Talk:Gender

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Topic[edit]

Okay, so, it is the same as sex, and if not, how is it different? HeartGoldDemonstrate the spirit of stupor 23:04, 27 July 2007 (CDT)

There is a line talking about how testosterone makes men aggressive and that can be considered part of gender: "But it also includes some biologically driven characteristics: Men are strong, and having all that testosterone, are more aggressive." It is my understanding that recent scientific experimentation has disproved the hypothesis that testosterone causes aggression, leaving the reason for increased aggression in males unknown. The only scientifically verified effect of testosterone is increased maleness sexually. In any case, the statement that testosterone causes aggression is currently not cited in the article. This is followed by another unsupported statement about women that doesn't even identify the biological difference: "Women, conversely, are focused on children, and therefore invest much energy in hearth and home." Why are women biologically more focused upon children? It is probably better off if both of these assertions are removed, otherwise they should be cited along with the contrasting points of view. Maybe the best solution is to merely state that certain gender traits may be biologically influenced but there is controversy. I will edit the statement to make it more hypothetical. User:Webspidrman 21:21, 11 September 2013 (EST)

If this testosterone theory was true, it would have to be women who carry most of it, as females generally are far more aggressive than males, not only with the human species. 127.0.8.15 16:18, 17 August 2014 (UTC)
[citation needed] Nullahnung (talk) 16:26, 17 August 2014 (UTC)
We are on a talk page here, not on an article page, so your flagging my comment "citation needed" is invalid. 127.0.8.15 17:46, 17 August 2014 (UTC)
Your response is either ironic, or betrays a tin ear. {{fact}} is a compact way of saying "support your statement or go home." Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 18:07, 17 August 2014 (UTC)

Re: Gender and gender identity[edit]

In the named section the article states <quote>It is a fallacy to suggest that an individual person must want their biological sex to match their gender identity</quote> Sorry, no, the fallacy is elsewhere. Gender is pseudoscience invented to make feminism more palatable for men. The gender concept, like the concepts of eternal life or rebirth commonly found in religions, allows the individual to bypass hard facts of life, i.e. every person is born with a distinct sex, either female or male (or both, in rare cases) and every person eventually has to die. 127.0.8.15 16:14, 17 August 2014 (UTC)

Gender is a term describing a social construct. It was used before feminists took note of the term, so making feminism palatable had nothing to do with its invention. Nullahnung (talk) 16:26, 17 August 2014 (UTC)
Sorry, you are falling to the Presupposition fallacy. Gender having been invented to make feminism more palatable does not mean, it must have been invented by feminists. Arguably it is likely to have been invented by people who wanted to make feminist positions more palatable to men.
But all this only distracts from the other, much more important statement, i.e. The gender concept, like the concepts of eternal life or rebirth commonly found in religions, allows the individual to bypass hard facts of life, i.e. every person is born with a distinct sex, either female or male (or both, in rare cases) and every person eventually has to die. 127.0.8.15 17:43, 17 August 2014 (UTC)
u havin a laff m8 Jodolf Stitler (talk) 17:49, 17 August 2014 (UTC)
I sure hope this bunch of numbers is joking. "every person is born with a distinct sex, either female or male " Do you really think this? --Marlow (talk) 19:03, 17 August 2014 (UTC)
Why are you so surprised? Our own article on gender binary says that that is the traditional view (putting aside for a moment the fact that this traditional view has come under fire, it is still very much the default view in society). Nullahnung (talk) 19:16, 17 August 2014 (UTC)
I guess I shouldn't be. I just figure that someone who enters a debate about gender would have the slightest idea about how complex it is. Melissa Hine's research on the topic would be a good starting point for someone interested in a scientific approach to these ideas [1]. --Marlow (talk) 21:25, 17 August 2014 (UTC)
Marlow, if you deny the biological fact that each individual is born with a distinct sex (no matter what you make of it later) your argumentation is completely illogical and another proof the gender construct in fact is pseudo science. 127.0.8.15 05:47, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
FYI: http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Intersex Nullahnung (talk) 10:41, 18 August 2014 (UTC)

