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Gender Identity

Posted Apr 9, '14 at 8:38pm

Kalaina

Kalaina

23 posts

So, given your earlier statements about the definition of the term "gender identity,"

In my understanding, gender identity is the psychological representation of gender (id est, sex) with which an individual can most readily identify itself. In other words, the sex/gender that a person identifies as being, regardless of the sex/gender of the body.

It is not, as I daresay you know, a matter of what you "identify" your body's gender to be, but what gender you "identify" as being your own.

And that when you refer to this identification of sex/gender, you're saying that

It is one of the psychological and social aspects to which I believe gender should not refer.

But given that this is supposedly "the gender with which an individual can most readily identify itself," "the sex/gender that a person identifies as being," or "what gender you "identify" as being your own," then why, exactly, are you using the term gender to refer to the psychological and social aspects to which you believe gender should not refer?

But the fact that it this definition is included in these sources does nothing to indicate any such value.

Exactly, hence "this does not address that point."

 

Posted Apr 9, '14 at 8:49pm

FishPreferred

FishPreferred

1,545 posts

But given that this is supposedly "the gender with which an individual can most readily identify itself," "the sex/gender that a person identifies as being," or "what gender you "identify" as being your own," then why, exactly, are you using the term gender to refer to the psychological and social aspects to which you believe gender should not refer?

I am doing no such thing.

Exactly, hence "this does not address that point."

"That" meaning the relevant one?

 

Posted Apr 9, '14 at 9:15pm

Kalaina

Kalaina

23 posts

This is getting silly; you indicated that the point I made regarding dictionaries including the psychological definition of gender did not support the assertion that the distinction between sex and gender is valuable, to which I replied that I did not make that particular point in support of that particular assertion, but rather a separate one.  You are correct that the point does not support it, I was just clarifying that it was not my intent to do so.

I am doing no such thing.

Are you sure?  If my identification of gender is based on my conceptual understanding of which sex best fits my mentality and personality as pertaining to the relevant psychological and social aspects, and gender does not refer to those psychological and social aspects, then how does my identification of gender relate to gender at all?

 

Posted Apr 9, '14 at 9:30pm

FishPreferred

FishPreferred

1,545 posts

Are you sure?  If my identification of gender is based on my conceptual understanding of which sex best fits my mentality and personality as pertaining to the relevant psychological and social aspects, and gender does not refer to those psychological and social aspects, then how does my identification of gender relate to gender at all?

One thing doesn't need to be referred to as another thing in order for the two to be related, does it? There is no direct relationship between gender identity and the gender/sex you happen to have. The relationship is to the concept of gender/sex.

 

Posted Apr 9, '14 at 9:42pm

Kalaina

Kalaina

23 posts

I don't understand how the concept of sex can encompass those psychological and social aspects when those aspects are excluded from the definition of sex.  Moreover, I don't see how you can have an identity that is related to a concept at all.

 

Posted Apr 9, '14 at 9:45pm

FishPreferred

FishPreferred

1,545 posts

I don't understand how the concept of sex can encompass those psychological and social aspects [...]

Why would it? You seem to be working from a totally unrelated premise, unless I made a mistake somewhere.

 

Posted Apr 9, '14 at 10:16pm

Kalaina

Kalaina

23 posts

I don't believe that it is possible define gender identity (or anything else) in a way which refers to those relevant psychological and social aspects, without using a word that encompasses those aspects.  Given that sex and gender are identical, and refer exclusively to one's physical body, I do not think that they can be used to refer to those respective psychological and social aspects, in concept or otherwise.  I don't see how those aspects can be born of the relation between a person and a gender (nor with their concept of a gender), nor do I see any other words in your definitions from which such a psychological/social implication can be derived.

Where in your definitions of gender identity do you actually refer to anything that is at all related to those necessary psychological aspects?  And if the association is somehow derived or implied, can you revise your definitions to state explicitly how and from where it is derived or implied?

