• Harry Hindu
    3.1k
    You're missing the point. She is her body. She (the woman in question) recognises it.

    She moves to alter her body (a penis, we'll be reductive for simplicity) because she recognises it is a part of her.

    If she was delusional about her body, she would have no motivation to alter her body. She would believe she had a vagina and no penis (again, I'll be reductive for simplicity's sake), so she would not hold her body (with a penis) needs changing.
    TheWillowOfDarkness
    If "she" (so much for steering away from gender-binary terms) recognized that the penis is part of "her" then why would she want to remove it? Why would someone want to remove something that is part of them. It seems to me that people would only remove things that they think aren't part of them. Both can recognize the existence of the part, but one thinks it doesn't belong, or isn't what defines them, yet they go about transforming themselves into the opposite binary entity, even though they claim it's non-binary.
  • TheWillowOfDarkness
    2k


    I'm not quite sure what you think was going on. My point was she recognised she existed with penis, but understood it doesn't belong or ought not be there.

    All along my point has been these are both true. Transformation is sought because she recognises how she exists but understands this ought to be different.

    My point is a falsehood to say she is delusional about what body she has. If she already believed she existed with the body she ought it have, she would understand there is nothing which needs to change. One has to realise something is part of them to be have the goal of removing it from themsleves. My point is someone has to recognise how they exist, if they are to think something about their existence doesn't belong.

    Ergo, it is impossible for this person to be delusional about how their body exists. They need to know how they exist (with a penis) for them to want to change it.

    It's not really question of binary either because it's about the body. If the issue is you exist with a penis, then whether one is male, female or anything else doesn't define the problem.

    If one ought not have a penis, then there is motivation to remove it whether you are male,.female or something else entirely. Whether having a penis is binary or non-binary does nothing eliminate the issue. Either might be true, the person question would still want it removed, it's the state of body which they hold to be a problem.
  • HereToDisscuss
    68
    It's not really question of binary either because it's about the body. If the issue is you exist with a penis, then whether one is male, female or anything else doesn't define the problem.

    If one ought not have a penis, then there is motivation to remove it whether you are male,.female or something else entirely. Whether having a penis is binary or non-binary does nothing eliminate the issue. Either might be true, the person question would still want it removed, it's the state of body which they hold to be a problem.
    TheWillowOfDarkness

    While the first part is true (albeit both of you are strawmanning each other, you are doing it by taking "delusional" to be something different while he does it by taking "being a part of something" to be something different), there is a problem with this: Some transwomen are fine with their penises and do not have genital dysphoria. So, it is not merely them having a penis existing that is the problem.

    That is the same for a lot of things that you would think transwomen would have a problem with: manly voice, beard (i have even heard someone say she only cut her beard because it was weird, but she liked it), being called a "he" or a "lad"...

    It is because some of them can't see someone with a penis/manly voice/beard as a woman, especially themselves, that they want to change it. *The misidentity is the reason, not the mere fact that they have a penis or whatever.
    *That is not to say that they do not recognize such people as women (if they do identify as such, the the vast majority of them do), but rather that they would not be able to convince themselves that they are a woman because of these features. It would constantly bug them (for simplicity's sake).
    It is "I ought to not have a penis because i do not want a penis since it makes me feel manly which i do not want.", not "I ought to not have a penis simply because i just do not want a penis for an unknown reason."
  • Harry Hindu
    3.1k

    How is that any different than someone cutting off their legs because felt they didnt belong to their body? Is someone that cuts off their legs delusional?
    Check this out:
    https://www.nytimes.com/2005/03/22/health/psychology/at-war-with-their-bodies-they-seek-to-sever-limbs.html

    Dr. John Money is even mentioned and the whole gist of the article is that this is a sexual deviation - an abnormality.

    What makes it okay to cut off your penis, but not your legs? If one is a psychological disorder, why isn't the other?
  • Harry Hindu
    3.1k
    My point is a falsehood to say she is delusional about what body she has. If she already believed she existed with the body she ought it have, she would understand there is nothing which needs to change. One has to realise something is part of them to be have the goal of removing it from themsleves. My point is someone has to recognise how they exist, if they are to think something about their existence doesn't belong.TheWillowOfDarkness
    What does it mean for someone to think that they should have been born in a different body? It doesn't make sense to say that they recognize the part as being part of them and then removing it makes them more like how they are suppose to be. If they already recognize the part as part of them, then removing it would remove part of them.

