• Pfhorrest
    590
    (I'm new here and this is my first new discussion, so I'm not sure if I've put this in the right category. Mods please feel free to move if necessary / others let me know if I did it wrong.)

    So a little background first, I'm some kind of genderqueer/genderfluid/pangender/something, and in trying to put a name to whatever I am over the years, I have long run into conceptual problems with the way the concept of gender is used and overloaded (in the technical sense of applying more than one meaning to a term) in the general discourse, both in trans-inclusive and trans-exclusive communities.

    Most of the trans-exclusive communities, your usual cisheteronormative generally right-wing folks, just straight up equate sex with gender, and I don't think I really need to argue much against that view here, I hope, since it's just factually wrong. Gender is defined as something different from sex; if you just want to talk just about sex, we have the word "sex" for that (and even "sex" is a complex thing in need of disambiguation: do you mean chromosomes, hormones, primary sex characteristics, secondary, ...? because those don't all always line up and none of them are strictly binary), and the word "gender" means something else. But what else exactly does it mean?

    In trans-exclusive radical feminist communities, and in some parts of academia and elsewhere, they tend to use the word "gender" in the original sense with which it was defined apart from sex, by John Money in 1950, as a social construct. In that sense, gender is something like money (no pun intended). There is nothing intrinsic to gold coins or seashells or any other token of currency that makes it "really" money, something that could be found via an empirical investigation of the currency itself. Something is only money to someone, and in saying that it is money to them, we're really saying something about them, not about the currency: we're saying they accept it in trade. If people have an argument over whether something "really is" money, they're really just expressing their differing policies on accepting it in trade: if Tumamate the Chumash tells Cortez the Spaniard that the shells for which the Chumash tribe are named "are money", and Cortez "disagrees", Tumamate is just signalling the fact that his people accept them in trade, Cortez is just signalling the fact that he does not accept them in trade.

    Likewise with things like rank and title, or membership in a social clique: people may argue over whether someone is "really" a geek or is "just" a nerd, or dork, or whatever, but there are no objective empirical criteria for inclusion in those social categories, and saying someone's "not a real geek" is merely signalling non-acceptance of them in that category, not actually stating any (even purported) fact about the world. "Gender" in this sense is like that: genders like "man" and "woman", distinguished from sexes like "male" and "female", are social categories into which people can be recognized, but there is no objective reality imparted by that recognition, someone's gender just consists entirely in their being accepted as that gender. "Gender identity", in this sense of the word gender, means the social category that a person thinks of themselves in terms as, and wants others to think of them as, and disagreement about whether someone who identifies as a man or a woman "really is" one is like disagreement about whether someone who identifies as a nerd or a geek "really is" one: there is no reality to it, you're just saying you reject their self-image and don't see them that way. So people aiming to be gendered a particular way, in this sense, have to perform the role and do the presentation well enough to get other people to accept them into the category they want to be seen as, in order to "really be" that gender, because the acceptance is the entirety of the reality of it.

    But in a lot of trans-inclusive communities, "gender" has come to mean something else, though it seems almost nobody distinguishes this other sense from the above sense, and arguments between e.g. transwomen and TERFs seem to stem largely from conflation of these two different senses. This newer sense is "gender" as meaning a psychological property of how you feel about the sex of your body, e.g. if you would not feel comfortable with a male body and would feel comfortable with a female body then your "gender" is "woman", if vice versa it's "man". I think that this is a very important property to keep track of, and that it needs to be separated from the above sociological property. It's important to me personally because I really don't give a damn about the sociological property above, I don't care what pronouns people call me by, I wear whatever I like without regard to how it gets me gendered by other people, but I have definite feelings about what I would like my body to be like. But perhaps for a clearer illustration than weird little old me: there are women who wear "men's" clothes and do "manly" things but have clearly feminine physiques and are recognized as woman because of them, basically tomboys. It's easy to imagine a person (and I've met some such people) born with a male body who wants to be that: still dress like a man and do manly thing, but to have a clearly female body.

