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  • 10 million missing girls (updated)


    by Rohin
    9th January, 2006 at 12:23 pm    

    Asian women have a long, long way to go in the fight for equality. What’s more upsetting is that the perpetrators of crimes against females are often female themselves. Society has managed to convince men and women that females are inferior.

    Just yesterday, a PP thread drifted onto the topic of female abortion in Asia. Today The Lancet published an Indian-Canadian study into the horrific practice in India. The Lancet requires a paid subscription for full access to articles, so I thought I’d add to the BBC summary. The study and an accompanying article by Dr Shirish Sheth will go to print next week.

    The study, led by Dr Prabhat Jha and Dr Rajesh Kumar (Toronto and Chandigarh respectively), sought to ascertain the reasons for the unequal balance of females to males with specific reference to pre-natal sex determination and abortion. Across India the ratio stands at 933:1000, but is markedly more pronounced in certain areas such as Punjab, Haryana and Tamil Nadu. The study estimates that 500,000 female babies are aborted every year, for no other reason than their gender. However the study discovered that gender screening was most likely to be utilised when the family already had a daughter.

    The stats break down like this:

    If the first child is a boy, the ratio for the second and third child normalises, to about 1:1.

    If the first child was a girl, the ratio of girls to boys rose sharply to 759:1000.

    If the first two children were girls, the ratio fell further to 719:1000.

    In households with a more educated mother, the chances of a girl following a female first-born were halved.

    A correlation to religion was not found - it seems uniform across the main religious groups.

    It is apparent that as long as a family has at least one son, they seem happy. This is somewhat surprising as one of the main proposed reasons for female foeticide is to avoid paying dowry. Dowry payments, made by a girl’s family to the family of her husband upon marriage, are illegal in India but remain common practice. A poor family is unable to raise a sufficient dowry and a girl remains unmarried - and as far as society is concerned, worthless. It is, undoubtedly a cause of female abortion, but the reason it has not been identified as a major influence is because the abortion of female babies is not most prevalent amongst the poorest members of society.

    On the contrary, those with no money are sometimes unable to access the ultrasound screening tests. The study showed that the practice is most common amongst more educated Indians. The study specifically identified the mothers as the variable factor. In a cruel twist of irony, the more educated a mother, the more likely she is to abort her female child - if she already has a daughter.

    However, I can only presume that the poorest of the poor still kill off female children - but instead of aborting them in utero, they kill newborns when they discover they are girls. I’m not basing this on fact, just speculation. Reliable figures for female infanticide in India are not available and it is thought that babies are often recorded as ‘stillborn’ when killed soon after birth.

    Jha estimates half a million female children are lost every year and wanted to put pay to excuses that the ratio is due to natural disaster or disease:

    “If this practice has been common for most of the past two decades since access to ultrasound became widespread, then a figure of 10m missing female births would not be unreasonable.”

    Jha himself attributed the main motivation as a legacy of when India was an agrarian society where boys were considered an extra pair of hands in the fields but a girl was a liability, a burden.

    Sex selection and female feticide remains “rampant” in India, says Dr Shirish Sheth, of Breach Candy Hospital in Mumbai. The use of ultrasound to determine sex has been outlawed in India. However, illegal ‘back-alley ultrasound clinics’ operate widely, even in rural areas. Aborting a foetus based on its gender has been illegal since 1994 and is a crime punishable by a fine, imprisonment and suspension of the doctor’s licence. However many operating the machines are not medically-trained doctors but people out to make a quick buck. I can only guess at their accuracy - it’s not an easy thing to do.

    It’s worth noting that many hospitals in the UK, America and Canada (amongst others) have opted to deny prospective parents information about the sex of their baby. Of course, living in the West it isn’t hard to find someone who will carry out a test. Several of the UK and Canadian centres have specifically mentioned Asian communities as the reason for their decisions to stop screening for sex.

    In the 90s a controversy erupted in Canada when two Indian Canadian-run newspapers refused to pull ads for ‘sex-determination clinics’ operating in British Columbia. During off-the-record discussions with obstetricians in London, they make no bones about saying “it’s because of the Asians”. A few of these doctors are Asian themselves. Where I am, it’s the Tamil community who take the blame.

    “In a country bedeviled in many parts by cultural taboos, a boy is preferred because he will continue the family name and bloodline, earn money, look after the family and take care of parents in their old age,”

    A woman might be considered a “culprit” for not giving birth to a boy, Dr Sheth says, even though it’s the male’s sperm that determines the sex of a child. What’s more, the cost of a dowry for a daughter can be “phenomenal,” forcing many families to borrow to pay for them.”

    Is anything being done? Thankfully, lots. But India’s a big country and it’s an uphill struggle to change views held by millions. Some states have offerred free education to families who have only female children. A soap opera has been made by Plan and the government. There are also many religious and charitable organisations working to eradicate a practice of which social activist Swami Agnivesh says:

    “There’s no other form of violence that’s more painful, more abhorrent, more shameful”

    China is also notorious for its skewed female:male ratio, although with quite different causality. China’s one child policy has created a similar absence of girls across the country. The BBC recently showed a charming film entitled Looking for China Girl which presented the human angle to this shameful trend. The Chinese government estimates that within 15 years, 40 million Chinese men will be lifelong bachelors. The Chinese government has also tried to stem the flow of boys by offering free schooling to girls, but it has not stopped the abduction of girls to be sold as brides. In India abduction has not been widely reported, but paying poor families for their daughters as brides has become more common in Haryana. A perverse reverse-dowry.

    The BBC has stacks on this issue. You can start with the BBC Best Link or hit any of the links above.

    UPDATE: Indianwriting has also written about this (via DesiPundit) and links to figures showing how Indian states compare with the 1990s European ratio of 94.8 girls:100 boys (Germany). The areas faring worst are Punjab, Haryana, Gujarat and Delhi (between 79.3 and 87.8 girls per 100 boys). States in the east and the south of India tend to have female:male ratios that equal or exceed the benchmark line of 94.8, with Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, and Assam leading the pack with 96.3 to 96.6 girls per 100 boys.

    The study:

    A 1998 survey of fertility and mortality which used almost 7000 units selected to represent the vast country as a whole. The units, in total, comprised 1.1 million households and followed 133,738 births. Based on the natural sex ratio from other countries, the team estimated that around 13.6 to 13.8 million girls should have been born in 1997 in India. However, the actual number was 13.1 million - a deficit of 0.59 - 0.74 million female births.

    Cross post on the old bloggeroo.


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    Filed in: Culture,Current affairs,India,South Asia






    166 Comments below   |  

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    1. Global Voices Online

      [...] Pickled Politics has an excellent post on the issue. It’s worth noting that many hospitals in the UK, America and Canada (amongst others) have opted to deny prospective parents information about the sex of their baby. Of course, living in the West it isn’t hard to find someone who will carry out a test. Several of the UK and Canadian centres have specifically mentioned Asian communities as the reason for their decisions to stop screening for sex. [...]




    1. Paul Brown — on 9th January, 2006 at 12:58 pm  

      I think that attitudes about sons being preferable to daughters are quite widespread even in Britain, among all ethnic groups. Despite the fact that girls are maturing earlier, doing better in school, etc, fathers in particular seem to favour sons. I think the old-fashioned piffle about continuing the family name has not been entirely outmoded yet.

      Hopefully the UN and human rights NGO’s can help to highlight what is happening in Asia, and the UN can intervene in some way.

      The danger here is that people will end up sounding anti-abortion. It is worth emphasising that, while we have to condemn this practice, all enlightened people believe in free abortion on demand.

    2. Rohin — on 9th January, 2006 at 1:02 pm  

      Hey, there’s nothing inherently wrong with wanting a son. I want a son to play cricket with, teach breakdancing too etc. But I’d love a daughter just as much. The difference is in the UK a family wanting a son but getting nothing but daughters say “aw well” but in India they take more drastic measures.

      In an ideal world, people would want a daughter as much as a son - but as long as they treat them with the same love, it doesn’t matter. Some people want daughters more than sons. My Mum’s heartbroken she never had a son daughter (although her maid and her friends used to touch her pregnant abdomen as it produced nothing but boys!)

    3. NorahJones — on 9th January, 2006 at 1:03 pm  

      “My Mum’s heartbroken she never had a son ”

      Daughther Rohin?

    4. NorahJones — on 9th January, 2006 at 1:05 pm  

      Believe it or not, there are people in the asian community who believe that bearing a daughter is a sign that your intentions are bad.

      Imagine what happened when my mum’s firstborn were female twins!

    5. Rohin — on 9th January, 2006 at 1:07 pm  

      Ah bugger. Thanks for the correction Norah. Perhaps it’s something Freudian.

      Rohini.

    6. Paul Brown — on 9th January, 2006 at 1:16 pm  

      Of course, you could play cricket with, and teach breakdancing to, your daughter.

    7. NorahJones — on 9th January, 2006 at 1:25 pm  

      No probs girlfriend.

      Cricket? Eurgh.

    8. Rohin — on 9th January, 2006 at 1:27 pm  

      Hmmm…I’ve never seen a b-girl bust an air flare. You know what I mean, it’s natural for a guy to want a son and a mother to want a girl - in my experience. But the traditional Indian set up, and the same across much of the world, is both parents want a son. Especially in a culture with a dowry legacy - a son means not only an extra pair of hands, but also a windfall. And a bahu to abuse.

      A few more links. Punjab is India’s most wealthy state, but one of its worst culprits in this regard. For any state to be doing worse than Bihar in anything is shameful.

      (Links courtesy of SM’s commenters)

    9. Paul Brown — on 9th January, 2006 at 1:29 pm  

      What does “bahu” mean?

    10. Col. Mustafa — on 9th January, 2006 at 1:33 pm  

      Im sorry, but theres too many men in the world as it is.
      I think people should be more grateful for having a healthy child regardless of sex.
      I know its been said to death about the birth of a child being a blessing in itself but it is in a way.
      I know a few families where having children in itself is a huge problem, infact my own aunts been suffering from depression for the past 15 years due to her first marriage breaking up because of a few miscarriages.
      She got married again after a while and thank god she just had twins last year at the age of 35 i think.
      Not sure she won’t tell me her age exactly.
      It didn’t matter what the sex of the child was, just that she having a child.

      Most women do have relatively healthy babies but obviously in many cases are not satisfied, well the husband and wife aren’t satisfied.
      It is backward thinking, we need sons so we can win the battle of Mordor.
      Terrible to hear that many unborn and born babies being killed for just being female.

    11. NorahJones — on 9th January, 2006 at 1:36 pm  

      Daughter in law.

      They’re striking back though.

    12. Old Pickler — on 9th January, 2006 at 1:40 pm  

      In a cruel twist of irony, the more educated a mother, the more likely she is to abort her female child - if she already has a daughter.

      This is the most shocking aspect. You would think that education would mean enlightenment.

      When I went to China, one thing that was not pleasant to see was the “little emperor” phenomenon. Boys, who, being the only child, were pampered and spoilt, and, amazingly for a people not associated with obesity, hugely fat.

    13. Paul Brown — on 9th January, 2006 at 1:41 pm  

      I’m glad they’re striking back. Hopefully we will see a new women’s movement in India and elsewhere. We still have a long way to go in Britain as well.

    14. Col. Mustafa — on 9th January, 2006 at 1:41 pm  

      I know men naturally want a son, but as Rohin said its more of a case of we want both.
      I want sons and daughters and plenty of them.

      But these are relatively well off families in Punjab doing this.
      I hate this issue as under many circumstances im for abortion, but not as a fashion accessory.
      To kill off an unborn or born child just because you feel that a male would be better is stupid.
      What if she has another female child? Kill that one off too.
      Be happy that you have a child dammit; who knows what that female could grow upto be.

    15. Paul Brown — on 9th January, 2006 at 1:49 pm  

      I don’t think it’s ‘natural’ for a man to want a son, it’s a social construct. I don’t want a son.

    16. Rohin — on 9th January, 2006 at 1:50 pm  

      It’s largely because the richest/most historically powerful/highest castes (delete as appropriate) are the ones who maintain the tradition of dowry. They have evolved less, so to speak - especially the nouveau-riche in Punjab.

      Where did you go in China OP? I was planning to work & study in Shanghai for a bit this year, but it looks like I won’t be able to.

    17. NorahJones — on 9th January, 2006 at 1:50 pm  

      Hey, I would like a football team of boys. Doesn’t mean I’d abort if it were a girl though.

    18. Paul Brown — on 9th January, 2006 at 1:56 pm  

      Norah, I hope you have a lot of money and a very large house. Be prepared to lose your figure as well!

    19. Col. Mustafa — on 9th January, 2006 at 1:59 pm  

      That would be class; 11 sons all amazing footballers too.
      Or 9 girls all with a keen interest in martial arts. They manage to perfect their skills to a degree of umm perfection.
      Then i can be like bosley but with 9 angels all willing to save the world with amazing beauty and brains.

    20. NorahJones — on 9th January, 2006 at 2:01 pm  

      One day.. My mum is one of 10 and my dad one of six.
      It’s a given. Plus my mum has twins, her sis has twins, my nan had twins, her mum had twins, I’m a twin…

      Do you get the picture? :-)

    21. Rohin — on 9th January, 2006 at 2:02 pm  

      No, I think natural is exactly the right word. Historically men have raised sons and women have raised daughters. The boys would hunt and forage, the girls would help their mother care for the family.

