Diathesis Stress model, pertaining to Gender and a short social commentary.

In a discussion on the differences between the sexes, there is are is the classical dycotimy between Nature and Nurture.  It is generally accepted that there are biological differences: XX vs XY, to name an obvious example one, and that there are equally obvious cultural differences in upbring of a gendered individual.

However, as was discussed in “Raising Cain”, to only assume that something is a function of one or the other(nature or nurture) is overly simplistic.  From my interpretation of the reading, there is support for the interaction between biology and lifestyle.   To refresh, according to the Diathesis Stress model, there is the genes and biology.   These immediatly respond to environmental factors even before birth, Tetrogens are an example.  Continuing,  the environment continues to play an influential role, always.  A stimulating learning environment affects the biology of the brain, by affecting synapse growth, among other things.   Conscious expereince, since it arrises from the brain, is affected by this, and the contents of consciousness can in turn affect the organization of the neurons.  Culture affects us by influencing out conscousness, and customary display of behaviors.   Language, a social game, deeply affects us and our ability to make sense of the world, and is affected by and affects brain organization.   In the case of Genie, she missed a critical period when the brain is very supseptable to aquire language.   Language changes the organization of the brain, but it is this neurological state existing in this critical preriod that make it a critical period.

With gender development, I prefer to use the term Osmosis.  The child observes the world around it, and their cognitive state make them able to absorb vast amounts of information about the interactions, expectations and stereotypes about gender.  This will affect them just like any other expereince, it will affect and change neurological organization.

As a child grows older, its brain loses its amazing plasticity, or ability to easily change/reorganize neurological networks.    While Boys may have the same emotional capacity as females at birth, with constant and consistant imput(which do accumulate) The brain changes.   The resulting male child, by early adulthood may be so reorganized such as to be significantly emotionally retarded.   The Diathesis Stress model  would validate my claim, or at least give it credence.   Depending on how receptive the brain is to cultural input, and the age of said receptiveness, such reorganization may happen very early and very rapidly.   if there is a critical period of gender sensitivity, it is possible for real damage to be done to affective systems (the limbic system).  How this damage may be subjectively described is up for speculation: this damage may change the breadth and depth of subjective human emotion, making emotions more shallow and less variable in kind.   It may be expereinced as an extreme development of one kind of emotion: everything makes you angery.   Your anger may vary from incredible extremes to subtle differences in types of anger.   At the very least, this type of damage may affect one’s ability to self monitor these emotions, or be cognizant of these.

Even supposing that one is not emotionally brain damaged, they will still suffer from the lack of training with dealing with the feelings, naming them, and appropriately expressing them.  Is it worse to have shallow feelings and not know what you are missing, or to have the full feelings and be expected to suffer in silence?  How can this not result in a violent dysfunctional society?  Its possible that culture-slapping males into emotional silence(except when it comes to anger), could be a contributing factor in school shootings(along with dozens of other factors).   If you are full of un-named emotions in turmoil, and you are only allowed to experience/express anger, is it no surprise the world will be full of rage?   Why do people act so surprised?  Why is society so reluctant to claim the house that it built for itself?  Sure, remember that genes and other factors contributed, but screw me if I accepted these roles before I entered Piaget’s Pre-Operational stage.   Its my fault for accepting the world unquestioningly?  Its my fault for believing in the world?  Its my fault to subscribe to these stereotypes?  And now I get to suffer for it?   That’s seriously messed up.  The reason society never has the right to tell you what to do or who to be, is because Society never takes responcibility for its own dark side.  Always the good, never the bad.   Society as an entity is inherently irresponcible.  When society acknowledges how they screwed me and my parents over, (how can my parents teach me anything but the stereotypes that they themselves bought into?) then maybe they will be worth listening to.   Until then, Screw you society, Screw you.

I am not sure what post number this is, its possible that I don’t need to post this.

Stuart Walker


~ by havok43v3r on November 30, 2009.

2 Responses to “Diathesis Stress model, pertaining to Gender and a short social commentary.”

  1. About the society bit.. have you seen “Into the Wild”? The movie commisions society as a corruptor of persons responsible for the exploitation and eventual fall of humanity. It will change your life. You’d like it.

    Kellie Gibson

  2. Wow – a poll only for men? How sexist! :)

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