, I'm spending some time with it, but lots of useful stuff for me there.

    I am wondering if @lilbuddha desire for definitions might be thought of in terms of Karl Popper's Myth of the Framework. Popper suggests that the demand for definitions 'leads to infinite regression unless we admit primitive or undefined terms. These are no less problematic than defined terms'.

    Asher
    I prefer John Popper to Karl any day of the week.
    We all work from definitions, it is the way our brains work. We like to think we see definitions objectively, we do not. But our definitions shape the way we view the world, so questioning them should be part of any real discussion about an issue. Yes, one can go down the philosophical rabbit hole; but just as not every mention of Hitler is an example of Godwin's Law, not every question is a regression.
    But we are not even close to disappearing down an endless hole, not when people won't even dip their heads below the tops of the grass.
  • asherasher Shipmate
    Turning the clock to way-back-when, other attempts at discussion XY have foundered on the search for definitions. One thread in particular hit the rocks of 'name what it is that is distinctively male'.

    A dead end there, and I suspect a similar search would be a dead end here.

    On the other hand: @Doc Tor :One of the reasons for this thread is, I suspect, to allow us all to tell each other our truths.

    Absolutely.
  • asherasher Shipmate
    @Gwai thanks for your words about girls possibly redirecting roughhousing desires.

    I'd been wondering about writing something on this area, but lacked your insight.

    When I was leading learning support for a FE college construction centre AND childcare courses, I got to work with a lot of teenage single gender groups.

    All of the young people were rough, but dealing with the boys and the girls was always very different.

    With the boys, if they screwed up, you could bollock them, put the hand round the shoulder and they would take it in good part.

    I (and others) found working with the girls more problematic, the exercise of power and aggression much less direct, and harder to engage with; with the girls things there was always 'payback' for any discipline.

    I see links between this and Gwai's words.

    Asher
  • A word on martial arts being cathartic. They can be. So can firearms. And explosives. I am not being flippant, I speak from experience of all three things. Being able to break down and maintain a weapon and practising to become proficient is a relaxing discipline. Whether is be a distant target through a scope or a live-fire range with targets hostile and friendly; the rush of adrenaline, the intensity of focus, the feeling of accomplishment and the acknowledgement of skill are a powerful set of feelings.
    Doesn't change that these activities are focused on violence.
  • Oh how Freudian.
    Cutting up a watermelon can be cathartic provided you stab it first.
  • DafydDafyd Shipmate
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    We all work from definitions, it is the way our brains work.
    This is not as I understand it in fact true. Our brains do not work from definitions. (This is why people who are out to trip other people up in argument find asking for definitions, e.g. of racism to pick an example out of the air, such a useful tactic.)
    Our brains work largely on the basis of paradigm examples: in a world full of stuff it is easier to remember one paradigm than to remember exactly where a boundary runs.
    As an illustration, if you were to ask me to draw a picture of a bird you would expect me to come back with a picture of a small passerine; a picture of a hawk or chicken would be a bit odd, and a picture of an ostrich or penguin would be decidedly flippant.

  • Reason is slave to the passions. I think it would be better, certainly for the basis of this conversation, if we ditch definitions and just listened to each other.
  • I agree with Doc Tor and the others. In a conversation like this, it doesn’t seem like definitions matter. What people are trying to convey is experience and perceptions. Definitions are linguistic constructs, not pre-programmed parameters.
  • If one is talking about border cases, the definitions are essential. But as I said above, one doesn't need a precise definition of the border to talk meaningfully about the mass of cases not on the line, and further just because the border is fuzzy doesn't mean the distinction isn't meaningful.
  • I'm going to say I don't see behaviours as having borders. They're flags on a pole, and you can stand as close or as far away as you like from them. They're not fenced in.

    That said, I feel as I'm a very long way from the 'enjoy ritualised violence' flag that a lot of men seem to congregate around.
  • Doc Tor wrote: »
    I'm going to say I don't see behaviours as having borders. They're flags on a pole, and you can stand as close or as far away as you like from them. They're not fenced in.

    That said, I feel as I'm a very long way from the 'enjoy ritualised violence' flag that a lot of men seem to congregate around.

    lilBuddha was complaining that "male" and "female" have an undefined border, and implying this means we can't even be having this conversation.
  • Doc TorDoc Tor Admin
    edited December 2019
    Well, we're having the conversation anyway. I mean, I identify as male, but really don't like stereotypical masculine things like watching sportsball, getting drunk and fighting. Growing up, there was pressure on me (from my male peers and sometimes older men) to do all three, which I found a bit confusing. I was (and still am) quite 'handy', in both an arts and crafts way, and a DIY way, and I would have loved someone to have helped nurture me in that growing up.

    It turned out that my dad, later in life, was that person. He also became a great reader (though potentially dyslexic), and that was lovely too, because we could talk about books. I suppose he became the father I wanted at 10, only 20 years too late. I am, I admit, still a bit fucked up by that.

