"Biologically male/female" - an outdated (and harmful) notion

Discussion in 'Mature / Controversial Topics' started by MntT77, Sep 4, 2012.

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  1. MntT77

    MntT77 [10] Knight

    In many societies throughout history, including most of the Western World today, ‘biological sex’ has been, and continues to be treated as a dichotomy – you’re either male or female, no questions asked. Simple enough, right? Except for the fact that it just doesn’t work that way.

    The differences between ‘male’ and ‘female’ bodies aren’t as vast as they’re often implied to be. The most obvious evidence for this is the existence of intersex children who are born with ambiguous genitalia. With the exception of the vagina itself, male and female genitalia are really not that different – the clitoris is very similar to the penis, the labia to the scrotum etc. The vast majority of the time, ambiguous genitalia poses no threats to the child’s health, yet most of the time surgery is still done to make the genitalia appear more ‘acceptable’, so that the child ‘fits in’. After all, how could a girl possibly live a normal life with a larger than average clitoris? Shock horror.

    And this is solely if you focus specifically on genitalia. ‘Sex’ as it is often used actually signifies countless different variables which are lumped in together with either ‘male’ or ‘female’. So this includes not just genitals, but also chromosomes, hormone levels, breasts or lack thereof, body hair, bone structure etc. Not only is there vast variation in almost all of these categories even within ‘dyadic’ males and females, but most of these can also be altered or changed, either with or without outside influence. One aspect of sex that remains static, however, is the arrangement of sex chromosomes. As most of us were taught at school when we were 9 or thereabouts, XX =girl, and XY = boy. Once again, it’s not that simple.

    For a start, there are far more possible combinations than simply XX and XY. While rare, other possible combinations include XXY, XYY, XXX and X, among others. In fact, it’s also possible for someone who’s ‘male’ to have XX chromosomes, and for someone who’s ‘female’ to have XY chromosomes. This is because most Y chromosomes have a specific gene which triggers the development of testes. However, mutations in these chromosomes mean that sometimes, the Y chromosome might contain no such gene (leading to an XY female), or an X chromosome might contain said gene (resulting in an XX male). In effect, most people can’t be 100% sure what their chromosomes are, because they’re usually only tested if a chromosome related disorder is suspected.

    Long story short, the notion of ‘biological sex’, at least in the traditional sense, is heavily flawed. Even amongst those whose sex is seen as unambiguously male/female, there’s still massive variation in countless areas such as hormone levels (which in itself affects many areas of body development) and skeletal structure. Trying to lump all of this variation into one of two boxes is an outdated practice and doesn’t really help anyone.
  2. Hot Rod Dave

    Hot Rod Dave "Saucy saucy minx"

  3. Juez

    Juez DragonPuncher

  4. MntT77

    MntT77 [10] Knight

    It's not that long. :/

    But tl;dr is that the idea of two biological sexes is extremely flawed, and causes unnecessary suffering.
    • Premium Supporter

    JDub Mmm. Pie.

    Meh. No one cares unless it's someone in their own family that falls outside of social norms. My brother has been taking hormones for about two months and one day wants me to consider him my sister. At first I thought "This is what I get for laughing at people on Jerry Springer". The voice in my head (Conway Twitty) said "Not so funny now, is it hoss?". People refer to him as a she and I almost correct them. Then, I remember that's what he's going for. I kind of feel like I dodged a genetic bullet. Which is really selfish. But hey, I can't help but feel lucky that I don't want to trade in my parts and take hormones for the rest of my life. Plus, he wants to be a str8 woman. I'd just end up a really ugly lesbian.
    Wandrian and Norik like this.
  5. MntT77

    MntT77 [10] Knight

    You should refer to her as 'she', too. It's not easy if you're used to using male pronouns, but after a while you'd soon get used to it. :) (This, of course, is assuming that it's safe to do so)
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    JDub Mmm. Pie.

    ^Yeah, if he lets me pick out his tits I might think about it! XD
    On a serious note. I know it'll come to that point. I just don't know if I'll know when that point is.
  6. Norik

    Norik [14] Master

    XBL:
    Dark Khill
    Bullshit. Sex is indeed defined by genitalia (or at least "biological sex", as you call it). The sole purpose of having two sexes is a reproductive one: A male inserts his genetic material into the female's womb through her vagina by the means of his penis. The male then protects the female until the offspring can live on it's own. Pretty much all combinations other than xx or xy are infertile, and can therefore be considered as a genetic disorder, but it's not really a big deal (much like an albino or an Asperger).

