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Birth Control? I Buy Bottled Water
November 12, 2009 1:23 PM   Subscribe

Bisphenol A causes impotence and phthalates cause boys to act like girls.
posted by Glibpaxman (133 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
From now on I'm drinking milk and soda right from the teat.
posted by jsavimbi at 1:29 PM on November 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


See, I told you those vinyl pants made you look queer!
posted by Pollomacho at 1:32 PM on November 12, 2009 [6 favorites]


It's a mixed-up, muddled-up, shook-up world.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 1:32 PM on November 12, 2009 [10 favorites]


I put on my tinfoil hat and bathrobe.
I'm curious about how all the information in the second article was gathered. Have they actually been tracking men's penis size over all these years?
posted by cimbrog at 1:32 PM on November 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


• More boys are playing like girls. The DEFRA report highlights research from Rotterdam's Erasmus University that found that boys whose mothers were exposed to certain hormone disruptors were more likely to dress up in girl's clothes and play with dolls and tea sets.

I REJECT YOUR PREMISE
posted by dersins at 1:32 PM on November 12, 2009 [21 favorites]


the overwhelming concern is the threat to reproduction.

Oh, I think we're doing just fine.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 1:36 PM on November 12, 2009 [4 favorites]


Have you never wondered why I drink only distilled water, or rain water, and only pure grain alcohol?
posted by mhoye at 1:37 PM on November 12, 2009 [22 favorites]


the overwhelming concern is the threat to reproduction.

Actually, I'm thinking we should probably up the dose.
posted by greekphilosophy at 1:37 PM on November 12, 2009 [16 favorites]


the overwhelming concern is the threat to reproduction

This sounds like a positive, not a negative.
posted by maxwelton at 1:38 PM on November 12, 2009 [5 favorites]


I say it's the goddamn music he's listening to, that's what I say.
posted by not_on_display at 1:38 PM on November 12, 2009 [6 favorites]


Have they actually been tracking men's penis size over all these years?

Wait, doesn't everybody do that?

*hides portable x-ray devices*
posted by kmz at 1:41 PM on November 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


I dunno, phthalates actually don't sound too bad:

- Today's boys have less sperm. Good, we need help dealing with overpopulation.

- More boys are playing like girls. Good, we need more men to be comfortable with their "feminine" qualities.

- Fewer boys are being born. Good, we need to counterbalance the cultures that produce more boys than girls.

- Boys' unmentionables are getting smaller. Good, that means my own unmentionables will grow larger over time relative to other males in the world.
posted by brain_drain at 1:42 PM on November 12, 2009 [24 favorites]


Won't somebody PLEASE think of the children?
posted by kuujjuarapik at 1:43 PM on November 12, 2009


You know a science article is great when it contains a sentence like "Boys' unmentionables are getting smaller."

Ah yes, the unmentionables. Right up next to the hoo-hah and the you-know-whats.


]
posted by palindromic at 1:44 PM on November 12, 2009 [29 favorites]


. The DEFRA report highlights research from Rotterdam's Erasmus University that found that boys whose mothers were exposed to certain hormone disruptors were more likely to dress up in girl's clothes and play with dolls...

Have they found which hormone disruptors caused my mother to dress me in girl's clothes?


(I played with dolls because I was curious.... >_>)
posted by shoebox at 1:45 PM on November 12, 2009


WHY DO YOU CALL SOMETHING UNMENTIONABLE AND THEN MENTION IT?!
posted by ODiV at 1:45 PM on November 12, 2009 [20 favorites]


I put on my tinfoil hat and bathrobe.
I'm curious about how all the information in the second article was gathered. Have they actually been tracking men's penis size over all these years?


I guess you should have put that bathrobe on sooner.
posted by Pollomacho at 1:49 PM on November 12, 2009 [4 favorites]


Is this the same chemical that causes feline-canine cohabitation?
posted by speicus at 1:51 PM on November 12, 2009 [11 favorites]


The author of "Actually, He's a Boy: a How-To Guide for Parenting an Effeminate Male Child" gives Halloween costume tips, as presented by America's Finest News Source.
posted by Drastic at 1:52 PM on November 12, 2009 [6 favorites]


I always thought unmentionables meant underpants.

(Have you tried hang-drying?)
posted by Sys Rq at 1:52 PM on November 12, 2009 [4 favorites]


Unmentionables? Are they serious? Yeah, its hard to take it seriously when they can't even bring themselves to write something like "genitals." Or, gasp, PENIS and SCROTUM! Why not junk? Or wee-wee? Or pee-pee? Or schlong? or... or.... or....
posted by aacheson at 1:52 PM on November 12, 2009


I'm saddened yet unsurprised to see conclusions like this coming from a Danish government organ.

Oh, and is there any reason why the Huffington 'unmentionables' Post is being linked rather than the Guardian Article which deals with the science in a more mature manner, and that HuffPo seems to be using as their source anyway?
posted by Dysk at 1:53 PM on November 12, 2009


By the way, not that its shown to harm males specifically, I bet people start paying attention now and congress finally acts the way they should. Babies in general, its fine to ignore. But PENISES, shit, we better pay attention now!
posted by aacheson at 1:53 PM on November 12, 2009 [3 favorites]


Lavender, tea tree oils may cause breast growth in boys

We are not safe! Even from the flowers!
posted by Seamus at 1:53 PM on November 12, 2009 [4 favorites]


Obviously nature itself is fighting for a return of castratos.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:56 PM on November 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Seamus: "Lavender may cause breast growth in boys
"

Well, goddamn, that's a weird coincidence.

...

...

does anyone know where I can get some phthalates?
posted by boo_radley at 1:56 PM on November 12, 2009


That's Ignorant.
posted by pianomover at 1:58 PM on November 12, 2009


The "eastern tip of Lake Huron"? Lake Huron has an eastern tip? If they mean the southern tip of Lake Huron they're probably talking about where I grew up and yeah, it was kind of amazing that everyone there didn't look like b-movie mutants given the number of chemical spills from the various plants.

