If I Was Twice the Man I Could Be, I'd Still Be Half of What You Need


I closed my last post by mentioning that I got my girlfriend a bunch of porn for Valentine's Day. I didn't really, but in any case, that wasn't supposed to be some kind of juvenile sexist joke, because the fact is that my girlfriend actually does like porn.  She also hates talking on the phone.  And she’s funny, often in ways so direct and cruel that even I am shocked/impressed.  And she never cries — like, ever, which is odd but also a most welcome change from what I’m used to.  And in high school, she once beat the crap out of another girl for spreading rumors about her — when I asked her to punch my hand so I could evaluate her skills, I was amazed:  she threw a perfect punch, not only without hurting herself, but without even bending her wrist at all.

Jealous?  Of course you are.  But simply bragging about my girlfriend isn’t the point of this post.  True as all that information was, it was just a clever setup to hook you in.  And now that you’re here, this might be a good time to tell you about one more interesting trait of my girlfriend’s…

Her ring fingers are significantly longer than her index fingers.  Oh, SNAP!

Articles about studies of index vs. ring length are all over the web, of course — most of them either embarrassingly oversimplified (the less common finger ratio for your gender “means you’re gay”) or embarrassingly knee-jerky (“science said something about gender is biological instead of social, so let’s all get mad without even reading it!”).  As is my habit and my promise to my readers, this post will try to be neither, and to bring something new to the table at the same time.

For those who don’t know the backstory, the vast majority of males have longer ring fingers, whereas the vast majority of females have longer indexes.  We already knew that this was indicative of how much testosterone a fetus is exposed to at one very specific stage of early fetal development.  (Remember, it doesn’t have anything to do with how much of any hormone you have as an adult — all men have way more testosterone, and all women have way more estrogen, regardless of finger length.)  What the recent studies discovered was what this correlates with:  longer rings correlate with traits like risk-taking, athletic ability, and affinity for math/science, whereas longer indexes correlate with… well, very little aside from one thing: homosexuality in males.

Of course, no biological trait is 100% predictive of anything, because no trait operates in a vacuum.  I personally have a much longer ring finger but suck horribly at sports (possibly, this has something to do with my mom chain-smoking while she was pregnant with me, so it’s possible that my genes are still good at sports, even though I am not).  It is not the case that every gay man has a longer index, or that every man with a longer index is (or will become) gay, just as it is not the case that every Irish person has red hair, or that everyone with red hair is Irish.  Contrary to any number of playground rumors, nothing “means you’re gay” except, you know, an exclusive sexual attraction to people of your own gender.

But the finger studies are still compelling evidence of a genetic basis for homosexuality in one form or another, which should be good news for the political left, right?  Well, sort of.  It’s good news for the gay-rights wing of the political left…  But the thing is, in order to accept this part of the finger-ratio stuff, we also sort of have to accept the part about how pretty much every stereotype about the differences between men and women has a genetic basis, and how apparently the women who are good at stereotypically male things like sports and science are just the ones who got hit with more “man juice” in the womb.

Feminists are not so keen on that last part.  Nope, not one little bit.

They’re also, for that matter, not so keen on the part about how gender-uncommon finger-ratio doesn’t appear to be nearly so highly correlated with a lesbian orientation — implying that, possibly, only male homosexuality is genetic.

But here’s the thing.  The reason we feel like we have to be so worried about all this stuff — from finding proof that homosexuality is genetic to denying that gender difference is biological — is because we are terrified of what idiots will say.  Morons try to argue that being gay is a “choice” on the level of whether to hit up White Castle or Taco Bell when you’re high, so we have to prove it’s genetic.  But even if, in lesbians, it’s sort-of-not-as-genetic-or-something, that still doesn’t mean the morons are right about it being a “choice” — it just makes it harder to prove them wrong in one or two sentences.  But they’re still morons.  And even in cases when we do prove them wrong in one or two sentences, they don’t care.

Same deal with gender difference.  Yes, if it turns out that women who are exceptionally good at science (or simply like science an exceptional amount, which in turn causes them to practice it) were exposed to more testosterone in the womb, morons will say that this means men are “smarter.”  But just because they’ll say that, that doesn’t mean it’s not stupid.  We don’t even really have to think of testosterone as “man juice” in the first place.  It’s just a hormone that all people have and that apparently does some stuff.  Yes, men have more of it, but so what?  That doesn’t make every testosterone-related thing “better.”  Men have more body hair too, but we don’t think body hair is good; we think it’s gross.  And besides, too much testosterone makes you retarded (and ugly, btw).  More and more scientists are thinking that’s actually what autism is:  when a developing brain gets “too male.”  That’s why hardly any girls are autistic, and why many autistics exhibit not only hyper-“male” traits (doing crazy math in your head) but, if you think about it, hyper-un-“female” ones (no social skills at all).  If anything, where the testosterone/estrogen spectrum is concerned, rather than men being “better” than women or women being “better” than men, it’s people in the middle who are better than people to either extreme.  (As it happens, my girlfriend has a fraternal male twin on the autism spectrum, which seems like it must be relevant somehow, although so far I haven't been able to find any studies that cross-referenced any of this with different-sex twins.)

I know so far the plan when something like this comes up has just been to scream as loud as you can that it’s not true and that everyone who thinks it’s true is a sexist no matter how much proof they have, but that’s retarded.  And in addition to being retarded, it doesn’t help.  It just makes feminists look crazy, and makes it look to greater numbers of people as if sexism is the side with evidence, when if instead you accepted the data but thought for five minutes about how to spin it right, that wouldn’t happen.  Sure, it’s possible for people to make fun of individuals with less testosterone for being bad at sports, but we could just as easily make fun of people with too much testosterone for having the fashion sense of a nearsighted orangutan.  It’s all in how you spin it, and besides, you can pick out any number of individual examples that throw the whole thing out the window as an absolute anyway (for example, the guy who invented computers was gay — no idea what his fingers looked like).

I couldn't find any data on how many chicks with longer ring fingers have male twins (although I would like to submit the anecdotal evidence that Leia is the only character in the original trilogy who hits every target she shoots at).  Or, for that matter, whether straight males in stereotypically “gay” professions like hairstyling or fashion, or men who are gay but don’t dig any stereotypically gay stuff, have longer ring or index fingers (i.e., whether being literally gay is a subset of being metaphorically “gay,” or the other way around).  But I think all of this would be interesting to study.  

And that’s my point:  stuff about why people are the way they are is interesting.  Human beings find it inherently fun to obtain information — especially about our favorite subject, ourselves.  I don’t want to know any of this stuff in order to advance or attack a political agenda.  I want to know it just to know it.  And we’re letting the fact that morons might misinterpret cool knowledge make us not want to have it, and that sucks.

Well, that’s all I had to say, so I guess that’s the end…  Oops!  I just noticed that I haven’t put any pictures of hot chicks in this post.  So, for no reason — absolutely no reason at all — here are some lovely shots of beautiful and EXCEPTIONALLY FUNNY woman Tina Fey.

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