• NOS4A2
    1.5k


    I no longer use the term gender, personally, but believe anyone can express themselves how they want, using whatever terms they want. I do not think sex and gender are a one-to-one ratio and that criticisms of the gender binary are largely accurate, and even necessary.
  • TheWillowOfDarkness
    1.9k


    This is an example of the sort of underlying prejudice fdrake was talking about.

    What ever made the bodies in question "male" or "female?" People have different bodies no doubt, but this is no more informative then the fact people have different colour hair.

    Sex is.exactly like a gender role here: it supposedly sets an idenity which a given body can be. It is drawing out who.someone is on the notion having certain genitals just cannot be that. In having this account, we are prejudiced in the same way as any other gender role. We are not describing who they are in terms of how they exist, but just applying an our insistence the world is not supposed to work that way.
  • NOS4A2
    1.5k


    This is an example of the sort of underlying prejudice fdrake was talking about.

    What ever made the bodies in question "male" or "female?" People have different bodies no doubt, but this is no more informative then the fact people have different colour hair.

    Sex is.exactly like a gender role here: it supposedly sets an idenity which a given body can be. It is drawing out who.someone is on the notion having certain genitals just cannot be that.

    Sex more describes biological facts about mammals and reproduction than setting an identity for human beings. So I think the denial of these distinctions is more an underlying prejudice than my reiteration of these facts.
  • TheWillowOfDarkness
    1.9k


    I'm pointing out this is not true at all.

    If I describe the body parts any person has which are involved in reproduction, I make no mention of sex or gender. To say, "This person has a penis and testes, etc. and they do..." or " This person has a womb, ovaries, etc., and they do..." involves no distinction of male or female. The description of bodies remains the same if they are female or male or something else entirely.

    Sex is not describing biological facts. It's our, in this case, prejudicial account of what someone of certain biological facts can mean or be. We are saying: "Well, this person cannot be a man/woman because it just not what those genitals do", just as we do in accounts of gender roles, where we insist people can only be certain things because they have certain genitals.

    It's not reiterating biological facts, it just insisting where a body can only be certain things because it exists with some genitals or chromosomes or organs.
  • NOS4A2
    1.5k


    I'm pointingout this is not true at all.

    If I describe the body parts any person has which are involved in reproduction, I make no mention of sex or gender. To say, "This person has a penis and testes, etc. and they do..." or " This person has a womb, ovaries, etc., and they do..." involves no distinction of male or female. The description of bodies remains the same if they are female or male or something else entirely.

    Sex is not describing biological facts. It's our, in this case, prejudicial account of what someone of certain biological facts can mean or be. We are saying: "Well, this person cannot be a man/woman because it just not what those genitals do", just as we do in accounts of gender roles, where we insist people can only be certain things because they have certain genitals.

    The distinction is biological and no amount of verbal hand-waving can alter that. The description of bodies changes but the body remains the same. People go out of their way to alter their bodies through surgical means for this very reason.
  • TheWillowOfDarkness
    1.9k


    I just showed that is not the case: describing the present biological states involves no reference to gender or sex.

    My point is precisely that bodies don't change. Whether a body is male, female or something else, it will be its bodily self. If we have a male vagina, it works just the same as a female one. Same for a female penis. The body is always unaffected by which sex or gender category a person belongs to.

    People alter their bodies when they want a change to their body.
  • NOS4A2
    1.5k


    I just showed that is not the case: describing the present biological states involves no reference to gender or sex.

    My point is precisely that bodies don't change. Whether a body is male, female or something else, it will be its bodily self. If we have a male vagina, it works just the same as a female one. Same for a female penis. The body is always unaffected by which sex or gender category a person belongs to.

    People alter there bodies when they want a change to their body.

    You didn’t, actually. Whether describing biological states refers to sex or not does not entail a certain biological state is not of a certain sex. Sex is an accurate descriptor of a biological fact of many species and organisms.

    Male vaginas and female penises are constructed, first in the mind, then by the knife of a surgeon. Anything else is little more than wishful thinking.
  • TheWillowOfDarkness
    1.9k


    You're almost there: it also the case female vaginas and male penises constructed in the mind, for the biological fact does not care whether it is female, male or something else.