    (eta)

    He was a lovely grandfather to my kids, though. He loved them dearly, and was much better with them than he was me either me or my brother at that age.
  • Dafyd wrote: »
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    We all work from definitions, it is the way our brains work.
    This is not as I understand it in fact true. Our brains do not work from definitions. (This is why people who are out to trip other people up in argument find asking for definitions, e.g. of racism to pick an example out of the air, such a useful tactic.)
    The converse is that those not willing to engage shy away from definitions. If thre is no understanding of what an issue is, a useful discussion cannot be had.
  • Well, this thread appears to be proving you wrong. Perhaps you need a better paradigm.
  • mousethief wrote: »
    Doc Tor wrote: »
    I'm going to say I don't see behaviours as having borders. They're flags on a pole, and you can stand as close or as far away as you like from them. They're not fenced in.

    That said, I feel as I'm a very long way from the 'enjoy ritualised violence' flag that a lot of men seem to congregate around.

    lilBuddha was complaining that "male" and "female" have an undefined border, and implying this means we can't even be having this conversation.
    No, this is what you inferred.
    I'm saying that what makes a person male or female is variable, therefore something being inborn masculine/feminine is less tenable. Or at least arguable. I'm not saying there are no differences between men and women, nor that all of them are cultural. I ma saying defining trait A as feminine and trait B as masculine is not as straight forwards as often posited.
  • We are literally discussing this. Just not on your terms.
  • Doc Tor wrote: »
    We are literally discussing this. Just not on your terms.

    And without clinical definitions.
  • Doc Tor wrote: »
    We are literally discussing this. Just not on your terms.
    What "terms"?
  • MaryLouiseMaryLouise Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    Twilight wrote: »
    Here are two stories, one for nature and one for nurture.

    Nature: When my son was in kindergarten, age 5, I used to walk down to his school to pick him up. I would stand at the end of a long walk and watch the school doors open after the bell. Busting out first would be my son and his best friend, full run, jumping off the edge of the porch and rolling together on the ground, happy as otters. My son grew on to be very non-violent, his favorite sport being baseball, but that early rough housing and need for physical contact, seemed to be in his DNA. He wasn't taught any sort of violence from his father or me. BTW The little girls would come mincing out, two by two, daintily going down the steps.

    Nurture: I grew up out in the boon docks so we kids were bored a lot. One of my older brothers was only a year older and we played together all the time. One of our continuing, favorite games was to torture each other until the signal to stop. Things like pinching up some arm skin and flicking it over and over, or holding an arm twisted back for a long time. We got really good at it. My doctors and dentists are always amazed at my pain tolerance. I told my dentist that mentally I float myself above the chair and I think he was a little freaked out.

    A few years ago I broke two bones in my leg and torn all four big knee ligaments, and was joking all the way to the hospital with the EMS squad. They forgot to give me anything for pain until about two hours later when my husband noticed I was going into shock. My brother and I also taught each other not to cry and it seems to be a switch that once firmly turned off can not easily be turned back on.

    @Twilight I've come back to your post because it gave me some valuable points to think about what I've come to call dissociative behaviours. In my family these began with a family culture of stoicism and bluntedness, learning to minimise or ignore pain and distress because in our family we were healthy, strong and 'didn't get sick'. My brothers, sisters and self were proud of toughing it out and not showing anyone what was wrong. We also played self-harming or sadistic games, with older siblings hurting or tormenting the younger ones, mocking them for showing any weakness or fear. We were living through war and had to be prepared to fight the enemy or to die for the country. We knew how to handle rifles and were taken to rifle ranges to fire the pistol kept in a drawer next to my parents' bed. Doctors were quacks, hospitals were only for those at death's door or 'really ill', we just had 'growing pains' or lacked 'back bone'. After a while we stopped feeling certain symptoms, all of us could do that 'detached' floating away technique without conscious effort. Dissociative behaviour -- fugue states and depersonalisation -- are often the result of a maladaptive response to prolonged trauma, but not always.

    It wasn't to do with gender, and for many years we thought of this ability to 'not feel' as coping mechanisms or survival skills. For myself the need to change (and it was difficult and slow) began when I realised these behaviours were no longer solutions but deeply problematic.
  • lilbuddha wrote: »
    Doc Tor wrote: »
    We are literally discussing this. Just not on your terms.
    What "terms"?

    Ones I will not be defining.
  • MaryLouise wrote: »
    Twilight wrote: »
    Here are two stories, one for nature and one for nurture.

    Nature: When my son was in kindergarten, age 5, I used to walk down to his school to pick him up. I would stand at the end of a long walk and watch the school doors open after the bell. Busting out first would be my son and his best friend, full run, jumping off the edge of the porch and rolling together on the ground, happy as otters. My son grew on to be very non-violent, his favorite sport being baseball, but that early rough housing and need for physical contact, seemed to be in his DNA. He wasn't taught any sort of violence from his father or me. BTW The little girls would come mincing out, two by two, daintily going down the steps.

    Nurture: I grew up out in the boon docks so we kids were bored a lot. One of my older brothers was only a year older and we played together all the time. One of our continuing, favorite games was to torture each other until the signal to stop. Things like pinching up some arm skin and flicking it over and over, or holding an arm twisted back for a long time. We got really good at it. My doctors and dentists are always amazed at my pain tolerance. I told my dentist that mentally I float myself above the chair and I think he was a little freaked out.

