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[necro]What makes a man/woman?

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Posted Apr 30, '08 at 10:11am

Strop

Strop

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Lately there's been some discussion in various threads on what makes a man/woman, particularly in the thread about sexuality, and the thread about the "man" who was pregnant. That's why this thread is in this forum, as opposed to the Tavern.

So, what does being a man/woman mean to you? Feel free to answer either or both regardless of whether you're one, the other...or something else!

 

Posted Apr 30, '08 at 11:09am

Devoidless

Devoidless

3,838 posts

It depends on who you ask..

Some people will just go with the "Well...look at them! It is not that hard to see who is what."
Those are the same people that believe homosexuals will burn in hell.

Then others will say "It is all a matter of the genetics! XY or XX. Simple."
This makes sense, but in this day and age simply brining it down to a science simply does work.

If you ask me...it is somewhere between those two yet at the same time neither.

A lot of it seems to reside in the mind of each individual. There are some people out there who truly believe that they were born into the wrong gender, and find themselves attracted to the same genetic gender. These same people sometimes go through with sex changes, which then makes them transexuals.

Ofcourse, everything is based off of old notions and words meant to define and classify. Yet when it comes to living, breathing people does it seem right to just classify and define then based on a word?

 

Posted Apr 30, '08 at 11:37am

Moegreche

Moegreche

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Wow... only in humans would we be having this discussion :)
I think biologically it's pretty simple, but the problem comes in with personal identity: "I feel like a _____ trapped in a ______'s body."
Now, really, you can't possibly know what that means - no one can. You can't "feel like a man," you just feel like yourself. There is no experiential way to tell if you don't feel like the gender that you are. It really comes down to a desire to want certain... body parts, which leads people to say that they feel like a certain gender.
For me personally, I think it would be fun to have boobs, but then I'd never leave the house :)

 

Posted Apr 30, '08 at 11:56am

Asherlee

Asherlee

5,346 posts

Knight

I agree with you Moe. You can't be anything but your true self.

Another approach to this is a more spiritual one. Take the North American Native American people called Lakota. They naturally and intuitively understood trans-persons as two-souled.

 

Posted Apr 30, '08 at 12:37pm

Strop

Strop

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Wow... only in humans would we be having this discussion :)


And that's precisely the point I was hoping to make having this thread run its course!

It really comes down to a desire to want certain... body parts


Actually Moe, I think I disagree with you on the specifics. I don't believe that it necessarily comes down to wanting certain body-parts; there are those who would claim that their identity is mismatched but this manifests in various ways- this is why we have transgendered as well as transsexual people and the practice of transvestism being as rich and varied as it is: they are not all singularly related to the goal of having body parts that "belong to the other gender".

Furthermore, this appears to overlook the ambiguities that actually pervade sex, even on the most physically reductionist level.

"Feeling like yourself" in these cases, is obviously a political/social term- gender may be about perception of sexuality but nonetheless it appears to exert real effects in itself. This would be the work of our consciousness (I even think this would still be compatible with a reductionist view of consciousness, if we were to say that our consciousness convinced us that this attribute was 'real'!)
 

Posted Apr 30, '08 at 1:29pm

Moegreche

Moegreche

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I wasn't aware of the many different ways in which transgender feelings could manifest. I certainly agree with the social aspects of feeling a certain way, and taking the reductionist view gets us out of some experiential issues.

 

Posted Apr 30, '08 at 2:11pm

Strop

Strop

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Although I can't say I have any experiential knowledge when it comes to transgender issues (haha, at most, I find it difficult to personally relate to the notion of gender), I've made a bit of a leap of faith based on a certain empathy shared over several domains- I regard discussions on identity in transgender issues to be parallel to many other 'types' of predisposition that are left out of normative discourse. A homosexual person trying to express that their orientation is not a choice is one example, but so too are other people who struggle to explain/justify the manifestation of their own attractions to/fetish for other things (and not even necessarily sexual).

From a clinical perspective, it just seems more useful to start from a patient's perspective by first assuming that it is real, then working from there. In terms of behaviors and attractions, fantasy plays a big, and often variable role across individuals, and this, obviously, is the most subjecting thing of all; it's very difficult to systematically analyse such things because it is purely experiential in nature.