    I've been proposing for a while now that that last property should get a new name different from "gender", and I propose "bearing". Part of that is because gender dysphoria and euphoria are all about this property, the psychological feeling of (dis)comfort in a particular kind of body, and the root "-phor" means "to bear". (And similarly, rather than "transgender", "cisgender", etc, as values for this property, we could use "transphoric", "cisphoric", etc: "bearing across", "bearing to the same side", etc.) Also because "bearing" makes a nice navigational metaphor with "orientation": if you imagine an abstract space of sex characteristics, and a person moving about in that space, their orientation is where in that space they're facing (the type of sex they're looking at), while their bearing is where in that space they're heading (the type of sex they're aiming to be). But also, perhaps as a transitional compromise, we could just disambiguate the word "gender" between all three of these things with qualifiers: "psychological gender" for bearing, "sociological gender" for the original sense of the word, and if we really have to, "physical gender" for sex. The important part, though, is just that we keep these three different things separate: enough people already are getting out the message that the physical and sociological are separate, but I think it would do a lot of good for everyone is we could also keep the sociological and psychological separate.

    (I hope I don't need to add this caveat that of course all three may have strong influences on each other, but that's besides the point that they come apart and are not one and the same thing).
  • Swan
    175
    I am not right wing but this stuff is ridiculous.

    You cannot divorce gender from sex; but you can "not conform" to sex roles (e.g. not giving birth, not breast feeding, no reproducing, etc).

    If gender is determined by necessarily sex attributes, it is, therefore assigned to corresponding to specific sex attributes (phenotypic sex attributes) first and foremost socially, culturally, etc. "Transgenders" conform via phenotypic necessary biological sex attributes (i.e. imitation) or by removal of the penis/breasts - both internal and external organs and tissues, cosmetic facial and body masculinization/feminization surgeries, etc.

    How about explaining a meaningful distinction between "gender fluidity" and "transgenderism" is the term is not synonymous with transsexualism. If it is used synonymously with transsexualism then the following obtains: (trivalizing as not related to biological sex it is incoherent - most transsexuals both performatively and actively disagree with your "it's just a social thing" argument).


    P1: All males and females must contain all the necessary biological attributes to be 'male' and female'.
    P2: All 'males' and 'females' contain the necessary biological attributes needed "to be" 'male' and female'.
    P3: A male that lacks necessary attributes necessary for to be considered 'female' is not a female.
    P4: A female that contains both necessary attributes of both 'female' and 'male' is neither male or female, but intersex. QED.

    P1: "Transition" denotes passing of all necessary attributes from one to another.
    P2: All necessary biological attributes are 'fixed' at birth.
    P3: Biological attributes cannot be 'changed' without artificial intervention/frequent injections (i.e. lacks necessary attributes) or augmentation (mimicking), therefore static biological sex cannot 'change' if necessary attributes cannot transition.
    P4: "Transsexualism" (and 'trans' - genderism) is therefore incoherent. QED.

    And transsexualism has yet to be demonstrated a coherent concept or at all meaningful. Neither has 'gender fluidity, genderpan,' demonstrated themselves to be meaningful terms for me.
  • Echarmion
    991


    An interesting post. It does seem that the notion of gender as purely a social construct doesn't fit properly with the way trans people experience themselves.

    The question is, given your notion of a psychological gender, does it make sense to claim that there is a separate "social" gender, or do we have to conclude that viewing gender purely as a social construct is also wrong, since people seem to have a strong psychological association with a gender that cannot be adequately explained as merely an internalized social role.

    You cannot divorce gender from sex; but you can "not conform" to sex roles (e.g. not giving birth, not breast feeding, no reproducing, etc).Swan

    Actually, you can do that very easily. Just define gender as something unrelated to sex.

    P1: All males and females must contain all the necessary biological attributes to be 'male' and female'.
    P2: All 'males' and 'females' contain the necessary biological attributes needed "to be" 'male' and female'.
    P3: A male that lacks necessary attributes necessary for to be considered 'female' is not a female.
    P4: A female that contains both necessary attributes of both 'female' and 'male' is neither male or female, but intersex. QED.
    Swan

    This looks like gibberish to me. Why do you use the same terms, but sometimes with and sometimes without quotation marks? Why is "to be" in quotation marks in the second premise? Why are there only premises, but no conclusion?
  • bert1
    329
    It seems to me the most useful place to start when determining gender is to consider how the person feels.

