Differences between the sexes--what about the minority?


#1

I recently read Matt Fradd's "The Science of Sex Differences" on Catholic.com and it got me to thinking... :confused:

catholic.com/blog/matt-fradd/the-science-of-sex-differences

I'm curious as to what the Catholic perspective is on the individuals who do not fall into the category of "most". I realize that conclusions can be drawn from data trends based on majorities, but what about the minority?

For example children: females who prefer to play with cars and balls or males who prefer dolls and ovens? What about the same trend as adults? Men who prefer to keep a tidy house or women who prefer mechanic work?

Are they viewed as disordered? Is this considered acceptable behavior?

Thanks


#2

[quote="shsa9929, post:1, topic:338977"]
I recently read Matt Fradd's "The Science of Sex Differences" on Catholic.com and it got me to thinking... :confused:

catholic.com/blog/matt-fradd/the-science-of-sex-differences

I'm curious as to what the Catholic perspective is on the individuals who do not fall into the category of "most". I realize that conclusions can be drawn from data trends based on majorities, but what about the minority?

For example children: females who prefer to play with cars and balls or males who prefer dolls and ovens? What about the same trend as adults? Men who prefer to keep a tidy house or women who prefer mechanic work?

Are they viewed as disordered? Is this considered acceptable behavior?

Thanks

[/quote]

It depends on the behavior. For example, a man cleaning the house is fine, but a man wearing high heels is disordered and a man having sex with another man is even more disordered. It depends on whether the behavior is in itself feminine (eg wearing women's clothing) or whether the behavior is something that is just more likely to be done by a woman (eg cleaning, cooking, etc). The distinction is harder to describe than to recognize. We all know when a man is doing something that most men might not do, but is okay and when he is doing something disordered.


#3

[quote="PietroPaolo, post:2, topic:338977"]
It depends on the behavior. For example, a man cleaning the house is fine, but a man wearing high heels is disordered and a man having sex with another man is even more disordered. It depends on whether the behavior is in itself feminine (eg wearing women's clothing) or whether the behavior is something that is just more likely to be done by a woman (eg cleaning, cooking, etc). The distinction is harder to describe than to recognize. We all know when a man is doing something that most men might not do, but is okay and when he is doing something disordered.

[/quote]

:thumbsup:


#4

This is a very interesting threat as I am one who would be in that minority. As I child I played with cars and robots, hated anything girly, refused to wear skirts, to the point I am almost positive had I lived now a days in the US I would have been diagnosed with gender dysphoria. Thanks to God my grandmother was very religious and my mother never bought into that stuff so I was able to grow into a normal woman ( though I still have to confess I am still not the girliest girl). I like what PietroPaolo says. As to children, having been that my case, I think the child relates more with something he/she sees or maybe it has something to Do with some.kind of identity issue not very well developed and I think depending on how the parents handle the issue, it can become a disorder. When I was five I told my mother I refused to wear a skirt because I was a boy and boys don't wear skirts. My mother said you are not a boy you are a girl, I didn't like the response but the way both my grandmother and mother dealt with me was "reality is you are a girl and you need to learn to accept it, and love yourself for what you are in the real world" which eventually I did. Had my mother said, oh yes my dear, you feel like a boy, then you are a boy, let's change your name and tell everyone you are a boy and let's believe you are a boy, I have no doubts I would have grown into having a.disordered behavior.

Those are my two cents, looking forward to everybody's opinion.


#5

Differences between the sexes are not a matter of preferences, but about biology. Except in the case of rare chromosomal disorders, one is easily distinguishable as a boy or a girl.

A girl might be a tomboy or a girly girl. I know two sisters a few years apart in age who are entirely different from each other when it comes to preferences. One was a girly-girl and loved girly things. Her sister was a computer nerd who hung out with computer-type guys and played video games and hated girly stuff. There's no accounting for tastes--they had the same parents!

They are both married now, to men who are not so much different from each other. The computer nerd girl is a mom and loves it.


#6

[quote="PietroPaolo, post:2, topic:338977"]
For example, a man cleaning the house is fine, but a man wearing high heels is disordered and a man having sex with another man is even more disordered.

[/quote]

Interestingly, there is nothing natural about women wearing high heels either. But, since women would wear high heels to apear more attractive (i.e. cheat nature) high heels became associated with feminity -- but all this is a purely societal construct.