Gender and feminism[edit]

That section does not claim that gender is purely cultural. Inserting a large screed to say that biology matters too is unneeded. I've created a compromise that I think we can all live with. --TiaC (talk) 00:32, 14 December 2014 (UTC)

"But the overwhelming consensus of the scientific community is that gender is a product of both biological as well as environmental factors." No. Whoever wrote this is asserting that there is a consensus when the reality is that the proverbial jury is still out. We should simply delete this sentence and skip to the next one, which is an objective observation.Vajrapani (talk) 08:43, 15 December 2014 (UTC)
No. There is a scientific consensus. I even included 10 (no, wait, sorry, 11) peer-reviewed studies. The fact of the matter is that scientists have moved on from the nature vs. nurture debate. Are you claiming it's 100% a social construct? Because I do not know one scientist who thinks that way. Or are you claiming that it's NOT 100% environment. If so, what % is it? See? Scientists do not know the percentage. No one does. And that's the consensus.
The consensus is as follows: Genes play a role. Environment plays a role. That's about as far as science has gotten. No one knows which plays a bigger role. Parogar (talk) 11:04, 15 December 2014 (UTC)
I'm honestly astonished that this is even something we're debating over. Okay, look. Have you ever heard of genes? Do you know what a phenotype is? It's how a gene physically expresses itself. Most sexually reproducing species have gendered behavior that presents itself phenotypically. To suggest human beings are the only mammalian species in the entire world completely divorced from our genetic makeup (behaviorally) is to suggest that we are special and God put us here, which is a road I'm not willing to travel down Parogar (talk) 11:12, 15 December 2014 (UTC)


This is parogar using phone. From Wikipedia. "In the twenty-first century, a consensus is developing that both genetic and environmental agents influence development interactively."http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nature_versus_nurture

Could you please point me to the 11 peer-reviewed studies? I don't see them on the page. Thank you. Vajrapani (talk) 03:48, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
Well of course you don't see them. They were deleted. One moment, I will find them. Parogar (talk) 05:20, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
Okay, here you go. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11]
  1. http://cogprints.org/663/1/bbs_mazur.html
  2. http://psycnet.apa.org/index.cfm?fa=search.displayRecord&UID=1990-30842-001
  3. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7772335
  4. http://www.cell.com/current-biology/abstract/S0960-9822%2807%2901559-X
  5. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1421518/
  6. http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM197905313002201
  7. http://www.isna.org/node/564
  8. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2215887
  9. http://diginole.lib.fsu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=3775&context=etd
  10. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11500818
  11. http://www.pnas.org/content/111/2/823

I had even more that I'd posted here a month ago, but apparently the community here decided that, EVEN THOUGH they were peer-reviewed studies published in an accredited journal, they didn't "count" because something someone posted on a blog apparently discredited them. Since, I guess how it works is that if we're competing a blog post from someone we agree with, and pitting it against a study that has undergone massive scientific scrutiny, we go with the blog post because it already conforms to our ideology. Or something. Parogar (talk) 05:31, 16 December 2014 (UTC)

Genderqueer and nonbinary[edit]

One of the most confusing things is how we perceive the gender binary. I think people are sensitive to this topic because they view my insistence in this research as an assault on those who identify as genderqueer by insinuating there are only two genders.

This could not be further from the truth. Personally, I view gender as a sliding scale. Putting aside agender for the moment, the two axis at the end of each scale would be male<------------>female

And gender roles (in my opinion) are most likely influenced by biology -- which is what predetermines on what end of the scale we sit on in the first place. I believe that male attributes and female attributes are influenced by a combination of biology and environment. But on the biological side, the influence comes from where on that gender scale we are (or if we're not there at all).

Though my arguments may come off as heavily binarist (if I used that word properly), that is only because I insist that there are only three gender "directions" for lack of a better term. None, male, and female.

But let us not forget there are only three primary colors. Yet that doesn't stop purple from existing.