    I don't see the value of the social construct idea. That leads to strange conclusions. For example, a person of the male sex who feels strong gender dysphoria could still dress in a traditionally male way, do manly jobs, etc. As a social construct their gender would be male. But it seems to me that their gender is not male. So maybe we do need two senses of gender if people want to keep the social construct sense. I just don't see the value of that sense - why would we want to gender people in terms of behaviour and traditional roles? The polite and respectful thing to do is to gender them according to how they feel.

    "Transgenders" conform via phenotypic necessary biological sex attributes (i.e. imitation) or by removal of the penis/breasts - both internal and external organs and tissues, cosmetic facial and body masculinization/feminization surgeries, etc.Swan

    My understanding is that what you are talking about is being transexual, not transgender.
  • Pfhorrest
    590
    It's probably useful to point out that the reason Money originally coined the concept of "gender" distinct from "sex" was to be able to talk about the intersex people he was studying when he did so. Intersex people are not unambiguously one or the other binary sex, but nevertheless in western cultures they are socially categorized as one of the two binary genders predominant in such cultures, e.g. we'll talk about an "intersex boy" who is not strictly speaking male but was assigned male at birth and is socially treated (and maybe identifies) as a boy. Different cultures have different schemes of social categories into which they sort people, once again not lining up perfectly with the biological sex of those people. The sociological concept of gender is useful for talking about those kinds of things, for talking about how societies categorize people. It is not so useful, I think, for talking about (what we call) transgender issues, but the terminology has nevertheless been co-opted for that purpose. I'm proposing in the OP that it would be better if instead we had separate terminology for the two things, and if nobody outside of sociology has need to talk about sociological gender, that's fine.
  • Michael
    8.2k
    You cannot divorce gender from sexSwan

    I'm not sure what you mean by not being able to divorce gender from sex. There certainly is a connection between the two, but that's not to say that someone who's sex is female cannot have a male gender. The American Psychological Association defines gender as:

    Gender refers to the attitudes, feelings and behaviors that a given culture associates with a person's biological sex. Behavior that is compatible with cultural expectations is referred to as gender‐normative; behaviors that are viewed as incompatible with these expectations constitute gender non‐conformity.
  • Swan
    175
    My understanding is that what you are talking about is being transexual, not transgender.bert1

    The words are used interchangeably and synonymously to each other.

    A "pre-op" transsexual (i.e. transgender) isn't a trans. It's just some gender fluid person. There is no distinction made between the two.
  • Swan
    175
    I'm not sure what you mean by not being able to divorce gender from sex.Michael

    In the context of transsexualism you cannot. And almost all trans people would agree. That is literally why they take hormones. Biological sex is what makes a meaningful distinction.

    There certainly is a connection between the two, but that's not to say that someone who's sex is female cannot have a male gender.Michael

    Come on. A female butch lesbian is not a "male gender" or a man and vice versa to the effeminate gay man being a "female gender". Most would find it offensive.

    A cis-woman would not claim to "feel like a woman", she would claim she is a woman, not-conforming to gender expectations would not change that.
  • Bitter Crank
    8.4k
    It seems like avant-garde gender and sex theorists/activists are reacting to the most conservative picture of masculinity and femininity. The stereotypes of Madison Avenue and Hollywood define real men as tough and insensitive and real women as soft and caring. This old-fashioned and fading view of gender and sex has never typified real people.

    If you distribute sex and gender characteristics of typical men and women, what you find is a large area of overlap--not just now, but in the past. So much overlap, that the most intensely heterosexual (or lesbian) masculine women are more masculine than all but the most masculine men, and the most intensely heterosexual (or gay) feminine men are more feminine than all but the most feminine women.

    That's why heterosexual men can be very good caretakers and heterosexual women can be good mechanics or construction workers. That's why typical women can dig ditches and typical men can take care of a home. That's why some heterosexual men dress in female drag and why some homosexuals dress in biker drag. There are women who can beat the shit out of most men (they've got strength and aggressiveness) and there are men who make better caring nurses than most women (they've got sensitivity to emotional/physical needs).

