What is it like to feel gender?

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11 Oct 2020 20:44 #355267 by Eqin Ilis
Replied by Eqin Ilis on topic What is it like to feel gender?
Just because something is a social construct does not mean it is easy to hypnotize people into changing their relation to it. Social constructs are literally any way we relate to each other as human beings. Religion is a social construct, but how much luck do missionaries have in convincing everyone else to join one religion? Math is a social construct, and not all cultures use base 10, or calculate through the same approaches. Personality is even more intricate than our relation to math or religion. So why is it surprising that to understand gender, we can't just use one culture's understanding of it?

Transgender people exist because some people experience a gender association that our culture does not recognize as correctly matching their sex. In many cultures, this is not always seen as binary or incorrect, as I explained in previous posts. We could just as easily name it something else, but the experiences of the people in question are not the question. Our name for it is.

You suggest to know what it feels like to be a man, the most important thing is to get into a fight. Do you then see a pacifist as inherently woman? Is someone able to lose his manhood through an aversion to fighting? Your next suggestion revolves around a relation to women. Must one then be a gay pacifist to lose their manliness? Or perhaps a broke, gay pacifist? If that is the case, there are many transgender women who you must agree are women, due to them lacking all the identifiers of a masculine gender.

I want to assure you I do not mean this as an attack on your own masculinity. Rather, I am only trying to remind you that we as men are varied and complex. None of us has quite the same flavor of masculinity, but that doesn't change who we are or how we see ourselves. When we live in an environment where we feel we know what to expect, and we start to feel as if we have a grasp on the greater world, it can be challenging to deal with cultures and viewpoints we have no framework for understanding. Cataloguing an entire planet full of different cultures and experiences with a subject like this is a great undertaking. But it is important for us to have a language and framework of understanding when we have made such technological progress that we are able to be in contact with almost anyone across the globe.

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11 Oct 2020 23:30 - 11 Oct 2020 23:40 #355269 by Adder
It's interesting to consider the best person for most any job can be of either sex, IF we're consider the mind. It's sorta goes back to the discrimination angle in the race threads... do we judge and define a person (the 'individual') by the body they are born into (and its appearance or capabilities)..... or something more universally accessible to all individuals? I think yes because it would seem to be the best 'currency' of equality, and any system to maximise freedoms.

So I find it more useful to define a person by their mind, not its power but by its application. Because the biggest differences IMO between male and female is the physical body dimension, be size, strength, shape or reproductive instincts/functions. Historically those differences meant more than they need to do now, so the group labels to individuals had useful relevance in more applications within society. But group labels are meant for specific purposes and don't really serve a useful purpose outside of those purposes. Problems seem to start to develop when people start to define themselves by groups and elevate the group dynamics upon individuals.

So social roles are interesting, but obviously so complex its almost all the way down to individual level just because we're all individually going to be meeting those roles in different weights and ways. For me a 'man' seemed to be about preparing to fight and win or die trying in a near future war, else work and earn money to support/protect/raise a family, and make society a better place... in that order. And 'woman' was to support/protect/raise a family, make society a better place, and earn money to enable those things, in that order. Simple!


But its not a 'rule' where I live, and so therefore not a standard to apply to others. It was just my particular upbringing in a culture I was raised in. I definitely don't judge myself by meeting those things, now or ever - but they do inform to some extent what I am because it was a societal norm developed by my 'ancestors'.

And they do represent realities which still exist I guess, but the weighting as priorities seems outdated. And it's understandably out of date because groups change slower than individuals, as group members tend to not challenge their own group and the group dynamics don't want to risk alienating its members by the wrong sort of change. Being old doesn't mean bad though, but just not necessarily the best way now or the best way for the future.

And our society has undergone a lot of change. Traditional female and male roles have dissolved mostly because technology has mitigated the advantage of physical strength or capacity for violence to assert power, and enabled woman to be more fairly distributed in the workforce etc. It's created a more level playing ground. So playing with semantics can be fun if a system is found which makes sense and is workable, useful, but again.... putting people into roles is a bit dictatorial so at the individual level people can probably find their own meanings which fit best.