In good news all the plants are mostly outdated and are slowly being mothballed as the city turns into a huge retirement home. So no doubt the First Nations birth rates will recover as the city slides into economic obsolesce.
posted by GuyZero at 1:59 PM on November 12, 2009


The Japanesee "Good Design Award" was not issued for the Apple eMac because the plastic had Bisphenol A.
posted by rough ashlar at 2:06 PM on November 12, 2009


Unmentionables? Are they serious? Yeah, its hard to take it seriously when they can't even bring themselves to write something like "genitals." Or, gasp, PENIS and SCROTUM!

They do use the words genitals and penis right after, in fact. Which is even stranger.
posted by ODiV at 2:06 PM on November 12, 2009


So does this explain teh gays?

Not like there's anything wrong with that.
posted by dunkadunc at 2:07 PM on November 12, 2009


I've always understood unmentionables as being underwear. And I've always imagines the Untouchables in their underwear. Especially you, Sean Connery.
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:07 PM on November 12, 2009


a Danish government organ.

Probably shrinking due to budget cuts, not phthalates.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 2:08 PM on November 12, 2009 [3 favorites]


related.
posted by YoBananaBoy at 2:09 PM on November 12, 2009


Isn't it the case that an overlap exists between the sets "People most likely to be drinking sodas from plastic jugs" and "People who would benefit if intense experience of gender nonconformity were to be an undeniably personal reality"?
posted by jefficator at 2:09 PM on November 12, 2009 [3 favorites]


>: Or, gasp, PENIS and SCROTUM!

That was an interesting choice of words. Of course, "Scrotum" is an inherently hilarious word, maybe they were afraid nobody would take them seriously if they were to use it.
posted by dunkadunc at 2:09 PM on November 12, 2009


"Boys' unmentionables are getting smaller."

BY WHICH WE MEAN THEIR WANGS.

Sorry, I have the sense of humor of an eight-year-old.
posted by infinitywaltz at 2:11 PM on November 12, 2009


If I could favourite kuujjuarapik's comment a thousand times, I would.

(Also slightly eponysterical in that 'pik' is Danish for cock).
posted by Dysk at 2:12 PM on November 12, 2009


This is a crappy post, linking to garbage articles. This will only be the best of the web when Demand Media is finished making the rest of the web somehow suck even more.
posted by snofoam at 2:15 PM on November 12, 2009 [5 favorites]


"cause boys to act like girls."

Quick survey... how many women really have a problem with this?!
posted by markkraft at 2:21 PM on November 12, 2009


I for one trust any science journalism I find on Huffington Post.

YOUR UNDERWEAR CAN KILL YOU SAY TOP SCIENTISTS
posted by killdevil at 2:24 PM on November 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


New independent study by EPA refutes BPA risk
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 2:25 PM on November 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


The first link doesn't say what is being claimed, the last link is a terrible, unscientific piece of advocacy fearmongering. I don't take this stuff lightly, and I know a great deal about it, having studied it professionally a long time ago an followed the science since, and as I have a young male child of my own to worry about these issues are far from theoretical to me. But in that last article, for example, the author references research (without actually providing, you know, a reference or anything) that is in fact a single, small study which studied a correlation of phthalate exposure to anogenital distance (NSFW), (more or less, the length of the perineum. Some back and forth on that research for further complexity: I'm aware the initial response comes from industry advocates.

Well that's all really complicated and boring and it's much more alarming to sum all this up by saying that scientists have demonstrated that boys have "smaller penises and other feminization of the genitals" and the only problem with that is that it's simply false. Saying that scientists have concluded that sperm counts have fallen by half is simply false (and actually, the way it is phrased in that article, is a wholly meaningless statement, and the reference given for these assertions is laughable, and the comparison to hamsters? An inane, meaningless fact injected purely for effect). Not to mention that the conclusions of what apparent falling sperm count trends in some populations actually means are pretty uncertain.

When advocates make dodgy, poorly referenced, overreaching and unscientific claims what they do is make it that much easier for their opponents to debunk them and cover legitimate concerns with the smear that environmentalists are a bunch of wild-eyed hysterics. As they've been successfully doing for decades now.
posted by nanojath at 2:27 PM on November 12, 2009 [30 favorites]


I just BPA'd in my unmentionables.
posted by ODiV at 2:28 PM on November 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


On the benefits of phthalates:
- Fewer boys are being born.
Good, we need to counterbalance the cultures that produce more boys than girls.
I don't know of any cultures that naturally produce more girls than boys. 105 boys to 100 girls in live births is practically a worldwide regularity. At the extreme end, Armenia, Albania, and Georgia are about 112-114:100. China clocks in at 110 boys to 100 girls and India is 112 to 100. Granada (100:100), Anguilla (102:100), and Bahamas (102:100) are the lowest numbers I can find.

The numbers at the Aamjiwnaang First Nation Reserve are more like 50 boys to 100 girls. This Canadian Indian reserve is markedly aberrant from the global trend.
posted by A-Train at 2:30 PM on November 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Unmentionables" always meant "underwear," to me, although I'm still not sure why. Of course, the effect may as well be the same - speedos, phthalates, bisphenol A, tighty-whities... I think that covers gender stereotypes and shrinking sperm/willies.

Honestly, I think we're doing okay as far as reproduction goes. It's other effects I wonder about.
posted by neewom at 2:31 PM on November 12, 2009


Hey, now, let's not be too hasty in dismissing this stuff. It would, ah, explain certain things.

Apropos of nothing, would it cost me another $5 if I wanted to change my username? Say, to Halloween Jill?
posted by Halloween Jack at 2:38 PM on November 12, 2009


Chemicals like phthalates (found in PVC and fragrances), parabens (found in lotions and sunscreens), and pesticides are increasingly being linked to hormone disruption

If you complain about my (future) stinky, sunburnt baby, I'll tell you I'm keeping him manly.

Girls who are boys, who like boys to be girls, who do boys like they’re girls, who do girls like they’re boys, always should be someone you really love
posted by filthy light thief at 2:39 PM on November 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


tea sets? Oh no!

News flash: Growing up in the UK causes boys to act like girls!
posted by honest knave at 2:40 PM on November 12, 2009 [3 favorites]


Enforced sterilisation is a welcome cure to overpopulation? Have a word with yourselves.
posted by vbfg at 2:40 PM on November 12, 2009


Thanks, nanojath. That's the kind of thing I was wondering about.
I'll take off the tinfoil hat now, but I'm leaving the bathrobe on.
posted by cimbrog at 2:41 PM on November 12, 2009


cause boys to act like girls.

