July 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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Comments
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 ══╣╠══
I think you may have missed a portion of my point, or perhaps I did not express it very well. The anomalies I was referring to were not about men who are compassionate and women who are aggressive, I think most people exhibit both of those qualities at least some of the time, regardless of gender. What I was referring to there were people whose gender identity is a little less... obvious. People who are born with both male and female sex organs, people with hormonal imbalances, being two examples of what I meant by anomalies. Compassionate men are not anomalous in my opinion, nor are aggressive females.

My whole point was that just because something may be considered more feminine, or more masculine, does not mean that the opposite sex can't ever experience these things; or that if they do they must be freaks, or homosexual, or whatever other label you can think of. We do not live in a black and white world. Just because you are usually one thing, does not mean you can never be another.

Perhaps some of the things that have been previously chalked up to the biological differences in the sexes are more nurture than nature, but in my opinion that's not necessarily a bad thing. I believe in the beauty of the differences. When I look at or think of my boyfriend, I revel in the things that are different about him because he is a man. I find that contrast to be incredibly beautiful. I personally find androgyny to be very off putting. I realize there are people who feel the opposite and whose personal tastes are more tailored to a blurring of that line between the sexes. Just because those people exist, and even if you are one of them, does not mean it's fair to say or think "This concept offends me, it should not be that way."

I see no difference in this type of attitude than in people who say "homosexuals offend me, it should not be that way." Or perhaps, "insert religion here offends me, it should not be that way." It just seems to me as if it's perfectly acceptable to be offended by something as long as it represents what are considered "traditional", or Christian values. This infuriates me. (Disclaimer: this last paragraph had nothing to do with anything you personally said, it was just me expounding upon these thoughts a bit. Please do not take that as a personal attack.)
analytical
belenen ══╣analytical╠══
When I look at or think of my boyfriend, I revel in the things that are different about him because he is a man. I find that contrast to be incredibly beautiful. I personally find androgyny to be very off putting.

So, maybe it is possible that you feel a strong desire/need to believe there is a large mind-makeup difference between the sexes. Just as I feel a strong desire/need to believe there is a minute and unimportant mind-makeup difference between the sexes. Obviously we're not going to come to agreement on this, at this point anyway.
melissarose8585 ══╣╠══
Ah, I do understand a little better. I did see it as you saying that those of the opposite sex showing other-gender characteristics (i.e. compassionate males) were anomalies. But I understand what you mean. I, too, enjoy the differences in my significant other, but I do tend to blur the gender lines quite a bit. I think it comes from being around people who have blurred those lines.

I don't think I ascribe to androgyny, even though I understand those who do. I also try to be very open about most differences of opinion.

And I understand your last paragraph, too. Most things in the Christian (or any other religion) do not bother me. I simply used the example, because that is where westernized society gets that small part of its sociological thought. (And I understand you're not ranting at me.)
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.