Gender Position

It makes me crazy when people want to postulate about gender but have no working definition of what gender even is.  How can you discuss something without some clear idea of what you are talking about?

For me, gender exists in the minds of humans, in the assumptions we make about the difference between men and women.  This ranges from the expectations we lay on people based on the sex we percieve them to be, to the liscence & demands we place on them for the same reason.

It always amazes me how many transpeople think that they can promote their own ideas by sweeping  away the traditions and assumptions that are common and widespread in culture.  People cherish these notions, and willingly gender themselves, taking on the obligations of gender (albeit with grumbling) to get the benefits of gender  (even if those benefits appear to escape them.)

People know what they know, even if that knowledge is just convention, and to change that convention, the new conventions have to hold that truth better.  We accept the capacity of those of color and females because, in the end, we realize that they have much to contribute, that white males hold not exclusive patent on smarts and capability.

We can’t change convention by trying to ignore conventional wisdom, only by using the wisdom to inform new convention.

And that is hard.

2 thoughts on “Gender Position”

  1. While I agree that people cannot simply pretend that conventions and accepted beliefs do not exist, I think that taking a radical position can have great value.  People who are not just dense or stubborn may find themselves looking at their conventions in a new way when they encounter someone who is truly following a different path.

    But I like your suggestion that new conventions (or at least expressions, since it takes a whole culture to make a convention) need to hold truth better for people to see them as meaningful.

    And I love your expression “the license and demands we place” on people, the idea that we put permissions as well as expectations.

  2. Someone has to be the bleeding edge, that’s true.

    But there is a difference between leading, which requires understanding what exists now, and marginalizing yourself, where you are just disconnected from the world, and you don’t care.

    Thanks for your comments.

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