Geschlechterunterschiede und Homosexualität: Soziologische vs. biologische Erklärungen

Stephen Anderson schreibt in seinem Artikel „The Sociology of Human Sexuality: A Darwinian Alternative to Social Constructionism and Postmodernism“ interessantes zur Homosexualität.

Erst einmal der Abstract:

Social constructionism and postmodernism have been the most prominent approaches to the sociological study of human sexuality in the last two decades. Although sexual behavior is undoubtedly socially influenced, since it varies in a number of ways from one society and one historical time period to another, there is such a regularity and consistently in some patterns of sexual behavior across space and time that it must be strongly rooted in our biological nature. Social constructionism greatly exaggerates the flexibility of human sexuality and suffers from an enormous underappreciation of the real facts of actual sexual behavior in human social life. Social constructionism’s postmodernist version is also ideologically rather than scientifically driven and sees the search for truth as a political rather than an empirical process. This paper suggests the need to reorient the sociological study of sexuality and proposes Darwinian sexual selection theory as the best theoretical alternative to for doing so. It outlines a Darwinian perspective on sexuality and applies it to several dimensions of heterosexuality and to the two major forms of homosexuality in the world’s societies.

Zu den verschiedenen Ansichten dort:

 Zum Poststrukturalismus nach Foucault:

Social constructionist and postmodernist thinking about sexual behavior is rooted in the ideas of the renowned French philosopher Michel Foucault (1978). Foucault saw societies as constructing “sexual regimes” – entire complexes of sexual attitudes, values, and practices – that were infused with politics. He urged us to deconstruct these regimes so that we could see them for what they are. Some of the most prominent recent social constructionist/postmodern theorists of human sexuality are Steven Seidman (1994a, 1994b, 1996), Jeffrey Weeks (1986), and Adrienne Rich (1980).1 These thinkers are opposed to “essentialism,” or the notion that sexuality is part of our biological nature and that there are certain universal types of it. Seidman tells us that sex is social and that this inevitably makes it political.

Und die Queer Theorie, zusammengefasst in den 4 Hauptprinzipien:

1. A conceptualization of sexuality which sees sexual power as being embodied in different levels of social life, expressed discursively and enforced through boundaries and binary divides.

2. The problematization of sexual and gender categories, and of identities in general, which are always on uncertain ground.

3. A rejection of civil rights strategies in favor of a politics of carnival, transgression, and parody; these lead to deconstruction, decentering, and revisionist readings.

4. A willingness to interrogate areas which normally would not be seen as the province of sexuality, and to conduct queer interpretations of apparently heterosexual or nonsexual texts.

Und weiter dazu:

Queer theorists see sexuality everywhere and everything as sexualized. Like the social constructionists and postmodernists in general, they are overtly political, but even more aggressively so. For them, sexual oppression based on sexual difference is omnipresent (Heasley and Crane, 2003). As Stein and Plummer (1994:182) remark, “Queer theorists turn their deconstructive zeal against heterosexuality with a particular vengeance.” Queer theory seeks to make homosexuality normal and redefine heterosexuality as deviant. Paraphrasing Marx, they see heterosexuality as containing the seeds of its own destruction

Und zur Poltik in dieser Ansicht:

The other problem with social constructionism/postmodernism is its aggressively political nature. It is clear not only that these thinkers have a political agenda – after all, they are extremely explicit in that regard – but that it is this agenda, rather than the search for truth, that is driving their whole approach. This agenda is so aggressive that it has led to absurd conclusions – sex is not about sex but about power, everything is sexualized, homosexuality should be the social norm, and so on. In his well-known work Conflict Sociology, Randall Collins (1975) makes note early in the book of three forces that have worked against the development of sociological theory and scientific sociology. One of these is politics. I do not buy the line that there is no such thing as objectivity and that social scientists cannot at least strive for value neutrality. Our understanding of human sexuality needs to be driven by the search for truth, not the desire to be sexually transgressive. In sociology, politics corrupts, and absolute politics corrupts absolutely. Therefore, let us turn to a perspective on human sexuality that is driven by this search for truth rather than by a new form of sexual domination.

Und dann die klassischen Argumente für die biologische Position:

One major problem is that, with one or two possible exceptions (Harris, 1981; Herdt, 1984), heterosexuality is overwhelmingly the most common form of sexual activity in all known societies. This would seem to suggest that sexual orientation is rooted in our biological nature. Weeks (explicitly) and Rich (implicitly) argue, as we have seen, that heterosexuality is the most common form of human sexuality simply because of the political domination of heterosexuals over homosexuals. But this is an unusually extreme form of special pleading. It is also an argument that not only flies enormously in the face of the facts, but is completely illogical. Are we expected to believe that precisely the same kind of social construction occurs in all known societies, most of which are separated by enormous distances of space and time? Rich’s response to this implicit question is that such social constructions are rooted in male domination and men’s desires to use women for their own sexual pleasures; but this implies that most men themselves are already heterosexuals, and thus begs the very question Rich is attempting to answer. Even more problematic is the whole question of male and female anatomy. From the perspective of Darwinian evolutionary biology, anatomical structures arise because they are adaptive. Males have penises, women vaginas, and the one seems to fit into the other in a very smooth way. These structures must have evolved together, and as a result the brain must have evolved to give men and women the necessary drives to want to put them together. And imagine a species with complete indifference as to how it should behave sexually. It would quickly be driven to extinction by other species that would outreproduce it. It is thus impossible to imagine a species that is biologically indifferent to its sexual orientation because such a species could not exist more than a very short time.

