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Contributions will be added to the top of this collection as I receive them

Date: Wed,  9 Feb
From: kristen w

 Thanks for the comment Luke! It is a reflection of truth that men are heavier and stronger than women ... mind you we can cause some damage/hurt as well ;o) We can also be quite verbal, just like males can be, trust me (*laughs*) but I understand where you are coming from with your response also.
Anyway, thanks for the support and I will see you tonight in class!

Kristen W.

Date: Tue, 08 Feb
From: Luke G

Hi Dr. Phil and class,
 I just read over the blog entry by Kristen and thought I should respond to a few of her comments, since I  was the source of the comment she references.
 I'd just like to say, first off that I understand where she's coming from.  A few years ago I completed a criminal justice program in another province, and through it I met many capable and strong women who were perfectly fit do the job (policing) they were training for. I've done PARE testing (3 minuets and 13 seconds was my best time), written police exams and know how difficult a process it is, both physically and mentally.

However, it is indisputable disputable that on average men, because of biological reasons only- have a higher physical aptitude for jobs that are highly physically demanding. That's not a statement that infers superiority in any fashion, it's merely a reflection of the truth that on average men are heavier and stronger than women (we also tend to be better at hurting other people, certainly not an admirable trait). Does it mean that women are incapable of doing the job? Certainly not. Many women can and have met the requirements laid out by police agencies. Besides that, there are many aspects of policing beside the purely physical that I would say women are much better at then men, again, not because of gender superiority but purely on social aptitude. For instance, through personal observation I would suggest that women, on average are better at establishing control of conflict situations through verbal means than men are. And that's a skill that's far more complementary to policing than being able to run a mile in eleven minuets ever will be.

 Best of luck to Kristen on her test!
Luke G.

Date: Mon,  7 Feb
From: kristen w

Hello Dr. Phil!
 I thought that tonights class was quite interesting and listening how some people in our society seem to think that women can't do men's jobs (like firefighting and being a police officer) I just about started to laugh. I am in the criminal justice program, and my goal is to be a police officer. One of my friends is in the Victoria reserves, and she said that there will be some openings coming up in April/May.
 I am going to fill out the application for this and hand it in when I get back from Cuba (41 more days and I am outta here .... the trip was a gift from my mom and dad for my birthday, I leave March 20th and will be back April 3rd, and in class on the 4th. Don't worry, I will be doing homework in cuba also!)

 Anyway, there is a POPAT (police officers physical ability test) and it isn't an easy test. You start off running, jumping over a 6 foot mat, going up stairs and down, then when you get to the bottom of the stairs, go around a pylon and back up/down the stairs, jump over some hockey sticks and start all over again, this you have to do 6 times. Then, when that is done you go to what is called a push/pull. Here, you have to put your elbows to your side and hold 80 pounds while moving side to side, that is the pull (I got told that that one is the hardest) The push is where you push 80 pounds while moving side to side. This one os also done 6 times .... then .. after that is all said and done with you go over to a mat where there is a bar that is about thigh height. You lay on either your stomach or back, get up and without using your hands jump over the bar and land on the opposite side of your bady to which you started with. That you do 10 times. There is the optional part of the test where you carry/drag/do what you want to get 80-100 pounds 150 meters. All this has to be done in a time UNDER 4 minutes and 15 seconds.

 Let me tell you Dr. Phil, I am working my ass off at my gym to do all this under that amount of time. It is hard work, but my trainer knows what I can and can't do, and we are working on a routine that will improve my upper body strenth. I can do the rest, but I want to be able to do the push/pull and not drop any of the weights, if I do I have to start over again, if I drop them 3 times, I am out of the reserves.
 But, sorry to babble on to you about that I thought that it would fit tonights conversation about the firefighting/police officer bit with women and men.

 See you Wednesday!
 Kristen W

Date: Tue., 28 Sep
From: "Michelle D"
Michelle d
Danielle G
Alison T
Chameleon Totemic Work Group

How women enculturally and aculturally adapt to the perception of being beautiful, powerful and successful.

 A successful woman is a woman who achieves or exceeds the goals she personally set in life. Financial, relational, mental, emotional, physical, spiritual (etc.) achievements which come to fruition are things that enrich the individual and bring about sense of satisfaction unlike the success of someone else's goals for you.
 From birth, certain standards are enculturally impressed upon us. Ideals of what is ladylike and what is feminine are imposed upon us from family, friends, television and innumerable other sources. These expectations can be damaging unless a personal reconciliation between what others say and what a person knows can be at peace.

 Women have a constant struggle for power. There is a need to adapt to be equal to men and inpendent from them. To be poweful, women need to be wives, mother and benefactors for their famillies. Older women need to change for the new perception of a powerful woman. Women are constantly changing throughout their lives.
pretty=powerful, smart=powerful, money=powerful, respect=powerful, sexual attractions = powerful.

