(Original post by Seven_Three)
(Original post by Don_Scott)
Having read your posts, they're quite a lot of ignorance on both sides when it comes to ideas of Gender, what's socially constructed and what's supposedly 'natural' and 'scientific'.
Firstly, going down the science route. It really is NOT as black and white as people seem to think. Are you really saying that what defines a man or a woman is ONLY their known 'sex' and their reproductive organs? If you use that argument as the ONLY way to define gender - what about the man who loses his testicles to cancer? Or a woman who has a hysterectomy or loses both breasts? Are they then no longer a man or a woman because they've lost their sexual organs? Yes of course they're still a man or a woman. They are still the gender they were born and the gender role they continue to live because of the impact of social cultures and constraints that have been placed upon them from the very moment they were born.
Moving onto the subject of society and its cultures. Of course gender is influenced by the society that we live in! How could you argue that is not? From the clothes we're put in as a kid, the toys we play with, the jobs, issues of pay etc etc etc. All these are a continuos circle of the generation before and the generation before that. You can see it in the Muscular Christian belief of the late 19th century - the hearty religious man who played sport, was educated, went into decent careers whilst the women stayed at home, provided the education and cleaned. Ok whilst times have changed, the gender constructs are still there on SOME levels.
The impact of material culture is the big one especially at the moment where the boundaries are beginning to overlap. Stuff like a barbie girl, or a pint glass or say a cigar are all gender constructs as well. You see a guy walking down the street with a bag that's not a rucksack or a briefcase and it'll almost be deemed girly. They're called 'manbag' but end of the day, the idea came around because a man carrying a bag similar to a women's wasn't meant to be in the social construct of what a man is meant to be. Like Alasdair said a guy goes out in a skirt and will get ridiculed. A woman who goes out in a manly pin stripe suit, VERY short hair, frumpy shoes etc and gets deemed to be on the more masculine side of a woman.
Gender constructs are built SO much by everyday things AS WELL AS some of the scientific background (although the science of women being the weaker sex, smaller brain, weak because of monthly cycles was all found to be incorrect). However it was this scientific argument that started the cause of gender stereotypes in the first place. Damn those Victorians! There is MASSIVE amounts of academic scholarship on this through History, Sociology, English Lit and Gender as its own discipline and no I'm not talking about Butler's Gender Trouble, times have moved on a LOT since that book was written.
The concept of Gender is neither one of a social constraint or a science. It is BOTH and this must be remembered. You cannot define a gender through black and white means. Especially when you have questions over women and lesbianism and men and being gay/homosexual. I cannot believe people want to split the idea of gender down into little named boxes. It's still seen in the academic world - look at the number of women professors especially in History departments where probably the majority of the work on Gender is being produced from - it's bloody awful and having discussed this with female academics, they don't see it changing for a long long time. All because of these supposed gender stereotypes based on 19th cen ideals of gender being x & y, not a, z, t, or w etc.
Bahhh could have written this so much better but that would involve thinking and being really academic
All in all, gender cannot be split into two boxes of science or social constructs. Anyone who thinks it can be needs to have a serious re-think about the world we live in.
ETS: and as someone just posted. The biggest age old adage is whether we're a sex/gender first and a social construct ie: a person/people second or vice versa. It's the question that dominates gender theory year on year and it'll never be answered.