STS_005_Paper_2_Rewrite - D. Williams STS 005 Sec.001...

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D. Williams STS 005 Sec.001 Society and the Body: How Identity Is Given to the Individual What does the brain, behavior, and genitalia have in common with society? The connection between these three different topics is that they serve as labels for society. They represent the characteristics for human sex, determining individual personality, and were studied by scientists. Scientific representations of the male and female brain not measured how sex differences in intelligence affected them. The past and present view of genitalia shows how the definition of gender and sex differs from century to century. Behavior has showed how people are expected to think and act according to their culture by either being born or being raised into them. The Mind Has No Sex by Londa Schiebinger and Sexing the Body by Anne Fautso-Sterling seem to have similar views about these topics, but are approaching them differently. Woman on the Edge of Time by Marge Piercy mentions these topics by sending the main character to travel though two different futures. Connie, the main character, looks at each time frame and then compares what is happening there to her own world. The first area that gender bias influence was present in science was in brain studies. In society, the brain represents intelligence. Yet intelligence has been weighed based on the social categories occupied by each individual such as gender. Scientists have focused on brain research that explains differences between male and female style of thought. Basically to find what is masculine and what is feminine in biological terms. To Schiebinger, the brain was considered the most important part of the body yet it was used
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as a way to prove that women were inferior and imperfect compared to men. Sharing this viewpoint, Fausto-Sterling used studies to prove that scientists were trying attempts to separate biological sex by just using the brain. According to Schiebinger, there was a belief that women’s brains were “smaller and narrower than those of men” and too cold and soft to sustain serious thought argued Cavendish (Schiebinger 55). To men, giving women education would destroy their minds. Though, as Schiebinger observes, scientists such as Poullain saw that women had the same parts as men, such as eyes, hands, and ears. “When I was a scholastic, I considered (women) scholastically, that is to say, as monsters, as beings inferior to men, because Aristotle and some theologians whom I had read, considered them so.” (Schiebinger 176) Poullain was pointing out that women should have the same rights as men to education, and that their brain alone does not make both of them any different. This belief was current around the 17 th and 18 th century where sex and gender was to be predicted and understood through the use of nature and the cosmos as well as using anatomy (mainly male bodies for both men and women) to find out how males and females are supposed to act, feel, and look like. According to Fausto-Sterling, studies of the corpus callosum were supposed to
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This note was uploaded on 05/29/2008 for the course STS 005 taught by Professor C.silverman during the Spring '08 term at Penn State.

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STS_005_Paper_2_Rewrite - D. Williams STS 005 Sec.001...

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