Friday, April 22, 2005

Rebuttal to a friend

This post continues to discuss the topic "Are you sure of your gender?". Some of my friends has made known their comments and I would like to share their opinions with you:

"People tend to take care of girls not merely “because they are girls” but because women are generally weaker in terms of physical strength. Women’s emancipation cannot be complete if they were only given equal opportunities. The physical imbalance is still not compensated. You seldom expect women to win men in a race. Men are simply built with physical advantages compared to women. Therefore, we need a human construct to protect and women and right the physical imbalance so that each one of us is given equal opportunities. We need a social construct to protect the physically weaker sex so they will not be subjugated." - Jolene

Male don't compete against female in physical competitions, so their physical attributes won't contribute to their advantage. Moreover, it's not necessary true that woman is the weaker sex. The female body is more kinetically stable than the male body. The extra-stability conferred by the female physical structure compensates the lack of higher muscular strength exhibited by male bodies. Moreover, statistics has shown that ladies live longer, less likely to suffer from mental illness, and live a better quality life than guys. Having different set of strengths doesn't make woman the weaker sex.

Conversely, I am not suggesting that male is the weaker sex. There's no need for a social construct to protect the physically weaker sex because there isn't one in the first place. The male sexual intercourse technique involves penetration and in its most primitive (and forceful) form constitutes as rape. This contruct leads to the idea that only man is capable of rape, and thus promoting the myth that male is the stronger sex.

One more point to note, is that democracy today promotes equal opportunites for everyone, regardless of sex, unlike the old times when society was biased against women. Democracy aided in dispelling the myth that male is the stronger sex and reinforce that fact that ladies today are on par with guys in terms of physique and opportunities. Fair competition between sexes is the evidence that there is no weaker sex.

"Gender is a social concept, so it would be rather nonsensical to define gender using scientific rules. For a lot of scholars, “gender” and “sex” are different things. Culture and society are non-stagnant. So, given that, gender is “sexual identity, especially in relation to society or culture.”, it can be extended from “male and female”. The problem is imagining and creating that 3 gender. So far, all that we see are conjugations and combinations of the two existing genders." - Geraldine

Sex and gender are undifferentiated layman-wise. An average person uses terms sex and gender inter-changeably. Extending the sex/gender of a person to classify the "conjugations and combinations of the two existing genders" makes perfect sense because it acknowledges the lack of proper classification of sexuality in our society today and addresses the diversity of sexuality in our society. The recent increased use of terms such as metrosexual, male lesbian, necrophillics propagates the increasing diversity of sexuality in our society and therefore calls for the need of a new classification system.

"Ideally, one should be free to choose his/her own gender. I’m not very sure about this part. Perhaps, you all can think about why we should or should not be allowed to choose our genders and what the possible outcomes and social implications are." - Tom

Given that our gender/sex is a collective set of opinions, people can work to change the opinion of others, or accept the prevailing forces in society to shape their opinion of their own gender. It implicates that we have the choice to choose our gender. Even apathy is an opinion, by accepting our parents' opinion that we are male or female without exercising independent thought. Our final gender is the compromise between selective pressure and free will. Even Tom agrees that our gender/sex is a collective set of opinion.


skink said...

Actually I haven't heard of anyone complaining of being taken care of by guys...haha

Well she does have a point about gender being a social concept. But I guess it does help to bring a scientific point of view to perhaps enlighten the fact that there are people who seem to live double lives because of the way they are created. And naturally, this becomes a social issue.

And precisely because gender is something related to society and culture, it is relatively difficult to ever see a '3rd' gender, simply because this is something which has been fixed. Granted things change, but some don't. As long as religion exists, I can't foresee any change in this prevailing and fundamental identity.

Donaldson Tan said...
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Asexual_Antihuman said...

Interestingly I see many people in Singapore often confuse "Gender" and "Sexuality". Is the concept of "gender" and "sexuality" being independent of each other that hard to grasp? Anyhow, to begin with, how many people even understand the concept of "gender" itself? Gender is not defined solely by the physical form of a person, but by the mental aspects as well. Although certainly the physical form takes a larger percentge of the defination of one's gender, which is why many transexual people feel the need to alter their physical appearance to a certain extend. Still my personal view is that the mental aspect of a person could take up as much as 40% of the defination of one's gender, and where gender-IDENTITY is concerned, the mental aspects of a person could take up as much as 70 to 80% of accounting factors.

Do note that in this case, transexual or transgender does not only refer to people who have altered their physical apperance to any degree, but it refers in general to anyone who's Gender-identity is at odds with their physical gender.

I do have lots more very helpful information and sites to share if anyone here is interested in knowing more. Also feel free to ask questions and I'll try my best to help provide answers.

Asexual_Antihuman said...

With regards to the concept of 3rd gender, in fact there are 4th and 5th and 6th gender, but many of these labels are largely classified under "3rd gender"

And I do agree with Vivien's view that Gender is a social concept. More accurately, the common view that one's gender is defined by one's physical form is due to social conditioning. The very same social conditioning that has led many to believe that homosexuality is "wrong". That is why humans have to strive for a higher social enlightenment.

Anonymous said...

surely 'gender' is primarily defined by the physical make up of the person; i.e the presence of either male or female characteristics. These being defined by the genetic make up of the person. The pschological aspect of gender, being controlled by the brain must also be affected by the more dominant aspect of genetic make up of the person. I think most people would agree that males and females think differently, primarily due to social conditioning, but also due to instinctive responces. Faced with dificulty, a male brain is more likely to get excited, and prepare to fight, wheras a female brain is more likely to turn and run. These and other characteristics are not due to social conditioning, and in most cases these characteristics match the genetic and physical make up of the person. each of these characteristics are defined by the hormones presant in the body, so surely gender should be determined in terms of hormones. Also it should be noted that males poses varying levels of masculinity due to the ratio's of male to female hormones. Some men will be extremely masculine due to lots of male hormones, wheras some will be more feminine. Yet no man can be completely feminine, due to the presence of some male hormones. Therefore our current clasification of gender implies that the presence of any hormones caused by the male chromosone (Y) defines "male" and the lack thereof implies "female"
It would seem that there exists two genders: male and female, but within male there are varying degrees.
I agree that any male should have the right to be socialy percieved as female and vice verca, but i do not think that this changes the persons actual gender, if it did, people could change gender as often as they liked, and this seems immoral.


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