I believe this is a fundamental demonstration of why not having an explicit term to describe those psychological and social aspects of gender makes communication difficult or impossible, as well as showing that without being able to use "gender" in the social sense, the three more specific terms "gender identity," "gender role," and "gender expression" are all misnamed, as they cannot be defined in the context of gender.  I believe that these are negatives, and alleviating them by virtue of using gender in the social sense thus gives that usage positive communicative value.

 

Posted Apr 9, '14 at 10:45pm

FishPreferred

FishPreferred

1,545 posts

You're just overcomplicating the whole thing. The definition I gave differs from yours only in that it encompasses what you were initially defining as gender, rather than the term itself. I consider it exceedingly unlikely that you would fail to recognize this every time I explain it, and so I will have to conclude that you are intentionally confounding this discussion in order to support your argument.

 

Posted Apr 9, '14 at 11:48pm

Kalaina

Kalaina

23 posts

The definition I gave differs from yours only in that it encompasses what you were initially defining as gender, rather than the term itself.

While I fully understand that the intent of your definition is to encompass those same concepts, I take issue with the execution; your definition simply does not have the necessary words to express that those concepts are included.  As such, your definition cannot actually be interpreted to mean what you have said that it means by virtue of reading the words alone.

Further, I don't believe that the correct words exist to succinctly express those same concepts.

Per example, I enjoy wearing cute necklaces; this is an expression thing.  Typically, men don't want to wear cute necklaces, whereas it is normal for women to do so.  My specific identity in this case is that I identify as someone for whom cute necklaces are an appropriate item to wear.  However, I genuinely enjoy wearing them, and as such this identity is hardly rooted in my concept of the female sex.

By another example, I typically place a higher relative importance on the thoughts and opinions of the person I am talking to than on what they are saying; this is also an expression thing.  This is also something that women typically do.  I do this because I like to have meaningful relationships and conversations with the people with whom I interact.  This, too, is hardly rooted in the concept of the female sex.

My conceptual understanding of the female sex has absolutely nothing to do with wearing cute necklaces and valuing my conversation partners' feelings.  The reason that I consider these to be aspects of my gender expression (and the ability to express them as an aspect of my identity), and also consider myself a woman, comes from my conceptual understanding of women.  I do not make a conceptual association between the female sex and women beyond the fact that it is statistically typical for women to be of the female sex.

As such, the idea that my definition of being a woman is at all related to the way I conceptualize the female sex does not make sense to me.  And even if I did make that association, then that would be using sex in a social context; as my concept of the female sex would imply that its members are women, the social aspects pertaining to women would be directly related to the female sex.  Since you assert that sex = gender and take issue with gender having multiple meanings, giving sex multiple meanings is not an adequate resolution.

Basically, your definitions seem to imply that I make an association between the physical aspects of sex and the social aspects of the gender which is typically linked to that sex.  However, I don't make that association.  That's the primary motivation for distinguishing sex from gender in the first place - to have a standard and direct way to indicate that such a link between physical form and social values is not written in stone.  And given that I am trans, I especially don't value the link.

I don't even acknowledge that link in cisgender people.  Cisgender people have a fascinating variety of gender identities and expressions.  Being a member of the female sex does not imply that you enjoy wearing cute necklaces.  And while those who don't enjoy wearing cute necklaces can still identify as women, there is a sort of hidden and rarely evaluated taxonomy of gender identities that exists under the surface.  It's just not all that important in day-to-day life, as it turns out, so there is little reason for most to consider it.

In short, having a female body means that you have a female body and nothing else.  Knowing that gives me no insight into who you are.  Knowing that you are a man gives me some insight.

In that light, I have to ask again where in your definition of gender identity are these psychological and social aspects implied, given that I cannot derive them by making an association to how the female sex typically thinks and behaves, due to the fact that I view the idea of a sex having typical thoughts and behaviors to be nonsense.

 
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