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Gender and sex

(68 Posts)
Jellyeggs Tue 11-Aug-20 13:19:23

I am still thinking about these a lot and while I don’t accept TWAW I think I am starting to recognize gender identity as a function of a highly sexist society which I don’t enjoy but I have to recognise as existing. Therefore I don’t think I am actually gender critical, as I do acknowledge that it is unbearable for some people to be expected to behave and be treated as their sex stereotype. I expect it is a huge relief to claim you are the opposite gender and then just enjoy living the stereotypes of that sex. In this respect I think non binary gender is a smashing identity to assume.

However I also see the difference between male and female sexed bodies as being critically important. I also don’t really care about post-op transsexuals in women’s spaces, but I accept that many people are deeply uncomfortable with that too.

I’m so conflicted and dreading the kids going back to their super woke school where ‘anyone can be a boy or a girl’ and being taught that their sexed bodies are pretty much irrelevant.

So can I acknowledge both gender identity and female sex as distinct and equally important classes? And am I totally alone in this thinking?

OP’s posts: |
noblegiraffe Tue 11-Aug-20 13:23:22

Is how well you conform to outdated stereotypes really an equally important class? They’re certainly trying to make it that way, but I thought feminists weren’t about that sort of nonsense.

Jellyeggs Tue 11-Aug-20 13:27:23

I hovered over the word equally as I typed it!!

I decided to go with it because the state of existing as a gender non-conforming person in a sexist society is pretty huge for those people and I can acknowledge that. It probably isn’t important to some people the way sexed bodies aren’t important to others.

Maybe I am the as feminist as I first thought since I am starting to think sexist stereotypes are so completely ingrained into my community. It doesn’t mean I like them though. I am confused.

OP’s posts: |
CuriousaboutSamphire Tue 11-Aug-20 13:31:29

Ah! Welcome in! You seem to be about where I was 3ish years ago!

Like many here I have trans friends/family and wasn't really in board with the GC message and would have made attempts not to show my initial unease when a transwoman entered a single sex. female space.

BUT... non binary gender is a smashing identity to assume. I am a self employed, short haired, non make up wearing, flat shoes, trousers and big boobs. Not gay, happily married to a hetero male for 30+ years. Most of that makes me non binary according to Stonewall! That and I don't assume and identity - I am simply me!

I also don’t really care about post-op transsexuals in women’s spaces, - 90ish% of transwomen have non/very little surgery at all. Mostly breast implants and make up. So most transwomen have a penis! That does make me feel uncomfortable when I am in what I think is a single sex, female, space.

‘anyone can be a boy or a girl’ Horrendous isn't it? "You can be anything you want to be" has been mutilated!

So can I acknowledge both gender identity and female sex as distinct and equally important classes? And am I totally alone in this thinking? No, not at all. It is what most GC women think.

Issues arise when Gender Identity and other such phrases are used in place of the legal characteristics in the Equalities Act 2010. That is why GC women fight the term not the existence of the ideology, thoughts and feelings.

CuriousaboutSamphire Tue 11-Aug-20 13:35:45

Sorry for the repeted quotes. I am thinking it through as I type!

the state of existing as a gender non-conforming person in a sexist society is pretty huge for those people but many people live like that! I do, always have done. From my Tom-Boy childhood to my non Barbie adulthood!

I am starting to think sexist stereotypes are so completely ingrained into my community. Yep! That's why women speaking up against them is easily misquoted, mangled and ignored.

It doesn’t mean I like them though. Me either

I am confused. I am becoming less so... it takes a while and can be an infuriating learning experience!

twoHopes Tue 11-Aug-20 13:39:35

I agree with some of what you say OP but I really have an issue with "gender identity" as a recognised class. I'm imagining a teenage boy growing up in a rough inner city council estate. In order to survive (and not get beaten to a pulp) he will imitate the masculine stereotype he sees among the older boys. Is that his "gender identity"? How can it be an identity when he had no choice but to identify with it?

The idea that we create legal categories around what is (for anyone but the very privileged) socially coerced behaviour does not sit right with me. I am comfortable with categories of "sex" and "gender reassignment", I can't get on board with "gender identity".

noblegiraffe Tue 11-Aug-20 13:40:00

existing as a gender non-conforming person in a sexist society is pretty huge

I’m not sure it’s as huge as many would like to tell you. I think there’s a certain ‘universe is against me’ mentality that is stirred up by social media.

