Re: Gender differences

Gerold Firl (
19 May 1995 13:08:49 -0700

In article <Admin.0wdo@oubliette.COM> Panopticon@oubliette.COM (Eric Shook) writes:
>In article <> writes:

>> Hasn't there been a study of postpubescent human females showing their
>> instinctive reactions to babies-- increased attention, dilated pupils,
>> hearing tuned to the baby's cries, increased pulse rate-- and comparing
>> those reactions to postpubescent males' reactions to a girl in a bathing
>> suit? I remember reading that years ago.

>Key to this is the phrase "years ago."

Implying that these results were the products of culture, rather than
biology. If they are instinctive reactions, as seems quite possible, then
it doesn't matter how many years ago the study was done.

>> Hormones, honey, hormones, and instinct that kicks in at puberty! To
>> this day, you can distract me from the most interesting intellectual
>> problem or the most vexing power struggle by putting a baby in my arms.

>Well, this doesn't explain for the frequency of infanticidal practices
>in so many of the hunting gathering cultures. Too many kids? Not done with
>the last one yet? Not enough protein to go around during the famine?
>Somehow they seemed to be able to resist this instinctual melting point
>(which you propose having suffered from) and often opted for the baby skull
>against hard rock way out of the maternal instinct scheme.

Don't be ridiculous. You imply that infanticide was practiced by women,
mothers even. I find that very difficult to believe. Certainly in the greek
tradition, it was always the father who made the decision whether the baby
would live or die, and the action of exposing the infant was left to a more
neutral third party.

Anyone with data on infanticide? Who makes the decisions, and who does the

Baby skull against hard rock? I'm not familiar with that form of
infanticide. I would be very surprised if it ever existed. You're stooping
pretty low yourself.

I think ann is exactly right. The physical changes initiated by the sex
hormones at puberty include changes in the neurological hardware, producing
behavioral changes. Culture is at work too, of course, but why do you
insist so strenuously that culture is the *only* factor involved? This
seems like a very poor assumption.

>Regardless of
>your actual intent here, your last statement just seems to make you out to
>be completely goo-goo when you are exposed to children, at even the expense
>of your intellect. This supports such an old myth about women being
>intellectual unstable, and driven to maternity vice higher, male pursuits.
>You do nothing but damage women with such talk. Yes, it may be true for
>you, but you cannot map this personal observation onto women in general.
>Although, this is what you are in effect doing!

Bah. Now you insist on political correctness. It "damages women" to suggest
that they have instinctive maternal reactions? That is not only absurd but
rude. You may want to restrict discourse to the confines of your
ideological crib, but don't try to map your bias onto sci.antho. Dogma is
deadly to anthropology. Keep it on a leash.

Disclaimer claims dat de claims claimed in dis are de claims of meself,
me, and me alone, so sue us god. I won't tell Bill & Dave if you won't.
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=---- Gerold Firl @ ..hplabs!hp-sdd!geroldf