• Roke
    118
    I've always understood gender to be mostly synonymous with sex: male/female, with maybe an extra category of 'ambiguous'. More specifically, gender was the social aspect of sex. Stereotypical behaviors and societal roles that correlated strongly with sex. It was a pretty innocuous and widely agreed upon concept for most of my life. The bolded part is basically what I consider a decently functioning word to be.

    These days, most seem pretty confused about it. I'm confused about it. There seems to be some demand to change how it works, but I honestly don't understand what's being demanded.

    I sense a contradiction. An insistence that gender is important, but that it needs to be much more flexible. That it needs to be disassociated from sex. But it's a stereotype about sex to begin with. So, how does that work?
  • bloodninja
    221
    More specifically, gender was the social aspect of sex. Stereotypical behaviors and societal roles that correlated strongly with sexRoke

    So you don't think sex and gender are synonymous? Is gender is a social construct?
  • Pierre-Normand
    1.1k
    These days, most seem pretty confused about it. I'm confused about it. There seems to be some demand to change how it works, but I honestly don't understand what's being demanded.Roke

    Yes, I think there is some degree of confusion, left and right. Left because people who are socially progressive aren't always philosophically literate and right because people who are socially conservative sometimes don't want to be.

    I think the insistence to distinguish sex and gender doesn't amount to something being demanded as much as an insistence that fewer demands be made on the basis of sex. If you are a biological determinist, or biological essentialist, about sex and gender, for instance, you are likely to judge that someone who doesn't comply with a demand regarding how people of a given sex ought to behave isn't entitled to be considered normal. This socially prevalent demand for normal behavior, construed with reference to the alleged link between biological sex and gender-appropriate behavior, seems grounded into a form of the naturalistic fallacy (or, sometimes, divine command).
  • andrewk
    1.2k
    For most of my life 'gender' was considered a polite synonym for sex, because the word 'sex' was considered a bit risqué. That has lead to many forms asking for people's gender when they actually mean sex. Simone de Beauvoir saw gender as an oppressive collection of cultural expectations about behaviour, based on people's sex, and she wished it would disappear. I agree with de Beauvoir, and see the best way towards this being to work towards discarding the notion of gender, so that people of any sex should feel free to dress, talk and generally behave in whatever way they want.

    My minor way of contributing to this rebellion is to cross out the label 'Gender' whenever it appears on a form I am asked to fill in, and write next to it 'Sex'. Yeah, call me a dangerous radical, but somebody's got to do it.
  • Buxtebuddha
    1.8k
    I have male biology, so my sex is male. I also view myself as being a male, so my gender is male. On forms, in sports, etc. - sex is more important to know than gender.
  • Sir2u
    1.1k
    Most dictionaries include the same definition for sex and gender,

    The properties that distinguish organisms on the basis of their reproductive roles.

    I all ways thought that people just used gender instead of sex because it sounds weird talking peoples "sex role" whereas "gender role" is OK. I think they still do, they just don't know it.

    My minor way of contributing to this rebellion is to cross out the label 'Gender' whenever it appears on a form I am asked to fill in, and write next to it 'Sex'. Yeah, call me a dangerous radical, but somebody's got to do it.andrewk

    I remember some stupid form the embassy sent to all of the expats living around here, he got pissed of when someone wrote "yes please" as an answer to the question about sex. The next form had gender on it. I doubt he ever figured out who done it. He he.
  • yatagarasu
    72


    My minor way of contributing to this rebellion is to cross out the label 'Gender' whenever it appears on a form I am asked to fill in, and write next to it 'Sex'. Yeah, call me a dangerous radical, but somebody's got to do it.andrewk

    hahaha. That's pretty great. Thank you for inspiring me. : D

    In response to the opening poster. Gender is social constructed and therefore maliable. Biological sex is not. Once you know that then you'll truly realize how often people confused transsexual and transgender.
    : /
  • Mr Phil O'Sophy
    866
    People are saying because it’s different depending on cultures that it is therefore malleable, but my question is, because it is malleable on a societal level, does that then imply that it is also malleable on a individual level? And also does the fact that it changes mean that all forms of change are good? Can there be change in a negative sense or is it always positive? (Like is implied with this ‘accept the change’ narrative)

    What I mean by this, is that when things change on societal levels it happens slowly and is barely noticeable most of the time. When it’s on a personal level it’s quick and sudden and it’s left to the individual to decide how the change should occur based on personal whims. But should individuals be given so much freedom to make changes to things that naturally occur very slowly and over time with the consensus of a lot of people, and all of that responsibility to be just thrown into he hands of a person with access to a plethora of ways of representing oneself?

    If I, as a straight white cis gendered male, decided I wanted to walk around in jock strap, an undersized bright illuminescent pink tutu and a bow tie from now on in public, should I be able to? Or should society have a say in whether or not that is appropriate? And where is that line? There has to be a line somewhere, but there is more focus on the fact that people should be able to express themselves than trying to establish when people are going too far.

    The line is so wobbly. And don’t say it’s obvious where it is because it’s not. But to establish where the line is is important. Because if you don’t, then people are completely in their right to question whether or not something is appropriate without being lambasted as a bigot.

    Where is the line people? Where is going too far? And if change is the ethos, will whatever you say the line is today become the new territory to explore for the youth to which we raise on an ethos of change? If we are trying so hard today to push the norms, what will the youths be trying to push in another 2-3 generations? Once all this change has become a norm and is no longer ‘shocking’? Where will we explore then?

