February 2018
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I believe gender is a social construct -- a lie, an illusion.

in response to dragonwine's long-ago asked question: "What is your personal view on gender in a sociological sense? Do you think gender, like sexuality, is fluid or not?"

I don't think it's fluid because I don't believe it exists. I think the physical sex characteristics of a body are irrelevant to the qualities, behaviors, attractions, etc., of the person living inside it.

I don't believe there is a such thing as a masculine or feminine quality (except as pertains to the body itself). Strong, weak, stoic, emotional, callous, sensitive, aggressive, submissive, repressed, expressive -- all of these are HUMAN qualities. And I find it extremely offensive when someone stereotypes them as masculine or feminine. The most commonly stereotyped quality, in my opinion, is compassion. (sometimes called 'sensitivity' or 'being pussy') The ability to feel someone else's feelings and understand their experience through that. It is stereotyped as a 'feminine' quality to the point where a person who is supposedly very wise and enlightened said that "the female is the source of genuine human compassion." I find that so. fucking. sickening! So men can't have compassion? what are they, monsters who care about no one else, doomed to selfishness forever because they made the mistake of being born into a male body? Or perhaps they are beggars, who can only come about compassion by being given it by a female. And what does this say about being female? that we are to be the source of all humans, while men give nothing? ARGH. Showing emotion is a part of compassion. Crying is often an expression of compassion for yourself or someone else, and this behavior is stereotyped as feminine. I could go on and on about every one of the qualities that is commonly stereotyped as being somehow related to genitalia. And then again, about behaviors/dress. With the exception of bras, there is no real reason for any difference in clothing due to sex. And then again, about attractions. Hello, it is not genitals that are attracted to genitals, it is a person who is attracted to a person.

This is why I am bisexual/queer. People generally come in two sexes, with the rare variation, and I am attracted to the spirit within a person. I find female, male, intersexed, and transsexual people equally attractive in the same way that I find slim and thick people equally attractive. Beauty is variety.

ETA: for a more structured explanation, read the userinfo of abolishgender. I agree with it completely.

ETA #2: in this post, by 'gender' I mean social/cultural categories, (stereotyped qualities, behaviors, dress, attractions), not physical sex characteristics (genitals, reproductive organs, hormones).

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growing_wise ══╣Kurt Hasley :: Beautiful Couple╠══
I don't think there is such a thing as 'physical gender', like you said. I think gender expression/identity and physical sex (genitals) are two very distinct and different things. There are only two physical sexes (not including intersexed people) but there are hundreds, if not thousands, of different gender expressions/identities...not just the gender binary that our mainstream culture has accepted.
belenen ══╣iconoclast╠══
there are hundreds, if not thousands, of different gender expressions/identities

I think there are as many "gender expressions/identities" as there are people, because I believe that there is no gender, people are just different. I feel like switching from two categories (or castes) to a hundred or thousand is a step in the right direction because it allows more variety and makes it harder to rank, but it is not the best choice. I think that it is better to express oneself as unique, rather than as part of a category. Categories give a sense of belonging, but they also create exclusion. Being anti-exclusion, for me, means being anti-gender or genderfree.
belenen ══╣╠══
aetheric ══╣╠══
belenen ══╣intrigued╠══
yay ;-)

off-topic: I saw your giiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiant and very exciting post! I skimmed a little and the parts I picked up I really agreed with, so I look forward to giving it a real read.
flyingshaman ══╣╠══
I agree.
belenen ══╣iconoclast╠══
yay! ;-)

flyingshaman ══╣╠══
lorelei_sakti ══╣╠══
I also don't like it when anything is referred to as "masculine" or "feminine." I think that since I'm a female, then logically everything about me should automatically be considered "feminine."
belenen ══╣powerful╠══
AMEN to that! I get really annoyed when people refer to shopping, manicures, etc. as 'girly' activities.

I have about 10 long dark hairs on my chin that I refer to as my 'feminine beard' :D
lorelei_sakti ══╣╠══
fionavere ══╣╠══
Gender exists. Saying it doesn't isn't a great jumping off point for your argument. I think I get what you're saying anyway, but that's a pretty poor way to express it.

Men and women are different. These differences extend beyond the presence of a penis or a vagina. They are different down to the very DNA contained within each and every cell that goes to make up an individual. It can be scientifically determined if a sampling of cells, and they don't have to be cells from one's reproductive system, were taken from a man or a woman.

The fact that certain human characteristics are typically considered "feminine" and "masculine" is not just a form of repression implemented by centuries of social conditioning. Believe it or not, there is some science behind it. For example aggression is typically considered masculine. The reason for this is that aggression has been scientifically attributed to testosterone. Increased levels of testosterone in a person can, and will lead to increased aggression. Both men and women have testosterone in their bodies naturally. Men have more, as testosterone also plays a very important role in the development of male sex characteristics, and the male reproductive system.