    The whole 'trans-sexual, trans-gender, gender-fluid' quest is built on the false premise that the standard definition of masculinity and femininity provided no "home" for people out on the extreme ends of the distribution. "You can be anything you want to be" is an old American meme. It isn't true, but it sounds very uplifting. So, fuck the xy and xx chromosomes, fuck the testes, ovaries, vagina, penis, beard, breasts, and build. A surgeon can whip up a penis or a vagina and the druggist can supply the missing hormones. Biology be damned!

    Except biology can't be damned. XX and XY chromosomes mark every cell of the trans person (in 99.999% of the population). Males remain males and females remain females whatever the surgeon, pharmacist, or cultural theorists does. And it is unnecessary, because biology already provided for a very wide range of sexual dispositions.

    All the language of the "trans" movement reflects nothing new, really. It's just a new argot and a new market. No, you are not "gender fluid" -- you are out there on the far end of the biological distribution of possibilities. ALL of us, whatever we think we are, have features that are out on the far end, too. There are extremely sharp and extremely blunt brains; there are extreme athletes; there are musicians with extreme memory capabilities; some people have perfect pitch, some people can't sing if their life depended on it. Some people hear or see far more acutely than others. Some people are extreme risk takers, others think twice about jumping over a puddle.

    Each of these extreme characteristics manage to exist without a special identity, argot, or political agenda.

    I think the gender identity bit has gone done a rabbit hole, but look: If I met you, I'd be polite and call you by the name you provided. If I liked you, I'd be a friend.
  • Marchesk
    3k
    My question regarding whether gender is a social construct like money is to ask whether hunter-gatherer societies have gender roles and whether this is tied to the individual's biological sex, and if so what sort of exceptions exist. Money is a construct of civilization. But most of human history consisted of tribal groups. So I would take the hunter-gatherer experience as definitive on this matter, if there is a definitive conclusion to be reached.

    The psychological question regarding whether someone feels male, female or both and how that relates to gender is trickier, but again I would defer to how most of human history was spent and not what recent civilization has specified.

    A related topic is the feminist view that gender is a social construct created to subject women in favor of patriarchal societies. But this wouldn't apply to hunter-gatherers, so that should be what determines the nature of gender.
  • bert1
    329
    Come on. A female butch lesbian is not a "male gender" or a man and vice versa to the effeminate gay man. Most would find it offensive.Swan

    Sexual orientation is a different thing again.
  • bert1
    329
    The words are used interchangeably and synonymously to each other.Swan

    By whom? A cursory bit of googling will turn up overwhelming evidence of different usage.
  • bert1
    329
    A "pre-op" transsexual (i.e. transgender) isn't a trans.Swan

    But transgender =/= transsexual as you assert. It just doesn't. They mean different things.

    You can attack the distinction on the basis that it refers to a real-world distinction that doesn't, in fact, exist. But if successful, you've just shown that people have made a mistake, not that the words have the same meaning.
  • Swan
    175


    Sexual orientation isn't the point. The point is that a female body builder is not a man or a "male" and a man that doesn't lift heavy shit isn't any "closer" to a woman or a female. So why should it be accepted that a male in a dress is a "woman"?

    You claim "man" and "women" have no cultural significance yet 90% of the population would punch you through a wall and call offense if you say a "masculine" woman is a "man" - or call a gay male that engages in anal sex a "female" or a "woman". It's only about %2 of people claiming something else.
  • Swan
    175
    By whom? A cursory bit of googling will turn up overwhelming evidence of different usage.bert1

    By trans people themselves. They actively demonstrate that the two are not separate by claiming to be "transgender" - yet inducing phenotypic (sex hormones) and biological augmentation to themselves. How many 'cis-females' would be comfortable growing a beard, chest hair, and excessive facial hair? This is widespread.

    So which is it? If "gender" and "sex" are completely separate, transgenders should not be undergoing 'sex-based' changes unique to opposite sex phenotypes. They could simply just identify and "behave" according to their gender. That is why I said a "transsexual" that has undergone no biological augmentation is a "transgender" until otherwise, transgender being a meaningless term in itself, unless it makes the distinction of biological sex, which is what trans people do. They want to express themselves like a female, not just some 'gender fluid' person.

