Kids Will be Kids

For my CLAS talk I spoke about eugenics and selecting favorable traits for offspring. I was intrigued, then, when i came across an article with the following headline: “Stress Gives You Daughters, Sons Make You Liberal”.  Increasing amounts of literature have revealed a trend wherein sex ratios seem to be greatly affected by stressful environmental stimuli, i.e. natural disasters and political upheavals. Specifically, in situations where the female is at risk rather than the male, the female is more inclined towards the “safer investment”: daughters.  The general theory postulates that this sex selection occurs by signaling within the mother’s body that gets disposes of male blastocysts. The biology behind this natural selection seems to make sense.

However, where is article is truly interesting is in the second half of the title: the idea that our children can affect our own behavior and beliefs. The article has an interesting hypothesis that parents with daughters are more likely to vote republican, while parents of sons tend to vote democratic. This is a rather strong statement, however if you think about it parents tend to be very protective over girls compared to boys. Think about the situation of a parent walking in on their teenage child having sex. The daughter is likely to be locked away, grounded, not allowed to date, go anywhere without supervision, where as the son is more likely to get a stern talking to, a high five from the dad, a “boys will be boys” from his mother. Perhaps these values towards the natural want to protect and shelter, and keep their little girl a “little girl” reflects upon them in other aspects such as voting against radical change and keeping more traditional values. Just as a boys parents want him to go out and “become a man” and make his name in the world they also reflect that in their voting to for a maturing and growing nation. Perhaps as the gap between genders closes in the future we will also see less correlation between gender of children and voting.

There are a few more examples in mind pertaining to mindset of raising certain sexes of children nowadays and in the past. There’s the obvious “if my little girl has a gun, or the death penalty, etc. To protect herself she won’t be raped.” Vs. ” it’s whatever, it’s not like anyone will rape my son anyway” Then there’s ” if the people in our country had more traditional values then maybe they would help my little girl with a flat tire/directions/a safe place instead of making her afraid or ignoring her completely.” Vs “he’s a man, he can handle himself.”

Studies like this open up fascinating new explanations on how we perceive our sociocultural roles. In time, we may very well gain a more complete, sophisticated understanding of what exactly makes humans “tick”.

Link to the article: http://nautil.us/issue/13/symmetry/stress-gives-you-daughters-sons-make-you-liberal

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