Nature vs Nurture

Continuing the discussion from Networked gaming is the new social media, and it's a boys' club:

Sorry for the delay after the thread was closed, but it took me a while to find this image:

Originally from this (paywalled) article:


You can’t discount the impact of society at large, no matter how progressive you are our society is still very conservative and sexist.

I was raised in the 70s and 80s, by a very progressive liberal feminist atheist artist single Mom. I wasn’t allowed to have a Barbie, but I could have all the Legos I wanted. As a very young child I wanted to be a Doctor and ride a Motorcycle when I “grew up”. My whole family encouraged this heartily. Then I went to kindergarten where I learned that “Ladies can’t be doctors, ladies are nurses.” Oh, and they most certainly do not ride motorcycles!


You should totally ride a motorcycle, plus they have big displacement twist and gos now if you don’t want to fiddle with the manual transmission. Heck I wouldn’t be riding if MrsTobinL didn’t go I have always wanted to do this.

And yeah the whole gendering of EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE bothers me. Once you start seeing how much it is there it gets disheartening.


Who gos what?

fixed, that’s what i get for posting before the coffee is made.


I had a barbie. For some reason she always talked like Darth Vader. (Too many cigarettes?)


People, especially people who don’t have kids can be forgiven for thinking of nurture as merely that which the parents give, as if babbies weren’t little learning machines that can easily outsmart their (sleep deprived) parents/caregiver, but somehow have critical filters that help them preserve a sense of self.

In the comic, the little girl has a doll (Which someone gave to her) and is imitating a behavior she learned from watching someone else.


I was thinking the same thing. Who gave her the doll? Has she ever met other kids, or watched television?


I honestly, seriously can’t pin who I am more on nurture than nature. The way I was brought up got me to this point faster, but this meat bag was gonna get here eventually.

I did not have to be taught compassion, or that I like pretty things, or that motorcycles suck, or that I should take care of those I loved–any more than I was taught or conditioned to grow my goatee (which I need to condition).

But I have exactly one perspective, and a shitload (technical term) of biases.

I could discuss further, but I may get in trouble. :smiley:


you take that back… :stuck_out_tongue: I mean granted not for everybody… but they do not suck.

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Yeah, they do. They also squeeze, bang and blow.


Never could stand the things, and living in Arizona cemented that position (huh, nurture reinforcing nature? :D)

Well all I can say is I have since realized I was never riding the bicycle for the exercise. 2 wheels are a drug for me.

I have had the rare experience of being able to parse out at least some of the difference between nature and nurture in my own life, thanks to having been part of multiple families, some biologically related and some not. And then, seeing my daughters exhibit personality traits that are clearly inherited, but because they’re growing up in only one family household with their biological mother they don’t have conflicting “nurture” issues to complicate the situation. Long story short: nature is a very strong foundation, but can be diverted somewhat by nurture, which may effect an outcome that is better, worse, or just different.

Also, having only daughters has been a good lesson in the fact that they come out with a lot of non-gender-specific pre-programming already installed, which means whenever another parent says “oh, my kids do X differently because one is a girl and the other is a boy” I can always find a counter example using my daughters. Of course, it helps that they have some counter-weight from me to balance against the socialization they get from the world around them. I haven’t tried to force them into a mold, so for example from a very early age one wanted to wear girly outfits and makeup while doing martial arts, riflery, and watching big trucks doing their thing. Neither side of that example freaked me out, so she was free to be herself in all her glory.


It honestly sounds like you struck the jackpot :smile:. My (single) mother raised me in a similar manner, and nowadays I pick flowers and tend gardens in a suit jacket (not always, sometimes a smart blazer).


Oh absolutely, and if my daughter expressed any traditionally “male” interests, I would fight for her to pursue those interests and call out anyone that tries to make her act “like a girl”.

But there is also a totally scientific basis for men and women to largely lean one way or the other when it comes to hobbies. My issue is with people claiming that these are utterly, completely fabricated social constructs. I had never seen a videogame in my life until I got an NES. I wasn’t even aware that such a thing like martial arts existed until I saw Wheels on Meals when I was 8, which by the way, still has the best duel I’ve seen in any action movie.