    If not, they actively show that transgenderism aren't the same - but pose no meaningful differences from each other. The trans that undergo no biological augmentation, but still identify as "transgenders" makes no distinction between a cis-woman in a pant suit calling it "non-conformist".
  • Marchesk
    3k
    Another question that comes up is whether a biological male who undergoes a sex change or even just identifies themselves as female should be allowed to compete in women's sports. You could even potentially have a gender fluid person compete in both male and female events, depending on which gender they wish to identify with for that event.
  • uncanni
    338
    You provide us with a really generous deconstruction of various categories, and I so appreciate the alternate terminology you have provided.

    I've always been (except for period of experimentation in early 70s along with David Bowie) a hetero woman-- a tomboyish one. Many students, over the years, made the Freudian slip of saying "yes sir" to me (I've been in the South and Southwest where "yes sir" and "yes ma'am" are used with elders) instead of yes ma'am. So I've always been aware that some students were unconsciously registering something in me that they perceived as either masculine or non-feminine.

    I've had friends say I'm queer because I'm unmarried and childless. When one never strictly thought within the hetero-normative pressures to "act" this way or that or to have "gender-targeted" goals; when one has always perceived so incredibly much diversity along the spectrum of gender (behavior/identity); when one was drawn to the marginalized individualists who never could deny who they were...

    This stuff is not ridiculous. It's very far from ridiculous, but it's sure gonna make some folks uncomfortable
  • Pfhorrest
    590
    Native American civilizations frequently had nonbinary gender categories such as Berdache and "two-spirit". Third genders are widespread throughout the world.

    Also as to sports categories, my opinion is that those things should be based entirely on measurable abilities and characteristics, like weight categories in boxing, and genitals or pronouns or anything like that shouldn't factor into it at all.
  • Pfhorrest
    590
    As a general response to everything you wrote, I just want to point out two things from my OP: the last line, "of course all three may have strong influences on each other"; and the fact that my whole proposal is that we distinguish the way that someone feels in their mind about the sex of their body, which I'm saying we should call "bearing" or "psychological gender", from any of the sociological stuff, which I'm saying should be the proper referent of "gender" or else "sociological gender" if needed to disambiguate. Of course the psychological thing about how you feel about the sex of your body is related to the sex of your body, which seems to be your whole point. But you're calling that thing "gender" (without disambiguation) and then using that to argue that gender isn't about sociological stuff, when my whole point is to be careful to distinguish the two different things so that people don't do exactly what you're doing.
  • Bitter Crank
    8.4k
    I am not right wing but this stuff is ridiculous.Swan

    I'm fairly far to the left. My lefty peers don't approve of my views. Much of this topic (gender vs sex) seems to have gone down the rabibit hole where,


    'But "glory" doesn't mean "a nice knock-down argument",' Alice objected.
    'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.'
    'The question is,' said Alice, 'whether you can make words mean so many different things.'
    'The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, 'which is to be master — that's all.'
  • Swan
    175
    I'm saying we should call "bearing" or "psychological gender", from any of the sociological stuff, which I'm saying should be the proper referent of "gender" or else "sociological gender" if needed to disambiguate.Pfhorrest

    I could have been less lazy and made my points more clear, but you are trying to disambiguate the whole of something by splitting it up into multiple parts that does no one any favors; you instead "split up" the essential parts to explain away the whole of something, then want us to accept whatever you are trying to purport as a sufficient, less ambiguous explanation of it. You have just caused confusion.

    "Psychological" "sociological" "gender" and "physical gender" aren't even separate things... they are all parts contributing to what 'makes gender, gender' .. just because these parts are distinct individuals does not mean they should be split up into these distinct parts (especially for clarity's sake). They are what makes the pie, a pie.

    This is why a large widespread portion of the population views them as a whole; because they cannot just be conveniently divorced from one another just because some definition says so.

    "Transgenders/Transsexuals" MtF for example, are not attempting to 'express themselves' as women; they are attempting to express themselves as females. They want to identify with females, they want to be around females, they want to be female. This is why they biologically augment themselves, to get closer to female biological sex attributes.

    What they actual wear, roles they take on, etc., is not at all relevant, but instead whatever "diverse stereotypes and characteristics/social roles, etc" that are assigned in any specific culture, uses to express opposite sex biological attributes, the trans individual is going to follow them, because this aligns most with the epitome of "femaleness" not womanhood.

