The "Pregnant Man" and the Media

I'm curious about what people think of this story (just one example here[/url]):

I hadn't followed it at all until today and had just heard references to a "pregnant man" in various broadcasts and seen it written about yahoo news. I assumed there was something I didn't know, but am I wrong to think that if somebody has a uterus, the media shouldn't call that person a man in a headline?

From the media perspective, are they being politically correct, or just trying to hype a story that would otherwise be nothing more than something you'd see in News of the Weird?

I agree, calling this individual a "pregnant man" is about as accurate as calling this guy a lizard:

IMAGE(http://www.dfwexposed.com/images/partypics/090204bg/The%20Lizard%20Man%204.jpg)

A sex change, or gender reassignment, whatever you want to call it, is nothing more than extreme body modification. She may look like a man, she may self-identify as a man, but she is not a man. When she gets pregnant it is because she is a woman.

If looking like a man is all that's required to BE a man, then there have been many pregnant "men" already and this is nothing new.

I felt the same as both of you. The fundamental biology (aka plumbing) of the individual doesnt support the claim.

I consider the show's headline false advertising.

I also agree.

But I can't help wonder what the hell mr. lizard does for work, or even how he lives from day to day (Halloween excluded) if those tattoos are permanent.

LobsterMobster wrote:

If looking like a man is all that's required to BE a man, then there have been many pregnant "men" already and this is nothing new.

That pretty much sums up my take on this too.

Females (humans) have 22 autosomes (x 2) and 2 X chromosomes.
Males (humans) have 22 autosomes (X2) and 1 X chromosome, and one Y chromosome.

Other than in extreme cases such as Klinefelter's syndrome, if you dont have a Y chromosome, you are not male.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=u_hMnT44Etk

"You know what that is? That's Old Gregg's vagina. I'VE GOT A MANGINA! I'M OLD GREGG!"

Quintin_Stone wrote:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=u_hMnT44Etk

"You know what that is? That's Old Gregg's vagina. I'VE GOT A MANGINA! I'M OLD GREGG!"

Why, Quintin.. WHY?

*cry

HantaXP wrote:

Why, Quintin.. WHY?

*cry

Have you seen dhelor's sig? Pretty much explains it all.

Quintin_Stone wrote:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=u_hMnT44Etk

"You know what that is? That's Old Gregg's vagina. I'VE GOT A MANGINA! I'M OLD GREGG!"

dear god, wtf?
Sometimes the bbc come out with the weirdest comedy. I'm not sure if I'm laughing or creeped out.

If I'm reading this right, the general consensus here is that the only thing that defines a man (or a woman) is his (or her) reproductive biology. Not self-identification as a particular gender, not certain personality characteristics, not even brain chemistry. Just penis vs. vagina.

Fair enough. Then first: Does someone who lacks part or all of their reproductive organs have no gender? What about someone who has the organs of both sexes?

Second: If the only thing that defines a man is his reproductive biology, then why do we worry about "what it means to be a man" or "becoming a man" or even which personality traits are "masculine" vs. "feminine"? In fact, if we define a man as such only by his genetalia, then how do we justify assigning "masculinity" to certain personality traits or characteristics, like aggression, protectiveness, ambition, mechanical or mathematical aptitude, and so on?

But say we accept that certain personality traits or characteristics are feminine and certain ones are masculine - that we even point out there's scientific proof that men and women have certain differences in their brain chemistries. Wouldn't that introduce a second part into our definition of being a man? That is, being a man means: 1) having a penis; and 2) having "male" brain chemistry.

So if you fulfill one of those criteria but not the other, where does that put you? If you have a penis, but a "female" brain chemistry - what gender are you? And why? At what point does choice come into one's definition of gender? And if there is choice involved in gender, why is it okay for some people to identify as male and not others?

Just some things to think about. (Obviously all these questions could be asked from the opposite perspective, too.)

KaterinLHC wrote:

In fact, if we define a man as such only by his genetalia, then how do we justify assigning "masculinity" to certain personality traits or characteristics, like aggression, protectiveness, ambition, mechanical or mathematical aptitude, and so on?

I've always considered those kinds of assignments as sexist unless they were demonstrated to have a physical cause or viewed them just as a matter of culture. I don't think of a effeminate man as being a woman because he's effeminate. I don't know enough about these things to know whether there is a person with male sexual organs and female DNA or vice versa. Is there such a person?

From a psychological standpoint, I think people consider themselves to be any number of things in life, but that doesn't mean that physically they belong in the same category as those things (as lizard guy illustrates). Categories themselves are constructs, and unless we make the category "man" include any woman who believes that she should be a man, we're stuck with it under its traditional meaning.

KaterinLHC wrote:

If I'm reading this right, the general consensus here is that the only thing that defines a man (or a woman) is his (or her) reproductive biology. Not self-identification as a particular gender, not certain personality characteristics, not even brain chemistry. Just penis vs. vagina.