So this somehow makes boys lose their penises and grow vaginas and uteri etc?

Or do they mean that these chemicals somehow make boys behave in a way that is entirely stereotypically regarded as 'feminine'? And that is somehow bad?

Ugh.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 2:42 PM on November 12, 2009


Enforced sterilisation is a welcome cure to overpopulation? Have a word with yourselves.

No one said "enforced." We're talking accidental here.

You could have them pulled off in an accident.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:44 PM on November 12, 2009


Every sperm is sacred, boys and girls. Every last one.
posted by fourcheesemac at 2:45 PM on November 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


"I've always understood unmentionables as being underwear."

Yeah, which is why coyly suggesting that men's underwear is getting smaller is pretty hilarious. I suppose now, with the internet, everyone can buy banana hammocks from International Male, not just catalog subscribers.
posted by klangklangston at 2:48 PM on November 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


I am happy to find out that drinking from plastic bottles means that I'm less able to impregnate hamsters though.
posted by klangklangston at 2:48 PM on November 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


We should definitely take that last link seriously because we all know The Huffington Post is renown for its understanding of science.
posted by inoculatedcities at 2:52 PM on November 12, 2009 [7 favorites]


a single, small study which studied a correlation of phthalate exposure to anogenital distance (NSFW), (more or less, the length of the perineum.)

Say it taint so!
posted by hippybear at 2:57 PM on November 12, 2009 [3 favorites]


Guys, the Huffington Post is sugarcoating it, in true liberal style. WND has the real scoop: THE SOY GIVES YOUR KIDS THE GAY!
posted by mccarty.tim at 3:00 PM on November 12, 2009


- Today's boys have less sperm. Good, we need help dealing with overpopulation.
...
- Fewer boys are being born. Good, we need to counterbalance the cultures that produce more boys than girls.


Actually, more girls than boys generally means more risk of overpopulation, not less. The number of wombs available is a much stronger factor of population growth than the amount of sperm available.

No matter how many men you have and how fertile they are, population growth will be small if there's very few women. Conversely, less men and many women can still maintain a high population growth rate, even if the men aren't very fertile; a low sperm count is more easily "compensated for" than a low number of wombs, simply because sperm is comparatively "cheaper" to produce.

/ paging Dr. Strangelove...
posted by PsychoKick at 3:01 PM on November 12, 2009


"Bisphenol A causes impotence..."

Surely all the viagra and Cialis in the water would counter that.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:02 PM on November 12, 2009


which studied a correlation of phthalate exposure to anogenital distance

So we're moving towards having cloacas?
posted by zippy at 3:03 PM on November 12, 2009


So we're moving towards having cloacas?

One hole to rule them all, One hole to find them,
One hole to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.
posted by GuyZero at 3:06 PM on November 12, 2009 [12 favorites]


One hole to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.

Little fiber'll clear that right up, Guy.
posted by The Bellman at 3:15 PM on November 12, 2009 [4 favorites]


Ah yes, the unmentionables. Right up next to the hoo-hah and the you-know-whats.
Putting them up next to each other results in a declining birth rate? That is a surprising discovery.
posted by hattifattener at 3:19 PM on November 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


At the moment, being completely a non-expert, I'm going to trust that nanojath is right and this is all overblown. Having said that, maybe all these comments are just good natured snark or a bit of dark humor--I'm having some trouble figuring out just how they are intended. So, I'll go ahead and say for the record that if the combination of chemicals in commonly available products is messing up human development in any significant way, and if it is causing children's behaviors to be chemically altered from what they would be naturally, then that's a bad bad thing and ought to be avoided.

I would think that's the obvious response, but it really looks to me like some of you guys are so eager to overturn what remains of male privilege and heteronormality that if chemically altering toddler brains through industrial poisons accomplishes that end, you are completely cool with it. And I have to tell you, if you are serious (I hope you aren't!), that's about the scariest sentiment I've read on Metafilter in quite a while.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 3:24 PM on November 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


Why not junk? Or wee-wee? Or pee-pee? Or schlong?

Particularly "schlong". I just like saying that word, for some reason.

Heeheehee..."schlong"...
posted by ZsigE at 3:28 PM on November 12, 2009


but it really looks to me like some of you guys are so eager to overturn what remains of male privilege and heteronormality

this is a bad thing?

that if chemically altering toddler brains through industrial poisons accomplishes that end, you are completely cool with it.

Ah. What a cute strawman. Mind if I play dress-up with it?
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 3:35 PM on November 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


maybe all these comments are just good natured snark or a bit of dark humor--I'm having some trouble figuring out just how they are intended

I for one was dead serious; that's why there's no HAMBURGER at the end of my Monty Python quote.
posted by Sys Rq at 3:42 PM on November 12, 2009


it really looks to me like some of you guys are so eager to overturn what remains of male privilege and heteronormality

So, we've recently had the Hi, Whatcha Readin? thread, the currently running male aggression thread, and the NO HOMO thread, and these are just three recent examples of MetaFilter examining gender in our culture, and this sentiment is only NOW becoming known to you? I think you haven't been paying attention.

MetaFilter has been having deep discussions about male privilege and trying to disentangle that for years, AND is well known for attitudes which do not support heteronormality. Perhaps it should not be imposed on the unwilling using chemical means, but to suggest that these attitudes are news is silly.
posted by hippybear at 3:44 PM on November 12, 2009 [3 favorites]


it really looks to me like some of you guys are so eager to overturn what remains of male privilege and heteronormality that if chemically altering toddler brains through industrial poisons accomplishes that end,

For me, it's more about population growth and the widespread dispersion of these chemicals that accompanies it. I also took issue with the shrill tone of the article and its half truths, drama and weird conclusions. It was designed for a credulous audience and it didn't find one here.

Male privilege has absolutely nothing to do with it.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 3:47 PM on November 12, 2009


Ah yes, the unmentionables. Right up next to the hoo-hah and the you-know-whats.

I have to link to The Onion now. Sorry.
posted by selfmedicating at 4:05 PM on November 12, 2009


Perhaps it should not be imposed on the unwilling using chemical means, but to suggest that these attitudes are news is silly.

Perhaps.





