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The Underground Girls of Kabul
"A unique and compelling chronicle. Book clubs will be riveted." - Booklist
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Jenny Nordberg raises questions about whether or not gender is dichotomous. What do you think: Are we born a certain way or do we become our gender?

Created: 06/26/15

Replies: 7

Posted Jun. 26, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

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Jenny Nordberg raises questions about whether or not gender is dichotomous. What do you think: Are we born a certain way or do we become our gender?

Jenny Nordberg raises questions about whether or not gender is dichotomous, and she even calls bacha posh "a third kind of child"—neither boy nor girl. What do you think: Are we born a certain way or do we become our gender?


Posted Jul. 13, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
reene

Join Date: 02/18/15

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RE: Jenny Nordberg raises questions about whether or not gender is dichotomous. What do you think: Are we born a certain way or do we become our gender?

We have learned so much about gender it is difficult to say if it is dichotomous. Dichotomy is the difference between two opposite things. The gender lines have become blurred, they are no longer total opposites. I think our sex is determined at birth, but gender can be learned through repetition and through nurture, and even by choice, as seen by some of these women that did not want to go back to being a girl.


Posted Jul. 20, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
lynneb

Join Date: 08/23/11

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RE: Jenny Nordberg raises questions about whether or not gender is dichotomous. What do you think: Are we born a certain way or do we become our gender?

The Nature or Nurture debate has gone on for a long time in regard to many aspects of our development. It seems that there is no certain proof of either as dominant. Jenny's research showed possibilities on both sides in the development of the girls after becoming a bacha posh. I think in the case of homosexuality we have finally accepted the fact that this is part of your makeup at birth and not because a boy had a weak father or a domineering mother or was brought up surrounded by females, etc. It seems that Nader and Shahed and possibly Zahra have some inherited male identity issues and may truly be homosexual. However, it is hard to say since they were brought up as boys from an early age and now it's impossible to determine the effects that may have had on them psychologically.


Posted Jul. 20, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
bobbie7

Join Date: 09/19/13

Posts: 49

RE: Jenny Nordberg raises questions about whether or not gender is dichotomous. What do you think: Are we born a certain way or do we become our gender?

dichotomous means divided into two distinct parts. I think these girls are not divided into distinct parts but the gender lines are blurred by their upbringing. They have been conditioned to think like males and therefore they act like males. Emotionally and conceptually they are still female, but all outward appearances make them male. I also think that in the "modern world" some individuals are born with male/female bodies but are conditioned and/or choose to act the part of the opposite sex.


Posted Jul. 24, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
laurap

Join Date: 06/19/12

Posts: 180

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RE: Jenny Nordberg raises questions about whether or not gender is dichotomous. What do you think: Are we born a certain way or do we become our gender?

The bacha posh stories indicate clearly, as does other scientific evidence, that even though our sex is determined genetically, our behaviors are strongly influenced by nurture. A girl allowed to be aggressive, outgoing, and independent will behave differently than one who is not and the same thing will happen with boys. This is not the same issue as sexual preference.


Posted Jul. 24, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
jeannew

Join Date: 04/23/11

Posts: 91

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RE: Jenny Nordberg raises questions about whether or not gender is dichotomous. What do you think: Are we born a certain way or do we become our gender?

This is one of the most fascinating ideas found in the book. It seems that gender may be much more fluid than I had thought. Zahra, Shahed and Nader, while born and initially raised as girls, seem well-suited to be boys. I have always believed that sexuality is determined in utero but this book makes me realize the importance of the nurture factor and the impact that can have.


Posted Jul. 29, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
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kellilee

Join Date: 11/18/14

Posts: 48

RE: Jenny Nordberg raises questions about whether or not gender is dichotomous. What do you think: Are we born a certain way or do we become our gender?

I agree that Jenny Nordberg does an excellent job of making the argument that gender can successfully be nurtured. Although I wholeheartedly disagree with parents making such a decision on behalf of their children from birth (to raise a child as a boy when the child was born a girl), the truth is that we do this unwittingly with children across the world (i.e., transgender children). There are many complications for the child, either way, and the response and/or support of the parents can further complicate matters.


Posted Jul. 31, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
beckyh

Join Date: 05/08/11

Posts: 58

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RE: Jenny Nordberg raises questions about whether or not gender is dichotomous. What do you think: Are we born a certain way or do we become our gender?

As I was reading this book, I could see the clear advantages a girl would have as a bacha posh. For the most part the girls were quite happy to be boys, even trying to remain boys when biology turned them into women. Then I wondered how would boys react to being raised as girls in the same patriarchal society. Would boys rebel to being cloistered in the home, prevented from going out into society, prevented from attending school, etc. That was when I grew most angry at the treatment of girls/women in such societies.


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