science and feminism

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Gender disparity in physical appearance, mental capabilities, and intelligence has existed from the dawn of time. The definition of gender equity is focused on attempts to transcend people’s gender stereotypes. Feminism as a phenomenon started as an effort to combat sexism against women based on their sexual orientation. Feminists fight for equal justice for both men and women. Scientific research indicates that there are significant discrepancies between the sexes in terms of both physical appearance and mental capacities. It is unsurprising that women have been on opposite sides when it comes to biological sciences. The many differences between the male and the female manifested both physically and through research. However, do not reflect on the superiority of either of the genders. Although gender discrimination has been a driving force in many societies, the rise of feminism challenges the basis of sexual discrimination. The question of equality arises based on evidence from research on the difference in sexual orientation dispositions. The paper examines the scientific biases that are challenged by feminism and to what extent does feminism as an ideology threaten the evidence provided by scientists. The paper highlights the gender differences, the views of psychologists and scientists on gender differences, and their relation to feminism and general biology.

Anatomy Biases

Sexual dimorphism is a scientific term used to express the physical differences between the male and the female species. Many extreme differences exist amongst different animals. Nonetheless, the human species showcase distinct differences in association to the physique. While women have breasts, men are known to have flat chests. A majority of scientists believe that breasts are evidence of the capabilities of the women to breastfeed and aid in attraction between the men and female. Whereas the men have a big ‘Adams’ apple, the female have small ones. The big apples enable the male to have deeper voices which are primarily associated with the male sex hormone. The facial appearance between the sexes is evidently different. The males are characterized by stronger brow, cheekbones and jaw lines. The female has softer facial features than the male. From puberty, men tend to become hairier especially on the face as compared to the female. The male species are more muscular, larger and stronger as compared to the women (Blair, 1986). While the male body burns calories quickly, the female body converts extra calories to fat making the female body curvy. This evidently provides for the different physical features between the male and female.

Liberal feminists believe that gender differences are not based on the physical features as such the males, and the females are not that different. According to radical feminism, the common humanity nature supersedes the biological differences between the female and the male (Lorber, 1997). Liberal feminism believes that since the male and female are not that different, they should not be treated differently under the law. However, if according to the liberal feminism, if the male and female are essentially similar what the difference in either of the sexes being attuned to particular activities is? Radical feminism believes that male consider the female inferior and different based on issues such as sex, menstruation, pregnancy, childbirth and menopause. Radical feminists point to the exploitation of the female by the male due to their physical prowess. They point to the portrayal of the women as sex objects due to their physical features. Gender revolution feminists question binary oppositions based on the biological orientation of women. They believe it requires than the mere man and women categories to overcome gender inequality.

Emotional Biases

Many societies believe that the difference between male and female are based on culture. However, the differences can be attributed to biological differences according to scientists. Female have a larger hippocampus and a deeper limbic system making them more emotional as compared to the male. Women tend to be more likely to suffer from mood disorders such as depression due to the slow synthesizing of serotonin in females. Whereas the male IQ tend to range from the extreme high to low women are clustered in the middle (Kimura, 1999). Scientists believe women handle stress better than the male counterparts due to the calming effect produced when female estrogen combines with oxytocin. The high emotionally characteristics of women can be explained on the basis nature and the need to attach to their children more than the male. However, many scientists believe that most of the psychological gender differences are typically neutral (Lederman & Bartsch, 2001). The male species tend to be dominant at various spatial skills while the female tends to be more fluent verbally and greater memory of things (Kimura, 1999). The apparent psychological differences prove the gender differences amongst the female and male genders.

Radical feminism believes that it is an emotional exploitation to the women in serving the men’s emotional and sexual needs. Radical feminists claim there is exploitation of the female gender whenever they are in contact with the male privately and in public. Radical feminists believe that women develop important values such as warmth and persuasion during motherhood that are lacking in the male counterparts (Eagly, Easton, Rose, Riger, & McHugh, 2012). These feminists hold a view that romantic heterosexual love is oppressive to women arguing that sexual exploitation is the main characteristic of such relationships (Lorber, 1997). They term all sexual relationships intrinsically unequal to the women. Lesbian feminism embraces the incredible view of radical feminism to a conclusion that women don’t need men since they are more emotionally available. Psychoanalytic feminists believe that gender inequality occurs due to women’s subconscious desire to seek emotional support from the male. This theory establishes that girl children identify with their mothers ensuring they grow into sensitive, emotional and empathic individuals (Peplau, 2003). Standpoint feminism also believes that women are both physical and emotionally grounded by parental responsibilities, unlike the male. As such they argue knowledge produced by women is much more with everyday life, contrary to the male.

Character and Cultural Differences

Sexuality is understood worldwide to be socially constructed through culture and character as well as physiologically and psychologically. Social construction through culture is basically how the brain develops according to how it is directed. Character and culture differences include how the male are directed by the society to embrace individual carriers such as engineering right from childhood when parents invested in high-speed toys such as cars and airplanes. The girl child is given dolls as toys to encourage their nurturing nature. As a result, most of the ladies embrace care-giving carriers such as social work and health care. As children grow they adopt different ways of behaving from their socialization. The brain develops according to the norms and standards set by the society (Worell, 2001). For instance, in the current society boy children are directed to love blue while girls are directed to associate with pink even before birth. Even when there is the availability of cross-culture toys in a household, children will choose gender appropriate toys to receive positive feedback from their parents (Worell, 2001). The society encourages masculinity culture of the male. Gender stereotyping involves generalizing about the attitudes, traits and behavior patterns of women and men ignoring individual choices (Lederman & Bartsch, 2001). Socialization varies along the lines of social class, race, and ethnicity.

