Thoughts on Raising Cain

I thought this section from Raising Cain was very interesting. It talked about how boys are less emotional than girls. But why is that? I think it is because of the way they are shaped by their parents and society. The chapter gave an example of how if a boy sees another child crying the mother will dismiss it and not go into detail about the emotions that child is having. Where as a girl on another hand, the mother will identify the emotion and explain it to the girl. I think this has to do with the parent shaping the emotions of a child because by dismissing the emotions with the boy it is showing him that emotions aren’t important and shouldn’t be pondered upon or analyzed. This is because boys aren’t supposed to show emotions or feelings because it is a feminine thing. By explaining the emotions to the girl, she understands that emotions are complex and should be talked about. These are little steps in the shaping a boy or girl to show emotions or not.

This reading made me think about how boys have the image of not being emotional and why that may be. The studies talked about were very interesting. I particularly like the study about the boys who didn’t respond to the babies cries as much as the girls did. Is this instinctual, or is it the testosterone fact? I think it could be partially instinctual because there roles have been going on since the cave man. Also the biblical story of Cain killing his brother shows that even in the bible men are supposed to be emotionless and strong. It is so interesting to me how this is the way it is and because of these stories and behaviors. I think it has become instinctual for men to behave this way. Even though not all boys are this way it has a stronger chance in boys. Although the studies that do compare boys and girls are all very similar which shows that boys and girls are more similar then they are different. Which is what I think in the end is really what matters. Boys and girls are different but are both human beings with emotions and feelings all the same. But I do want to read this book now because it has very interesting thoughts about boys development.

Lisa Tamburrino


~ by Lisa Tamburrino on November 30, 2009.

One Response to “Thoughts on Raising Cain”

  1. Thanks for your post. I want to recommend four short articles for you based on your thoughts in your post.
    a. “Testosterone Rules” (Robert Sapolsky 1997)
    b. “Doing” Gender in Context
    c. “Men are from Earth, and so are Women.”
    d. “Becoming a Gendered Body: Practice of Preschools.”

    I’ll give you three quotes from these readings that support, or clear up, your thoughts you stated.

    1. “Most studies that do report the size of effects indicate that the differences between the sexes are trivial or slight on a host of personality traits and cognitive and social behaviors (Men are from Earth, and so are Women).”

    2. “Gendering of the body in childhood is the foundation on which further gendering of the body occurs throughout the life course. The gendering of children’s bodies makes gender diffences feel and appear natural, which allows for such bodily differences to emerge throughout the life course (Becoming a Gendered Body: Practice of Preschools).

    3. “Testosterone isn’t causing the aggression, it’s exaggerating the aggression that’s already there. Social conditioning can more than make up for the complete absence of the hormone (Testosterone Rules).”

    Hope this peaks your interest. These articles have helped me tremendously in education on the topics.

    -Jeff Scott

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