#7

I never liked playing with dolls, playing house, etc. Those things were boring to me. I liked playing with my brother's toy truck and building things out of domino blocks. I was also good at math. But I was still a girl who liked dresses.


#8

[quote="weller2, post:6, topic:338977"]
Interestingly, there is nothing natural about women wearing high heels either. But, since women would wear high heels to apear more attractive (i.e. cheat nature) high heels became associated with feminity -- but all this is a purely societal construct.

[/quote]

Ah reductionism. Yes women wear high heels to appear more attractive, by appearing more feminine. High heels give a woman the appearance of longer legs in proportion to her upper body and smaller feet, increasing basic feminine physical traits. High heels are an attempt to enhance the feminine look of a woman. They are not natural in the sense that nature equips women with them, but they are in the sense that they work with nature. Few differences between the sexes are "purely societal construct(s)" although societal customs do play a role.


#9

So what I'm getting from this is that there is not a Catholic response to this minority of preferences. Individuals seem to have opinions, but there's no Catholic stance.


#10

bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-21151350

High heels are for men, just to be clear. Oops, boundaries just got shaky.

The fact is, it doesn't matter too much what the choice of clothing is, what matters is a combination of what is normal in your society and why you're going against that. Unless the Church has an official stance (if they do, please point me to it for my betterment) then I really don't care too much for rules on what's for boys and what's for girls.

Yes, in general I'm sure girls like one thing and boys another, but for those of us who fall on the other side of the line I don't think we're in trouble, unless it's problematic (SSA, transgender, etc...)


#11

What if there is *something biologically inherent in us that motivates our preferences? And what if you can even show that, on the whole, young females will prefer to play with dolls and young males will prefer to play with cars? What does it mean for the rest of us? Well, nothing, really. If anything, it proves that *our preferences are also inborn and natural.

However, *forcing *all boys to act like the majority of boys and forcing all girls to act like the majority of girls is wrong. No less wrong than concluding that boys are on average taller than girls and then, based on that, stretching short boys on racks to make them taller and cutting tall girls' legs to make them shorter.

[quote="marymary1975, post:4, topic:338977"]
As I child I played with cars and robots, hated anything girly, refused to wear skirts, to the point I am almost positive had I lived now a days in the US I would have been diagnosed with gender dysphoria.

[/quote]

This was me too and I also wanted to be a boy. I even cut my hair short and pretended to be a boy among children who didn't know me - not because I was dissatisfied with my body, but so I would be accepted by boys and allowed to play war with them. My mother, a psychologist, had a very significant conversation with me: she asked me why I wated to be a boy:

  • Because boys get to do all the fun stuff: climb trees, play war, get dirty...
  • You can do all those things as a girl, my mother said.

So I did and still do.

I have worn high heels exactly once - at my wedding - and vowed never to do such a masochistic thing again. Ditto for makeup - limiting and boring.

I'm the financial provider in my family, and my husband is a SAHD. He does the dishes and the laundry and the cleaning. I pay the bills and take care of other outside chores.

And I am convinced I am entirely and happily a woman - because I have a functional set of female sexual organs that I happily use. I am now pregnant with our third child.

[quote="SighGuy, post:10, topic:338977"]
bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-21151350

High heels are for men, just to be clear. Oops, boundaries just got shaky.

The fact is, it doesn't matter too much what the choice of clothing is, what matters is a combination of what is normal in your society and why you're going against that. Unless the Church has an official stance (if they do, please point me to it for my betterment) then I really don't care too much for rules on what's for boys and what's for girls.

Yes, in general I'm sure girls like one thing and boys another, but for those of us who fall on the other side of the line I don't think we're in trouble, unless it's problematic (SSA, transgender, etc...)

[/quote]

Indeed. I do believe fewer people would feel the need to identify as "transgender" if we didn't have such narrow ideas of what is appropriate for a certain gender. More importantly, fewer people would be transsexual - thinking they had to mutilate their genitals in order to fit in - if they were allowed from a young age to pursue their preferences and interests - their genitals notwithstanding.


#12

[quote="shsa9929, post:1, topic:338977"]

Are they viewed as disordered? Is this considered acceptable behavior?

[/quote]

For a behavior to be disordered or not acceptable, it must be in some way in itself sinful or at least be usually connected to sin.

Keeping a house clean, repairing a car, playing with dolls needing to be fed or with robots fighting an intergalactic warfare devastating the entire living room are neither, therefore are certainly not disordered.

