What is the Meaning of Gender?

Reply Sat 16 Jul, 2011 09:16 am
Is it X and Y? Who came first and why? What does gender mean? How do we perceive gender issues?

Why do we question gender?
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Reply Sat 16 Jul, 2011 10:47 am
I'm not sure how to answer your question but I've been doing some reading on gender issues following a debate here and elsewhere about raising "genderless" children.

One interesting study I've come across is from the University of Cambridge that suggests that gender differences are inborn and are not a result of socialization.

(I'd copy out a bit of it but I can't seem to get my computer to cooperate. If you Google "Men, Women, and Ghosts in Science" you'll find a nice run down on this bit of research.)

Essentially what the research shows is that gender differences (beyond the obvious physical differences) show up from the first day of life. They believe that this is due to the "gestational stew" (my non-scientific terminology, not theirs) that the fetus forms in.

Another study I read was done with vervet monkeys. They put the usual boy toys, usual girl toys and usual gender neutral toys in with boy and girl monkeys that had never been "socialized" as to their gender. The boy monkeys went for the boy toys and the girl monkeys went for the girl toys. Both played with then gender neutral toys but not for as long as they played with the toys that are typical for their gender.

The theory is that this is just all part of the evolutionary process.
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Reply Sat 16 Jul, 2011 11:46 am
What is the meaning? It is a means more than a meaning and it is a means to discriminate from day 1. Gender, labeling as it were, discriminates. You knew as much when you indicated and asked about how we perceive gender issues.

In the hospital, the boys get blue, the girls get pink.

Take them home, the boys get their hair kept short and are dressed a particular way. Even if his hair grows long he gets no fancy accessories.

The girl has her hair growing longer, adorned with ribbons and bows and barrettes and or maybe a sparkly headband...ever see the parents start their boy off with those?

The boy receives tin soldiers, toy horses, toy pistols, toy cars, model airplanes, toy ships for his bath.

The girl receives toy dolls, little play cooking sets, play shopping carts, and little doll houses.

Then they are taught to play different games,

The boy learns to collect baseball cards.

The girl learns to collect flowers and pour invisible tea at her little tea party.

Is there an innate leaning towards A or B? I don't believe so. Even the alleged studies that claim they keep things neutral, don't truly do such. The study is led by a male or female, that male or female has been placed in a particular group already and although they don't mean to, they convey there own bias to the members of the research group.

From early on the children are looked at and examined if they don't fit into the grid which has been placed for them. They may be allowed to vary from these behaviors and interests very briefly at the earliest ages but not beyond.

Did X or Y come first? What does it matter, to know that will add a new layer in the mess of discrimination because then one will feel superior to the other having been first and it will be at the very least hinted at to future children that they are either of the first or second gender.

Why do we question gender? Because we are generally curious and want answers to everything. Is it so hard to believe that there aren't answers to some things at least not answers that a mortal can find? Why can't we just be people without idiotic labels?
Finn dAbuzz
Reply Sat 16 Jul, 2011 03:50 pm
What's wrong with discrimination?

Let's, for discussion's sake, accept that discrimination is an essentially neutral concept (which of course it is), and put aside personal value judgments: Gender doesn't exist to provide us with a way to discriminate from Day One. That is a pretty silly thing to contend.

Gender is a mechanism generated by evolution to assist in the success of increasingly complex life forms.

Bacteria (an enormously successful life form) can get by with asexual reproduction, but higher life forms cannot. Gender promotes genetic diversity which is essential to complex life forms

Life, through the process of evolution, discriminates, and it is pretty efficient, usually making the most of the mechanism it employs. Gender serves a number of Life's evolutionary purposes.

As sentient beings we get to ponder Gender and consider whether or not we are comfortable with it's biological and cultural manifestations.

As technological savants, our species will probably be in a position to impose our preferences on Life. I'm sure that humans will eventually be able to transform themselves into a single gender and preserve the genetic diversity it provides. I can't fathom why we would ever want to do this, but I'm sure it will be possible.

It's more likely that humans will develop a third gender that is neither male nor female which will suit the sensibilities and goals of those who have so much trouble with defined sexual identities. Of course gender will still be with us; simply expanded.

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Finn dAbuzz
Reply Sat 16 Jul, 2011 04:03 pm
It's not X or Y, it's XX or XY.

This means that XX, or female, came first.

Since females can actually produce an offspring and males can only catalyze the process through fertilization (expect in weird species that have developed an attachment to asexual reproduction), it makes perfect sense that the evolutionary step was from XX to XY.

"Gender" in our current culture means a whole lot of things. Too many to list and discuss, but for why there is Gender, see my reply to Sturgis.

We perceive gender issues through the myriad of perceptual lens human employ. Your question is far too broad to answer.

Do we question gender?

What is to question?

Do we question rain?
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Reply Fri 22 Jul, 2011 02:20 am
I wanna be an amoeba. Smile

Are men just mutated females?
Finn dAbuzz
Reply Mon 25 Jul, 2011 10:41 pm
I doubt it.

In the sense that the mechanisim of evolutionary change is genetic mutation, then yes, males are mutated females.

Use of the qualifier "just" is solely your value judgment.
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Reply Fri 17 May, 2013 03:18 pm
I have been reasoning about this.

Theoretically and in parallel to what I am saying about gender there has been an X and Y as long as the earth has had the moon here. It takes two physical bodies to procreate.

At one time it only took one physical body. At one time with only the sun the earth existed alone without the moon. The earth apparently had a way of sustaining itself. So one could say the earth was asexual and had no moon, or in other terms, it was X without Y.

It was X alone living millions of years without Y. Once Y was formed, X evolved with Y into new forms over time. One could say that X is no longer what X used to be but still may contain the residual of the ancient form. Y could be an expression from X of this ancient form. Y certainly is a mutation of X...

I only discuss this because I think gender is perhaps the spirit of both X and Y. That gender is less male and female but more asexual. Gender is born out of an asexual beginning. The earliest forms of life were single celled organisms and within our DNA and chemical composition we we are imprinted with the memory of our ancestry all the way back to when we were merely oceans of chemicals by a seashore ...soon to form into breathing beings that could perpetuate and interrelate upon many diverse levels.

Gender, form and preference are born out of those primordial physical memories in our DNA.
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