 Beauty is constantly exposed in society. Everywhere we turn we can see a beautiful image on magazine covers, billboards, bus stops and T.V. The "new fad" in our society today is reality today, and some of the most popular series are those which take average everyday woman and turn them into what we see on the covers or Vogue or any other top magazine.  As a woman, we see these extravagent images and feel like we too have to look that way. Because our culture is constantly exposing "beauty." women are easily persuaded into this new way of life..

From :  Allison M
Sent :  March 9

Hey Everyone,
I know that I am a bit behind on the discussion but I noticed that no one responded to Duncan's very eloquent and well thought out blog.  That was really cool.  The only arguments (and perhaps this is why no one responded) that I could give would simply end up being semantics.  Like, for example, whether or not homosexuality is genetic.  I don't think that's really your point though Duncan.  Just like Keno's comment about passion, anything that humans do is very hard to distinguish where nature ends and nurture begins.  We can look as much as we like at other animals and say, "We are animals, so what they do must be natural for us!"  But that's a little silly.  After all, you wouldn't think it very natural for bird to drill a hole in a tree then sit in it all day eating nuts and chattering at anything that bugged it, would you?  Just because it's natural to one animal does not follow that it is natural to another.  If there is an answer somewhere about what is natural for us and what we just learn I'm not entirely sure I want to know.  Think of all the trouble the semantics about passion being genetic or social has caused this little social group.  If we actually had scientific data to prove one or the other, do you think that the discussion would have been any less heated?

I think the key point in Duncan's blog is essential to this discussion; WE CAN LEARN!  Any inequalities that nature may or may not have given us can be seen and acted upon.  Not only that but it seems we can go against any natural impulses.  That makes any discussion about what is and isn't NATURAL unimportant.  If it’s natural for women to be more passionate then men and men figure that it’s an advantage in politics and they want to have that advantage too, then I'll start teaching classes today!  If it’s that women have learned to be more passionate because society has taught them women are more passionate then I'm still opening class today!  If that's a bunch of nonsense and it is simply that some men are more demonstrative of passion and some women are the same, then I guess I have lost my new business and those of you who think you are not passionate can apparently learn it on your own!

All my best to all you passionate people! (And I personally believe we all are)  I'm glad to count myself as one of you, male and female both!

:) Ok, a bit silly maybe, but is it really?

Date: Fri., 6 Feb
From:  "Duncan W"

Hello All!
I'm writing this past 11 pm on thursday night, so I don't expect that anyone will have read this before tomorrow's class, but I feel the need all the same to throw in some of my thoughts on the issue of gender inequality. I may incite some controversy in doing this, but I'm going to dare it anyway.

Any discussion of gender inequality I've ever heard gets bogged down sooner or later in the Nature vs. Nurture argument, so I think it's worthwhile to take a little detour from talking about males and females to just think a little bit about this.

There are unquestionably behaviours in the animal world (of which we homo sapiens are a part, whether we like it or not) that are determined entirely by genetics. To use the cliché example, salmon know to swim upstream all at the same time without being taught. It's instinct, and no amount of cultural conditioning will change it.

The argument against this is obvious: we may be animals, but we DO learn things, and we DO have culture. We homo sapiens, with our culture, do all sorts of crazy things which make little or no sense in purely Darwinian my-genes-must-survive terms.  Take suicide for instance: how does suicide make any Darwinian sense at all? I know that umpteen studies have declared some probable link between genetics and a predisposition towards suicide, but ultimately the idea that there's an evolutionary advantage to killing ourselves doesn't pan out.  So, the answer must lie in culture. Culture is such a powerful force on our actions that it can make us go totally against everything our genes are trying to do. Because of culture, we can choose to make ourselves non-productive

I use 'non-productive' rather than 'dead' because in purely Darwinian terms, celibacy and homosexuality go as much against our genes as suicide does. The question of where the genetic predisposition to suicide, and homosexuality for that matter, fits in is more complicated than I have the knowledge to take on. But my best guess is that it exists under the same principle that sickle cell anaemia does- the same genes that put the carrier at risk can, under certain circumstances, provide an advantage that outweighs the risk.

Anyway, getting back to Nature vs. Nurture stuff. I like to think of the Nature vs. Nurture argument as a continuum. Like any continuum, it has two extreme ends. At the extreme end of the Nature side, we have the eugenicists, who hold the blood chilling belief that, like the salmon swimming upstream, our behaviour is determined entirely on genetic grounds and there's no point in trying to culturally fix what is inherent in the genes. The blood chilling bit is how they intend to go about fixing it.  At the other extreme (the Nurture extreme) we have (and this is the part I fear may cause some controversy) the feminists, who hold that culture is what makes us who we are and, like those who commit suicide, our 'I' will always triumph over our genetic code. I'd like to very quickly state that I'm not in any way saying feminist beliefs are blood chilling at all. On the contrary, they're quite humane. But the extreme Nurture view, that if we RAISE boys and girls exactly the same they will BE exactly the same needs is just that: an extreme view. While feminist views have an enormous moral superiority to the views of eugenics, neither of them make 100% rational sense.

