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Can you raise a boy as a girl?
Biological psychology argues that our gender is
determined by our genetic and biological make-up
whereas others may argue that our gender develops
as a result of our upbringing.
This study aimed to test thee idea that gender can be
learned, in a unique case study of a small boy whose
penis was destroyed in an accident and who was
brought up as a girl.
Ablatio penis: Normal male infant sex-
reassigned as a girl (Money 1975)…read more

Slide 3

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Aim:
John Money strongly believed that gender is
determined by social experience after birth and is
therefore the result of our upbringing.
He believed that all children were born `gender
neutral' and are created as males or females through
the way that they are brought up. He tested this theory
in the famous case study of Bruce/Brenda.
Ablatio penis: Normal male infant sex-
reassigned as a girl (Money 1975)…read more

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Procedure:
In 1965, identical twins Bruce and Brian were born.
At 10 months they were sent for circumcision after a problem urinating. The technique
involved using a hot wire to cut away the foreskin.
Bruce was treated first but a mistake during the procedure meant that his penis was burnt
almost completely of, and Brian's circumcision was cancelled.
The skin gradually flaked off until Bruce's penis was unrecognisable.
Bruce's parents were distraught and unsure how to bring Bruce up to deal with his
`disability'.
They saw Dr Money talking on television about intersex children being brought up as
either male or female. His argument was that the sex of a child is determined by the process
of their upbringing.
They contacted Dr Money and the decision was made to bring Bruce up as a female, as it
was felt that dealing with his masculinity in the absence of a penis would be too difficult
for him later in life.
Ablatio penis: Normal male infant sex-reassigned as a girl
(Money 1975)…read more

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Procedure:
In 1967, Bruce was surgically castrated, his name
changed to Brenda and his parents began to dress `him'
only in dresses and encourage him to play with dolls.
From the age of 12 Brenda was given oestrogen to
encourage female rather than male puberty.
Money tracked the progress of Brenda over many years
as he felt it would be invaluable to measure the
development of identical twins who were being brought
up into different gender roles.
Ablatio penis: Normal male infant sex-
reassigned as a girl (Money 1975)…read more

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Analysis:
Brenda's transition to a female was not easy and she was
often described as having very masculine traits.
She liked to play with guns and other masculine toys, was
often involved in playground fights and was described by
many people as a tom boy.
Brenda even urinated standing up as a male would, despite
the lack of a penis.
She had many behavioural and emotional difficulties
throughout her childhood and at the age of 15 was so
unhappy with being raised as a girl that the decision was
made to allow her to live as a boy `David' as he now became
known, had phalloplasty to create a penis with a later
operation to make the penis more realistic.
Ablatio penis: Normal male infant sex-
reassigned as a girl (Money 1975)…read more

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