I wouldn't say that was general consensus. HantaXP talks about genetics and I tend to agree with him. While I sympathize for people whose self-image does not entirely match up with their biology, there are limits to what surgery can change.

Personally, when I referred to plumbing above I was more focused on the idea of being born with a uterus and ovaries, not the penis versus vagina debate.

In my opinion, loss of a biological part doesnt redefine the basic gender of an individual. Emotionally it can be liberating or traumatizing depending on the situation in which it happened. I have a very close relative going through testicular cancer right now and watched the emotional turmoil that created within him.

Similarly, if the biological parts do not function, i.e. a person is unable to reproduce, I would never say that affects their gender definition in any way whatsoever.

In the case of hermaphrodites, I'd venture that they are both and maybe neither depending on the context. Let me explain the 'neither' in terms of Oprah's show. I would consider it the same twisting of truth if Oprah had a hermaphrodite, rather than transgender, pregnancy advertised as a male pregnancy. The odds are stacked, in that the person was born with the fundamental biology to be able to get pregnant.

If they somehow implanted a uterus with an inseminated embryo in LobsterMobster and he was able to successfully develop that fetus, then I think we'd all be in agreement that a male was pregnant.

KaterinLHC wrote:

If I'm reading this right, the general consensus here is that the only thing that defines a man (or a woman) is his (or her) reproductive biology. Not self-identification as a particular gender, not certain personality characteristics, not even brain chemistry. Just penis vs. vagina.

Personally, my take on this is that it's not so much that he can't call himself a man but rather that it's sensationalist press by claiming there's a pregnant man there is a natural uterus present as a result of being born biologically a woman.

An opposite look at this (and this is a somewhat flippant example) is if a man were to undergo a transgender operation, take the drugs and still have a hairy chest. Is it news worthy that a male to female gender realigned person still has chest hair?

Now when a person who's born biologically male is pregnant, that would be new worthy.

So, as to your questions:
If you got no genitalia at all are you male or female? (or what if you have both?)
I don't know. From a strictly biological view point my intuition would be that yes you would be classed as sexless. You cannot naturally procreate sexually, no matter how many chromosomes you might have. Whether you're a man or a woman is a separate question which depends on the individual and their relation with society. The other is hermaphrodite and again the same answer in relation to m/f
Now if someone were to be born say male be castrated, are they no a man? or vice versa born a woman undergo a hysterectomy are they no longer a woman? You hear of women after a masectomy who feel less of a woman but is this psychological or social? These are pretty tough personal questions and I don't think society in general is very supportive of them.
This question gets even weirder when you consider that it's actually not that uncommon that a single person can have the DNA of other people in them. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chimera_(genetics)

As to you second question, I would say that gender is a social construct we use to hang a whole load of ideas a preconceptions on. (Tough/Sensitive, quiet/chatty) and that even in every day life these are constantly moved and redefined. Look at other societies not exposed to the same cultural sources as us (you have to look quite far these days) and I'm sure you'd find different expectations of the male/female roles.

Different brain chemistries? I've absolutely no doubt of it at all. There are different physiques, different muscles, different hormones, different biological cycles. As for someone being born with a female body and male brain chemistry, I've no idea how you'd even measure that. I think that it should be good enough for someone to be able to say I feel like a man or I feel like a woman, make a commitment and expect to be treated as such. My only concern is that these decisions are made based on the previous role characteristics (not that that's a bad thing).

As to you last question, why it's ok with someone to identify as male and others as not. I have no problem with anyone identifying as male (or female) but I don't agree with someone being presented as biologically male and pregnant when they are demonstrably not just to sensationalize a news story.

I find the original item to be a sensationalized non-story but which does ask questions about our perceptions on gender in society.

but not old greg. god that was wierd.

LobsterMobster wrote:

it's the DNA that counts.

Exactly. If the police find an X chromosome and a Y chromosome at a crime scene, they're definitely looking for a man.

Quintin_Stone wrote:
KaterinLHC wrote:

If I'm reading this right, the general consensus here is that the only thing that defines a man (or a woman) is his (or her) reproductive biology. Not self-identification as a particular gender, not certain personality characteristics, not even brain chemistry. Just penis vs. vagina.

I wouldn't say that was general consensus. HantaXP talks about genetics and I tend to agree with him. While I sympathize for people whose self-image does not entirely match up with their biology, there are limits to what surgery can change.

Agreed. This isn't a matter of parts or lack thereof, or who's better at what, or inequality. It's pure genetics. No matter how much you cut into your flesh, your genes don't change. No matter what you chop off or sew on. Self-identity, like masculinity and femininity, is a social construct with no impact on actual biology; this isn't to say that biology has no impact on their self-identity, just that it's a one-way street. Someone born a female may feel like she's "really" a man, but nothing she does to her body can make her a man any more than feeling like she's "really" a wolf (and I've met people like that... they're freaky) makes her anything but a human. You can get into sexism all you like, or a woman's right to control her body and destiny, whatever... it is a fact that the individual in question is a woman. She's entitled to mutilate herself and label herself however she damn well pleases but she is still genetically a woman, and in an age of stem cells and cloning, it's the DNA that counts.

