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SylviaSmile


Jun 15, 2012, 10:05 AM
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Re: [cracklover] Are There Gender Differences in Risk Tolerance? [In reply to]
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cracklover wrote:
SylviaSmile wrote:
cracklover wrote:
drivel wrote:
cracklover wrote:
camhead wrote:
cracklover wrote:
"Pretty" is a proxy for a lot of valuable characteristics in many species. And, further, it seems to be the kind of thing that is often self-reinforcing in evolution. That is to say - there are many species that use coded signs to determine health and fitness of potential mates. Other members of that species can "cheat" by actually focusing on those characteristics.

Again, this is the case for species that are monogamous (one female mates with one male, such as gibbons), or harem/pack-based (one male for many females, such as gorillas).

But, for species that are polyamorous, with multiple males mating with multiple females (chimps, bonobos, and yes, humans), the whole "focus on desirable traits of a particular mate" thing becomes much less critical for obvious reasons.

I would argue that humans are clearly a species that employs multiple mating strategies successfully. Few are as polyamorous as bonobos, as harem-like as gorillas, or as monogamous as some bird species, but... Everywhere you look, you see a society that has codified one particular strategy as the "right" one, while other behaviors are considered uncouth. And yet many individuals continue to employ the strategy that works for them, even when there is some level of ostracizing accompanying that behavior. I think that's a clear sign that our biology is pushing us to implement the strategy that works for us as individuals, with a large amount of variation within the species.

I can't tell if you're saying monogamy works pretty well for humans, or not.

What I'm saying is that different people are very different in what they want/need in terms of relationships. I think it is fair to say that as a species, we are among those in which various mating strategies are employed, depending on the individual and the circumstances. There are lots of species like this.

A really cool example is the dung beetle, in which big males fight each other for access to females, while smaller males masquerade as females, avoid the big males, and sneak off with the females. http://www.springerlink.com/...nt/df33laq5vw6r5cnc/

GO
I find it a little humorous to compare human behavior with the behavior of other species in some ways, especially making the assumption that what humans do (or what we observe) is what works well. Other species by instinct do what works well for their species and don't, for instance, destroy and pollute the environments in which they live. The same cannot be said for humans. So I think the question of whether "various mating strategies" work well for humans is a somewhat open one. That they're employed is certainly incontrovertible.

Actually, no, individuals in other species don't do what works well for the species, they do what works well for the individual. As it happens, that is often quite bad for other individuals of their species.

If you were to compare behavior to various mathematical models of game theory, you'd find that close relatives in many species have some level of "cooperation", which is often beneficial to all. But when you go further from the immediate family, often there is only enough cooperation to avoid mutual immediate destruction.

In fact, on the scale of most individualistic to most social animals, I'd say we're well on the social end. The fact that we're able to recognize our own failings notwithstanding.

And as for this notion of other species doing "what works well for their environment" and not destroying their environment - that's just silly. The instinct of every animal is to consume every available resource, and in some cases, this results in repeated population boom and bust cycles. Having most of a young generation starve to death - or fail to find enough resources to be able to bear young - and then repeating that process over and over - is that a model you'd like to see humans strive for?

GO

No, of course not. Notwithstanding my counter-example (of other species doing what works well instinctually) being refuted, the point that I was trying to make about humans still stands, I think. Humans don't always do what works well.


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Jun 15, 2012, 11:17 AM
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Re: [SylviaSmile] Are There Gender Differences in Risk Tolerance? [In reply to]
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SylviaSmile wrote:
cracklover wrote:
SylviaSmile wrote:
cracklover wrote:
drivel wrote:
cracklover wrote:
camhead wrote:
cracklover wrote:
"Pretty" is a proxy for a lot of valuable characteristics in many species. And, further, it seems to be the kind of thing that is often self-reinforcing in evolution. That is to say - there are many species that use coded signs to determine health and fitness of potential mates. Other members of that species can "cheat" by actually focusing on those characteristics.

Again, this is the case for species that are monogamous (one female mates with one male, such as gibbons), or harem/pack-based (one male for many females, such as gorillas).

But, for species that are polyamorous, with multiple males mating with multiple females (chimps, bonobos, and yes, humans), the whole "focus on desirable traits of a particular mate" thing becomes much less critical for obvious reasons.

I would argue that humans are clearly a species that employs multiple mating strategies successfully. Few are as polyamorous as bonobos, as harem-like as gorillas, or as monogamous as some bird species, but... Everywhere you look, you see a society that has codified one particular strategy as the "right" one, while other behaviors are considered uncouth. And yet many individuals continue to employ the strategy that works for them, even when there is some level of ostracizing accompanying that behavior. I think that's a clear sign that our biology is pushing us to implement the strategy that works for us as individuals, with a large amount of variation within the species.

I can't tell if you're saying monogamy works pretty well for humans, or not.

What I'm saying is that different people are very different in what they want/need in terms of relationships. I think it is fair to say that as a species, we are among those in which various mating strategies are employed, depending on the individual and the circumstances. There are lots of species like this.

