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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Sex and gender causation: Break the Cycle by E. Hungerford

I have found this article below to be absolutely the clearest on the difference between sex and gender and WHY we need to oppose the 'gender wars', or as Gallus Mag says: 'Genda' wars. And why women need to be protected and have our OWN spaces, and be recognized as a class. And how the Gender b.s. keeps us stuck in the same old: male=masculine, female=feminine b.s no matter what, and how as even the most basic feminists and lesbians need to oppose it, lest we all be stereotyped. AGAIN.

Here is also the link if you want to look up her site directly.

Sex and gender causation: BREAK THE CYCLE by E. Hungerford

"1. Sex and gender are different.

Sex and gender are two different words with two very different meanings. Here is why:

According to definitions proposed by the Institute of Medicine (23), “sex” is a biological construct dictated by the presence of sex chromosomes, and in animals and humans the presence of functional reproductive organs. “Gender” is a cultural construct and refers to behaviors which might be directed by specific stimuli (visual, olfactory, etc) or by psychosocial expectations that result from assigned or perceived sex.

(bold and color added) In pursuit of scientific excellence – sex matters, by Virginia M. Miller. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol, published ahead of print February 10, 2012, doi: 10.1152/ajpheart.00073.2012.

2. Sex does not cause gender.

The form of one’s body does not reliably dictate whether an individual feels “masculine” or “feminine.” The presence of functional female reproductive organs in a particular body (sex:female)* does not mean that a female person necessarily likes pink, painting her nails, talking about her feelings, and nurturing small children. Sex is not the source of “feminine” and/or “masculine” gendered expression, behavior, identity, or appearance. And vice versa for bodies with male reproductive organs (sex:male).* This understanding is fundamental to feminist politics.

3. Gender does not cause sex.

Reverse causation analysis. This is where shit gets ugly.

Queer theorists and trans activists seek to unconditionally prioritize “gender identity” over physical and/or assigned sex (reproductive functioning). On the basis of this “gender identity” alone– and “regardless of the person’s assigned sex at birth”– they believe that all self-appointed trans people are entitled to unconditional acceptance in every space and group reserved for the sex associated with the sex stereotypes that the trans person has voluntarily aligned themselves with via “gender identity,” expression, appearance, and behavior.

Radical feminists, on the other hand, do not believe that an individual’s subjectively asserted “gender identity” is relevant to one’s sex. Throughout history, the bodies of gender non-compliant females have remained reproductively female no matter how convincingly or consistently they may have appeared otherwise. A male bodied person’s desire to wear a dress and carry a purse does not actually transform his body to be reproductively, or physically, female. The practice of “masculine” or “feminine” expression, appearance, behavior, and/or identity does not create, destroy, nor cause changes to one’s sex (functioning reproductive organs).

Framing “gender identity”—specifically the expression of femininity—as that which fundamentally constitutes “female” will not improve female’s social status. On the contrary, the idea that “gender identity” is the most essential and important part of being female serves to naturalize the oppressive social order flowing from traditional sex roles and stereotypes (compulsory heteronormativity). Yes, there is a socially constructed correlation between sex and gender in the form of sex stereotypes. There is not, however, biological causation between sex and gender. In either direction.

Any ideology that seeks to justify, evidence, or prove an individual’s “sex” by reference to their “gender identity” necessarily implies that “gender identity” is a natural result of– or caused by– “sex.”

Insisting on a causative relationship between sex and gender reinforces and legitimizes feminine stereotypes that ultimately restrict the range of gendered expression available to females. It is anti-feminist.


*And, as a result, being CAFSRAB (coercively assigned the feminine sex role at birth) or CAMSRAB (coercively assigned the masculine sex role at birth)."

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