    A delusion is defined as:
    characterized by or holding idiosyncratic beliefs or impressions that are contradicted by reality or rational argument, typically as a symptom of mental disorder.

    The idiosyncratic belief is that they were born in the wrong body. What does that even mean? Are they saying that they have a soul that is female that was put in the body of a male? What exactly are they implying when they claim to be the opposite sex, or that their body parts are wrong, and how is that consistent with how we treat others who follow the same pattern - just with different body parts?
  • NOS4A2
    3.2k


    You're missing the point. She is her body. She (the woman in question) recognises it.

    She moves to alter her body (a penis, we'll be reductive for simplicity) because she recognises it is a part of her.

    If she was delusional about her body, she would have no motivation to alter her body. She would believe she had a vagina and no penis (again, I'll be reductive for simplicity's sake), so she would not hold her body (with a penis) needs changing.

    But he does not identify with the sex he was born as and often seeks to alter it through surgical means, or less dramatically, by adopting the garb and mannerisms of the opposite sex. If he was his body, and identified as himself, he wouldn’t seek to alter himself and portray himself as something he wasn’t.
  • Roxanne Kelly
    5
    If gender is a social construct, shouldn't there be examples of societies in which there are no genders at all?

    A gender-less society should have zero concept of gender, humans should just be viewed as humans with no categorizing of people based on the concept of gender.

    I've heard the argument that money is a social construct and this is used as an example of how gender might also be a social construct. Indeed, there are examples of societies that do not use money and have no concept of money (Awa people of the Amazon, for instance). Therefore, we should be able to identify a society that has no concept of gender.

    Examples have been given of societies that acknowledge more than 2 genders, but these societies still have the concept of gender. This is simply an example of a wider view of gender, not an example of a society that has not conceived of gender.

    Differences in language such as the non-existence of gender pronouns is not evidence of a gender-less society. If a society doesn't have gendered language but still acknowledges gender through societal customs, beliefs, and rituals, then this is not a true gender-less society. I could be wrong, but I don't think that such a society exists or has existed. If anyone knows of an example of a society with no concept of gender, I'd be curious to learn about it.
  • ZhouBoTong
    837
    I've heard the argument that money is a social construct and this is used as an example of how gender might also be a social construct. Indeed, there are examples of societies that do not use money and have no concept of money (Awa people of the Amazon, for instance). Therefore, we should be able to identify a society that has no concept of gender.Roxanne Kelly

    I still do not have a strong opinion on this topic. I have just been reading the back and forth to see if I would be persuaded in any direction. Still not there, but I think what you are getting at here is logical and potentially significant to the discussion. I look forward to any responses. good stuff.

    As it was your first post, I will point out that since you did not tag anyone in your response, it may take a while before everyone sees it. (usually try to hit the @ button and type the name of the poster(s) you are responding to, and then they will get a notice - some people here are VERY active and may forget about the 8 different threads they commented on. Another option is to highlight lines of text - of other posters - and then a "quote" button will pop up - hit that and the lines will be added to your post AND the person is tagged)
  • ZzzoneiroCosm
    953
    If gender is a social construct, shouldn't there be examples of societies in which there are no genders at all?Roxanne Kelly

    If convention X is in play in every society, convention X cannot be a social construct?

    The logic is problematic as it's possible, logically, that convention X is both a social construct and in play in every society.

    Welcome to the forums!
  • Roxanne Kelly
    5
    Do you have examples of things that are purely social constructs and present in every society? I guess that's possible, but I can't think of any that can't ALSO be explained by biology. The issue that I have with the argument that "gender is a social construct" is that it is usually being presented as completely independent of biology.

    I think that gender is derived from both biology and society. In genetics we have the concept of a genotype and a phenotype. The genotype is the DNA sequence and the phenotype is the expression of that DNA. I might have a DNA sequence that codes for blue eyes. The blueness of my eyes is the phenotype. I think sex and gender work the same way. My sex is female, my gender is female. There can be variations and anomalies, but female sex is generally predictive of female gender. If your sex is female, it is most likely that your gender will also be expressed as female. This doesn't negate the validity of transgender, non-binary, intersex, etc. Biology is complex. Most biological systems are not an on/off switch or a yes/no.