    Sex was never the descriptor of bodies. It always a supposition of identity we've added on top of the biological fact.

    Whether describing biological states refers to sex or not does not entail a certain biological state is not of a certain sex.

    This part is correct. Why? Just because sex is not a biologcal fact, that doesn't mean those with certain biological facts don't have a sex. Many people with a body (i.e. biologcal facts) have an idenity which is sex. People have sex on it's own terms: it is true some people with biological states also have an idenity of sex.

    But the point is sex must be given on it's own terms. To exist with a one type if body does not give a fact of.sex identity. People aren't a sex because they have a penis or vagina, they are a sex if that's the truth of their sex idenity. People of bodies have sex identity, rather than one's body determining which sex is identity one has.
  • NOS4A2
    1.5k


    Sex doesn’t pertain to just people, but to plants and animals as well. Perhaps they identify as something else but the facts remain nonetheless: two distinct types of organisms are required for sexual reproduction. Human beings, too, fall into this distinction. It’s why a member of the male sex cannot give birth. or why a female cannot produce sperm.

    Yes, people are of a certain sex if they are born with a penis or vagina. Their identities are always constructed after the fact of their biology. I am willing to give up gender, but we simply cannot supersede biological facts because someone hates their body.
  • HereToDisscuss
    46
    I have a question: What exactly is a "sex identity"? Can you please elaborate upon that? Right now, it seems like you're just describing gender and claiming it is sex, which would be a weird claim if that's what you are trying to say.
  • TheWillowOfDarkness
    1.9k


    Sex is equally a construction put over the biology of plants too. As with people, it is the biological state of the plant which is doing sexual reproduction, not a sex.

    To describe reproduction, we need to describe the states of body which do it. It does not matter what "kind" they are. Bodies aren't changed by whether the are understood to be female, male or any thing else.

    A male with the appropriate biology can give birth, his body has determined it so. Sex is not a biological fact.
  • NOS4A2
    1.5k


    Sex is equally a construction put over the biology of plants too. As with people, it is the biological state of the plant which is doing sexual reproduction, not an identity of sex.

    It's the bodies which do reproduction, not the sex. To describe reproduction, need to describe the states of body which.to it. It does not matter what "kind" they are. Bodies aren't changed by whether the are understood to be female, male or any thing else.

    A male with the appropriate biology can give birth, his body has determined it so. Sex is not a biological fact.

    Sure, the term sex is very general in its application, but it is accurate; it describes the world, the relations and the things within it. In the same manner I could say the term “body” is such a construction, therefor not a biological fact. We can now just go around and speak of humans as “biological facts”. I wouldn’t doubt it if someone has done that already.

    Either way it seems to me if the biological fact is the body, then the identity, insofar as it differs from the biological facts, isn’t the biological facts at all, and therefor falsities. So which is it? Further, if one wants to identify as something other than the biological facts, which biological facts is he identifying as?
  • TheWillowOfDarkness
    1.9k


    Sex, in this sense, is not accurate at all. At best, it's a description of a sex identity, at worst it is a lie about sex and biology.

    Either way, it is not any sort of description of what biology is present. It does not describe biological relations at all.

    So you last paragraph there is true except for the very last part. Identity isn't a biologcal fact at all. But this doesn't mean identity is false itself, just that it is a different sort of fact, not a biological fact but an identity fact.
  • TheWillowOfDarkness
    1.9k


    For sure, my point I'm the notion of biological sex is exactly like gender is this respect. It is not a description of bodies, what bodies can do or what bodies might do, but rather a concept of (supposedly) when and where certain identity and traits(e.g. male, female) can occur or not.

    Sex is not biology at all. In this sense, it is nothing more than expectation of who can belong as male, female or something else, much like any gender role.
  • NOS4A2
    1.5k


    Sex is a lie about sex? I’m not convinced here, and it appears to me the argument against the use of sex to describe things in the world is mere quibbling at best, propaganda at worse, and says little to nothing of states of affairs.

    The identity, on the other hand, is not a biological fact in particular nor fact in general but bestowed, chosen, or otherwise taken as a matter of reification by the biological facts themselves.

