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Is Gender Irrelevant?


Boges

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Well gender is largely a social construct...

I just did a quick survey of my government-issued ID. My driver's license, passport, and birth certificate all specify Sex, not gender.

My firearms PAL, oddly enough, does say Gender. However, I think that by the time somebody's old enough to own a gun they should have their gender sorted out.

If the answer to this silly lawsuit is to make the firearms licensing people change their terminology from Gender to Sex, then so be it. But I don't see any value in eliminating Sex as part of a person's identification. It seems like an example of political correctness run amok.

-k

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This issue annoys me for a number of reasons. On one side you have the ultra-conservatives, who don't accept that some people do not identify with their biological sex and/or want to change themselves physically, and on the other side you have the ultra-progressives, who pretend that gender is entirely a social construct, try to deny any scientific basis of differences between sexes (i.e. deny that humans are a sexually dimorphic species) and advocate that young children that identify with another 'gender' go through hormone therapy.

I have no issue if the boy wants to wear dresses or play with barbies or whatever (or if a girl wants to do 'male' activities); personally I am not a fan of the existence of gender roles. What is a bit concerning is that the parent wants to change the child's gender identity as early as 6 years old. Young children go through phases, do not properly understand what different genders mean, and do not understand the long term consequences of such actions (emotionally, legally, physically). The worst case is when some parents try to put their kids through pre-pubescent hormone therapy to change their sex.

And even in this case, a child's sex on their birth certificate is useful to physicians when determining appropriate treatment. What if the child later in life needs urgent medical attention, but gets incorrect treatment due to confusion regarding the child's sex? Should the effectiveness of the healthcare system suffer just to appease a group of radicals that think gender is entirely a social construct? How is that different from religious parents that deny their kids medical treatment that goes against their religious beliefs?

Anyway, my biggest issue is the ambiguity of the terminology. Some people consider sex and gender to be synonyms while other people claim that sex and gender are completely unrelated and distinct. I would prefer that people use more specific terminology such as biological sex vs gender identity to avoid ambiguity.

In addition to this confusion, sex is not a binary. For the vast majority of people gender is a binary, but some people are Intersex and are neither male nor female. The gender binary isn't as simple as XX = female, XY = male. A person with XX and the SRY gene on an X is considered male while a person with XY and either no SRY gene or androgen insensitivity is considered male. In addition you have people with various conditions such as kleinfelter's syndrome that are clearly intersex. Personally, I think that Canada should legally add a 3rd gender to deal with intersex people but that is a different topic.

Then you also have the transexuals, people that try to change themselves to the other biological sex. The biggest issue is that technology does not exist to change someone from male to completely female nor female to completely male. Maybe this technology will exist later this century but for today it does not. So if a transwomen claims they are 100% female or a transman claims they are 100% male, they are deluding themselves about reality. The transwomen does not have a uterus or ovaries and has the XY in most of their cells, while the transman does not have testicles and has the XX in most of their cells. I have no issue considering a transperson to be between the two sexes, but when people claim they are the opposite sex as their birth sex, that takes things too far.

One thing that annoys me is something I call 'hypocrisy/inconsistency of progressives/leftists when it comes to gender roles'. On the one hand you have feminists (maybe I should use the term humanist) that argue that gender roles should not exist and are a product of the patriarchy. But on the other hand when it comes to someone that identifies with a gender role contrary to their biological sex, suddenly these gender roles not only exist but many leftists often encourage this behaviour. How can you have it both ways? Either the gender roles should exist or they should not. But for some people the gender roles exist only when it is convenient for their political ideology.

Gender roles made a lot of sense for hunter gatherer societies. For hunter gather societies, gender roles were a convenient way to take advantage of comparative advantage: men have overall a biological comparative advantage to engage in hunting or warfare (with other tribes), while women have a biological comparative advantage to take care of children and perform various activities such as cooking and cleaning. To deny this is to deny the evolutionary history of humans. Of course when agriculture came, the gender roles made less sense. And in today's society gender roles make pretty much zero sense. To add to the issue, many cultures and religions in society emphasize and add to these gender roles (example: why is pink considered a female colour?).