 Und ein weiteres klassisches Gegenargumente:

Tooby and Cosmides (1989:37) summarize the enormous importance of all of these empirical findings for a Darwinian understanding of human sexual behavior:

Culture theory as it stands predicts the null hypothesis: that differences between cultures are random with respect to evolutionary hypotheses and therefore that, for example, sex differences should occur as frequently in one direction as the other. The assertion that “culture” explains human variation will be taken seriously when there are reports of women war parties raiding villages to capture men as husbands, or of parents cloistering their sons but not their daughters to protect their sons’ “virtue,” or when cultural distributions for preferences concerning physical attractiveness, earning power, relative age, and so on, show as many cultures with bias in one direction as in the other.

In der Tat müsste bei einer rein kulturellen Begründung wesentlich mehr Abweichung existieren. Und diese müsste dann wieder auch zu einer deutlicheren biologischen Differenzierung folgen, weil aus den verschiedenen Kulturen dann ja auch ein ganz verschiedenes „Zuchtprogramm“ folgen würde.

Zur Homosexualtität dann das Folgende:

It is currently estimated that about 2-4 percent of the populations of Western industrial societies are preferentially homosexual, a figure that may hold for many other societies as well. A great deal of research has been done on the biological roots of homosexuality. In an early article, Lee Ellis and Ashley Ames (1987) reviewed much of this research and concluded that homosexuality develops when, during a critical period of fetal development, the brain receives an excess of the hormone(s) of the opposite sex. Male homosexuals thus have fetally “feminized” brains, whereas lesbians have fetally “masculinized” brains. On the basis of their theory, Ellis and Ames predicted that

(1) homosexuality should be primarily a male phenomenon because all mammals are fundamentally female, and it is only by inserting the Y chromosome into the mammalian genome that masculinity develops; this leads to more sexual inversions in genetic males than in genetic females;

(2) male homosexuals are more likely to be “effeminate” and to have “feminine” interests than male heterosexuals, and lesbians are more likely to have “masculine” characteristics and interests than female heterosexuals;

(3) homosexuality should be highly heritable; and

(4) attempts to alter sexual orientation after birth should be minimally effective or ineffective.

All four of these predictions are strongly supported by empirical evidence.

Und dann noch ein Überblick über die weltweite Lage, der die These ebenfalls eher stützt:

1. Homosexuality is universal.

2. The percentage of homosexuals in all cultures is approximately the same (about 5%) and remains stable over time.

3. The emergence of homosexuality is not affected by social norms regarding it. Homosexuality is just as likely to appear in societies that are homophobic as in those that are much more tolerant of homosexuality.

4. Given a large enough population, homosexual subcultures will be found in all societies.

5. There are striking resemblances in behavioral interests and occupational choices between homosexuals in different societies.

6. In all societies homosexuals run the gamut from highly feminine to highly masculine.

Und zu den genetischen Grundlagen:

Research establishes that preferential homosexuality has a clear genetic component (studies reviewed in LeVay, 1996). A study by Bailey and Pillard of male identical twins found that when one twin was gay, 52 percent of the time the other twin was also gay. The number was only 22 percent for fraternal twins. A study by Fred Whitam obtained corresponding numbers of 65 percent and 29 percent, and research by Bailey and colleages of female twins obtained numbers of 48 percent and 16 percent. Dean Hamer (Hamer and Copeland, 1994) has tried to identify a “gay gene.” He and his research team have found a region of the X chromosome known as Xq28 that they believe holds such a gene. This gene is passed only through women. (In order to understand the genetic foundations of behavior we have to realize the complexity and subtlety of genetics. Consider the observation that, in identical twins, if one twin is left-handed then the other twin has only a 12 percent chance of being left-handed. In gays, if one twin is gay then the other has about a 50 percent chance of being gay. But this does not mean that 12 percent of handedness is genetic, 88 percent being due to something environmental, or that 50 percent of homosexuality is genetic, the other 50 percent environmental. Handedness undoubtedly is entirely genetic, and sexual orientation may be as well. People may have the same gene, but the gene for some reason expresses itself in one person but not in the other.) Actually, there is probably a whole set of gay genes, each of which regulates one aspect of neurological development. This is probably what explains some important differences among gays, e.g., that some gay men are effeminate but others are not.

Zu den verschiedenen Möglichkeiten, nach denen Homosexualität entstehen kann, hatte ich auch hier schon mal was geschrieben.