      THANKFULLY, humans have evolved beyond archaic sexual pre-determined stereotypes. I was raised solely by my Mum, just as millions of boys are raised by single mums and turn out fine. All the nicknames I’ve got from my mates demonstrate I’m still a primitive male. Men and women can do what they like.

      BUT the modern legacy of that hunter-gatherer past is that men like to teach their sons to grow into their mold. Let’s not forget the purpose of children - they are our replacements. Many women want daughters, who can be their friends, confidantes etc. Likewise, many men want girls and women want boys. I don’t see anything wrong in me saying I want a boy and my girlfriend saying she wants a girl. Ideally I’d like a boy and a girl - but no more!

    22. Paul Brown — on 9th January, 2006 at 2:03 pm  

      A very fertile family. I think I’d rather just have one child and try to make an extremely good job of that one. I can’t imagine making a huge success of a large number of kids; one seems to me a massive responsibility.

    23. Rohin — on 9th January, 2006 at 2:04 pm  

      “Plus my mum has twins, her sis has twins, my nan had twins, her mum had twins, I’m a twin…”

      Were you trying to say:

      “My grandmother had twins, who both had twins.”

      One thing we ask at ante-natal screening is “any twins in the family?” I’d say you’re a big yes.

    24. Paul Brown — on 9th January, 2006 at 2:08 pm  

      Rohin, but the hunter-gatherer thing you describe is still a social construct. Primitive society was probably originally matriarchal, and there is no reason to believe that the same gender divisions have always existed. However, that is a matter for anthropological conjecture. There’s no reason for you not to want a son; however, in my previous career of working with troubled young people I went off the idea of boys forever. Girls are so much more emotionally mature/literate/intelligent/independent, and such superior communicators. They also tend to have more backbone and be more academic. A generalisation, but one based on a lot of experience.

    25. NorahJones — on 9th January, 2006 at 2:08 pm  

      No, no.

      My mum’s nan had twins, who didn’t have twins.
      My mum’s mum had twins, ”

      Now you’ve confused me…

      My mum isn’t one of twins, neither my aunt with twins.

      Bugger! I dunno how it works! There’s just lots of us.

    26. NorahJones — on 9th January, 2006 at 2:09 pm  

      Well Paul, I either have loadsa kids or become a primary school teacher..

    27. Col. Mustafa — on 9th January, 2006 at 2:12 pm  

      In my experience its essential for me to have a mix of both sexes; as its better for the boy and girl.
      My experience being growing up with my bro and sis.
      I see differences all over the joint with m8s i know and how they grew up, who they grew up with, what their parents were like, how their parents changed according to the children, blah blah.
      But it all plays a big factor.

    28. Paul Brown — on 9th January, 2006 at 2:13 pm  

      i look at my parents and see something to react against and think “Well, I have to make sure I’m the opposite of them as parents”. As Frank Zappa said, “Nobody is completely useless. They can always serve as a bad example”.

    29. shiva — on 9th January, 2006 at 2:14 pm  

      Jha himself attributed the main motivation as a legacy of when India was an agrarian society where boys were considered an extra pair of hands in the fields but a girl was a liability, a burden.

      My mother’s uncles’ families - three of theirs - all of whose are what would be called a traditional agricultural family - have had more girls than boys. The first one has 8 girls and 3 boys; the second 6/3 and the third 5/2. In all cases my aunts (that is my mother’s cousins) learnt to birth caves, yoke the bullocks and drive a cart, till and water the fields and harvest the grain. And this is from a not so prosperous part of Tamizh Nadu (Norht Arcot to be precise) not very different from Salem and its surroundings that have become notorious for female foeti(infanti)cide. Even sadder this cruel practice is no longer confined to Hindu families, it has become common among communities of other faiths as well.

    30. Col. Mustafa — on 9th January, 2006 at 2:14 pm  

      Your just generalising about women there paul; i know men and women who completely dont have a clue about anything, and its got nothing to do with them being a male or a female.

      Which is why i say both, its more the upbringing that matters to me.

    31. NorahJones — on 9th January, 2006 at 2:15 pm  

      Very true Col.Mustafa, my little bro grew up talking urdu in the female tense.

      Having said that, he’s been brought up to be very respectful of women.

    32. Paul Brown — on 9th January, 2006 at 2:20 pm  

      I did say it was a generalisation, but a valid one. I am very opposed to people saying ‘men are like this, women are like that’, it’s one of my pet hates. However, in the case of the 70 young people I worked with the girls were Young Women and the boys were Little Boys, and while that may be anecdotal evidence and not scientific, I do think there is a pattern. Men are encouraged by their parents and society and popular culture to carry on being children. Men-as-boys is a very common phnomenon, which is why programmes like The Office are so funny in their infantile male characters. I don’t dislike all of my fellow men or anything like that.

    33. Rohin — on 9th January, 2006 at 2:31 pm  

      Paul:

      “I am very opposed to people saying ‘men are like this, women are like that’, it’s one of my pet hates”

      Why? When I say “most men are better at throwing things than girls” am I wrong? The offensiveness comes when I say “all men are like x” or “all women are like y”. Saying that something is the norm is not wrong nor should it be something that bothers you.

      I can understand you don’t like men and women to be pigeon-holed, but no one’s trying to do that. However if men tend to follow certain traits and women others, why is wrong to say it?

      It works both ways. If you had your way, women wouldn’t be able to say they’re better at multi-tasking, prioritising, organising, empathising and sympathising - although all are true. Men wouldn’t be able to say we’re better at punching and eating, although that’s true too.

    34. Col. Mustafa — on 9th January, 2006 at 2:40 pm  

      I know women that can punch better than men, but its quite rare.
      Is that because women aren’t encouraged at an early age to be interested in punching, or action, or violence, or tempted with toys and a culture that encourages the use of violence, or watching programmes that push the thought of aggression.

      I know girls that have grown up just like thier brothers, you know keen interest in wrestling and so called male oreintated activities but still didn’t end up as tomboys.
      They changed after school life kicked in and then started to follow new trends from her fellow female school friends.
      In this day and age whose deciding what a male and female should be like?
      I think theres propaganda everywhere, and its quite wierd to me.
      I wonder how we are supposed to raise kids in the right way, assuming their is a right way.

    35. Paul Brown — on 9th January, 2006 at 2:41 pm  

      It’s not strictly true. It may be true that, due to socialisation, a majority of men have become more physical/competitive/aggressive, and a majority of women have become better at empathy/emotion, but these are socially constructed. We have free will, we can and will change, nothing is predetermined. We are already seeing changes, with the so-called feminisation of society. It’s not true to say, for example, ‘men are more competitive’ - some are and some aren’t. Lots of women could handle themselves far better in a fight than many men. We must move on from the traditional men=masculine, women=femnine stereotype.

      We all know about the classic sociological experiment where a baby boy was shown to a group of people who commented on how determined, aggressive, and strong he was; then they were shown a baby girl and they remarked on how shy and weak and tearful she was. Here we see the sexist socialisation starting right from the first day.

    36. Col. Mustafa — on 9th January, 2006 at 3:08 pm  

      Thats sad, ive seen that alot too, and i think its in a way what a lot of parents want to hear.
      Since the baby has just been born noone can really say anything about it with any real conviction so they use the stereotypical comments.
      It would be quite odd if you had a male child and a few of your friends are there to see it at the hospital and they start saying wow your sons got the traits of a typical woman.
      It just wouldn’t happen as your there to celebrate in their joyous moment which is why generic comments are used.
      You don’t to offend.

      What im saying is that it has been deeply engraved in our minds as to what a female and male is throughout the course of time.
      And obviously due to environment and social circumstance.
      But even if you go back to certain tribes way back ,( i dont know when or the details, i just remember reading something on it) there were tribes that used to have men and women fighting equally for their tribe or religion.
      There have been many instances even in early human life where women have been the aggressors and hunters as well, just like lions.

      But in general its hard for men to get rid of millions of years of being the breadwinner and aggressor as even today men battle all over the world, for what i dont know.

      Why is there so much shite on tv catered for men all around violence.
      You’d thing that when we live in societies where its not needed anymore you don’t need to see it either.
      But me being a man i love boxing, and martial arts, and competing in various sports such as footy which is a mutimillion pound, global phenomenon when its just a bunch of guys kicking a round object around.

    37. El Cid — on 9th January, 2006 at 3:17 pm  

      Yep, agreed, agreed, agreeed, agreed, mostly, as long as we don’t go too far the other way and recognise that it’s more than ok for a woman to be feminine — MORE THAN OK.
      I find it very dull when people seek to impose abstract constructs of gender equality on everything and dehumanise all received wisdom. Paul, I’m talking to you mate.
      I burst into tears when my first child turned out to be a son. But that was probably due to a mix of both natural and personal reasons (i.e. losing my dad as a kid).
      I encourage my daughter to “bundle” with the rest of us and I help her with her maths. I expect great things of her, just like I do of her brothers. And I’m taking her to the Arsenal next week, having already taken her older brother.
      And yet, anecdotally, I have detected clear differences between my kids and their friends that have challenged any preconceived idea I may have previously had that gender differences were mainly a function of environment.
      After umpteen birthday parties, I can tell you that girls are far easier to manage than boys (could that explain why they do better at school now that coursework has taken over exams as the prime differentiator and even though men have bigger brains?.)
      And the colour pink, what’s all that about?
      And why does she want to be a hairdresser when I so clearly want her to be doctor (and why does my son wanna by a racing driver)?
      I don’t see no reason to get all militant about it.
      Women: By all means, feel free to rule the world. From where I’m standing you’re doing a good job. Just remember to shave your legs and armpits once in a while or I might deprive you of your oats.
      As for men who refuse to grow up — I guess I’m one of them.

    38. SKye-Vee — on 9th January, 2006 at 3:21 pm  

      Imagine this.

      You’re a man (whoopie so am I).
      You’re single (not so hard for me).
      You believe in one true love (now that is a hard one).

      You could live your whole life alone because back when one true love was a foetus her parents thought her life inferior and had her aborted. All life has it’s importance, lessons they can teach us. We may not realise them but should be aware of them. Just a thought. Still some life is there to kill other life. Analogy kinda falls down there.

      My mum wanted a daughter. Explains my dodgy dress when I was a kid. I even sound like a girl on the phone. The horror. They were lucky. They got one when my brother married. Didn’t have to go through all the hassle of bringing her up either.

      It’s a horrible practice and should be stopped. The whole Dowry thing should be stopped too. Those gifts and money are suppose to allow the bride to settle into her new home. Not to be abused by greedy in-laws.

      You know what? It should all be stopped. Yes stopped. Including me….so I will .

    39. SKye-Vee — on 9th January, 2006 at 3:22 pm  

      Just realised the analogy breaks down if your a man and gay.

    40. Rohin — on 9th January, 2006 at 3:27 pm  

      Argh, I didn’t say ALL men are better at punching. That’s the crux. But MOST are, hence the truth in the stereotype. Japanese men are short. Yeah but I know one who’s 7ft! Doesn’t stop Japanese men being short.

      Why should we move on from the men = masculine woman = feminine stereotype? That’s hundreds of thousands of years of genetics. What we must avoid is CRITICISM is someone wants to buck that trend. It should be OK for a man to be feminine and a woman to be masculine if they so please.

      Men ARE different to women. Neither is better.

    41. El Cid — on 9th January, 2006 at 3:29 pm  

      here here Rohin! See, I told you we weren’t that different

    42. El Cid — on 9th January, 2006 at 3:30 pm  

      actually, that should be “hear, hear”. oops.
      i blame the parents

    43. Vikrant — on 9th January, 2006 at 3:34 pm  

      I didn’t say ALL men are better at punching.

      Looking at your pic on your blog, I guess grapes are sour!

    44. Jai — on 9th January, 2006 at 3:41 pm  

      The bottom line is this. There are some inherent differences between human males and females due to the genetics involved (as mentioned by Rohin) along with the different level & impact of testosterone on both physical characteristics and neurological issues (ie. the brain) during the person’s lifetime. Anyone who has had children (or nieces/nephews/much younger cousins) could tell you that, along with medical doctors, especially those who specialise in neonatal medicine and paediatrics.

      HOWEVER, there are still far more similarities than differences between men and women, because we’re all fellow human beings first and foremost, and it’s our shared humanity that one has to always take into account (especially in terms of being unfair, prejudicial and/or deliberately malicious towards them just for being female, when you would not approve of such behaviour towards boys/men).

      So yes, there are some inter-gender differences, both physically and to some extent psychologically, but there’s a huge amount (more, in fact) that the genders have in common, so an ability to identify with each other, and empathise with each other, as fellow human beings above all else (whilst still bearing in mind the differences), is the key to mutual respect and understanding. It’s also the key to mitigating the potential oppression and injustice towards women by men.

    45. El Cid — on 9th January, 2006 at 3:46 pm  

      hear, hear! (again)

    46. Col. Mustafa — on 9th January, 2006 at 3:48 pm  

      Im saying it has alot more to do with environment and advertising, tv, radio, porn, and everything else in this age.