A really cool example is the dung beetle, in which big males fight each other for access to females, while smaller males masquerade as females, avoid the big males, and sneak off with the females. http://www.springerlink.com/...nt/df33laq5vw6r5cnc/

GO
I find it a little humorous to compare human behavior with the behavior of other species in some ways, especially making the assumption that what humans do (or what we observe) is what works well. Other species by instinct do what works well for their species and don't, for instance, destroy and pollute the environments in which they live. The same cannot be said for humans. So I think the question of whether "various mating strategies" work well for humans is a somewhat open one. That they're employed is certainly incontrovertible.

Actually, no, individuals in other species don't do what works well for the species, they do what works well for the individual. As it happens, that is often quite bad for other individuals of their species.

If you were to compare behavior to various mathematical models of game theory, you'd find that close relatives in many species have some level of "cooperation", which is often beneficial to all. But when you go further from the immediate family, often there is only enough cooperation to avoid mutual immediate destruction.

In fact, on the scale of most individualistic to most social animals, I'd say we're well on the social end. The fact that we're able to recognize our own failings notwithstanding.

And as for this notion of other species doing "what works well for their environment" and not destroying their environment - that's just silly. The instinct of every animal is to consume every available resource, and in some cases, this results in repeated population boom and bust cycles. Having most of a young generation starve to death - or fail to find enough resources to be able to bear young - and then repeating that process over and over - is that a model you'd like to see humans strive for?

GO

No, of course not. Notwithstanding my counter-example (of other species doing what works well instinctually) being refuted, the point that I was trying to make about humans still stands, I think. Humans don't always do what works well.

Um... relative to what other animal? The fact that we are aware of how much better we could be, and of how badly we sometimes fall short of the mark, does not change things. The fact remains that we are remarkably good at both surviving/reproducing, and of caring for our medium to long term environment in a way that is at least conducive to supporting our species and some of the other ones we care about.

Of course, given our continuing population explosion begun in the last few thousand years, we will have to be better yet, or we will most certainly crash!

GO


rmsusa


Jun 18, 2012, 2:00 PM
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Re: [lena_chita] Are There Gender Differences in Risk Tolerance? [In reply to]
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In reply to:
You just keep saying, things are this way, they are the way they are, they always have been this way, therefore this way of doing things is genetically programmed.

I am saying, things have been the way they are only since relatively recent past in the human history, therefore, they are not genetically programmed.

If you haven't read "Sex at Dawn" that camhead suggested up-thread, and you enjoy thinking about the subjects raised in this thread, you should read it. It gives examples better than I could.

Cool, and if you haven't read it, I suggest "The Selfish Gene", which is also relevant to the subject.


drivel


Jun 18, 2012, 7:25 PM
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Re: [rmsusa] Are There Gender Differences in Risk Tolerance? [In reply to]
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rmsusa wrote:
In reply to:
You just keep saying, things are this way, they are the way they are, they always have been this way, therefore this way of doing things is genetically programmed.

I am saying, things have been the way they are only since relatively recent past in the human history, therefore, they are not genetically programmed.

If you haven't read "Sex at Dawn" that camhead suggested up-thread, and you enjoy thinking about the subjects raised in this thread, you should read it. It gives examples better than I could.

Cool, and if you haven't read it, I suggest "The Selfish Gene", which is also relevant to the subject.


yeah, Lena, read some genetics already, jeez. Educate yourself.


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Jun 19, 2012, 8:41 AM
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drivel wrote:
rmsusa wrote:
In reply to:
You just keep saying, things are this way, they are the way they are, they always have been this way, therefore this way of doing things is genetically programmed.

I am saying, things have been the way they are only since relatively recent past in the human history, therefore, they are not genetically programmed.

If you haven't read "Sex at Dawn" that camhead suggested up-thread, and you enjoy thinking about the subjects raised in this thread, you should read it. It gives examples better than I could.

Cool, and if you haven't read it, I suggest "The Selfish Gene", which is also relevant to the subject.


yeah, Lena, read some genetics already, jeez. Educate yourself.

IMO rmsusa has oversimplified it to the point where it's no longer correct, so I hate to come to his defense, but... rmsusa is pulling his claims more or less directly from the chapter in The Selfish Gene labeled "Battle of the Sexes". So it is reasonable to refer her to it directly.

My synopsis of the chapter is that despite the fact that both parents commit equal amounts of genetic material, females are inherently more invested in each child. And that this leads to a variety of imbalances in both mating strategies and general morphology between the sexes.

It's a cool chapter, well worth reading. Whether or not it really supports rmsusa's point is debatable, but it certainly does help explain some of the inherent differences seen in many species, including our own.

BTW, in some ways (relatively similar size, shape, coloring) humans look like a species that should have fairly small inherent differences in behavior based on sex, while other elements (long gestation period, long nursing period, long period until adulthood) set us up for very large potential disparities. It's no wonder it's confusing!

Lastly, I hope it's clear to all that in acknowledging whatever our biological drives may be, that is by no means a declaration that those drives define us. We as humans have the unique capacity to recognize them and control them to more than a little degree.

GO


drivel


Jun 19, 2012, 9:18 AM
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cracklover wrote:
drivel wrote:
rmsusa wrote:
In reply to:
You just keep saying, things are this way, they are the way they are, they always have been this way, therefore this way of doing things is genetically programmed.

