Written in the Sand
Dune, Book One, Chapter One part 4
Welcome back to Written in the Sand. As promised, this episode is a bit big. I wanted to make it bigger, truth be told, I’m a little sick of being in Chapter one. Unfortunately, because of time and hosting limits, I had to break the episode up. Sorry. So, one more episode exists in this chapter.
This was a hard one to write. As I begin, I hope you’ll understand why it took so many delays to get to this one. I’ll be addressing men and women, the differences of the sexes, and I’m going to irritate a lot of people as I go along. I am requesting that you get through the tough parts. I feel this episode has to go through its stages, from beginning to end.
One of the criticisms of Dune that bothers me most is that it is anti-feminist. For one thing, such accusers had to have not finished the series. For another, I’m convinced that to truly be pro-feminism cannot be accomplished by a man, any man, just as feminism cannot truly be pro-men. We can try to refute that with platitudes, but if feminism was pro-male, it wouldn’t really be feminism. We all make allowances for our side of the equation. Men may support women but they will still reserve privileges for themselves, and women will do the same. It is an understandable thing and one that is possibly too hard to overcome, but important to keep in mind.
As I established in our second episode, we must remember that Frank Herbert, for all his careful planning and study, was still a man of his time and culture, as you and I are a part of our time and culture. The social norms of our current time would not be the same as the norms of his time. His understanding of the differences between men and women would be overgeneralized towards an understanding of gender roles for his time. But, I don’t think that’s true enough to make his thoughts completely dismiss-able.
I see many things here that are still true, or concepts that are true now that were not true then. He did try very hard to differentiate between cultural constructs and actual identity. We will continue this here. I am going to speak in generalities, but I will try to show my work, as it were.
Again, we may be looking at possibly offensive topics, and if I judge correctly, no one will really be happy with me about this. Which is actually okay with me. I am presenting thoughts, and I allow that they may be wrong. Just don’t confuse that allowance with the certainty that I am incorrect.
I will speak of things that lead me to present the concepts I’m going to touch on. Understand why I am presenting them, and if they conflict with how you view yourself, or your role in society, that is perfectly fine. If you are upset by that and want to reject it, that’s fine, also. At the very least take a bit of time to wonder why my thoughts should have any bearing on your sense of self. That is far more important a thing to address than what I may think of generalized concepts that you may have some opinion about.
Differences between men and women are more than just outward features. They are more than outward, physical differences between genitalia. This is a scientific fact. I know it is fashionable in our current society to think that this is not so, but it really is, and I’m not intending to debate it here. What I am going to do is post links in the resource section. They deal with testosterone and estrogen’s effects on the human body. These hormones cause mental changes just as much as physical changes. A lot of testosterone will create male thinking patterns in the brain. Less testosterone and more estrogen will cause female thinking patterns. The physical weight and shape of the brain are affected by the presence of these hormones. Changing the balances changes the brain.
There will be variations in this. Sometimes the body doesn’t react to the hormones. Some people will produce less of the hormones than average. This has an effect. Again I will link to several such conditions in the resource area. These are scientifically sound just as much as the what I said previously.
It is important to note that any generalization between any gender is not going to be universally true nor will it be close to 100% true. There is too much variation and a large population makes the exceptions more likely to occur. I planned this section to address specific stereotypes of women and men and I will follow that with dismissal of sorts.
Enough disclaimer, let’s explore.
continued in podcast…
The relevant book for the episode will always be in resources. If you haven’t picked it up yet, you should.
Changing Your Sex Changes Your Brain by H E Hulshoff Pol et al.
In this abstract, Researchers studied changes to the Brain of transsexuals undergoing transition.
Female intuition comes from lower testosterone exposure in womb – Medical News Today
I include this article to support the idea that it is possible to naturally balance the gendered thinking patterns across genders.
This is a speech given by Simon Baron-Cohen, a psychopathologist discussing the effects of testosterone in human male development.
This links to the Wikipedia entry on a condition that inhibits the testosterone production in the developing male. This results in a child who appears to be a girl until the onset of puberty when the surge in testosterone causes the physical changes to genitalia causing the penis to develop and the apparent girl turns into a man.
This syndrome inhibits responses to testosterone inhibiting the development of male sex characteristics. Unlike the previous condition, it is a lifelong effect as it is not a lack of the hormone, the cells simply will not react as they should to testosterone.
The Evolution Of Sex-Specific Virulence In Infectious Diseases by Francisco Úbeda & Vincent A. A. Jansen
No, I wasn’t making it up about viruses targeting men.
Say hi to daddy!