For almost 40 years, that era's Western feminist critique of rigid sex-role stereotyping has prevailed. In many ways, it has eroded or even eliminated the kind of arbitrary constraints that turned peaceable boys into aggressive men and stuck ambitious girls in low-paying jobs.Basically, yes.
Feminists understandably have often shied away from scientific evidence that challenges this critique of sex roles. After all, because biology-based arguments about gender difference have historically been used to justify women's subjugation, women have been reluctant to concede any innate difference, lest it be used against them. But, in view of recent scientific discoveries, has feminist resistance to accepting any signs of innate gender difference only created new biases?
Now a spate of scientific analyses, based on brain imaging technology and new anthropological and evolutionary discoveries, suggests that we may have had our heads in the sand, and that we must be willing to grapple with what seem to be at least some genuine, measurable differences between the sexes.It is this mismatch that is causal for much of the distress in transsexuality. Being lumped in the wrong group causes a dissonance, not one that can be overcome through willpower or psychotherapy.
The most famous of these studies, anthropologist Helen Fisher's The Anatomy of Love , explains the evolutionary impetus for human tendencies in courtship, marriage, adultery, divorce, and childrearing. Some of her findings are provocative: it seems, for example, that we are hard-wired for serial monogamy and must work very to maintain pair-bonds; that highly orgasmic women enjoy an evolutionary advantage; and that flirtation among primates closely resembles the way young men and women in a bar show their sexual interest today.
Moreover, in her description of our evolution, Fisher notes that males who could tolerate long periods of silence (waiting for animals while in hunt mode) survived to pass on their genes, thus genetically selecting to prefer "space." By contrast, females survived best by bonding with others and building community, since such groups were needed to gather roots, nuts, and berries, while caring for small children.
Reading Fisher, one is more inclined to leave boys alone to challenge one another and test their environment, and to accept that, as she puts it, nature designed men and women to collaborate for survival.
I conjecture - though proof either way is lacking - that much of transgendered behaviour can be explained by a partially cross-gendered brain, in some areas. And the areas will vary between individuals. This increases the probability of a cross-gendered sexual orientation, and when the cross-gendered behaviour patterns are obvious at an early age, is a definitive indicator for it. That much we have proof for.
When the cross-gendering also involves body-image, as it often does, as well as sexual response (though possibly not sexual orientation) and other sexually dimorphic instinctive behaviour, that's when we're confronted with "classic transsexuality".
Classical second-wave feminists are correct that the existence of transsexuality challenges their whole basis of belief, the unquestionable axiom that all the significant differences between stereotypical male and stereotypical female behaviour is purely a matter of social condition. But it's not just transsexuality that does this, all of the neurological studies that show a distinct and bimodal pattern of behaviour do too.
This wouldn't be seen as threatening, except for one crucial and undeniable fact : that biological differences between the sexes have almost universally been used by the Patriarchy as an excuse to oppress women. Almost without exception, and for hundreds and even thousands of years. They still are in many parts of the world. There is a definite and very highly probable danger that these results will be too.
The results must therefore either be suppressed, denied, and ignored, or accepted and the dangers faced head-on. Denigrating the results, and attacking an already oppressed minority group, one already treated by the Patriarchy as pariahs is far easier and safer.
Of course that's tough for the women in that minority group, but self-deception is a powerful force, and the more guilty some feel, the more fanatic they become in their oppression to prove that the oppressed deserve all they get. That part of human nature at least is gender-invariant.