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Thoughts on gender

tejretics
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4/26/2016 7:53:38 AM
Posted: 7 months ago
So I made this post in the Philosophy forum in response to YYW; I'm interested to hear all your thoughts.

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
tejretics
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4/26/2016 8:04:39 AM
Posted: 7 months ago
TL;DR

Social categorization of gender is a pointless tool and should be rejected.
"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
someloser
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4/26/2016 9:03:12 AM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 4/26/2016 7:53:38 AM, tejretics wrote:
Most people recognize the distinction between a person's biological sex and their gender.
Yes, and it appears to be defacto nonsense. The latter is directly derived from the former (and corresponds an overwhelming amount of the time). Are they exactly the same thing? No - but they're hardly separate.

Now, most places - especially on the internet - are extremely vague on what exactly "gender" is.
True - it seems to constitute whatever social memes (in the Dawkins sense of the word) are attached to the recognition of biological sex/gender (as you defined it below).

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.
There is no problem, beyond the amount (or nature of) of new categories getting a bit silly.

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.
There's nothing subtle about them (either on a physical or behavioral level), nor are they socially irrelevant in the slightest. Note the role sexual selection played in recent human evolution (particularly when it comes to the development of sexual dimorphism).

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.
Nevermind the already established effects of (inborn) hormonal differences - here's another example: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com... and another: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...

There's a wealth of data on genetic differences regarding similar behavioral differences. Cohen's The Essential Difference did a good job at summarizing much of it.

Note that, from a purely evolutionary perspective, expecting minimal - let alone socially inconsequential - differences in behaviour is laughably unrealistic.

While it may indicate some behavioral changes - and that itself is up for debate -
It's up for debate, in the sense that the earth being flat or Jersey Shore being a national disgrace is up for debate. The only real question is the extent (and we're well beyond whether it's significant at this point).

these changes aren't sufficient to categorize gender at all.
Categorizations aren't made based on average differences. They're made because of biological differences - which in turn manifest themselves behaviorally.

People of opposite genders behave very similarly often. So categorizing them is pointless: there are no socially relevant differences in this inherent characteristic.
They are definitely socially relevant - see above.

And this categorization leads to different roles being ascribed to different genders.
It is far more realistic to claim that the different roles came about as a result of the inherent differences (particularly the necessarily implications of reproductive roles on primitive societies, but inherent behavioral ones too) being recognized and formalized.

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.
Enforcement is the problem, not the concept.

For example, homosexuals are urged to undergo some nonsense "gay conversion therapy" to "cure" themselves.
More to do with the orientation than with gender roles, not that they're totally unrelated. Makes no sense to attribute it to the latter.

If they don't, they are rejected by society.
Which society? You'll have to be more specific - this is very obviously not the case in a significant portion of the Western world.

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.
Has more to do with (potentially ill-founded) concerns of "safety", etc.

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.
And this is where we have to completely disagree. You're assuming that the categorization necessarily leads to gender roles, which in turn must be their current (somewhat pernicious) manifestations (why?), which in turn must be enforced in a way that causes psychological damage. The logical leaps are pretty big and not very well supported.

This categorization has to stop, or it will lead to injustice, psychological damage and discrimination based on an irrelevant, intrinsic characteristic.
Categorization does not need to stop - nevermind that the intrinsic differences are far from irrelevant. What needs to stop are the social myths that come to be associated with it.
Ego sum qui sum. Deus lo vult.

"America is ungovernable; those who served the revolution have plowed the sea." - Simon Bolivar

"A healthy nation is as unconscious of its nationality as a healthy man of his bones. But if you break a nation's nationality it will think of nothing else but getting it set again." - George Bernard Shaw
tejretics
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4/26/2016 9:09:06 AM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 4/26/2016 9:03:12 AM, someloser wrote:

Gender is ascribing social expectations to a certain sex because the said sex displays some subtle differences in behavior. The differences in behavior are definitely subtle, and no research indicates that such psychological differences are socially relevant. There are major, socially relevant differences between the sexes (e.g. sexual dimorphism's impact on evolution and reproduction), but that does not mean ascribing social expectations to those. Those biological differences don't reflect on gender roles, et cetera, at all. There's no point in identifying to a certain gender or fulfilling such social expectations.
"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
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4/26/2016 9:11:42 AM
Posted: 7 months ago
Note: someloser's post starts out by dismissing the distinction between "sex" and "gender," but they are two words that have two separate meanings. The first regards chromosomal biology and its effects - which do have an effect on behavior. The second regards the social expectation associated with sex (read: fulfilling certain social roles). I argue that such roles shouldn't be ascribed based on gender.
"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
someloser
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4/26/2016 9:24:43 AM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 4/26/2016 9:11:42 AM, tejretics wrote:
Note: someloser's post starts out by dismissing the distinction between "sex" and "gender," but they are two words that have two separate meanings.
The distinction is fairly recent as a popular phenomenon, and likely political in nature as well (this can easily be verified by looking at which camps - in or out of academia - make use of it).