    Should these people be treated differently? Absolutely NOT. In fact, I don't see what the big deal is. You have a dick? Then you're a guy. Period. This doesn't (or shouldn't) have any effect on your behavior whatsoever, saying that you should act like a female or consider yourself one simply because you're an xx male is just as ridiculous saying you should act "ghetto" because you're black. These are simply genetic traits, and people shouldn't use them to categorize other people. That's just wrong. However we do use all these traits in legal documents, but just to identify people more effectively.

    You say this is dangerous, but I honestly fail to see what the issue is.
  7. LostProvidence

    LostProvidence [14] Master

    Not saying I disagree but you can present your argument much better. Not only that, but I think saying identifying someone as "biologicaly" or "born" sex allows for much less confusion than other ways of identifying people's sex.

    Regardless, all I know is that, if I slept with a female who was born a male, I wouldn't want to know...
    Ghengis_John and Norik like this.
  8. LostProvidence

    LostProvidence [14] Master

    Not to mention that there's always the classification of hermaphrodite...I honestly don't see where the problem lies with referring to somene's biological sex...unless that person is screwed up.
  9. MntT77

    MntT77 [10] Knight

    I do need to stop the occasional sarcastic lines that permeate a lot of my arguments, to be fair.


    There's no such thing as a human hermaphrodite - 'hermaphrodite' implies fully functioning male and female genitalia. I assume you mean 'intersex'.
  10. Sett

    Sett [11] Champion

    PSN:
    Settman
    I don't see how the differentiation causes suffering.


    Although there is a place where girls have randomly turned into boys during puberty, but the scientists weren't allowed to disclose the location.
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  11. LostProvidence

    LostProvidence [14] Master

    I wasn't talking about sarcastic lines. I was talking about the information you're giving and how you're melding unrelated things together but, foreseeing where this is going, if you think it's a good argument then it's a good argument.

    I'm sorry but I don't follow all of the intersex, transgender, transexual, whatever the hell. You know what I'm talking about when I say hermaphrodite. Funny that you would say something about that, though, provided the argument you're making. It's almost as if in trying to find what's politically correct and defines exactly what a person with some type of different sexuality that things are becoming more complicated.

    Biologically male or female tell you exactly that - whether someone was born female or male. I don't give a flying fuck if you think like a man, look like a woman, and fuck like a squirrel.

    I'll read a reply you make but I'm probably not going to reply again.
  12. MntT77

    MntT77 [10] Knight

    It could probably do with some polishing, but the key points are there.


    It's a common mistake tbf - I just wanted to let you know. :)


    Saying that someone was assigned/designated female/male at birth is mostly inoffensive. Saying that they're 'biologically' so implies hard-wiring to be a certain way. It's subtle, but enough of those subtle things together make a huge difference, you know?
  13. Sett

    Sett [11] Champion

    PSN:
    Settman
    During the Olympics the BBC showed this awesome video.



    Its not relating to sex but race and is still awesome.
  14. Norik

    Norik [14] Master

    XBL:
    Dark Khill
    I don't understand: Why do transgender people make such a big deal about what people call them? I think it's a moral issue with the way sexes are portrayed by society rather than real biological discomfort -although I know very little on the topic and I'm most likely wrong.
  15. MntT77

    MntT77 [10] Knight

    That relates to gender, not necessarily their sex. Binary gender is a similarly dangerous and outdated line of thought.

    For people who are happy with their gender they were assigned, they don't have to think on it all that much, and therefore it can be tempting to see it as being 'unimportant', when in reality it is a pretty significant part of a person's identity. It doesn't define them by any means, but it is significant. (And I don't mean that in the sense that 'men like x, women like y' etc.)
    • Senior Moderator
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    DarkRhythm The Wanderer

    Um.Interesting read. All I have to say.
  16. Wandrian

    Wandrian I don't know.

    How about the concept of gender indentity?
  17. HolyCarp

    HolyCarp [14] Master

    PSN:
    HolyCarp
    I don't know much about this subject, but I have to admit that for someone to cease to accept their biologically "assigned gender" and decide that their sex shouldn't dictate their identity takes a lot of courage.

    Even on a simple level, a man who decides he should be a woman... Well, that takes balls.
    ...damn it, I knew I wouldn't be able to make a serious post without a bad pun.
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