I am saying, things have been the way they are only since relatively recent past in the human history, therefore, they are not genetically programmed.

If you haven't read "Sex at Dawn" that camhead suggested up-thread, and you enjoy thinking about the subjects raised in this thread, you should read it. It gives examples better than I could.

Cool, and if you haven't read it, I suggest "The Selfish Gene", which is also relevant to the subject.


yeah, Lena, read some genetics already, jeez. Educate yourself.

IMO rmsusa has oversimplified it to the point where it's no longer correct, so I hate to come to his defense, but... rmsusa is pulling his claims more or less directly from the chapter in The Selfish Gene labeled "Battle of the Sexes". So it is reasonable to refer her to it directly.

My synopsis of the chapter is that despite the fact that both parents commit equal amounts of genetic material, females are inherently more invested in each child. And that this leads to a variety of imbalances in both mating strategies and general morphology between the sexes.

It's a cool chapter, well worth reading. Whether or not it really supports rmsusa's point is debatable, but it certainly does help explain some of the inherent differences seen in many species, including our own.

BTW, in some ways (relatively similar size, shape, coloring) humans look like a species that should have fairly small inherent differences in behavior based on sex, while other elements (long gestation period, long nursing period, long period until adulthood) set us up for very large potential disparities. It's no wonder it's confusing!

Lastly, I hope it's clear to all that in acknowledging whatever our biological drives may be, that is by no means a declaration that those drives define us. We as humans have the unique capacity to recognize them and control them to more than a little degree.

GO


Yeah, I am familiar with that text. I've read it within the last 6 months.

The problem with that reductionist, adversarial view is that rmusa is espousing is it kind of ignores the complex behavioral adaptations that humans have to deal with the very real problem of long gestation and even longer offspring-dependence, unprecedented among other animals. Humans are social animals, and both males and females exercise agency in those interactions. And they've evolved a long time before our modern societal structures. So to take what exists today and posit inherent-ness on it... is totally unsupported.


lena_chita
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Jun 19, 2012, 9:24 AM
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rmsusa wrote:
In reply to:
You just keep saying, things are this way, they are the way they are, they always have been this way, therefore this way of doing things is genetically programmed.

I am saying, things have been the way they are only since relatively recent past in the human history, therefore, they are not genetically programmed.

If you haven't read "Sex at Dawn" that camhead suggested up-thread, and you enjoy thinking about the subjects raised in this thread, you should read it. It gives examples better than I could.

Cool, and if you haven't read it, I suggest "The Selfish Gene", which is also relevant to the subject.

Yes, I have read "The Selfish Gene" but while it is a good book, I do not think it supports your argument.


rmsusa


Jun 19, 2012, 1:46 PM
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Yes, I have read "The Selfish Gene" but while it is a good book, I do not think it supports your argument.

Sorry, from a few comments above, I gather that you do something related to genetics for a living, and that I should have known about it. If I ever knew, it was forgotten.

The book recommendation was because it was interesting, fun and about genetics. Given the way I see your mind working, I thought you might enjoy it. It doesn't directly support my argument, but does touch on how deeply our behaviors are hardwired, and even has some things to say about free will.

I'll download Sex at Dawn to my nook tonight when I go home. It'll be interesting to see how they make cultural inferences from the archaeological record.

Are we talking on the one hand about pairing behavior and on the other about sexual selection as if they were the same? Doesn't matriarchal and patriarchal have to do with pairing rather than breeding, or are the behaviors too closely intertwined to tease apart?

How, in your mind, how does sexual selection happen in sapiens? Am I correct in thinking that you're saying the way a pair gets together to have sex is fundamentally cultural? Females are attractors only culturally?


rmsusa


Jun 19, 2012, 2:32 PM
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The problem with that reductionist, adversarial view is that rmusa is espousing ....... So to take what exists today and posit inherent-ness on it... is totally unsupported.

I don't think I'm saying anything adversarial. I think that's an incorrect inference, though my problems in being clear may have caused it.

All I've said (I think) is that females are sexual attractors, that this is a genetic characteristic of sapiens and that it lies behind the whole "pretty" or "visually attractive" thing. It is, unabashedly, reductionist. The particular things we consider "visually attractive" are certainly partly, maybe even largely, cultural.

The responses I've had so far have been about pairing and rearing behavior, which I don't think really applies to my comment. Explain to me if you think I'm wrong, please.

It would be the farthest thing from my mind to "take what exists today and posit inherent-ness" without thinking about it quite a lot.


rmsusa


Jun 19, 2012, 2:50 PM
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in acknowledging whatever our biological drives may be, that is by no means a declaration that those drives define us. We as humans have the unique capacity to recognize them and control them to more than a little degree.

Does that explain things like "marriage", "jail" and "defense department"? :-)

So what does define us as a species? Is there something beyond the biology that builds our bodies, wires our brains and allows us to write on the internet?

Please don't talk to me about the bearded guy in the sky.


drivel


Jun 19, 2012, 3:56 PM
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rmsusa wrote:
In reply to:
The problem with that reductionist, adversarial view is that rmusa is espousing ....... So to take what exists today and posit inherent-ness on it... is totally unsupported.