I'm not precisely dismissing it, per se, just pointing out it is very overstated in significance.

At 4/26/2016 9:09:06 AM, tejretics wrote:
At 4/26/2016 9:03:12 AM, someloser wrote:

Gender is ascribing social expectations to a certain sex because the said sex displays some subtle differences in behavior.

The differences in behavior are definitely subtle, and no research indicates that such psychological differences are socially relevant.
To the contrary - observe how the implications of male vs. female distribution in traits lead to massive disparities in, for example, leadership roles and certain facets of academia (STEM, for example). Additionally, my first reply contained a couple of studies which documented the very significant differences in the distribution of socially-relevant traits.

Is there any research that suggests biological differences are "subtle", or even to assume it?

There are major, socially relevant differences between the sexes (e.g. sexual dimorphism's impact on evolution and reproduction), but that does not mean ascribing social expectations to those.
Doesn't necessarily mean we should assign said expectations, no. There are other reasons for that.

There's no point in identifying to a certain gender or fulfilling such social expectations.
Given the important role sexually-unequal child-rearing strategies have played in virtually all human (particularly, modern) societies, there is definitely a case to be made for them. Note that, given the genetic nature of many important differences, gender roles become inevitable (even as a statistical recognition of group differences).

We can agree that their expression in modern society is not ideal.
Ego sum qui sum. Deus lo vult.

"America is ungovernable; those who served the revolution have plowed the sea." - Simon Bolivar

"A healthy nation is as unconscious of its nationality as a healthy man of his bones. But if you break a nation's nationality it will think of nothing else but getting it set again." - George Bernard Shaw
someloser
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4/26/2016 9:28:41 AM
Posted: 7 months ago
More importantly, one must ask if there is any evidence to suggest mass societal acceptance of the "no gender/roles" concept is realistically plausible. Note the fundamental human tendency to form categorizations (particularly where they prove useful).
Ego sum qui sum. Deus lo vult.

"America is ungovernable; those who served the revolution have plowed the sea." - Simon Bolivar

"A healthy nation is as unconscious of its nationality as a healthy man of his bones. But if you break a nation's nationality it will think of nothing else but getting it set again." - George Bernard Shaw
EndarkenedRationalist
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4/26/2016 5:17:40 PM
Posted: 7 months ago
While abolishing gender constructions entirely is ideal, it is also impractical, if not downright impossible. This is why attempts to do so are futile. Not only are they inefficient, but they run counter to human nature. The human brain naturally categorizes. It is physically impossible for it not to do so; the wealth of information and nuance is overwhelming. Therefore we must accept the next best thing, which is allowing people to shape their own identities.
Skepsikyma
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4/26/2016 7:12:39 PM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 4/26/2016 7:53:38 AM, tejretics wrote:
This is a great OP, and pretty much nails the heart of the issue. The only inaccuracies is that societies don't recognize outliers. Sometimes, they do; each society is different. Examples would be the Samoan fa'afafine, Thai kahtoey, tom, and dee, Persian culture in Iran, where transsexualism is supported by fatwa to this day, the Bugis of Sulawesi, many cultures of the Philippines, parts of India, and a huge amount of native American tribes. It was mostly Roman society which severely frowned upon any deviation from gender norms, and that has carried on to the present day. There's a pretty funny part of Seneca's moral letters where he is astounded by the fact that Epicurus could be a courageous, good person while also wearing a long-sleeved tunic (considered effeminate in his era). That stark outlook, particularly prominent in stoicism, influenced both the spiritual and social development of Europe.
"The Collectivist experiment is thoroughly suited (in appearance at least) to the Capitalist society which it proposes to replace. It works with the existing machinery of Capitalism, talks and thinks in the existing terms of Capitalism, appeals to just those appetites which Capitalism has aroused, and ridicules as fantastic and unheard-of just those things in society the memory of which Capitalism has killed among men wherever the blight of it has spread."
- Hilaire Belloc -
someloser
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4/27/2016 1:53:32 AM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 4/26/2016 5:17:40 PM, EndarkenedRationalist wrote:
While abolishing gender constructions entirely is ideal, it is also impractical, if not downright impossible. This is why attempts to do so are futile. Not only are they inefficient, but they run counter to human nature. The human brain naturally categorizes. It is physically impossible for it not to do so; the wealth of information and nuance is overwhelming.
^^
Ego sum qui sum. Deus lo vult.

