Ariablue “Everyone’s gender is “acquired”.

Gender has been turned into the huge Swiss Army Knife Champ xlt of terms with a dictionary’s worth of alternative meanings.  This pretty much makes it meaningless unless the person using it provides a textual and subtextual reading defining their usage of the term.

In a feminist psych class at Berkeley in 1971 I used the term “core gender identity” in a term paper.  My usage was meant to describe the inner sense of self that says I am male/I am female.  This was in accord with the concept of gender as being that sense of self that was made popular in Money & Ehrhardt’s  “Man, Woman/Boy,Girl”.  Yeah, yeah but Money was still in people’s good graces at that point.

At that point we didn’t discuss gender roles but rather sex roles.

With the reactionary right wing neo-Victorianism that resurfaced in the 1980s sex became a sort of dirty word more or less reserved for doing the nasty.

Now granted calling sex roles gender roles wasn’t all that big a leap since a lot of sex or gender role behavior is the product of socialization or teaching.  But what is taught, what kids are socialized into is a time and culturally defined role deemed proper for a person with a given set of genitals.

Liberal societies have less rigid sex/gender roles than conservative ones do.  Secular humanist societies have less rigid than fundamentalist religious societies.

Now where we get in trouble is when we conflate sex and gender as being virtual synonyms and thus interchangable.  They aren’t.  Sex is about male and female or male=man=boy/female=woman=girl.  Whereas with gender we are talking in terms of masculine/feminine.

Then we get gender identity.  This takes us back nearly 40 years to when I was writing about core gender identity. Here we bump smack dab into a serious philosophical difference.  On the one hand you have the Cartesian, “I think therefore I am” vs the Existential “I act and through my actions I become.” the latter having a role in de Beauvoir’s “One is not born a woman, one becomes one.”

It has become popular in post-modernism to postulate that everything is a social construct.  There is also a mindset that says identity trumps physical reality.

I don’t know beyond saying that over the many years I’ve come to use feminine pronouns with almost anyone who requests that I use feminine pronouns as long as their appearence isn’t such a total contradiction of those feminine pronouns as to force me to explain.  Hell even then I sometimes resort to explaining why I called some one “she” with “It’s a camp gay thing and you just don’t get it.”  The same is true of F to Ms except a lot of butches are touchier about being called he than sissy gay guys are of being called she.

So on one level I do believe gender is acquired.  But why people acquire  a gender that totally contradicts everything they are programed to acquire is a question I can’t answer.

4 Responses to “Ariablue “Everyone’s gender is “acquired”.”

  1. fleur black Says:

    Bindel-Raymond-Stein-Syndrome explains why some females who feel and act out lesbiansism eventually get so butch that they become physically and mentally indistinguishable from men.
    However by the time BRSS is advanced and noticeable they are displaying serious social delusional paranoia – especially to heteromen, FtM HBS and MtF HBS…this is simply an externalisation of the intense DRSS-induced malebrain jealousy and male paranoia at Ftm and Mtf who are naturally upsetting to a natural heteromale.

  2. Ariablue Says:

    I was referring to his statement about the government’s policy specifically. The way he puts it, it sounds like my inborn gender is “acquired” while everyone else’s is “natural”. I think this is a misunderstanding that most people have about what makes us who we are.

    We need to define terms. I know that is not a popular thing these days but here goes.

    One view of gender says that it is something you are born with, it’s part of who you are.

    Another use of gender is to describe the way we perform socially.

    A third use of gender is related to how we view our sexist system. Gendered roles in this case describe limitations on what we can do based the genitals we had at birth.

    These are all different uses of the word gender today, but what has really happened is that we eliminated older, separate, terms and forced all the concepts into one word. I suppose this is the result deconstructionism. If this is the sort of thing that happens, I have to say I am not a fan. It’s sloppy, sloppy thinking and it breeds confusion and contempt between people. No good can come of it.

    The first case I mentioned used to be called our sex, like you say. I was born in the 70’s and grew up in the 80’s; I remember the use of the term “sex roles” and that sort of thing. Substituting gender came about as a sort of PC euphemism. One reason I don’t like euphemism is because it often functions as an excuse to allow stilted, bigoted thinking a pass. It’s a way to avoid addressing our thoughts and changing them. Sex is biological. Sex is sex- it is not gender. Sex roles, however, came to mean the second case I mentioned.

    The second case is probably closer to what people these days think of gender when they talk about it. It’s the little differences between men and women, the way we interact and how we approach life. This is the result of our biology and the resulting social order that develops. It’s a sort of feedback loop that perpetuates itself. But it is secondary to the base sex configuration in our brain. It is the result, not a thing unto itself.