To me, the problem seems to be the existence of gender roles, which is a relic of our evolutionary past plus some influence from culture and religion. In the case of the article in the above, the problem to me is not 'males should not like dresses' nor 'society is unaccepting of males that identify as female', but rather 'gender roles that associate dresses with being female should not exist'. To me the child is not 'a female trapped in a male body' nor 'a male that needs their behaviour corrected' but rather 'a male who likes dresses'. Why should 'wearing dresses' be considered female while 'playing lego' be considered male for example?

If gender roles don't exist, then most of these problems go away. Most cases of people having opposite genders and sexes will go away. Only a few cases such as intersex people, transexuals or people that physically want to change their genitals could be considered to have differing gender identities and sexes if gender roles stop existing. So maybe society should work to remove gender roles instead of this silliness?

In extreme cases, you read about people changing their sex cause they felt like their were an 'man/woman' trapped in a 'woman's/man's' body. 'Oh I liked barbies, dresses & girly things so I had gender reassignment surgery' or 'Oh I liked sports, trucks & manly things so I had gender reassignment surgery'. Why should they have to change their gender to fit society's gender roles? Often such sex reassignment surgery is unnecessary, expensive, causes infertility, and is risky for one's health. Maybe the gender roles should change instead to fit this individual?

Last thing I wanted to address was the issue of sex segregation in society when it comes to washrooms, sports, change rooms, etc. With people 'identifying' with the opposite sex and various non-discrimination laws, this segregation is coming under serious challenge. Perhaps society needs to rethink its sex segregation when it comes to these practices? For washrooms for example, one could argue that segregation makes sense because society can more effectively allocate resources to the specific individuals (urinals & female hygiene product dispensers). On the other hand, one could argue that no segregation has an economy of scale benefit plus it would make people of opposite genders more comfortable with each other over time (people would get used to it).

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There have been many gender discussions on this forum and people can't even distinguish between biological sex and gender, let alone the fact that neither is binary. That's without even getting into gender expression, gender identity, and sexual orientation. I don't find these discussions to be very productive here. They generally end up with people shouting their poorly informed opinions without taking any time whatsoever to understand the experiences of others. So good luck with this chat.

No cybercoma, we've all seen the chart you've posted in said threads, listing the various spectra. When you see people talk about gender when they really mean sex, it is not about them being ignorant doofuses, but simply about using terminology in its common parlance, rather than its precise "technical" meaning. As a scientist I might be annoyed when people say weight instead of mass, or power instead of energy, but I realize it's common parlance and what people actually mean, and deal with it. And you would be well served to do the same in these gender discussions.

Back on topic, one's sex at birth is obvious and unambiguous from a biological standpoint except in extremely rare cases, and that is precisely what is listed on one's birth certificate, and there is nothing wrong with that. It is no different than listing one's weight or height or eye color.

Edited by Bonam
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As a man, I find a lot of male gender stereotypes stupid and frustrating, These stupid stereotypes usually revolve around how to be "manly" (basically tough-guy BS).

The modern man through the media is portrayed as a stupid muscular, or fat oaf. Stupidity is praised, (Homer) and anything intellectual (Lisa) is frowned upon. Being stupid might prove to provide some hilarity, but other than that, there is nothing attractive about stupid people.

And if you want an example of a social construct that facilitates this, team sports. Interviewing hockey players is not very intellectually stimulating.

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Masculinity and Femininity are just extensions of the physical, biological and mental differences between sexes. To deny these differences is to deny science and reality. Just more denierism and the left's war on science. Prenatal science denial is still the denial du jour though.

LOL.

No. That's not to say there aren't intrinsic differences between the sexes, but this strain of biological determinism is simply wrong.

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Why should 'wearing dresses' be considered female while 'playing lego' be considered male for example?

This annoys me the most about this issue. Clothing is associated with gender by social convention. The only reason for a man to wear a dress is because he wants others to think his is a women but being obsessed with how others perceive oneself is a well accepted as a mental illness if it was not for the 'gender' issue. In fact, we spend a lot of time trying to teach kids to accept the body they have (e.g. Dove's true beauty campaign) yet this entire message is tossed out the window as soon as someone decides their "gender" does not match the physical body they have. Why the hypocrisy? Edited by TimG
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LOL.

