The Fate of Gender: Nature, Nurture, and the Human Future by Frank Browning

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Gender, a hot word at the moment and one loaded with opinions. Some people have concrete ideas of how men and women should be and may you be struck down if you stray from that. I can remember in elementary and junior high school being called gay was a death sentence, and kids can be cruel beasts. Sometime around high school that started to change, mind you this was in the early 90s by the time it was suddenly less horrific. Even then, it all depended. I can think of a boy in particular who wore heavy makeup and was openly gay, all the ‘jocks’ laughing at him and saying horribly cruel things in the halls. But there was a courage in someone trying to express who they were, in spite of all the hate. Why human beings believe hate is going to correct things you don’t like about someone I will never comprehend. You can’t bully what is in anyone’s heart. That aside, this isn’t so much a gay, straight and all the billion things in between debate. It’s more a conversation about gender and it’s expectations, all our many variations.

This is a hot topic right now, everything gender related. This was very engaging and had me asking myself a lot of questions. There are ways we behave and things we do that certainly step outside the the lines of gender identity. There is so much to chew on and turn over in your mind that I spent time thinking ‘huh, I never thought of it that way.’ The gender roles have morphed through different times, I can think back on my own grandparents ideas of what little ladies didn’t do and of course how boys (soon to be men) should behave in great uncles opinions. Anyone who has gone to school quickly understood the division between male and female and the alienation by peers towards anyone who blurred the lines. Regardless of what you feel should be, no ‘ideal’ can truly change the variations in human beings anymore than we can force someone to feel exactly as we do about everything under the sun. I can imagine heated conversations and debates about this book. Nothing puts people more on guard than gender these days. One of the most surprising things to me is how open some of the older generation is and though it appears these are new topics, in truth the gender issue has been it’s own creature for all time. It’s not something ‘new’ so much as people have stopped hiding. But bring this up and see how hot people get in their opinions. I have seen people spitting mad about their gender related beliefs, those who oppose differences and those for it. Perfect pick in fact for a book club. I have to admit I examined my own preconceived ideas. Very interesting.

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