    This is the part that people like to have the ridiculous “nature or nurture” argument about, and is also the reason we separate “gender” from “sex” these days. The Pope is having kittens over this, oh the humanity. Biological determinism is out, but only to one degree or another.

    And finally, the third case is something that some feminists spend a lot of time trying to debunk; the sexist regime we live under. In studying this phenomenon, we focus on an aspect of group behavior. This is where sex/gender roles come full circle back to their root. There is a confluence between the three meanings, and they all share a common origin. But that does not mean they are the same thing.

    Personal gender in inborn and individual. This is more correctly termed sex, as that keeps things biological. This would be a noun.

    Group gender is behavioral, and therefore is performed. It’s a verb.

    The sexist system, or patriarchy, is a theoretical construct. It describes a particular state of being for another theoretical construct, “society”. These are third-order sorts of discussions and are complicated. They deserve their own treatment and can’t be compressed down to the personal level easily.

    I think if people started saying exactly what they mean rather than using PC-speak we could resolve a lot of the hostility. I know some people don’t want to do this, and that itself is probably the source of the problem.

    Political Correctness is good when it reminds us to question our assumptions and respect other people. It is bad when it is used as a smokescreen. That’s what I think anyway.

  3. fleur black Says:

    I work in an hospiatl and separate out sex and gender quite simply regardless of the often-silly arguments of the patients and staff I deal with.
    Legally in the UK there are only two sexes -male and female. All patients and all staff are treated as one or the other.
    And all staff are trained to some level of experience by working on real bodies of both sexes. Obviously some staff are trained and permitted to do nothing more than take temperatures while higher trained others can grab a scalpel and start cutting flesh.
    All patients are treated medically as the sex their body resembles as the body of each sex obviously has unique features with unique problems and unique solutions to those problems of that sex.
    Obviously some patients have bodies that do not conform to this two-sex norm but even then the body is flesh and blood and is treateable accordingly.
    Gender is dismissed as a person’s inner feeling and external image and as we have zero-tolerance policies in place that allow for total freedom of Equality and Diversity no person can say to another ‘I don’t like you because you……’.
    Any person can express their gender visually or orally as they wish so long as their appearance is clean, smart and does not cause offense or bring the hospital into disrepute.
    And being an hospital cleanlinessa dn hygeien is essential as is security so most medical staff will have to wear a uniform that is easily cleaned and which lets the patients and staff know what job they are doing as obviously we don’t want the thermometer weilder to grab a scalpel and start cutting.
    Thus everyone is allowed to appear to be as male/female or androgynous as they wish. If their innate gender makes them use body and face language, tones of voice and idioms more appropriate to a different sex then that too is allowed.
    Where we do have a stumbling block is in allowing gender behaviour into the work place.
    Thus no heteromale or heterofemale can start having sex with an heterofemale or heteromale on the premises but is erfectly free to do so off the premises as most heteros will want to have othere heteros as their romantic interests.
    No gay males can have sex with another gay male on the premises but is perfectly free to have their romantic needs catered to by another gay males off the premises. Same for lesbian females. Same goes for bi-sexuals.
    That only leaves those who feel transgendered to some degree. Once again their romantic needs have to be satisfied off the premises. On the premises they are free to express their transgenderness as they wish by choice of clothing, body and face language, adornment, speech or idioms. No one can refuse to let them work for being TG.
    This all means that everyone is perfectly free to be legally of the sex they were assigned at birth but to present as whatever gender they feel hetero, G,L, B, TG.
    One tiny minority will seem to be outside these rules and this is the transitioning HBS popularly but erroneosly known as a transsexual. This is a very small percentage of the entire population and wtether they appear in the hospital as either male or female sex and have got proof that they are transitioning they are allowed to be known as the target sex they are transitioning to regardles of whether or not they display genderisms of other sex or genders. Thus a HBS may be so newly ‘inpublic’ that their previous existence has not allowed their body, face, speech, manners and mannerisms to morph into that of their target sex; their sense of fashion and clothing choice might not be target sex specific but so is that of many peopel of both sexes.
    If in hospital as staff or patient they will be treated as rhe sex they are aiming to be. And with the zero-tolerance policy in place no-one can object to their apparent sex or any genderisms – just as with every other person in the hospital.

  4. Ariablue Says:

    “All patients are treated medically as the sex their body resembles as the body of each sex obviously has unique features with unique problems and unique solutions to those problems of that sex.”

    Outside of reproduction, how often is this really the case?

    “Obviously some patients have bodies that do not conform to this two-sex norm but even then the body is flesh and blood and is treateable accordingly.”

    And this is the best example of why treating people according to “sex”, the social construct, is just another way we enforce gender stereotypes. It’s good to question things! lol

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