I think paying ‘gender non-conformists’ less attention rather than more would be the right way to go about it. People who make a big deal about not conforming to stereotypes are entrenching those stereotypes.

skql Tue 11-Aug-20 13:47:39

People who make a big deal about not conforming to stereotypes are entrenching those stereotypes.

grin
so true.

when you wanna be 'non binary', there should be 'binary'

Goosefoot Tue 11-Aug-20 13:53:22

I'm inclined to disagree somewhat with the premise. While some, maybe many, people don't want to be treated like some sterotype of masculinity or femininity, generally, that isn't required. Look around - not in magazines, which have never been representative, but in a busy pub or in a Walmart. Lots of people are just normal, women with shorter hair in jeans and no make up abound. Men with long hair or an earring, though you might be less likely to see one in a skirt or make-up. You'll see women in the army, or men in nursing, without having to look too far.

I don't think anyone desperately needs to wear pink, or a dress, or anything like that, in order to live a validated happy life, and so if people feel that's too far outside social norms for them, I seriously doubt the level of mental distress that causes.

RaveOnThisCrazyFeeling Tue 11-Aug-20 13:57:39

I think you may be misunderstand what 'Gender Critical' means.

It doesn't mean 'critical of people who believe in gender identity and/or wish to be perceived as the other sex'.

You say "I do acknowledge that it is unbearable for some people to be expected to behave and be treated as their sex stereotype." It is this set of expectations (i.e., what 'gender' means in Feminism) that 'GC Feminists' are critical of. It sounds like you're critical of it too, and that makes you gender critical.

If you think it would be more progressive to continue the work of our foremothers in challenging and doing away with those sex role stereotypes, than it is to redefine the stereotypes as true, innate 'gender identity' and encourage any young person who isn't comfortable with them to accept that they must not be a 'proper' boy/girl, then [brace yourself] you are not only gender critical, but also a hateful bigot who is responsible for thousands of deaths.

Welcome.

FloralBunting Tue 11-Aug-20 13:59:06

Feminists don't say that gender doesn't exist. We are saying it is not innate. We are saying it is a malleable product of arbitrary cultural conventions and the interplay of those conventions and the assumptions connected to them.

We are saying that as an arbitrary, culturally bound idea, it should not lead to medical malpractice, it should not mean that sex based protections which are based in physical realities and the inequalities that have arisen due to women's oppression should be destroyed, it should not mean that those people with a strong aversion or connection to the 'wrong' cultural conventions or behaviours should need to claim to be something other than the male or female person they are.

This was a perfectly rational and increasingly accept idea a few years ago, and is usually short handed by such ground breaking phrases as 'Girls don't have to like pink' or 'It's not weakness for boys to cry'.

It was my uncomfortable feelings and rejection of gender stereotypes that led me to feminist perspectives. Being unhappy with being treated according to strict gender stereotypes is the springboard to feminism. That's why we say that gender should be questioned.

Not because it doesn't exist. Because it bloody well does, and is a prison humanity has constructed for itself that has huge negative aspects, mostly for women, and should be challenged, not turned into a new religion.

Seriously, this is feminism 101.

CuriousaboutSamphire Tue 11-Aug-20 14:01:00

Seriously, this is feminism 101. Yep! and some of the posters here are recent graduates.

Don't let the fierce responses put you off! It's part of becoming less confused!

FloralBunting Tue 11-Aug-20 14:03:32

Was I fierce, Curious? smile Just trying to outline some basic stuff that gets lost in the mix sometimes. I'm not a 'GC feminist'. The GC is completely redundant. Feminism challenges gender. There is no feminism that accepts the gender system as a wonderful part of human existence.

CuriousaboutSamphire Tue 11-Aug-20 14:13:08

Sorry Floral I wasn't thinking of any particular poster, just the tone of some of them smile

But yes, maybe that last sentence was a tad Grrrr! for a self confessed confused newbie.

I have started pointing that out in real life too - I am not GC anything. It's as redunant as cis.

SheWhoMustNotBeHeard Tue 11-Aug-20 14:21:04

Since we're doing a 101 course, I always understood gender and sex to be interchangeable growing up. It was one and the same. I've spoken to friends and family about this, and they have the same experience. When did gender become something different to sex? Or was always separate?

I'm still trying to get my head around the whole gender thing too. Trans, agender, gender fluid. How many genders can there really be? It's almost like "there's no word to describe how I feel so I'll create a new gender just for me." I'm being facetious but why is there such a need to label and define and proclaim?

FloralBunting Tue 11-Aug-20 14:21:14

But yes, maybe that last sentence was a tad Grrrr! for a self confessed confused newbie.