No. That's not to say there aren't intrinsic differences between the sexes, but this strain of biological determinism is simply wrong.

I'd say Shady is right in this line of thinking. I have a hard time thinking of the right words to string together to make my thoughts comprehensible here. But chalk it up to instinct. You can domesticate a cat all you want, but they are hunters by nature and instinct and that kicks in often. My cat lazed around a lot, but if there was a mouse squeaking around, she would be all over it. That is the biological thing, I think Shady is referring to. Hard wired in certain ways.

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This annoys me the most about this issue. Clothing is associated with gender by social convention. The only reason for a man to wear a dress is because he wants others to think his is a women but being obsessed with how others perceive oneself is a well accepted as a mental illness if it was not for the 'gender' issue.

Care to back that up?

In fact, we spend a lot of time trying to teach kids to accept the body they have (e.g. Dove's true beauty campaign) yet this entire message is tossed out the window as soon as someone decides their "gender" does not match the physical body they have. Why the hypocrisy?

It's not hypocrisy. Both are examples of upending or working around social gender conventions

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Care to back that up?

Why don't you explain the utilitarian purpose a dress has? As far as I can see, a dress, unlike jeans or overalls, has no purpose other than to create an image for an observer. Therefore, it follows that anyone obsessed with wearing dresses against social convention has a serious body image problem which would be accepted as a mental disorder if we were talking about anything other than "gender". Edited by TimG
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I'd say Shady is right in this line of thinking. I have a hard time thinking of the right words to string together to make my thoughts comprehensible here. But chalk it up to instinct. You can domesticate a cat all you want, but they are hunters by nature and instinct and that kicks in often. My cat lazed around a lot, but if there was a mouse squeaking around, she would be all over it. That is the biological thing, I think Shady is referring to. Hard wired in certain ways.

Which is what I was alluding to when I said "that's not to say there aren't intrinsic differences between the sexes". However, only a moron would suggest that all gender differences are biological and that social and cultural forces don't play a massive part in determining gender norms.

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Why don't you explain the utilitarian purpose a dress has? As far as I can see, a dress, unlike jeans or overalls, has no purpose other than to create an image for an observer. Therefore, it follows that anyone obsessed with wearing dresses against social convention has a serious body image problem.

You fail at logic.

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You fail at logic.

Sounds like you are so obsessed with you own hypocritical world view that you are unable to provide counter arguments when this hypocrisy is pointed out.

I already stated: dresses serve no purpose other than to project an image for other humans to see. You have not refuted this.

Get back to me when you are able to construct a coherent argument that addresses this point.

Edited by TimG
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Sounds like you are so obsessed with you own hypocritical world view that you are unable to provide counter arguments when this hypocrisy is pointed out.

I already stated: dresses serve no purpose other than to project an image for other humans to see. You have not refuted this.

Get back to me when you are able to actual construct a coherent argument that addresses this point.

Let's say for the sake of argument that this premise is true and there's no actual practical purpose to clothes. It doesn't follow that the only people who would defy the social conventions around gendered dress would be the mentally ill. In fact it takes a colossal enormous leap to get to that point. So yeah: you suck at logic.

Edited by Black Dog
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If the answer to this silly lawsuit is to make the firearms licensing people change their terminology from Gender to Sex, then so be it. But I don't see any value in eliminating Sex as part of a person's identification. It seems like an example of political correctness run amok.

-k

The problem is when a person doesn't identify with their sex. Why then would you make that sex part of their identification? How are you going to identify someone as male when they don't identify or express themselves as male (or vice versa).

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Let's say for the sake of argument that this premise is true and there's no actual practical purpose to clothes.

Don't misrepresent what I said. I said there is no functional purpose to dresses. They exist purely for image.

It doesn't follow that the only people who would defy the social conventions around gendered dress would be the mentally ill.

Why does one choose to defy 'social convention'? Either because it is not convenient or because one wants is worried about how people perceive you? Dresses are not convenient so the obsession with how others see you is the reason. Being concerned with how others see you is not a mental illness on its own - only when it is taken to the extreme does it become a problem.

But the main argument I was making is that went it comes to things like body weight and shape we are very quick to tell people to accept their biology for what it is. Why is the same approach wrong for people who are not happy with their biological sex?