    But this is inconsistent in a "female bodybuilder," for example, that takes hormones to get stronger - not to increase ones identity and cohension with men/males.

    If just comes off as dismissive, "let's just split everything into parts then since we can't all agree..." and ignore the picture. This is the problem with identity politics, etc. now. It is laziness. It is why we went from 2 genders to 66 and growing. Laziness.

    Of course the psychological thing about how you feel about the sex of your body is related to the sex of your body, which seems to be your whole point.Pfhorrest

    No, my whole point isn't that the "psychological thing" is all there is, that is your point. My point is that gender isn't JUST that... and that's why it makes no sense to break them up into these complex categories. They do not stand alone like you suggest, and trans people continue to actively demonstrate that by contradiction.

    But you're calling that thing "gender" (without disambiguation) andthen using that to argue that gender isn't about sociological stuff, when my whole point is to be careful to distinguish the two different things so that people don't do exactly what you're doing.Pfhorrest

    No, I am not. I am saying it isn't just about "sociological stuff".
  • Swan
    175
    I'm fairly far to the left. My lefty peers don't approve of my views. Much of this topic (gender vs sex) seems to have gone down the rabibit hole where,


    'But "glory" doesn't mean "a nice knock-down argument",' Alice objected.
    'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.'
    'The question is,' said Alice, 'whether you can make words mean so many different things.'
    'The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, 'which is to be master — that's all.'
    Bitter Crank

    I am on the left, too. I am not conservative by any means nor agree with the right-wing especially the dumbass ALT-right gibberish. But I don't know what most very liberal people are even talking about nowadays, especially the young ones wtf is all this even. It all seems unnecessary. Half the stuff has been studied psychology to have no interesting effects on what they call themselves doing. Politics is too sticky for me.
  • Banno
    6.6k
    Interesting proposal. Let me check that i understand.

    You say:
    This newer sense is "gender" as meaning a psychological property of how you feel about the sex of your body, e.g. if you would not feel comfortable with a male body and would feel comfortable with a female body then your "gender" is "woman", if vice versa it's "man".Pfhorrest

    I would not be easily convinced that there could be a bearing that was decided, as it were, without reference to any social context. Thinking it thorough...

    To think of oneself as a female (sex) is to think of oneself as having certain physical characteristics.
    To think of oneself as a woman (Gender) is to think of oneself as fulfilling certain social roles.
    To think of oneself as a woman (Bearing) would be to have a preference for having a female body.

    See my thread A puzzle concerning identity - the incoherence of Gender, in which I tried to sort out some of Rebecca Reilly-Cooper's criticisms. Being of an analytic bent, I found her thinking quite formative.

    Let's hope Swan's attempt sidetrack this fine topic does not succeed. This forum is in desperate need of some decent analysis - and of posts that do not hide in quotation marks.
  • Bitter Crank
    8.4k
    Let's hope Swan's attempt sidetrack this fine topic does not succeed. This forum is in desperate need of some decent analysis - and of posts that do not hide in quotation marks.Banno

    I didn't think @Swan was sidetracking the discussion; you might say the same thing about my posts.

    This graph displays the overlap of male and female personality traits.

    Screenshot-2019-09-23-22.22.23.png?resize=800%2C575&ssl=1

    It sees to me that that personality traits that males and females can display covers the territory claimed by "trans" terms.

    @Pfhorrest
    It seems like avant-garde gender and sex theorists/activists are reacting to the most conservative picture of masculinity and femininity. The stereotypes of Madison Avenue and Hollywood define real men as tough and insensitive and real women as soft and caring. This old-fashioned and fading view of gender and sex has never typified real people.Bitter Crank

    The various socio-psychological traits of masculinity and femininity are already pretty broadly represented in people.
  • Pfhorrest
    590
    and it does seem to me like you are both trying to dive into talking about the unimportance of the sociological stuff, while missing that half the point of making the distinction I'm trying to make was so that we could avoid talking about the sociological stuff when it's irrelevant. Like Crank, nothing you're saying about the overlap of masculine and feminine traits is anything I disagree with, or anything to do with anything I'm talking about.

