New(ish) Fausto Sterling Book

Somehow, I missed Anne Fausto Sterling’s newest book, Sex/Gender: Biology in a Social World, which sounds like a more accessible but still scientific take on the science of gender. Her Sexing the Body is, in my opinion, without peer.

Just recently she spoke at Tufts on early childhood gender development:

Using data from lower middle class families in Rhode Island, Fausto-Sterling has discovered that parents’ differential treatment towards male and female infants tends to result in gendered behaviors.

She played four videos where mothers played with their children, rewarding them for certain behavior more than others. For example, the mothers’ tendency to coddle girls and reward fine motor behavior contrasts with their focus on activity-related attention to boys, she said.

“Infants experience gender from before birth and via the minutiae of everyday care, but they also bring their own individually differentiated physiological systems to the table,” Fausto-Sterling said. “Infants assimilate the world.”

Infants experience gender from before birth. Not surprising, but I’m glad someone said it.

2 Replies to “New(ish) Fausto Sterling Book”

  1. This isn’t new at all. Psychologists have been claiming for ever that gender is malleable. I was dragged to just such a psych at the tender age of 7. My parents were clearly told to reward masculine behaviour and ignore feminine behaviour, and so from that point on, they ignored me.

    The result: they lost a child and I ended up hating them.

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