"America is ungovernable; those who served the revolution have plowed the sea." - Simon Bolivar

"A healthy nation is as unconscious of its nationality as a healthy man of his bones. But if you break a nation's nationality it will think of nothing else but getting it set again." - George Bernard Shaw
YYW
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4/27/2016 3:08:42 AM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 4/26/2016 7:53:38 AM, tejretics wrote:
So I made this post in the Philosophy forum in response to YYW; I'm interested to hear all your thoughts.

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.

Some people will always regard change to the social order as impossible, and scoff at those who want to move the culture into a better place.

Some people are so dumb. The world we ought to live in looks closer to the one described in the OP than the one in which we presently find ourselves.

Down with this sickness.
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tejretics
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4/28/2016 4:09:26 AM
Posted: 7 months ago
Just keeping this thread on the top - interested in hearing all your thoughts.
"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
Blade-of-Truth
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4/28/2016 5:59:40 AM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 4/26/2016 7:53:38 AM, tejretics wrote:

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.

Yep.

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...)

In the case of hermaphrodites I think it's ultimately up to the child to determine their own gender, and this obviously comes with its own set of ramifications in regards to the social aspect of gender identity. Will they rebel against the gender their parents assigned to them at birth? Do they fit more into the societal standards of what a male or female *should* look like? How about in comparison to the gender they identify with? These are all questions that are worthy of exploration, but are ultimately irrelevant to the main point of the OP (which I agree with).

"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.

Yep.

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.

I agree with this. There's a personal experience I have that actually mimics the toy test with the chimpanzees while also showing the fault within it all: I had a friend who had a younger brother that preferred playing with barbie dolls and dollhouses. So much so that I'd even give him my sisters toys whenever I'd be going to their house. However, he now has a gf and has been with her for a few years, and by all means identifies as a guy. Had he been a hermaphrodite and his parents chosen his gender for him based on his toy preference, well, I think he'd have eventually rebelled. While this is obviously anecdotal, it's why I personally agree with the point that there are no socially relevant differences in these inherent characteristics.

At the same time though, there is something to be said about common patterns with *most* males and *most* females, as I believe only a minority of both really emulate opposite characteristics on a long-term basis.

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.

Agreed. With the creation of any 'social group' comes those who either support the legitimacy of that group or don't. Those that don't sometimes take their disliking or rejection of the group to the extreme point of harassment. This is indeed a harm.

With that said, that harm seems to be a necessary condition for the very concept of a 'group' since the 'group' will always be something that is separate from the 'whole'. If you're not going to ultimately advocate for the dismissal of all social groups altogether, then I don't see why this matters since it's a necessary condition of 'group-hood' in the first place.

So... why stop with just gender groups? The only harm you put forth extends to far more groups than just that.
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tejretics
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4/28/2016 6:00:56 AM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 4/28/2016 5:59:40 AM, Blade-of-Truth wrote:
So... why stop with just gender groups? The only harm you put forth extends to far more groups than just gender.

Yep. Extend it to other groups as well.
"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
Blade-of-Truth
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4/28/2016 6:19:21 AM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 4/28/2016 6:00:56 AM, tejretics wrote:
At 4/28/2016 5:59:40 AM, Blade-of-Truth wrote:
So... why stop with just gender groups? The only harm you put forth extends to far more groups than just gender.

Yep. Extend it to other groups as well.

Alright fine, I'll do it.

I hereby declare all groups null and void as they are clearly more harmful than they are beneficial. We are now all one, we are all part of the 'whole'. The time for the true space age has arrived - we shall stand united, as humans, against the unknowingness of the vast expanse of our Universe.
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someloser
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4/28/2016 6:21:29 AM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 4/28/2016 6:00:56 AM, tejretics wrote:
At 4/28/2016 5:59:40 AM, Blade-of-Truth wrote:
So... why stop with just gender groups? The only harm you put forth extends to far more groups than just gender.