    The reason that we don't see any example of a genderless society is because if we could remove all social rules about gender, there would still be the concept of gender, because of biology.

    Much more interesting questions arise if gender is viewed as a product of both biology and society. How much of gender is due to societal influence and how much is driven by biology? What would gender be like if we could somehow strip away all gender roles and rules implemented by society? What would it feel like to be my gender under these circumstances?
  • fdrake
    3.6k


    All societies of humans have humans with sex characteristics in them. This is because humans obviously have human sex characteristics.

    This makes sex characteristics useless in explaining all the variety in gender over populations, geography and time; even if it is granted that gender is a social construct whose existence requires the existence of human sex characteristics; or that some gender norms occur commonly enough over populations and time that they may be promoted or influenced by differences in sex characteristics over male and females (in terms of their natal sex). This "promotes" and this "influenced by" are still much weaker statements than "is explained by" or "is causally reducible to".

    What remains after that small caveat is still most of the variation; and for that we have to look to culture and social life.
  • Baden
    10.2k
    The issue that I have with the argument that "gender is a social construct" is that it is usually being presented as completely independent of biology.Roxanne Kelly

    Who presents it that way? The social construct gender is no more independent of biology than the social construct of "President" is. In the sense that both need bodies to function. In neither case though is the required biology determinative of the construct (though obviously gender is more likely to map).

    I think that gender is derived from both biology and society. In genetics we have the concept of a genotype and a phenotype. The genotype is the DNA sequence and the phenotype is the expression of that DNA. I might have a DNA sequence that codes for blue eyes. The blueness of my eyes is the phenotype. I think sex and gender work the same way. My sex is female, my gender is female.Roxanne Kelly

    This is based on a confusion. Presidents are also derived from both biology and society. But there is no phenotype "President" nor is there a phenotype "gender". The phenotype of sex chromosomes is their physical expression, i.e. our respective junk.

    (Another way this cashes out is simply that there is no physical experiment you can carry out to determine gender but there is to determine sex.)
  • Roxanne Kelly
    5
    If biology is acknowledged as a factor in gender expression, then the existence of transgender people makes so much more sense. Their gender expresses differently from their sex. Some people feel this difference at a young age, before they have been fully indoctrinated into all of the cultural norms of their society. Why? What is driving this?

    You assert that most gender differences are due to society and culture. I'm not arguing that point. No one knows how much of gender is due to biology vs society. I guess a good place to look would be at our closest ancestors. How do chimps express gender, do they have gender roles? I will look into it, I'm curious. :)
  • Roxanne Kelly
    5
    I was using genotype/phenotype as an example of how the interplay between biology and gender might work. When I say biology, I don't mean the existence of a physical body. I mean biological systems. What is gender according to you?
  • Baden
    10.2k
    I mean biological systems.Roxanne Kelly

    It works the same. Physical bodies are biological systems.

    What is gender according to you?Roxanne Kelly

    As I said above, it's a social construct. I mean you can use it interchangeably with biological sex in a loose way. But if you're talking about anything of importance, it's best to keep the terms separate for clarity. That's another way of saying I go along with the standard dictionary definition:

    "Either of the two sexes (male and female), especially when considered with reference to social and cultural differences rather than biological ones. The term is also used more broadly to denote a range of identities that do not correspond to established ideas of male and female."

    https://www.lexico.com/en/definition/gender
  • fdrake
    3.6k
    If biology is acknowledged as a factor in gender expression, then the existence of transgender people makes so much more sense.Roxanne Kelly

    Broadly "biology" would have something to do with it, probably. Gender nonconformity in children is a thing. It spans cultures and epochs. There are people that don't fit "penis = who I am" or "vagina = who I am" as social archetypes. This isn't surprising, at least it shouldn't be. Questions about what biological factors influence gender nonconformity are useful.