    I suggest that to identity as something other than the biological facts is to misidentify.
  • TheWillowOfDarkness
    1.9k


    Biological sex is a lie about sex and it's relation to people, as sex is an identity not a biological fact.

    Sex says nothing about the states of affairs of the body (which is why we always find ourselves falling back on bodily description when trying to explain sex. If sex really was a bodily description, we wouldn't have to say " well male/female means... xyz body" ).
  • NOS4A2
    1.5k


    Sex is not an identity nor a lie. The body is an identity, his only identity, the living organism itself as it exists in the world. How the body goes about identifying itself as something other than what it is, I suspect, is the greatest tragedy of humankind.
  • TheWillowOfDarkness
    1.9k


    But that's just it: no-one does it. The often discussed "wrong body" trans person, for example, does not misidentify biological facts. They know what body they have, which is the problem for them.

    If they did misidentify biology, thought they had a vagina when they had a penis, they would have nothing to worry about/desire to change their body. They would already understand themselves to have the body right for them.
  • NOS4A2
    1.5k


    But that's just it: no-one does it. The often discussed "wrong body" trans person, for example, does not misidentify biologcal facts. They know what body they have, which is the problem for them.

    If they did misidentify biology, thought they had a vagina when they had a penis, they would have nothing to worry about/desire to change their body. They would already understand themselves to have the body right for them.

    If one is not his body, what is he? Who or what is this little being that possesses this body? I worry this little being might be parasitic. Perhaps the body should rid itself of this little being before it does anything it can never undo.
  • HereToDisscuss
    46
    For sure, my point I'm the notion of biological sex is exactly like gender is this respect. It is not a description of bodies, what bodies can do or what bodies might do, but rather a concept of (supposedly) when and where certain identity and traits(e.g. male, female) can occur or not.TheWillowOfDarkness

    How? Let us consider these definitions i thought of:
    "A person is a female if and only if that person has eggs."
    "A person is a male if and only if that person can produce sperm."
    I would say that this is what we generally mean by "sex". If my definition is the definition we use or it is close enough, i have to ask: How is this related to an identity in any way?
  • Congau
    45
    You shouldn’t call people just anything. They like to be called by a name they like. That’s true, but there’s a big difference between addressing someone and referring to someone. When you address someone, you should certainly be careful what name you choose. A person may not like to be addressed as Peter when he wishes to be called Paul. But when we are referring to people, talking about them and not to them, it’s completely irrelevant what they might think. If Peter has recently changed his name to Paul, we may still think of him by his former name and it’s therefore more convenient for us to continue to refer to him as Peter.

    The only requirement when choosing a word is that it is understood in the same way by speaker and listener. If the person Peter/Paul comes more readily to mind when we refer to him as Peter, then Peter is the name we should use.

    Inventing new pronouns only makes communication more difficult. We already have a common reference, we know who the pronoun is pointing to, and that’s all we need.

    Referring to people is no different than referring to chairs and rocks. Only the people conversing should have a say in what is said.
  • Harry Hindu
    2.5k
    Do you think having a willy necessitates being a breadwinner?fdrake
    That has nothing to do with the argument I was making.

    Can you have a shared expectation about what a willy necessitates and what it doesn't if there weren't willies and non-willies?

    In our case, sex as a construct would look at human bodies, and look at their sexual characteristics, whether they are male or female or intersex.fdrake
    There you go again with the straw-men. That isn't my case that sex is a mental construction. Willies aren't mental constructions. They are biological ones, constructed by millions of years of natural selection.

    So, you've gone so far as to argue that sex is now a mental construction. What about species? How do you stop yourself from slipping on the slippery slope?

    Biological sex is based on an amalgam of five characteristics:
    - chromosomes (XY is male, XX female)
    - genitals (penis vs. vagina)
    - gonads (testes vs. ovaries)
    - hormones (males have higher relative levels of testosterone than women, while women have higher levels of estrogen)
    - secondary sex characteristics that aren’t connected with the reproductive system but distinguish the sexes, and usually appear at puberty (breasts, facial hair, size of larynx, subcutaneous fat, etc.)