What I'm saying out of all this is that, while culture does an enormous part in determining our personality traits, biology has something to do with it too. And with that includes the biological characteristic of being male or female.

Now here's the bit where I think I'm running a risk of being branded a backward male chauvinist pig because I am saying that there are biologically (not culturally) rooted differences in the way males and females behave. And I'm even going to go way out on a very un-PC limb here and say that those differences DO have something to do with the stereotype of females being nurturing and males being aggressive.

Take testosterone for example. The guys have a lot of more of it than the gals do (though this isn't always true as we get older). It's also been experimentally shown to increase aggressiveness, making people do things like interrupt conversations more often. And testosterone is only one ingredient in the hormonal soup we all carry around with us, especially those of us who happen to be 19 or so.

(I realize that I'm not providing a reference to the experiments I mention, but as this is a blog I don't feel they're necessary. If someone really gets irate over this entry and demands I prove what I say, I do have enough confidence that I'll be able to track down the magazine article or whatever it was I read and name the study that I'm willing to say things like "It's experimentally shown...")

...And I'd better start wrapping this up if I want to get any sleep tonight. This has already ballooned into something considerably larger than I intended. The bottom line is that there is no simple answer to Nature vs. Nurture. I know this is a bit of a cop out conclusion, but the fact is our behaviour does have a biological component that's universal to our species in addition to the powerful cultural element we're all studying in Sociology 100. And I just think it's worth bearing that in mind.

Thanks for your patience,
  - Duncan

PS- I'd just like repeat what has already been repeated by almost EVERYONE so far: saying that women are more passionate than men is a STEREOTYPE and NOT ALWAYS TRUE. (sheesh people, give Keno a break! I think he gets the message!)

Sent :  February 5
From :  Jax F

Dr. Phil,
I hope you are feeling better.  I just want to say that I agree with Kara about her theory on genetic overlap.  I do not think that one sex is one way or the other.  Anyway there are always varying degree's of anything. .. jacqueline

Date: Thus, 05 Feb
From: "Allison M"

There are a couple comments I'd like to address.  First, the concept that the animal kingdom proves that the "male hunter" and "female nurturer" are natural genetic roles.  The truth of the matter is that many animals, lions for example, have the exact reverse of roles - female hunters and male baby-sitters.  Other animals, like wolves, have a structure where both male and female's run to the hunt and a wolf low in the social chain watches the cubs... usually this is a male uncle.  If we are assuming that the reference to "animal kingdom" means looking at our close relatives, apes, we see that they ALL are "gatherers" and "caregivers" and "teachers".  Gorillas live in a social structure where a young one stays with its mother until it can make it around on its own then it will wander among all the members of its group.  None of these models seem to hold up the idea of a segregation of female and male as being genetic.  That would suggest that it's a social idea that we humans have come up with, not one that we are compelled to by our genetic structure.

Second comment is just a short one regarding "boy toys" vs "girl toys".  My son's favourite toy is a soft plush doll.  I think he likes it because it looks like a person.  Granted, the doll is a boy, not a girl but I really don't think he'd care one way or another.  Children will play first with the toys that their parents give them, then with the toys they see other children that they want to identify with playing with.  If every boy in a single class had been given a doll to play with since he was young, there would be no social pressure on them to not play with dolls.  It is purely learned behaviour.  I also have a quick comment about 'Barbie'.  Regardless of her outrageous body type Barbie is actually a very good roll model for young girls.  Think more on Barbie's roles over her life time - Model, Cook, Mother, Teacher, Doctor, Vet, and, most recently, Business Woman (Complete with briefcase and laptop!).  As you can see, Barbie has been a hallmark for the changing roles of women over her life time and is actually a bit more cool than she appears.  Now if she would just get rid of the silicon implants :)

Thanks for talking!

Sent :  February 4
From :  Chelsea J
To :  Community Empowerment

A member of the class stated today that women would make better leaders in our country because "women are more passionate," and "the best man for the job is a woman" (women get things done while men do things in their own time).

I would take that comment as being quite sexist. Women can be passionate about things they enjoy just the same as men can be!! People are gifted in different areas and that is what would make someone a better leader. Not your gender, but your gifts and talents.

Sent :  February 3
From :  Randy S

Hey Dr. Phil
Regarding the arguments that were addressed in class: women make better leaders and that women are more passionate then men; I believe that this is a generalization and it stereotypes one gender against another.