    But (and this is a big but), this influence should not be treated as a causally reductive. We're not dealing with something like "the ebola virus causes the ebola disease" or "having no legs makes you unable to walk unaided" or "daddy didn't beat sonny enough so the kid became a sissy", we're dealing with observations of humans as a result of natal hormonal environments interacting with humans interacting with social groups interacting with family units interacting with societal tropes interacting with systems of punishment and praise... It's complex in the sense that it would be a miracle if there was just one thing going on; if there was one type of cause, and that this cause could be called "biology" when we already know it's not just that.

    We don't think things like economies are reducible to anatomical characteristics, why should we think that other systems of social relation are? We just don't think like "The reason that the price of tuna just increased is because people have stomachs", and we shouldn't, it's stupid,
  • Roxanne Kelly
    5
    Yes, it is complicated, I agree. I never said that biology is the only factor, it isn't.
  • Mac
    39
    "But what if I believe there are only two genders?" I think this question is on the minds of a lot of Americans and must be taken care of early in this process. How do you address this issue?
  • Mac
    39
    I think there is. And you are conforming to the population of people who claim not to conform.
  • Harry Hindu
    3.1k
    As I said above, it's a social construct. I mean you can use it interchangeably with biological sex in a loose way. But if you're talking about anything of importance, it's best to keep the terms separate for clarity. That's another way of saying I go along with the standard dictionary definition:

    "Either of the two sexes (male and female), especially when considered with reference to social and cultural differences rather than biological ones. The term is also used more broadly to denote a range of identities that do not correspond to established ideas of male and female."
    Baden
    Seems to me that this definition is saying that gender is a property of a culture, not a body. So to change your gender would require you to change your culture, not your clothes or your body.

    A social construction is a shared assumption - meaning that it is something that people of the same culture would agree on. If someone comes along and doesn't share that assumption, then what they are talking about isn't a social construction, but an individual feeling or notion.

    The assumption isn't that wearing a dress makes you a woman. The assumption is that females are females no matter what they wear, but in order for us to distinguish males from females, females should wear different clothes than a man. When we have a social construction about wearing clothes in public, where we can't observe each other's junk, then we need another social construction where men and women need to wear different types of clothes to be able to distinguish them apart for mating purposes.
  • god must be atheist
    2.1k
    I don't know if someone has said this yet, but my opinion can be expressed in one short sentence:

    "What's good for the gander, is good for the gender."

    I walked into an institute where I am a frequently seen guest, and wanted to use the washroom. But I was barred. It had a sign on it, "All Gender Washroom". I am only one gender. How could I with clear conscience pee in the toilet when I am not all genders?

    "And verily I say unto you, collect manna on the Mount of Hober, and pay sacrifice by letting the blood of a black gander. Lo, I say unto you, thou shalt gather all the genders, and conjugate them during the congregation of the feast of Passover, praise be to the Lord of the highest, Amen."

    Jokes over. Take it, Benny.
  • god must be atheist
    2.1k
    "Either of the two sexes (male and female), especially when considered with reference to social and cultural differences rather than biological ones. The term is also used more broadly to denote a range of identities that do not correspond to established ideas of male and female."Baden

    Right. We often speak of "ships" as "her" or "she", although they definitely have no tits.

    It is a socially assigned role, he-she is. In jails oftentimes a male is referred to as somebody's bitch, and the guards call male inmates "ladies".

    A butch is a Dutch dyke. These two are apparently very, very derogatory terms, and I would never use them beyond the value of a pun.

    In England, many men are referred to as Kant, imagine the proper spelling. Other males are assigned the term "asshole", which is a common entry point in copulation, while agricultural terms are given to prostitutes, who can be male, female, or both, sich as "back hoe", when they specialize in one, and only one position.
  • god must be atheist
    2.1k
    The assumption isn't that wearing a dress makes you a woman. THarry Hindu

    I'm old enough to remember, when people took exception to women wearing pants. "Who wears the pants around the house in your house?" Then came the men with long hair, and then later with earrings, and women started to wear cucumbers in their pants.

    By this time, nobody gave a hoot that the majority of the people in a certain well-known country carried weapons, and were drunk or high on drugs at the same time.

    Eventually we will all wear diapers, and defacate in each others' lattes and plates of soup, all due to gender identity boundary desruction issues, and then, in addition, because of PC, we will be forced to drink the blood of living creatures. The whore of Babylon shalt then in those times rise from the east, and throughout the land there shalten be a great rubbing of parts.
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