I think Pater was objecting specifically to the unwilling/chemical part. I don't think it's "silly" to be taken aback by someone suggesting seriously that this is a good thing.
posted by mr_roboto at 4:13 PM on November 12, 2009


For the record, I was not suggesting seriously that this is a good thing. Insert a hamburger (organic) at the end of my earlier comment.
posted by brain_drain at 4:18 PM on November 12, 2009


cause boys to act like girls.

It's horrible! They're listening, remembering birthdays, and hugging all over the place!
posted by msalt at 4:20 PM on November 12, 2009 [3 favorites]


More boys are playing like girls. Good, we need more men to be comfortable with their "feminine" qualities.

Bullshit. These are bad chemicals artificially affecting basic body chemistry. It has nothing to do with the social construct of becoming comfortable with one's feminine side. The most masculine guys out there can be completely gay-friendly and secure with themselves and their identity.

Getting poisoned is bad.
posted by jimmythefish at 4:21 PM on November 12, 2009 [6 favorites]


Whatever effects are most readily observed right now are not likely to be the only effects these chemicals will have. You can't just fix on one effect you happen to like -- boys playing dress-up instead of construction trucks -- and thus conclude that the phenomenon is a positive one. If these chemicals cause enough hormone disruption to influence behavior like that, then plenty is going on other than just that one effect.
posted by palliser at 4:37 PM on November 12, 2009 [3 favorites]


and thus conclude that the phenomenon is a positive one

I don't think anyone here is seriously saying that this sort of hormone disruption--if it exists--is in any way a good thing. So let's drop that fucking strawman, shall we?

What people are reacting to, myself included, is the significantly flawed premise that boys act like this and girls act like that. Most 'masculine' and 'feminine' behaviour (other than e.g. peeing standing up and birthing children) is almost entirely a social construct. There is nothing intrinsic in male or female that predisposes one child playing with dolls and the other to prefer the colour blue--these are all societally-imposed constructs that begin even before birth ("You're painting your daughter's room blue? Here, have some toy trucks for your unborn son") that have little to no bearing on reality.

What the people who wrote these articles are reacting to is--oh no!--small children not conforming to the gender stereotyping that they 'should' conform to. What they are missing is that there are probably other and far more pernicious effects arising from these chemicals which have nothing to do with our twin cultural boogeymen of gender and 'appropriate' behaviour. And thus will not sell copies or glean eyeballs online.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 4:54 PM on November 12, 2009 [4 favorites]


What people are reacting to, myself included, is the significantly flawed premise that boys act like this and girls act like that.

Yours is the only fucking strawman in this thread.
posted by jimmythefish at 4:57 PM on November 12, 2009


Mr. McGuire: I just want to say one word to you—just one word.
Ben: Yes sir.
Mr. McGuire: Are you listening?
Ben: Yes I am.
Mr. McGuire: Plastics.
Ben: Exactly how do you mean?
Mr. McGuire: There's a great future in plastics. Think about it. Will you think about it?
Ben: Yes I will.
Mr. McGuire: Shh! Enough said. That's a deal.

-----------------------------------------
Sent from my black plastic MacBook.
posted by limeonaire at 5:24 PM on November 12, 2009


How nice. Not only am I fat because of BPA, but I am also now effeminate.
posted by wierdo at 5:31 PM on November 12, 2009


What people are reacting to, myself included, is the significantly flawed premise that boys act like this and girls act like that.

Yours is the only fucking strawman in this thread.


Apparently reading comprehension isn't your strong suit. Let's look at the very text of the post:
Bisphenol A causes impotence and phthalates cause boys to act like girls.
This very statement presupposes that boys act one way and girls act another. I know you're some sort of RAH RAH MANLY BALLSCRATCHING MEN dinosaur as evidenced from some of your recent comments, but do try and keep up with the adults, won't you?
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 5:36 PM on November 12, 2009


thanks dirtynumbangelboy for spelling it out.

This is no strawman jimmythefish. I cannot fathom at all why you would think so. Those stupid fuckingg gender identitiy cliches that seem to make such a ridiculous theory fpp-worthy are a fucking strawman.
A strawman with lipstick and skirts and barby dolls.
posted by ts;dr at 5:38 PM on November 12, 2009


Your cite for the assertion that 100 percent of gender-based behavior differences are social constructs is an Onion video? Do you have anything else?
posted by rocket88 at 5:45 PM on November 12, 2009


Your cite for the assertion that 100 percent of gender-based behavior differences are social constructs

I don't see that assertion anywhere in this thread. Could you show me where it is?
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 5:48 PM on November 12, 2009


But seriously—maybe we were introduced to plastics by an alien species specifically so we'd marvel over its miraculous properties, use it for everything, and wipe ourselves out.

There was a short story by George R.R. Martin in the Mid-December 1985 issue of Analog called "Manna From Heaven" that sort of laid out a similar scenario. As far as I know it's out of print (there's one used copy of the issue available on Amazon), so I'll sketch out the relevant bits:

A planet is breeding itself into starvation and has begun starting wars with its neighbors in an attempt to gain more territory for its people, who refuse to use birth control. They capture the starship of a scientist who's helped them develop new food sources in the past and attempt to force him to hand over his technology. Through a series of deft maneuvers, he gains the upper hand, and ultimately forces the planet's governors into a position where they must accept his solution: a genetically engineered superplant he calls manna.

It's delicious, can be bred in any flavor, will grow anywhere, spreads quickly via spores, and is slightly narcotic. The catch: A dust falls from the underside of the plants' tendrils that acts as an endocrine disruptor, permanently eliminating the male sex drive and rendering the female reproductive system infertile. Only 10 percent of the population is naturally immune to the dust's effects—and thus after a massive population collapse a generation hence, they will be the ones to rebuild and reproduce.
posted by limeonaire at 5:50 PM on November 12, 2009


I'm not sure I can accept the conclusions that dudes' wangs are getting smaller because of their Speedos. I think I need to conduct some field research to confirm this for myself.

Send over the Danish Men's Olympic Swim Team for inspection, post haste!
posted by darkstar at 5:50 PM on November 12, 2009


darkstar, if you need assistants for your research team, I have some free time.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 5:51 PM on November 12, 2009


I don't see that assertion anywhere in this thread. Could you show me where it is?