Parogar (talk) 05:39, 16 December 2014 (UTC)

I think that the strength of nature vs. nurture is not person specific. It is my belief (though unproven) that a person's "susceptibility" to gender roles is in itself genetic. I think some people are genetically predisposed to be MORE shaped by their environment, whereas some people will be more shaped by their genes. I think strong societal influence can very easily (if not completely dominate) weak genetic predisposition to gender roles. This is just the conclusion I've drawn from years reading about this topic.

We know that genes exist. We know that genes play a role in just about everything. We know that societal factors do as well. I think there's some unseen equation that is different in every person, and this equation takes variables, x,y,z, etc... and these variables are multiplied by "weights". These weights are a # determined by our genes. So if someone is very much predisposed to the environment, then even just coming into contact with other boys might be enough to imprint onto them that this is what they are, who they are, and how they must behave. I also think that if someone is strongly genetically predisposed to certain traits, it won't matter to them much what other boys do, because they will feel strongly compelled to act in other ways. I could be wrong about all of this. The only thing we really know for sure is that both biological and environmental factors work to shape gender roles, gender identity, etc. Beyond that is the stuff we can only speculate on. Parogar (talk) 05:46, 16 December 2014 (UTC)

Your line still supports the binary bro, think of it as a beautiful cloud of possibility, much like sexual orientation. :D -BlackProg (talk) 05:46, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
Well of course it does. Unless you expect me to believe in that otherkin bullshit, because that's never going to happen. I don't believe someone can be male, female, and dragon. I think all of these pathetic "otherkin" people are full of shit and I don't respect their beliefs at all. Parogar (talk) 05:54, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
Why discount their beliefs or their feelings? What does that gain me or you? How does it hurt or hinder you?-BlackProg (talk) 06:02, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
Because everyone keeps saying that aspies or people with mild autism are otherkin. And for that, I can't help but hate otherkin. Because it's basically implying that if someone's an aspie or has mild autism, then that means they're stupid enough to believe that someone can be born a mermaid. Parogar (talk) 06:06, 16 December 2014 (UTC)


@Blackprog If we allow ourselves to assume agender is having no gender, then I ask: what possible combination of genders can you make that do not include some % of male and some % of female? Or even better, let's throw agender back in there just to allow for every possibility. What, then, do you propose could even POSSIBLY exist? The only thing left are those crazies who think they are shadows and sky dragons or whatever. There's male, female, agender, and I don't consider transgender as a gender, because I think transgender should be classed as the gender they identify with. So if someone is a trans man, I consider them man. So, what else is there? We're not aliens from another planet. Parogar (talk) 06:05, 16 December 2014 (UTC)

Criticism[edit]

Needs a criticism section on how the sex/gender distinction is being challenged by current biology and social science. I will write up something when I get more time. This book chapter (9) is a good source. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 05:52, 16 December 2014 (UTC)