I blame the heat. I just shouted at the fucking kettle for adding to the bastard heat.grin

FloralBunting Tue 11-Aug-20 14:24:02

SheWho, I think that interchangeability arose because of a prim need to avoid saying sex, tbh, because sex obviously also means shagging. That was certainly my experience. Like a parent telling you to say 'pardon?' not 'what?'.

CuriousaboutSamphire Tue 11-Aug-20 14:24:24

grin

TyroSaysMeow Tue 11-Aug-20 14:25:52

Well said, Floral. "Gender criticism" has always been integral to feminism.

gender identity as a function of a highly sexist society

Absolutely; it's not an innate, predetermined thing, but a product of one's experience in a sexed body and a sexist world. In that sense, 'transwoman' is a gender identity that males can acquire, 'terf' is a gender identity that females can acquire. Though it would be more accurate to call them gendered identities.

CuriousaboutSamphire Tue 11-Aug-20 14:28:32

I always understood gender and sex to be interchangeable growing up. It was one and the same. It has waxed and waned over the years, depending on whether Mary Whitehouse et al were getting heard or not!

But when you say 'sex' you mean the act of having it or you are referring to the biology of a thing. You are never referring to a social construct.

When you say gender you could be referring to the biology or could be referring to the social construct. You are never referring to the act of having sex.

So "sex is biology" and "gender is a social construct" is the clearest way to use the terms, surely!

CuriousaboutSamphire Tue 11-Aug-20 14:30:29

why is there such a need to label and define and proclaim? To befuddle, obscure and put peopple on the defensive so some poeple can doa s they please regardles of who they may hurt, it seems!

As for types of gender, 60, 70 and rising, I think!

OldCrone Tue 11-Aug-20 14:32:43

I don’t think I am actually gender critical, as I do acknowledge that it is unbearable for some people to be expected to behave and be treated as their sex stereotype. I expect it is a huge relief to claim you are the opposite gender and then just enjoy living the stereotypes of that sex. In this respect I think non binary gender is a smashing identity to assume.

I have never wanted to behave and be treated as my sex stereotype. Many women don't. I've never felt the need to deny that I'm a woman though. Why should anyone feel the need to deny the reality of their sex in order to be themselves?

Stereotypes and cultural norms can change. Not so long ago it was unacceptable for women to wear trousers or to work after they got married. Now those things are perfectly normal. If all the women who wanted to do those things had declared that they were men or non-binary, the rest of us would still be stuck with only being allowed to do 'womanly' things.

Feminism is about improving the world for all women. A woman declaring she is a man or non-binary is only thinking of herself. And by calling the rest of us 'cis' she is making the assumption that we're all happy with the stereotypes.

Jellyeggs Tue 11-Aug-20 14:39:09

I appreciate the replies. I don’t think women should have to all sing from exactly the same hymn sheet either so I know I won’t agree with everything and that’s OK by me.

The ideology and the online posturing of both sides seems so far removed from real life where my friends will scoff and eye roll at the mention of JK Rowling but you scrape under the surface and they don’t actually believe TWAW any more than anyone else.

The adult human female/2+2 t-shirts are so inocuous and yet I wouldn’t dare wear one in public. (just because the cut isn’t flattering enough for my shape...kidding). Yet people can yell “TWAW, bitch” on social media and it’s seen as a virtue. I don’t get it.

It seems that gender is acknowledged here but gender identity is criticized? I have sympathy with people that are so entrenched in gender norms that it becomes their identity. Should any identity be protected then? IS any other self declared identity legally protected?

OP’s posts: |
twoHopes Tue 11-Aug-20 14:41:16

Since we're doing a 101 course, I always understood gender and sex to be interchangeable growing up. It was one and the same. I've spoken to friends and family about this, and they have the same experience.

I think this is an important point. I agree with the distinction between sex and gender that is normally made on FWR. But let's not forget that most people do not understand that distinction and, in fact, many languages do not have a word for "gender". The use of the same words ("woman", "gender", "trans") to mean completely different things is, I believe, one of the core issues in this debate. Unless we can all agree on these definitions then we are going to be stuck in a perpetual nonsensical argument.

CuriousaboutSamphire Tue 11-Aug-20 14:44:04

Should any identity be protected then? IS any other self declared identity legally protected? But gender identity is NOT legally protected. That's the point. That is what the TRA obfuscation is all about. Sneaking it in by replacing Sex or Gender Reassignment with Gender Identity

EA201 cararcteristics are:
- age
- disability
- gender reassignment
- marriage and civil partnership
- pregnancy and maternity
- race
- religion or belief
- sex
- sexual orientation

No identities at all!

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