Yep. Extend it to other groups as well.

Which would be ideal, under the right circumstances, and - short of a massive external threat - unlikely to happen.
Ego sum qui sum. Deus lo vult.

"America is ungovernable; those who served the revolution have plowed the sea." - Simon Bolivar

"A healthy nation is as unconscious of its nationality as a healthy man of his bones. But if you break a nation's nationality it will think of nothing else but getting it set again." - George Bernard Shaw
Diqiucun_Cunmin
Posts: 2,710
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4/28/2016 6:51:53 PM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 4/26/2016 9:24:43 AM, someloser wrote:
At 4/26/2016 9:11:42 AM, tejretics wrote:
Note: someloser's post starts out by dismissing the distinction between "sex" and "gender," but they are two words that have two separate meanings.
The distinction is fairly recent as a popular phenomenon, and likely political in nature as well (this can easily be verified by looking at which camps - in or out of academia - make use of it).
Xunzi made it in the 3rd century BC.
The thing is, I hate relativism. I hate relativism more than I hate everything else, excepting, maybe, fibreglass powerboats... What it overlooks, to put it briefly and crudely, is the fixed structure of human nature. - Jerry Fodor

Don't be a stat cynic:
http://www.debate.org...

Response to conservative views on deforestation:
http://www.debate.org...

Topics I'd like to debate (not debating ATM): http://tinyurl.com...
Diqiucun_Cunmin
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4/28/2016 6:53:17 PM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 4/28/2016 6:51:53 PM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
At 4/26/2016 9:24:43 AM, someloser wrote:
At 4/26/2016 9:11:42 AM, tejretics wrote:
Note: someloser's post starts out by dismissing the distinction between "sex" and "gender," but they are two words that have two separate meanings.
The distinction is fairly recent as a popular phenomenon, and likely political in nature as well (this can easily be verified by looking at which camps - in or out of academia - make use of it).
Xunzi made it in the 3rd century BC.

BTW, he was an ardent reactionary - anything but a liberal. :P
The thing is, I hate relativism. I hate relativism more than I hate everything else, excepting, maybe, fibreglass powerboats... What it overlooks, to put it briefly and crudely, is the fixed structure of human nature. - Jerry Fodor

Don't be a stat cynic:
http://www.debate.org...

Response to conservative views on deforestation:
http://www.debate.org...

Topics I'd like to debate (not debating ATM): http://tinyurl.com...
someloser
Posts: 1,377
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4/28/2016 8:08:20 PM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 4/28/2016 6:51:53 PM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
At 4/26/2016 9:24:43 AM, someloser wrote:
At 4/26/2016 9:11:42 AM, tejretics wrote:
Note: someloser's post starts out by dismissing the distinction between "sex" and "gender," but they are two words that have two separate meanings.
The distinction is fairly recent as a popular phenomenon, and likely political in nature as well (this can easily be verified by looking at which camps - in or out of academia - make use of it).
Xunzi made it in the 3rd century BC.
>as a popular phenomenon
Ego sum qui sum. Deus lo vult.

"America is ungovernable; those who served the revolution have plowed the sea." - Simon Bolivar

"A healthy nation is as unconscious of its nationality as a healthy man of his bones. But if you break a nation's nationality it will think of nothing else but getting it set again." - George Bernard Shaw
Diqiucun_Cunmin
Posts: 2,710
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4/29/2016 6:31:11 AM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 4/28/2016 8:08:20 PM, someloser wrote:
At 4/28/2016 6:51:53 PM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
At 4/26/2016 9:24:43 AM, someloser wrote:
At 4/26/2016 9:11:42 AM, tejretics wrote:
Note: someloser's post starts out by dismissing the distinction between "sex" and "gender," but they are two words that have two separate meanings.
The distinction is fairly recent as a popular phenomenon, and likely political in nature as well (this can easily be verified by looking at which camps - in or out of academia - make use of it).
Xunzi made it in the 3rd century BC.
>as a popular phenomenon

Xunzian thought was very influential during the Han Dynasty, although he lost ground to Mencius and others during succeeding Confucian dynasties.
The thing is, I hate relativism. I hate relativism more than I hate everything else, excepting, maybe, fibreglass powerboats... What it overlooks, to put it briefly and crudely, is the fixed structure of human nature. - Jerry Fodor

Don't be a stat cynic:
http://www.debate.org...