I agree. There should be a statement of fact as it pertains to the modern scientific climate. In this statement, it should be noted that the consensus that has appeared is one that suggest gender roles are both biological and environmental, but that there is absolutely no evidence to suggest that it is entirely biological or environmental. Then I think in a separate section (like you said) there should be sociology stuff (I have never read a book on sociology in my entire life, so I don't know much about it at all) where the scientific viewpoint is criticized. It seems to me that's the best way to do it. Because whether or not some of you guys hate the fact that science says what it says (and yes, science might very well be 100% wrong), it's not my or your fault that science says what it says, but it does say what it's saying. I don't know why people get so upset. I never took the time to bother reading sociology books because I have extremely narrow interests and I don't tend to branch out. So the fact that there's so many people who feel so passionate about this is a huge surprise to me. I never thought something like science could be so divisive.
Please tell me if I am in correct in saying the following: it's not the science, but the fear of how the science will be used that frightens people? If so, what is that fear due to? I don't know enough about the humanities to understand what is driving this opposition to my editing. I can only promise they do not come from a place of hatred or a desire to hurt anyone. Parogar (talk) 05:58, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
Well, it's much like why people don't take people who post crime statistics like they're GAWD seriously. Even if they are true, they don't really mean much in terms of the supposed superiority or inferiority of a people. That and your editing for gender sometimes reads like one giant appeal to nature.BlackProg (talk) 06:04, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
(ec)I don't know -- I haven't been following your editing. The point isn't to make a "sociology" section where "science" is criticized. It's to show that the dichotomy is becoming outdated in light of advances in the relevant sciences. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 06:07, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
EDIT: I misread your post. Yes, they're moving on to epigenetics. Parogar (talk) 06:20, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
---what I originally wrote ---
Anytime someone brings up the social aspects of gender, these days, it always seems to be someone who is doing work in the field of sociology. Last I checked (about four hours ago), the umm ... wow. I just went completely blank. What was I going to say? RIGHT RIGHT. The last I checked, scientists are increasingly becoming more certain that gender is environmental and biological. Mind you, this is not them coming FROM a position that it is environmental TO a position that it is also biological. It's directly the opposite. They've always know biology plays a role. It's only since the late twentieth century that they began to realize there's more to it than that. So the real advancements being made are to show that environment plays a role. There's no chance we're going to get to a point where scientists say that biology has no effect. And why? Because genes exist. They do. And they do stuff lol. They play a role. But I do think that powerful enough environmental pressure can override natural instinct.
In other words, I think the questions we should be asking shouldn't be, "How much of a role does biology play?" I think the relevant question to be asking is, "How much of the weak points to human nature can we overcome?" Parogar (talk) 06:19, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
Environment has been known to play a role in biological development in general for some time. The problem we are seeing today is that this is sometimes paid lip service to with a sort of naive or vacuous interactionism that says "Both nature and nurture contribute." This is true but trivial. Proposing to partition off some trait as being 60% biological and 40% environmental (usually based on crude heritability estimates) does not solve this problem. D.O. Hebb, the neuroscientist, was once asked which he thought was more important and he responded, "Which part of the rectangle is more important, the length or the width?" Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 06:59, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
Very interesting! See, I didn't know that and myself have often been very confused about nature vs. nurture (why don't we have a page on nature vs. nurture on RationalWiki? I think we should). This kind of thing is why I read talk pages! Nullahnung (talk) 09:00, 16 December 2014 (UTC)

@Parogar. You probably need to update your user page. On your List of things not worth fighting about on RationalWiki you list "gender" as one of them. And yet, here you are... --Inquisitor (talk) 06:24, 16 December 2014 (UTC)

You're right. I'm not even sure what I did to get back here. I think I was just responding to someone who responded to me. Okay, I'm exiting this page now. Sorry about that. I need to remind myself not to come back here lol Parogar (talk) 06:27, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
This is really silly. And now you won't be able to respond when someone replies to you above with something interesting. Just cut the "I'm leaving and not coming back" crap and come and go unannounced as you feel like, that's the best way. Nullahnung (talk) 09:00, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
Yeah that's not quite the response I was expecting. There's a lot of shit on RW I have no interest in debating... so I don't. Just come in and say your piece. Either you'll change minds or you won't. Just drop the drama. --Inquisitor (talk) 09:58, 16 December 2014 (UTC)

Ignoring science facts[edit]

It's surprising that a site that pretends to be fully scientific about everything, completely ignores chromosomes determination in the sex which people births with, pretending that sex is only about reproductive organs and hormones. It's an indisputable scientific fact that chromosomes XY and XX (which aren't mentioned anywhere, not even in the sex article) determine male and female sex respectively, and that those chromosomes not only determine different sexual anatomic characteristics, but it has also been proven that men and women have different ways of thinking or approaching things in some aspects (not based on social construct), so this proves that gender is kind of an unnecessary and redundant concept from the science perspective. --37.133.219.81 (talk) 13:53, 25 August 2017 (UTC)

Re read the 2nd paragraph and, if that doesn't answer your question, read it again. Doxys Midnight Runner (talk) 14:07, 25 August 2017 (UTC)

The average person in the street[edit]

(or anywhere else) will accept that 'genetic inheritance, the family, the culture, personality, and general expectations' will affect gender and the individual's expectations, 'and so long as you don't actively bother me, inflict your unwanted opinions on me, or cause damage to others and the environment, what you do in your own private time is not really of concern to me' (and if you find some way of dealing with your internal 'alternative person (gender, furriness, the rock star your voice or racing driver your sense of self-preservation prevented you from being' etc) that keeps you happy good on you'). 82.44.143.26 (talk) 14:31, 25 August 2017 (UTC)

But which are the genders?[edit]

When I had first read of gender, it was defined as something like "the sex a person identify with" and I thought "Good. That's useful because sexual orientation does not give this information, for example there are gay men which identify as males and others which think of themselves are females."

