Sex or Gender

” One is not born, however rather becomes, a female.”

Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex (1949).

Male zebra finches are loquacious – the women silence. Female green spoon worms are 200,000 times larger than their male mates.

Alan Pease, author of a book entitled “Why Men Don’t Listen and Women Can’t Read Maps”, thinks that women are spatially-challenged compared to males. The British firm, Admiral Insurance, conducted a research study of half a million claims. They discovered that “women were practically twice as most likely as males to have a collision in a parking area, 23 percent most likely to strike a fixed vehicle, and 15 percent most likely to reverse into another lorry” (Reuters).

Gender “differences” are often the outcomes of bad scholarship. Concerning women’s alleged spatial deficiency, in Britain, girls have actually been outperforming kids in scholastic ability tests – including geometry and maths – because 1988.

In an Op-Ed released by the New York Times on January 23, 2005, Olivia Judson cited this example.

” Beliefs that males are fundamentally much better at this or that have actually consistently caused discrimination and bias, and after that they’ve been proved to be nonsense. Ladies were thought not to be first-rate artists. However when American chamber orchestra presented blind auditions in the 1970’s – the musician plays behind a screen so that his/her gender is undetectable to those listening – the number of women provided jobs in expert orchestras increased. Likewise, in science, research studies of the ways that give applications are examined have actually revealed that women are most likely to get financing when those checking out the applications do unknown the sex of the candidate.”.

On the other wing of the divide, Anthony Clare, a British psychiatrist and author of “On Men” wrote:.

” At the start of the 21st century it is tough to avoid the conclusion that males are in serious problem. Throughout the world, established and establishing, antisocial behavior is essentially male. Violence, sexual abuse of children, illicit substance abuse, alcohol abuse, gambling, all are extremely male activities. The courts and jails bulge with males. When it pertains to aggression, overdue behavior, danger taking and social chaos, males win gold.”.

Men also develop later, pass away earlier, are more susceptible to infections and most types of cancer, are most likely to be dyslexic, to struggle with a host of psychological health conditions, such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and to dedicate suicide.

In her book, “Stiffed: The Betrayal of the American Man”, Susan Faludi explains a crisis of masculinity following the breakdown of manhood models and work and household structures in the last five years. In the movie “Boys don’t Cry”, a teenage lady binds her breasts and acts the male in a caricatural relish of stereotypes of virility. Being a man is simply a state of mind, the movie implies.

However what does it really imply to be a “male” or a “female”? Are gender identity and sexual preferences genetically determined? Can they be reduced to one’s sex? Or are they amalgams of biological, social, and mental factors in continuous interaction? Are they immutable lifelong features or dynamically evolving frames of self-reference?

In the abovementioned New York Times Op-Ed, Olivia Judson believes:.

Which sex it becomes depends on whether it satisfies a female throughout its first 3 weeks of life. If it satisfies a woman, it becomes male and prepares to regurgitate; if it doesn’t, it becomes female and settles into a crack on the sea flooring.”.

Yet, specific qualities credited to one’s sex are surely much better represented by the needs of one’s environment, by cultural elements, the process of socialization, gender functions, and what George Devereux called “ethnopsychiatry” in “Basic Problems of Ethnopsychiatry” (University of Chicago Press, 1980). He suggested to divide the unconscious into the id (the part that was unconscious and constantly instinctual) and the “ethnic unconscious” (quelched product that was when conscious). The latter is mainly molded by dominating cultural mores and includes all our defense reaction and the majority of the superego.

So, how can we inform whether our sexual role is mainly in our blood or in our brains?

The scrutiny of borderline cases of human sexuality – notably the intersexed or transgendered – can yield hints regarding the distribution and relative weights of biological, social, and mental factors of gender identity formation.

The results of a research study conducted by Uwe Hartmann, Hinnerk Becker, and Claudia Rueffer-Hesse in 1997 and entitled “Self and Gender: Narcissistic Pathology and Personality Factors in Gender Dysphoric Patients”, released in the “International Journal of Transgenderism”, “suggest substantial psychopathological elements and conceited dysregulation in a substantial proportion of patients.” Are these “psychopathological elements” simply responses to underlying physiological realities and changes? Could social ostracism and labeling have induced them in the “patients”?

The authors conclude:.

” The cumulative evidence of our study … is consistent with the view that gender dysphoria is a disorder of the sense of self as has actually been proposed by Beitel (1985) or Pfäfflin (1993). The main issue in our patients is about identity and the self in general and the transsexual desire appears to be an effort at assuring and supporting the self-coherence which in turn can cause an additional destabilization if the self is already too vulnerable. In this view the body is instrumentalized.

Alan Pease, author of a book entitled “Why Men Don’t Listen and Women Can’t Read Maps”, thinks that women are spatially-challenged compared to males. They discovered that “women were practically twice as most likely as males to have a collision in a cars and truck park, 23 percent more most likely to strike a fixed vehicle, and 15 percent more most likely to reverse into another lorry” (Reuters).

When American symphony orchestras presented blind auditions in the 1970’s – the musician plays behind a screen so that his or her gender is undetectable to those listening – the number of women provided jobs in expert orchestras increased. Particular qualities attributed to one’s sex are surely much better accounted for by the needs of one’s environment, by cultural elements, the process of socialization, gender functions, and what George Devereux called “ethnopsychiatry” in “Basic Problems of Ethnopsychiatry” (University of Chicago Press, 1980).” The cumulative evidence of our study … is consistent with the view that gender dysphoria is a disorder of the sense of self as has actually been proposed by Beitel (1985) or Pfäfflin (1993).

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