I don't think I'm saying anything adversarial. I think that's an incorrect inference, though my problems in being clear may have caused it.

I think your description of mating strategies is adversarial between males and females. Males wanting one thing, females wanting an incompatible thing.

rmsusa wrote:
All I've said (I think) is that females are sexual attractors, that this is a genetic characteristic of sapiens and that it lies behind the whole "pretty" or "visually attractive" thing. It is, unabashedly, reductionist. The particular things we consider "visually attractive" are certainly partly, maybe even largely, cultural.
...

It would be the farthest thing from my mind to "take what exists today and posit inherent-ness" without thinking about it quite a lot.


....


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Jun 20, 2012, 9:51 AM
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rmsusa wrote:
In reply to:
in acknowledging whatever our biological drives may be, that is by no means a declaration that those drives define us. We as humans have the unique capacity to recognize them and control them to more than a little degree.

Does that explain things like "marriage", "jail" and "defense department"? :-)

So what does define us as a species? Is there something beyond the biology that builds our bodies, wires our brains and allows us to write on the internet?

Please don't talk to me about the bearded guy in the sky.

Ha! That made me literally LOL. After what I've written thus far, you think I have any use for a bearded guy in the sky?

What defines us as a species is a blend of our physical and simple behavioral characteristics which are genetically programmed... *plus* what we *do* with those things. And, more than any other species, what we do is really quite incredible. It is often elaborate, sometimes far reaching, and ranges from the marvelous to the horrific.

More than anything else, I think what defines us is our incredible evolving culture. And by "culture", I mean everything that is built upon the knowledge of previous generations.

Early Homo species used essentially the same tools (they were perfectly effective) for hundreds of thousands of years. Our species, on the other hand, both passed on the lessons of the previous generation to the next one, and even within each generation, constantly improved it to better suit our needs. In a few thousand years, we have had advances heaped upon advances.

Think of it - for a billion years, every time a new baby was born, no matter what the species, aside from what was programmed into its genes, it had to learn every single lesson from scratch that every single one of its ancestors (should it be lucky to live long enough) learned through its own life experience. And then we came along, and through art, speech, (and then writing and digital media) we could store our knowledge and pass it on to the next generation, so they would not have to learn it all from scratch.

Hmm... sorry to have taken off on yet another tangent. I guess the point is that the fundamentals of the basic needs and drives in our species is only a relatively small part of what defines our behaviour. And the rest of it is, on the whole, progressive.

GO


Toast_in_the_Machine


Jun 20, 2012, 1:11 PM
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lena_chita wrote:
rmsusa wrote:
In reply to:
NO, there isn't really any way to stop people making those comments. The comments are meant to be nice, and usually people don't even realize that they are using different language for boys and girls.

You're exactly right that people do this quite unconsciously. It's basically the way the species behaves. Society will continue sending this message (IMHO) till there aren't humans any more. Individuals will always have to struggle to "be themselves" despite the message and struggle they should. It's hard for a male to be a stay at home dad and it's hard for a female to be a senator.

If there's one thing that's hardwired into human beings, it's gender differences. There are about 3 million years of primate evolution tied up in females being pretty and males being bold.

I think this is where you are not quite right.

Gender differences are hardwired into human beings, as well as any animals, but the females being pretty and males being bold idea has a lot more to do with a switch to patriarchy and the whole inheritable private property and wealth concept (e.i. ultimately the advent of agriculture, only a few thousands of years ago) than it has to do with biology.


rmsusa wrote:
Cultural behavior is changing rapidly since reproduction and sex were widely decoupled with the pill. In the US, title 9 was a social game changer for females. For the first time in history, large numbers of females started in athletics, which is incredibly empowering. I've seen big changes over the course of my own adult life.

And that is good.

rmsusa wrote:
But ...does anybody seriously think females will stop wearing make-up or dressing up to look good?

This is where we start to really diverge. In my version of the future equality both males and females wear makeup and dress up -- if they so choose, of course!

rmsusa wrote:
Does anybody seriously think that males will stop going to the gym to be strong?

Hmmm, last time I checked, the majority of males in the US do NOT go to the gym regularly, whether it is to get strong or to look hot.


rmsusa wrote:
So now I'll shut up and go away. The interesting thing to me is not the message, but how genes are expressed in individual and collective behavior and how much of that is really amenable to change.

Yes, it is indeed interesting. But the problem is, nobody, including geneticists, can tell you exactly what behaviors are determined by genes, and which ones are not. You seem to believe that more things are determined by genes than I do, for example.

A funny story:

In my attempt to raise kids in a gender-neutral way, I introduced my son to dolls. My Mom got him a BOY doll (do you know how hard it is to even find one?-- we are not talking about Barbie's "Ken" accessory, we are talking about just a doll looking like a little boy).

Anyway, it was a little toddler boy doll, complete with shorts and checkered shirt outfit, and a backpack full of camping accessories. My son didn't want ANYTHING to do with that doll. Or any other doll, for that matter, ever. He was about 2yo at the time, and had not been exposed to ANY TV, or really any significant "cultural" influence. he didn't even speak English, and he was in a home daycare situation. Dolls just weren't his thing.