Now if you have both sets of genitalia, or more precisely you are neither genetically male nor female, that's a gray area. I am not educated enough to call this a third gender (or fifth, as there are generally accepted to be three different 'degrees' of hermaphrodism and the split is not always equal parts male/female) or a genetic disorder. I don't think we necessarily need to label those individuals as male or female. What I DO know is that that is NOT the case with this "pregnant man."

Rat Boy wrote:
LobsterMobster wrote:

it's the DNA that counts.

Exactly. If the police find an X chromosome and a Y chromosome at a crime scene, they're definitely looking for a man.

What, like, just lying on the ground?

"Chief, I've got an X and a Y here..."
"That's some fine work, Lou. Let's put out an APB for the Alphabet."

Quintin_Stone wrote:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=u_hMnT44Etk

"You know what that is? That's Old Gregg's vagina. I'VE GOT A MANGINA! I'M OLD GREGG!"

Bless you for that.

(immature laughter)from Bend(/immature laughter) oregon

LobsterMobster wrote:
Rat Boy wrote:
LobsterMobster wrote:

it's the DNA that counts.

Exactly. If the police find an X chromosome and a Y chromosome at a crime scene, they're definitely looking for a man.

What, like, just lying on the ground?

"Chief, I've got an X and a Y here..."
"That's some fine work, Lou. Let's put out an APB for the Alphabet."

I know just the people for the job.

There's a lot more to gender than just genetics, like self identification and actual cosmetic appearance. Apparently media outlets are happy to exploiti the ambiguities in language in order to get a tasty headline. It's pretty cheap.

IMAGE(http://www.pbfcomics.com/archive_b/PBF151-b.jpg)

Alien Love Gardener wrote:

There's a lot more to gender than just genetics, like self identification and actual cosmetic appearance. Apparently media outlets are happy to exploiti the ambiguities in language in order to get a tasty headline. It's pretty cheap.

I believe that it comes from confused definitions on sex and gender.

Sociologically, sex is defined by biology and gender by culture.

HantaXP wrote:

Females (humans) have 22 autosomes (x 2) and 2 X chromosomes.
Males (humans) have 22 autosomes (X2) and 1 X chromosome, and one Y chromosome.

Other than in extreme cases such as Klinefelter's syndrome, if you dont have a Y chromosome, you are not male.

I'm with Hanta. Your genetics determine your sex. Gender, on the other hand, is more a combination of "nature and nurture"; your genetics plus your psychological and environmental development.

HantaXP wrote:

Females (humans) have 22 autosomes (x 2) and 2 X chromosomes.
Males (humans) have 22 autosomes (X2) and 1 X chromosome, and one Y chromosome.

Other than in extreme cases such as Klinefelter's syndrome, if you dont have a Y chromosome, you are not male.

Semantics hour: People with Klinefelter's have a Y chrom, they just also have 2X's on top. It's a segregation error in the father, which results in one possible X-null (inviable) and one possible XXY (Klinefelter's).

Moving on, this issue is weird for me. It seems that this issue has, for obvious reasons, been all tied up with the issue of sexual orientation. But, in reality, it's totally separate.

I just have a hard time with the notion that a person with a major identity disorder, and a wish for self-mutilation, is considered perfectly sane. This "man born into a woman's body" or "woman born into a man's body" stuff sounds not at all different from "Napoleon born in a man's body" or "Jesus reborn in a child." And if Napoleon maintains that he wants his penis removed to better feel like his "real" self, do we consider this compelling? I hope we don't. He may claim that it will make them feel better. While this is a very tenuous claim, according to post-op surveys, it's also not the point. (Sorry, bad example paper, best I could find without a big time investment.)

There's just no evidence that this feeling corresponds to any biological reality. And that's fine, as far as it goes. I don't think it's particularly important to civil rights whether being gay is biological or a choice. However, when we are talking about hacking off a person's penis and testicles, or chemically mutating a vagina into some wacky simulacrum of a penis, I think it's a very important detail. At that point, how is the feeling of being a man trapped in a woman's body, real and powerful though it may be, any different than the equally real and powerful feeling of the man who thinks he's Napoleon, and wants his right arm cut off, because it's haunted?

It just seems to me that while a large portion of this society is most concerned with seeming accepting of all lifestyles, there are people who are living with severe mental disorders, and not receiving the help that they so obviously need. That's considered progressive? To allow our own societal bent towards live-and-let-live to leave sick people without help? I don't have any negative feelings towards these people, unless you count sympathy as negative. But I don't see them as being dramatically different than anyone else with a profound malfunction in their sense of self. And it doesn't seem very compassionate, to me, to pretend that they're perfectly healthy while they amputate their genetalia.

Well, he/she's been on Oprah now, so for all intents and purposes the "pregnant man" is a fact.