Blog post # 3: Biological determinism

My inquiry question is: Is being masculine or feminine biological or social construction?   

This first round of research is about biological determinism. This post focus is on the three most common theories used within the biological approach. These include the evolutionary theory, the role of hormones and genes, and brain differences between the sexes. Other hypotheses and ideas exist, but they have less research or are outdated. (4) Biological determinism is the belief that socialization is not the cause of gender. (2) This theory claims that gender is “innate” and “determined” by hormones, genes, differences in the brain and others. (2) 

 The evolutionary theory (regarding gender) is one of the theories used in biological determinism. The basis of it is the evolutionary process, which explains why and how species survive. (2) According to David Buss and David Geary, the “genes responsible” for the survival of a species are likely to be “passed on to our descendants.” (4) The evolutionary theory claims that behavioural differences between the sexes, or gender, is passed on through genes because a “successful reproduction.” require it (4). This theory is commonly unheard of and not used today because it fails to explain “individual variations” of behaviour in males and females. (4) In trying to find more accurate evidence of biological determinism, scientists have studied the impact of sex hormones on human behaviour.     

 The effect of hormones and genes is a very frequently used theory in biological determinism. (3) Androgens are sex hormones, and they are more present in males than in females. (4) If a person has a higher of it, they have higher chances of having a “male-typical” behaviour. (4) Smaller amounts of androgens are “expected to make behaviour more female-typical.” (4). This is not enough evidence to defend biological determinism because androgens are only partially responsible for gender. (4) They do not define all parts of the gender of a person. (4) Moreover, testosterone is one of the types of androgens. They are commonly “tied to violence.” (5) Violence and aggression are typically linked to masculinity. Since testosterone is more prevalent in men than women, many believe men are inherently more aggressive. However, recent studies have shown testosterone and aggression have a “weak connection.” (5) It can facilitate it, but testosterone alone “{does} not make men violent.” (5). In conclusion, androgens solely are not the cause of gender.  

 Lastly, it is also commonly believed men and women have different brains. Many believe the female brain makes a woman feminine and that a male brain makes a man masculine. However, Dr. Gina Rippon has proven this is a myth. Her study has found there are no “significant differences {in the brain} based on sex alone” when a person is born. (1). She believes the difference in behaviour between males, and females is due to our “gendered world.” (1) Rippon concludes that gender is learned through socialization. (1)  


 In conclusion, most theories used to claim that gender is “innate,” are not accurate. However, some evidence, like the effect of hormones on behaviour, partially influences a person’s gender. In my next post, I will be discussing another theory of gender development: the socialization of gender. This theory opposes biological determinism. 

Sofia B.  


  1. Fox, G. (2019, March 5). Meet the neuroscientist shattering the myth of the gendered brain. The Guardian. Retrieved October 20, 2021, from 
  2. G. Embrick, D., & A. Burke, M. (2018, June 18). Biological Determinism | Encyclopedia.Com Content. Retrieved November 8, 2021, from 
  3. Mikkola, M. (2019, Autumn). Feminist Perspectives on Sex and Gender. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Published. 
  4. Miller, C. F. (2016). Gender Development, Theories of. The Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Gender and Sexuality Studies, 1–6. 
  5. Mims, C. (2007, July 5). Strange but True: Testosterone Alone Does Not Cause Violence. Scientific American. Retrieved November 10, 2021, from 

One Reply to “Blog post # 3: Biological determinism”

  1. Hello Signacio,

    This is good information to have to answer your question. I think you did a good job breaking down the parts of biological determination. I like that you mentioned that some information was outdated and things like the brains of females and males being different is a myth. It is interesting that you said that the brains change over time due to the environment they adapt to. This could be evidence that could answer your overall question. The way a person is treated based on the way they are perceived affects their feelings of masculinity and femininity. I feel like many people do not want to balance the two theories. Biological evidence does exist but the way people develop and the way they seen, treated, and present themselves can change throughout their life. What do we think of when we think of men? What about women? Is there more outdated associations being made with both? It would be interesting if you could look into what makes things masculine and what is feminine and why we think that. We know that simply saying girls are smart and guys are strong are terribly gender biased things to say but why were those assumptions made. Those are not applicable now because we know so much more about gender so what replaces it?

    Here are some hopefully helpful links,being%20male%20or%20female%2C%20respectively.&text=By%20this%20definition%2C%20high%20masculinity,as%20either%20masculine%20or%20feminine.

    Good luck!

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