    Can anyone see the pattern here? Or what the next logical steps are for a society that sets up its norms in such a flexible way with an emphasis on the past being negative and the future being positive (based on its level of change and malleability from the past)?

    Any comments? Or am I a genderphobe? Or a changeaphobe? Or a phobe-aphobe?

    Please forgive my rant. I’m just incredibly confused about something that is incredibly confusing. I’m being asked to just understand and be compassionate and the more I try to understand the more flaws I see and the more confusing the principles of (post?) modernity seem to be. Hardly any one is trying to make sense anymore, their just trying to be creative under the pretense of being rational. Which is pretty bloody creative if you think about it.

    PS not that creativity is inherently bad, it just depends on where you apply it and to what degree
  • Mr Phil O'Sophy
    866
    I
    the best way towards this being to work towards discarding the notion of gender, so that people of any sex should feel free to dress, talk and generally behave in whatever way they want.andrewk

    What about this self identified alien:

    http://metro.co.uk/2017/03/02/make-up-artist-who-identifies-as-alien-hot-mess-wants-genitals-removed-to-become-sexless-6484022/
  • Mr Phil O'Sophy
    866
    Also, isn’t being ‘genderless’ a gender choice and therefore a gender? Which kinda undermines itself?

    If that was on a form, where would you put it?

    Gender - Male/female/other/I don’t have a gender?

    Or would it contain it’s on like section on the form away from the gender catagories?
  • Erik
    464
    People are saying because it’s different depending on cultures that it is therefore malleable, but my question is, because it is malleable on a societal level, does that then imply that it is also malleable on a individual level? And also does the fact that it changes mean that all forms of change are good? Can there be change in a negative sense or is it always positive? (Like is implied with this ‘accept the change’ narrative)Mr Phil O'Sophy

    Seems a bit of a non-sequitur. I don't think accepting the malleability of cultural norms precludes one from taking a harsh stance towards specific changes occuring in their society.

    There have been some prominent culturally conservative philosophers who've embraced the notion of the historicity of human values, practices, etc. while also thinking the modern world represents a sharp decline relative to previous eras. I'm thinking along the lines of Nietzsche, Heidegger, and a few others who compared our situation unfavorably in many ways to previous eras, especially the glory days of the ancient Greeks.

    They, too, wanted change, but the type of radical change they longed for would be a nightmare for most political and social progressives out there today.
  • Mr Phil O'Sophy
    866
    What conclusion do you think I was making that is arbitrary? I thought I was pointing out some problems and asking questions about the conclusions we should infer. I made no definite answers to the problems. I never said that we should take a harsh stance lol I asked questions none of which you've confronted.

    If anything I was pointing out the problems of the demand for radical change, rather than arguing for it. My point is not so much that I know the answer to the problems, but that I think the questions I’m asking are valid questions that need confronting. And for us to proceed carefully when in uncharted territory, and not blunder forward at full speed like plonkers into the darkness with the assumption there is nothing to bump into or any holes to fall down.
  • Mr Phil O'Sophy
    866
    above comment was meant for you Erik sorry I forgot to add your name.
  • Mr Phil O'Sophy
    866

    PS I certainly don’t see the ancient Greeks as the good old glory days lol
  • Erik
    464

    I'll re-read the specific post I responded to - and I only responded to one of the many questions you posed - before commenting in detail.

    Quickly though, I assumed I was offering support of your intuition that change is not always for the better. That seems a questionable modern prejudice which I'm pretty sure you don't share based on the overall tone of your post and the specific questions you raised in it.

    But yeah, I'll read again and check back...
  • Erik
    464
    PS I certainly don’t see the ancient Greeks as the good old days lolMr Phil O'Sophy

    Most don't of course. But the larger point is that one can be a radical historicist, a fierce critic of the modern world as being essentially nihilistic, and a proponent of radical change all at the same time.

    The only relevance of this I guess is that it challenges the standard and IMO oversimplified progressive/conservative dichotomy.
  • Mr Phil O'Sophy
    866

    Ahh ok sorry. I read:
    non-sequiturErik
    And googled it because I didn’t know what it meant and it looked like you were saying my conclusions were wrong which made it seem as though what followed was a reason as to why you thought I was wrong.
  • Erik
    464


    No no not your conclusions, but the conclusions of those who hold the position that change ipso facto is positive. I should have made that clear.
  • Mr Phil O'Sophy
    866

    Ahh ok now your comment makes more sense. In which case, good point lol
  • Mr Phil O'Sophy
    866
    oversimplified progressive/conservative dichotomy.Erik

    Yeah I think politics is only useful insofar as both the left and the right see the necessity of the other side and work towards a common goal that sits in the overlap between them and to move carefully and precisely together, forward in unison with patience.

    Now all I seem to be able to notice is a cut thoat political atmosphere that demonises its opposition as the enemy, which pushes the polar sides further apart leaving very little room for overlap and ergo very little to agree on. The distance between the left and right has almost become a chasm from which to throw stones across. The ethos is no longer patience, but to stampede ahead in a panic.

    The pattern that follows from this is an increase in chaos. A bastardisation and neglect of the yang, and an embracement and idolisation of the yin. The problem being that neither should be bastardised or made preferential, but the line that joins the two should be walked along carefully.
  • Mr Phil O'Sophy
    866
    The problem being that neither should be bastardised or made preferential, but the line that joins the two should be walked along carefully.Mr Phil O'Sophy

    The BIG question is: How do we do that?
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