Response to conservative views on deforestation:
http://www.debate.org...

Topics I'd like to debate (not debating ATM): http://tinyurl.com...
someloser
Posts: 1,377
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4/29/2016 6:42:08 AM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 4/28/2016 6:53:17 PM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
At 4/28/2016 6:51:53 PM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
At 4/26/2016 9:24:43 AM, someloser wrote:
At 4/26/2016 9:11:42 AM, tejretics wrote:
Note: someloser's post starts out by dismissing the distinction between "sex" and "gender," but they are two words that have two separate meanings.
The distinction is fairly recent as a popular phenomenon, and likely political in nature as well (this can easily be verified by looking at which camps - in or out of academia - make use of it).
Xunzi made it in the 3rd century BC.

BTW, he was an ardent reactionary - anything but a liberal. :P

O nice. I'm not against the distinction per se, just find it to be really overstated
Ego sum qui sum. Deus lo vult.

"America is ungovernable; those who served the revolution have plowed the sea." - Simon Bolivar

"A healthy nation is as unconscious of its nationality as a healthy man of his bones. But if you break a nation's nationality it will think of nothing else but getting it set again." - George Bernard Shaw
EvanescentEfflorescence
Posts: 303
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5/6/2016 10:15:21 AM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 4/26/2016 7:53:38 AM, tejretics wrote:
So I made this post in the Philosophy forum in response to YYW; I'm interested to hear all your thoughts.

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.

I don't agree with this definition. I think it's worthless to view gender as something that can exist outside of neurological facts (rather than just perspectives). Social and neurological perspectives come from biological differences between men and women. Do you honestly think that these perspectives were invented from nothing? Do you not agree that there are differences between men and women, and that they are not just "perspectives?" Or are you serious in stating that all conception of "gender' is purely as you describe it?


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.
Free vote -- short read. I've spent well over 15 hours researching abortion in the past week, so there might be something there for you. I recommend reading Con's counter-arguments first to come to a quick decisions, but the choice is all yours:

http://www.debate.org...

The opponent didn't respond:

http://www.debate.org...

No response:

http://www.debate.org...
tejretics
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5/6/2016 10:19:57 AM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 5/6/2016 10:15:21 AM, EvanescentEfflorescence wrote:
I don't agree with this definition. I think it's worthless to view gender as something that can exist outside of neurological facts (rather than just perspectives). Social and neurological perspectives come from biological differences between men and women. Do you honestly think that these perspectives were invented from nothing? Do you not agree that there are differences between men and women, and that they are not just "perspectives?" Or are you serious in stating that all conception of "gender' is purely as you describe it?

There are two, separate definitions of gender. The differences in neurology determine gender classification under one definition. The second definition is based on how society perceives those neurological differences and how those influence society's perception of sex, defined by chromosomal biology (which is otherwise distinct from gender). But either definition works for the argument.
"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
EvanescentEfflorescence
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5/6/2016 10:31:32 AM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 5/6/2016 10:19:57 AM, tejretics wrote:
At 5/6/2016 10:15:21 AM, EvanescentEfflorescence wrote:
I don't agree with this definition. I think it's worthless to view gender as something that can exist outside of neurological facts (rather than just perspectives). Social and neurological perspectives come from biological differences between men and women. Do you honestly think that these perspectives were invented from nothing? Do you not agree that there are differences between men and women, and that they are not just "perspectives?" Or are you serious in stating that all conception of "gender' is purely as you describe it?

There are two, separate definitions of gender. The differences in neurology determine gender classification under one definition. The second definition is based on how society perceives those neurological differences and how those influence society's perception of sex, defined by chromosomal biology (which is otherwise distinct from gender). But either definition works for the argument.

This is my complaint: I do not think that separating them can be justified. Neurology *heavily* influences how society perceives, by giving the perception a coloured lens in which to view through (e.g. society's neurological bias towards the welfare of women over men, therefore leading to chivalry).

In other words, I don't care what the definitions are -- let's not play semantics. I am asking you to justify their usage, especially in your choice to separate them.

