Social Question

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Let me preface this with I'm not fond of stereotypes, but are the "typical" male traits (see details) learned or genetic?

Asked by Adirondackwannabe (36630points) November 30th, 2011

I had this discussion with another jelly earlier this week. Let’s face it, there are some male behavior patterns that are pretty “typical” of men. No concern about clutter, clothes that don’t make it to the hamper, enjoyment of body functions, etc. It’s not always men that exhibit these, but it’s pretty common across our group. What really made me wonder about this happened at Thanksgiving. My nephew put his face against my chest and ripped off a huge belch. Then he looked at me with this huge grin, like look what I just did. He’s not even 9 months old. My apology in advance to Simone. But I’m curious what everyone else sees.

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19 Answers

Ayesha's avatar

When discussing the origins of behavioral characteristics it is a simple question of nature versus nurture. I’ve read studies in support of nature, one will always find one in support of nurture too. These characteristic are influenced by both genetics and the environment. Our genes tend to lay down the groundwork or physical foundation and naturally the environment builds on them.
I know the question specifies ‘males’, but I wanted to write a generalized answer.

Aster's avatar

Genes plus learning from peers. But I have a friend whose husband , according to her, in 24 years has never so much as dropped a SOCK on the floor for her to pick up. I’m telling you that would be such a luxury to me ; so odd and foreign to my two marriages to have a man like that. She also said she has never heard him belch but I don’t believe her.

downtide's avatar

If they were totally learned (or taught) then there would be no tomboy girls or effeminate men, and I would not be needing sex reassignment. There’s a theory that it’s not genetic either, but is more to do with the foetus’s exposure to various levels of hormones in the womb.

KatawaGrey's avatar

I would argue that any “nature” involved in those behaviors is so deeply buried under “nurture” that we’ll never truly know how much of each is involved. My mother and I are both deeply messy and pretty free with our bodily functions. I don’t know about her, but for me, these are probably learned behaviors since she was the only person I was living with growing up. Then again, maybe we’re both wired very similarly. It’s interesting to think about. I don’t think those behaviors are typically “male” behaviors, but they may be typically “masculine” behaviors, if you know what I mean.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@KatawaGrey That gives me something to think about.
All good answers. Thanks guys.

JilltheTooth's avatar

I don’t scratch in public. Honest.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@JilltheTooth You’ve been independent all of your life was what I was thinking over. What do you think?

JilltheTooth's avatar

There is so much subtle conditioning that is promoted by social behaviors that we’re not consciously aware of most of it. Young girls get frowned at if they burp by both parents, they learn not to burp in front of anybody. Young boys get frowned at by their moms and their dads laugh, the parent they most identify with approves, they know it’s OK. That’s a pretty gross generalization, true, but it’s accurate. If boys and men are sloppy, people roll their eyes and groan. If girls and women are sloppy, they are judged harshly, criticized, and in extreme cases, their children may be taken away. All of these examples are “nurture” related. During a lifetime of observation, I have seen no indication that those behaviors you described in the details of your Q are linked in any way to the XY or double X chromosomes. Being someone who has spent a lot of her life bucking the traditional roles for women I have been hyper-aware of such things for a half century.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@JilltheTooth That was great. I was running along the same thought. How do you explain a 9 month old doing it though?
Edit. I think I just answered part of it. He loves sounds.

JilltheTooth's avatar

Why wouldn’t a nine month old do it? It feels good, he has no reason to try and stifle a natural release of gas, and it makes a really fun noise! In the past, when he’s belched, I bet everybody laughed; all the more reason to laugh and enjoy it!

KatawaGrey's avatar

An interesting note: I keep encountering boys who are surprised and delighted that I am a) so messy and b) cool with bodily functions. I think it’s because these outward indications of how easygoing I am. If I’m messy and farting all the time, then they can be messy and farting too.

@JilltheTooth: There’s a new girl working with us who told me about her friend’s child who, as she put it, “Has just gotten to the age where she laughs at her own farts.” If kids aren’t told it’s not okay to fart, they’re gonna do it, and they won’t be ashamed.

JilltheTooth's avatar

And believe me, @Adirondackwannabe , 9 month old girls also loooooove their bodily functions! Sorry, @KatawaGrey , but the truth will out! I can think of one in particular that we used to call “Buffalo Girl” because her belches could call rutting bison in from the plains….

cookieman's avatar

Gee, I don’t do any of those things. Am I not a “typical male” or masculine enough?
Frankly, I find openly farting or belching disgusting.

I don’t know where such behavior derives, but I’m betting dollars to donuts it has little to do with gender.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Buffalo Girl is gonna stick with me a long time. :)

JilltheTooth's avatar

@cprevite : The cookie avatar doesn’t really enhance your macho image. Just sayin’.

cookieman's avatar

@JilltheTooth: Yes, but look at the size of my chips.

JilltheTooth's avatar

Ooooh la la! ;-)

Paradox25's avatar

There are definitely some behavior patterns I’m sure that are related to biological reasons but I’m still convinced that the majority of these are due to societal gender behavior constructs. Men seem less emotional because from a very early age a whole bunch of little hints are planted into them and this continues as boys get older. I also think that many biologists and psychologists tend to under examine individual personality traits.

I’ll even use myself as an example here, there are some masculine traits (at least by society’s standards) that I do have but at the same time there are some masculine traits that I clearly don’t have, and have no interest whatsoever in obtaining either. I think that Dr. Will Farrell (link on my profile page provided ironically) explains this well and I would recommend purchasing his books if you’re interested in this topic.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Holy shit, the sexism in our society starts way too early.

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