      But all these are also mostly controlled by guess what parents.
      So thier advertising or programming reflects what they think women and men should be like.
      Obviously its more diverse than that as theres new ideas and new concepts being created all the time and im not saying that the all the programmes or advertising or whatever is a bad thing.
      Cos at the end of the day who am i to judge, i dont know how a woman or man should really act.
      Infact noone knows, but thinking you know and implementing it in different ways doesn’t always create the best results and you end up with men that have no idea of what there supposed to be, probably end up having a serious hatred problem of homosexuals(hehe comes down to that again) or women that think there sole purpose is to look good for men and wear as much skimpy clothing as possible. Why, if you really want an answer as to why theres no logical one there.
      Apart from maybe its really hot.
      Why are you wearing those heels for? Well men find em sexy, that is true, but your not wearing them to look taller as your already pretty tall.
      So why wear really uncomfortable heels, becuase of external influence making them think it looks good. Or just men thinking it looks good.

      Ok, i dont know what im talking about anymore.

    47. Rohin — on 9th January, 2006 at 3:59 pm  

      Which picture on my blog Vik?

      I know you and I aren’t that different El Cid!

      I’m a genetics novice, but I’ve done a fair bit of research. I attribute a whole lot more to nature/genes than to nurture/upbringing actually.

      Humans are very straightforward. They develop in 3 broad stages - nutrition-driven (up to a few months), gene-driven (up to puberty) and hormone-driven (adolesence). The second two are products of our DNA. They obviously affect us physically and mentally. Of course when I’m a parent and have lovely sensible children I’ll think it’s all down to upbringing.

    48. Col. Mustafa — on 9th January, 2006 at 4:06 pm  

      The blank slate.
      Or is it?
      Id have to agree that it has a fair bit to do with nature but upbringing changes so much, and plays a huge part in our lives.

    49. El Cid — on 9th January, 2006 at 4:07 pm  

      I’ve read the Language of Genes by… I think it was Steve Jones. And that was fantastic.
      But it’s clearly a young and vast subject.

    50. Jay Singh — on 9th January, 2006 at 4:40 pm  

      This depresses the hell out of me.

    51. Mirax — on 9th January, 2006 at 4:46 pm  

      If female infanticide was practised by poor, ignorant farmersand their wives who allowed midwives to suffocate or drown a female newborn, then as bad as it is, one can at least begin to identify causes and ameliorate them: one can start with eradicating poverty, with educational programmes, with socio-economic support and what not. If there was one specific cultural or religious practice which made female children more of a burden, such as the dowry system or some aspect of hinduism, one could begin tackling that issue.

      What is truly horrendous about the problem in India is that education and affluence have actually aided and increased female foeticide. Educated (and presumably, empowered) mothers are the decisive factor in this increase. The practice apparently occurs in all religious groups and is not necessarily an evil confined to the hindus. The practice is not as tightly linked to the dowry system as once thought.

      My mind boggles at what is happening in urban, affluent India (the india all of us here at PP have connections to btw).

      What the fuck can one do with such a deep-seated malaise in urban india? I suspect nothing will help very much unless one is ready to take a radical look at Indian culture which condones so much violence against women at every level.

    52. Steve M — on 9th January, 2006 at 5:02 pm  

      In the very first comment on this thread, Paul Brown ended with:

      “The danger here is that people will end up sounding anti-abortion. It is worth emphasising that, while we have to condemn this practice, all enlightened people believe in free abortion on demand. “

      It seems to have slipped through without comment but I’d like to ask: “Do all enlightened people believe in free abortion on demand?”

      Is that abortion at any age of foetus? If not, up to what age of foetus should abortion be legal? What guides that decision?

    53. FOB — on 9th January, 2006 at 5:06 pm  

      So what are some possible solutions?

      The best way would be to incentivize a girl child by providing compelling economic reasons for families to want a girl.

      Free education (both primary and university), free healthcare, and monetary rewards per girl (say 5 lakhs per girl) could be some options.

      I know this seems mercernary, but only a practical approach that addreses the root of the problem which is the perceived economic burden of a girl child is likely to work.

    54. Jay Singh — on 9th January, 2006 at 5:11 pm  

      FOB

      Tax incentives for girl babies would be a good start, a good idea. But as Mirax says, teh terrifying thing is that it is in the middle classes that this seems to be worst. The educated types.

    55. Rohin — on 9th January, 2006 at 5:16 pm  

      FOB, Jay, a lot of those initiatives are in place or have been started. But it will be generations before kudos of a boy is replaced with the desire for an educated girl.

      Steve, we briefly touched on abortion here (try about halfway down). No, I wouldn’t say all enlightened people believe in abortion at any gestation. But I would like to think that enlightened people believe it is the mother’s choice and no one else’s. The gestation argument is quite arbitrary - I suggested 18 weeks (not 24).

      But this has nothing to do with new scans or prem babies surviving from younger ages, it’s just a figure I chose taking into account the stage women are normally at by the time 99% know they’re pregnant. In years from now we will be able to conceive and grow a baby entirely ex-utero, so we need an arbitrary cut-off gestation.

    56. FOB — on 9th January, 2006 at 5:34 pm  

      Jay, tax incentives are not a bad idea at all, but given that very few Indians pay tax , I’m not sure how useful it would be. Also I tend not to favor adding any more complexity to the already convolutedly byzantize Indian tax code.

      Rohin, I think only one Indian state (Andhra Pradesh) has a scheme for girl child incentives.A well publicized and well implemented all India policy would be far more effective.It may not solve the problem, but at least chip away at it.Future generation may benefit from it at least.

      Maybe with the scarcity of girls, dowry will be replaced by bride price and male infanticide will take hold.Gruesome but market driven.

    57. Don — on 9th January, 2006 at 5:53 pm  

      As has been pointed out, it is deeply disturbing that it seems to be mothers who are making these decisions. I have a (perhaps naive) belief that increased female empowerment is the key to a more humane world. Thatcher notwithstanding.

      Many years ago, when I was working in Sudan, a bloke came back to the village; he’d made a success of life - university, post-grad work in Paris, good job as an oil company geologist. Nice bloke and utterly opposed to FGM. Nevertheless, while on his visit his wife and his mother had his infant daughter circumcised. He freaked, took his daughter, left his wife behind and vowed never to return. Huge scandal, in which he was seen as the villain of the piece.

      Maybe it is that the oppressed internalise their oppression. I don’t know if that is clear, I mean that you come to accept your own imputed lower worth.

    58. Bikhair — on 9th January, 2006 at 10:52 pm  

      So reminesant of the Quarish.

    59. Barbara Meinhoff — on 10th January, 2006 at 12:31 am  

      Just been featured on South Asia World News. Surprised that its middle class educated mothers indulging in this most? The final comment from the (female) reporter:

      “In the New India of shopping malls, like this one in Delhi, maybe choosing the sex of your baby is as simple as choosing your new summer clothes”.

      Girl shortage? This is a country that still feels the need to run soap operas on the plight of a dark skinned girl facing rejection because of her unwheatish complexion (the maudlin Saath Pheree on Zee TV) in the marriage market, whilst at the same time running fucking risile beauty contests every weekend to find Miss Fair and Lovely.

      Think that the enormous sex imbalance will even out once girls become a rare enough commmodity? Not so. Evidence from a report on teh BBC frmo Haryana some time back suggests brides are simply being purchased from Bangladesh for their little Ravi’s.

      The situation is reversed in Eastern India, where there are more women. In Bihar, boys are being kidnapped by pospective in-laws eager to beat down their extortionate dowries .

      There’s anecdotal evidence that this is not a new occurrence. Bengali fathers were said to be able to make a quick buck Back In The Day by selling their daughters westwards whilst claiming they’d died en route to Varanasi for pilgrimage. Dowries for brides instead of grooms? Thats how it works in Afghanistan, but how long before that turns into pimping?

      This has been known about for a long time. Studies I read on this previously highlighted certain communities in the west of India, which prided themselves on their macho ‘warrior’ status. Strange, I always thought Punjabi women stood up for themselves.

      http://www.mapsofindia.com/census2001/sexratio/sexratio-india.htm

    60. Rohin — on 10th January, 2006 at 12:48 am  

      Interesting stuff Barbara. I also read about the Bangladesh brides thing - but I’m not sure there’s a female EXCESS in Bihar, as far as I know it’s about 989:1000 F:M. But perhaps in certain areas more men have died for whatever reason, leading to a female excess? The Bengalis selling daughters back in the day - to when and where do you refer?

      Sadly, when it comes to female foeticide, Punjabis have carried the worst reputation for many years.

    61. Siddharth — on 10th January, 2006 at 1:00 am  

      So reminesant of the Quarish.

      For once Bikhair, I agree with you. This is so squalid, so sickening and yet so South Asian. And the awful hard fact is that this is one of those practices that no single religion can claim as its own nor reject it as an alien practice brought in by “Northern Invaders”. Thats because this is hard-coded into the Soath Asian psyche and no amount of burdeoning Middle Class values has been able to wash it out. Fooowaargh Barbara. Blinding post and a blinding blog!

      Why is there no rival product called Miss Dark and Beautiful to Miss Fair and Lovely (Proctor and Gamble)?

      My daughter is beautiful and I want another one.

    62. Siddharth — on 10th January, 2006 at 1:03 am  

      The Quraish reference (by Bikhair) being that Mohammad made female foeticide a crime (punishable by death) because his home boys in the tribe of Quraish were ardent practioners of it. Thats one Islamic Law that I’d not mind being introduced into common law.

    63. Bikhair — on 10th January, 2006 at 1:35 am  

      Siddharth,

      “Thats one Islamic Law that I’d not mind being introduced into common law.”

      Ofcourse youve got girls. You sound like a hardcore baby daddy. LOL cute. Though I dont want any girls, in Islam there are great rewards that parents get for raising a nice girl.

    64. Bikhair — on 10th January, 2006 at 1:38 am  

      Jay Singh,

      “Tax incentives for girl babies would be a good start, a good idea. But as Mirax says, teh terrifying thing is that it is in the middle classes that this seems to be worst.”

      Globalization hasnt been great for everone it seems. Atleast when everyone was dead broke your children were worth something. Now that people expect you to have loot this makes perfect sense that it affects the middle classes more then any other group. Paper (money) doesnt necessarily bring englightenment.

    65. Rohin — on 10th January, 2006 at 1:49 am  

      “The Quraish reference (by Bikhair) being that Mohammad made female foeticide a crime”

      Well, it is illegal in India too. Hang on, how could Mohammed have made female foeticide a crime? I guess you mean infanticide. Not trying to be pedantic, just clarifying. I’ve never heard of the Quraish before.

      On the subject of Fair & Lovely, Vikrant actually suggested I do a post on it at some stage. I’ve been amassing info and applying rival products to various parts of my face.

    66. Sunny — on 10th January, 2006 at 2:12 am  

      Excellent post as ever Rohin. I saw this on SM and wanted to post it too but you beat me to it with a better roundup.

      The problem in India is pretty bad…. I remember reading a book which touched on this issue fairly substantially, and it talked about how the issue was so big in Tamil Nadu.

      However I’d like to see if we can relate this to the UK too. I don’t doubt that some of those sexist practices have also migrated here… it’s more a problem of not having the relevant data I’d say (for here).

    67. sonia — on 10th January, 2006 at 5:00 am  

      yeah its a shitty situation. but

      i don’t see why its suprising that ‘educated’ women would prefer to have sons than daughters, if after all society has taught them that their value as a mother/wife depends on providing a male heir. that also explains why once a male heir is provided, it doesn’t matter if they then later have daughters. deep-seated issues like this take more than the ‘usual’ education i.e. go to school and get ‘top’ marks - and after all what is indian education about if not conformity at the end of the day. being able to question society appears to be sth that not many people do very easily.

    68. sonia — on 10th January, 2006 at 5:09 am  

      i agree with paul brown and his reasoning re: social construct.

      its so easy for people to have biologically deterministic ideas which influence their thinking about right and wrong. all im saying is perhaps it would be an idea to get inside the minds of these people - who clearly on some level- multiple actually- believe that males are superior to females and if you told them its a ‘social construct’ they’d wave you off too. And insist it was ‘natural’ to prefer boys over girls and then extrapolate a bit further.

      biological determinism has historically been used to bolster sex discrimination and forcing people to stick to gender roles.

    69. Sunny — on 10th January, 2006 at 6:48 am  

      True Sonia, I’d agree with you (and Paul).

      MI’m thinking social situations will change the environment. As girls become more scarce and thus more desired, then the fight over marriagable women will make the scales tip and therefore put power in the hands of the parents who have daughters. Then maybe they could call the shots. Hopefully. I want a big women orientated revolution in India. That would be fantastic :)

    70. Stud — on 10th January, 2006 at 7:11 am  

      http://www.vulturo.com/2005/07/selective-foeticide-very-hazy/

      The way I look at it, abortions are perfectly legal in India. There is technology available which helps determine the sex of the unborn child. I think every couple has a right to use the available technology to know something which is very personal to them. The government has no right to meddle in their affairs. And if a couple decides to abort a foetus on the basis of its gender or whatever, It should be completely up to them. I wonder why it is made out to be illegal.