Here:

What people are reacting to, myself included, is the significantly flawed premise that boys act like this and girls act like that. Most 'masculine' and 'feminine' behaviour (other than e.g. peeing standing up and birthing children) is almost entirely a social construct. There is nothing intrinsic in male or female that predisposes one child playing with dolls and the other to prefer the colour blue--these are all societally-imposed constructs that begin even before birth ("You're painting your daughter's room blue? Here, have some toy trucks for your unborn son") that have little to no bearing on reality.

Unless you're going to claim that slipping the word "almost" in there changes your assertion.

I'm no expert, but seeing as how pretty much every other animal on earth has gender-based behavioral differences, I fail to see how we could be so different. But I'm honestly looking for a cite to prove me wrong more than an argument.
posted by rocket88 at 5:55 PM on November 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Of course I am. You said 100%--and nobody has made that claim. But the bullshit about wearing 'girl clothes' (hint: men used to wear tights, go further back and men wore outfits indistinguishable from the dresses of today--so what is 'male' and 'female' clothing, exactly?), blue vs pink, etc? It's all societally constructed bullshit.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 6:04 PM on November 12, 2009


I think Pater was objecting specifically to the unwilling/chemical part. I don't think it's "silly" to be taken aback by someone suggesting seriously that this is a good thing.

This.

Let's make our societal changes through means other than chemicals in our babies please.

I don't really have the time or energy to join a debate about how much in gender roles is socially constructed, but I'm in the camp that says it's not 0% and its not 100%. I would appreciate it it--and I say this in all seriousness--if someone would explain to me why the very same people who most fervently claim that sexual orientation is genetic, innate, and unchosen often claim just as fervently that orientation toward dolls or trucks is completely a societal construct. How can it be that my chromosomes are all-powerful in determining whether I like girls or boys, but have no appreciable impact on how girls and boys behave?

Yes, I'm the old-fashioned troglodyte who thinks that, in a lot of ways, men and women are going to be different and that's a chromosomal thing. Cases like David Reimer's demonstrate that pretty powerfully. It's possible to be all gung-ho about societal equality and still acknowledge that we're just going to be somewhat different. (All the usual caveats--generally speaking, of course there are exceptions, we're still mainly alike in many ways, etcetera and so forth.)
posted by Pater Aletheias at 6:22 PM on November 12, 2009


The problem was that nobody was suggesting seriously that this is a good thing. So there's that.

Beyond that, as far as the difference between sexual orientation and playing with trucks/dolls goes: western society is explicitly geared against people being queer. Everything we are brought up with presents a solely heteronormative view. Not just that, the life you lead as a queer person is fraught with bigotry and pain--less so now, perhaps, in some places. Given those two premises, perhaps you could explain how it's either socially determined or chosen?

I'll be waiting.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 6:28 PM on November 12, 2009


I don't think anyone here is seriously saying that this sort of hormone disruption--if it exists--is in any way a good thing.

This kind of hormone disruption is very well documented in freshwater fish, so it does exist. It may well exist in humans to, but this article did very little to make that case solid.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 6:37 PM on November 12, 2009


Yeah, sorry, should have said 'if it exists in humans.'
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 6:40 PM on November 12, 2009


Given those two premises, perhaps you could explain how it's either socially determined or chosen?

I think he meant the opposite -- that there are likely to be innate gender differences in the same way that there are innate sexual preferences.
posted by palliser at 6:57 PM on November 12, 2009


Did they outsource the editing in that Huffpo article? Cause the piece is rather thin. pfft.

When the CEO/Executive Director of Healthy Child Healthy World thinks he can write on such important subjects, that's when people will dismiss him.

Hire a professional to write it, research it and give us the source. Stop wearing so many hats, Christopher. Marketing 101.

Check more doozies from the CEO/Executive Director : headlines
'If a Pregnant Woman Told You BPA Was Safe, Would You Believe Her?'.
'Environmental Groups and Chemical Industry Agree on Regulating Toxics?'
'Dust Becomes You'
'Parents! Mercury Contamination Found in High Fructose Corn Syrup'

I'm holding my pee-pee laughing so hard. They don't make me want to read the articles. Damn right pollution and chemical pollution is important, what's with the marshmallow headlines and approach then?

It's about the delivery... and when that message isn't being received.
posted by alicesshoe at 7:01 PM on November 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


dirtynumbangelboy: Of course I am. You said 100%--and nobody has made that claim. But the bullshit about wearing 'girl clothes' (hint: men used to wear tights, go further back and men wore outfits indistinguishable from the dresses of today--so what is 'male' and 'female' clothing, exactly?), blue vs pink, etc? It's all societally constructed bullshit.

Of course it's arbitrary. But that doesn't actually refute the original statement that the compound may make boys "act like girls". (I am not arguing for the statement myself, for the record.)

Extremely simplified hypothetical: Boys grow up socialized to think of dresses as feminine. If a chemical to make them "act like girls" was given, then they might wear dresses. If our culture were such that men wore dresses, whereas overalls and trucker hats were strongly associated with girlishness, the same chemical might make those boys "act like girls" by wearing said overalls and hats. If our culture strongly associated clown shoes and scarves with girlishness, the chemical could make boys wear those.

Again, I am not arguing in favor of this conclusion, but the fact that many of the outward manifestations of "gender" are arbitrary doesn't mean that a biochemical reaction couldn't cause a predisposition to those behaviors, because we learn to associate behaviors with gender. And just because the particular manifestations are arbitrary, doesn't mean that there isn't some biological motive behind different manifestations of gender. (Male facial hair in many populations is a biological example- it's totally arbitrary that facial hair is a "male" trait; it could have been smooth faced men and hairy women. It exists has a sexual signal; what's important is that there is a difference between the sexes in this case, not who has what trait.)
posted by spaltavian at 8:11 PM on November 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


While this conversation has gone in a, uh, weird direction, I'll add, WRT I'm going to trust that nanojath is right and this is all overblown.

and

This kind of hormone disruption is very well documented in freshwater fish, so it does exist.

Let me stress that I don't think the issues of hormonal and endocrine disruption from environmental pollution are at all unrealistic and they are definitely something we should all be concerned about. Like kuujjuarapik I just think what was reported here didn't add anything to the discussion (the Chinese BPA study is suggestive and significant but poorly framed and, frankly, there is a lot of stuff I am routinely exposed to that I would very much not want to be exposed to at 50X the level).
posted by nanojath at 8:38 PM on November 12, 2009


Apparently reading comprehension isn't your strong suit. Let's look at the very text of the post:

Bisphenol A causes impotence and phthalates cause boys to act like girls.