What you have defined as "compassion" is a feminine characteristic because of the presence of a higher level of estrogen in women then in men. The reason that estrogen has to do with compassion is the simple fact that female bodies are designed to carry and bear children. Compassion is an extremely important quality in a mother. Men have estrogen in their bodies as well, but less of it, for the very same reasons that women have less testosterone as men.

All of that being said, just because a certain characteristic may be linked to one or the other sex hormones, does not mean it is absolutely exclusive to that sex. The world is just not that black and white. Men can experience compassion, women can experience aggression. As mentioned above both hormones are found in both sexes. Of course there are anomalies, there always are; but the presence of the occasional anomaly doesn't change the fact.
melissarose8585 ══╣╠══
I want to agree with the fact that gender is an inescapable part of our lives, but I diagree with most of what you said. We are finding that the genetic differences in the sexes matter less than the cognitive perceptions of the environment during growth. And while testosterone and estrogen do play a part in our responses, it doesn't account for aggression and compassion being gender stereotyped, or there would not be women that can be ass aggressive as men and vice versa.

Many of these ideals are socially programmed. Women in early humanity, while not hunters due to physical conditioning, were obviously respected and considered capable of hunting. They didn't let game go by because they were females, they would kill if needed. But they were physically suited to gathering, so they primarily did so. The balance didn't shift until westernized thought came about in Greece, and religion in Egypt.

Many of these ideals of feminine compassion come from the preachings of Paul and many early religious men, who saught to structure society. They needed women to be a taming force to the men who were needed for battle and protection.

Men who are compassionate and women who are aggressive are not anomalies, they simply have managed to grow past the social viewpoint. My significant other, a male, can be as aggressive as anyone but he gets upset seeing stray animals, wanting to take them in. And it's the same for me.

So while I agree with some of what you said, I just have to present another version.
fionavere ══╣╠══
belenen ══╣╠══
melissarose8585 ══╣╠══
belenen ══╣╠══
fionavere ══╣╠══
belenen ══╣╠══
fionavere ══╣╠══
belenen ══╣╠══
fionavere ══╣╠══
growing_wise ══╣╠══
belenen ══╣╠══
sidheblessed ══╣╠══
gem_night77 ══╣╠══
“I don't believe there is a such thing as a masculine or feminine quality.” Yes they are all human qualities, and both sexes exemplify them, but I think that one sex exudes the characteristics greater then the other. People are just stereotyping the female and male roles and characteristics. Being a women in business and possible military, I do want equal rights, but I also know that physically men ARE stronger then females.(I don’t think it would be fair to have equal physical times in sports, because then sports would be monopolized by men) Those mixed characteristics (between any two people) draw one person to another person. Their partner completes them.

“it is not genitals that are attracted to genitals, it is a person who is attracted to a person.” That is a beautiful statement. I generally agree with it. But when one person is attracted to another, they are also physically attracted to that person, so genitals do play a part in it I think, hopefully not a large part because that would be shallow.

I appreciate learning your views. I don’t think mine were that radically different.
belenen ══╣iconoclast╠══
one sex exudes the characteristics greater then the other

Yes, but why? Some people say it is because of biological predisposition with a little social conditioning; I say it is because of social conditioning with a VERY little biological predisposition.

the same with the genitals, yes I think they play a role but if the person is at all mature, they play a very minor role.

I don't think our views are that radically different either. ;-) I think perhaps I wasn't clear enough in my original post.
phydeau ══╣╠══
I can't tell you how many times people have asked me if I was gay. Sadly, I also can't tell you how many times people have asked me, "Are you sure?" I even had one woman who I was physically involved with tell me that my apparent actions (apparent to her, at least) indicated that I was in denial!

And yeah. I know the short-sighted indicators are there. I like classical music -- in fact I can play the French horn. I'm not very much into professional sports (the fact that I like to play baseball doesn't seem to negate that). I majored in theatre (where I studied, among many other "manly things", makeup and sewing machines). I sometimes cry at dog food commercials. I know that green socks don't go with a brown tie. I like to draw . . . The list goes on.

I don't "pick up hotties" when I go out. First reason being that I don't call human beings "hotties" or "chicks", or whatever. Second reason being that my heart and brain have more sources of input than my penis does, and they can make a better decision.

All of this makes me, at the very best, a "pussy". More likely, I'm labeled a "fag".

What people don't seem to get is that I have no reason to live in denial. I work in theatre. I'm surrounded by gay people. My parents would be cool with it if I was. I live in an environment that's more gay-friendly than most of the gay people I've known.

