The myth of the “supermale” and the extra Y chromosome
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The myth of the “supermale” and the extra Y chromosome


I was watching this episode of the simpsons
the other day where Lisa thinks she’s going to get dumber as she gets older because she
has the Simpson’s gene. Lisa: “It can’t just be a bad day. I feel like I’m getting dumber by the minute.” Her brother and her father and her uncles
have it, so she must have it, right? Grandpa: “That’s right, then the Simpson’s gene kicks in!” But she finds out, there’s a catch “The defective Simpson’s gene is on the Y chromosome, so only men are affected” And it got me thinking, what do we actually
really know about the Y chromsome. And how did we get there? “What does the “Y” stand for?” There were a lot of fascinating TV shows about
genetics in the 1950s “We are about to unfold for you an adventure in the world of science” They taught us that nearly every person has 23 pairs of Y chromosomes “In every male human being, the 23rd pair of chromosomes is a mismatch” “One type has a long X chromosome. The other type has a short Y chromosome” Early on we learned that most girls have two x
chromosomes and most boys have an X and a Y And then this happened A man with XYY was discovered He was a normal guy living a normal life A few years later some researchers started
drawing lines between having an extra Y chromosome and a life of violent crime. “Some studies from the 70s said that a man with an extra Y chromosome meant a man was more aggressive” It all started at a scottish mental institution
where 315 men were genetically tested for chromosomal abnormalities. 9 of these men
were above average height, had severe mental impairments, had criminal records, and had
XYY chromosomes. Although these 9 men had criminal backgrounds
almost identical to men without XYY. Scientist concluded that their history was directly
related to their genetic disorder. “So he has an extra Y chromosome, that’s the criminal gene” Then, Mary Telfer, a researcher in the U.S.
began searching for the XYY chromosome in developmentally disabled boys in institutions
in Pennsylvania. They were tall and had moderate acne on their face and in her mind these were
clear signs of XYY. “Kilhurst research center says he’s an XYY man. Do you believe in that theory?” Around that time a tall man in Chicago with
visible acne scars on his face brutally raped and murdered 8 nurses. His name was Richard
Speck. It immediately made sense to Telfer that he was XYY. The New York Times latched onto this story
and ran a series about the genetic disorder stating that Speck’s criminal disposition
was directly related to the fact that he was a “supermale” with an extra Y chromosome. Genetic testing however, concluded that he
was XY. But the damage was done. The idea of a genetic mutant supermale quickly became
a cultural phenomenon. “Well they’ve found I’ve got this, um, extra male chromosome” Not surprisingly there was this huge bias
in the research conducted on XYY men. Nearly all genetic testing of these chromosomes were
conducted in prisons and mental institutions. “Wait, so the extra Y chromosome doesn’t lead to violence” The fact is, about 1 in 1000 men have XYY
syndrome and a vast majority are completely unaware of their condition. There’s just
no proven correlation between aggressive criminal behavior and having an extra Y chromosome. “The extra Y means nothing at all” Most people know that there’s not a murder
gene in our bodies that make us criminals, but we still use the Y chromosome as a huge
cultural symbol for aggression and masculinity. “Pick up a Y chromosome while you were there, you might be short one” A lack of a Y chromosome means a guy is super
feminine and an extra Y chromosome means he’s a killer. And then there’s Jenna Maroney. “Jenna is an Ashkenazi Jew with an extra Y chromosome?” “What’s that now?” When you’re watching your favorite TV show,
it’s important to remember that masculinity and femininity are as much defined by the
world around us, as the genes inside us.

100 thoughts on “The myth of the “supermale” and the extra Y chromosome

  1. I'm 6'2" with acne scars and watching videos like this makes me so mad I just want to punch a hole in the wall.

  2. 3:50 Vox here, to remind you that men are not men and women are not men and men are not women and that women are not women… unless they choose to be!

  3. ”Daddy gave mommy some blue, and mommy made some pink, and the pink took over the blue. If I was a boy, the blue would take over the pink.”- 6 yr old me

  4. On Veja magazine by 1970, there was no lie and the conclusion about criminals caught with the extra Y just proved they were RIGHT, not this video here that mixes the Bio- sociological problem with comedy like Simpsons and stuff.

  5. "Masculinity and Femininity are as much defined by the world around us as the genes inside us"… What on earth are is this channel saying, obviously masculinity it's much more defined by the biological aspects

  6. Societal conditions do you change your chromosomes and indulging people's sociopathic delusions is detrimental for society at large and demonstrates chromosomal deficiencies due to centuries of inbreeding.

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