    More than 99.9% of people fall into two non-overlapping classes using just the characteristics of genitals and gonads. The the other traits almost always occur within these classes. You can do a principal components analysis using the combination of all five traits and you would find two widely separated clusters with very few people in between. Those clusters are biological realities, not mental constructions. Horses and donkeys are biological realities, even though they can produce hybrids (sterile mules) that fall morphologically in between.

    Sexual selection is a mode of natural selection where one biological sex exhibits preferences in the characteristics of the opposite sex, and those characteristics (and the preferences for them) are made more prominent in subsequent generations.

    If sex were a mental construct, sexual selection wouldn’t work: males would look identical to females. That difference itself suggests that there’s a biological reality to sex, and that this biological reality is what has caused both behavioral and morphological differences between the sexes.

    Say we take a census on what it means for someone to be a woman or a man. If we get differing opinions on what it means to be a woman or a man, then those can’t be social constructions, because social constructions are shared assumptions – shared by those in the same society. It would be more of an individual feeling, or inclination.

    If there is a consensus on what it means to be a man or woman is that consensus a social construction?

    How can you tell the difference between a consensus that is socially constructed vs one that is acquired by simple observation and categorization based on similarities as members of the same species as opposed being members to just a culture?

    How do we know that some categorization in the mind is the product of society or natural selection?

    Different cultures have different shared assumptions about the behavior of the sexes, but there is a general agreement among different cultures that there are only two sexes that these varying shared assumptions are about, and this is related to how we seek out mates and tell the difference between males and females in a society with the legal requirement to cover up your body with clothes.

    The shared assumption that we have is that a person wearing a dress is a female under the clothes. If there wasn’t a legal requirement to wear clothes, or there weren't these biological realities of male and female, we wouldn’t have shared assumptions about what clothes a female should wear. There would be no gender, or gender would be the same as sex.
  • fdrake
    2.8k
    There you go again with the straw-men. That isn't my case that sex is a mental construction. Willies aren't mental constructions. They are biological ones, constructed by millions of years of natural selection.Harry Hindu

    So, you've gone so far as to argue that sex is now a mental construction. What about species? How do you stop yourself from slipping on the slippery slope?Harry Hindu

    Dude. a construct in that sense isn't just a mental thing. It's a way of splitting up a phenomenon into components that have measurable aspects. I linked to what I meant by construct. Here it is again. Then I gave you the definition I was using in my own words, they were:

    A construct is a conceptualisation of a phenomenon of interest that facilitates its study and (ideally) captures all relevant variability of the phenomenon in question.

    Then I gave you a worked example unrelated to the topic, that should hopefully ease a charitable reader in:

    So, for example, a depression index in clinical psychology might measure mood intensity, mood persistence, feelings of worthlessness, thoughts of self harm, concentration issues, anhedonia... All of these are indicators of the presence of depression and its severity. Depression as a construct, then, correlates with each of its indicators; which is what it means for those things to be an indicator of depression. Depression is more likely given an indicator, and more likely given a strong scoring on all indicators.fdrake

    Perhaps I should also have included motor symptoms in the index. Maybe you got the wrong idea that the sense of construct was purely mental because I didn't put in a bodily component.

    Here's another example; chronic fatigue syndrome, as a construct, (in terms of symptoms) is indicated by persistent fatigue, chronic bodily pain, reduction in energy... If you gave gave someone a checklist of things in this construct (symptoms) and they ticked all the boxes, they'd be more likely to have chronic fatigue syndrome.

    The crucial thing about a construct is that it should indicate patterns in the studied phenomenon. That is to say, it should change when the phenomenon in question changes. Differences in the phenomenon should be observable in the construct. One should track the other.

    How can you tell the difference between a consensus that is socially constructed vs one that is acquired by simple observation and categorization based on similarities as members of the same species as opposed being members to just a culture?Harry Hindu

    So with sex, let's take your checklist of what sex is, define it as a construct, and see what happens; what would the world look like if gender = your idea of sex? That is to say, "what if gender and sex were one construct characterised by sex characteristics?"

