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  1. Accidentally double posted, sorry. LOL, people are posting much faster than I can respond, but that's certainly my fault. Thanks, Graeme, I definitely do agree with the sentiments of that book. I suppose it's a much more efficient way of saying what I said as well.
  2. Interesting points. I feel "unequivocally male" as you mentioned, but the concept of gender is certainly something I've thought a good deal about. In asking myself the question of "what does it mean to be male?" I've come to the conclusion that the answer is "not much." Let me start by saying that I think the physical concept of sex is a different concept. Certainly I have a male body and certainly I enjoy my male body and have a strong preference to retain my male body rather than have a female body. From a sexuality standpoint, I have a clear and obvious preference for male bodies. Although I also have some bisexual tendencies and can definitely enjoy female bodies sexually as well. Nevertheless, I do prefer my sexual and romantic partners to have male bodies. Gender of course is more everything else, the emotional and intellectual aspects of it. I think gender is mostly meaningless, at least to me. People can have such a wide range of gender expressions that I'm reluctant to peg any of them as "male" or "female". Certainly I know the stereotypical examples; males are more aggressive, females are more docile. Males are more competitive, females are more cooperative. etc. But do I actually believe that? Meh, not very much. People are all so different that there are tons of examples of individuals who don't fit that stereotype. The ones that do, I do have to wonder to what extent they've simply been socialized to express themselves in that way. I agree there is a hormonal aspect at play. Testosterone does make people more aggressive, and it is generally found in males at much higher levels, so fine I guess we can call aggression a "male" emotion. I'd have to check to verify but I believe oxytocin levels are generally higher in females and certainly oxytocin does lead to more bonded feelings which in turn would logically lead to more cooperative behavior. However, I think that's far too simplistic. Most if not all hormones are found in both males and females albeit in different levels, and different levels of hormones impact people very differently. For example I read an article recently about how some men appear to fit the criteria for testosterone deficiency and yet are tested and found to have normal levels, whereas other men do not appear to fit the criteria are tested and found to have unexpectedly low levels. Clearly one's own unique sensitivity to the hormones is heavily at play. Y level of X hormone simply doesn't equal Z behavior in all people. Furthermore, from a behavioral standpoint I don't believe people are slaves to their hormones. Certainly they are powerful motivating forces but I don't think they equal destiny by any means. So anyway, I just think it's misleadingly simple to say certain behaviors or emotions are "male" versus "female". From a purely semantic point of view I'll just go ahead and say that yes, I do understand what people are talking about when they say a behavior, emotion, or way of thinking is "male" or "female" even if I think that's an inappropriate way of classifying them. So do I express myself in a more stereotypically male or stereotypically female way? I would say more stereotypically male, but only moderately. I find it most enjoyable to relate to people who are fairly gender neutral in expression. People who are stereotypically heavily masculine or heavily feminine both tend to annoy and bore me after a little while. I have a pretty strong concept of personality traits I like in myself and others, and they're pretty evenly mixed between "masculine" and "feminine". There are a lot of "masculine" and "feminine" traits I'm neutral on, and there are some traits, both "masculine" and "feminine" that I just find extremely off putting. I think balance, and taking the best and most desirable traits of both is the key.
