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Jun 30, 05 - 12:07 AM
Blondes and brunettes

I remember reading somewhere that there was a scientific finding on the divisions of femininity, i.e., biological differences between a blonde (the Aristasian terminology) and a brunette (same) while there is no similar division among the em-ee-en.

Could anyone find out whose research did 'discover' (of course, as Miss A. L. Trent writes, "the division of femininity is natural" and can be easily known by an observer) this biological difference?
Miss Drusilla

Jun 30th, 2005 - 2:52 AM
Quotation from "Taking Sex Differences Seriously" by Steven E. Rhoads: Part One

Academic feminists sometimes charge that scientists spend all their time studying men, but scientists doing research on hormonal sex difference certainly cannot be accused of this bias. They spend most of their time studying women. There are some significant testosterone-related differences in men's attitudes and behavior, and these will be discussed in a moment. But the scientists usually study women because the more interesting and consequential differences are among women. Those with below-average levels of testosterone seem more feminine; those with high testosterone often seem to mix the feminine and masculine. In short, while there is one basic type of man in civil society, there appear to be two types of women.

The women exposed prenatally to very high levels of testosterone have been studied most extensively. Most of these have a condition known as congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH). With optimal therapy, the hormone levels of these women can be returned to normal postnatally. But the prenatal and neonatal exposure to high levels of testosterone has dramatic and persistent effects on girls. They "prefer boys' toys which are more mechanical than girls' toys. They like transportation and construction toys, including helicopters, cars, fire engines, blocks, and Lincoln Logs better than dolls, kitchen supplies, toy telephones, and crayons and paper." These girls are more aggressive than most girls, including their unaffected sisters. They like rough-and-tumble play. They are more competitive and self-assured. They are much more likely than most girls to be long-term tomboys and are less interested than most in clothes, cosmetics, infant care and keeping a diary. Looking to the future, CAH girls age eleven and older have less of a wish "to have their own children" and more of a wish for "having a career versus staying at home." The CAH girls also have better spatial skills than most girls. (In men, a relatively low testosterone level is most regularly associated with spatial talent, but girls with a relatively high level of testosterone approach this male talent level more closely.)

Supporting these findings are studies of pregnant women who have ingested masculinizing hormones to help prevent miscarriage. Girls born to such women have preferences and behaviors like those of CAH girls. Recent studies comparing female identical twins to the female half of mixed-sex twins have also been informative. Female twins born as part of a mixed-sex pair are more likely to enjoy taking risks and to do better on spatial tests.

Richard Udry of the University of North Carolina provides the most convincing evidence for the importance of hormones in explaining differences among women. Udry managed to find a group of 163 adult women whose mothers had given blood samples while they were pregnant thirty years earlier. These samples had been preserved, and testosterone levels in the mothers' blood could thus be analyzed. There was also information on the presence of a hormone-binding globulin that prevents testosterone from passing through the mother's membranes to reach the fetus.

The mothers had also been interviewed about their childrearing practices when their children were young and again when they were adolescents. Udry did further interviews and took blood samples from the children, now fully grown. He then developed a "gendered" scale including factors relating to the importance of home (e.g., domestic division of labor), feminine interests (e.g., likes baby care), job status (e.g., proportion female in current or last job) and masculine/teminine self-image (e.g., adjective checklist).

There were some limitations in the thirty-year-old data: Only one second-trimester blood sample, when testosterone levels are the most decisive, had been taken from each of the mothers. And no blood samples had been taken from the fetuses, where testosterone levels would have been even more informative. Even so, after controlling for socialization variables, Udry found that testosterone exposure levels in utero and, to a lesser degree, adult testosterone levels thirty years later predicted gendered behavior to a statistically significant degree. In other words, women exposed to more testosterone were less stereotypically feminine. For example, higher-testosterone women had stronger career ambitions and weaker interests in caring for babies than did women exposed to less testosterone.
Miss Drusilla

Jun 30th, 2005 - 2:52 AM
Quotation from "Taking Sex Differences Seriously" by Steven E. Rhoads: Part Two

In further research, Udry attempted to sort out the degree to which socialization can override physiological factors such as androgen exposure. Trying to determine if parents can steer girls toward the feminine, Udry questioned the adult women whose behavior had been predicted in part by their prenatal exposure to androgens: "Did your parents encourage you to defend yourself physically, to repair things around the house, to be athletic, to have an interest in math?" Such encouragements counted as efforts to produce more masculine behavior. Udry also asked, "Did your parents encourage you to wear jewelry, to wear dresses, to have an interest in sewing, to plan to have children?" Those mothers who had encouraged the most feminine behaviors as against the masculine ones were considered to have done the most to promote femininity in their daughters.

