The above is a video accompanying this article. In this article I explain the science more deeply.
Boys playing with dolls has always been a slightly controversial, but not too controversial issue. But perhaps it starts with dolls, then painting your nails, and then being gay. At least, that’s how a lot of parents think about this. The stigma around raising a gay son has been reduced, by pride culture and LGBTQ+ tolerance shoved into our faces all day in all major cities. Nevertheless, whether your son is gay or straight, you should be concerned about his development. I would think any good parent would focus on their children developing normally, meeting all cognitive, physical, emotional, and social milestones at the appropriate ages.
But today, unfortunately, it seems many parents are unaware that healthy development involves a correspondence of proper hormonal balance and behavior. These unaware parents I refer to are those who think being transgender is normal at a very young age. Apparently, we saw transgender people in other cultures, therefore, if my boy is playing with dolls, he needs to undergo cross-sex hormone therapy at the age of 3. No, that ain’t it chief.
Behaving like a female is toxic for a male, and behaving like a male is toxic for a female. Let’s look at some common disorders where this is the case.Behaving like a female is toxic for a male, and behaving like a male is toxic for a female. Click To Tweet
In the former example, we may consider illnesses where testosterone is too low, such as hypogonadism (this is more of a condition rather than a disease or illness but it is treatable and has many causes). If it was healthy to have a lower than normal level of testosterone as a male, and much higher levels of estrogen, we would see men thriving under these circumstances. They would excel in their fields, be respected, speak clearly and eloquently, inspire movements, and be looked up to by society. But the opposite is true. Men with this type of hormonal imbalance may develop breasts (gynecomastia), and have profound mood alterations, may suffer from infertility, and aren’t attractive to women. For those of you interested in how this works, here is a quote from the abstract of a paper explaining the basics of this hormonal problem:
As testosterone levels decrease and estradiol levels increase, the ratio of free testosterone to estradiol reaches a critical point and the estrogenic gonadotropin suppressive effects predominate.
What this means is that high estrogen (estradiol is the dominant form of estrogen) levels suppress the release of hormones (gonadotropics, namely lutenizing hormone and follicle stimulating hormone) that further stimulate the production of testosterone. Clearly, this is not healthy.
On the converse, there is a disorder involving excess testosterone (and other androgens) in women. It’s called polycystic ovarian syndrome, or PCOS for short. These women grow mustaches (the medical term for this is hirsutism), may have a deeper voice, they gain weight, and may develop diabetes. In fact, there is a high prevalence rate of polycystic ovaries (PCO) in premenopausal women with type two diabetes (study), which indicates that perhaps having too much of the opposite sex hormone* causes problems with glucose tolerance.
*There is no such thing as an opposite sex hormone as estrogen is important for healthy reproductive function in men and testosterone is likewise in women. The term however simplifies the idea. It’s the balance of androgens and estrogens that matters in men. The idea I’m toying with is that when our hormonal balance shifts in the direction of that in a healthy person of the opposite sex we will incur significant health challenges.
Clearly, this is maladaptive and is a disease, rather than a healthy state of normal function. If you want to be a transgender male (originally a female, but now identifying as a male), PCOS can help you get there. I’ve seen one person like this. She looked emotionally drained, had a thin and very noticeable mustache, which she/he sported happily it seems, unaware of the hormonal problems it indicates, was 100lbs overweight, wore dark denim jeans and thought she was a male (I cannot confirm if she had PCOS but most likely has hormonal imbalances similar to the condition). But if she was a male, she would have more male friends and be able to resonate with men like me (she seemed rude, detached and avoidant around me and I only said hello), and this person did not seem confident in who she was. This is another sign that there is an imbalance, because if you are functioning from your ideal state, you will be more confident in it. When you are trying to force your body to be different, there will be a lot of confusion—obviously, all transgender people are confused about their identity.
What’s the issue with boys playing with dolls? The issue is that boys are not meant to play with dolls in the same capacity that girls are. Numerous studies in infants have shown that when presented with plush toys (stuffed animals and dolls) versus wheeled toys, boys will pay more attention to the wheeled toys (study). This means that before socialization processes develop, male and female infants have different preferences. The idea that puberty initiates the differences between the sexes is an uninformed one; the differences between the genders begin before birth.
