Teeny Tiny

I’ve a friend who really likes cars.  Like, a LOT.  You can ask him anything about cars and he can recall parts, makes, models, uh, the shape of the tires, of any vehicle.  It’s impressive.  When I ask him why my car is making X noise, he asks me a few questions and he’s been right almost 100% of the time. 

As someone who doesn’t really know anything about cars, I find this fascinating.  He talks about what’s probably wrong, and why it is happening.  He explains that with a million teeny, tiny parts it’s inevitable something will not work as expected.  Some cars run flawlessly for a decade, some fall apart when it rains.  With so many variables it’s not surprising every car is different.

Even I know what’s wrong with this car

What on earth does this have to do with this website?  I’m getting there.

Someone sent me an email the other day and mentioned how we all start our lives as women.

And it’s true!  I remember reading this when I was very young and my mind was just blown.  

There’s REALLY not as much of a difference between a clitoris and a penis as most men (yes, I know, NOT ALL MEN) would like to believe.  Why does everyone have nipples?  I mean, mine aren’t practical or functional.  Or cute.

Instead of blindly stumbling around trying to explain this, I have some help from the textbook ‘Exploring the Biological Contributions to Human Health: Does Sex Matter?’.

All human individuals—whether they have an XX, an XY, or an atypical sex chromosome combination—begin development from the same starting point. During early development the gonads of the fetus remain undifferentiated; that is, all fetal genitalia are the same and are phenotypically female. After approximately 6 to 7 weeks of gestation, however, the expression of a gene on the Y chromosome induces changes that result in the development of the testes. Thus, this gene is singularly important in inducing testis development. The production of testosterone at about 9 weeks of gestation results in the development of the reproductive tract and the masculinization (the normal development of male sex characteristics) of the brain and genitalia. In contrast to the role of the fetal testis in differentiation of a male genital tract and external genitalia in utero, fetal ovarian secretions are not required for female sex differentiation. As these details point out, the basic differences between the sexes begin in the womb, and this chapter examines how sex differences develop and change across the lifetime. The committee examined both normal and abnormal routes of development that lead individuals to become males and females and the changes during childhood, reproductive adulthood, and the later stages of life.

Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on Understanding the Biology of Sex and Gender Differences; Wizemann TM, Pardue ML, editors. Exploring the Biological Contributions to Human Health: Does Sex Matter? Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2001. 3, Sex Begins in the Womb. 

Isn’t that neat?  I think it’s neat.  

I also think creation stories are fascinating, especially how different they can be from religion to religion, or from culture to culture.  I went to Catholic school for my entire life and we were always taught that God created Adam, and Eve was created from one of Adam’s ribs.  I never took it for fact, I knew the tradition of storytelling and I knew that thunder was, well, thunder and not angels bowling.

Anyway, this little biology lesson is a reminder of how small the difference is between men and women biologically.  Is it any wonder that transgender people exist?  Or that people identify as bi-gender?  Or that some think that gender roles and gender societal norms are completely ridiculous?
It all starts with a teeny, tiny gene on a chromosome.  That gene influences what our bodies look like.  What our bodies look like determines what we are “allowed” to wear, think, feel. 

Understanding science, chemistry, and biology can help others understand how teeny, tiny the differences are between boys and girls.  It’s a nice thought to think that if people are educated, life might be easier for those who live outside of the gender binary.  But since we live on a planet with people who honestly think the earth is flat, I wouldn’t hold my breath.

Love, Hannah

4 thoughts on “Teeny Tiny

  1. It’s even more disturbing, and disgraceful, that some of these human beings who believe they are on the gender binary think the only remedy for those that don’t conform is a bullet. 😦

    Thank you, Hannah, for your posts. I find them refreshing and inspiring.


  2. Hannah has hit on the essence of the issue and I’ve been preaching this message since an exceptional Biology class 101 in Kansas, 1960 and repeated in detail in 2 embryology classes. With variations across the mammalian spectrum spectrum, the default IN ONTOGENESIS IS DECIDIDLY FEMALE. XO is female phenotype with absent uterus and streak gonads, Any missing enzyme en route to making testosterone is female, End organ sensitivity in so called “testicular feminization” in spite of XY GENOTYPE and plenty of good testosterone makes lovely ladies. Many other examples exist and brains and their connections get hard wired bending to the dominant winds. My clues were a single well undescended right testis and copious lactation age 13 in spite of later ceasing, leaving the rather feminine nipples I now sport. That’s my reason for suspecting that the assertive woman who lives inside me needs to speak and be heard sometimes. Even the major mitochondrial hereditary unit is maternal, not paternal. That Bible is well, just wrong. It was Eve who created Adam and does it again in the conception of every baby Adam , so to speak, every male built on the basic female unit as an overlay. God is a woman in my take, tender and nurturing, soft, not a raging bad ass. We are created in and expressing her image, at least some of the time. Hannah , God bless you for talking about this as you have, These facts lead to big conclusions. Now try defining man, woman, or race. None of these absurdities. especially race have any valid specific definition. Not all xx, or xy, look as they “should”. xxy usually looks “boy “with tiny testes, xxxy similar, girls with adrenal insufficiency have huge clitoris and voices like John Wayne. xo’s and xo mosaics are short with “male carrying angles” , great vessel anomalies , and intellectually challenged. All these exceptions prove the rule you have brought to us; sex is complicated, but the default in humans is female for sure. Good for you. leri


  3. Live your life in the better way.We may explained everything in a scientific view or in a socio-culture view about how you feel your mind or your body but,the very importante first thing matters to you, is the way you like to see your image in a mirror or imagine in your mind,trying live both gender ways in a pacific form of living your life.That`s life.Be happy.Sorry my english.


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