Whenever he played with his cars and trucks and LEGOs, the games usually involved collisions, loud noises, bangs, lights flashing, dinosaurs devouring fire trucks, etc. etc.

His younger sister, growing up amid a collection of cars and garbage trucks and LEGOs and no dolls attempted to swaddle and nurse a fire truck at some point. Her cars always talked to each other very politely, and invited each other for tea. Eventually she got dolls, and was oh-so-happy about it.


Wait, what? Did you just give examples of where your children showed classic gender biased behavior that you accepted (nurtured?) and yet you are wanting a society without it?

Oh, and on a side note, I am ever vigilant for gender bias with my kids. My daughter is strong and my son is beautiful.

And we help pick the influences that come in our door / TV. For example this is my kid's (son and daughter) current hero: https://www.facebook.com/ReidenbergING (although I think my son relates to Dawkins a little more). And, yes, my 7 year old daughter watches animal dissection shows.


drivel


Jun 20, 2012, 3:49 PM
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cracklover wrote:
rmsusa wrote:
In reply to:
in acknowledging whatever our biological drives may be, that is by no means a declaration that those drives define us. We as humans have the unique capacity to recognize them and control them to more than a little degree.

Does that explain things like "marriage", "jail" and "defense department"? :-)

So what does define us as a species? Is there something beyond the biology that builds our bodies, wires our brains and allows us to write on the internet?

Please don't talk to me about the bearded guy in the sky.

Ha! That made me literally LOL. After what I've written thus far, you think I have any use for a bearded guy in the sky?

What defines us as a species is a blend of our physical and simple behavioral characteristics which are genetically programmed... the fact that we're all capable of producing fertile offspring with each other. and that any two given groups of humans will, generally, do just that when they encounter one another.

fixied.


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Jun 20, 2012, 8:33 PM
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drivel wrote:
cracklover wrote:
rmsusa wrote:
In reply to:
in acknowledging whatever our biological drives may be, that is by no means a declaration that those drives define us. We as humans have the unique capacity to recognize them and control them to more than a little degree.

Does that explain things like "marriage", "jail" and "defense department"? :-)

So what does define us as a species? Is there something beyond the biology that builds our bodies, wires our brains and allows us to write on the internet?

Please don't talk to me about the bearded guy in the sky.

Ha! That made me literally LOL. After what I've written thus far, you think I have any use for a bearded guy in the sky?

What defines us as a species is a blend of our physical and simple behavioral characteristics which are genetically programmed... the fact that we're all capable of producing fertile offspring with each other. and that any two given groups of humans will, generally, do just that when they encounter one another.

fixied.

notfunny. And I'd know.

GO


lena_chita
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Jun 21, 2012, 10:55 AM
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Re: [Toast_in_the_Machine] Are There Gender Differences in Risk Tolerance? [In reply to]
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Toast_in_the_Machine wrote:
lena_chita wrote:
rmsusa wrote:
In reply to:
NO, there isn't really any way to stop people making those comments. The comments are meant to be nice, and usually people don't even realize that they are using different language for boys and girls.

You're exactly right that people do this quite unconsciously. It's basically the way the species behaves. Society will continue sending this message (IMHO) till there aren't humans any more. Individuals will always have to struggle to "be themselves" despite the message and struggle they should. It's hard for a male to be a stay at home dad and it's hard for a female to be a senator.

If there's one thing that's hardwired into human beings, it's gender differences. There are about 3 million years of primate evolution tied up in females being pretty and males being bold.

I think this is where you are not quite right.

Gender differences are hardwired into human beings, as well as any animals, but the females being pretty and males being bold idea has a lot more to do with a switch to patriarchy and the whole inheritable private property and wealth concept (e.i. ultimately the advent of agriculture, only a few thousands of years ago) than it has to do with biology.


rmsusa wrote:
Cultural behavior is changing rapidly since reproduction and sex were widely decoupled with the pill. In the US, title 9 was a social game changer for females. For the first time in history, large numbers of females started in athletics, which is incredibly empowering. I've seen big changes over the course of my own adult life.

And that is good.

rmsusa wrote:
But ...does anybody seriously think females will stop wearing make-up or dressing up to look good?

This is where we start to really diverge. In my version of the future equality both males and females wear makeup and dress up -- if they so choose, of course!

rmsusa wrote:
Does anybody seriously think that males will stop going to the gym to be strong?

Hmmm, last time I checked, the majority of males in the US do NOT go to the gym regularly, whether it is to get strong or to look hot.


rmsusa wrote:
So now I'll shut up and go away. The interesting thing to me is not the message, but how genes are expressed in individual and collective behavior and how much of that is really amenable to change.

Yes, it is indeed interesting. But the problem is, nobody, including geneticists, can tell you exactly what behaviors are determined by genes, and which ones are not. You seem to believe that more things are determined by genes than I do, for example.

A funny story:

In my attempt to raise kids in a gender-neutral way, I introduced my son to dolls. My Mom got him a BOY doll (do you know how hard it is to even find one?-- we are not talking about Barbie's "Ken" accessory, we are talking about just a doll looking like a little boy).