But now the definition of gender has became more and more complex, including culture, tradition, personality, stereotypes... and depending on the historic period an geographic location. Especially, it seems to me that nobody agrees on how many and which are the genders. Correct me if I am wrong.

Therefore, I do not see how gender might be considered a scientific concept. McLaghing (talk) 20:24, 18 January 2018 (UTC)

Languages are not scientific concepts, but they remain objects of scientific study. Languages are also strongly influenced by culture, tradition, location, and time. Gender has changed over time; ancient Greek homosexuality was not contemporary homosexuality. I am skeptical of the concept of 'gender' mostly because people report that their sexualities, including divergent and locally unpopular versions like transgender and homosexual, appear unchosen and involuntary. This sounds to me like biology at work, no matter how many sexual identities there happen to be. Mostly it's about how local people compartmentalize things, which again has counterparts in language; different languages put identical colors into different word boxes. - Smerdis of Tlön, LOAD "*", 8, 1. 02:50, 19 January 2018 (UTC)
"Languages are not scientific concepts, but they remain objects of scientific study. Languages are also strongly influenced by culture, tradition, location, and time." Your comparison between language and gender breaks because there is an agreement between linguists on which are the languages and on what are their characteristics, while it is not the same for genders. Of course languages, like almost everything having to do with humans, are a bit fuzzy, so that there could be a discussion if some dialects count has different languages or not, if some grammatical rules apply or not... but knowing that somebody speak (current) English is an useful information. On the other hand, it seems to me that knowing somebody's gender does not bring (anymore) useful information, because gender is almost as personal as personality itself. McLaghing (talk) 11:03, 19 January 2018 (UTC)

Still lacking a clear definition[edit]

The page still lacks a clear definition of "gender"

Gender, on the other hand, refers more to the non-biological characteristics of "man" and "woman".[1] [2] These are often rooted in stereotypical identifiers, including things like "women are caregivers and gatherers", "men are protectors and hunters"; "women feel and are intuitive", "men think and work things out" (though sometimes biologically influenced characteristics such as strength and build are included). Some of these roles have been noted to be historically contingent[3] and differ depending on location, culture, and tradition.[4] though cultural universals are noted to exist.

Are "caregivers and gatherers", "protectors and hunters", "feelers and are intuitive", "thinkers and workers-out things" genders? McLaghing (talk) 14:19, 29 January 2018 (UTC)