    Maybe it was a mistake to mention the social stuff second and at most length, but it's chronologically second in the history of things and the thing people seem to have the most trouble with. Let me try again, shorter and in different order. There's:

    1. Your physical sex
    2. Your mental feelings about your physical sex
    3. Social stuff about role and presentation that is associated with sex

    I'm saying that while (3) is the original referent of "gender", for trans purposes it's often not the important thing; rather, (2) is the important thing.

    So a cis man is:
    1. Born physically male
    2. Prefers to stay physically male.
    3. Might have any social identity, role, or presentation. (Probably "masculine" ones, but not necessarily.)

    While a trans woman is:
    1. Born physically male
    2. Prefers to be physically female
    3. Might have any social identity, role, or presentation. (Probably "feminine" ones, but not necessarily.)

    The reason I haphazardly use labels like "genderqueer"/"genderfluid"/"pangender" for myself in casual contexts is because I'm:
    1. Born physically male
    2. Kinda prefer to be more physically female, but not entirely or very urgently (less body hair, different body fat, vag would be nice, but penis is okay, tall and strong is nice).
    3. Don't care about pronouns (call me whatever), wear clothes / do activities / etc without regard for whether they're "men's" or "women's".

    Crank seems to be focusing on things like my (3) not making you a "different gender", and if you mean gender in the sense that we use terms like "transgender" and "cisgender" then I agree. The social stuff is not what makes the things that we call "gender" in those contexts; the psychological, mental feelings about your physical body does.

    But the social stuff is the original referent of the word "gender", and in academic sociological contexts, as well as in some feminist context (and the plentiful overlap between those two), that's the way that they use that word. I think it's harmful to the trans community to have the sense of "gender" they're predominantly concerned with, the way people feel about their bodies, conflated with that social stuff. I think that's the origin of TERF complains that transwomen "treat womanhood as a costume", because the TERFs think the transwomen are using "gender" in the social sense, when they more often mean it the psychological sense.

    There are of course strong connections between all three, as I said in my OP. People will usually prefer to remain the sex they were born, and prefer the social stuff associated with the sex that they prefer to be. But these things can come apart, and don't always align.

    it sounds to me like you understand me correctly. Will have to respond to you in more detail another time.

    (Technical question: how do you @ people here in a way that links like that?)
  • Swan
    175
    1. Your physical sex
    2. Your mental feelings about your physical sex
    3. Social stuff about role and presentation that is associated with sex

    I'm saying that while (3) is the original referent of "gender", for trans purposes it's often not the important thing; rather, (2) is the important thing.
    Pfhorrest

    And that is precisely the problem. You are just describing dysphoria here. Not some kind existing thing that is consistent and widespread across all people. There are no deep introspective interpersonal debates on whether or not I prefer to stay a female over a male and keep my vagina. There is no desire to prefer a vagina over a penis or vice versa - I am not female "just because I don't want to be a male.." that is what separates people having gender confusion from the rest. A natural born female would just wonder what the hell you are talking about. The thought doesn't even cross most people's minds.

    If you have to flip/flop and go into some deep analysis about whether or not you "prefer to stay your physical sex," that is called dysphoria. Most people do not have this problem. This is just projection.

    So a cis man is:
    1. Born physically male
    2. Prefers to stay physically male.
    3. Might have any social identity, role, or presentation. (Probably "masculine" ones, but not necessarily.)

    No, natural born physical males and females do not "prefer to stay" physically male, the desire for preferences for gender preferences to change opposite sex is absent. They are physical male and physical female; they do not sort through a series of introspection (like dypshoric individuals do). They do not need to because they do not suffer from confusion, distress, or discomfort as they are.

    Not one cis-gender female is approaching their natural born genders (i.e. physical sex) with "confusion", analysis, reason and debate.

    This is like me contemplating whether or not I am a monkey, a horse, or a human just because trans-species do. There are no "preferences" to remain a human over a monkey for almost all people. That is not how it works. Some people may do this, but the majority do not.
  • Swan
    175
    Kinda prefer to be more physically female, but not entirely or very urgently (less body hair, different body fat, vag would be nice, but penis is okay, tall and strong is nice).Pfhorrest

    This does not make you more physically female. It makes you a hairless male. What are you talking about, honestly.

    You are experiencing gender dysphoria. That is literally what psychologists are talking about. Because regular folk do not know what you are talking about.