But at some level some group differentiation is still required. I think those requirements should dictate the type and limits of the use of groupings though, because the trend seems to be more towards society of the individual than the groups. Bathrooms for example, highlighted the intersection of different group dynamics probably... and maybe instead needed to be changed from sex or gender to facility type, ie trough (lowest privacy), stalls (moderate privacy), rooms (higher privacy) etc, so people as individuals can interact with those groupings based on their needs (or traffic dynamics) rather than pretending the group rules are so universal that every person will fit exactly into one. We might find it more useful to eventually group ourselves only when needed as needed like that ie function rather than identity. Indeed we'd probably find bathrooms were originally developed differently exactly because of the minimal cost approach to functional requirements being different, rather than anything else like social identity. If the 'wrong' person was in the wrong bathroom, than it meant something else was going on and perhaps go elsewhere rather than stamp your feet and assert 'safe space'. Nothing is safe, its just some spaces are safer than others and the best way to do this IMO is to assert functional group roles more than anything else. Though I'm open to other arguments of course :D

I should add, this does relate to how I see any Force path, be it Jedi or Sith etc, as to me the 'spirituality' of freedom (and its religious application) is the next level deeper from that above mentioned equality - which considers the mind as the essence acting in its environment, ie its nature, and that concept of essence becomes another dimension of shared attribute which extends beyond human aka closer to a concept of the Force. Where of course the Sith turn it around and develop the appearance of inequality because when their focus shifted from groups identities into the Force it discarded the ethical construct of the individual's rights.... while the Jedi approach could be said to have retained them by the differentiation of the Living (aspect of the) Force and Universal (aspect of the) Force. :silly:

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Last edit: 11 Oct 2020 23:40 by Adder.
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12 Oct 2020 12:48 - 12 Oct 2020 14:03 #355277 by OB1Shinobi

Eqin Ilis wrote: You suggest to know what it feels like to be a man, the most important thing is to get into a fight. Do you then see a pacifist as inherently woman?


No. Women are not inherently foolish. If you are a pacifist it is probably because you live in a world that has always kept you safe. Unless you have come back from a war and decided that you would rather die than to behave that way, again, your pacifism is likely nothing more than the luxury of a privileged life.


Is someone able to lose his manhood through an aversion to fighting?


An aversion to fighting? No. But if you have never even been willing to fight?

Your next suggestion revolves around a relation to women.


Sexual potency and sexual allure are aspects of both masculinity and femininity. So, yes, for a heterosexual male, relationships with women are very much an important part of our masculinity. I did not broach the topic of gay men because i no longer wish to make two page essays out of every post. I will leave it at this: ive known gay men who can fight, quite well. I consider them to be masculine.

Must one then be a gay pacifist to lose their manliness? Or perhaps a broke, gay pacifist?


The “gay” part i can respect but “broke pacifist” doesnt sound very manly, to me, at all.



If that is the case, there are many transgender women who you must agree are women, due to them lacking all the identifiers of a masculine gender.



Obviously. There are biological males who perceive themselves as being essentially feminine persons. That was the point I was making. I accept and respect all people who are accepting and respectful.


I want to assure you I do not mean this as an attack on your own masculinity.


Lol - you're welcome to try. Im not a pacifist.

Rather, I am only trying to remind you that we as men are varied and complex. None of us has quite the same flavor of masculinity, but that doesn't change who we are or how we see ourselves.


My post struck a nerve. None of us see clearly without a lifetime of finding out that we were wrong about the things we thought we saw.


Cataloguing an entire planet full of different cultures and experiences with a subject like this is a great undertaking.


If you had to make a ball-park guess of how many cultures there have been since the emergence of homo sapiens sapiens, how many do you think? Dont feel bad, this would be a difficult question even if you were an anthropologist. For the sake of the thought experiment, make a guess.

Out of all of those cultures, in what percentage of them were the men the ones who werre held responsible to do the hunting and the fighting?


