Sunday, September 13, 2009

What are you looking for?

I've had a sudden surge in traffic to my blog in the past few weeks, and was wondering why, so I checked out the web statistics and traffic sources to see what the top search words are that are leading people to this site.

The top searches leading you here?

Variations on "AIS women" or "AIS woman" (no surprise there). And then some other variations which I found telling... you type in words like "AIS women tall", "super models", "hot", "Elizabeth I", and most recently, "Caster Semenya". I guess none of these are surprising, but I thought it was interesting to see that people seem to be trying to confirm or negate what they've heard about women with AIS - that they are tall, or particularly attractive, or perhaps great athletes. People wonder whether Queen Elizabeth I or Joan of Arc really had the condition. They wonder if this is what Caster has, etc.

What is it that you are looking for? What would you like to know about AIS or women with AIS? I can't speak for all of us of course, but can tell you what my experience has been, and what I've learned from other women I've met. Feel free to post your questions.


  1. Im bio-major student who learned about AIS people recently. But, in textbook, it just shows their appearance. How about their personality? I think they have female-like personality, as their appearance,(especially CAIS people) but im not sure.

  2. That's an interesting question. I could answer this in a very simple abridged way, and that answer would be that AIS folks compared to non-AIS folks are no different in personality. And that among people with AIS personality is as varied as among the rest of the general population.

    I think that what you might be getting at (and I hope I don't read too much into your question) are ideas about if personality might be in part determined by our DNA, or by our hormones or other biological "chemistry". That's a big debate I'm sure. I believe personally that people are born with certain personality traits, and that these can be affected/changed by the way we're raised and whom we grow up with. So both a combination of nature and nurture.

    But do those of us with AIS have personality traits determined by our "unique" physiology? Hm... My thought is no. I'll tell you why. IF our personalities are in part determined by our DNA and hormones, I assume that there's a complex 'soup' of lots of genes and lots of chemicals that form a person. Thus whether an individual possesses a mutation on their Y chromosome, making them androgen insensitive, or not, would probably not affect someone's personality to any measurable amount. Where one might try to look for cause of behavioral difference might be at the hormonal level come puberty. (High testosterone levels are theorized to account for more aggression for example.) One could hypothesize that those of us who are Complete AIS - or totally immune to androgens/testosterone would be LESS aggressive than the average person. However, experience has shown to me that this isn't the case. Women I know with complete AIS run the spectrum of personality types, interests, goals, etc. So I'd be willing to bet that the level of responsiveness to androgens isn't a big determining factor either.

    Going back to your question about a "female-like personality"... I could ask you just what a female-like personality is, but I won't, because all societies - for better or worse - do have categorical ideas about what is female behavior and what is male behavior, and I think you're speaking with those in mind. Again, I'll have to answer from my experience, which is that the women with complete AIS that I know vary widely in personality. Some are more tomboyish (just as some 'regular women are), some are very feminine (just as some 'regular' women are), and some are somewhere in between (again, just as some 'regular' women are).

    I don't want to ignore the population of folks with partial AIS - and there are many - but I think the same statements apply to them.

    In sum, not only would you not know 'us' if you saw us, but you couldn't detect an AIS woman from a non-AIS woman based on personality, voice, etc. There is just soooo much variation in looks, personality, etc.. among 'typical' women and 'typical' people and AIS ladies are the same! :)

    Anyhow, sorry for being long-winded. I hope I've answered your question (and then some). Thanks for commenting!

  3. I think my words might be somewhat rude to you. sorry for that.(English is not my tung... :'( ) Thanks you for answering!! It's pretty hard for Non-english user, but still great! Thank you!

  4. Oh, no worries. They didn't sound rude at all! I just thought your question was interesting, and could be interpreted in different ways (none of them negative though). Thanks for writing!

  5. I am curious. I have a friend who I have known as a woman and now this person is am man. When this preson was female she felt non gendered. She had no preference for men or women although she thought she was a lesbian. My relationship with her was totally platonic and very relaxed because she didn't have that competitive male stuff nor did she have the competitive female behaviors.

    Today this person is male. During her transition it was discovered she has a prostate gland. Today he have had the breasts removed and has been on testosterone for several years. The testosterone changed this person for the better. He is happy and all anxiety and derpession have vanished. All the stuff that goes with hormonal fluctuations are gone. This person now is quite the "male chauvinist"

    Maybe it has just been the luck of the draw but the women in my life are a pain in the ass. I am not talking about romantic relationships as much as family and freinds. I would think that having testosterone may balance out the nutty behavior so many women seem to exhibit. If that is true I would think that an AIS woman would be a dream come true for most men. ie all the things you want in a woman without all the craziness. Like the above poster I hope this is not out of line. I just wonder it AIS women are less prone to PMS/PMDD, anxiety, depression and all the stuff that makes husbands take up bowling, gold and fishing.

  6. I would like to speak to the 'female-like' personality. Anyone familiar with John Gray's book, 'Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus' learns about the different ways men and women communicate; although not a hard and fast rule. Men find it harder to 'read' others feelings and need to be more direct. Other things like vision, can be either manlike or women like, ie: as a man I sometimes have a hard time seeing things that I am looking for and it can be right before me. Also, Dr. Laura when she speaks is a strong independent woman, strikes me as someone with a strong animus(balancing out her femininity). I am interested in anything you can add to my observations, thanks.

  7. Proud FA -- Sorry I didn't see your comment before. But Hahhaha!! I loved the last line of your comment about female stuff that makes husbands take up bowling and fishing :) Good question. I'm not sure if AIS women are less prone to these things. I'm guessing the answer is NO, because we still have brains and biology more shaped by female hormones than male. And on a side note -- there is even some skepticism among some in the medical community these days about the existence of PMS as a real thing. (I'm not saying I'm in that school of thought - but as you can see it complicates the issues surrounding it.)

  8. Aldun - Interesting thoughts. Personally, I waver between thinking there are male behavioral traits and female behavioral traits, and thinking that there's more of a complex matrix with general patterns but no definite points at which we fall. Evolutionary, it would seem to make sense for certain behavioral/psychological traits to be dominant in males and certain ones in female, based in part on what is a traditional division of labor for survival and procreation. However, I'll be thinking like that one minute and then the next minute think of a good female friend who seems more "male" in her traits, or a good male friend who seems much more "girly" in the way he behaves. So I don't think there's a clear answer...