    71. El Cid — on 10th January, 2006 at 7:13 am  

      There’s a lack of clarity on this thread.
      We’re talking about abortion here, not infanticide, and the criteria women/parents use when deciding to abort.
      How can you reconcile a woman’s right to abort with the bleeding Quarish?
      If it’s infanticide, it’s murder, it’s illegal, full stop, regardless of gender. We don’t need no religion to tell us that.
      But if we’re talking legal abortions, then how the fuck can you/should you impose criteria?
      As far as I can see, this is a cultural problem. And it’s great that there are progressive people who wish to see reverse this trait, as it’s self-evidently appalling.
      When Sunny says — I’d like to see if we can relate this to the UK too. I don’t doubt that some of those sexist practices have also migrated here — I assume you’re only talking about the British Asian population because I can envisage a future where career-minded and successful single women seek to have a baby through some kind of anonymous donation or artificial way and then go out of their way to have a girl (i.e. reject boys in the womb because they are boys). We shall see.

    72. El Cid — on 10th January, 2006 at 7:30 am  

      Great post nonetheless Rohin.

    73. NorahJones — on 10th January, 2006 at 7:34 am  

      It’s not illegal, it’s just immoral.

    74. El Cid — on 10th January, 2006 at 8:21 am  

      Sonia,
      Is your problem with biological determinism per se or with how it has been applied historically.
      The two are not the same, because while I may agree with you on the latter, I massively disagree with you on the former.

    75. El Cid — on 10th January, 2006 at 8:37 am  

      for emphasis, please change “may agree” to “do agree” in my second sentence

    76. Paul Brown — on 10th January, 2006 at 10:26 am  

      Regarding abortion, obviously i was defending the right to free abortion on demand at the current legal term of up to 24 weeks. What I would change is the nonsensical law that says a woman has to convince two doctors that it would adversely affect the mental or physical health of the woman and/or child to continue with the pregnancy.

      Secondly, regarding masculinity and femininity. There are still tribes to this day in Papua New guniea in which feminine men wear make-up and have to dance and parade themselves in front of women in order to find a wife. There are tribes throughout history in which strong, muscular women have gone hunting and been dominant. Where does that leave your feminine/masculine dichotomy?

      What is this piffle about the colour pink? since when did only women like pink? As a heterosexual man i have two pink items of clothing. Elvis Presley never looked better than when he was in that pink drape jacket.

      There are nearly as many male hairdressers than female, so again what are you driving at? Men are very often fashion designers, stylists, make-up artists; that doesn’t make them less male. Could a girl wanting to be a hairdresser and a boy wanting to be a racing driver be something to do with socialisation? Am i unnatural because I hate sport and love music and art? Am I less male?

    77. Siddharth — on 10th January, 2006 at 10:31 am  

      Am i unnatural because I hate sport and love music and art? Am I less male?

      Paul, I feel your pain. This question has haunted me all throughout my formative years and has kept me up many a night in my adulthood as well.

      Should I worry that everything I know about football can be written on the back of a postage stamp?

    78. Paul Brown — on 10th January, 2006 at 10:48 am  

      No, you shouldn’t sit up all night. You should be proud that you buck the trend and defy stereotypes.

    79. Siddharth — on 10th January, 2006 at 11:15 am  

      Thank you Paul bhai.

    80. sonia — on 10th January, 2006 at 11:18 am  

      erm el cid i have a problem with the kind of thinking underlying determinism full stop. whether that’s technological determinism, or some other form of determinism. why is that ? - (check out what determinism means..) because when people generally use deterministic arguments they’re avoiding thinking critically about what’s possibly going on. i daresay when i use the term biological determinism it gives people the impression i don’t want to accept biology, which isn’t the case at all. Being scientific about our understanding of the physical world is one thing, and its quite another to choose not to really deconstruct what’s going on by using a reductionist argument.

    81. Jai — on 10th January, 2006 at 11:43 am  

      Rohin,

      =>”Sadly, when it comes to female foeticide, Punjabis have carried the worst reputation for many years.”

      It’s a significantly more tragic situation than you may realise in terms of irony — the Sikh Gurus unequivocally condemned female foeticide to the extent that not only are such actions regarded as a truly horrific sin, but Sikhs are not even supposed to associate with people who indulge in such practices.

      I’m not trying to be pedantic here or attempting to deflect blame which may well be justified, but it would be good for some clarification on whether this abhorrent practice occurs predominantly amongst Sikh Punjabis or Hindu Punjabis (or both equally).

      Again, I must emphasise that this isn’t some kind of attempt to finger-point, it’s just important to clarify exactly which community is more afflicted with this issue.

      Don,

      =>”Maybe it is that the oppressed internalise their oppression. I don’t know if that is clear, I mean that you come to accept your own imputed lower worth.”

      You’ve absolutely hit the nail on the head. This is exactly what I’ve been thinking — and believe me, within Indian culture (especially in terms of the older generation), women really can be each other’s worst enemies. In some ways, it’s almost as though the mindset is “I had to suffer because of this misogyny and injustice, and I’m now going to make you suffer too.”

    82. sonia — on 10th January, 2006 at 11:55 am  

      sure el cid your call to disagree with me, most people do re: the determinism issue! :-) Everyone’s got a different perspective… {this is a huge oversimplification but basically my issue with deterministic thinking in general is the linear understanding of causality, as opposed to a complex intertwined model, and a very simplistic notion of ‘agency’)

      re: the abortion thing- i do think it it would be dodgy to impose condidtions just cause someone is ‘asian’ -after all that’s discriminatory in itself.

      and with regards to the wider issue in the subcontinent - well a woman should have the right to an abortion (which is what i think ) and if that’s the case - then that’s that. like el cid says - imposing criteria is a very dangerous road to go down.

      given all that, its interesting to have a discussion about the environment that this sort of thing arises from.
      i’ll also say that a lot of women in the sub-continent probably think well life is shitty for girls so best not to bring them into the world. perhaps not the best ‘solution’ but hey i doubt most of them are trying to play ‘ solver of the problem’ and probably thought they were making what they imagine to be the best decision in their circumstances…

      if we can’t understand why these women are in the position they are, why they think the way do, society runs the risk of imposing rules and reg’s that don’t sort the underlying problem and make life in the interim period more difficult for women, which compounds the problem further.

    83. El Cid — on 10th January, 2006 at 11:59 am  

      Tell me something I don’t already know Paul.
      Of course we should not have a predetermined idea about how a male/female should behave like, what work they should do etc. These are real political issues. Everything else is noise.
      I was questioning the ridiculous assertion that there were no gender differences at all and that any significant ones that did exist were purely a social construct.
      If only life, the universe, were so simple Paul.
      The truth of the matter — at least as far as I can see — is that biological differences and social conditioning overlay and interact in a way that is not fully understood yet.
      The extent to which you believe one version more than another is more likely to be a function of political conditioning than scientific enquiry.
      (Why for example does the mortality rate of men pick up a beat between the ages of 16-25 in most, if not all, known societies?)
      Since I see value in both that puts me in the middle, with the majority.
      I was trying to be lighthearted by referring to personal experiences. The pink, the hairdresser, yeah, yeah, was offset by other comments (e.g. playfighting with my daughter and taking her to football) , which you chose to ignore.
      You went for the obvious. That was very clever of you. Actually, no it wasn’t. Maybe I should put my guard up next time so that no chinks show. I find, though, that that generally leads to an intellectually dishonest and stifling debate.

      P.S. Interesting also that gay men like pink and that many male hairdressers are also gay.
      P.P.S. Sid: What’s wrong with liking sports, art and music, pray tell?

    84. El Cid — on 10th January, 2006 at 12:01 pm  

      Sonia,
      I think your position is very reasonable.

    85. Col. Mustafa — on 10th January, 2006 at 12:15 pm  

      Changing the view of people in these parts of the world is going to be quite hard.
      They see in there day to day life that they need a male in their family more than they need a female.

      I would kind of understand if relatively poor families resorted to this, as they can’t afford to have too many children therefore as disgusting as it may seem they kill off there unborn or born daughter.
      But i don’t understand why well off families are doing this, why can’t they just have daughters and sons.
      If they have no sons then fine, whats the problem, your well off anyway.

      Whats this urgency to have a son for, as if males dont cause enough trouble as it is.
      Slight generalisation there, but its true.
      Men are responsible for the most deaths in our history, most wars, blah blah.
      But then again men are also responsible for the most progression as well, even wars helped us progress, being a typical male as many say helped us to come so far.
      So i guess being reckless has its upside as well.

      Everyone loves tv right? Well nearly everyone, i know indians love thier soaps so why not implement real life issues into thier popular programming in an attempt to educate, instead of making shows about just infidelity and screaming alot.
      If its made right giving out a strong message, so feelings of guilt and remorse are shown, it can change views.
      Maybe not everyone, but its something.

    86. Siddharth — on 10th January, 2006 at 12:15 pm  

      P.P.S. Sid: What’s wrong with liking sports, art and music, pray tell?

      I think you’ve misunderstood the little exchange between Paul and myself. Either that or I’m shit at irony and must come across as being relentlessly contentious and a stickler for point scoring (“let it go Sid”).

    87. sonia — on 10th January, 2006 at 12:17 pm  

      way to go paul. and you’ve hit the core of the whole nonsense about gender stereotypes. if we look at it as a group identity that has been socially constructed ( as are other ‘group’ identities - e.g. englishness, or ‘muslim’ or whatever) and then re-inforced socially.. things make much more sense. this whole nonsense of what is camp and what isn’t, ( media stereotypes indeed..) what’s considered ‘effeminate’ and what isn’t. and just how are they re-inforced well we only have to understand a bit about the social psychology of groups and that ain’t very hard. peer pressure. oh..if you’re not a ‘man’ and not ‘masculine’ - why you must be ‘gay’ then..

      and on and on it goes. The interesting thing of course sociologically to examine is gender stereotypes in cyberspace. very interesting and useful for shedding light on how we construct gender as groups

    88. Rohin — on 10th January, 2006 at 12:33 pm  

      “What I would change is the nonsensical law that says a woman has to convince two doctors that it would adversely affect the mental or physical health of the woman and/or child to continue with the pregnancy.”

      Paul, in reality this is never an issue. I don’t know of any women who are denied abortions.

      I really don’t know what you lot are getting at with this whole male-female thing. I own not two but four pink items of clothing and I’m a dancer. This was never about saying men MUST be butch and women MUST be delicate. I was just saying that men are MORE LIKELY to be butch and women are MORE LIKELY to be feminine. I was defending my right to say that.

      I also said that if a man wants to be as feminine as possible, that’s his right and he should be free to do it.

      I think there’s been some miscommunication here.

      Vulturo, you make some interesting points. But the whole point of a government is to instigate reform and change. Would you have argued against banning sati? Surely if a bride wants to burn on her husband’s funeral pyre, it’s her right? Do you think dowry should be legalised?

      These are just two examples of archaic Indian practices that efforts have been made to curtail. Female foeticide is another and I think it’s justified that abortion on the sole basis of sex is illegal. It’s just hard to enforce.

      Jai - no I know you’re just trying to clarify the point and not pointing fingers. The figures normally talk on a state-basis. But this particular study looked at the major Indian religions and found no real trend. It was pretty much equal across religious boundaries. It’s, quite literally, an Indian trait.

    89. sonia — on 10th January, 2006 at 12:47 pm  

      hey rohin i dont think people meant YOU personally are responsible for all this masculine/femnine stereotypes ;-) its great that people can be individuals and do what they want regardless of what the ‘group’ will say or think. the more of that we have the less pressure the group has. me im talking abstract anyway.

    90. Siddharth — on 10th January, 2006 at 12:49 pm  

      We know that the Indian (South Asian) preference for boys is a throwback to feudal times when, in an agrarian economy, a boy would be far more useful as a farmhand and eventually, given the dominant role of men in society, a breadwinner who would look after the parents, as boys are expected to.

      Here’s an hypothetical:

      If Science were able to, at some point, identify the genome that defines whether a child will grow up to be gay and if this could be identified pre-natally, would it be justified for parents to abort the foetus if they considered that the kid would be subject to homophobia and all the “suffering” that that implies? Or would it be homophobic in its own right?

    91. El Cid — on 10th January, 2006 at 12:55 pm  

      Point taken Sid, my mistake.
      As for the rest: I give up.

    92. Col. Mustafa — on 10th January, 2006 at 12:55 pm  

      Comes down to the other question as to when were able to know much more about the child being born i.e whether more prone to certain diseases or mental disablility or physical, will more educated people dare i say start aborting there unborn because of that.

      Family having a child, but doctors say your child could suffer from severe mental incapabilities in the future.
      So family might abort, i cant speak for everyone.

      But then it leads to a sort of manmade natural selection process, like that film.
      I forget.