    I highly doubt any 'cis-male', even the ones with gynecomastia are having maladaptive daydreams about having a vagina outside of a sexual context: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22005209

    Or making some joke.
  • Echarmion
    991
    My question regarding whether gender is a social construct like money is to ask whether hunter-gatherer societies have gender roles and whether this is tied to the individual's biological sex, and if so what sort of exceptions exist.Marchesk

    That would imply hunter-gatherer societies have no social constructs, even though they're already a "society". I don't think that works.
  • Bitter Crank
    8.4k
    (Technical question: how do you people here in a way that links like that?)Pfhorrest

    @name so @pfhorrest

    oops, that wasn't helpful. @ " name " so @ " pfhorrest " EXCEPT no spaces.
  • Pfhorrest
    590
    Swan, you seem to be getting kind of upset, and also talking past me, saying some of the same things I'm saying back at me. I think you didn't read the complete OP.

    Yes, the thing I labelled (2) above is about gender dysphoria or euphoria. I literally said in my OP that that's why I propose the name "bearing" for that property: because the root "-phor" means "to bear". (My username has nothing to do with that, BTW; the "Pfhor" are an alien race from a video game from my childhood, nothing to do with gender at all).

    And no duh that most cis people don't have any particularly strong feelings about that thing, in the same way that white people usually don't have particularly strong feelings about their race. It's just not something that they're confronted with, not something that they have to think about; it's the invisible default. But you, being a ciswoman I take it, would probably not like the idea of being made male, I would guess? You may not normally think at all about preferring to remain female, because the question is never at issue, but if it were you would prefer to stay female, no? You wouldn't be completely indifferent if you somehow woke up a different sex one day; that's just something you don't ever need to worry about, so you don't think about it. Right?

    Also, please don't say anything more about my situation in particular, because seriously go fuck yourself with that attitude. I'm trying to be sensitive to everybody here and only exposed myself like that because I thought this was a progressive community that might take bringing up this topic as a kind of transphobia, so I wanted to share that I have some personal stake in this too and am not just some cishet douchebag telling trans people they don't exist or something. But if you're going to be an asshole about it then just drop it completely. This isn't about me.

    @BitterCrank thanks, that wasn't showing up right when I tried previewing so I thought that mustn't be it. ETA: Still not working it seems. @Bitter Crank Test? Okay now it works. Thanks again.
  • Bitter Crank
    8.4k
    This isn't about me.Pfhorrest

    It's at least somewhat about you because you are the only one who can provide testimony about how you feel and think about your self. How else does anyone have first hand information about being human, except by being a "me"?

    I thought this was a progressive communityPfhorrest

    I don't know how progressive "it" is. TPF is a collection of posters, some of whom have been kicking around here for quite a few years, and who feel a certain amount of loyalty to the operation. The turnover is fairly high. Some of us are progressive, some of us are conservative. Our doors are wide open so we get a fair number of walking wounded.

    I'm a retired gay male, 73. (might be one of the walking wounded). I well know how homosexuality was classified up to the 1960s, and it wasn't particularly complimentary, even if it wasn't altogether inaccurate. While there are "pitchers and catchers", pitchers are not necessarily dominant and catchers are not necessarily submissive. Too simplistic. Gay men do not want to be women, may or may not like women, and may have various motivations (more than reasons) for wearing women's outré costumes. You never see "a blouse, grey skirt, and sensible black pumps" drag. The view then was that homosexuality was a pathology. In a different context it was a grievous sin (it still is in several religious groups).

    I have known a dozen or so trans people over the years. Most of them seem to become happier after they redesigned themselves as whatever they think they ought to have been, than before. So that's all good.

    Still, I am not 100% confident that some, most, or all trans people are entirely on the level. Some are, I think, deluded. Now, "DELUSION" by the way, is less a bug than a feature. Most people (98%?) entertain various delusions about themselves, their families, their friends, their work life, their religion, their politics, their amusements, and so forth. The delusions are a necessary part of our operating systems, but it [usually] isn't all or most of it, and they usually isn't running the show.

    We delude ourselves out of necessity. As Sigmund Freud noted, "happiness is not in the cards." Life is a bitch, and without strategic delusions cushioning the abrasive hardness of life, it can get to be intolerable.
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