I also don't agree that "either definition" works for the argument. I do not see how only "neurology" could account for the social constructs. There are clearly cultural factors, of which are *objective* to neurology, which have been documented (e.g. the perspective of 'pink' has been female/male at various times, in different cultures).
Free vote -- short read. I've spent well over 15 hours researching abortion in the past week, so there might be something there for you. I recommend reading Con's counter-arguments first to come to a quick decisions, but the choice is all yours:

http://www.debate.org...

The opponent didn't respond:

http://www.debate.org...

No response:

http://www.debate.org...
tejretics
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5/6/2016 10:38:56 AM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 5/6/2016 10:31:32 AM, EvanescentEfflorescence wrote:

The definitions don't matter. Societal perception of gender is harmful - that's the crux of the argument. Semantics are irrelevant. The neurological differences do influence societal perception, but the way society perceives gender takes it to an extreme. Treating people of different genders differently -- in a social sense -- is pointless and harmful.
"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
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5/6/2016 10:40:09 AM
Posted: 7 months ago
@Evanescent

I'll also note that the way society perceives gender is not accurate at all. The neurological differences only cause *slight* behavioral differences, differences which aren't significant enough to warrant having variant expectations of the different genders.
"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
EvanescentEfflorescence
Posts: 303
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5/6/2016 10:46:14 AM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 5/6/2016 10:38:56 AM, tejretics wrote:
At 5/6/2016 10:31:32 AM, EvanescentEfflorescence wrote:

The definitions don't matter. Societal perception of gender is harmful - that's the crux of the argument. Semantics are irrelevant. The neurological differences do influence societal perception, but the way society perceives gender takes it to an extreme. Treating people of different genders differently -- in a social sense -- is pointless and harmful.

If the definitions don't matter, then why did you bother giving them?

I don't understand why you think that treating people differently is "pointless and harmful". If you extend this idea after giving definitions, of which cannot be applied interchangeably, yet at the same time "don't matter", then you've left me terribly confused. Have I missed something?
Free vote -- short read. I've spent well over 15 hours researching abortion in the past week, so there might be something there for you. I recommend reading Con's counter-arguments first to come to a quick decisions, but the choice is all yours:

http://www.debate.org...

The opponent didn't respond:

http://www.debate.org...

No response:

http://www.debate.org...
tejretics
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5/6/2016 10:48:20 AM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 5/6/2016 10:46:14 AM, EvanescentEfflorescence wrote:
At 5/6/2016 10:38:56 AM, tejretics wrote:
At 5/6/2016 10:31:32 AM, EvanescentEfflorescence wrote:

The definitions don't matter. Societal perception of gender is harmful - that's the crux of the argument. Semantics are irrelevant. The neurological differences do influence societal perception, but the way society perceives gender takes it to an extreme. Treating people of different genders differently -- in a social sense -- is pointless and harmful.

If the definitions don't matter, then why did you bother giving them?

The definitions don't matter to the argument, i.e. your objections don't affect the argument. But people often confuse "gender" with "sex," and fail to realize the line, or the differences between the genders -- I had to (a) establish those differences and (b) explain why they are irrelevant.

I don't understand why you think that treating people differently is "pointless and harmful". If you extend this idea after giving definitions, of which cannot be applied interchangeably, yet at the same time "don't matter", then you've left me terribly confused. Have I missed something?

Separating two groups of people arbitrarily and denying certain rights to one or the other is harmful, and I explain why in the OP.
"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
EvanescentEfflorescence
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5/6/2016 10:52:59 AM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 5/6/2016 10:40:09 AM, tejretics wrote:
@Evanescent

I'll also note that the way society perceives gender is not accurate at all. The neurological differences only cause *slight* behavioral differences, differences which aren't significant enough to warrant having variant expectations of the different genders.

Well this makes more sense to me (although, as I mentioned earlier in other posts, I am worried about "significant" being prone to moving goalpost attempts, but we'll cross that bridge if we get to it). Allow me to counter:

In social settings, it has been well documented by several studies (so I've heard) that women *and* men have a preference to treating women better. For example, a study called "Gender differences in automatic in-group bias: why do women like women more than like men?", found that "women's automatic in-group bias is remarkably stronger than men's".

Clearly, neurological differences here have *significant* impacts on behavioral differences. Please attempt to debunk this.
Free vote -- short read. I've spent well over 15 hours researching abortion in the past week, so there might be something there for you. I recommend reading Con's counter-arguments first to come to a quick decisions, but the choice is all yours:

http://www.debate.org...

The opponent didn't respond:

http://www.debate.org...

No response:

http://www.debate.org...