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The Brain Of A Man Named Susan | The Science Behind Men In Panties

Updated on October 21, 2009
Kent Monkman, Dance for the Berdashe
Kent Monkman, Dance for the Berdashe

Gender is important to our monkey brains. It's one of the first things we determine about any new human coming into this world and it dictates our lives from that moment onwards both genetically and socially. In modern culture, we approach gender as being a dichotomy. One is either male, or female. Although nature itself boldly defies this rule by producing children with male and female organs, as a society we have equally boldly ignored this hint and dismissed these children as anomalies to the 'proper' way of being, and in doing so have missed the hint which nature is dropping here.

Of course, hermaphrodites and inter sexed people are not transsexuals in the commonly accepted sense of the word, however the mere fact that hemaphroditic children exist demonstrates that there is the possibility of very real physical variation within gender categories. Not all physical variations are visible on the outside of the body, however.

Scientists are making increasing discoveries which suggest that gender is not as simple as the sex of the body and the pairing of chromosomes. For millenia there have been people who felt that they were born into the 'wrong' body. In some societies these people were welcomed, even revered. North American Indians called these people 'two spirits.'

In modern times we have marginalized these men and women, treated them as novelties to enjoy at best and devil spawned demons to be killed with fire at our heinous worst. How ironic that in this modern golden age of science, we lack basic empathy and understanding of the human condition which our ancestors possessed thousands of years ago.

As I mentioned earlier however, there is an increasing wealth of scientific knowledge which suggests that a man who thinks he is really a woman is not mentally ill, nor some kind of freak, but actually right.

One such study was conducted in the Netherlands by J.N. Zhou, M.A. Hofman, L.J. Gooren and D.F. Swaab.The brain is comprised of many interesting bits and pieces, one of these bits and pieces is the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis. It is part of the amygdala, the portion of the brain considered by scientists to be responsible for emotional memory. The scientists discovered that there are notable differences in size of the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BSTc) between straight men and women. On average, straight males have a 44% larger BSTc than straight females. They then studied the brains of transsexual people and discovered that male to female transsexuals possessed female sizes BSTc's.

There is, therefore sold anatomical evidence that there are differences in the make up of male identified men and female identified men. Since this study, many more have been conducted and some scientists even believe that there is such a thing as the 'transsexual gene.'

Sociologists know that gender identities have never been strictly defined as male or female in any society in the world. Neurobiologists believe that there are structural differences between males who identify as male and males who identify as female. Geneticists have even go so far as to discover what they believe to be a transsexual gene.

For most of us, being male or female is something we don't even have to think about. We are born into the 'correct' bodies and we naturally display the traits deemed acceptable for those body types. For some people however, male and female, life is not that simple.

There are those who exist in the netherworld between the sexes. They are not anomalies, they are not freaks, they are part and parcel of nature's design (or God's if you believe in Creationism.) They have been part of the human race since its inception, and even though persecuted, they will not be disappearing any time soon.


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    • Hope Alexander profile image

      Hope Alexander 8 years ago

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      Nat 8 years ago

      I agree that forcing the male to be a "sissy" may have grave consequences, although I have read stories, maybe purely fiction, where men actually love this approach.

      However, I think you believe there is some degree of feminine in every man and some degree of masculine in every woman.

      One 'hazy' case is not very much evidence. You don't mention any more, but I won't insist there is no other evidence for your point.

      I believe it a (world-wide) fact that men commit more of the violent crimes. While women can be ruthless and violent, I would THINK the preponderance of evidence leads to the conclusion that the male is the more violent of the two genders. Likewise I think the term 'gentler' sex applies to females. Must be some reason.

      I suspect this results from the fact that for the longest time world-wide societies were male-dominated (environment). The woman's place was more or less confined to the home. (Not saying that is correct or good, just stating a fact.) One for the ENVIRONMENT case. Who fought the wars? Men?

      However, we can also surely go back to the BRAINS case or my chemical case -- NATURE. Perhaps the violence stems in part from that side, too.

      Back to my hypothetical case, if from birth the boy knew only females and no males, I just wonder how he would turn out.

      Perhaps the readers will contribute their own ideas.

    • Hope Alexander profile image

      Hope Alexander 8 years ago

      I'm not aware of any such cases such as the one you described, however, having said that, there is some evidence that men who are treated in an emasculating fashion by their mothers tend to grow up and be fairly violent. I have a hazy memory of one man called Lacey who did horrible things, but it is very hazy.

      I don't think femininity is something that can be or should be forced on a man. If he tends that way, it is okay, if he doesn't it seems it can cause a great deal of damage to try and make him more feminine.

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      Nat 8 years ago

      While I cannot dispute what scientists have found (am not a scientist) and the experiences of some (wrong BODY parts for the soul), I would suggest at least two other important factors in determining "gender":

      1. Chemistry, hormones, if you will.

      2. Environment, by which we are back to the nature versus nuture debate.

      1. I do not know from whence hormones come. From the brain, from the genitals or from somewhere else or some combination. Perhaps someone can enlighten us. I suspect the effect of these hormones can be counteracted or overcome by mental processes. As I understand it, and I again am no expert, sex change operations require hormonal therapy.

      Imagine a boy being raised by 'evil' (not the right word) women, perhaps a mother and older spiteful or jealous older sisters, who treat the boy as if he were a female. They dress him as a girl and inculcate in him all the feminine wisdom and habits they can. Perhaps even home-schooled. No boy's activities like sports, no male playmates. Do you think such a boy would grow up to be more effeminate? Or might he turn into a sex maniac or turn against women when he discovered he was really a man.

      Are you, is anyone aware of such cases?