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Biology vs. Society: A Look at Gender Behaviors

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    When examining human diversity in the United States or any other society, it is important to first understand the criteria commonly used for making group distinctions. There are many ways in which diversity and complexity can be explained. These generally are based on society and/or biological factors.

    Deborah Blum(born October 19,1954),a Pulitzer Prize-winning American journalist,and professor of science journalism at the University of Wisconsin-madison. In her article ,”The Gender Blur:Where Does Biology End and Society Take Over? “,Blum believes that biology plays a larger role then what is commonly believed in gender development. She said”gender roles of our culture reflect an underlying biology”(679). However,one cultural critic,Morton Jefferson,disagrees with Blum. He argues that”Blum really believes that gender behavior is natural and based in biology.

    Society and culture do much more than biology in determining how men and women behave. Eventhough,both biology and society have great influence on how males and females behave in their role,the biology influences our behavior, and the society amplifies it. In Gender Blur’s article,she is explaining the sex difference or behavior that a person undergoes in everyday life. Her thesis is how a person’s childhood can reflect how they will become when they are adults. This shapes their behavior and character of being an adult. She describes her own childhood, where she had two individual presents that are thought, in society, to be for a girl or a girl.

    She receives things that clash such as a Barbie doll and a softball glove. Barbie dolls are meant to be delicate and more girlish, where as a softball glove is more rugged or active and more boyish. This gave her both different opportunities to be more girly or boyish. Blum analyzes the difference between the characteristics of a boy and a girl. A boy is known more to have the aggressive behavior, such as a girl would be less aggressive and more delicate. Her son shows proof of the typical boy with his love for vicious dinosaurs. Males are proven to be more aggressive ith several facts stated in the article.

    One would be the higher percentage of men who commit crimes over woman. Not only do men commit more crimes, but males tend to use weaponry more often than females. Blum looked at aggression not only in humans but among all species on earth. She goes on to talk about a different species, the chimpanzees. It is written,” Male chimpanzees, for instance, declare war on neighboring troops, and one of their strategies is a warning strike: kill females and infants to terrorize and intimidate” (Blum 681).

    Where does the behavior between men and women? She states it starts with genetics. Genetics is the major factor in shaping a person’s character. A person’s height is determined by their genetics. Ninety percent of their weight is heritable. Also, children that have stressful childhoods become shorter adults. Blum exclaims that if there is not enough testosterone presented then the unborn child will become a female, not a male. The male parts diminish and become female parts. The default sex is a female sex. Blum uses are strategies to get her point in clear view to her readers.

    Another issue is the role of hormones: It is known that testosterone has some body-building functions but it also influences some behaviors. Blum point out that just as high levels of testosterone in males cause them to be aggressive,lower levels in females would,in turn,make them more passive comparatively. She references various studies done on testosterone levels in the article. Blum talks about how Robert Goy, a psychologist at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, first documented that”Young male monkeys play much more roughly than young females.

    Goy went on to show that if you manipulate testosterone level – raising it in females, damping it down in males – you can reverse those effects, creating sweet little monkeys and rowdy young females. “(682) She states that testosterone plays a large role in why men display larger amounts “rowdy play, sex drive, competitiveness, and an in-your-face attitude (684).

    In conclusion,biological factors set the stage for the direction of one’s physical being it is society that reinforces masculine and feminine qualities. Overview of “The Gender Blur: Where Does Biology End and Society Take Over? it does support the thesis statement. Because what most children enjoy as young individuals , they will find themselves carrying out as adults. So this article does give great explanations or strategies to determine the behavior and reasons of the two genders. Eventhough gender roles are largely controlled by society – “Women should cook and clean and men should work hard and be the breadwinner” kind of mentality. Blum challenges that and suggests that biology plays a bigger role in helping us become who we are.

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    Biology vs. Society: A Look at Gender Behaviors. (2016, Sep 08). Retrieved from

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