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What is gender?

AidanAidan Clever idiotPosts: 2,628 Boards Champion
Hi everyone! :D

I'll admit I'm very uneducated on the subject of gender, I used to believe it meant the same as sex but have recently learnt popular opinion says otherwise.

As I currently understand it, I think gender is personality on a spectrum of masculinity and femininity.
I'm open to new ideas about gender, but as it is a very opinion-oriented topic (often flooded with biases and agendas from feminist groups, anti-trans groups, the far-left, the far-right, the list goes on forever :joy:) I'm finding it hard to draw my own conclusions based on fact alone.

I would be very grateful for any information on gender at all! 
Thanks for any replies!

"Do, or do not, there is no try" <(•.•)>              


  • MikeMike Screen addict 🎮 LondonPosts: 2,910 Community Manager
    edited June 2018
    This is a really interesting subject and, depending on where you look online, it can also be an extremely divisive one. This is the topline of my understanding:

    • Sex is linked to your biology. When you're born, you're assigned a sex based on your genitalia. This is usually male or female, but it's worth noting there are intersex variations too.

    • Gender is a social construct. It's made up of your social and cultural characteristics traditionally pertaining to masculinity and femininity, though the more modern and liberal interpretation of gender includes non-binary identities as well.

    If you wanted to do a real deep-dive into this, you could also explore terms like 'gender identity' and 'gender expression'. It feels like there could be a lot unravel here so I'll leave my input there. I'm also super aware that I'm not as well-versed in this subject as a lot of other folks will be, so I would be interested to see what others think on the subject. :)
    All behaviour is a need trying to be met.
  • Almist04Almist04 Posts: 22 Confirmed not a robot
    I believe that gender is what you chose to be. Sex is what is under your belt ( a vigina or penis ). It's really as simple as that, in my opinion. 
  • LaineLaine Llama Mama Gone for GooPosts: 2,403 Boards Champion
    It's definitely over complicated and you'll find that many people who don't understand it are usually the overcomplicaters.

    A lot of the young people I support are children of mumsnet parents (I'm being to notice a pattern) 
    Now, some are simply scared of the unknown and want what's best for the child and with information they feel better. 
    Some however are terrified of it all and think its always a phase caused by social pressure, brainwashing(yes I've heard that many times)  or my favourite one of all(sarcastic) Autism! 
    Many rush to get their child diagnosed and when they do they ignore and blank their feelings as they assume treating the autism will fix it. 

    If they are not autisic they will likely get them tested again before letting it go and limiting or removing internet access to stop the "social brainwashing" this is the particularly dangerous part as the said young person can no longer access childline or the mix or our services ect. And it has a negative impact on them mentally for sure! 

    While someone may go through a phase it's not so common and oftenly they will find another gender that suits them. 
    Extreme changes are not allowed instantly and througher assessment is first required.
    Further more hormone treatment is reversible, binders are rather safe as long as you don't wear it longer than 8 hours, and surgery is not allowed lightly.

    All in all past my ramblings I think that many parents  are terrified or just ignorant (especially mumsnet who could support their children more yikes) 

    Gender is quite simply what you feel it choose and whether that turns out to be a phase or true,  someone deserves the support regardless instead of being left just because it's a '"phase"

    We definitely have a lot more to learn about it not so much in regards to young people(Mermaids are actively working in schools and youth groups) but for the parents who need more information, the parents keeping their child off school when mermaids visit or getting outraged to find out they did while their child was there and making complaints over allowing them to brainwash their child x

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  • AidanAidan Clever idiot Posts: 2,628 Boards Champion
    edited July 2018
    It's interesting to hear other people's thoughts. I particularly agree with you @Almist04 that gender is in reality quite simple. I think it's commonly over-complicated by politicians, the media, radical groups etc. for it to fit in with their own political and social narratives. There's so much opinion on the matter compared to the fact, it makes me wonder sometimes how much of what we are told about gender is complete fiction?

    Mike said:
    • Gender is a social construct. 
    From what I've learned, gender wasn't constructed by society. Gender has been found to be dependent on your brain structure and your hormones, so it drills down to a biological level and encompasses every human (in fact, even animals too) regardless of their societal participation. Of course, it feels like gender is a choice because it is affected by your brain, but in fact you have no choice in it as your brain's development in turn is mainly affected by hereditary factors. This is how gender is currently understood from a scientific standpoint anyway. Studies that support this include exposing female monkeys in early development to testosterone, which led to them acting in the manner that male monkeys do. Studies with rats and similar hormone experiments date back further, and also support this.

    But I get what you're saying:

    It's made up of your social and cultural characteristics traditionally pertaining to masculinity and femininity

    What it sounds like you're describing are gender roles, and gender roles are a social construct. This plays a massive part in how people see their place in society respective to their gender- but gender already exists at a biological level and is only given roles and meaning at a societal or cultural level. This is why genders are treated differently across all cultures.

    This is what I understand about gender now, and I'm definitely more knowledgeable on the subject than I was a few days ago so thank you : )

    "Do, or do not, there is no try" <(•.•)>              
  • AidanAidan Clever idiot Posts: 2,628 Boards Champion
    edited July 2018
    @Laine it's sad that that website is the support parents turn to when their children are faced with gender identity issues, because what the parents mostly get in reply are toxic and biased opinions about how gender identity disorders are a social media trend (the idea of gender dates back to the 1900 oxford dictionary and probably further back- it isn't a trend! Forget social media :joy: ). I agree that this misinformation and the bias on that particular site (and others') of radical groups can only further the suffering of those with gender issues by attempting to remove the support of their parents, just so strangers they don't even know can align with their ideology.

    Awareness of gender has improved recently, but that doesn't make it a trend. Was homosexuality a trend in the 1950s?

    Invalidating real psychiatric and biological issues by calling them 'trends' won't fix them. They wouldn't tell a depressed person to just cheer up (well, they might actually never mind :joy: ).
    "Do, or do not, there is no try" <(•.•)>              
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