Ah, I think these are closer to gender roles or gender expectations, which are attributed to the gender. You said previously that gender is a useful construct and that is probably because you think that there are certain expectations that come with "women" and "men" - and I would agree, that's useful. This is quite steroetypical, of course, but if I was asked if a man or a woman would be more likely to be a "brute", I'd probably pick the man. Is "brute" a gender? No, but in my example, it's more closely associated with men. And things like "caregivers and gatherers" vs "protectors and hunters" are even more exclusively attributed to a gender in, uh, mainstream western culture? That's why they can serve as identifiers for the gender. And identifiers are unidirectional, right? Within the stereotype, a man does not necessarily mean "protector and hunter", but if there is a "protector and hunter", people would assume it's a man (within the stereotype).
Do you think this should be worded differently to make it clearer?
RSamys (bla) 09:41, 30 January 2018 (UTC)
"You said previously that gender is a useful construct" <- I said that the definition of gender as "the sex a person identify with" is useful, because it brings information which are not given by sex and sexual orientation. However, I said also that "the sex a person identify with" is not the current definition of gender... Indeed mine was a criticism of the current vague and confusing concept of gender.
"Do you think this should be worded differently to make it clearer?" <- I think that a definition should make clear what gender is (a role? a list of attributes? a list of expectations? a list of stereotypes? ...) and what is not. Also, example of genders should be given.
Image if I define "bunder" as "non-biological characteristics of 'children' and 'elders', often rooted in stereotypical identifiers, including things like 'children are noisy', 'elders are wise'..." and then I speak of 'bunders' and 'bunder identify'... shouldn't anybody have the right to say: "What the hell are you talking about?" McLaghing (talk) 15:27, 30 January 2018 (UTC)
Ah, thanks for clearing these up for me.
I think I can see your point regarding the vague definition. How about we first split it up in the different contexts where it is used, like for example, "this is the use in Grammar", then "this is how gender is used synonymously with sex", "this is how it is used in classification", "this is how it is used in electronics", and finally "this is how it is used in a psychological and sociological context". (Highlighting the many different uses, especially the synonymous use with sex vs the non-biological construct, might be better to explain why there's confusion in the first place.) And for that, I wonder if maybe a mix of the Merriam Webster definition (2.b) and the Oxford English Dictionary definition (3.b) would be better suited in your opinion.
The way I see it, the reason for why it's not defined as "the sex a person identifies with" is that this is too narrow, other people also identify that person with a gender. Also, it's easier to make it non-binary and create a third gender as if there was a third sex (independently from intersex, of course), at least compared to the biological sex.
Lastly, let me address "bunder", this is a great aid, honestly. "Non-biological characteristics of 'children' and 'elders'" this is pretty clear to me, although maybe "children" vs "grownups" might be a better analogy. Just like a gender-woman, who is perceived as or identifies as "female-like"/"feminine" (regardless of sex), a bunder-child could be perceived as or self-identify as "child-like"/"infantile" or something like that (regardless of age). In our culture, this might not be practical. Anyway, just like a list of shorthands exist for sex (women have breasts, men have wide shoulders or something to that extent) and for gender (men are more aggressive, women have long hair), there could be "stereotypical identifiers" for bunder (children are noisy, elders wear wool pullovers). I have the feeling that, for you, the current definition doesn't separate the two concepts (non-biological characteristics, which is the main idea, and stereotypical identifiers/shorthands, which is a sub-phenomenom) enough, for one, and that the first part should be expanded upon, for another. Which is fine, in that case what do you think about separating those two more and adding some of the afore-mentioned definitions into the first part - and maybe explain what is meant by stereotypical identifiers? I would argue, however, that examples of gender are given throughout the article, like Berdache and fa’afafine, while the definition paragraph limits itself to the (probably more familiar) two genders "man" and "woman" (as opposed to "male" and "female"). We'll just have to keep in mind that it's probably better to keep it descriptivist, linguistically. =)
RSamys (bla) 11:03, 31 January 2018 (UTC)
"How about we first split it up in the different contexts where it is used(?)" <- Yes, that seems necessary.
"I wonder if maybe a mix of the Merriam Webster definition (2.b) and the Oxford English Dictionary definition (3.b) would be better suited in your opinion." <- The first.
"The way I see it, the reason for why it's not defined as 'the sex a person identifies with' is that this is too narrow, other people also identify that person with a gender." <- Well, my point was that a definition should be enough narrow to be useful.
"what do you think about separating those two more and adding some of the afore-mentioned definitions..." <- I agree with any change which make the definition more clear.
"I would argue, however, that examples of gender are given throughout the article, like Berdache and fa’afafine," <- It is true, but most of the page talks about gender many lines without having given a single example. My point is the examples should be given right after the definition. McLaghing (talk) 12:16, 31 January 2018 (UTC)

The article begins with an explanatory quote from the W.H.O. But, should the W.H.O. be considered a dispositive authority? The subjects of sex and gender together constitute a new science. It may be that the term "gender" is used variously by our new gender scientists. This could be pointed out, i.e., that there is a lack of consensus at this time among gender scientists as to exact meaning of the root term defining their enterprise. On the other hand, if there is an exact scientific definition of gender, is it likely to be found in common dictionaries, which describe common usage?Ariel31459 (talk) 17:36, 31 January 2018 (UTC)