Psychology: History & Systems
Professor Mark Berg
Testosterone Rex Book Report Post
Testosterone Rex is a novel written by Cordelia Fine. Cordelia Fine is a psychologist who questions sex hormones and the male and female brains. Throughout the novel, she provides evidence that the inequality of sexes in society stems from an ancestral past and different natures. Cordelia Fine uses her research to take on the myths of sex, science, and society that may be misinterpreted or assumed by individuals. This paper will go over a few chapters in this novel that shows Cordelia Fine's perspective through her own evidence that a more equal society is based on both sexes' full human potential.
In chapter 1, the topic of biological sex and sexual selection is discussed. A British biologist Angus Bateman carried out a series of experiments with fruit flies. Bateman's research with fruit flies was inspired by Darwin's theory of sexual selection, which was debated by his theory of natural selection too. Natural selection is known as the process where the frequency of different versions of a heritable trait change over time, due to other traits having greater reproductive success than others. Sexual selection theory can be compared to the peacock tail, proving that many males of several species display characteristics that are showier. Darwin's explanations of these theories put an emphasis on animals and their mating habits. Bateman ran a series of experiments where male and female fruit flies were trapped together in glass containers for three to four days. After a few days passed, Bateman tried to figure out how many offspring were produced, and how many from different mates. He found that each fly had a dominant and recessive gene. This outcome of his fruit fly experiment concluded that there is a greater male variation in reproductive success in comparison to female reproductive success. The theory of sexual selection is interesting in the way that Fine explains it. She concludes that females should be choosy and should mate with the best male so that there will be a greater reproductive success. She says this because often women allow men to take advantage of their "expensive eggs", while men just have "cheap sperm".
In chapter 2, a topic I found interesting that Cordelia Fine brought up was the contrast between the sexual natures of women and men. This intrigued me because the sexual double standard is still an issue today. If a woman accepts an offer of casual sex, she risks being seen by herself and others as a "slut". The question arises of "how come women are seen as a "slut" or "easy" if they go around having sex, but males get applauded for it?" Throughout the chapter, there are several scenarios and studies shown, specifically with males and females on college campuses. One of the studies was done with college students who were male and female who were both attractive. Both of these college students approached other students around the campus asking them questions hoping to get that student to their apartment. Overall, men had a higher rate of "yes" answers to going back to their apartment in contrast to the women. This goes back to chapter 1 where men are "cheap" compared to women.
|Study Done At College Campus|
In chapter 4, sex differences in behavior between men and women are discussed. This relates back to the theory of sexual selection. Patricia Casey, a psychiatrist, and journalist asks why "a woman can't be more like a man?". Casey believes that sex most prominently in the form of testosterone and the Y chromosome has a fundamental effect on the brain and behavior. Males and females are expected to have many predispositions and behaviors. Some of these behaviors are portrayed with characteristics like competitiveness, promiscuity, choosiness, and parental care. Personally, I find this true because males and females do tend to act and say different things, but I do not think it is because of their reproductive parts. This is mainly due to sexual differentiation of the brain, in which factors - genetic, hormonal, environmental, and epigenetic that all interact to affect how sex shapes the brain. This chapter, although has factual evidence about sexual differences, does not mean individuals should be defined by what sex they are.
In conclusion, Testosterone Rex was an interesting novel. I say this because I have never read a book that had the main focus on biological sex and how it relates to human development. Also, Cordelia Fine has a specific writing language and uses a lot of sarcasm. Throughout the novel, she uses her research and other evidence to portray that men and women are not seen as equal, although she supports women fully and shows some feministic opinions. The novel did get a little repetitive at times because of her build upon sexual and natural selection. She found a way to keep it interesting though with different studies and researchers proving their theories and experiments. Overall, I enjoyed Cordelia Fine's book a lot and it opened my eyes to look at different points of view.
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