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Genderedness and Oppression

YYW
Posts: 36,282
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4/26/2016 5:01:23 AM
Posted: 7 months ago
I leave this here to remind myself to discuss how social recognition of gender in any respect does violence to those who are identified both internally and externally as such, as well as those who are identified by others who identify those other than themselves as existing within the parameters of some gender.

I will add that further categorization of gender does nothing to remediate the problem; but, rather, only perpetuates or exacerbates the forces that gave rise to the problem initially. Those who, therefore, fight for further recognition of more genders beyond the conventional ones do so not only in vain, but at the expense of all who are gendered.
Tsar of DDO
tejretics
Posts: 6,086
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4/26/2016 7:20:48 AM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 4/26/2016 5:01:23 AM, YYW wrote:
I leave this here to remind myself to discuss how social recognition of gender in any respect does violence to those who are identified both internally and externally as such, as well as those who are identified by others who identify those other than themselves as existing within the parameters of some gender.

I will add that further categorization of gender does nothing to remediate the problem; but, rather, only perpetuates or exacerbates the forces that gave rise to the problem initially. Those who, therefore, fight for further recognition of more genders beyond the conventional ones do so not only in vain, but at the expense of all who are gendered.

+10

So much this. I'm glad someone gets the point.
"Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe." - Frederick Douglass
tejretics
Posts: 6,086
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4/26/2016 7:52:03 AM
Posted: 7 months ago
To add to YYW's post, let me just explain what "gender" is and why it shouldn't be categorized.

Most people recognize the distinction between a person's biological sex and their gender. Now, most places - especially on the internet - are extremely vague on what exactly "gender" is. It isn't that simple a concept to understand and I had to do a lot of research and have a lot of conversations about it to clear my mind. Gender is a mixture of social and neurological perspectives of a person's sex.

An individual's sex is a fairly simple concept. It is essentially a biological feature defined by an individual's genetic characteristics - specifically, the presence of X chromosomes and Y chromosomes. These chromosomes also define certain biological characteristics, such as the presence of hormones. Those of the female sex have higher levels of estrogen and progesterone than they do of testosterone; males have more testosterone than estrogen and progesterone (since they are produced by respective endocrine glands). In some cases (specifically, around 1 in 1500 births), "a child is born with a mix between female and male genitalia; they are sometimes termed intersex, and the parents may decide which gender to assign to the child." (http://www.medicalnewstoday.com...)

"Gender" is a slightly more complex concept and is only mildly relevant to sex, based on correlations more than anything else. Gender is essentially based on socially constructed norms assigned to males and females. But it isn't entirely a product of society - these socially constructed norms are created due to some intrinsic differences. The difference is primarily in neurology. Studies on chimpanzees have found differences in behavioral characteristics between males and females, and - in humans and apes - there are major differences in brain physiology as well. This is partially due to sex, but only partially. Some people have chromosomes associated with a certain sex, but neurology associated with the opposite sex. For example, in transsexuals, such differences do exist. Male-to-female transsexuals have a female-normal size while female-to-male transsexuals have a male-normal size.

These brain differences caused society to create different recognition for people displaying such behavior. And, more often than not, the brain structure correlated with one's birth sex - society didn't take into account the existence of transsexuals, et cetera. Now, in an attempt to become "more liberal," and cast aside perceived conservative linings, society began to recognize more genders. The initial reason was a positive one: we correctly recognized that there are people who don't fit into the binary constructed by society, so new recognition was made. But that led to what is known as gender identity. Gender identity refers to the gender one identifies into. Sure, this all sounds like good progress. What exactly is wrong with it?

The answer can be summed up in one word: categorization. Society correctly realized there were exceptions to the binary it created. It got the wrong solution. Instead of rejecting the very concept of gender, it started creating new slots for new genders, and categorizing that neurology. I can hear the hypothetical reader of this post asking me now: "But Tej, you said that there are differences based on gender - so what's wrong in society accepting those differences?" The question is not whether differences exist. The point is, those differences - subtle behavioral differences - aren't relevant socially at all. To justify this point, let's look to the studies on behavioral changes. The only proper studies on this have been performed in chimpanzees, and they're primarily toy-based differences (https://animalwise.org...). They're differences in the selection of toys.

While it may indicate some behavioral changes - and that itself is up for debate - these changes aren't sufficient to categorize gender at all. People of opposite genders behave very similarly often. So categorizing them is pointless: there are no socially relevant differences in this inherent characteristic.

