Global Perspectives: Nature vs Nurture

Before watching the video I thought that gender identity was determined solely by the environment. I was thinking that it depends on the society around us as well as how we think about ourselves instead of any biological factor. After watching the video it does seem like their is some biological connection, though I would not say that the experiment in any way proves that biology is the dominant factor. To put it lightly I find the entire experiment to be an inconclusive, poorly executed mess.

Firstly, From the comments about being forcibly given dolls,  being forced to“act like a girl”, being forced to wear dresses and being “treated like a girl”. It seems that Brenda was forced to conform to a very rigid, stereotyped version of being a girl. No one would like that! It’s oppressive. Limits freedom of choice and forces people into arbitrarily constructed boxes. You can’t go and treat someone in a way that NO ONE would like to be treated then claim surprise when they are unhappy. The entire concept of treating someone “like a girl is flawed”, because they shouldn’t be treated any differently from anyone else. The entire idea is extremely sexist. Also what does “acting like a girl” even mean !?!?!? I find it highly likely that Brenda’s unhappiness came from being forcibly shoved into a stereotyped box and not allowed to make his/her own choices and not from any inherent gender identity.

Secondly, though some might say that Brenda’s rejection of girly things shows that a gender swap failed that is far from necessarily the case. A lot of actual women are unhappy with the stereotypes associated with being a girl (especially when most of them are negative). Just look at the vast quantity of feminist literature. It is simply illogical to expect Brenda to accept these stereotypes when a lot of actual women don’t

Thirdly, the experiment kind of broke when the parents decided to tell Brenda that she was born a boy. If they had kept the secret things may have turned out differently. By telling Brenda that she was born a boy the parent’s could very possibly have caused enough psychological trauma to throw the entire experiment off course.

Fourthly, the parents stopped seeing Doctor Money, and from then on the experiment was no longer controlled or under professional scrutiny. It is very likely that the parents made a lot of “mistakes” after no longer going to see Doctor Money that may have thrown the experiment off track.

Fifthly, Doctor Money chose to simply ignore concerns instead of addressing them. If he had actually intervened to try and solve Brenda’s psychological issues instead of just ignoring them things might have been set on a better track.

I could keep listing problems. After all Doctor Money managed to come up with 10, but I hope I’ve made it clear exactly how much of a mess the experiment was. In conclusion, I don’t think that anyone can truly say that this experiment proves anything about the roles that nature and nurture play in shaping gender identity.


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