This very statement presupposes that boys act one way and girls act another. I know you're some sort of RAH RAH MANLY BALLSCRATCHING MEN dinosaur as evidenced from some of your recent comments, but do try and keep up with the adults, won't you?


Excuse me, but you take the title of the article from the 4th link and presuppose that this is the main thesis of the post? The original post was (partly!) about hormonal disruption causing increased female tendencies in men. That same article goes about discussing other health issues associated with these hormones.

This is a classic straw man. You're asserting this unproven point that men and women are the same save for social constructs, an irrelevant point, and making it the central issue.

Go have a hissy fit somewhere else. We've covered this before.
posted by jimmythefish at 10:07 PM on November 12, 2009


So that's why all the high school girls make such big eyes the first time we get nekkid. I thought they were just being polite.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 11:57 PM on November 12, 2009


limeonaire, I've got a paperback where that story from Analog and a bunch of others with Haviland Tuf are collected together: Tuf Voyaging. Appears to be out of print as well, though.
posted by harriet vane at 1:57 AM on November 13, 2009


Lots of big claims in the post but only links to wikipedia, yahoo news, and the huffpo. Did I miss a comment that links to some more details / convincing evidence?
posted by molecicco at 4:56 AM on November 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Peter Altheias: I would appreciate it it--and I say this in all seriousness--if someone would explain to me why the very same people who most fervently claim that sexual orientation is genetic, innate, and unchosen often claim just as fervently that orientation toward dolls or trucks is completely a societal construct.

Teddy Roosevelt, probably the most macho man ever to live in the White House, a guy who used to annoy the press by having his press conferences during his morning constitutional jog through the streets of DC, almost certainly were a pink dress as a boy.

It's highly problematic to take something that's largely socially constructed and use it as evidence of environmental effects on human sexual development.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 7:07 AM on November 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


I would appreciate it it--and I say this in all seriousness--if someone would explain to me why the very same people who most fervently claim that sexual orientation is genetic, innate, and unchosen often claim just as fervently that orientation toward dolls or trucks is completely a societal construct.

I am going to have to assume you're kidding or trolling, because otherwise you're implying that since I believe that sexual orientation is genetically determined, I must also believe that liking Meg Ryan movies is genetically determined. And -- really? You don't see how one can be socially constructed and the other biological? You don't see how the fact that homosexuality arises in nature might point to biological determination, whereas the fact that Meg Ryan movies are always marketed towards women might strongly imply a societal/socialization aspect? You're shocked -- SHOCKED -- that I might come to this conclusion?
posted by Frobenius Twist at 8:01 AM on November 13, 2009


This is a classic straw man. You're asserting this unproven point that men and women are the same save for social constructs, an irrelevant point, and making it the central issue.

Go have a hissy fit somewhere else. We've covered this before.


As I said, reading comprehension doesn't appear to be listed amongst your skills. How is it an irrelevant point if the very text of this post is stating that boys are 'acting like' girls? Here's the thing: it's not. I know, I know, it's challenging your ridiculous notions that MEN ACT LIKE THIS ROAR and girls wear dresses and bake cakes. I realise that's threatening to you. You'll grow out of it.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 8:08 AM on November 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Ah yes, the unmentionables. Right up next to the hoo-hah and the you-know-whats.

Actually, becoming even more true as we speak, according to these articles...
posted by Samizdata at 8:20 AM on November 13, 2009


Beyond that, as far as the difference between sexual orientation and playing with trucks/dolls goes: western society is explicitly geared against people being queer.

Not necessarily a truism either. I happen to think that homophobia is more likely a subset of misogyny, more anti-sissy than anti-same sex, per Dan Savage. But we digress....
posted by msalt at 9:24 AM on November 13, 2009


I know, I know, it's challenging your ridiculous notions that MEN ACT LIKE THIS ROAR and girls wear dresses and bake cakes.

Wherever did I make this assertion? It's you with the reading comprehension problem. You're making a ridiculous and spurious connection to gay characteristics here - an irrelevant agenda. I have no problem at all with boys acting like girls or girls acting like boys. My assertion is that I do believe that hormones affect girls and boys differently, and it has an impact on their behaviour - if an observed behaviour is more likely to happen with the introduction of unnatural hormones (I happen to believe that both nature and nurture determine behaviour - though it's pretty clear that increased levels of testosterone affect behaviour in both men and women, and men almost always have way more than women) INTRODUCING THE CHEMICALS ISN'T A GOOD THING. It's not the behaviour that's bad. It's the chemicals that are bad. This is the main point of the post.

When you state that our perception of these behaviours is what's wrong, it ignores the chemical influences entirely in favour of introducing your (valid and reasonable but off-topic) point. Hence, a straw man.

I have no idea how or why you insist on rather hostilely extrapolating that I'm some sort of manly homophobe, but I'm most certainly not. I'm just interested in staying on topic.
posted by jimmythefish at 10:04 AM on November 13, 2009


Never said you were a homophobe, but nice try--unless you have a link showing me saying that? No? Shocking.

You are, however, somewhat attached to traditional/stereotypical notions of what constitutes 'masculine' and 'feminine' behaviour, and seem to think these are inborn characteristics instead of socially-determined. You also seem to take it as a given that 'boys acting like girls' has some sort of validity, as though there is some way that boys act and some way that girls act that isn't socially constructed.

INTRODUCING THE CHEMICALS ISN'T A GOOD THING

Perhaps you could also show me exactly where anyone said, seriously, the opposite? Go on, I can wait.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 10:29 AM on November 13, 2009


Perhaps you could also show me exactly where anyone said, seriously, the opposite? Go on, I can wait.

Since you asked:

Or do they mean that these chemicals somehow make boys behave in a way that is entirely stereotypically regarded as 'feminine'? And that is somehow bad?

Ugh.


All this aside, I think we need some clarification here. Would you be OK with this assertion (one that I believe to be correct and one that I believe the initial post was attempting (poorly) to make):

Hormones make one more likely to self-identify as female or male (on a spectrum). This is the nature aspect. The socially-constructed aspect is the playing with dolls, trucks etc. So, if you're introducing an artificial hormone which makes boys more likely to self-identify on the feminine side, they identify with things associated with femininity in their own culture. This isn't a good thing only in the sense that it's artificially, unhealthily introduced.