Anyway, it was a little toddler boy doll, complete with shorts and checkered shirt outfit, and a backpack full of camping accessories. My son didn't want ANYTHING to do with that doll. Or any other doll, for that matter, ever. He was about 2yo at the time, and had not been exposed to ANY TV, or really any significant "cultural" influence. he didn't even speak English, and he was in a home daycare situation. Dolls just weren't his thing.

Whenever he played with his cars and trucks and LEGOs, the games usually involved collisions, loud noises, bangs, lights flashing, dinosaurs devouring fire trucks, etc. etc.

His younger sister, growing up amid a collection of cars and garbage trucks and LEGOs and no dolls attempted to swaddle and nurse a fire truck at some point. Her cars always talked to each other very politely, and invited each other for tea. Eventually she got dolls, and was oh-so-happy about it.


Wait, what? Did you just give examples of where your children showed classic gender biased behavior that you accepted (nurtured?) and yet you are wanting a society without it?

Yes.

It just so happened that in this particular example their preferences were in line with culturally-accepted preferences.

But I do not think that, were I to have another child, it would be biologically predetermined that another male child of mine will also dislike playing with dolls, and another female child would swaddle and nurse fire trucks, just because those were the individual preferences of these particular two children that i currently have.

When I am envisioning gender-neutrality, I am not envisioning everyone being the SAME, no more than everyone is the same now. I am simply hoping for a reduced pressure to comply with culturally-determined and unequal gender roles.

For what it is worth, my daughter seems to like the same books (with male/boy main characters) that my son liked, and doesn't like the "girly" books very much. Also, while she did go through the pink stage, her favorite color currently is dark blue.

And my son is turning into a pretty good cook/baker.


Toast_in_the_Machine wrote:
Oh, and on a side note, I am ever vigilant for gender bias with my kids. My daughter is strong and my son is beautiful.

And we help pick the influences that come in our door / TV. For example this is my kid's (son and daughter) current hero: https://www.facebook.com/ReidenbergING (although I think my son relates to Dawkins a little more). And, yes, my 7 year old daughter watches animal dissection shows.

LOL, my daughter was really excited when they dissected chicken wing in Medical camp last week. Her brother's stories of dissecting a squid a couple years earlier definitely influenced her anticipation/excitement about the camp.


rmsusa


Jun 25, 2012, 11:47 AM
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Re: [cracklover] Are There Gender Differences in Risk Tolerance? [In reply to]
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In reply to:
What defines us as a species is a blend of our physical and simple behavioral characteristics which are genetically programmed... *plus* what we *do* with those things. And, more than any other species, what we do is really quite incredible. It is often elaborate, sometimes far reaching, and ranges from the marvelous to the horrific.

More than anything else, I think what defines us is our incredible evolving culture. And by "culture", I mean everything that is built upon the knowledge of previous generations.

I'm mostly of the same mind. Here's an interesting thought, though, about culture. Our brains are wired for ideas, for abstraction, for retention. Marvelous computers with genetically programmed plastic connections. Though I can't say, we may be conscious in profoundly different ways than the rest of the animal kingdom. Some people have conjectured that our consciousness is self organizing behavior of the neural network we have in our heads.

Our vocal and auditory apparatus is finely honed to transmit and receive all those transmitted thoughts we're capable of thinking. We can communicate visually as well (writing, etc.). Humanity is a network of networks. All of us participate in at least one network (family, school, work, etc.). There are local networks in every cluster of us, people communicate between clusters so There's a wide area network that connects the LAN's and forms a wider network that now crosses continents and spans the globe. It's just like the physical internet. Think about "culture" as self organizing behavior of the network. That means that our capacity for culture is, in some sense, hardwired.

The details of culture are subject to the same kind of evolution that our physical genes are. Seems like the meme for "bell bottomed jeans" has either become extinct or gone recessive. Hopefully, so will the one that says "Everybody's bad but my group. Don't let them on to my property".

Our changing communications technology connects us ever closer together and enables ever more rapid cultural change. You and I both hold in our hands today the accumulated wisdom of the human race. I went to college with the slide rule, looked in tables of logarithms, had a handbook of chemistry and physics with physical constants and looked for hours in the library for a reference.

I guess what I'm saying is that "culture" is in some sense hardwired. Not a particular "culture" but a capacity for and drive to build. The ants have nothing on humans.


rmsusa


Jun 25, 2012, 12:11 PM
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Re: [drivel] Are There Gender Differences in Risk Tolerance? [In reply to]
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I think your description of mating strategies is adversarial between males and females. Males wanting one thing, females wanting an incompatible thing.

I've just finished Sex at Dawn and we're suffering from what they call a conflation of copulation and coupling.

I'm not talking about mating strategies (coupling), I'm talking about copulation. I never said anything (or don't think I did) about pair bonding, polyandry or nuclear family. Never have I said that males want one thing and females another. Clearly, they both want S-E-X. It's a biological imperative.

What I'm trying to get at is: How does a female human indicate that she wants to screw? It's the signaling that leads to the same kind of pleasant experience for both, or one would hope so.

