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I need to bring up something that's been bugging me.

We talk all the time about how sex isn't just genitals, it's every piece of our being. If you look into it, even our non-sexual organs are genetically dimorphic between men and women.

The inconsistency to me though is when we say there's no such thing as a female brain. All of a sudden, all of the femaleness that is intrinsic to every other part of who we are becomes invisible. I understand that we don't want to lend credibility to the idea that TIMs can have a "female brain," but even the research that exhibits sexual dimorphism in brains doesn't show that--in fact, while "trans brains" are mildly shifted towards their "preferred gender," they are still well-within normal ranges for their sex, and still outside the average range for their "identity." It's not a gotcha, and I don't think we need to be afraid of it.

The graphic on this study (under Results) is especially good to look at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8955456/

If anything, I think admitting that female brains do exist (with some variance within the sex, of course) and that TIMs do not have them is perfectly good evidence for being gender critical. (And for those who criticize lesbians for not sleeping with TIMs because we're genital fetishists, well, no, the brain plays a part too. Suck on that, "hearts, not parts.")

Some might call it sexist to say there are differences between male and female brains, but I think the it's more that the sexist conclusions that people come to as a result of the difference existing are problematic--ie: because "female brains" exist, women must be more predisposed to doing housework, or some other nonsense.

Also, when we talk about puberty blockers being harmful because of the importance of sex hormones in adolescent brain development, I think it's a bit willfully ignorant to not assume that estrogen and testosterone might have different effects on the brain.

Prove me wrong, please, or give me another way to think about it! I just think it's something worth tackling head on, rather than brushing aside.

I need to bring up something that's been bugging me. We talk all the time about how sex isn't just genitals, it's every piece of our being. If you look into it, even our non-sexual organs are genetically dimorphic between men and women. The inconsistency to me though is when we say there's no such thing as a female brain. All of a sudden, all of the femaleness that is intrinsic to every other part of who we are becomes invisible. I understand that we don't want to lend credibility to the idea that TIMs can have a "female brain," but even the research that exhibits sexual dimorphism in brains *doesn't show that*--in fact, while "trans brains" are mildly shifted towards their "preferred gender," they are still well-within normal ranges for their sex, and still outside the average range for their "identity." It's not a gotcha, and I don't think we need to be afraid of it. The graphic on this study (under Results) is especially good to look at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8955456/ If anything, I think admitting that female brains do exist (with some variance within the sex, of course) and that TIMs do not have them is perfectly good evidence *for* being gender critical. (And for those who criticize lesbians for not sleeping with TIMs because we're genital fetishists, well, no, the brain plays a part too. Suck on that, "hearts, not parts.") Some might call it sexist to say there are differences between male and female brains, but I think the it's more that the sexist conclusions that people come to as a result of the difference existing are problematic--ie: because "female brains" exist, women must be more predisposed to doing housework, or some other nonsense. Also, when we talk about puberty blockers being harmful because of the importance of sex hormones in adolescent brain development, I think it's a bit willfully ignorant to not assume that estrogen and testosterone might have different effects on the brain. Prove me wrong, please, or give me another way to think about it! I just think it's something worth tackling head on, rather than brushing aside.

43 comments

I completely agree--I wouldn't think there would be any difference at birth. I'm more referring to when people say that it's ridiculous for TIMs to claim to have a female brain because there is no such thing as a female brain... I've seen it again and again on here. It just strikes me as an odd claim from the GC folk.

Would it make a little more sense to think of how we might say 'there's no such thing as a female heart' (ie hearts pump blood, all hearts do this, to a greater or lesser degree depending on the health and fitness of the person it is in, the function and operation of the heart isn't appreciably different depending on the sex of the person, we can pretty much extrapolate how hearts work in humans from observing both male and female hearts, etc) and also, at the same time, any heart inside a female person is a female heart?

there's no such thing as a female heart' (ie hearts pump blood, all hearts do this, to a greater or lesser degree depending on the health and fitness of the person it is in, the function and operation of the heart isn't appreciably different depending on the sex of the person,

Actually, male and female human hearts are very different to one another in terms of structure and function. Male and female hearts do the same job overall, but the way they go about it is different.

While it is widely recognized that the female heart is smaller than the male heart, it has long been ignored that it also has a different microstructural architecture. This has severe implications on a multitude of cardiac parameters.

Here, we systematically review and compare geometric, functional, and structural parameters of female and male hearts, both in the healthy population and in athletes. Our study finds that, compared to the male heart, the female heart has a larger ejection fraction and beats at a faster rate but generates a smaller cardiac output. It has a lower blood pressure but produces universally larger contractile strains. Critically, allometric scaling, e.g., by lean body mass, reduces but does not completely eliminate the sex differences between female and male hearts.

Our results suggest that the sex differences in cardiac form and function are too complex to be ignored: the female heart is not just a small version of the male heart.

When using similar diagnostic criteria for female and male hearts, cardiac disease in women is frequently overlooked by routine exams, and it is diagnosed later and with more severe symptoms than in men. Clearly, there is an urgent need to better understand the female heart and design sex-specific diagnostic criteria that will allow us to diagnose cardiac disease in women equally as early, robustly, and reliably as in men.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphys.2022.831179/full

Pretty much every organ and system of the human body that has been looked at to see if there are sex differences has turned out to have extensive and significant differences that aren't visible to the naked eye or just by looking at the gross morphology. Heart, liver, pancreas, kidneys, digestive tract, skeletal muscles, lungs, airway cells, respiratory system, immune function and response... and so on - they all are different in male and female humans

Member that time doctors failed to study women's hearts for hundreds of years and so failed to notice that we have completely different signs of heart attacks, likely killing countless women prematurely

Good times

I think I hear what you're saying, but hearts actually do exhibit sexual dimorphism as well... True that functionally they are the same, but the differences might matter more when considering, for example, heart diseases I would think? https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8189176/

Yes--but the function and purpose and operation of the heart is the same, and it would be possible to teach in an elementary biological or medical textbook 'the heart pumps blood, it has four chambers, blood flows in and out like this, etc. etc.'