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Could you get on board with this definition of gender identity?

(91 Posts)
SarahCarer Wed 18-Jul-18 21:45:17

If sex = biologically male or female and
Gender = the sex based role society expects us to perform
Gender identity = instinctive complicit performance of a sex based role

Not everyone complies instinctively to any sex based role
Not everyone complies instinctively to the role normally imposed on their own sex
Feminism enlightens us and we can overcome our complicity, and resist.

Floorplan Wed 18-Jul-18 21:49:05

Trufacts

DixieFlatline Wed 18-Jul-18 21:49:45

'Instinctive' implies something which is innate and not down to conditioning. Making the whole premise absurd.

SarahCarer Wed 18-Jul-18 21:52:55

It is instinct mimicking and modelling oneself on others though. It is obviously not instinctive to prefer dresses to trousers for example. That is not what I'm saying at all. But the instinct to copy based upon categorisation may well be there for many children I think.

SarahCarer Wed 18-Jul-18 21:53:32

It is instinctive mimicking and modelling oneself

Jamieandwordswo Wed 18-Jul-18 21:54:55

How is that an identity?

All human beings learn through imitation.

TallulahWaitingInTheRain Wed 18-Jul-18 21:57:33

Gender identity = instinctive complicit performance of a sex based role

Most convincing definition I've seen yet

Jamieandwordswo Wed 18-Jul-18 21:58:04

And gender isn’t just how we are expected to behave. It is how we are treated by society.

If a rapist rapes me, that’s an outcome of gender but I am not complicit or performing the role of rape victim, or inadequately resisting.

SarahCarer Wed 18-Jul-18 22:00:40

*How is that an identity?

All human beings learn through imitation.*

Well the child copies the category they think they belong to (And sometimes it is not the category they actually belong to) and because they do that instinctively they don't realise they are copying. So, for example, boy who loves soccer does not think "I love soccer because Dad does and Uncle Jon does and they have penises too...boy thinks "I love soccer because I am a boy"

Jamieandwordswo Wed 18-Jul-18 22:03:13

Because nobody thinks ‘with a penis’ because everyone knows that is what a boy is.

Cwenthryth Wed 18-Jul-18 22:05:40

I’m not comfortable with the word ‘instinctive’ either.

The first definition of ‘instinct’ on google: an innate, typically fixed pattern of behaviour in animals in response to certain stimuli.

I do not believe gender is innate, as I do not believe that humans express “gender identity” independently of the societal conditioning they are raised in.

I’d counter that “gender identity” could be definite as a conditioned performance of a stereotyped sex-based role.

Cwenthryth Wed 18-Jul-18 22:06:36

*defined not definite. Autocorrect.

FissionChips Wed 18-Jul-18 22:08:04

gender identity” could be defined as a conditioned performance of a stereotyped sex-based role

^^ this.

SarahCarer Wed 18-Jul-18 22:13:48

@Jamieandwordswo And gender isn’t just how we are expected to behave. It is how we are treated by society.
If a rapist rapes me, that’s an outcome of gender but I am not complicit or performing the role of rape victim, or inadequately resisting. True but if rape is an outcome of gender (I think individual male agency is also heavily involved) then the man is complicit in that instance. Men tend to be a lot more complicit with sex roles than women ime. Hence toxic masculinity and rampant homophobia among men.

SarahCarer Wed 18-Jul-18 22:19:49

I think I am comfortable with the idea that many children instinctively copy based upon perceived categorisation. It is society that categorises. The categorisation is imposed (conditioning). Look at our highly sex based language structure. Every time I refer to someone without using their name I have to remind myself and others of their sex. Pronouns themselves contribute to the categorisation, which I agree is social conditioning.

Jamieandwordswo Wed 18-Jul-18 22:22:35

Gender is a collective outcome.

The categories are real. They are not invented.

Cwenthryth Wed 18-Jul-18 22:22:54

From my understanding your using ‘instinctive’ wrongly there, at least from a behavioural point of view - you’re talking about conditioned, ie learned behaviour. Instinctive, or innate behaviour would develop independently of society.

SarahCarer Wed 18-Jul-18 22:26:37

Copying a category is instinctive. What that will look like depends on the setting.

ICJump Wed 18-Jul-18 22:27:36

I wonder if it’s more like
Gender identity willing performance of gender stereotypes.

Jamieandwordswo Wed 18-Jul-18 22:28:47

It’s just a very convoluted way of saying that humans are social animals.

Cwenthryth Wed 18-Jul-18 22:30:31

Ok, so you could argue that the process of learning the gendered behaviour is instinctive (possibly - not convinced) but it does not follow that the resulting “gender identity” (conditioned behaviour) is in itself instinctive, so using that term as part of a proposed definition is very misleading.

SarahCarer Wed 18-Jul-18 22:32:12

The categories are real but the categorisation goes far beyond circumstances where the real differences between the categories have any bearing. It is applied every few sentences. Not just when we're talking biology.

Jamieandwordswo Wed 18-Jul-18 22:34:02

Yes, that’s sex roles.

But it remains untrue that the categories themselves are socially imposed. The categories are inevitable - their extent is not.

Jamieandwordswo Wed 18-Jul-18 22:35:35

And we don’t just talk biology. We are biological. We’re real. I’m really female 24 hours a day. I’m not a head in a jar.

Pratchet Wed 18-Jul-18 22:38:10

The definition of gender identity isn't relevant to the definition of sex and the legal and cultural primary importance of biological sex.

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