    93. Col. Mustafa — on 10th January, 2006 at 1:24 pm  

      They should make a bollywood film about a bunch of young progressive men and women.
      The film has its usual mix of dance routines and overdramatic dialogue, well not too much of it, but with a twist.
      It should focus on maybe four main characters 2 men 2 women who are lets say leading the way in progressive thinking in india.
      Alright i dont know where there story heads to, but it has to be inspirational so people like it. ill leave that to the film makers.
      In the end however it shows that the women in the film would never of been able to lead that life of ups and downs and happiness and blah blah had they been aborted.
      Its kind of very anti abortion, but that line of thought may be needed to stop this.
      I don’t think theres many ways around this, i am for abortion given certain circumstances but then im kind of not as well.
      If it leads to stupidity on the part of humans then how do we regulate.
      Its not a freaking toy that you don’t want, oh mum i don’t a girl baby, i want a boy baby.

      Its another human being that could have a life that you cannot predict.

    94. Paul Brown — on 10th January, 2006 at 1:37 pm  

      El Cid, it is no surprise that many male hairdressers are gay and that gay men often take more care over appearances - the feminine side of us is our creative side after all. the point about the fact that many more primitive societies have not had masculine men and feminine women does rather convincingly suggest that there is nothing natural about this dichotomy and that our gender is flexible and can be moulded and experimented with and altered (unlike our sex, which can’t be). I’m sorry but there is a very sound scientific argument to be made for the theory that, beyond the obvious physical differences, there are essentially no (natural) differences between men and women. Sorry I didn’t respond to your playing with your daughter and taking her to Highbury, I think it is very common for girls and women to go to football now, so that is a barrier that has already been broken down.

      Rohin - it is not strictly true that women never have problems getting approval, there are GP’s who - for religious reasons - regard themselves as conscientious objectors to abortion. Besides which, it is putting women through the ordeal of having to convince two doctors that they should be aloowed to do whatever they want with their bodies and their lives that I object to. That is why those of us who belong to Abortion Rights want free abortion on demand up to 24 weeks.

    95. Col. Mustafa — on 10th January, 2006 at 1:56 pm  

      “the feminine side of us is our creative side after all.”

      errm, no its not.
      Where did you get that from?

      So the masculine side of males just isn’t possible of being creative.

      On the one hand your saying theres no difference, on the other your saying men cant be creative while there being male, they must think like women to be creative.

      You know thats rubbish don’t you, as most creativity throughout history has come from the so called male mind.
      If you have proof otherwise let me know, apart from the odd few tribes out of most probably millions throughout pre history which have all been male dominated.
      Infact history is all male dominated, but then theres always that argument of its because men wiped out all traces of women ever doing anything.

      That is true, as in the famous Hatchepsut(i dunno how to spell her name) being the first female Pharoah of Egypt by taking over from the not yet adult son Thutmosis 3.
      She was Pharoah for quite a while and brought new materials to Egypt but couldn’t be a fighting king as most were back in those days.
      War was always round the corner, so she had to sort that out too by using her brain.
      Howver after her reign none other than her own son made sure that her name would never known as a Pharoah of egypt and went to great lengths to get rid of it.

      But she never came up with the concept of government or religion or architecture or science or astrology or astronomy in the land of Ancient Egypt.
      It was pretty much a male dominated thing, but is that not creativity?

      Or are you trying to say that all these men had somehow tapped into their feminine side to become more creative.
      I don’t see how the two have anything to do with each other.

    96. Paul Brown — on 10th January, 2006 at 2:10 pm  

      Col Mustafa - no, no, no, you’ve completely misunderstood. I didn’t say that in order to be creative, men had to be less male; you are confusing gender with sex. i didn’t say it was our FEMALE side that was creative, I said it was our FEMININE side. There is a huge chasm between these two things. Men can be feminine and masculine in equal measure, or more feminine, or more masculine. to be feminine is not to be less male. there is no natural correlation between manhood and masculinity, that’s my point. Feminine traits are generally regarded as being empathetic, emotional, sensitive, artisitc, creative, whereas masculine traits are associated with competitiveness, practicality, aggression, logic, etc. These traits can make up any one individual regardless of their genitalia.

    97. Col. Mustafa — on 10th January, 2006 at 2:28 pm  

      So there is a difference between males and females then?
      These personality traits weren’t there in the beginning now were they?
      Are you telling me that male homo erectus was born with these traits to be competitive or more aggressive?

      Or did these traits evolve through time as new challenges and circumstances and environment changed.

      How did these traits come about in the first place, i.e to be aggressive, or logical, or sensitive or artistic.

      They are a product of human or other species of human going through different stages of life.

      The only reason our brains grew to the size they are is due to humans having to figure out how to live in the wild and not on in the trees as they did before, and figure out new ways of surviving lion attacks and what not.
      Thats when they figured out through the course of many years how to make wooden spear like things to kill predators.
      Traits might be evident in a male or female being born today, but that doesn’t mean that thier inherent traits.

      Which means that thier are no feminine traits or masculine traits.
      I have to go, bb in abit.

    98. Paul Brown — on 10th January, 2006 at 2:49 pm  

      You still don’t get it, man. Is it me or is it you? Let me be as concise as possible. Men are not naturally masculine and women are not naturally feminine. These are social constructs that have developed over time. Many people, including Engels in the Origins of the Family, Private Property and The State, beleive that primitive society was matriarchal, and women had many sexual partners so that men didn’t know which children were theirs. It was supposedly with the advent of private property that there was a paradigm shift in sex relations, leading to a patriarchal society. Since then, men and women have been socialised differently, with men encouraged to be breadwinners, hunters, leaders, and women socialised towards a passive, caring, home-making role.

      Feminine has nothing to do with female, and masculine has nothing to do with male. Femininity and masculinity exist independently of male-ness and female-ness. Therefore, when I said that being creative was a FEMININE trait, I was in no way saying it was a FEMALE trait, and when I said that competitiveness was a MASCULINE trait, I didn’t suggest for a moment it was a MALE trait. The reason why many creative men are gay or sexually ambiguous is because they are the men that have not slotted neatly in to their assigned role; they are men that have broken the mould of the dominant culture.

    99. Rohin — on 10th January, 2006 at 3:51 pm  

      So how about this?

      Chimps, who share 99% of our DNA are smart animals. Males are masculine and females are feminine. Why is that? Is it because of a social construct? No - it’s GENES. To argue that men and women are identical at birth is not only wrong, it’s daft. Men grow up in different ways to women.

      Men, as I’ve said repeatedly, aren’t ALWAYS masculine, but more often than not they ARE. Women aren’t ALWAYS feminine, but more often than not they ARE.

      Being creative is not a feminine trait, where do you get this from? I understand you’ve separated feminine from female, fine. But creativity has no bias towards masculinity of femininity. It’s independent. I’m not sure where you get your ideas from, but I’ve never heard anything like them before.

      You can’t ignore genetics. You can try however you like to bring up a boy in a feminine way, but if his genes are telling his testes to pump out testosterone, he will be an aggressive, butch, MASCULINE man. Your concept of men and women being exactly the same is complete poppycock, sorry.

      About GPs objecting - yes I know of GPs and medical students who have said (not sure if they do it in reality, or if it’s all talk) that they won’t ever approve abortion and some even say they won’t give patients contraception. But in the UK you don’t have to go via your GP in order to get an abortion.

    100. sonia — on 10th January, 2006 at 3:52 pm  

      and what i would say is that what is considered feminine is made meaninful through social interaction and learning

    101. sonia — on 10th January, 2006 at 3:53 pm  

      all my point is that im not in favour of ideas of what constitutes masculine or feminine characteristics, obviously its relative and changes over time.

    102. sonia — on 10th January, 2006 at 3:54 pm  

      er post above should have what is considered masculine and feminine is made meaningful…

    103. sonia — on 10th January, 2006 at 3:55 pm  

      dear me i do seem to like missing words today. must be because im asleep. should have..said..

    104. Paul Brown — on 10th January, 2006 at 4:11 pm  

      Rohin, let’s describe some creative areas of work - hairstylists, fashion designers, artists, make-up artist -now are they associated with femininity or masculinity?Of course art and flair and creativity have traditionally been associated with femininity.

      However, if bringing up a son in any way is inevitably going to result in a masculine, butch, aggressive man, why is it that these days so many men are none of the above? Why are we seeing the much discussed feminisation of society? Sorry to be awkward, but no man I know is butch or aggressive. People buck these trends and defy such stereotypes all the time, and the numbers of people doing so increase all the time. I spend an enormous amount of time with female friends and can see no discernible difference between us. I don’t regard myself as being effeminate in any way, but the gender lines are far more blurred than you acknowledge.

      I am not programmed by genetics to do or be anything, because i have something called free will - unfettered free will. That means i always make my own decisions regardless of upbringing or genetics. My genes never told me to be an aggressive, competitive, macho man, they must have been faulty or something. The same applies to millions of other men.

    105. Rohin — on 10th January, 2006 at 4:24 pm  

      You’ve taken a highly skewed look at creativity there. Creativity is associated with femininity? What complete nonsense!

      Music?
      Film?
      Warfare?
      TV?
      Writing?

      Are Speilberg, Tarantino, Kubrick and Ford Coppola feminine? Or would you say they’re not creative?

      I could reel off a hundred macho, masculine rock stars, are they not creative?

      Creativity isn’t a small box of feminine pursuits. Bill Gates is creative. Dick Fosbury (who changed the technique of high-jump) was creative. Da Vinci was creative. Montgomery was creative. Samurai swordsmiths were creative. Einstein was creative. Tennyson was creative.

      But they’re all feminine, right? Come on! You’re talking garbage. But you have no reverse gear, so once you’ve said something, you refuse to accept you may be incorrect.

      Haha, you think free will is overriding? Good grief, talk to some geneticists. How come no one can free will themselves into being taller, or having different colour eyes? Same way no one ‘decides’ to be gay or straight.

      OK you want to talk about the mind.

      Schizophrenia runs in families, someone is far more likely to develop if they have a twin who has it. Most psychiatric disorders run in families. Genes.

      How about intelligence? A polygenic trait that we inherit from our parents. Is it so hard to understand that we also inherit other personality traits?

      Read about identical twin studies - people separated at birth, but yet go on to have remarkably similar lives, all because our personalities are hard-wired into our genes. Of course nurture plays a role. A criminal’s son won’t be a criminal unless automatically. If he isn’t exposed to the same influences as his father, he may turn out just fine.

      You don’t know a SINGLE butch or aggressive man? What kind of world do you live in?! Do you ever go to the pub? Go around telling all the men they’re feminine and you’ll soon find someone aggressive.

      You’ve got a completely warped interpretation of society. Women are from Venus, Men are from Mars. BUT, as Jai said, we have more in common than divides us. I have lots of female friends like you and behave no different with them as I do with guys (to an extent!) But that doens’t meant we’re the same, that’s insane.

    106. Rohin — on 10th January, 2006 at 4:28 pm  

      To answer your question about why are less men as macho as they used to be:

      It has become more acceptable to behave as you wish, in the past men who weren’t tough guys may have felt pressure to hide their feminine side. Now it’s desirable. There have always been a proportion of effeminate men and butch women, now they’re just more free to be themselves. Society’s got more inclusive. It’s not that these feminine men have appeared from nowhere.

      There has been a slight increase though. There are thousands of oestrogen receptor agonists in the atmosphere (industrial chemicals) - sperm counts are going down worldwide and the effects of oestrogen in men are increasing.

    107. Paul Brown — on 10th January, 2006 at 4:36 pm  

      I’m not talking garbage and I’m not insane. I see we’ve reached the level of personal insults now. Free will and emotional intelligence allows one to question everything that we are brought up with - i did not agree, for example, with any of my parents’ values or any of the values i was taught at school, because i had the ability to question all of it, analyse it, and come to an origianl conclusion about what my own values were. The fact that I’m not a racist, sexist, homophobic Protestant proves that I possess the free will to question everything I was bombarded with during my upbringing. A hereditary illness is completely different and totally irrelevant. I was also told by the dominant culture of my society to have the follwoing values: respect your elders, beleive in the sanctity of the family, your role in life is to get married and have children; heterosexuality is the norm; men are masculine, women are feminine; men like football, women like babies; men are more aggressive and violent; women are more emotional; i could go on. I had dismissed all of this long before I reached school leaving age - Why? Because of free will. Because nothing was predetermined. Because my genes weren’t telling me to subscribe to the above nonsense. It only takes a scrap of emotional intelligence for an individual to question everything and come to their own conclusions. I probably don’t go to the same boozers as you do.

      So, why are millions of men failing to live up to your bizarre little fantasy about competitive, aggressive, macho men?

    108. Paul Brown — on 10th January, 2006 at 4:41 pm  

      i hadn’t read your last entry before typing that question. I see you are going down the Michael Buerk route. He also beleives it is something physical/material/genetic that makes the masculine/feminine dichotomy work. however, you never responded to my point about tribal societies that are characterised by feminine men and masculine women. They are not influenced by industrial pollutants or the mass media. I watched a fascinating documentary as part of a Sociology of Gender class in which the aforementioned tribe in Papua New guinea consisted of make-up wearing feminine men - - with no exceptions, that’s how men were in that society, who were certainly living closer to a state of nature than you and I. So what is the story with their genetics?

    109. Paul Brown — on 10th January, 2006 at 4:44 pm  

      I find it disturbing that you think my outlook on life and my lifestyle are the product of industrial chemicals in the air. And I’m the one who’s insane?!

