Apparently gender differences are innate and immutable because male rhesus monkeys prefer playing with toy trucks, while female rhesus monkeys prefer playing with dolls. Checking out the relevant New Scientist article in question – It’s online – we find that what actually happened is that the male monkeys preferred to play with toys that had wheels, while female monkeys played with plush toys and toys that had wheels. So… the actual bone-headed literalist reading of the results is that females are more adaptable, more curious and faster learners, while males are narrow-minded and just like watching things go ’round and ’round all day long. As somebody with aversion to bone-headed literalism and no interest in toy trucks (I did build a model APC last night, but that’s different because it’s more expensive), I’m obviously not going to take this interpretation seriously either, but can’t people at least be consistent in their idiocy…?
But no, we focus almost exclusively on the habits of the male monkeys simply because they’re the least challenging. Just so we know that the article’s got an agenda, we’re told that the boys-love-trucks conclusion “may upset those psychologists who insist that sex differences depend on social factors”. You know, those psychologists who insist on things, since there are only two kinds of psychologists in the world; the sane ones who pay attention to proper scientific research, and the crazy ones who hang around outside the supermarket shouting at strangers and trying to flog their theses for gold coin donations. And by ignoring everything the female monkeys did we’re able to make the leap from “male monkeys liked played with toys that had wheels, rather than dolls” to “all gender stereotypes are actually innate parts of primate nature”. When we do hear about female monkeys, it’s one line in paragraph three, and – ‘pon my soul! – it contradicts their conclusion. Imagine if they’d done it with bonobos. Or giant squid.
Before I leave for class… playing with wheeled toys is apparently part of primate nature. Can you see the problem, here?
I’m assuming somebody was paid for this.