Posted: May 31, 2018 8:49 am
by Rumraket
purplerat wrote:
Rumraket wrote:It does make me wonder as I believe I see two contradictory viewpoints expressed by various groups.

On the one hand there are people who advance a viewpoint that basically says that gender is a social construct that doesn't really biologically exist, and on the other hand there are people who insist they're born the wrong gender, and that the biological "equipment" they were born with is significantly diagnostic of their gender identity. I'm not sure whether they're the same people saying both things, or whether they're actually two opposing groups. Or whether they are even aware of the implied contradiction.

I suppose the former group could basically just respond that it is the surrounding society that has indoctrinated them to think that the gender-identity experienced by the latter is them falling victim to a social construct of some sort. But then doesn't that imply that the people who feel they've been born the wrong gender should instead come to realize that their problem isn't actually their physical attributes, but their self-image imposed on them by the surrounding culture? That they can in fact be a man with boobs and a vagina (sorry for implying these could go together) or whatever other organ package they desire?

I don't think they have to be contradictory.

Gender could be viewed as largely a social construct but how one fits into that is largely determined by biology. Think of it like occupation. Nobody is born a doctor or teacher or trash collector. They are effectively social constructs but people are born with traits that will suit them better for some jobs but not others. But then even somebody who might show a strong aptitude for one occupation at an early age may later find that they would be much happier pursuing a different career.

The question then is what's more important; strictly enforcing how society thinks individuals should fit into these constructs or letting individuals determine what works best for themselves. To that I have to imagine both of the aforementioned sides would prefer the latter.

I understand what you're saying and I completely agree that people should have the freedom to determine for themselves what gender they feel like they are or belong to.

Though it's not bad I do take a tiny issue with your career choise vs aptitude analogy. It is the rather arbitrary labeling of people with certain collections of aptitudes that is the social construct, and in that sense it certainly is a social construct that we have decided to label certain collections of "aptitudes"(organs, chromosomes, whatever) male or female. But what can't be said to be a social construct is the very existence of those aptitudes. They exist, and they can be used as diagnostic or descriptive traits if for no other purpose than ease of communication. That doesn't mean that we should therefore impose on people that they engage in certain behaviors just because they came equipped with certain physical attributes, though I fully acknowledge that there are many people who would argue that it should.