Now, I can hear the hypothetical reader ask, again: "Okay Tej, gender is useless. But why take all the effort to erase gender when it's so tough to do so?" I concede, what I've presented so far is - to use the debate term - "defense." So let's look to the harms of categorization. In our society, people are often categorized based on gender. And this categorization leads to different roles being ascribed to different genders. The entire focus of gender is gender roles - the actions society views as normative for a gender to perform. These gender roles are bad because, at some point, they lead to rejection of any crossing of that label. For example, homosexuals are urged to undergo some nonsense "gay conversion therapy" to "cure" themselves. If they don't, they are rejected by society. Transgender individuals are expected to go to a bathroom of their birth gender rather than their current one - there are even laws requiring this. And doing that gets them harassed.

The impact of this categorization is rejection by society. That's why homosexuals "stay in the closet." That's the reason many transgender people are afraid to "come out" as transgender. That's why male rape is so rarely reported. Fear of rejection based on perceived gender roles. This categorization has to stop, or it will lead to injustice, psychological damage and discrimination based on an irrelevant, intrinsic characteristic.
"Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe." - Frederick Douglass
keithprosser
Posts: 1,965
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4/26/2016 9:27:50 AM
Posted: 7 months ago
I am unclear if you are asking for the withdrawal of any 'official' recognition of gender or if you want people to ignore gender at a personal level or indeed for,say,gays to cease categorising themselves as gay.
tejretics
Posts: 6,086
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5/6/2016 10:50:48 AM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 4/26/2016 5:01:23 AM, YYW wrote:
I leave this here to remind myself to discuss how social recognition of gender in any respect does violence to those who are identified both internally and externally as such, as well as those who are identified by others who identify those other than themselves as existing within the parameters of some gender.

I'd like to know your thoughts/explanation.
"Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe." - Frederick Douglass
Mhykiel
Posts: 5,987
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5/6/2016 5:28:37 PM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 4/26/2016 5:01:23 AM, YYW wrote:
I leave this here to remind myself to discuss how social recognition of gender in any respect does violence to those who are identified both internally and externally as such, as well as those who are identified by others who identify those other than themselves as existing within the parameters of some gender.

I will add that further categorization of gender does nothing to remediate the problem; but, rather, only perpetuates or exacerbates the forces that gave rise to the problem initially. Those who, therefore, fight for further recognition of more genders beyond the conventional ones do so not only in vain, but at the expense of all who are gendered.

I don't see how it causes violence.

I have seen lists 50 entries long for gender. I think it is a sign of confusion because whether your a tom boy a demigirl or a purple people eater, our identities shouldn't be wrapped up so much in such things.
Danielle
Posts: 21,330
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5/6/2016 9:22:42 PM
Posted: 7 months ago
Gender is not inherently violent. Violence implies physical force. Misgendering someone based on their perceived or alleged gender might qualify as bullying (if intentional) but it's certainly not aggressive. I think creating all types of genders gives credence to the notion that gender in itself is quite frivolous. However while it's not something that is necessarily objective or set in stone, I still think it serves a purpose or rather does not have to be used for oppressive reasons.

Think of how many people celebrate and rejoice in their gender identity. While males tend to be poked fun at for embracing their masculinity (and admittedly it's because a lot of "masculine" habits or traits are quite ridiculous), female empowerment is a huge trend and arguably an important distinction / celebration for the feminist movement (disclaimer: I'm playing devil's advocate here). I'll admit that some songs make me really friggin excited about my femininity. Slay trick or you get e-liminated! (I'll save my drag queen commetary on gender for another post.)

I'm curious - do you think identifying as a particular race or ethnicity is equally violent?
President of DDO
tejretics
Posts: 6,086
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5/7/2016 3:31:55 AM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 5/6/2016 9:22:42 PM, Danielle wrote:
Gender is not inherently violent. Violence implies physical force.

I'd say gender causes oppression and violence, regardless of whether it is "inherent."
"Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe." - Frederick Douglass
Df0512
Posts: 966
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5/7/2016 10:05:00 AM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 5/7/2016 3:31:55 AM, tejretics wrote:
At 5/6/2016 9:22:42 PM, Danielle wrote:
Gender is not inherently violent. Violence implies physical force.

I'd say gender causes oppression and violence, regardless of whether it is "inherent."

People cause oppression and violence. Gender is just a word that tells wether you have a Y or X chromosome. It has for years. What has changes is our need to be defined exactly how we say we should be. Not to say sexism doesn't exist but that is no genders fault. Its that individuals fault. Its like people feel they have the right to not be uncomfortable. On some level there has to be some tolerance.