  3. Well, I'll express the evidently minority opinion that I think this was a mostly positive and good thing. First and foremost though, I would need to know more far details to make a more informed evaluation. I think people tend to run a pretty wide gamut with regard to gender expression. Certainly their are some very butch boys and some very feminine girls and certainly there are some very butch girls and very feminine boys. However, I don't think either state of being accurately describes most people. instead I think most people fall somewhere in between, while usually aligning at least somewhat more with stereotypical gender expression. I think that of these people some of them do carry around the burden of feeling limited in terms of what they can and cannot do. Sometimes these limits are imposed by society and sometimes they are self-imposed. I think raising a child in as gender neutral an environment as possible is a very good thing indeed. I think it'll remove some of the inner psychological turmoil the child might experience as a result of desiring to non-conform in some way while also sending the message that the home is a safe haven where the child can be himself or herself without judgment from the family. I think though that as others have indicated the details are key. I absolutely don't think items which are generally considered very masculine or very feminine should be prohibited, and I further don't think the child should be stopped from building up a preference for one over the other. I think occasionally introducing both types of items, unsolicited, is a good thing though, that way the child is aware of other options. From the article it did sound like the parents might have been a bit too insistent about not allowing one type of item while encouraging another; I think that's a bad thing, but I also think it's entirely possible that the journalist was sensationalizing the story at least a bit. Others have mentioned the pressures from the outside world to conform. I think such pressures are precisely the problem in the first place, but nevertheless, I do see how the child could suffer ridicule if he or she isn't allowed to relate to peers (and outside adults) in a way that they deem appropriate. In that instance though, I think the timing of the "experiment" is key. It sounds like they terminated it when the child started school. Prior to that I don't think it was bad for the child because they could allow him to live within the "bubble" of the household. Now that it's necessary for him to interact more with the outside world I agree that extending the experiment would have been a bad idea, and I'm glad that they didn't. Graeme brought up a valuable point about to what extent the child was allowed to reveal his gender himself. I think it's very likely that the parents simply didn't teach him a concept of gender to begin with. Instead of being taught that he was a little boy he was probably just taught that he was "a child" or "person". Questions about whether he'd grow up to be like his mommy or his daddy (or some other male or female) were probably handled along the lines of "you can grow up to be whatever you want to be." At least that's how I'd have handled it in the situation. I don't think that's harmful for a small child. Eventually of course he does need to understand the concept of gender (regardless of to what extent he conforms or doesn't conform to it), but as a small child I don't think it's something he necessarily needed to be aware of. The concept of biological sex is of course a completely different story. He probably did have questions about his body and I certainly hope they were answered honestly and straightforwardly. Indeed I think it is a natural impulse for small children to remove their clothes or otherwise reveal themselves. I think in general though they should be taught that that's something to be done in private and not in public. So as long as he wasn't overly punished or scared I don't see any harm in teaching him not to reveal himself (physically) in public since many/most parents teach that concept anyway. It does seem possible, indeed likely to some extent, that he might have revealed himself in the past by accident or before he could be stopped, which does bring up interesting questions. It does sound like he might have stayed at home more than the average child though, so perhaps it was less of an issue. Bottom line, I think if it had gone on any longer it would have been harmful but I think stopping at school age is precisely the right time. I also think that being raised in a gender neutral environment is very positive as long as the child still has the freedom to choose whatever he wants and to accumulate a natural preference for one over the other while being aware of other options. Certainly I think this is no worse, and indeed much better and healthier, than all the countless little boys and girls who have been forced by their parents to conform to gender roles.
  4. I like blogging. I like just sitting around and thinking or chatting about a topic. Writing out my thoughts is nice because it helps me frame them in a more concrete way. It's nice just doing it in my head, but it's more fun and more satisfying on a computer screen...not on a piece of paper, physically writing sucks. Typing is nice though. Anyway, over the years I've grown thoroughly attached to this site and its members and whatever else I'm doing in my life I still enjoy a place to just sit and thing, and type about it, so I figure it might as well be here. A few short updates about my life since I figure that's the least I can do before I ramble about inconsequential topics. The boyfriend and I are doing well, in exactly a week it'll be two years. Work is lovely this time of year. This is our slowest time of year, and since I work from home anyway, it mostly means that I can sit around all day doing whatever I like as long as I keep one eye and ear on