Cultural feminism believes that the current gender inequality is encouraged by the society through consciously and unconsciously supporting masculinity. Cultural feminist believe that the community will benefit by promoting feminine behavior instead. The female behaviors such as kindness, nurturing and cooperation will make the world a better place according to the cultural feminists. Liberal feminists believe that the society holds a wrong notion that women are by nature less intellectual and physically capable as compared to the male thus denying them opportunities to be equal with the male. Development feminism, also known as postcolonial feminism, believes economic, political and cultural institutions from former colonies oppress and marginalize women. Feminist socialists argue that equality will only be realized when the society has eradicated both economic and cultural oppression of women. Socialist feminism broadens the Marxist feminism that blamed capitalism as the cause of women abuse. Similarly, postmodern feminism believes that a gender is an act that has been rehearsed and is encouraged through repetition throughout the society.

Counterargument

Gender bias is a behavior that shows favoritism for a particular gender over the other. In the current culture, gender bias is often associated with the act of favoring the male gender over the female gender. However, it is important to realize that gender bias may be the act of supporting the female gender over the male gender. Sex is typically used to express the socially predetermined roles and expectation for the different genders. Gender bias is inclusive of both stereotype and discrimination of a particular gender (Cody, 2006). Feminism, on the other hand, is a movement that advocates for equal treatment of the female gender as the male gender. Feminism is a belief that the male and female deserve equality in all aspects. Feminists are people who try to identify inequality against women based on sex differences and stop it when possible. Feminists point that in most societies the male gender has received more opportunities as compared to female historically. While scientific gender bias is the concern for favoritism of a particular gender over the other, in this case male over women, feminism is primarily the concern for favoritism of the male gender over the female.

Gender bias and feminism challenge each other. Feminism may be considered a form of gender bias which is the only concern for the rights and opportunities of women (Cody, 2006). However, it is essential to realize the achievements of individual feminists’ movements like the liberal feminism that ensured women had suffrage rights. Despite the fact that feminism and gender bias challenge each other, the two concepts do not defy the gender differences that are biologically proven. Many feminists are involved in scientific practices in efforts to address the health concerns of women (Richardson, 2010). Several gender movements accept the physical and emotional differences between the male and female and are keen to embrace these differences to advocate for change. Feminists are anxious to encourage the empathetic and caring nature of women. For instance, the culturist feminism advocates for the world to promote feminine behaviors. Feminism is not ignorant to the gender differences and does not defy biological differences hence feminism is not invalid.

The current pressures in the world encourage individuals to homogenize gender differences. However, it is essential to realize that these differences are biological facts that have been in existence since the beginning of humanity and are human nature. The male and female are two different groups with complementary characteristics to ensure the survival of humankind (Blanchard, 2003). The society has over the years skewed gender roles portraying women as weak and inferior to men (Pedwell, 2010). This led to the rise of the initial feminist movements to address inequality against women. Homogenizing of genders will not be helpful to eradicate gender bias as male and female are biologically and genetically different. The gender differences between the male are essential in complementing each other one aspect of the two characteristics is not enough. The world needs the caring dimension of women, and also the masculinity side of men. By ignoring the differences that are human nature people ignore and suppress their identities. It is only by accepting these differences and respecting them that gender equality will become a reality.

Conclusion

With everything taken into account, it is essential for individuals to realize despite the many gender contracts between the two genders, it is no basis for categorizing one gender superior over the other. It is essential for every individual to embrace the gender differences since it is human nature. The efforts to homogenize gender and categorize both sexes as similar deny human nature. Homogenizing genders leads to ignorance and suppression of identities that have been in existence since the beginning of humankind. Although feminism challenge many of the ideas presented by biologists and psychologists, it is important to realize feminism is not invalid as such. Many feminist movements do not agree with the biological and genetic differences between the genders, but they recognize the differences. It is important to acknowledge the achievements of feminism throughout the decades and how it is important. Many people regard feminism as a biased movement advocating for women equality rather equality for both genders. The need to embrace gender differences will provide insight on balance.

References

Blair, R. (1986). Sex Differences research:Science or belief. In R. Blair, Femenist Approches to Science (pp. 147-164). Pergamon Press.

Blanchard, E. M. (2003). Gender, International Relations and the Development of Feminist Security Theory. Chicago Journals, 1289-1312.

Cody, S. R. (2006). Recognizing Gender bias rejecting feminis: a qualitative study of feminism ideology and practice among southern clergywomen. Sociological Focus, 37-53.

Eagly, A. H., Easton, A., Rose, S., Riger, S., & McHugh, M. (2012). Feminism and Physchology; Analysis of a half century of research on women and Gender. Society for Psychology of Women, 1-63.

Kimura, D. (1999). Sex differences in the Brian. Scientific American, 118-125.

Lederman, M., & Bartsch, I. (2001). The Gender and Science Reader. London: Psychology Press.

Lorber, J. (1997). The Variety of Feminisms and their contibutions to Gender Equality. uni-gender oldenburg, 8-43.

Pedwell, C. (2010). Feminism,Culture and Embodied Practice; The rhetorics of comparison. London: Routledge.

Peplau, A. L. (2003). Human Sexuality ;How Do Men and Women Differ? Blackwell Publishing.

Richardson, S. S. (2010). Feminist Philosophy of Science: history, contributions and challenges. Synthese, 337-362.

Worell, J. (2001). Encyclopedia of Women and Gender: Sex Similarities and Differences and the Impact of Socety on Gender. San Diego: Academic Press.

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