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The Role Of Biology Vs. Social Construction In Gendered Behavior

            In his article "Biological Limits of Gender Construction". Richard Udry attempts to apply the theory of sex-dismorphic behavior predispositions and the hypothetical normative structure of our society to a study of women that took place over the course of 30 years. In this study, scientists collected data about the women while they were still in their mother's womb, namely the level of androgen present. Since the level of androgen present is believed to be a factor in predicting the level of femininity or masculinity a person will show during adolescence and adulthood, Udry attempts to show through this study that higher levels of androgen, in combination with the effects of socialization on these women, are in direct correlation.
             His stance is that the effect on women of their childhood gender socialization is constrained by the biological processes that produce "natural" behavior predispositions. The theoretical biological model he follows states that this exposure to androgens while in the womb (namely in the second trimester) masculinizes the individual's reproductive organs and nervous system. Udry relies on evidence based on animal and human studies that conclude the effects of testosterone in the prenatal period are thought of as "organizational"; these effects, he states, are more or less permanent on the structure of the brain and therefore have great bearing on the person's future behaviors. By highlighting evidence that in puberty, testosterone increases greatly in males and slightly in females, he brings up the point that the behavioral effects of this testosterone at puberty are thought to have an "activating" effect on prenatal structures of the genitalia and nervous system.
             Udry quotes Kemper (1990) and his speculation that rises in the overall female testosterone levels are in response to the women's movement, and may be a cause of the rising divorce rates in the U.

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