my work computer. Not a prob I've been enjoying my hobbies quite a bit as well. It's very hard to avoid reading. Despite being a technophobe I opted to get an Amazon Kindle (I once started a thread on these in the Lobby when they first came out! :-P) as well as finally jumping on the Ipod wagon. So anyway, I adore the Kindle, strongly prefer it to physical books. I go through a couple of books a week, which is a lot for me given what a slow, methodical reader I tend to be. Interestingly though, I also tend to read more on the Ipod than I listen to music or do anything else. The graphics, browser, and interface are much better on the Ipod (which I think is called an Ipod Touch) than they are on the Kindle. Which is fine because I didn't want the Kindle to be flashy and distracting. I kind of want it to be only good for reading books (and buying new ones), because that's all I want to do on it. So I read the books on the Kindle, but I've found that "web reading" is so much better on the Ipod than it is on the Kindle or the computer screen. The thing I don't like about reading for hours on a laptop that you're stuck with this big, heavy, bulky thing. A tiny handheld reading device like the Kindle or Ipod (or *gasp* a real book) is way better to read on. So with its flashy browser capabilities the Ipod is ideal for handheld reading...but yeah I keep getting distracted with games, music, and the rest of the internet when I use it, so I'm glad the Kindle's there for more hardcore reading. Anyway all this reading has, unsurprisingly resparked my desire to write so I've taken that back up again. Unfortunately I have to admit that I don't really plan to post the stuff here. I'm hoping to attempt real life publishing and as a last result might try eBook publishing. In any case I don't intend to do it for years. I'm working on a series of books and I have no intention of publishing anything, or even showing it to anyone, until I have like the first four or five completely finished. That way I can make them as complicated as I would like since I can go back and add/remove things to all the previous stuff. I find that when I post online on a chapter by chapter basis, even if I'm pretty far ahead, I end up wishing I could change something, but it's too late (or at least feels too late) since it's already "out there." I'd really want to shoot myself if I had a great idea in book four that was being precluded by something I'd written in book one. So yeah, gonna wait and work a long time on these before they see the light of day. This winter has been surprisingly pleasant. One of the best ones I've had in years. I've been lazy and energetic, like I get every winter, but I've avoided the anhedonia and enveloping numbness this year. Granted, I haven't felt like going out and partying, but at least I've felt like staying in and reading and writing rather than being disinterested in everything and marking time till spring. The boyfriend and I have been living together about a year and a half now. Overall it's been remarkably smooth and pleasant. The main conflict comes from the fact that I'm a really tidy, organized person. I really am the sort of person who has a place for everything. I don't own any items that I leave in random places. What's more, I don't even acquire new items unless I can mentally figure out where I'll be keeping them. I definitely like for all items to go back to their designated places at the end of every use. The boyfriend on the other hand is the sort of person who picks something up, uses it, and then just puts it down wherever he happens to be. He'll think nothing of leaving the soy sauce sitting on the coffee table or at his desk indefinitely. That really doesn't work for me. I'm also the sort of person who won't even think about going to bed until everything is put away. Him on the other hand, when he gets tired that's it. Since I have to go to bed earlier than he does for work, that means that every morning I end up cleaning and tidying. Somehow I'm still always shocked by it too. My god! he left his half full glass of tea on the table next to saran wrap from something he opened! Somehow this just shocks me more than it annoys me. I couldn't have slept knowing it was out there if I were him. I'm also generally just a great deal more organized than he is. I got really ticked off last month because he just up and told me that we had to drop everything and go visit his mom for her birthday. I like his mom, I agree that it's important to visit family for special occasions. What annoyed me is that I had zero notice, and why? Not because he forgot to tell me (although he probably would have ), but because he forgot her birthday was coming up at all. He hadn't known at all until his dad texted him. That also meant of course that he didn't have a present, and although I tried to insist that we just go pick something up on the way, he refused because "he doesn't like to get things just to get them. It has to be something he knows the person will like" and he didn't have any ideas. Which is fine, quite thoughtful actually, but that ship had sailed and personally I would have rathered gotten something nice, but generic than shown up empty handed. Of course I'm not trying to make him sound bad or difficult to be with; he's certainly not. He's very thoughtful and agreeable. He's also quite a lot less set his ways than I am, and in all honesty he puts up with nagging, neurotic requests far better than I could put up with similar such things from someone like me. If he were as particular as I am about how things are done and where they go then we never could have put up with each other.
  5. Welcome back!!! :)

  6. Nice to see u make a visit

  7. Tob!! :D *pounces back*

  8. Starbucks rocks! hang in their, Eric! I'm sure you'll get over this stressful patch and find yourself happier (and calmer) than ever before! Good Luck -Kevin
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