No matter how we arrange for care of the young and deal with long gestation, females indicate sexual receptivity with physical displays. That can include taking special care with makeup and clothing, jewelry, flirting, etc. It's mostly visual. This point is actually made in the book. That's what I mean by females attract.

Males respond and approach (she looks really hot! Guess I'll go over and talk to her.), but the female still has veto power (which is actually reflected in our judicial system).

All I was getting at was the signaling. Sorry for any confusion.


rmsusa


Jun 25, 2012, 12:31 PM
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Re: [lena_chita] Are There Gender Differences in Risk Tolerance? [In reply to]
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When I am envisioning gender-neutrality, I am not envisioning everyone being the SAME, no more than everyone is the same now. I am simply hoping for a reduced pressure to comply with culturally-determined and unequal gender roles.

Yep! Now if we could just figure out what's nature and what's nurture, we'd have some guidelines, ... wouldn't we? Smile

In terms of our daily lives, I'm not sure that it matters. We live inside our cultures and if we don't take part in some way, I don't think we've lived fully. That said, if you see something you think foolish, push for change.

BTW - I just finished (on your recommendation) Sex at Dawn. I agree with pretty much every sexual idea they advanced, even if I don't think much of the arguments that got them there. I'm perfectly willing to believe that the whole monogamy, nuclear family, sexual jealousy thing is cultural. That's coupling in the social sense, to use a distinction they make themselves.

As to the stuff about how life was so good when we were hunter gatherers, not so much. I think they're mostly full of it there. IMHO, they failed to make a good connection between the physical record and either culture or human welfare. I also don't think they made the case that patriarchy is inherently connected with agriculture. YMMV.


desertwanderer81


Jul 6, 2012, 5:04 PM
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Re: [SylviaSmile] Are There Gender Differences in Risk Tolerance? [In reply to]
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There is a study of Wall Street investors which documents how much risk men and women are willing to take in their dealings. It found that when in a mixed setting, women were much more averse to risk than men. However it also showed that women took just as many risks as men when placed in all female groups.
(I heard that tidbit on NPR, I can't find a link to the study)

With that study, I am willing to make the statement that most of the risk aversion that you see women demonstrate is purely a construct of our society and not some innate difference.

On top of that, I will even go so far as to say that the variance in risk aversion demonstrated between different individual males is much higher than the variance between men and women as a whole.


Partner cracklover


Jul 3, 2013, 9:32 AM
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Re: [lena_chita] Are There Gender Differences in Risk Tolerance? [In reply to]
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lena_chita wrote:
clee03m wrote:
lena_chita wrote:
I keep coming back to one simple and yet very telling difference: girls are praised for their looks, from early age. Boys are usually praised for their actions.

I have one of each, boy and girl. They are reasonably good-looking, they looked very much like each other when they were little, and they both were absolutely adorable toddlers/young preschoolers.

It is really quite ridiculous.

I remember a woman gushing over how smart my 3yo SON was when he counted some apples in the cart out loud in the grocery store.

Several years later, my daughter got complimented by another random stranger for the exact same thing. Except this person didn't say, oh, look how smart you are. She said: oh, how CUTE you are, so precious!!!



I've heard time and time again, directed at my daughter: You are so pretty. You are so cute. Aren't you a precious little princess? What a pretty outfit you have! Look at that cute face!

I've heard time and time again, directed at my son: wow, you are so smart. Wow, you read a lot. Wow, that is an impressive vocabulary.

The thing is, they both have the same IQ. They both qualify for gifted programs. And they are both reasonably good looking. So why the difference in treatment from complete strangers and random people? If this is not representation of "societal attitude", I don't know what is.

While I am not surprised, I am really sorry this is happening. Good thing she has got a great mom who is going to teach her. I would be so angry, but I am not sure how I would be able to prevent this from happening to her.

NO, there isn't really any way to stop people making those comments. The comments are meant to be nice, and usually people don't even realize that they are using different language for boys and girls.

This goes back to the question of how pervasive this attitude is...

The strongly negative attitudes ("you belong in the kitchen woman! Go bring me my beer and shut up!") have clearly diminished/bacame unacceptable to be expressed widely in society.

But the same message is communicated in seemingly positive ways (really, what parent would do anything other than smile and say thank you, when a good-intentioned stranger comments on how pretty her daughter is?). It is not the message that the little girl is pretty that is wrong, in itself. It is what other messages are not being communicated to the little girls. Because absence of praise can speak quite as loudly as the praise...

I know I'm dredging up an old conversation - forgive me for that. But it was one of the most interesting discussions I've had in a long time, so it stayed on my mind.

When I recently read this short article, it made me think of this conversation. The article seems like a perfect response, so I wanted to get y'alls take on it.

GO


SylviaSmile


Jul 21, 2013, 6:16 AM
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Re: [cracklover] Are There Gender Differences in Risk Tolerance? [In reply to]
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cracklover wrote:
lena_chita wrote:
clee03m wrote:
lena_chita wrote:
I keep coming back to one simple and yet very telling difference: girls are praised for their looks, from early age. Boys are usually praised for their actions.