    A few years ago I broke two bones in my leg and torn all four big knee ligaments, and was joking all the way to the hospital with the EMS squad. They forgot to give me anything for pain until about two hours later when my husband noticed I was going into shock. My brother and I also taught each other not to cry and it seems to be a switch that once firmly turned off can not easily be turned back on.

    @Twilight I've come back to your post because it gave me some valuable points to think about what I've come to call dissociative behaviours. In my family these began with a family culture of stoicism and bluntedness, learning to minimise or ignore pain and distress because in our family we were healthy, strong and 'didn't get sick'. My brothers, sisters and self were proud of toughing it out and not showing anyone what was wrong. We also played self-harming or sadistic games, with older siblings hurting or tormenting the younger ones, mocking them for showing any weakness or fear. We were living through war and had to be prepared to fight the enemy or to die for the country. We knew how to handle rifles and were taken to rifle ranges to fire the pistol kept in a drawer next to my parents' bed. Doctors were quacks, hospitals were only for those at death's door or 'really ill', we just had 'growing pains' or lacked 'back bone'. After a while we stopped feeling certain symptoms, all of us could do that 'detached' floating away technique without conscious effort. Dissociative behaviour -- fugue states and depersonalisation -- are often the result of a maladaptive response to prolonged trauma, but not always.

    It wasn't to do with gender, and for many years we thought of this ability to 'not feel' as coping mechanisms or survival skills. For myself the need to change (and it was difficult and slow) began when I realised these behaviours were no longer solutions but deeply problematic.

    I agree completely, Mary Louise. I wasn't thinking it actually was gender but that certain traits like stoicism, often associated with masculinity, were probably actually taught and could be taught to girls, too. Not that that's a good thing. Yes, "deeply problematic" says it well. I've ignored or pushed down physical pain far too often and into the close-to-death area. As for the mental part, my dear sister-in-law looked a my brother and me at our mothers funeral, dry eyed and stiff and just shook her head.
  • @Doc Tor I've particularly appreciated you sharing your thoughts on what it means to be male, especially when they're different to mine. Like you I wasn't good at sport at school, and often pretended to be interested in booze in order to fit in. But I've always been useless at all the practical, hands on, skills, and that has made me feel very unmanly as a result.
  • There was definitely an expectation that 'the man' should be able to fix stuff and decorate - hang wallpaper, paint, lay carpet/floor and drill holes to an acceptable standard, if not full projects including plumbing, carpentry, electrics and plastering.

    I can do all those things, but mostly because of being too poor to hire a tradesperson. I would certainly out-source all my plumbing if I could afford it, because I hate it. It gives me such overwhelming anxiety, both before and after, that I can't sleep.

    I think that expectation is diminishing, though. Whether it's due to more young people renting than buying, or whether the skills are simply not being passed down as they once were, I don't know. Probably both.
  • MaryLouise, I appreciate your post. Your insight is incredible, and you have had a hard road. I could go on at length about stoicism, and the damage it causes, but you have said it better.
  • Doc Tor wrote: »
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    Doc Tor wrote: »
    We are literally discussing this. Just not on your terms.
    What "terms"?

    Ones I will not be defining.
    Because there are none. Not from me, anyway.
    I would like to discuss the root causes because that is the way one begins to actually fix things.
    Nowhere have I said that I think the conversation can only or should only go in that direction.
  • RooKRooK Admin Emeritus
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    I would like to discuss the root causes because that is the way one begins to actually fix things.

    That sounds great. We all look forward to it starting.
  • RooK wrote: »
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    I would like to discuss the root causes because that is the way one begins to actually fix things.

    That sounds great. We all look forward to it starting.
    I don't think so. No one has been willing to even discuss the potential flaw in linking behaviour to chromosomal combination.
  • Lamb ChoppedLamb Chopped Shipmate
    edited December 2019
    Indeed. Perhaps you would like to go start such a thread, say, in Purgatory. Then those who would care to join you there, might.
  • So... take something directly connected to the topics being discussed on the thread elsewhere?
  • It seems to me that we are exploring different ways of being men here. It's a broad discussion, and I don't see anyone suggesting that there is only one way of behaving because of our chromosomes.
  • I thought it was obvious by now that no one here is a gender essentialist. And any discussion to that effect would be extraordinary one-sided and pointless.

    "Do our chromosomes dictate our behaviour?"
    "No."
    "That's decided then, carry on."
  • asherasher Shipmate
    @lilbuddha has given me pause for thought, as they asked for definitions of 'boy and girl' (their terms) and 'male experience'. I have been turning it over.

    In thinking this through, it took me back to my ConEvo days when I was overly concerned with who was a 'real Christian'. These days it's simple: a Christian is anyone who says that they are a Christian.

    My conclusion is that a man can be defined as 'anyone who identifies as male'

    And similarly, male behaviour can be defined as 'the behaviour of anyone who identifies as male'

    There is much diversity of life, experience and nature generously offered on this thread.

    I've got nothing more on this element.

    Asher

This discussion has been closed.