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Is gender natural or cultural?

For a long time now I have always heard that gender is nothing more than a social construct. I was told that if we taught women to be aggressive and taught men to be more emotional we would have a society nearly the exact opposite of what we have now. But is this really the case? The genders are not the same, we have different reproductive organs, different muscle densities, different brain chemistry and even different brain structure. None of these can be social and all would affect behavior. Furthermore in the 3 social apes and most social monkeys there are clear gender roles so why not humans?

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    Jun 1 2013: Q: What is the difference between "SEX" and "GENDER"? A: Sex is biological and is manifested physiologically as either male or female. Gender is sociological and is manifested behaviorially as either masculine or feminine. When an application form asks about Gender the answer choices are either Feminine, or Masculine. The form is NOT inquiring about which sex organs and hormones you possess (if that is what they want to know they should ask "Sex?"). There are masculine females; feminine males; feminine females; and masculine males. According to the World Health Organization, in "What do we mean by "sex" and "gender"?. . . gender is the result of socially constructed ideas about the behavior, actions, and roles a particular sex performs. The beliefs, values and attitude taken up and exhibited by them is as per the agreeable norms of the society and the personal opinions of the person is not taken into the primary consideration of assignment of gender and imposition of gender roles as per the assigned gender. Intersections and crossing of the prescribed boundaries have no place in the arena of the social construct of the term "gender".--http://www.who.int/gender/whatisgender/en/index.html
    • Jun 4 2013: Then may I ask why has the same gender roles have appeared almost universally in human culture. While we do have several egalitarian communities the rest and fairly sure most are patriarchal and I know of none that are matriarchal. So surely there is some sort of basis or common factor all humans share to cause this tendency.
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        Jun 5 2013: Commonness, or rate of occurrence is a separate question. Today's Navajo Nation in the Southwest of the USA is matriarchal, as is the Mosuo Tribe in China. Some South Sea Islanders have matriarchal structures like the Trobrianders. You equate matriarchal with egalitarian? Why? Perhaps your question is not so much about gender as it is about power distribution.
        • Jun 5 2013: No I do not equate matriarchy to egalitarian, I also disagree that commonness is separate from this. If the majority of human cultures are patriarchal and those that are not (such as the Mosuo) split work among the genders in the same way as patriarchal cultures (women doing housework while men care for livestock) then does that not show that gender (behavior and roles each sex performs) is in fact biologically based?
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        Jun 5 2013: RE: "No I do not equate. . . " In your statement, QUOTE " While we do have several egalitarian communities the rest and fairly sure most are patriarchal . . . " You seem to imply a clear contrast between egalitarian and patriarchal. Was that not your intention? I do most of the housework since I am retired and my wife is a working full-time schoolteacher. Is that a gender, or a sex, issue? I think it is a rationality issue. If you are looking for data to support the conclusion that behavior roles are biologically based I can only offer the physical ability argument which says things like men can't breastfeed babies, or women can't do a full planche pushup. If a task requires what only one sex can perform then roles are biologically driven. But very few roles in life meet the physical ability requirement, so I think the answer is "No, gender is not biologically based".
  • Jun 27 2013: sure it have an psychology affect god create our body in Integrated way so the man can't be more emotional it doesn't come sense with his face his body women according to their create they can me sweat and full of emotion ..
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    Jun 22 2013: Gender is natural. The wish, urge or anything else to have it 'cultural' is cultural.
  • Jun 2 2013: Gender is biological. And despite the influence of "creationism" which implies we are either a man or woman, nature is much less categorical about it. Unfortunately the fact that many people are born with various gender assignment issues, has been marginalized or excluded entirely and many people suffer from everything from cruelty and discrimination to self hatred and the feeling of being the only one ever. I recommend a video by an Australian "person" called "Orchids" who appears to be an attractive women, but has testes instead of ovaries. It's called "androgen insensitivity syndrome" which is a genetic trait some people carry although they may be a man or women in every sense of the word themselves. This brave women (she had the testes removed as most do because they often become cancerous in such people) made the documentary about her and her family and this hidden but not entirely uncommon syndrome. It made me wonder--here I am at 57 years of age and have no idea how many kinds of these types of syndromes have been named nor what they consist of. Surely there should be some place for this in early education but the weight of creationism and religion on politics in America is still oppressive in many places. It's just wrong. And though this one appeared an attractive woman, there are many that are rather not so appealing to see and they wind up often being victims of anti-gay or transsexual brutality when they are just being who and what they are--somehow both a man and a woman. It's just wrong not to face this and fix education to help people avoid these terrible fates.
  • Jun 1 2013: Physically, testosterone is the big difference.

    There is a genetic disorder, androgen insensitivity syndrome, which causes the individual cells of a person to be incapable of using testosterone. When this affects a genetic male it can have a range of affects. At the extreme end of that range, when no testosterone whatever can be used by the individual cells, a genetic male will develop as a very feminine appearing female.

    There are also other biological differences between the sexes, particularly in the brain.

    So gender is biological, but the biology of gender is very complicated.

    Still, in many societies, the social constructs dominate the treatment of men and women. We still do not have a good understanding of the fundamental differences between males and females. But thousands of years ago social roles were determined based on what they then considered adequate knowledge of these differences. It is odd and sad that some people still take those roles seriously.
  • Jun 1 2013: Obviously, there exists a difference of gender in humans. However, to me it is not clear what is the fundamental aspect of gender.
    Is gender a property of the physical body? Is it a lifestyle? What is the real difference? How much is genetic? How much is culture? Is gender a concious decision of identification?

    Why is it that one physical difference such as gender seems to naturally define certain roles in society while others do not?
    • Jun 4 2013: Well more accurately gender is more than one physical difference, there are differences in genetics, body chemistry and body structure. What I am asking is does it also affect psychology or is this all just made up.