I have one of each, boy and girl. They are reasonably good-looking, they looked very much like each other when they were little, and they both were absolutely adorable toddlers/young preschoolers.

It is really quite ridiculous.

I remember a woman gushing over how smart my 3yo SON was when he counted some apples in the cart out loud in the grocery store.

Several years later, my daughter got complimented by another random stranger for the exact same thing. Except this person didn't say, oh, look how smart you are. She said: oh, how CUTE you are, so precious!!!



I've heard time and time again, directed at my daughter: You are so pretty. You are so cute. Aren't you a precious little princess? What a pretty outfit you have! Look at that cute face!

I've heard time and time again, directed at my son: wow, you are so smart. Wow, you read a lot. Wow, that is an impressive vocabulary.

The thing is, they both have the same IQ. They both qualify for gifted programs. And they are both reasonably good looking. So why the difference in treatment from complete strangers and random people? If this is not representation of "societal attitude", I don't know what is.

While I am not surprised, I am really sorry this is happening. Good thing she has got a great mom who is going to teach her. I would be so angry, but I am not sure how I would be able to prevent this from happening to her.

NO, there isn't really any way to stop people making those comments. The comments are meant to be nice, and usually people don't even realize that they are using different language for boys and girls.

This goes back to the question of how pervasive this attitude is...

The strongly negative attitudes ("you belong in the kitchen woman! Go bring me my beer and shut up!") have clearly diminished/bacame unacceptable to be expressed widely in society.

But the same message is communicated in seemingly positive ways (really, what parent would do anything other than smile and say thank you, when a good-intentioned stranger comments on how pretty her daughter is?). It is not the message that the little girl is pretty that is wrong, in itself. It is what other messages are not being communicated to the little girls. Because absence of praise can speak quite as loudly as the praise...

I know I'm dredging up an old conversation - forgive me for that. But it was one of the most interesting discussions I've had in a long time, so it stayed on my mind.

When I recently read this short article, it made me think of this conversation. The article seems like a perfect response, so I wanted to get y'alls take on it.

GO

Very cool. I am babysitting a four-year-old girl this summer, which is a lot of fun, but I have to say it continues to be awkward when I take her places and strangers come up and say (almost always some variation of), "How old is she? She is so cute." It's awkward not because I'm not her parent--I can accept the compliment on their behalf--but because she is standing right there and hearing the whole exchange. Or sometimes they will even tell her, "You are so pretty!" She's a polite kid, but she won't usually reply to that, except with a blank stare. The fact that she has adorable blue eyes and lovely curls is just not interesting anymore to her. And it shouldn't be.


lena_chita
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Jul 21, 2013, 9:49 AM
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Re: [cracklover] Are There Gender Differences in Risk Tolerance? [In reply to]
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cracklover wrote:
lena_chita wrote:
clee03m wrote:
lena_chita wrote:
I keep coming back to one simple and yet very telling difference: girls are praised for their looks, from early age. Boys are usually praised for their actions.

I have one of each, boy and girl. They are reasonably good-looking, they looked very much like each other when they were little, and they both were absolutely adorable toddlers/young preschoolers.

It is really quite ridiculous.

I remember a woman gushing over how smart my 3yo SON was when he counted some apples in the cart out loud in the grocery store.

Several years later, my daughter got complimented by another random stranger for the exact same thing. Except this person didn't say, oh, look how smart you are. She said: oh, how CUTE you are, so precious!!!



I've heard time and time again, directed at my daughter: You are so pretty. You are so cute. Aren't you a precious little princess? What a pretty outfit you have! Look at that cute face!

I've heard time and time again, directed at my son: wow, you are so smart. Wow, you read a lot. Wow, that is an impressive vocabulary.

The thing is, they both have the same IQ. They both qualify for gifted programs. And they are both reasonably good looking. So why the difference in treatment from complete strangers and random people? If this is not representation of "societal attitude", I don't know what is.

While I am not surprised, I am really sorry this is happening. Good thing she has got a great mom who is going to teach her. I would be so angry, but I am not sure how I would be able to prevent this from happening to her.

NO, there isn't really any way to stop people making those comments. The comments are meant to be nice, and usually people don't even realize that they are using different language for boys and girls.

This goes back to the question of how pervasive this attitude is...

The strongly negative attitudes ("you belong in the kitchen woman! Go bring me my beer and shut up!") have clearly diminished/bacame unacceptable to be expressed widely in society.

But the same message is communicated in seemingly positive ways (really, what parent would do anything other than smile and say thank you, when a good-intentioned stranger comments on how pretty her daughter is?). It is not the message that the little girl is pretty that is wrong, in itself. It is what other messages are not being communicated to the little girls. Because absence of praise can speak quite as loudly as the praise...

I know I'm dredging up an old conversation - forgive me for that. But it was one of the most interesting discussions I've had in a long time, so it stayed on my mind.

When I recently read this short article, it made me think of this conversation. The article seems like a perfect response, so I wanted to get y'alls take on it.

GO


I missed this somehow until now, but yeah, the article came up in my facebook feed from multiple sources. And I agree, it is a good response and it is something to be aware of, because it takes a conscious effort to do this, instead of just offering the standard "omg, she is so cute" comment.

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