Gender, Nature, and Nurture

By Richard A. Lippa | Go to book overview

CHAPTER
2

Masculinity and Femininity:
Gender Within Gender

I felt I had with an impious and secret finger traced a first wrinkle upon [my mother's] soul and made the first white hair shew upon her head. This thought redoubled my sobs, and then I saw that Mamma, who had never allowed herself to go to any length of tenderness with me, was suddenly overcome by my tears and had to struggle to keep back her own. Then, as she saw that I had noticed this, she said to me, with a smile: “Why, my little buttercup, my little canary-boy, he's going to make Mamma as silly as himself if this goes on.…”

Remembrance of Things Past
Marcel Proust

One of the most revered novelists of the 20th century, Marcel Proust possessed great literary, artistic, and musical sensibility. He was introspective, emotionally sensitive, physically delicate, foppish, and averse to anything rough-and-tumble. Witty, verbal, and drawn to the mannered life of aristocratic salons, he was inordinately attached to his mother and sexually attracted to men. In short, it seems reasonable to describe Proust as “feminine.”

Proust provides a concrete example of what common sense tells us—that some men are more masculine and some more feminine than others. But what do the words masculine and feminine mean? Proust's traits suggest some possibilities. Femininity (the opposite of masculinity?) consists of emotional sensitivity, artistic sensibility, a focus on manners, a tendency to timidity and nonaggressiveness, a nurturant, attached orientation to others, and sexual attraction to men. Admittedly, all these

-34-

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Gender, Nature, and Nurture
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface xi
  • Gender, Nature, and Nurture xiv
  • Introduction xv
  • Chapter 1 - What''s the Difference Anyway? 1
  • Chapter 2 - Masculinity and Femininity- Gender within Gender 34
  • Chapter 3 - Theories of Gender 68
  • Chapter 4 - The Case for Nature 101
  • Chapter 5 - The Case for Nurture 130
  • Chapter 6 - Cross-Examinations 162
  • Chapter 7 - Gender, Nature, and Nurture- Looking to the Future 195
  • References 232
  • Author Index 263
  • Author Index 275
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