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Seeing gender

Ann Lemieux's picture

I was not in class on Thursday, but if I had to depict my own gender with a sketch, I would draw a bowl and a mixing spoon. Cooking is something I have always loved, and it is a hobby that people of all genders have, yet women are more often expected to be able to cook than men. I think that many of my interests and traits are ones that people associate with femeninity, but they are not exclusively feminine. For example, I love working with children and want to be a teacher. More women than men are teachers, especially with younger kids, but there are also several men who teach young children and are amazing at it.

My sketch of gender in general would be a spectrum, ranging from one color to another, but with the middle gray area disconnected from the two ends of the spectrum. This is because although I see gender as a spectrum, society creates a false binary out of gender, and leaves out all those who identify as somewhere in between male and female.

Since I wasn't in class to answer questions, I'll post some of my answers here. I think the main difference between sex and gender is that sex is biological, and gender is mental. Sex has to do with what sex organs a person has. Gender has to do with where on the spectrum between male and female a person chooses to place him/herself. People choose to identify with a certain gender because of their appearance, biological sex, what society tells them to identify with, and many other factors.

I consider myself to be female, and since my sex, gender, and gender expression are all female, I have been fortunate enough to have never had my gender presentation questioned.

I feel that terms and labels can be sometimes useful when they are accurate and all-encompassing, but they are more helpful than harmful when they create a false binary, as is the case with gender. There’s no use in having two labels/terms for gender, when gender is actually a spectrum. Labels and terms are also harmful  when they are accompanied by stereotypes that are very often untrue, as is the case with gender norms.