Biology is not Destiny

Matthew Gutman teaches us that there are widespread misconceptions about gender roles based on small bits of knowledge about biology. He said that people utilize their limited biological knowledge as evidence in developing beliefs about society’s gender roles. An example Gutman gave was that people like to use the human egg fertilization process to convey an explanation of gender roles in society. They say that gender roles can be seen from human conception when the female egg slowly approaches its doom until it is saved by the male sperm. This view of biology is a biased and incorrect position, and it is an example of a misuse of biology. Another example Gutman gave was something he heard while he was in Mexico. He heard about a young boy who became violent in his teenage years, and how his town attempted to deduce why he became so violent. The townsfolk incorrectly came to the conclusion that the young man’s violent behavior stemmed from his grandfather who had participated in the Mexican Revolution. This assumption that this boy’s violent nature was hereditary is another example of a misuse of knowledge. Gutman suggests that the real truth is that biology is not destiny nor should we use it to set the course for human history. For example, in early United States history, women were generally discriminated against in society because of beliefs about natural inferiority. Some of the inequalities included an inability to own property after they were married. It is important to question what we think we know about gender roles in society because these stereotypes limit our understanding of history. We have seen the bad effects of gender role generalizations, and it is important to not make such crucial assumptions based on our scientific knowledge. We must understand that each person’s destiny is not defined by their gender or biology.

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