You're making a leap by saying that trucks = men or baking = women. I don't think this is true at all. What I do think is true is that hormones make you more likely to pick up the cultural norms - in this case, baking vs. cars.
posted by jimmythefish at 10:47 AM on November 13, 2009


jimmythefish: Ok, lets lay the basic theory here on the line. Human behavior is a complex interaction between culture, environment, individual history, developmental biology, and genetics. Pretty much everyone without a particular axe to grind agrees that this is the case.

The problem is that without some pretty ugly and unethical experiments, it's painfully difficult to convert that into a quantitative model when it comes to specific behaviors.

Are artificial hormones making boys more likely to play with dolls or wear pink? Or are boys more likely to play with dolls or wear pink because more relaxed feminist-influenced parenting norms make those choices more acceptable? We can't say because we don't have a good model for gender identity and expression. Pointing at non-gender-conforming boys and panicking regarding the influence of plastics, or tofu, or communist influence on the water supply is a pretty big jump, especially when you can make a stronger case regarding something much less biased and ambiguous like sperm counts.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 11:02 AM on November 13, 2009


Ugh. 'And that is somehow bad' is referring to their opinion. See my previous comments about your lack of reading comprehension.

The post was not attempting to make that assertion, but nice try.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 11:04 AM on November 13, 2009


KJS,

I mainly agree with you.

Are artificial hormones making boys more likely to play with dolls or wear pink? Or are boys more likely to play with dolls or wear pink because more relaxed feminist-influenced parenting norms make those choices more acceptable?

A little bit of neither - again, we're making a jump. This all has to be considered in a context, which the original post didn't clarify. No, hormones don't make it more likely for boys to play with dolls or wear pink in an absolute sense. I'd assert that estrogen mimics would make it more likely for someone to identify as female and exhibit learned female behavoir in their particular social context. Asserting this without a context - that makeup = female, is utterly ridiculous.

I totally agree that however, to the pretty big jump point. Wouldn't you agree that an observed change in behaviour is troublesome? If nothing else culturally/socially etc changes aside from the introduction of a chemical hormone, and the result is a significant behavioural change, it certainly is a good argument to support the notion that hormones have a significant impact on this (as you've said) complex interaction. It's not the behaviour that's bad - it's the change that's bad.

These exposures provide us with a situation which couldn't be set up scientifically (unethical and ugly, as you say) but can nevertheless be observed.
posted by jimmythefish at 11:16 AM on November 13, 2009


Ugh. 'And that is somehow bad' is referring to their opinion. See my previous comments about your lack of reading comprehension.

The post was not attempting to make that assertion, but nice try.


Now you're not even making sense.
posted by jimmythefish at 11:17 AM on November 13, 2009


English... not your first language? I am making perfect sense. That it does not accord with what you have decided I am saying--a frequent problem around here--is not my concern.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 11:22 AM on November 13, 2009


I can see why you'd think it to be a frequent problem.
posted by jimmythefish at 11:26 AM on November 13, 2009


Well, yes. When I say X, and you say "So you're saying Y", and I say "No, I am saying X. X. X. X. X. X." and you insist on putting words in my mouth and saying that I am saying something else? Yes it is a problem, it is a frequent problem here--people seem to greatly enjoy quite deliberately misunderstanding me after I have explained at great length what I am actually saying, as opposed to what they have decided I am saying--and in fact there are several who do it on purpose merely to piss me off.

Pointing at non-gender-conforming boys and panicking regarding the influence of plastics, or tofu, or communist influence on the water supply is a pretty big jump, especially when you can make a stronger case regarding something much less biased and ambiguous like sperm counts.


Reread that, and stop blethering on about 'boys acting like girls' because you clearly have no idea what you're talking about.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 11:33 AM on November 13, 2009


jimmythefish: If nothing else culturally/socially etc changes aside from the introduction of a chemical hormone, and the result is a significant behavioural change, it certainly is a good argument to support the notion that hormones have a significant impact on this (as you've said) complex interaction. It's not the behaviour that's bad - it's the change that's bad.

Is it? Cultures undergo significant behavioral changes all the time as economics an demographics change. It's not as if gender non-conformity is unique to the current generation.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 11:34 AM on November 13, 2009


Thanks to KJS for bringing the rational back to the conversation. It's worthwhile to be deeply skeptical of these claims, even if we could all agree that the basis for them (that chemicals affecting hormones are generally a bad thing and should be opposed).
posted by klangklangston at 12:20 PM on November 13, 2009


It could actually be the high level of estrogens from birth control pills which are passed through the human body, excreted, and then not removed during sewage treatment which are causing a lot of these problems. I've read more than a few articles in the last while involving hermaphroditic frogs and fish with eggs forming in their testes, and it can't ALL be from plastics.
posted by hippybear at 12:27 PM on November 13, 2009


Which a subtext behind some of this argument is that some of us embrace the liberalization of gender roles as part of creating a society that's more welcoming towards LGBT people, while it feels that many of the panics regarding the feminization/masculinization of people starts from a premise that strictly-defined gender roles are a good thing and that change threatens the foundations of our culture and society.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 12:28 PM on November 13, 2009


That's also an excellent point. I think that a lot of Pater's misunderstanding came from reading facetious comments from that point of view (pro-queering) as earnest. The dangers of chemicals interfering with hormones aren't that boys will dress like girls or that cats will live with dogs, but rather legitimate concerns like, you know, increased risk of cancer, etc.
posted by klangklangston at 12:50 PM on November 13, 2009


Just to put this into perspective, while I may joke a lot about my hometown the previously mentioned native reservation where the gender birth ratio is 1:2 is literally downstream from a dozen chemical plants that dump out - and again I do not use this word lightly - literally tons of waste into the river and ground water. These are plants for companies like Dow, Imperial Oil, Amco, Bayer, Ethyl Canada, Nova Chemicals Canada, Shell, Sunoco (a list here). How come no one else gets sick? Because all the white folks live upstream from the plants. I'm really not completely sure why the plants aren't poisoning Windsor and Detroit as well.

