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Sex and gender - the funcrunch files


Jul. 9th, 2011 11:41 am Sex and gender

So there's a post going around on Google+ by xkcd's Randall Munroe, complaining that Google requires people to specify a gender (Female, Male, or Other) when creating a profile. He made some good points, but what interested me even more was a link he included to an article about physical gender ambiguities. Reading this reminded me how arbitrary the gender distinctions our culture makes can be, and how troublesome such labels can be when used to enforce legal eligibility for things such as marriage or athletic competition (though granted there is sometimes good reason for having separate competition in the latter, that's beyond the scope of this post).

I am what I believe is called a cisgendered woman; born as and generally present as female. But I have always been attracted to people of both sexes, and have never liked traditionally feminine garb; I almost never wear makeup or jewelry, and rarely wear dresses, skirts, or high heels. I've often thought it would be great to have a male body if I could do so temporarily and non-surgically. Ursula K. Le Guin's The Left Hand of Darkness comes close to my ideal in that regard. But that's fantasy..

I also strongly dislike single-gender events. Granted, I've never been to a men-only event, but the few women-only functions I've attended I've found distasteful. As an adult I've always had more male friends than female, but really I suppose I just prefer the company of people who don't feel compelled to conform to society norms.

P.S. Apologies if I'm misusing the terms "sex" and "gender". Feel free to (politely) correct me if so.

P.P.S. It should go without saying that I am a very strong supporter of same-sex marriage.

P.P.P.S. Google+ invites are being turned on and off at seemingly random intervals, so I can't promise to get one to anyone; it's a waiting game at this point.

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Comments:

From:pure_agnostic
Date:July 9th, 2011 07:28 pm (UTC)
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I've often thought it would be great to have a male body if I could do so temporarily and non-surgically. Ursula K. Le Guin's The Left Hand of Darkness comes close to my ideal in that regard. But that's fantasy..

Same here. I've wondered what it would be like to have a woman's body for a month or even just a day. Just switch for a while, and then switch back when I wanted to. Easily, painlessly, and at will.

If humans could do that, I'm sure we would see the end of most sexism and gender-based privileges within a year.
From:funcrunch
Date:July 9th, 2011 07:30 pm (UTC)
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If humans could do that, I'm sure we would see the end of most sexism and gender-based privileges within a year.

Which is why one of the most bold and dangerous sentences in that book is: "The king is pregnant."

Edited at 2011-07-09 07:30 pm (UTC)
From:funcrunch
Date:July 12th, 2011 12:48 am (UTC)
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Google+ doesn't have ads right now, but the profile is the same as the existing Google profile, so ads could certainly be a factor. But as Randall points out in his post, the gender doesn't have to be public for that purpose.

I finally learned how to link to an individual post, so if/when you join Google+ you can read Randall's full post here, which also addresses the issue of why "other" may not be so useful or accurate.

Edited at 2011-07-12 12:50 am (UTC)