[Christine Delphy on the social construction of sex, gender, hierarchy and division. Reprinted fromÂ Sex in Question: French materialist feminism edited by Diana Leonard and Lisa Adkins 1996. PDFÂ ] …
Here’s a really great article highlighting some of the issues with treating sex as an immutable biological reality rather than the construct it is.
We’re still recovering from long-standing, asinine cultural pressures that tell us we can’t have too many sexual partners, can’t be gay, can’t be single parents, can’t have group sex without becoming a weirdo or a hippie, can’t have two partners at once without being a cheat, and can’t decide not to have children without being a self-absorbed hedonist.
Thankfully Kinsey’s famous studies, released following the war, revealed to the world what it both feared and knew all along: that everybody was doing everything the whole time, they just hid it from view. People were having oral sex, anal sex, extramarital sex, group sex, sex with machinery, sex with their own hands and fingers, gay sex, dress-up sex, S&M sex, and sometimes, no sex at all.
The variety and volume of sexual tastes and practices were enormous in reality, but publicly everyone presented the same front: modest, God-fearing monogamous relationships.
Show your children that girls can build bombs and rockets and boys can bake cakes and design evening gowns. Stereotypes suck and you want your children to do what their passion is because otherwise it’ll come out in some fucked up way and you’ll end up with evening gowns that explode when you put them on.
I probably wouldn’t encourage any of my children how to build bombs… just saying.
The difference between Sex and Gender
Sex - Sex is a societal construct that gives an assigned sex (male or female) based on a person’s genitals. If a person is more intersex than they may be subjected to an unconsensual surgery that will attempt to reform their genitals into something that looks more ‘male’ or ‘female’.
Gender Roles - Gender roles are constructs which demand expected behaviors of a person that are parallel to their assigned sex. So for instance, masculine man and feminine woman.
Gender - Gender is psychological, but also soul, heart, and body, based on an individual level. It’s how you identify. This is not a social construct. A person’s gender may incorporate their sex and anyway that it is perceived by that individual but at this point sex is owned by self, not the public, meaning that it is no longer a construct.
The truth is we have no idea what makes us man, woman or non-binary because it is not a tangible concept but one that is abstract and unique to every mind. If it were a social construct, that would limit each person to being only what they are expected to be. Which erases trans* folk, and other people who go outside feminine woman and masculine man. Because how could these people exist if their gender is based on a pass or fail system which only allows for specific points to exist? Gender is limitless and lawless; it is an entire galaxy of stars, planets and moons, and is not spawned from cultural stipulations of what we are supposed to be.
Gender expression - How an individual communicates their gender identity to the outside world through haircut, voice, behavior, mannerisms, clothing and other external forms of presentation. There are many ways an individual can communicate their gender expression and it should be noted that not every transgender person (or cis person for that matter) will adopt a socially accepted expression that fits into society’s gender roles. There isn’t a monolithic narrative to explain a specific gender but a multitude of stories and experiences that are different for EVERYONE, and they are all correct. In addition, gender and gender expression are not an indication of sexual orientation in the slightest; a person’s hair will not tell you who they’re fucking or if they even fuck at all.
In most western cultures and it’s imperialistic outreaches have come to understand gender only as a binary concept, meaning there is only room for two sexes and correlating genders: male and female. However, many people exist today that are proof that gender cannot be simplified into two boxes but rather a continuum of possibilities.
This is a spectrum where gender is not defined by anatomy but where biology, psychology, gender expression, and gender identity intersect to form a multidimensional array of possibilities. As stated before: gender is a limitless and lawless notion.
What does this all mean?
It means these charts that I keep seeing on my dash are not only the product of a cissexist understanding of gender but painfully wrong and continue to erase trans* folk.
Stop posting these:
GENDER ROLES ARE A SOCIAL CONSTRUCT.
Men are often characterised as spoiled, helpless brats utterly unable to perform simple household tasks, too stupid to remember anniversaries and appointments and completely unable to understand these strange female creatures and their hysterical emotions. We’re base brutes ruled by our overactive sex drives who simply can’t help being crass and immature, because that is the way God made us. Basically, we are mentally deficient lumps who require a female carer to function in society. This is precisely the kind of ridiculous stereotype that, if applied to women, would be torn to shreds in intelligent debate. So why don’t men object at being labelled emotional morons totally in thrall to their basest instincts?
This article was published in a notable UK feminism zine. Kinda contradicts the whole “feminists only care about women” thing, doesn’t it? u mad??
Day 2 - Did you have any experiences as a child that might have foreshadowed your sexuality?
SIDENOTE: Out of all of the questions in this challenge, this is the one that I do not quite understand, because I believe that this question could potentially promote stereotypes about the lgbtqiaa+ community - even if this was unintentional. Anyhow, I will answer it the best way that I can.
For me, the only experiences that I had as a child that foreshadowed me being gay, was the fact that I had crushes on my same-sex peers.
My earliest memories come from pre-school.
Back then, I did not understand gender roles and social constructs of what it meant to be a ‘boy’ or a ‘girl’. What I DID understand was that I wanted to do things that were socially acceptable for a boy to do. I just wanted to be a boy. I remember any time I got a chance to make a wish - whether it was for my birthday or when it was 11:11 or WHATEVER, I would wish that I was a boy. I wanted to kiss and date girls. I wanted to dress like boys. I wanted to play boy sports. I wanted to cut off all my hair and not wear make-up. I wanted to get dirty and play outside.
Looking back on this, I realize how much emphasis on being this or that gender (especially at that age) comes from school, family, friends, media, etc. I never want to see other children have to sacrifice who they truly are to fit into some mold that society deems acceptable.
It was not until I was much older that I realized that I am responsible for who I am and what I want to be - and only me. It took me a long time to feel comfortable in my own skin, and I want to help others do the same.
A Long Island, N.Y., man stands accused of striking a fatal blow to a 17-month-old boy Sunday because he believed the baby was “acting like a little girl.”
According to WPIX-TV, suspect Pedro Jones, 20, of South Hampton has been charged with first-degree manslaughter for hitting Roy A. Jones so hard with his fists that the infant went into cardiac arrest and died at a local hospital. Police say Jones said he was “trying to make him act like a boy instead of a little girl.”
Jones, who was baby-sitting the infant on the Shinnecock Indian Reservation, is described as the boyfriend of the baby’s mother. He is not a member of the tribe, but he lives on the reservation.
Jones pleaded not guilty Monday and is being held without bail on Long Island.
I just came upon this article entitled, Race Hatred Runs Rampant in Politics These Days, part of which reads as follows:
It’s not racist to oppose Obama’s policies. And there’s plenty for Americans to be angry about – especially since the economy crashed and the federal government has spent trillions of dollars to bail out the fat cats who were responsible. But instead attacking the banksters who nearly destroyed the global economy, we are seeing the familiar scapegoating of non-white, non-male, non-Christian and non-heterosexual Americans as being menaces to our way of life.
Click the above link to read more.