In actuality it works both ways, there are just as many passionate men as there are women. Just by seeing the sparks ignited in class when this accusation of, "who was more passionate", was made, for me it just proved that it really could go both ways.  As to what gender would make a better leader, it really has to be up to the individual and how they would approach the task.  I've seen some pretty determined women and vice versa with some guys but in the end you have to look at the individual. Again, as it was in class, this is just my opinion and I look at everyone's opinions with an open mind.  Either way,  it was an awesome topic and it got everyone talking!

Thanks Jen S

Sent :  February 3
From :  **LaUrEn R**
Subject :  Gender Discussion.

Hey Class-
I do not think men are better leaders than woman and vice versa. I think it takes a certain type of personality to become a leader or even want to become a leader. I think both men and women are successful leaders. However, the history of gender unfortunately discriminates against women, however today women are more accepted and hold power in society. Society is forever changing and inequalities, prejudice as well are forever changing. So I do not think that women are better leaders than men, obviously as seen in the past and even presently, males tend to dominate, but i think in the future women may start to come to the same level as men.

This is just my opinion, obviously I do not expect everyone to agree with me, but just try to understand my points.


--Let your spirit lead you on a path of excitement and fulfilment and know that because you are a determined and talented person any dream that you dream can become a reality.--

Sent :  February 3
From :  logan

From what i have seen in sociology so far, is that you conduct experiments, and from those experiments you make generalizations. Saying that women are more passionate than men is a generalization but using Durkheim as an example so is saying that Protestants are more likely to commit suicide than catholics (or vice versa, i don't have my book to look it up). My only problem with the statement is that there is no tried and tested method to test passion therefore no body will ever really know who is more passionate.

So this argument can go on forever without resolve.


Sent :  February 2
From :  Jax F

To class,
When you look at the animal kingdom there are definite roles that gender plays, male hunter and gatherer and female nurturer and to a degree we have followed our biological path.  But the social dynamics has changed so much from mum raising the child and dad working 9 to 5 that there is not so rigid a role that we are set out to play. I think unconsciously there is conditioning, I know being a mother I just want my son to fit in, especially because I never felt I did.

I shared with a mum from Xander's kindergarten class that Xander didn't like playing with girls and the mum was upset and said that she hated that kind of thing and that society encourages them to play separately.  I was kind of shocked and just chalked it up to Xander wanting to learn more about himself through other boys and not a gender issue.

I'm sure if you isolated a boy and put him in a room with a doll he would play with it.  I'm sure eventually he would pretend it was a gun or something... I know I may be stereotyping, which I was going to accuse Keno Tines of with his pronouncement, but I think it is just how we are.

Jacqueline F

Sent :  February 2
From :  Kara F

Dear Doctor Phil,
I feel that gender is similar to race, genetically, because there is variation of genes within genders as well as between genders. If females and males have 90 percent of the same genetic material then there is bound to be overlap between the genders. Saying that a woman is more passionate is a generalization that males and females are completely genetically different, and all males and all females share the exact same genetic material. I think the best man for the job is found in the historical term for man that encompasses both cultural genders.


Sent :  January 31
From :  Jennifer D
To :  Community Empowerment

Hi it's me again!
 I'm very curious about how the toys children play with manage to model their "gender" later in life.  I know that Barbie has got into trouble more than a few times for portraying an anatomically impossible role model for young girls to attempt to copy.  But what I really wonder is if parents think they are "bad" or "out of line" for giving their children toys "designed for the opposite sex".  Would it really matter if a little boy played with a Barbie, or some other doll?  Many times I've seen mothers say "No that's a girls toy" when their son wanted something that was intended for a girl.  I don't like it.  It only tells that little boy that it's bad to like what he likes.

 It's stuff like that that makes me not so surprised to hear that many guys have problems expressing emotions and whatnot; many of them never got the chance to even understand how girls work.  And so many of us complain that men just "don't get women"; no wonder!  It's not as though men are born knowing how women are; they aren't psychic. Geez! The only reason "Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus" is because we send them there at birth! Hope some of that made some sense; you'll hear more from me on this matter later....

Sent : January 31
From :  jessica s

 My opinion about the idea that women are more passionate, or that women would make better leaders because they get things done while men are lazy and do tasks at their own pace is this;  Being a girl myself of course I would like to agree and say that yes women are more productive.  But unfortunately I do not agree, and I feel that the statement is definitely a generalization and a stereotype with no factual reinforcement.  Women in general are no more passionate or driven then men are.  I think it is strictly an individual characteristic, not a gender or sex related one.  Some women are passionate and so are some men.  It definitely goes both ways.


See:   http://www.sociology.org/content/vol002.001/smith.html

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