Udry found that parents' ability to create a more feminine daughter is dependent on their daughter's prenatal androgen exposure. Women with low exposure to androgens were strongly affected by their mother's encouragement to take on the trappings of femininity. But when mothers tried to encourage femininity in women with high androgen exposure, their efforts had little effect. Indeed, Udry concluded, "The more the parents worked to improve below average femininity, the less successful they were; the more they tried, the less feminine the daughters were as adults."

Elizabeth Cashdan's work further supports the idea that there are two kinds of women. Testing the amount of testosterone and other masculinizing hormones in the blood of thirty-two Utah college women, she found that young women with high levels of these hormones were the most interested in casual sex, had the highest self-regard, and seemed the most assertive. These students' high levels of self-regard, however, did not reflect the views of their social peers. These women were not popular with their female peers, and in fact they overrated their popularity with same-sex peers more than the other women did.

Other research also clearly links high testosterone in women to more typically masculine characteristics. A 1985 study found that the women with high testosterone were full of confidence and energy (and perhaps full of themselves), much as Cashdan's and the CAH research did. These women saw themselves as impulsive but also robust, resourceful, sharp-witted and enterprising. By contrast, low-testosterone women saw themselves as civilized, rational, helpful, practical and worrying.

Again, as with Cashdan, other studies link high testosterone in women to a greater interest in sex, though also to arguing more with partners. High-testosterone women are more assertive, more career-oriented, and more likely to have high-status and traditionally male-dominated careers. Such women are also more likely to have a male-typical brain pattern. Like the CAH children discussed earlier, high-testosterone women have superior spatial skills as compared with low-testosterone women. (Women in general do better in spatial skills when tested during the time in their cycles when their estrogen levels are lowest--a result hard to explain by recourse to socialization theory.) High-testosterone women are infertile in higher proportions than low-testosterone women. They are also more likely to be balding, but with large amounts of body hair, and to have high blood pressure.

The research described here does not indicate that high-testosterone women look or act like men. Instead, it suggests that compared with other women they are more likely to mix typically feminine with typically masculine traits and behaviors.

One study, for example, found that female scientists tend to have better spatial ability than other female careerists, though less than male scientists. This study did not measure testosterone, but other research described above associates high testosterone with female spatial ability (helpful in many scientific fields) and with an interest in stereotypically male careers such as science. Female scientists on average are found to have a lower need for approval than most female careerists, but a greater need than male scientists. They have narrower interests than other female careerists, but broader interests than male scientists. Another study finds that very bright seventeen-year-old women who seek a time-intensive career, a preference associated in other studies with high testosterone, spend less time than equally bright noncareerist women in thinking about the age to marry and start a family, but that equally bright careerist boys spend even less time thinking about marriage and family.
Sushuri Novaryana

Jun 30th, 2005 - 8:29 AM
Re: Blondes and brunettes

Oh, thank you, Miss Drusilla! This is terribly useful.

Of course, we have to realise that such studies are, by their nature rather crude. Their whole purpose is to find quantifiable data which is the only sort that counts as "scientifically valid".

The passage that is apt to get lost amid all this talk of testosterone is the following:

The research described here does not indicate that high-testosterone women look or act like men.

In fact, we who know and love brunettes know that they are a type of creature who, while, on paper, and in quantitative terms, they may share certain characteristics with em-ee-en, these characteristics manifest in a way that is qualitatively very different. Of course, "science" knows nothing of this and is debarred, by its very "ground-rules", from talking about it.

This is important to remember, because, useful as this research is (and it is very useful in dispelling certain bongo myths and establishing the reality of the two types of female), it is easy to come away from it with the impression "Oh, I see - brunettes are girls with a lot of that chappy hormone in them."

Testosterone is, in fact, not simply a "chappy hormone", though that is what it is famous for. Testosterone is actually produced in girls by our ovaries (girls born without ovaries tend to be "ultra-feminine" - or hyper-blonde - in many respects as other studies have shown).

As Aristasians and essentialists, we also need to understand that the biological mechanics by which femininity is produced, and by which the two types of femininity are produced, while they are the only quantifiable aspect of the matter, are not the whole story, or even the most fundamental part of it.

Femininity, as is pointed out in The Feminine Universe, is a primary Archetype which existed before there were female creatures to manifest it, just as the sun and moon existed before the ball of rock and the ball of fire which manifest them in our particular physical world-system.

In blondeness and brunetteness we are perhaps looking at realities that had much more importance before patriarchal times, and which, as soon as we begin to found a traditionalist, all-feminine society in Telluria (as the Aristasians did in the 1970s), without the presuppositions of andro-feminism, immediately become apparent as realities.

The first Aristasians-in-Telluria did not base the idea of blondeness and brunetteness on these studies. The studies had not even taken place then. Nor were the makers of the studies in any way influenced by Aristasian thinking. They probably hadn't even heard of us. It is a question of the same objective reality being discovered by two quite different routes.