So the one actual instance of an actual problem in the links in the FPP is a) really serious and b) doesn't come from drinking out of nalgene bottles or exposure to trace amounts of chemicals. The people on the reservation are being soaked in a variety of organic industrial waste compounds.

You all can natter on about the social versus biological construction of gender and rightfully dismiss the bad science in all those links but don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. And don't waste your time avoiding minute environmental toxins when governments are turning a blind eye to plants that knowingly poison the environment in serious macroscopic quantities.
posted by GuyZero at 1:12 PM on November 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Which a subtext behind some of this argument is that some of us embrace the liberalization of gender roles as part of creating a society that's more welcoming towards LGBT people, while it feels that many of the panics regarding the feminization/masculinization of people starts from a premise that strictly-defined gender roles are a good thing and that change threatens the foundations of our culture and society.

This. The attachment to gender roles, and opposition to that attachment, muddies the waters in these discussions. If boys are becoming more comfortable engaging in behaviors traditionally ascribed to female gender roles and gender role prescriptivism is reduced as a result, it is a net good for our society, but the mechanism by which this occurs should be social r/evolution, not chemical poisoning.
posted by notashroom at 1:28 PM on November 13, 2009


notashroom: Sure, on the other hand the feminizing effects of various environmental factors has often been greatly exaggerated in order to make the case that men are feminized by products strongly associated with culture. A few years ago, the big scare was centered on soya and specifically vegetarianism. As GuyZero points out, making a big scare of trace amounts leeching out of consumer plastics seems odd given the tons of toxic waste that gets released into the environment.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 3:40 PM on November 13, 2009


KirkJobSluder, I recall that as well. I have to wonder if "It's turning our boys into girls! And queers!" isn't some cynic's way of getting free marketers and other generally anti-regulation types invested in the fights against pollution, corporate farming, and mass production of goods with little oversight. It would probably be among the most effective marketing strategies available for that segment.
posted by notashroom at 5:38 PM on November 13, 2009


Perhaps it was plastics that finally got to Ted Haggard.

Looks like he's finally washed all those phthalates right out of his hair.


Though I must say, the phrase "at his Colorado home last night in an attempt to mount a comeback" sounds like a smutty double-entendre of some kind...
posted by darkstar at 6:07 PM on November 13, 2009


making a big scare of trace amounts leeching out of consumer plastics seems odd given the tons of toxic waste that gets released into the environment
The reason is that hormone-mimics are effective at vastly lower concentrations than most pollutants. Just for comparison with other pollutants: nitrate runoff is a problem above a few tens of ppm; metals, often around 0.1 ppm; scary organic chlorides, in the ppbs; but some estrogens are effective at a few parts per trillion.

You really can't lump all toxic waste into the same category and still expect to understand it.
posted by hattifattener at 1:12 PM on November 14, 2009


western society is explicitly geared against people being queer.

Whereas, say, Eastern society is not? "Western" society is one of few complex societies in human history to have developed an explicit discourse on the varieties of sexual preference as a fixed locus of personal identity, let alone a discourse on tolerance thereof. (Rec. reading: Foucault's *History of Sexuality,* vol. 1). Throughout most of human history and across most complex societies, where homosexuality has been acknowledged as anything resembling the modern (Western) construction of sexual preference as genetic predisposition, it has been condemned and persecuted, as continues to be the case. You may not like "Western" homophobia; but you wouldn't want to trade it for, say, the "Eastern" homophobia rampant in Iran, would you? Arguably, for all the challenges, you're safer and more likely to have a happy life as a homosexual in the contemporary West than at any other time in human history, or in any other place (fantasy stories about ancient Greece notwithstanding). So, speaking of straw men, can we lose that one? We have a long way to go, but compared to most of human history, we're miles ahead.

And obviously, as a few people above get, sexual behavioral differentiation and "gender" differences in the expression thereof are not the same thing, and vary by culture, historical period, etc. We're primates. Certain key aspects of our behavior are completely organically sex differentiated. We can will ourselves to ignore, deny, or repress those, and civilization (Western, no less) insists to a great extent that we do as the price of membership (leading to all the delightful effects of repression, such as the fetishization of "sexuality" as identity and a great concern over what our neighbors are doing with their naught bits). But in a world without dolls or trucks, boys and girls would still be different and still express that difference in thousands of ways selected from the available options in their environment. And most individuals would still fall along the continuum of sex-specific behaviors.

The idea that one "is" gay or straight is biological nonsense. Note, I am not saying it is biological nonsense to argue that one's preference for homosexual or heterosexual behavior is "innate" or inherited. "Gay" and "straight" are social constructions JUST like "masculine" and "feminine" are. Fact of the matter is, sperm must meet egg (and much else needs to follow) for a species to reproduce. How that happens, and how the right sperm and egg combinations are selected for by behavior (or belief, or whatever), and whether or not all individuals participate directly in reproductively efficient behavior, are derived questions.

Spend a week watching Bonobos or Gorillas and get back to me about dolls and trucks and pink dresses. Irrelevant.
posted by fourcheesemac at 1:59 AM on November 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


I think you are conflating "human history" with "the Abrahamic tradition." There are (or rather, were) plenty of non-Abrahamic cultures that are perfectly fine with gender variations, especially those with shamanic traditions.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 2:26 AM on November 15, 2009


Jimmy, no I am not. By "human history" I mean "evolutionary history." The diversity of cultural expressions of gender is not the same thing.

As an anthropologist myself, I don't need much informing about cultural diversity (indeed, as someone who works in a culture that has a long history of shamanistic religion, I don't need much informing about that).

A good deal of what most people know about "shamanism" and non-western cultures, learned in the service of particular western ideological positions, is also unadulterated bullshit.
posted by fourcheesemac at 3:35 AM on November 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


(Nor am I denying the *existence* of "gender diversity," whatever that even means.)
posted by fourcheesemac at 3:36 AM on November 15, 2009


So the Aamjiwnaang First Nation Reserve was covered this month in "Men's Health" of all places. The author's description of Sarnia as "Modor meets Little House on the Prairie" is a bit much though. Like all great evils, Sarnia is terrifyingly banal and through most of it you'd have no idea that large tracts of it are poisonous. Also, Sarnia doesn't smell, even near the plants unless something is horribly wrong.
posted by GuyZero at 4:21 PM on November 29, 2009


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