    110. Paul Brown — on 10th January, 2006 at 5:01 pm  

      Sorry to be like a record that’s stuck, but I just can’t let this go. It is so glaringly obvious that there are social reasons to do with our changed culture that has led to the increaseing femininity of men, which is largely to do with our move away from a society based on hard physical work by men and child-rearing by women, that I can’t beleive it even has to be stated. The idea that rather than being about culture and socialisation but about oestrogen is so patently absurd it is almost beyond belief. Your assertion that a boy brought up in a feminine household with feminine values and culture will still end up being macho and aggressive because of his genes is defied by every experiment ever done in the field. It is absolutely untrue. right, that’s me finished, you’ll all be relieved to hear.

    111. Col. Mustafa — on 10th January, 2006 at 5:27 pm  

      Research on the biological basis of sex difference has been led by women.
      A few names include neuroscientists Raquel Gur, Melissa Hines, Doreen Kimura, Jerre Levy, Martha McClintock to name a few.
      Why are people so afraid of the idea that the minds of men and women are not identical in every aspect?
      The fear is that different implies unequal.
      Nothing could be farther from biological thinking.
      Geneticists have found that the diversity of the DNA in the mitochondria of different people (which men and women inherit from their mothers) is far greater than the diversity of the DNA in the Y chromosomes( which men inherit from thier fathers)
      This suggests that for tens of millenia men had far greater variation in their reproductive success than women.
      Some men had many descendants and others had none(leaving us with a small number of Y chromosomes), whereas a large number of women had a more evenly distributed number of descendants(leaving us with a large number of distinct mitochondrial genomes)
      They are precisely the conditions that cause sexual selection, in which males compete for opportunities to mate and females choose the best quality males.

      You cannot dismiss the biological issue in gender politics as i would say both environment and genes hav a part to play.
      Men and women aren’t completely the same, and just because in this day and age we have more males that are more open minded and feel as though theres no difference, its just how you grow up are wrong.

    112. Jai — on 10th January, 2006 at 5:37 pm  

      I’m going to have to agree with Rohin and Col. Mustafa. With all due respect Paul, you are quite wildly off the mark.

      =>”assertion that a boy brought up in a feminine household with feminine values and culture will still end up being macho and aggressive because of his genes is defied by every experiment ever done in the field.”

      Not “macho & aggressive”, but certainly more masculine and, broadly-speaking, with a more assertive “base level” than women on average, although the latter will be amplified or diminished depending on the individual’s life-experiences, environment, and personality.

      From a medical perspective, are you aware of the staggeringly different levels of testosterone in male and female bodies ? Or the impact of testosterone on male psychology and neurology ?

      This isn’t just speculation — we’re talking about hard science here.

    113. Col. Mustafa — on 10th January, 2006 at 5:42 pm  

      It comes down to the nature/ nurture issue all over again.
      We are not blank slates when were born paul; test have carried out to prove this.
      Genes have a big part to play as well.
      Those genes have been passed down.

      Gender feminism is an empirical doctrine committed to three claims about human nature.
      The first is that the differences between men and women have nothing to do with biology but are socially constructed in their entirety.
      The second is that humans possess a single motive - power- and that social life can understood only in terms of how it is exercised.
      The third is that human interactions arise not from the motives of people dealing with each other as individuals but from the motives of groups dealing with each other, in this case the male gender dominating the female gender.
      As were already seeing, neuroscience, genetics, psychology and ethnography are documenting sex differences that almost certainly originate in human biology.

    114. sonia — on 10th January, 2006 at 5:52 pm  

      in that case i must be a man.

    115. sonia — on 10th January, 2006 at 5:57 pm  

      wildly off the mark. more like you didnt really understand what was said…

    116. Jai — on 10th January, 2006 at 6:02 pm  

      I understood exactly what was said, Sonia. My point was that it’s misguided to dismiss or underestimate the impact of genetics and sex hormones on this issue. I didn’t say that environmental factors don’t play a part as well, but you cannot dismiss or ignore biological hard-wiring.

    117. Col. Mustafa — on 10th January, 2006 at 6:06 pm  

      Plus creativity has nothing to do with the a feminine side or a masculine.
      Creativity has a very wide meaning, but i can assure you that your feminine or masculine side doesn’t play much of a part in it.

    118. Jai — on 10th January, 2006 at 6:14 pm  

      Exactly, Col Mustafa. It’s not as though there’s a “male” or “female” side of the brain which triggers such traits.

      Regardless of cultural colloqualisms, besides basic outer masculine and feminine “manners” and physical gestures (both of which are driven by hormones and brain neurology, although - as mentioned - environment and personality play their parts too), traits such as creativity etc are not inherently masculine or feminine.

      In such matters, there are only positive & negative traits — we don’t literally have a “masculine” and “feminine” side.

    119. El Cid — on 10th January, 2006 at 6:17 pm  

      And of course Paul there’s no link between crime and absent fathers.
      No reason why the mortality rate of men — I repeat — flips up in the late teenage years in every society known to anthropologists.
      Nothing biological to explain why girls do better at coursework-based GCSEs while boys did better at the cram-it-all-in-at-the-last-minute-for-an-exam o levels that they replaced.
      Nothing biological to explain why men tend to take greater risks or to explain why women pay lower premiums on their driving insurance.
      It’s all just laddish culture is it?
      And there is nothing at all flowing from the fact that men have bigger brains (I’m highlighting an actual physical difference between men and women, in addition to the many genetic points highlighted by Rohin and Colonel, not playing up male intelligence).
      Your eunuch’s agenda would condemn a whole generation of boys it seems to me. Thankfully, most women — let alone men — I’m sure, disagree with you.

    120. Col. Mustafa — on 10th January, 2006 at 6:37 pm  

      “It is so glaringly obvious that there are social reasons to do with our changed culture that has led to the increaseing femininity of men, which is largely to do with our move away from a society based on hard physical work by men and child-rearing by women, that I can’t beleive it even has to be stated.”

      Whose culture are you referring to? Im assuming european.
      So going by our femenine side is after all our creative side are saying that peoples before us were less creative.
      Id have to disagree as i would say theres been a fair amount creativity of all humans in whatever age and social circumstances they may of been in.
      Sure environment had a big part to play in all these peoples lives but not in a way to bring out your feminine side.
      Such as religion. Religion itself has created so much without knowing, by setting rules and policies and implementing ideas of creation and god, it had the opposite effect in many a human.
      They ask questions, so on and so on creativeness flows in the right person.

    121. raz — on 10th January, 2006 at 7:40 pm  

      “Your eunuch’s agenda” LOL :) Is Paul Brown really a hijra pretending to be a white man?!

    122. Rohin — on 10th January, 2006 at 10:00 pm  

      “This isn’t just speculation — we’re talking about hard science here.”

      Don’t worry Jai, Paul’s clear he wants to ignore any scientific points mentioned. I gave the specific example of testosterone too. I can inject any girl with it and she’ll become more manly - physically and mentally. Boys have higher testosterone and women have higher oestrogen. But this is conveniently side-stepped by Paul.

      I give up, he’s determined to misunderstand whatever I say and refuse to acknowledge any error. I’m only approaching this from a scientific standpoint, I have no hidden agenda.

      And just for the record, calling what someone says “garbage”, “insane” or “nonsense” is not a personal insult at all.

      By the way, this post got linked to by Clinical Cases Blog as part of the Grand Rounds, the weekly roundup of the best medical blog posts around. Thanks!

    123. raz — on 10th January, 2006 at 10:51 pm  

      Just remember who gave you an incentive to post it Rohin :)

    124. Rohin — on 10th January, 2006 at 11:10 pm  

      The BBC? The Lancet? I have no idea what you mean! :p

    125. Old Pickler — on 11th January, 2006 at 1:15 am  

      Paul’s right.

      We are no longer prisoners of our genes. The West is beginning to grasp this. Non-Western cultures will take longer, but perhaps they will get there in the end.

    126. Rohin — on 11th January, 2006 at 1:30 am  

      This hasn’t got anything to do with the West at all. In fact, the examples Paul liked to cite of communities with more dominant females have all been NON-Western. Women’s RIGHTS are better in the West (on the whole - there are exceptions on both sides), but that’s entirely unrelated to genes. The comments people are objecting to from Paul are that men and women are completely identical in every way.

      It’s irrelevant to try and bring ‘The West’ vs. ‘The Third World’ into this.

      I never realised so many people have such a poor grasp of what genetics is.

    127. Old Pickler — on 11th January, 2006 at 1:41 am  

      Cultural stereotypes are so deeply absorbed that it is difficult to separate what is learnt from what is innate. And it is in the West that those stereotypes have been transcended.

      Basically, whenever men say that women are “naturally” this and men are “naturally” that i suspect an ulterior motive. And with good reason. Just as, with good reason blacks suspect whites who say that blacks are “naturally” good at manual work.

    128. Rohin — on 11th January, 2006 at 2:14 am  

      Well, if I said black people are MORE LIKELY to be good at sprinting, would I be wrong? No, the African bone structure and muscle bulk and type are quite different to the average…Bengali, let’s say!

      Who was complaining about political correctness the other day?

      I had a raging debate about this not long ago. In medicine, different races are treated quite differently. We test all black people for sickle cell anaemia - it’s very rare for white people to have it. Asians have higher rates of diabetes and heart attack. White people have more rheumatological disease.

      Men and women are different.
      Black and white people are different.

      When have we become afraid to say this?

      As long as none of these statements imply one race or sex is superior to another, where’s the harm in being matter-of-fact about our different genetic identities?

      You’re mixing things up. Women being made to feel inferior is cultural. If what you say is true, then why would deeply homophobic and intolerant countries have so many gay men? They’re bucking a stereotype - e.g. gay Arabs. The ideal Arab stereotype is a manly, tall fella.

      How would the most decorated policewoman in Asia have come from a country like India, where women are not always treated with the same respect as men? She bucked a stereotype.

      Stereotypes are transcended everywhere, but the West is simply more free for these people to be open about their alternate lifestyles. Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan - all have had female leaders. America hasn’t.

      “Basically, whenever men say that women are “naturally” this and men are “naturally” that i suspect an ulterior motive.”
      Would you be more comfortable hearing it from a woman?

    129. Rohin — on 11th January, 2006 at 2:25 am  

      Here’re some links: http://kenya.com/runners.html
      http://www.salon.com/news/sports/olympics/2000/09/23/race/index.html

      The most naturally gifted person won’t become Olympic champion without drive and resources.

      Likewise, the most dedicated and hard working person won’t become Olympic champion unless they have sufficient natural (i.e. genetic) ability.

      Genes are important. They’re not the be all and end all, but they are our guidelines. Where we end up is down to our environment and to us. But we all are guided by our genes.

    130. Old Pickler — on 11th January, 2006 at 2:58 am  

      why would deeply homophobic and intolerant countries have so many gay men?

      Because those cultures are so backward that they keep women locked up. Faut de mieux.

    131. Rohin — on 11th January, 2006 at 4:08 am  

      We really have to go to bed at normal times.

      So are you now claiming that people become gay when girls aren’t around? That’s not what most gay people tell me. I don’t actually know categorically, nor does anyone really, why some people are homosexual and others hetero, so perhaps it’s a bad example. What I’m saying is that the point Paul brought up - men and women having no natural differences - is not true and neither is your insinuation that all differences that do occur between the sexes are due to culture.

      Assuming Britain is one of the countries where men and women are treated equally by society, are you and I identical? No - but are ALL those differences due to British culture and our upbringing? Of course not, they’re due to British culture, our upbringing and. our. genes!

    132. Vikrant — on 11th January, 2006 at 7:28 am  

      Doncha guys ever sleep?

    133. El Cid — on 11th January, 2006 at 10:01 am  

      Darn. I’m wearing my pink and purple shirt for the second time this week!
      As I said earlier, this is a great book, very balanced and accessible to non-scientists like myself: Language of Genes

    134. Paul Brown — on 11th January, 2006 at 10:39 am  

      Rohin, it is so easy to use genetics as an excuse for all sorts of things “I’m genetically lazy, so I can’t get out of bed; I’m genetically fat so there’s no point trying to lose weight”; people have started to use that as an excuse for all manner of things, and it conveniently ignores the fact that we have free will. I remember a homophobic psychiatrist claiming on a current affairs programme that there must be a gay gene because “I don’t see anybody choosing that lifestyle”!!!! As though there could possibly be a gay gene. Every leading gay rights campaigner and writer/researcher in the field of sexuality would dispute this primitive nonsense. Pete Tatchell, arguably the country’s leading gay rights leader, recently wrote about Malcolm X’s bisexuality and suggested his relationship with his mother was probably the main contributory factor. Biographers of Oscar Wilde and EM Forster have also convincingly described the way their upbringings led directly to their homosexuality. Homosexuality is often easily traceable to socialisation. The same of course goes for hetereosexuality. Sexuality has often been linked to the fact that sexuality tends to develop and form during adolescence and once somebody has become something at that age it is very difficult to change - which is why so few paedophiles manage to rahabilitate. Stephen Fry suggested his sexuality was linked to being sent to Eton at a very young age and remaining in an all-male environment until he was about 21. If you disagree, take it up with him.