    - chromosomes (XY is male, XX female)
    - genitals (penis vs. vagina)
    - gonads (testes vs. ovaries)
    - hormones (males have higher relative levels of testosterone than women, while women have higher levels of estrogen)
    - secondary sex characteristics that aren’t connected with the reproductive system but distinguish the sexes, and usually appear at puberty (breasts, facial hair, size of larynx, subcutaneous fat, etc.)
    Harry Hindu

    All the sex characteristics are roughly constant over human populations and time. This means that there is little to no variability in your sex construct over time and population. Moreover, in areas and times where the same sex characteristics hold within a population (same human anatomy), there are marked differences in norms of conduct, expectations regarding typically sexed bodies... cultural differences. Social differences.

    None of the things on your list vary with any observed social pattern. This means they do not explain any of the variation in social patterns regarding gender.

    As a construct then, your "sex = gender" idea does little to explain anything about cultural norms, expectations, archetypes... Or how they can shift over time.

    In fact, this is good evidence that we need (at least) two constructs; sex and gender; to explain all this variation. One that tracks anatomical properties of bodies in populations. One (or more) that tracks social stuff in populations.

    (edit: @'Isaac' would easily pick this apart in terms of the sociometrics, but I don't think it makes any huge errors; one glaring one I can see in re-reading is that stuff like depression has multiple constructs which are measured and then summed to produce severity scores, rather than being one thing. Anyway. This is probably fine. Sexual characteristics of populations are a multidimensional construct that still don't vary too much over time. Social aspects of gender do. Doing it with one construct (sex) is like trying to measure an area when you can only measure length and do no calculations..)
  • TheWillowOfDarkness
    1.9k


    Both of those definitions comment on identity. They don't describe bodies at all.

    The account is of which people can belong an idenity (male or female), supposedly, by which body they have. It's all about idenity.

    If we look at the bodies, we find they don't care about these identities. A body which produces sperm does so whether it has an identity of male, female or something else. A body which has eggs does so whether it has an idenity of male, female or something else. The body does not define only those with sperm are male or only those with eggs are female.
  • HereToDisscuss
    46
    Both of those definitions comment on identity. They don't describe bodies at all.

    The account is of which people can belong an idenity (male or female), supposedly, by which body they have. It's all about idenity.

    If we look at the bodies, we find they don't care about these identities. A body which produces sperm does so whether it has an identity of male, female or something else. A body which has eggs does so whether it has an idenity of male, female or something else. The body does not define only those with sperm are male or only those with eggs are female.
    TheWillowOfDarkness
    Well, it having eggs or sperm makes it female or male as per the definition. If you wany to say that it is "identity", then so be it. (Well, then, any definition would be ascribing "identity".)

    And, yes, bodies do not care about definitions. And..? Autistic brains do not care about their identities, psychopathic brains do not care about theor identities and disabled bodies do not care about their identities either. The list goes on and on. Your point seem to be just pointing the obvious. Howewer, what does that have to do with sex and it's relation to gender apart from both of them being about identities?
  • TheWillowOfDarkness
    1.9k


    It means the given definition is lie.

    Supposedly, the body is meant to make the identity, but this is not the case. We find the presence of the body is not granting the identity at all. The body is silent upon identity. The body is not making or stopping anyone being male, female or anything else.

    This is a huge point: it means having a sperm or eggs does not make one male, female or anything else. If one has an identity, it must be given by a truth of identity.
  • TheWillowOfDarkness
    1.9k
    If one is not his body, what is he? Who or what is this little being that possesses this body? I worry this little being might be parasitic. Perhaps the body should rid itself of this little being before it does anything it can never undo. — NOS4A2

    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.
  • Isaac
    1.6k
    Supposedly, the body is meant to make the identity, but this is not the case. We find the presence of the body is not granting the identity at all. The body is silent upon identity. The body is not making or stopping anyone being male, female or anything else.

    This is a huge point: it means having a sperm or eggs does not make one male, female or anything else. If one has an identity, it must be given by a truth of identity.
    TheWillowOfDarkness

    This is nonsense. You're redefining the term 'identity' to mean something it never meant in this context. I completely agree with you that sex is a social construct, we decide arbitrarily that these bodily characteristics are going in the 'male' construct and those are going in the 'female' construct. It could have been any other way, it could be some other way tomorrow. Nothing about reality is determining that these particular criteria apply to these constructs, nor that these constructs need even exist at all.

