Conversation re: sexual dimoprhism in human brain...

Michelle B. Golden (mgolden@EMORY.EDU)
Sun, 19 Feb 1995 15:41:24 -0500

Greetings, all:

At the risk of getting totally flamed here, I just wanted to share my
response to the tail end of this thread (which is the only part of it
I've seen):

It seems rather telling to me that much of this conversation has been
between men, at least the posts I've seen on the tail end.

I wonder, have any of the people doing research on this list
itself done any content/gender analysis? Are men more likely to support
one view while women are more likely to support another? I remember
noticing this during the rape thread awhile back. At the risk of grossly
overgeneralizing, it seemed with that thread that men were more likely to
argue that rape is a biologically-based function than were women. Is that
true? And is a parallel thing (what *is* the word I'm looking for here?)
happening with this thread?

What are the assumptions behind the argument (from a recent male poster)
that women's use of an analysis that includes the concept of oppression
somehow compromises our "professional credibility"? Would a man who uses
an analysis that includes sexist assumptions be subject to the same
potential damage to his "professional credibility"? What about a man who
uses an analysis that includes the concept of oppression of women?

Is there any place within contemporary anthropology for an analysis of
oppression of women and male privilege? Exactly why would such an analysis
damage someone's professional credibility? Does the gender of the person
using that analysis affect its impact of professional credibility?

Can we use the tools of anthropology to analyze "the culture of
anthropology" itself? Well, actually, maybe it would be fairer to say
"the culture of anthropology as represented on this particular list."

(you all might notice that this is a message composed of questions as
opposed to arguments. A secondary question I have is about whether a
woman asking questions about this subject--even relatively loaded
questions--might be seen as less threatening than a woman making a
statement-based argument. If so, what does that mean? And while I'm on
semi-tangents, what do you all think about this net culture that seems to
support back-and-forth arguments as opposed to conversation-like dialogue?
It's actually not as bad on this list as it is on others,
and also in the newsgroups).

Okay, enough digressions.

Michelle (

PS BTW, in case it's not clear enought from the text of this message, I'm
not interested in the argument about sexual dimorphism in the brain, I'm
interested in the "culture" surrounding and informing this argument.