There was nothing in my environment to encourage this or anyone to imitate from. In fact, my parents actively discouraged it because they saw videogames as a waste of time. They were also Korean immigrants, and since they were products of the Park regime in the 70s and 80s, they viewed martial arts very disdainfully. Martial arts was something you pursued if you were a violent gangster or a high school dropout.

But I still developed a lifelong love of both those things despite never having been exposed to them before and active discouragement from my parents. Why? Well, it certainly wasn’t my social circle.

And at the same time, I have a female cousin, also the child of immigrants, who is crazy about football. I’m always the guy at the Super Bowl party who has no idea what’s going on and she’s the one who is patient enough to explain it to me. There was nothing in her environment to encourage this. Our parents don’t give a crap about football, there’s zero encouragement for girls to be interested in sports in our family, she’s been told all her life not to like it, etc. But whatever, she still grew up loving football.

Is that nurture talking? Is she imitating the behavior of some woman in our family who never existed? Of course not. Sometimes you just like shit and there’s no real explanation for it, and like I said, you will always have outliers. I’m an outlier myself because I was growing up in environments soaked in sports culture but none of it ever stuck. The only physical activities I was ever interested in was fighting and watching fights.

But on the whole, no matter how much nurture is involved, the evidence suggests that yes, there’s a strong case that men are attracted to certain hobbies and women are attracted to certain hobbies. It’s not the case for all men or the case for all women, but generally, that’s just where the chips seem to fall.

Now the next point: Should we be doing more to make traditionally “male” hobbies more accessible to women? Absolutely. I am 100% behind that, just like I am 100% behind more diversity and visible POCs in media. I want Netflix to cast an Asian American Iron Fist. I want Star Wars to become more than “white people in space” and the new trilogy and Rogue Squadron spin-off is a great start to that.

Ring girls are one thing that’s always bothered me about fights. I think they should be done away with, but if that’s not happening, then at least make ring boys a thing. Even for fights between female fighters, there’s always a ring girl. If we’re going to keep sexual objectification a part of fight culture then why not give the ladies and gay dudes some eye candy, too?


(Regardless of orientation, don’t you think if a Tom hiddleston impersonator walked across the ring it wouldn’t blow it up for everyone?)


I sometimes think its nigh impossible to truly know what is actually “nature” because we do live in such a gendered society. There are some indicators, what babies do when they look at faces, or how very small children draw, but we need to do so much work to deconstruct our gendered society before we ever truly get a look at what “nature” really looks like.

Also, yes please to the male eye candy.
I am old enough to have witnessed the rise of the male-eye candy in popular culture, fascinating! (Looking at you Magic Mike!) :wink:


My situation might be unusual, in that I was nurtured by books - meaning, of course, indirectly by the authors of those books. I had been asking lots of questions from the very beginning, about practically everything. I knew that my parents loved me, but they were seldom able or willing to discuss various topics with me. But, to their credit, they were sometimes willing to discuss their own concerns and opinions about things. So once I was two years old and started to read, everything really took off. Unfortunately, for my family relationships, this meant that I was less trusting of my parents when I had questions. I could consult encyclopedias (hey, it was the 1970s!) and get more informed answers in less time.

I still got along fairly well with my parents, but I more or less raised myself once I was able to read. I didn’t internalize the values of my immediate family since that time. As a result, I have always had a weirdly global-syncretic pseudo-socialization which tends to be incongruous everywhere. My parents disliked the situation because they felt badly that I could not depend upon them so much.

The way I see it with gender differences, people worry about them far too much. If they there are truly significant differences, then these would be self-evident and not need to be defended nor insisted upon. If they are as natural as essentialists claim, then there is no reason whatsoever to codify them into rules.

Other than reproduction itself, I think that there isn’t much of anything truly gendered. So, if you aren’t actually making babies with a given person, none of it makes any difference. Also, I think that most contemporary societies acknowledge a distinction existing between sexual behaviors and reproduction. I think of sex as a fairly open and spontaneous way for people to get along, which is not essentially gendered like reproduction.


I’m heading to popos party, anyone need anything while I’m gone?