Edited by TimG
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Tim, your opinions are so narrow minded. You can't imagine people having any other reasons or purposes than the ones that your extremely limited imagination can come up with. In turn, you criticize people based on nothing more than your own uninformed opinions. Which is hilariously ironic, given your extreme skepticism when it comes to expert knowledge. You're like a caricature that's not meant to be taken seriously.

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Don't misrepresent what I said. I said there is no functional purpose to dresses. They exist purely for image.

Prove it. Lose fitting, dress-like apparel (the kilt, the thawb) are common across cultures and not exclusive to females which suggest utilitarian origins (ease of movement would be one advantage. Ease of repair another.) The gendered connotations came later.

Why does one choose to defy 'social convention'? Either because it is not convenient or because one wants is worried about how people perceive you?

Or if one wants to make a point about social conventions? Or they just dig the way it looks and feels? Plenty of reasons other than "y'all be crazy."

Dresses are not convenient so the obsession with how others see you is the reason. Being concerned with how others see you is not a mental illness on its own - only when it is taken to the extreme does it become a problem.

And I suppose you, with your wealth of mental health expertise and training, are well equipped to make such determinations? How does one determine when it's an extreme? If a man chooses to wear dresses for whatever reason and it has no impact on his life, where's the problem?

It's interesting to know there are still people out there with quaint Victorian notions on using mental health as a pretext for enforcing social conventions.

But the main argument I was making is that went it comes to things like body weight and shape we are very quick to tell people to accept their biology for what it is. Why is the same approach wrong for people who are not happy with their biological sex?
Because one involves telling people to resist social pressures to conform to certain ideals. There's no social pressures for people to identify as another gender. Both are, as loath as I am to say it, about being true to oneself in the face of social norms.
Edited by Black Dog
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If a man chooses to wear dresses for whatever reason and it has no impact on his life, where's the problem?

None really.

My point is the hypocrisy not the action itself (I have no issue people wearing whatever they want). A lot of ink is spent on telling young people to accept their biology when it comes to weight and body shape yet these lessons are tossed out the window when it comes to gender. People seem to think it is a wonderful thing for people to reject their biological sex. If is wrong for a woman to feel low self esteem because her body is genetically shaped to be a pear when she wants an hourglass then it is wrong for a man to feel low self esteem because he has male bits he wish he did not have. The solution in both cases it is to teach people to accept the biology they have.

Edited by TimG
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None really.

My point is the hypocrisy to the action itself (I have no issue people wearing whatever they want as long as they accept the consequences that go with it). A lot of ink is spent on telling young people to accept their biology when it comes to weight and body shape yet these lessons are tossed out the window when it comes to gender. People seem to think it is a wonderful thing for people to reject their biological sex. If is wrong for a woman to feel low self esteem because her body is genetically shaped to be a pear when she wants an hourglass then it is wrong for a man to feel low self esteem because he has male bits he wish he did not have.

I explained this already. The social forces that make women feel bad about not having a perfect having an hourglass figure are the same ones that encourage people to perpetuate gender identities they may not actually feel.

I also find it interesting how you simultaneous minimize and pathologize gender dysphoria. It's a neat trick. After all, if it's a mental illness as you claim, telling people to just accept their biology as destiny isn't going to work.

The solution in both cases it is to teach people to accept the biology they have.

I think the solution be for people to be true to themselves and not play by rules enforced by people who can't process a world in which everything isn't labelled and sorted in neat boxes.

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The social forces that make women feel bad about not having a perfect having an hourglass figure are the same ones that encourage people to perpetuate gender identities they may not actually feel.

Wrong. In both cases the problem is connected to an obsessive concern about what OTHER PEOPLE think of them. Obsessive concern about what others think of you is a mental health issue whether it is about body shape or gender identity.

Lets take a hypothetical society where women wore pants and men worse dresses. I am pretty sure in that society the gender confused men would want to wear pants. If you accept that premise then you agree that the choice to wear a dress by man in our society is not about personal expression but about a desire to perpetrate gender stereotypes. i.e. it is not enough for a man to feel like woman - he is not happy unless others see him as a woman. If it was just really about being himself he would feel no need to dress up in order to play the gender role that he desires.

Edited by TimG
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