    But - there's no justification at all for introducing some new force which somehow assigns identity to arbitrary social constructs. How would it even know such constructs exist? 'Truth of identity' doesn't mean anything. One is not 'truthfully' male or female because male and female are words labelling artificial social constructs, nothing about your intrinsic being even knows these words, let alone 'truthfully' assigns you to one.

    If people want to be grouped by different criteria from the ones currently used to group people, then that's fine, maybe their community of language users will change the criteria. If people feel actually harmed by being grouped that way, then maybe we should enforce change in the criteria, to help them out (depending, of course on the consequences on others). If people want to be in one of the social constructs that their community wouldn't normally assign them, then that seems fine to me too, just label them the way they prefer. But there's absolutely no need to introduce some flaky notion of 'truth' into the matter, it just feeds the worst stereotypes of post-modernism, and it's utterly unsupported.
  • HereToDisscuss
    46
    It means the given definition is lie.

    Supposedly, the body is meant to make the identity, but this is not the case. We find the presence of the body is not granting the identity at all. The body is silent upon identity. The body is not making or stopping anyone being male, female or anything else.
    TheWillowOfDarkness

    Yes. That is true for any definition that is about a body. And..? All that means is that it is somewhat arbitrary and nobody would dispute that. The question is "Should we use this definition? If so, to what extent?" We use this type of categorization in, for example, pedigrees and sexual reproduction as the chromosomes really matter in the first one and women and men (by this definition) have different bodily reactions and the entire proccess is different for women and men.
    Also, how does that mean the definition is a lie? How could a definition even be a lie? The only way seems to be the definition contradicting the actual definition we use and we do use this in spesific contexts. Sexes, i would contend, are very useful.

    If one has an identity, it must be given by a truth of identity.TheWillowOfDarkness
    But we use definitions for identities and "the truth of an identity" does not give the definition in the sense you are using. So, no definitions fit your criteria. Or all definitions fit your criteria but you just take it to be the case that the biological definition is not correct (not the one we should use) and thus end up being circular in your judgement, which is worse.

    Of course, if you just want to say that we should not use this outside where it matters, then i'm more than okay to just concede you the point since that is the position i hold. A transwoman is a woman in an everyday context and i would not say that a transwoman is a man unless we are speisifically talking about biology (or genetics).
  • Harry Hindu
    2.5k
    Dude. a construct in that sense isn't just a mental thing. It's a way of splitting up a phenomenon into components that have measurable aspects. I linked to what I meant by construct. Here it is again. Then I gave you the definition I was using in my own words, they were:fdrake
    Dude, you're entire post is a red herring.

    From your own link:
    A construct is a hypothesized cause for a certain behavior.

    It is a mental category that is causally connected with the observation of biological realities. The biological realities exist before the construct, and the construct is based on the observations of those realities.

    Therefore, when you made the following statement:
    The entire point of that argument strategy is to get us talking about biological sex, as if it's relevant to gender at all...fdrake
    I showed, and it appears that you now agree with me, that your social construction of gender IS about sex, because you admitted that:
    The crucial thing about a construct is that it should indicate patterns in the studied phenomenon. That is to say, it should change when the phenomenon in question changes. Differences in the phenomenon should be observable in the construct. One should track the other.fdrake
    I asked you:
    Can you have a shared expectation about what a willy necessitates and what it doesn't if there weren't willies and non-willies?Harry Hindu
    Answer the question.

    The differences in the biological sexes should be observable in the construct - meaning that any change in the assortment of willies and non-willies would change our construct of sex, or our shared assumptions of what entails gender. If we're not agreeing on what gender is, how is it a shared assumption (a social construction)?

    If transgenders are non-binary, then why do they keep using those binary terms of "woman" and "man" to refer to themselves. If gender is non-binary then shouldn't they be using different terms to refer to themselves, and why would they be changing their sex if gender has nothing to do with sex?
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