Causality is a fishy thing. Even if we know that A and B are the only causal influences on C, what does it mean for A to account for X% of C? What argumentative weight does it carry to just say that you believe in your guts that some property about your identity is chosen, or biologically innate, or baked-into-you-by-upbringing? What weight does it carry to blithely assert of other people's identities that you surmise they might be chosen, innate, culturally constructed?
I realize every time I think about this stuff that it's a far darker, deeper hole than I imagined last time I tried. Is it okay to say "oh, well, it's just my opinion that behavior X is chosen/innate/conditioned, and that's that"? I feel terrible saying that myself (and essentially that's I'll I've got going for me in the last entry) and I wince when other people say things like that: more generally when people call opinions what I think are factual issues.
the core of my confusion, though, simplified nearly to the point of caricature, is the following set of propositions:
(A) Exposure to magazines affects womens' self-image by making them feel ugly unless they are unhealthily underweight
(B) Exposure to magazines affects mens' perception of women by only preferring those that are unhealthily underweight
(C) Exposure to something can affect men and womens' sexual perceptions to that ceteris paribus, raised from birth somewhere else with different parents, they would have been straight whereas actually they are gay, or bisexual, or vice versa, or whatever.
To the extent that you deny A, then... I don't know what to say. I thought that (A) was a common opinion, but susan of all people questioning it in her comment makes me full of doubt.
To the extent that you affirm A and not B, the problem is that women are just misinformed about men. I guess this is a consistent belief, that media affects strongly only self-perception and is weak in infludencing sexual preference. Does anyone reading feel this way?
To the extent that you affirm A and B and not C, though, which, again, is kind of what I thought was the prevailing belief in my peer-group, there's this dangling question of why weight (over such a range! from Rubenesque couch-lumps to twiggy waifs over just a few centuries, hardly any time at all relative to genetics) and not gender? And I'm not even talking about consistent societal changes in gender preferences, just believing that noise could have a noticeable effect. Otherwise, should we believe that we are born to like the goth look, the preppie look, the indie look, the hippie look, born to like nose rings and artificially aged T-shirts and gold watches and orange eye-shadow and green hair and khaki pants and mohawks and loafers?