Wearing high heels on the other hand and dressing in a feminine way is usually meant to attract men, which is to some extent fine for women, hence acceptable, but usually (meaning all situations i can at the moment think of) not ok for a man, hence likely unacceptable/disordered.


#13

I'm not sure how this enters into the discussion, but my father writes with his right hand, because when he was in grade school the nuns used to hit him with a ruler when he tried to write with left hand.


#14

[quote="shsa9929, post:1, topic:338977"]
I recently read Matt Fradd's "The Science of Sex Differences" on Catholic.com and it got me to thinking... :confused:

catholic.com/blog/matt-fradd/the-science-of-sex-differences

I'm curious as to what the Catholic perspective is on the individuals who do not fall into the category of "most". I realize that conclusions can be drawn from data trends based on majorities, but what about the minority?

For example children: females who prefer to play with cars and balls or males who prefer dolls and ovens? What about the same trend as adults? Men who prefer to keep a tidy house or women who prefer mechanic work?

Are they viewed as disordered? Is this considered acceptable behavior?

Thanks

[/quote]

In a simple phrase:

'you do not stop making shoes because some people were born with no feet or had their feet amputated'.

There is a natural order to sexuality, not only in natural law but in biology itself. Of course there are always 'aberrations' (yes this sounds as an horrible word, but it is not meant to be offensive in any way) from the natural order.

[quote="weller2, post:6, topic:338977"]
Interestingly, there is nothing natural about women wearing high heels either. But, since women would wear high heels to apear more attractive (i.e. cheat nature) high heels became associated with feminity -- but all this is a purely societal construct.

[/quote]

High heels, or glasses, are not 'natural' in the sense that we are born wearing them, but they do not go against nature, but rather help nature acheive a final cause.

High heels might aid in the final cause of reproduction (making the woman more attactive... although I personally dislike high heels) and glasses aid the defective eyes (which have a flaw in their nature) acheive their final cause (sseing) by correcting the flaw in the eyes.

The problem today is the failure to understand that there is a difference in what Thomas 8and many other theologians) mean between 'unnatural' and 'artificial'.

"unnatural" goes agaist someone's nature (but here nature is also intended differently than what we mean today) and artificial is something that is constructed and does not occur spontneously in nature but does not go necessarily go against the nature of something.


#15

[quote="Litcrit, post:11, topic:338977"]

However, *forcing *all boys to act like the majority of boys and forcing all girls to act like the majority of girls is wrong. No less wrong than concluding that boys are on average taller than girls and then, based on that, stretching short boys on racks to make them taller and cutting tall girls' legs to make them shorter.

This was me too and I also wanted to be a boy. I even cut my hair short and pretended to be a boy among children who didn't know me - not because I was dissatisfied with my body, but so I would be accepted by boys and allowed to play war with them. My mother, a psychologist, had a very significant conversation with me: she asked me why I wated to be a boy:

  • Because boys get to do all the fun stuff: climb trees, play war, get dirty...
  • You can do all those things as a girl, my mother said.

So I did and still do.

I have worn high heels exactly once - at my wedding - and vowed never to do such a masochistic thing again. Ditto for makeup - limiting and boring.

I'm the financial provider in my family, and my husband is a SAHD. He does the dishes and the laundry and the cleaning. I pay the bills and take care of other outside chores.

And I am convinced I am entirely and happily a woman - because I have a functional set of female sexual organs that I happily use. I am now pregnant with our third child.

Indeed. I do believe fewer people would feel the need to identify as "transgender" if we didn't have such narrow ideas of what is appropriate for a certain gender. More importantly, fewer people would be transsexual - thinking they had to mutilate their genitals in order to fit in - if they were allowed from a young age to pursue their preferences and interests - their genitals notwithstanding.

[/quote]

Litcrit I think our parents/grandparents nailed the right treatment for gender dysphoria :D
My family's approach to me was very similar to what your mother did. Why you are saying you are a boy, why you want to be called by a male name, and then reinforcing that I was a girl but as a girl I still could play with boys and do the same things that boys do and me too, I am very happy as a woman (though I don't wear hills, make up, jewelry or any of that stuff and I am an avid sports fan). I agree that the narrow ideas of what boys and girl should do and are forced to do is the cause of so many cases of gender confusion. However I think there should be certain limits depending on the circumstances, like when I threw a fit because I wanted to wear the boy's uniform instead of the girl's uniform to school, my grandma said no, you can wear whatever you want at home but at school you wear the girl's uniform, but I agree that of more parents would allow their kids to pursue their preferences (without putting a sexual connotation to a.preference) there would be much less transexuals:eek:.