      Did you see the film Capturing The Friedmans? A paedophile, who had his first sexual experieces with his brother, had apparently abused his sons, who in turn all became gay men themselves. what a coincidence of genetics.

      Rohin, please answer the question as to why societies that are so very close to a primitive state of nature remian matriarchal with feminine men? Just answer the bloody question in relation to genes and testosterone. Also explain what is wrong with my genes/testosterone, or the genes and oestrogen of the many masculine lesbian women i work with on a day-to-day basis? How are all these dykes (their word, not mine) managing to defy the genetic odds and cheat their oestrogen? Why am I overcoming my testosterone?

      I am not going to make a blanket statement that there are literally no differences whatsoever between men and women, i was using the basic sociological thesis that “beyond obvioous physical differences, there are essentially no differences between men and women” as a starting point, becuase it is a thesis i am very familiar with; what i will say is that we are not slaves to genes, we are not becoming more feminine because of industrial chemicals; and we have free will; so everything is to play for - we are not programmed by either upbringing or by genetics. As i said earlier, I seem to be defying both, as do millions of other people.

    135. Paul Brown — on 11th January, 2006 at 10:42 am  

      PS Regarding Tatchell, he recently stated that his role as a young carer due to his mother’s illnes was possibly the main contributory factor in shaping his sexuality, so again, gay people with an understanding of psychololgy never go along with your genetics/”people don’t choose to become gay” piffle. Sexuality is a broad church, and it is flexible, and can be changed and played around with. Gay men decide in their 30s or 40s to have a sexual relationship with a woman and have children; straight women decide to experiment with lesbianism. These things are flexible.

    136. sonia — on 11th January, 2006 at 12:45 pm  

      hey vikrant, maybe they sleep when you’re awake. why do you assume everyone must all conform to the same hours? *OH WAIT!* I FORGOT! our bodies tell us, so if our bodies are telling us sth different, why maybe we’re not the same species..

      maybe they’re aliens in disguise then.

    137. sonia — on 11th January, 2006 at 12:55 pm  

      anyway i think people misunderstood what i said. or maybe i didnt say enough.

      i would have thought it obvious that obviously we’re not spirits floating around in the ether, but are ‘biological’ creatures so its pretty obvious biology is significant. but that still doesn’t mean and over and above that we can explain behaviour. after all - saying yeah we’re animals, we’re like this physically isn’t explaining the whole gamut of human behaviour is it.

      i mean let’s not forget the big issue here - (which is what i actually had in mind - ) which is that we still cannot explain how conciousness arises from the brain’s chemistry -( the mind/body debate yes) i.e. we’ve not made much progress with the age old question of how the mind arises from the body since our old friend descartes. since a pretty big conceptual leap would be required that’s not much of a surprise.

      however - i think there’s some very interesting stuff happening recently with cognitive science - at the interface of cybernetic theories and artificial intelligence with cognitive psychology and psychobiology etc. and it’d be a good idea to keep our eyes peeled.

    138. sonia — on 11th January, 2006 at 12:58 pm  

      besides - back to slightly more established lines of thinking - if we’re going to go into the nature vs. nurture debate that might be more useful than saying things about people being ‘wildly off the mark’ . i mean please - that implies that the nature vs. nurture debate has either been resolved, or that one didn’t know such a debate existed.

      in any case, i think its silly to think in terms of either or, obviously we’re a product of our biology, our genes, which interestingly, program us to learn - and where do we learn from if not our social environments.

    139. Paul Brown — on 11th January, 2006 at 1:01 pm  

      Regarding athletes and running ability etc, a lot of the physical shape and size of our bodies is due to how we have evolved due to diet and wealth. Glaswegians are smaller than people in the Home Counties because they are the poorest and richest poles of our society. If India became the wealthiest country in the world and lived in abundance it wouldn’t take long for Indian shape and size to change with passing generations.

      Regaring twins, it isn’t true that twins always turn out to be remarkably similar. Off the top of my head, I can’t think of a single thing Tracey Emin has in common with her twin brother.

      RE: the suggestion that Britain treats men and women the same. It does nothing of the sort. They play with different toys, are treated differently by parents and the media; and are portrayed in completely different ways by our culture. Since the anti-feminist backlash of the 1980s, we have seen a strong cultural attack on women’s emancipation. Remember the success of Fatal Attraction, a film in which the career women is a psychopath and the housewife is an angel? And it ends with the happy housewife shooting the career women in the heart. These are the kind of images girls my age grew up with. Now they’ve got Sex And The City, in which a bunch of women who bizarrely have no male friends sit around talking about men, men, men, how their lives revolve around men, they just want a man, they define themselves entirely in relation to men. Or, even worse, Bridget Jones! There is no equality in the treatment of sexes in our society.

    140. Paul Brown — on 11th January, 2006 at 1:04 pm  

      Brilliantly put, Sonia. A rational and illuminating post. However, Rohin will probably think it is very female and feminine of you to be balanced and calm when others are getting competitive and aggressive. It is obviously a result of your genetic programming!

    141. sonia — on 11th January, 2006 at 1:13 pm  

      ” You’ve taken a highly skewed look at creativity there. Creativity is associated with femininity? What complete nonsense!”

      i agree its nonsense - precisely the sort of thinking that arises when people insist on tying personality to gender characteristics and biology. social culture has set up an understanding of masculinity and femininity based on claims that they are due to the physical ( biological) differences - that as someone - el cid i think who said it quite well in one of his posts - which we really don’t know very much about.

      for ages people thought of course men are cleverer than women cos their brains are bigger.

      then you have this issue well a womans brain on the left does this or that, therefore whatever function that bit of the brain does - gets turned into what is considered socially be suitable for females - and over time that gets turned into what is considered feminine.

      obviously understanding the brain is key. And biology in general.

      But that’s still separate from what understanding what laymen think about science, and how they construct a meaningful idea about the differences between men and women; and how that gets turned into a social reality (where myth and folklore and the stories we tell each other about ourselves and the other sex etc. interact) to produce ideas of what’s suitable for men and women and concepts of masculine and feminine.

    142. Paul Brown — on 11th January, 2006 at 1:24 pm  

      I see i will have to explain the whole femininty/creativity thing. When talking about creativity and flair etc and associating it with femininity, I was responding to claims about someone’s daughter wanting to be a hairstylist. The jobs that I was bracketing under the ‘creative’ heading - jobs in hair, the arts, fashion, media - are disproportionately jobs done by women and gay men. There is a definite link between femininity and creative roles such as these. The media and the arts and the fashion industry have such an enormously disproportionate level of gay men in them it would be churlish to ignore that trend. Conversely, when I have done physical work or when i look at engineering trades etc, i see an overwhelmingly masculine, heterosexual male culture. this cannot be ignored. It can be no surprise to people to learn that femmine men aren’t often gaffers on building sites or that FHM-reading lads don’t make up the bulk of make-up artists.

      I think what others have done is taken the word ‘creative’ and widened it beyond the scope I intended in that particular post, talking about being creative in war, or saying that Quentin Tarantino isn’t gay, etc. I still beleive that there is a correlation between the kinds of creative employment i was referring to and feminine traits.

    143. El Cid — on 11th January, 2006 at 1:39 pm  

      Let’s be clear about this Paul, Rohin is not the one who is arguing that the way we are, the way we behave, etc, is purely the function of one thing. He is not coming down decisively on the side of the nature/nurture debate — YOU ARE.
      Funny enough, I don’t have a real problem with Sonia’s position. I can see where she is coming from. She is a lot more flexible than you. It’s your misguided arrogance and teenage-like certainty that people are taking exception to.
      The way you use your examples to hammer home your points make you look ridiculous.
      For example, take the Glasgow and height observation.
      The average height of Spaniards has certainly improved in in the last 30 years since the country’s transformation from relatively rich yet third world country to world’s eighth-biggest economy. So diet is certainly very important.
      But why hasn’t Scotland’s to a smiliar extent?
      And the last time I looked, the average height of Somalians was the same as Australians.
      Somalians, Iranians, Mexicans, etc are also on average taller than the exceedingly rich Japanese. Just fancy that!

      You sound like you have an agenda.

    144. El Cid — on 11th January, 2006 at 1:40 pm  

      Your definition of “creative” is also very narrow to say the least.

    145. El Cid — on 11th January, 2006 at 1:45 pm  

      I also never realised that there was another underlying agenda to the “Ban Clause 28″ campaign which is to spread homosexuality in schools rather than to simply help stop homophobic bullying.

    146. El Cid — on 11th January, 2006 at 1:48 pm  

      P.S. I went to a boys school and was brought up completely by women.

      Right, this is definitely my last contrib on this thread.

    147. Paul Brown — on 11th January, 2006 at 1:49 pm  

      I am certainly not taking a side in the nature/nurture debate. I have said that nature, nurture, and FREE WILL, combine. However, I admit that I have more respect for the key Enlightenment thinkers that believed in the power of free will - Hegel in particular - and for the many thinkers and researchers that have described socialisation, and the power of sexist media and gender divisions etc, than I do for people who have great faith in the idea of us being gnetically programmed.

      Examples I’ve used, such as matriarchal tribes; the experiment where people are given the same baby - first being told it is a boy, then being told it is a girl - and recording their different responses; the role of upbringing and environment on sexuality; are not ridiculous, they are entirely valid and reasonable.

      Rohin said that the feminisation of society was the result of increased oestrogen in our bodies due to industrial chemicals, and I’M ridiculous.

    148. Paul Brown — on 11th January, 2006 at 1:51 pm  

      My definition of creative isn’t that it only applies to those things I mentioned. They are recognised as CREATIVE JOBS/INDUSTRIES. I didn’t say creativity began and ended there.

    149. BevanKieran — on 11th January, 2006 at 2:02 pm  

      The salon article, with regard to race and sportm does contains some incredibly broad stereotypes.

      Where flexibility is key, East Asians shine, such as in diving and some skating and gymnastic events — hence the term “Chinese splits.” Just watch the Olympics and you will see: There are no prominent Chinese sprinters, no runners of any note until you get to the longest distances and no jumpers, but the Chinese flourish in diving and gymnastics. Is this totally a product of cultural factors? It’s extremely doubtful.

      Would Entine ascribe a genetic basis to “Driving while Asian”, “Italian Sausage”, or “Greek Sex”. Why impart flexibility especially to the “Chinese race”. The term “Russian, Japanese, British (Beth Tweddell) split” could equally apply.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_common_phrases_based_on_stereotypes.

      If you state that genetics are responsible for men’s balls then that of course is a truism. If you seek to invoke the same hard-wired genetic argument for Kenyan’s supremacy in middle-distance running, then the fact that in the last two olympics Kenyan have lost 800m to a German and Russian(Yuriy Borzakovskiy) , then these results put a dampener with regards to the Kenyans myth of infallibility over middle distance racing.

      Beyond running (correctly or incorrectly), I don’t think genetics can be invoked for sport and certainly not in the wholehearted way Entine does. For example, Entine on football:
      Kenya, the most populous and affluent country in East Africa, is regularly trounced by far smaller countries in West Africa. In fact, there is no such thing as an East African soccer powerhouse…(Difference later implied to be down to genetics strong, muscular West Africans against meek East Africans.).
      Bullshit. Add the rankings of the top 5 teams in areas designated as Western Europe and Eastern Europe and you will find a difference in the scores of 32(W.E) to 96.
      Is this attributable to genetic differences in the populations of East and West Europe? Have countries like Germany, England, Italy, Holland and France decreased or increased their superiority over the Eastern bloc with the increase in the number of Black players. To raise such a question is a little offensive but this is Entine’s aim;to get people to observe any situation where there are “racial differences” and then answer the question in terms of genes (ignoring evidence which doesn’t fit the White, Asian, Black template) and stereotypes accorded to race.

      The idea, that a particular race, cannot succeed in anything should be pooh-poohed at every oppurtunity. The walls (paper-thin, based on incredibly loose generalisations) that Entine puts up have thankfully been broken by people such as Liu Xang, winner of 110m at the Olympics, Jeremy Warriner, white-Texan winner of 400m who has PR of 43.93 , second only to Michael Johnson. Curiously, Liu Xang had to overcome his own and his country’s prejudices with himself acknowledging “congenital defects” with regards to Chinese sprinting.

      Entines work constitutes a starter for Rushton and Jensen’s main course. If we can cobble together a few generalisations to “prove” inherent, genetic differences with regards to race and sport, (always determined by colour; Entine does not stray too far from the White, Black, Asian triplet you will see in the work of Rushton, and on sites like VDare. ) why not apply to other field such as education (Jensen)and wealth of nations (Lynn).

      Kenan Malik in Nature gives a good spanking to Entine’s book “Why Black Athletes dominates Sports and why we are afraid to say it”.

      http://www.kenanmalik.com/reviews/entine_taboo.html

      It also includes the fact that Fijians are closer genetically to Norwegians the populations derived from sub-Saharan Africa. This is something Entine conveniently ignores in his Black colour as Black genes definitons.

      http://www.abc.net.au/cgi-bin/common/printfriendly.pl?/science/news/stories/s1153697.htm

      “If Chinese people want to make their mark in the major Olympic competitions, they have to break through the fatalism that race determines everything.” from the People’s Daily. How many people 10 years ago, would have thought that a boxing world (2
      years max) champion would be of Pakistani heritage?

