Showing posts with label essentialism. Show all posts
Showing posts with label essentialism. Show all posts


Study of biology books "serve as a call to action" said Professor Andrei Cimpian, Senior Author

“The findings serve as a call to action—it is important that the high school biology curriculum is revised so that it reflects accurate scientific knowledge rather than misguided assumptions that may foster gender stereotyping and discrimination,” says Andrei Cimpian, a professor in the Department in the Psychology at New York University and one of the paper’s senior authors.

"The textbooks used in about 66% of U.S. classrooms teach outdated ideas about the differences between sex and gender, a new study published in the journal Science from the American Association for the Advancement of Science found," Forbes reports.

The study examined six textbooks commonly used in California, Texas, New York and Florida—four of the most populous states in the U.S.—and found that none of the books differentiated between sex and gender.

According to researchers at BSCS Science Learning, New York University and the University of Texas, the textbooks “inappropriately conflate” sex, a biological phenomenon, with gender, which scientists widely consider to be socially constructed.

“The findings serve as a call to action—it is important that the high school biology curriculum is revised so that it reflects accurate scientific knowledge rather than misguided assumptions that may foster gender stereotyping and discrimination,” says Andrei Cimpian, a professor in the Department in the Psychology at New York University and one of the paper’s senior authors.

The study, which also included researchers from BSCS Science Learning and the University of Texas at Austin, examined whether textbooks communicated “essentialism” about sex and gender. Essentialism is a widespread, but scientifically inaccurate, view rooted in the idea that there is a genetic “essence” that makes women and men the way they are. Because of their assumed distinct genetic essences, women and men are also assumed to be discrete, non-overlapping groups—not just in terms of reproductive anatomy, but also in terms of their psychology and behavior.

The research published in Science set out to characterize how textbooks describe sex, which is a complex set of biological features related to reproduction, and gender, which is a socially constructed interpretation of the biological phenomenon of sex. The scientific consensus is that sex and gender are distinct phenomena and that both are inconsistent with the essentialist view that is common among the general public.

Its analysis of six textbooks—published between 2009 and 2016 and used in an estimated two-thirds of high school introductory biology classes across the U.S.—found that none of the textbooks differentiated between the concepts of sex and gender, despite the clear distinction made between them in the scientific literature.

How leading medical and psychological organizations define sex and gender:

The World Health Organization (WHO) - "Understanding sex and gender is critical to understanding human health and disease. Although “sex” is often incorrectly thought to have the same meaning as “gender,” the terms describe different but connected constructs. Sex and gender shape health independently as distinct factors, as well as interactively through the many ways in which they intersect and influence each other."

National Institues od Health (NIH) Sex is a multidimensional biological construct based on anatomy, physiology, genetics, and hormones. (These components are sometimes referred to together as “sex traits.”) All animals (including humans) have a sex. As is common across health research communities, NIH usually categorizes sex as male or female, although variations do occur. These variations in sex characteristics are also known as intersex conditions.

Gender is relevant only for research with humans (not other animals). Gender can be broadly defined as a multidimensional construct that encompasses gender identity and expression, as well as social and cultural expectations about status, characteristics, and behavior as they are associated with certain sex traits. Understandings of gender vary throughout historical and cultural contexts.

"A person’s gender identity (e.g., woman, man, trans man, gender-diverse, nonbinary) is self-identified, may change throughout their life, and may or may not correspond to a society’s cultural expectations based on their biological sex traits. For example, a person with typical female (sex term) sex traits may or may not be a woman (gender identity). Although gender is often portrayed and understood in Western cultures using binary categories (man or woman) and is often assumed at birth based on a person’s sex traits, many cultures throughout history have recognized a diversity of forms of gender identity and gender expression (how a person communicates their gender to others through behavior and appearance)."

American Medical Women's Association (AMWA) “Sex” refers to biological differences between females and males, including chromosomes, sex organs, and endogenous hormonal profiles. “Gender” refers to socially constructed and enacted roles and behaviors which occur in a historical and cultural context and vary across societies and over time. All individuals act in many ways that fulfill the gender expectations of their society. With continuous interaction between sex and gender, health is determined by both biology and the expression of gender. — Definition according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Research on Women’s Health (ORWH)".

"The terms sex and gender have often been used interchangeably and imprecisely even though they should not be. The terms refer to different things".

APA Policy Statement on Affirming Evidence-Based Inclusive Care for Transgender, Gender Diverse, and Nonbinary Individuals, Addressing Misinformation, and the Role of Psychological Practice and Science

This is why biology books instructing high school students about gender and sex are so important to the LGBTQI community which I am a member. Without high school science-based instruction, misconceptions increase and hostility towards non-binary people exists leading to violence and murders.


High Schools are teaching a twisted and dangerous version Of Sex And Gender Study Finds

High School Biology

US high school biology books are teaching Sex and Gender essentialism creating conditions where discrimination and violence exist as was the case with Nex Benedict

The first scientific study examining this found that publishers are driven by sales and profits and largely ignore science.

People who hold essentialist beliefs tend to believe that sex/gender groups are mutually exclusive—that members of one group are entirely dissimilar from those in another group. By contrast, the reality is that most traits overlap considerably across sex/gender groups.

What is being taught in the classroom? You might think just read the books, but that presents a unique problem.

"Because textbook manufacturers do not publish statistics on how many schools or students use their textbooks in the US and school districts do not report complete and reliable information about adopted textbooks, researchers interested in examining the most frequently used textbooks in US high schools must rely on other methods, Science reports"

"For example, researchers typically sample textbooks with multiple editions under the assumption that these textbooks’ repeated use by schools indicates they are successful in the marketplace. Furthermore, decades of research demonstrate that decisions about which textbooks to adopt in each US state are strongly influenced by which textbooks are adopted in California, Texas, New York, and Florida because these states are the most populous and have the largest textbook markets."

"Due to their importance for publishers’ revenue, textbook developers in the US tend to write textbooks that will be easy to adapt to the standards of these four states. Therefore, we purposively sampled textbooks that had multiple editions from the four most populous states in the US (i.e., California, Texas, Florida, and New York) to construct our own database of texts that had the highest probability of representing the curriculum materials most readily available to biology students in US high schools."

In other words, the study found publishers set the bar to the lowest level regarding instruction about sex and gender hoping that California and Connecticut will find the text acceptable.

Biology books that appear acceptable to those who are simply uninformed appeal to purchasing agents in Texas and Florida.


"We initially attempted to make a systematic distinction between terms that pertained to sex (such as “Y chromosome”) and terms that pertained to gender (such as “men”). However, it quickly became clear that this would not be feasible. The information available in the textbooks was not sufficient to make this distinction. This blurring of the linguistic boundary between sex and gender suggests in and of itself that textbooks may conflate the two. Going forward, we use the term “sex/gender” when appropriate to describe our results."

"Despite the imprecision in how sex and gender terminology was used, we were able to code whether sex and gender were explicitly differentiated in a paragraph. Of the 362 paragraphs coded, none differentiated between sex and gender in any way. Thus, textbooks inappropriately conflate between a biological phenomenon (sex) and a sociocultural phenomenon (gender)."