But it is important for us to have a language and framework of understanding when we have made such technological progress that we are able to be in contact with almost anyone across the globe.


Is “language and framework of understanding” just a flowery way of suggesting that people on the internet shouldnt be allowed to say things that you dont want to hear?

People are complicated.
Last edit: 12 Oct 2020 14:03 by OB1Shinobi.

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12 Oct 2020 13:11 - 12 Oct 2020 13:12 #355279 by Rosalyn J
Hmm,

I’ve never asked the question, “what’s it like to feel your gender?” Is that like “what is it like to feel African American? Or what’s it like to feel gay? I ask this because I am both. I’ve been mulling over how to respond to this topic for a week now. I’m sticking to my original thought when I read this. What’s it like to feel your skin?

Many times we take skin for granted. It’s the largest organ, does a considerable amount of work, and yet we seldom feel it well. Its only when there is a wound and nerves are exposed and all the healing cells get around that wound that we feel pain, exposure, danger of infection, and we take action.

In a lot of ways I don’t meet the typical expectations of feminine, or woman, or lady. I’m 34 and unmarried. I have no child(ren), in some ways I don’t even consider myself to have a nurturing instinct. Do I sometimes consider myself inadequate especially as I reach closer to menopause and wonder if I am going to carry on the line or be the last of it? Yes. It keeps me up at night.

I have been around women comfortable in their role(s) and I have been around women uncomfortable, but trying desperately to manage. I spent 4 years in an evangelical mega church if you are wondering how.

Brene Brown talks about the shame web. Its a visual representation of all the things that women should be.


I put the picture up. I guess it’s like that. Impossible to untangle oneself from expectations brought on by a society which can dictate through various means both place and role.

There is some freedom in bucking the system, but it’s lonely and scary for me.

There.

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Last edit: 12 Oct 2020 13:12 by Rosalyn J.
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12 Oct 2020 15:00 #355283 by ZealotX
male and female exist in a balance of cooperation. Depending on the society and environment in which you live the needs of survival are not the same and both genders can express themselves more freely.

A woman who had to cook... wasn't doing so because she's a woman and women should cook. She cooked because the greater need demanded more physical or physically intense labor. Men are physiologically better suited to this. However, the body is a natural tool. A female with a bow can be just as good a hunter. So when you introduce more advance tools they replace the brute force aspect of survival. I still get asked to open bottles but that's simply because its easier for me than it is for them.

I believe this is why there are more questions about gender in today's society, because it isn't as necessary, except for reproduction. And with 7 billion people on the planet we could honestly do with a little less of that. And perhaps some humans have been "naturally selected" not to desire reproduction as simply part of nature's balancing act. But they are not less of a woman because their gender shouldn't be defined by having babies. Having babies is something both genders do together. The courts often act like every woman's name is Mary, as if men aren't part of that whole equation.

Leadership is also unfairly and incorrectly attributed to gender which has more to do with protection. Again, it's not that women can't protect themselves. It's simply thought this is easier for men, especially if men are the aggressors/attackers.

I think when it all comes down to it, it's about using your natural strength to benefit or "satisfy" the needs and desires of women. They define what is manly because they are the ones with the wants and needs that dictate what kind of man they want and need. Some women have a strong desire for physical protection (still) and others more financial security. This plays a role in who they are attracted to.

Men who are "involuntarily celibate" may simply be trying to define what a being a man means and trying to force women to agree with them instead of being the type of man that women want to be with. It's not about short vs long hair. A lot of women love long hair on a man and hair naturally grows regardless of gender. Facial hair is where there's much more of a difference.

Strength is something that goes beyond physical strength. When I "feel" more like a man is when I'm projecting strength or expressing that ideal or quality. I use it in cooking, cleaning, and whatever else I need to do. I don't wear dresses, skirts, wear makeup, wear nail polish, or pink because that doesn't express this quality to me. I try to be the physical manifestation of certain ideals and qualities and I look for other ideals and qualities manifested in the women I'm attracted to. That way I know that, together, we are well balanced.
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12 Oct 2020 17:08 - 12 Oct 2020 17:08 #355284 by Edan
I feel that the discussion of what gender feels like should include consideration of what it feels like to consider your gender different to that of your sex. There is something illuminating about gender when you take into account the experiences of those who feel their gender doesn't match their bodies.