    150. El Cid — on 11th January, 2006 at 2:14 pm  

      Well, admittedly, post #148 WAS reasonable.
      If you like Hegel then you must also be familiar with the idea that thesis begets antithesis begets synthesis, and so on.
      Knowledge doesn’t stand still, unless one has an agenda.
      Absolutely, positively going now, before I get sacked.

    151. Paul Brown — on 11th January, 2006 at 2:24 pm  

      To be honest, I am slightly concerned that I am being accused of having an agenda, followed by vague references to Section 28 and promoting homosexuality in schools. I’m not sure exactly what I’m being accused of here, but it sounds unpleasant.

      RE: Hegel, yes I’ve got thesis, antithesis, synthesis coming out of my ears, it was drilled in to me as a student. I did say that people and culture would change, develop and evolve over time, and that masculinity and femininity were not set in concrete.

    152. Jai — on 11th January, 2006 at 2:39 pm  

      =>”if we’re going to go into the nature vs. nurture debate that might be more useful than saying things about people being ‘wildly off the mark’ . i mean please - that implies that the nature vs. nurture debate has either been resolved, or that one didn’t know such a debate existed.”

      Wrong. These issues haven’t been resolved 100% BUT there has been a huge amount of scientific research and progress on the area. Plus, if you read my posts carefully, I never said it was one extreme or the other, but a combination of both — but the underlying neurological hard-wiring and hormones play a much greater role than you may realise.

      Considering that the people supporting what I have said include individuals from a medical background, then it is unwise to disregard or patronise commenters with such viewpoints unless one comes from a biomedical science-related background oneself with regards to some aspect of one’s education and/or profession, and one therefore has the requisite level of understanding of endocrinology, neuroscience, human reproductive science, and genetics to really know what one is talking about.

      I can fully related to Rohin’s obvious frustration with people not taking on board the hard science involved — it feels as though we’re listening to people attempting to convince us that the earth is flat.

    153. Paul Brown — on 11th January, 2006 at 2:47 pm  

      Jai, there are other areas of expertise that challenge many assumptions made by people working in medicine. For a start, not everybody in that field would agree anyway. However, medical doctors do not have a special insight or knowledge that cannot be understood or challenged by others. in many ways, what we have been discussing is very much a matter for the fields of psychology, sociology, and even philosophy, all of which have much to say on these topics. It’s not so long ago medical doctors thought that homosexuality was a curable of treatable illness.

      I actually wanted Rohin’s professional opinion on the matter of masculine women and feminine men, both here and in the primitive socieities I mentioned, for the simple fact that I would like to hear the perspective of somebody whose training and background are different from mine. i also studied these subjects academically for 5 years and do work that is relevant to the topic, but I don’t feel that gives me special knowledge.

      Oh, and anthroplogy.

    154. Col. Mustafa — on 11th January, 2006 at 2:48 pm  

      Look at the genes as a sort of guide in early human development.
      Whats happening here is some people are saying you can’t account how humans behave just by saying its in their genetic makeup, when no ones saying that.
      Also you cant account all human behaviour is down to environment, which is what some people are saying.

      This is still being studied, because after weve all been taught that were all equal, regardless of race, gender etc and its all environment and social circumstance, were finding out that actually its both, and it differs in the degree of how much your genetic makeup or environment will play a part according to different individuals.
      Not groups of people, individuals. Noones saying that this or that happened due to genetics.

      The only reason why this is an issue is because people(or should i say scientists) are realising that this isn’t true.
      For years they never touched on these differences even when discovered, because it would cause controversy.
      It would give excuses to the wrong people.

      A Natural history of Rape by Randy Thornhill and someone else i forget, argues that rape is not simply a product of culture and environment but also has roots in the nature of mens sexuality.
      I have trouble understanding why someone would want to rape someone, but some men won’t.
      Its to do with their genes and environment.

    155. Paul Brown — on 11th January, 2006 at 2:58 pm  

      Mustafa, I agree that we have certain instincts that are deeply ingrained in us, and all men know how dark our sexuality can be. I was never suggesting that there is no instinct in us, or that we don’t have natural abilities and tendencies towards, say, killing, or violence, or even rape; I was saying that it is up to us to rise above such things through enlightenment, questioning, free will, free thought, intellectual endeavour, and that we must not be slaves to our genes. That is why we no longer behave the way we may imagine Nenaderthals to have behaved - we abhor random violence, extreme selfishness, sexual and other violence; we have made law the keystone of our society; etc. We have moved beyond our basic primal urges, yes? If we want to describe somebody who has done something particualry abhorrent -a rapist for eg - we often describe them as an “animal”. Because we have the ability to not be a slave to base instincts. The famous Stanford prison experiment may tell us something about our ‘hard-wiring’, as Jai put it, but the fact that we do not organise our society along those lines and can have a more enlightened approach tells us something about our ability to question, develop, progress, exercise free will, move beyond our genetic programming.

    156. Rohin — on 11th January, 2006 at 3:03 pm  

      I’m really bored of this thread. It’s like banging my head against a brick Paul.

      Sonia, I don’t really know what you’re trying to say.

      Paul, you are either hopeless at arguing or just being deliberately obtuse. You REPEATEDLY omit to answer the difficult questions I’ve posed and instead take one thing out and ignore the rest.

      I said IDENTICAL twins. You mentioned Tracey Emin and her twin BROTHER. What the hell is going on in your brain? I was talking about people with the SAME DNA.

      Your bizarre assertion that athletic ability is down to wealth is, again, false. You didn’t click on my links - the kalenjin dominate middle and long distance running, but come from a poor part of a poor country in a poor continent. And as El Cid said, the average height of Japanese men is shorter than Somalians, for example. Why? Japan is a rich country, Somalia isn’t. Japan has one of the best diets in the world, lots of protein (fish - protein = growth). Why are they shorter? GENES!

      Why am I not as tall as my neighbour? Was I not fed as a child? No, my genes determine my height.

      If you and Sonia are saying that it’s “nonsense - precisely the sort of thinking that arises when people insist on tying personality to gender characteristics and biology.” then I’m sorry to be blunt, but you have no understanding of biology nor genetics.

      Bevan, those articles are a bit out of date and do contain errors. But I linked to them to illustrate how not all people have the same innate aptitude for sport, I’m sure that’s obvious. Athletics, as the sport I dedicated years to, is one I know about. And running is perhaps the most true measure of natural ability. Of course there is a huge amout of technique to learn, which is why Warriner, Kenteris etc. win. But to say that because black people don’t ALWAYS win the race undermines the notion that a particular tribe has a specific genetic ability is to misunderstand the theory. Of course I agree that no one should be told they can’t succeed at something due to their race, that’s ludicrous. Anyway, I’m really not that bothered about the sports argument right now.

      Again Paul, you’ve taken a strange tack in pursuing the gay thing, as I personally DON’T believe there is a ‘gay gene’ and I think it’s apparent upbringing plays a more important role in being gay. But what I said is that nobody knows, so no point arguing about it. Which you ignored.

      “Rohin, please answer the question as to why societies that are so very close to a primitive state of nature remian matriarchal with feminine men?”

      Well, apart from your rather offensive description of ‘primitive’, they don’t. The societies that have remained unchanged for thousands of years, i.e. a few remaining tribes in Africa, S. America and New Guinea, are over-whelmingly male-dominated. Other cultures have tried to progress into more equal societies and rightly so. We can see a continuum. In the middle East, women remain very inferior, in much of Asia, urban women enjoy more rights than rural and in Europe women are close to being on the same level as men, although sexism and discrimination do remain.

      The communities you mentioned are few and far between. You’ve demonstrated your lack of knowledge in another field, anthropology. The cultures of yore - the Egyptians, Greek, druids, Indus Valley. All were male-dominated. I’m not saying that’s right, I’m just disproving your assertion that primitive cultures are female-dominated. They’re not.

      I really can’t be arsed to go on any further. It’s been an eye-opening thread as I didn’t know how poor people’s knowledge of science is. So, to echo El Cid:

      “I went to a boys school and was brought up completely by women.

      Right, this is definitely my last contrib on this thread.”

    157. Rohin — on 11th January, 2006 at 3:10 pm  

      Paul:

      “I was saying that it is up to us to rise above such things through enlightenment, questioning, free will, free thought, intellectual endeavour, and that we must not be slaves to our genes”

      No one has disagreed with you on that. I have said again and again that we have a choice to do what we like. But you’ve said there are no differences between men, women, black, white, Asian. You’re the one making sweeping statements, not me.

      BTW, we’re not descended from Neanderthals.

    158. Paul Brown — on 11th January, 2006 at 3:12 pm  

      I didn’t say that athletic ability is down to wealth, I would never say that because it is nonsensical. I said that people’s body size can change according to wealth. I admit that i missed the reference to identical twins because there was a lot to take in and I was doing two things at the same time. I didn’t say that most primitive societies were matriarchal at all - I said that some are, and wondered where that fitted in with your ideas. You are attributing opinions to me that I simply do not have. i wanted to know what the explanation was for that one specific society that is characterised by feminine men,and you didn’t bother.

    159. Col. Mustafa — on 11th January, 2006 at 3:15 pm  

      Ive always said even if we had a perfect society which all humans helped and fought for, it would collapse after a few generations.
      Why i didn’t know before, but i would still put it down to environment only assuming that men and women are never satisfied with anything really.
      If all they knew was peace, someone if not more people would strive for anarchy.
      If all they knew was love for your fellow human being, someone if not more would want to show and express thier feelings of hate.
      Infact i could imagine them fighting for thier right for hate.
      But its not just environment, its genes.
      Why some would not agree with love for every human being regardless of anything has something to do with thier genes also.

      I agree we should try and break away from the norms and stereotypes which are put to us but in many peoples cases they cant help it.
      Its like a fight with yourself for them to understand what everyone else is going on about as they are that way.
      You can’t change it, what happens is due to extreme environmental pressure is something else will come out of that particular person.

      With any example of a working society where no laws are forced upon anyone, i say forced as in even in a perfect society you would need to force laws upon many.
      Even if at first everyone understands the concept of no murdering or rape, and have come from that world and don’t want it anymore.
      Give it time, and you will see new generations of people fighting for anarchy or their right to kill another man, or their right to express their feelings of rage and hate.

      Its depressing knowing that you cant change everyone to think the same as some people, infact probably loads of people wont understand, no matter what environment there in, because thier genes will always play a part.

    160. El Cid — on 11th January, 2006 at 3:43 pm  

      I saw this and I thought of you.

    161. BevanKieran — on 11th January, 2006 at 3:57 pm  

      Rohin

      http://kenya.com/runners.html

      The second link was written by Steve Sailor, one of
      V-Dare’s main contributors.

      http://www.vdare.com/sailer/
      http://www.vdare.com/sailer/fiji.htm

      This is his take on Fijian-Indian relations

      “The indolent but warlike Fiji natives are black, surprisingly African-looking, Melanesians. They are proud of their unique Fijian culture, which is largely based on the concept of taking it easy…The British Empire brought the Indians to Fiji as indentured servants, since Indians tend to be more diligent, shrewd, and nonviolent than the natives.”

      This is grossly offensive and it is not surprising that this guy salivates over the supposed superiority of a Kenyan tribe with regard to running.

      His take on Rushton’s Black-White-Asian rule of three.
      http://www.vdare.com/sailer/rule_of_three.htm.

    162. Paul Brown — on 11th January, 2006 at 4:13 pm  

      This is my final post on this thread as well.

      Rohin, you didn’t disprove my theory that tribal societies are matriarchal because i made no such ludicrous assertion. I said that ONE SOLITARY TRIBAL SOCIETY that I have studied was characterised by feminine men and dominant women. How in God’s name do you know what my knowledge of anthropology consists of? I KNOW what the societies of the Egyptians and Greeks were like, and it hardly requires special academic knowledge to know something so glaringly obvious anyway. I had a look through the posts you made and I can’t see anything directed at me that I didn’t respond to. You didn’t respond to my questions about masculine women and feminine men in modern Britain, beyond attributing it to industrial chemicals increasing the oestrogen in our bodies, whcih i find hysterical and utterly unconvincing. You obviously regard your own background in Biology and Medicine (which I respect) as being superior to all other disciplines. However, do not tell me what i do and don’t know about anthropology or any other subject and don’t attribute opinions to me that I don’t have.

    163. El Cid — on 11th January, 2006 at 6:46 pm  

      oooooh, look at ‘er!

    164. El Cid — on 11th January, 2006 at 6:47 pm  

      (I’m only joking of course)

    165. Jai (Message for El Cid) — on 12th January, 2006 at 11:27 am  

      El Cid,

      I don’t know if you’ve checked Sikhnet this week, but you’ve received another response which appears to be exactly what you’re looking for. Please take a look if you haven’t done so already.

      There is an emailing function offered by that discussion forum too which would enable you to directly contact the person concerned (although initially you won’t see their email address, until/unless they reply to you).

      (Apologies to everyone else for the off-topic post).

    Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

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