The issue that the regressive left brings up is that culture plays a role in these behaviors, rather than biology, and they seem one-sided on this issue, as the humanities department at their university tends to ignore quantitative reductive science. Once an infant is born, it is being influenced by culture, even if it cannot form conscious memories yet. Infants observe their surroundings and if they see that certain behaviors are more normal for boys than girls they will identify with those behaviors more. However, an infant that is only months may not have a lot of time to pay attention to these things. Male and female infants don’t look that different either, so can they tell who is male and female at a young age?
Toy preferences actually form by the 2nd year (study). And this is why the culture argument matters. This is enough time to observe how people behave and become influenced by them. Therefore, we cannot say from infant studies if toy preferences come entirely from hormones. Culture may play a role. How can we address this glaring confounding variable? Studies in non-human primates have attempted to address this problem. If non-human primates have gendered toy preferences, it would most likely rule out culture as a cause. Although monkeys have their own culture to consider, male and female monkeys aren’t products of consumer culture. Toy manufacturers aren’t trying to appeal to their senses.
Two studies on non-human primates testing their toy preferences have been done. The first one is by Alexander and Hines (study) and used vervet monkeys. They found that females showed a toy preference, which they measured by number of interactions. This was contrary to what is seen in humans, where girls show no toy preference. They also found that male monkeys showed no preference, which is also contrary to what is found in boys. Another study, by Hasset, Siebert and Wallen (study), posits that this finding may be due to methodological differences. This study looked at rhesus monkeys and found a pattern of toy preference similar to that seen in humans, where boys show a strong preference for wheeled toys, and females played more with plush toys. Let me briefly go through how this study was conducted.
This study measured how many interactions (frequency) and time (duration) was spent with various toys. They compared plush toys to wheeled toys. Plushed toys included a variety of stuffed animals and dolls like Winnie the Pooh, raggedy Ann, scooby doo, a teddy bear and three others. The wheeled toys included a car, truck, construction vehicle, a dump truck, a shopping cart, and a wagon. Their hypothesis was that activity preferences shape toy preferences.
In other words, what the male naturally likes doing determines his toy preference. What females naturally like doing determine their toy preferences. And what they naturally like doing comes from something within their maleness or femaleness. One well-studied example of male behavior is rough and tumble play. In boys and in monkeys, this is normal behavior. According to Gilette’s embarrassing ad on toxic masculinity earlier this year, rough and tumble play is violent and fathers must intervene, as if this would stop such a natural process.
One compelling piece of evidence for this behavior being male is that girls and female monkeys with congenital adrenal hyperplasia, a disorder where the adrenals are enlarged and thereby increase the female’s testosterone levels (the adrenals are a significant source of testosterone production in both sexes), display more of this behavior. In monkeys, the females look exactly like female monkeys, but they still perform rough and tumble activity (there was something else in that article too I want to include).
This study on rhesus monkeys involved seven 25 minute trials of playtime, where monkeys would play within an enclosed space consisting of one plush toy and one wheeled toy. Researchers measured how frequently and for how long male or female monkeys played with the toys. And they studied monkeys of all ages.
What they found was that male monkeys played with the wheeled toys more, and female monkeys played with the plush toys more. They concluded:
That sex differences in toy preference have been found in two nonhuman primate species, albeit differing in direction and magnitude, demonstrates that such preferences can occur without the necessity of positing any specific socializing influence,, a principle that may also apply to the development of children’s toy preferences.
It is incorrect to say that boys shouldn’t play with dolls. A more accurate statement would read: boys won’t play with dolls. Boys are different than girls, and the current trend of confusing them and presenting them with LGBTQ+ propaganda may stunt their development. This makes it sound as if boys who do play with dolls are defective. My advice is to examine how he plays with the doll. I would like to share a couple comments from viewers under the video going along with this article.
Why does this happen? Girls are more aware of social cues at a younger age than boys. Playing with dolls and plush toys may help them “practice” this skill if you will. Boys playing with wheeled toys helps them visualize actions like driving, crashing cars (my favorite activity with toy cars as a kid), and so on. For whatever reason, this may be more interesting to boys than girls.
Girls don’t always show the same degree of toy preference however compared to boys. In some studies girls play with wheeled toys as much as plush toys. But boys never play with plush toys as much as wheeled toys. When boys start playing with dolls as much as trucks, they will cease being boys.
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