But stand up for the little guy? Show genuine emotion? Freely admit that you know how to reupholster furniture? You're obviously not a "real" man.

Fuck that. I do it all knowing full well the consequences. I don't need a front. I know that it's women who turn my head, not men, and none of it is anyone's damned business, anyway.

And if that isn't a strong (some may say "stoic" or "manly") characteristic? Well . . . I can't help it that the world is full of morons.

sidheblessed ══╣╠══
It's wonderful to read something like this. Not the people calling you gay bit but the fact you're just being you in a society that has such strict views on gender and how a man "should" act.
belenen ══╣╠══
brightlotusmoon ══╣╠══
bert255101 ══╣╠══
*applause from the peanut gallery*

(it's too early for intelligent comments) :)
belenen ══╣amused╠══
heh, well thank you :D
verviana ══╣╠══
i give that a big ol' hell yeah.

thanks for posting your last few posts. they have been interesting and inspiring to read.
belenen ══╣iconoclast╠══

and thanks so much! :D I'm often interested and inspired by your writing so that is quite the compliment ;-)
sidheblessed ══╣╠══
While I do agree with fionavare's comment that genetically and hormonally speaking, gender does exist, I also agree with you that a lot of the qualities we assign to men and women are societal constructs. Yes, a man may have testosterone swimming around but that doesn't mean he can't be a gentle, compassionate soul. A woman may be full of estrogen but that doesn't mean she can't be bold and strong.

I think the physical differences are just that - physical differences. I think it's very important for people to be who they are and express themselves freely, regardless of what society tells them they should be because of their physical sex.
belenen ══╣analytical╠══
but physical differences are not what I am talking about -- that I refer to as 'sex'. Like I said to fionavere:

I'm aware that there are chemical differences. However, I think that they affect humans in a very minor way compared to how society affects humans. Men generally behave more 'aggressively' than women, but some women are just as aggressive as most men. I believe that if you take out the social differences, you would find that those aggressive people even out to pretty much equal, maybe 51% to 49%. I think people have qualities, and people have hormones, and they are very very weakly linked.
sidheblessed ══╣╠══
belenen ══╣╠══
clown_frog ══╣╠══
I meant to show you this a while ago and never got round to it, but it seems fitting to this post. An abstract of an article I came across while searching psychology journals.

Author(s): ROSS MW, PAUL JP
Source: PSYCHOLOGICAL REPORTS 71 (3): 1283-1290 Part 2, DEC 1992
Document Type: Article
Language: English
Cited References: 11 Times Cited: 2
Abstract: The construct of sexual orientation has typically considered the gender of the sexual partner as defining whether the individual is homosexual, bisexual, or heterosexual, and the Kinsey scale conceptualises bisexuality as a point midway between homosexuality and heterosexuality. We propose an alternative model which places homosexuality and heterosexuality at one end of a continuum as gender-linked choices of sexual partner, and bisexuality at the other as nongender-specific. As a test of this model, we administered repertory grids to nine bisexual men and women to investigate the characteristics of sexual attraction in individuals for whom gender of partner was not a critical variable. Results supported the hypothesis that gender is not a critical variable in sexual attraction in bisexual individuals. Personality or physical dimensions not related to gender and interaction style were the salient characteristics on which preferred sexual partners were chosen, and there was minimal grid distance between preferred male and preferred female partners. These data support the argument that, for some bisexual individuals, sexual attraction is not gender-linked.
clown_frog ══╣╠══
I always like finding research that actually seems to relate to the thoughts people have... I thought it might please you to know about it too! Sorry I'm not making any more personal comments at the moment, but hopefully I will get back to that sometime. In any case, i'm glad you seem happy at the moment :-) xxxxxx
belenen ══╣╠══
belenen ══╣╠══
deridetenebras ══╣╠══
Hello, it is not genitals that are attracted to genitals, it is a person who is attracted to a person.

idk about that. for me, anyway, i dont find the male body very exciting or attractive. (i am female).
belenen ══╣analytical╠══
but the question is, why? Do you think it is mainly due to biology, or to the fact that men and women have such different experiences and therefore develop differently?
deridetenebras ══╣╠══
ravensong ══╣Love: Sparkly Rainbow╠══
People generally come in two sexes, with the rare variation, and I am attracted to the spirit within a person. I find female, male, intersexed, and transsexual people equally attractive in the same way that I find slim and thick people equally attractive. Beauty is variety.

Oh my, I so love this quote! I am the same way, and I identify as queer, too :D
on communication, social justice, intimacy, consent, friendship & other relationships, spirituality, gender, queerness, & dreams. Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.
Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.