I recommend everyone participating in this conversation take a few minutes to google gender dysphoria and read something about it.

Although this is a buzzfeed article, it does have interesting comments about those whose gender just doesn't fit them.

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Last edit: 12 Oct 2020 17:08 by Edan.
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12 Oct 2020 17:40 #355286 by TheDude
Thank you all for sharing your thoughts (both here and in private) on gender so far. I know it can be a difficult and complex topic and I'm glad to see that this thread has been civil so far! I've been reading through your posts here and it's given me a lot to consider already.

One thing I wanted to ask OB1: you noted fighting as a masculine behavior. Now I've been doing martial arts for some time, and in each martial arts gym I have been in there have been women present. I recall in a taekwondo class I was in, there was a 16 year old girl whose kicks were so good that she could fight evenly with men twice her age and almost twice her weight. I recall a judo class where the best student was a 20-year-old woman. She could easily best any of the men in the class. She may have been one of the best judoka worldwide, based on her competition record. And let's not forget the wonderful women of combat sports who make their living through blood and broken bones! In each of these cases, I'm not talking about talentless and weak fighting. There was no hair-pulling or slapping or nail-digging. Just punches, kicks, throws, and submissions. Yet these women still adhered to female gender roles in other areas of their lives. So, given that these women I've met have been so much better at fighting than the vast majority of men I've met, I'm not sure why you say fighting in a masculine behavior. Could you explain a bit more?
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12 Oct 2020 17:43 #355287 by Carlos.Martinez3
This is why self reflection is sooooo important in so many parts of our lives. Freedom from the know, which is in our library-helped me to ask some questions I hadn’t. Even thought about finding out cesrtsin things for myself. Was my faith my own? We’re my choices my own? Could I have differ ones or were some lore important than others?
Knowing yourself can be the best way to find out.

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12 Oct 2020 19:56 #355291 by rugadd
TheDude: I apologize in advance for butting in, but if one subscribes to masculine and feminine(the spear and cup), fighting is a masculine activity: that doesn't mean women can't be good at it or that the men around them can't suck at it more than the women do, or even that either party will enjoy it. It is a question of dedication to the practice and after that(emphasis AFTER) natural talent. The more we learn about gender the more the lines become blurry and gray. To say "This is masculine" or "this is feminine" does not mean that one has no place practicing it or that one must be good at it. That is a line drawn by culture, but it doesn't actually exist. I am considered "manly" by many, but I love my pastel hair bands.

I personally think we all have masculine and feminine potential within us and that our nature and how we are nurtured play a role in that. Some people tend toward one over the other, some are perfectly balanced.

Now to be perfectly clear: I personally do not ascribe to masculine/feminine theory. I think we all have great potential for both and through out the course of our lives we develop uniquely and with varying amounts of each. Now, how society treats a person who doesn't follow trends...

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13 Oct 2020 04:13 #355298 by Eqin Ilis
Replied by Eqin Ilis on topic What is it like to feel gender?
I want to say that I do not find this conversation to be all that civil. I outlined my own experience of gender and the experiences of many gender queer individuals only to have it be completely ignored and drowned out with narratives that continue to hurt non-cisgender individuals. I'm sorry I'm asking a group of people who are not already exposed to these ideas to take the leap into understanding how their narratives are hurtful. Perhaps those who are so inclined will understand when they have educated themselves on the issues at hand. After this, I will no longer interact with this thread. And I will not see myself as beholden to explaining anything that can be easily searched by those who wish to learn of becoming an ally.

And for the record OB1, I am neither a pacifist, gay, or broke. Those examples were specifically for your scenario, because it was ridiculous and needed illustrating. Sorry to have to call you out publicly, but apparently a direct fight is the only thing that will make my gender clear to you as well as how incorrectly you interpreted the entirety of my post. You have now specified it at least three times at this point.

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