Male or Female?

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In this piece the author, Deborah Blum, explores the relationship that gender plays both in our biological make up and in society. Blum is a Pulitzer Prize recipient who is well known for her scientific journalism. Working for the Sacramento Bee Blum she has published a wide verity of pieces but is most known for her book The Poisoner’s Handbook. In this piece titled “Gender Blur” she asks the astonishing question of: do the gender roles of our culture reflect an underlying biology, and, in turn, does the way we behave influence that biology? This is her central topic and does a good job at identifying different aspects that can be examined within the issue, giving specific examples and a wide variety of them.

The article starts with a brief anecdote that gives a good example of childhood behavior, observing how her son at a very early age showed signs of aggressive behavior through his love of predatory dinosaurs, which being so young had not been influenced by society very much. She questions why her son would want to pretend to gnaw off her leg. Why would he do such a thing if he was not biologically engineered to do so? To support this claim Blum consults a behavioral endocrinologist at the University of California, Marc Breedlove, on the topic. He claims that “Yes, we’re born with predispositions, but its society that amplifies them, exaggerates them. (He) believes that – except for the sex differences in aggression, those [differences] are too massive to be explained simply by society” (574). This excellent use of a professional testimony sets up the stage for her next more factual section of the article exploring statically how men and women differ in criminal activity, namely aggressive behavior.

“Aggression does...

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...ce for this piece because it was very broad and didn’t show bias towards either sex. I have to applaud Deborah Blum on her incredible job of not showing much bias toward her gender. It would have been very easy to sympathize with you own sex and depict the other in a bad light. But she didn’t do this instead she used examples within her own life to show that she didn’t have any personal bias being that she is a mother with a son she could inspect the topic mostly free of bias.

For me personally this article enlightened me in the area of gender difference. I never took the time to think about some of the issues mentioned. For example I never thought about how the brain responds to actual hormones and how the brain responds to events because of these hormones. This was interesting to me enough so that I engaged in outside research briefly to explore the issue.

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