RARA-AVIS: Assumptions still making...Taboada after all

From: Todd Mason ( Todd.Mason@tvguide.com)
Date: 24 Aug 2001

Sigh. I tend to believe in human (rather than gender) nature, myself, but nothing is Long-Discarded in Scientific Circles while there is still evidence for it, because science is not about making us feel better, however much we want it to. Likewise, even when one watches one's children and others behave in certain ways, that doesn't mean that those behaviors are innate, rather than learned...boys may be more rambunctious than girls, but I have to wonder how much of that is brought about by all kinds of factors...I remember well a decade back (to also delve into anecdotes) watching a young father on a city bus rough-housing with his infant son...the boy looked puzzled, but Dad was laughing while he physically teased him, so it must be ok. A steady diet of that kind of thing (and I strongly suspect he wouldn't have done that with a daughter...and scientific studies have shown that people told that a baby is a girl will act differently toward it than if they are told it's a boy) along with G I JOE cartoons and such teach boys, urgently learning how to be human, that they as Young Men are expected to be a certain way.

Lots of boys are quite so much, and lots of girls are moreso...let's not pretend that their are leakproof boxes in our society and species, despite a certain set of hard wishes for more differences between sexes than between a range in folk of both sexes.

I like a lot of Paretsky and Muller, and don't think they "write like men"...by definition, any writing they do is exactly, but not exclusively, writing like women. Ditto such two-fisted women writers as Leigh Brackett and "Craig Rice." To insist otherwise is indeed to regress to very primitive beliefs in literary behaviorism, a line of thought which is deeply flawed and very harmful, because so convenient for some. As it has always been.


-----Original Message----- From: Mario Taboada [mailto: matrxtech@yahoo.com]

Now, I absolutely believe that there is a human nature, and within it a male and a female nature, and that you can give girls trucks and boys dolls but their natures will not be altered. I've never given my boys toy weapons, but they make their own, that's what their nature wants. My wife gave them some dolls and they've always used them as targets.

The legacy of the sex wars is bad in that it marked a regression to very primitive (and long-discarded in scientific circles) beliefs in behaviorism. They would claim that men and women have potentially interchangeable natures, and that both can go anywhere they want in any endeavor, given the right environment and opportunity. I think this thinking is deeply flawed and very harmful
(because superficially attractive).

In summary, men are men and women are women, not at all similar psychologically, and yes, some genres appeal mainly to men and others mainly to women. What Jim pointed out is close to a truism, I think. That he would take some flak for it was also to be expected.

Lastly, my two favorite female mystery writers, Teri White and Billie Sue Mosiman, do not write like men. They write extremely well and their stories interest me. That's all I care about. Grafton, Paretsky and Muller don't interest me quite so much.

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