P.s. ironically my daughter is the girliest girl in the world, from where I have no idea, but since little she has been obsessed with dolls, make up, fashion, pink while I am having a heart attack in the back :eek:


#16

[quote="SighGuy, post:10, topic:338977"]
bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-21151350

High heels are for men, just to be clear. Oops, boundaries just got shaky.

The fact is, it doesn't matter too much what the choice of clothing is, what matters is a combination of what is normal in your society and why you're going against that. Unless the Church has an official stance (if they do, please point me to it for my betterment) then I really don't care too much for rules on what's for boys and what's for girls.

Yes, in general I'm sure girls like one thing and boys another, but for those of us who fall on the other side of the line I don't think we're in trouble, unless it's problematic (SSA, transgender, etc...)

[/quote]

You know I live in Texas and I wear cowboy boots with 2' heels. It makes it easier to get the boots into the stirrups.

I tend to disagree with everyone is the same and strict uniformity. I believe that God made everyone as individuals and we are not all the same.

If I were like the majority of the people around here I would be Baptist not Catholic, drink barrels of beer, get lung cancer from cigarettes, and drive a huge truck I can't afford the gas for.

No thanks!


#17

From an interview with neuroscientist Cordelia Fine:

lettoysbetoys.org.uk/interview-with-neuroscientist-cordelia-fine/

"There has been a lot of criticism in the academic literature of the research supposedly showing evidence of ‘innate’ sex differences in psychological tendencies. Even setting that aside, I think it’s a misconception to think of hormonal contributions to behaviour as being somehow more ‘real’ or fundamental than social ones. Studies that manipulate the gender labelling of toys find clear effects on children’s preferences, and it has also been found that making gender psychologically salient increases in-group favouritism and out-group prejudice.

It’s also interesting to think about children’s toys in the context of relevant psychological traits. Nurturance is strongly associated with ‘girl toys’, and aggression and competitiveness with ‘boy toys’. Yet girl/boy differences in nurturant and aggressive behaviour are surprisingly small, with huge overlap, while sex differences in competitiveness aren’t consistently seen. In other words, the sharp gender segregation of toys simply doesn’t reflect the psychological similarities between girls and boys."


#18

I have not read the book to which you refer. When I was a young mother, I use Bonnie Prudden's exercise book for babies. I appreciate her statement, "If you have a tomboy for a girl, cherish her. She is being prepared for something special."
How can we say as Catholics say that a person's particular interests, whatever they may be, means that person disordered when the Church itself has lifted individuals like St. Joan of Arc to sainthood?
I am thankful for parents who did not place gender roles on household chores. They recognized that a man may will be alone for a least part of his life, and should learn to cook.It is possible for a woman not to marry, so we girls learned to mow the grass. Yes, my oldest brother was called names like "Betty Crocker" when he was the only male to take the Home Economics class in school, and earned the top grade in the class while the world recognizes the top chefs in the world are male. What soldier or sailor is not expected to keep the barracks clean? Yes, my brother had a military career.
I always liked playing sports better than watching them. Nothing was more fun as a youngster than having a grownup discover that the kid on the bottom of the football pileup was a girl. The best Christmas gift my parents gave me was red dump truck.
I was often the only girl in the classes I took in school. What a relief to hear a teacher say, that "Often the most feminine girls are also the most athletic."

I also liked going to a male hair dresser who stated, "I like making women beautiful."


#19

[quote="andrewstx, post:16, topic:338977"]
You know I live in Texas and I wear cowboy boots with 2' heels. It makes it easier to get the boots into the stirrups.

I tend to disagree with everyone is the same and strict uniformity. I believe that God made everyone as individuals and we are not all the same.

If I were like the majority of the people around here I would be Baptist not Catholic, drink barrels of beer, get lung cancer from cigarettes, and drive a huge truck I can't afford the gas for.

No thanks!

[/quote]

I think this says it. We need to separate "societal roles" from what role God has for each of us individually. If the creek rises, you're not going to worry about whether or not the person standing next to you is male or female. What you want to know see is a person handing you the sandbags to keep the creek from overflowing. Not everybody can haul sandbags. Some people will be providing food and drink for the sandbaggers. Again, it doesn't matter what their gender is. Each person has his/her gifts and talents.


#20

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