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Feminine? Masculine? Both? : Androgyny

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Biology of Androgyny

Understanding the biology of androgynous people is no easy task.  Since most people agree that biology and environment interact to determine an individual's behavior, it is very difficult to isolate one of these variables and examine it experimentally.  If keeping heredity a constant was possible, then a group of people would all have the same chromosomes and then any differences in behavior would be entirely a result of environmental differences both before and after birth.  In this scenario, genes would still be exerting their influences but all differences in behavior between the individulas would have been due to differences in environment.  Conversely, if environment was kept constant, a group of individuals would be effected exactly the same way and therefore all differences in their body or behavior would be a result of differences in their heredity.  Environment would have the same effects on all of the individuals in this group.  Because it is impossible to keep heredity constant throughout a group of both males and females, and because, similarly, environment can not be held constant for a group of individuals, the effects of biology can not be determined independent of environment.
 
An ongoing debate, researchers are yet to find the answer to the "nurture vs. nature" dilemma; a situation in which either environment plays the key role in creating differences in behavior, or heredity is the major component of differences in behavior. 
 
What is more often researched is the way in which biology, and even social pressure, can affect a given behavior, given an environmental situation. (Hoyenga 7-8).
 
Puberty is the beginning of sex-role development for it is at this time at which both biological and sociocultural factor converge.  At this period of life, biology clearly plays a role in the socialization process by transforming boys and girls into men and women.  The evidence thus recorded does not allow biological and sociocultural processes to be separated at the time of puberty in an adolescence; rather it is likely that they are completely confounded and inseparable. (Parsons 37-38). 

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It is very difficult to isolate the effects of biology to determine exactly what role it plays in the life of androgynous individuals.