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Lindsay Beyerstein

I'm not sure why Zan can't accept that each person is an individual with strengths and weaknesses. Who cares what their gender is like on average?

Why should anyone strive to be typical of their gender in the first place? Be proud of the traits that you think are worth being proud of, regardless of whether they're stereotypically masculine or feminine. If one person is blessed with physical courage and empathy, they should be proud of both, and not worry that one virtue or the other is detracting from their gender identity.

Richard

“[I]n term of toughness, courage, ambition, aggressiveness, nurturing abilities, compassion, objectivity, and other such qualities, I don't think men and women really differ that much.”

I’m not so sure.

Chinese emperors, starting in the 8th century, castrated males who they wanted to use as palace servants -- the famous eunuchs. If you read the history of this practice, rendering the males “safe” for oversight of the emperor’s harem was not the primary reason for the castration. Instead emperors were deliberately altering the personalities and behavior of these men for traits more desirable to the emperors’ purposes. Over centuries (the practice didn’t end until 1912) the emperors discovered that the castrated men developed different psychological and behavioral strengths and weaknesses from the general population of men. Among other things, they were less aggressive, more tolerant, better suited to nurturing the emperors’ children, and had a greater development and interest in the arts. (For what it’s worth, they also tended to be superior spies.)

Remember that these emperors were creating these eunuchs at a time when they could have cared less about “gender issues,” in contrast to today where culture obsesses over it. For them it was just practical knowledge that castrated men BEHAVED and THOUGHT differently from non-castrated men. They didn’t know why this was so, it just was.

I mention the eunuchs because we know today that much of the change in the castrated men was the result of modified hormonal development, in short, the same difference existing between normal men and normal women today. So why, exactly, is it so hard to believe that there might actually be *significant* differences in the sexes other than some physical ones you mention in your post? It seems our culture is either walking on eggs about it, or trying to promote some point of view. When it comes to “compare and contrast” of the sexes our society gets its panties all in a knot, it freezes up, or it says silly things like, "There’s not that much difference between men and women."

Richard

Oh, and this just in:

Women More Sensitive to Stress Than Men
WebMD, November 15, 2005
Link ---> http://www.webmd.com/content/article/115/111730

"It's generally understood that females respond more strongly to acute (immediate, short-term) stress than males," says researcher Helmer Figueiredo, PhD, of the University of Cincinnati's department of psychiatry, in a news release. "Our research shows that this may also be the case in more clinically relevant chronic-stress conditions."

***

"Serious disorders such as major depression, anxiety, and autoimmune dysfunctions, all linked to higher levels of circulating glucocorticoids (stress hormones), are more prevalent among women than men," says researcher James Herman, PhD, professor and stress neurobiologist at the University of Cincinnati, in the release. "This animal research provides a nice link between chronic stress and the physiological response to stress by females."

I believe men and women are different other than just strength and sex organs. I once had a side effect from a medication that made my hormone level suddenly sky rocket. It went so high that I began to lactate. I remember feeling very different. The closest I can get to describing it is that I felt strangely diffident. As soon as I went off the medication, I was back to my old self. Now as I am approaching menopause, I feel stronger and more confident than I ever have. Is it because of my age and life experiences or my changing estrogen level? I don't know for sure, but I think Richard has a point, the level of hormones in our bodies must play a part in our personalities and feelings. That being said, since we are all different, we can't generalize about men's or women's feelings or capabilities.

Your last statement hit the nail squarely.

I always thought that is the essence of feminism. When you can decide who you are and who you want to be without someone saying "you can do that because you are a woman" or "you can't do that because you are a woman", then that's freedom. Everybody should have that feeling.

Zan

I am not saying that woman are a bunch of subservient wimps. Far from it. I think woman are just as brave as men. I mean, look at child birth. For those of you out there who haven't experienced labor. It really HURTS! Yet, here I am pregnant, again, ready to go through the same thing. I love to read about brave women in history. Look at Florence Nightingale. She is one of my heros. What she did to revolutionize nursing is a prime example of women's common sense, intelligence, and bravery. By nursing the soldiers in a clean, well ventilated, sunlit area with drainage, she prevented disease from spreading and saved countless lives. Funny how the men didn't think of this easy solution to the growing dead from disease during the Crimean War. It took a woman's caring nature to come up with this.
There is also the story of Hannah Brown who witnessed her entire family killed by Indians. Her infant baby's head was smashed infront of her. They took her captive and began to march her to Canada (a lot of stories like this around the area of New England I grew up in.)That night while the Indians slept she got free, slit all of their throats in their sleep, scalped them all, and walked home.

Women are just a s capable as men at doing a lot of the same things. However, men are better at strength and endurance activities because of the physical differences. I am not saying that women should do nothing but stay home. I know a very good Christian woman who was a spy against the Soviets. She has some amazing stories to tell. However, a man is going to do a better job at Special Opts than a woman.

I don't think I will convince you because you seem to think that it is mainly nurture and that is why women are the way they are. I lean more towards nature. But I do think it is a combination of both. But don't throw nature out. Reader Digest just had an article about how different men's brains are compared to women.

Anyway, had to defend myself. I don't think women are abunch of wimps. I do beleive women have limitations as do men. I was quiet for awhile because I had something going on with my computer.

-Zan

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