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HahiHa
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HahiHa
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Discussion thread for anything related to sex and gender. Always remember to be kind and respectful. Any hate comments will be swiftly dealt with.

This started out as a discussion on the Ask a Catholic thread, until I decided to make a separate thread.

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HahiHa
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HahiHa
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@sciller45

Well there. Gonads is my line. It's discrete as it gets, it's grounded in zoology, generally accepted in my experience, and it actually means something.

First, can you please - for the sake of argument, even if it might seem obvious - elaborate more specifically on what it actually means to you?

Re: 'discrete' - What about individuals with androgen insensitivity? What about individuals with ovotestes?

Re: 'generally accepted' - "The notion that sex is not strictly binary is not even scientifically controversial. Among experts it is a given, an unavoidable conclusion derived from actually understanding the biology of sex. It is more accurate to describe biological sex in humans as bimodal, but not strictly binary. Bimodal means that there are essentially two dimensions to the continuum of biological sex. In order for sex to be binary there would need to be two non-overlapping and unambiguous ends to that continuum, but there clearly isn’t. There is every conceivable type of overlap in the middle – hence bimodal, but not binary."
-https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/the-science-of-biological-sex/

Re: 'generally accepted' (continued) - At birth, the "official" sex of the newborn is usually solely determined by an examination of the external genitalia. This is more nitpicky, but still relevant, especially since it has consequences for intersex as well as trans individuals.

Again, thinking of sex in this way conflates it with gender rendering the term useless. You can't throw away a term that doesn't work for... 1 in 4500.

Our society does largely conflate sex and gender, and it is a problem. That seems to precisely be the point of the quote you mention. No one says that sex should never be considered. But in those areas where sex is relevant, such as in the medical field, it is nevertheless important to consider the individual with all its parts, and not just one single parameter. Hence the idea to use phrases such as 'person with uterus' instead of 'woman' or 'female' in the relevant (medical) context (contrary to what transphobes and culture war pundits may claim, no one, to my knowledge, has ever proposed to use this specific phrase outside of said context).

Why would splitting people into male and female lower their worth?

It wouldn't, but the arbitrary distinction is used as a pretext to justify discrimination. I wrote that largely in the context of the discussion around the Catholic church and its values...

I think I'll address the patriarchy part of your post in another comment a bit later.
HahiHa
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HahiHa
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Again, thinking of sex in this way conflates it with gender rendering the term useless. You can't throw away a term that doesn't work for... 1 in 4500.

Forgot to mention, and I seem to have trouble with the edit function, so I'll just add it here:

Outside of the relevant, usually medical, contexts, using sex makes no sense, instead it is more practical to use gender, as the quote from the article argues. Gender is largely a social identity - a social construct, as it's called - and impacts how we act and interact with each other. It is therefore more relevant in most cases than e.g. one's gonads :P
HahiHa
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HahiHa
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I don't get the... Well the patriarchy thing. It seems to me the natural product of biological differences. Nothing's being reinforced, and the idea that women are acting against their own interest genuinely feels conspiratorial. Maybe there's something to that. Maybe.

So, patriarchy. I'll use a definition from wikipedia as a starting point:
"Historically, the term patriarchy has been used to refer to autocratic rule by the male head of a family; however, since the late 20th century it has also been used to refer to social systems in which power is primarily held by adult men."

The Albanian 'sworn virgins', which you've mentioned elsewhere, would be of the former kind, of a strictly patrilineal society. The patriarchy currently present in most of Europe and America, addressed by feminist theory, is of the latter kind, usually less official (legally, men and women are equal), but nevertheless very real. Literally: the vast majority of positions of political, judicial and economic power (among others) is held by men. There's a lot of argument on why that is, with some claiming that it is, as you say, "the natural product of biological differences"; and on the other hand feminists demonstrating the social and systemic issues responsible for it.

Re: 'the natural product of biological differences' - What differences, exactly? They would have to be demonstrable sex-based differences that make typically male individuals more apt to wield authority, and exclude other non-sex-based factors.

Re: 'nothing's being reinforced' - When I say reinforced, I mean that we are, through interacting with other people, types of media and society in general, constantly exposed to certain implicit normative values that we tend to learn, internalize and reproduce.
Maybe you don't yet fully realize how pervasive it is, I assume because you fall within the normative values that are constantly portrayed. As an exercise, just think of all the ads, especially for products like cars and cosmetics, and what kind of aesthetics, what kind of stereotypes they make use of. Or just take a small trek in the Pointlessly Gendered Products reddit.

Another great resource is the youtube channel Pop Culture Detective. Two videos I've seen and can recommend are Boys Don't Cry (Except When They Do) and Born Sexy Yesterday

It's not just gendered stereotypes that are reinforced like that, by the way. For example, a large amount of the media (such as movies) we're exposed to implicitly or explicitly handle white able-bodied allo cis hetero men as the default, and everything else as a kind of deviation from that.

N.B. when I say normative values, I mean values considered to be the norm, or 'normal', which does not mean that norm is natural or cannot be questioned. Frequently such norms end up being restrictive, discriminatory, and harmful potentially to everyone, for even the people who are considered 'normal' are being forced into a specific mold, and suffer when for whatever reason they don't appear to fit into that mold any longer. And people outside the norm are constantly subject to the pressure to conform, which often comes with issues of self-worth.

Re: 'the idea [...] genuinely feels conspirational' - Nothing like that. I think it's about power dynamics. Your original point was this:
"I find the feminist argument amusing. I get the point, but at the same time, the churches have always been grandma clubs. Sure, priest's a man. But most of the community is female. Even half the men who are there are were driven [as in oxen] there by their wives."
I was just pushing back against the idea that the church cannot hold misogynistic values because communities are "grandma clubs". Just because there are many women in Catholic communities doesn't mean that they're all politically aware feminist activists, and even if they were, the church's authority is held by men, so they can't do all that much. It's a fact that the church's vast influence and money is usually invested in spreading reactionary, conservative values all over the world. A woman supporting such values, for whatever reason, is effectively working against her own interests as a woman.
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