Fully socially determined genders

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Fully socially determined genders

Post by Omzinesý » 11 Jan 2014 19:09

I have read something about the sociology of gender.
It seems that some aspects of genders are really biologically determined, i.e. based on biological sex. Women, for example, tend to be more nursing and men tend to be more aggressive.
Many aspects of genders are socially determined. I think women are not better at cooking or cleaning but they still cook and clean much more than men. Men are not better bus drivers but still most bus drivers are men.

So, I thought to make a thought experiment of a conworld where everybody are born members of the same sex, i.e. androgynies. But there is still two genders that are fully socially determined. For example, there is a norm 'The eldest child is the heir of his parents. He presumes a masculine role and takes care of the house and his parents. The younger children presume a gender role that is suitable for his or her parents' plans. So they can me married off, like girls, or they can assume a male role but have no inherited fortune.'

What do you think how would the gender roles be if they were fully culturally/socially determined? How would people assume them?

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Re: Fully socially determined genders

Post by k1234567890y » 11 Jan 2014 20:29

in a society where genders are completely socially determined, I think biological sexes will be much less salient than that of human beings', they will even have no concept of "gender roles", and their language will be much less likely to have a gender system based on biological sex, labour division will still exist, but the principle will be different from that of human society.

my Long-longs and other intellectual beings belonging to the genus Lonnum are non-sexual-dimorphic sex-changers, they don't distinguish gender roles.
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Re: Fully socially determined genders

Post by Salmoneus » 12 Jan 2014 03:00

All complex societies will have divisions of labour. But why call those divisions 'gender' if they aren't at least partially based on sexual differences?

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Re: Fully socially determined genders

Post by Avjunza » 12 Jan 2014 03:44

Yeah, this sounds more like a caste or moiety system rather than gender.
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Re: Fully socially determined genders

Post by Thrice Xandvii » 12 Jan 2014 11:27

Omzinesý wrote:But there is are still two genders that are fully socially determined.
I suppose my first question in trying to answer this is: why?

There is no real reason that there would only be two categories for people to fall into who have no sexual dimorphism (internal or external, I assume). Also, given your example, there would be nothing "masculine" about taking care of the house and/or parents, it would merely be construed as a job for the eldest. There would be no gendered component to their thinking about the role since there is no gender in their society. As such, I can't imagine that a socialization of gender would result... at least not in their eyes, but probably in ours if we interacted with them.

I have to wonder also, how they reproduce? This would be really important in determining how they would likely structure their homes/families I would think. You mention parents, but don't discuss how or why these sexless folks would pair up.

I think the long and short of it is that we need a lot more info to be able to help you... or possibly, gender roles are a little too enmeshed in your thinking to properly think about a gender-less society (which is probably true for a lot of people).
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Re: Fully socially determined genders

Post by Serena » 12 Jan 2014 14:48

Truly interesting topic, dude!

Well, my conpeople, the Keyalians, are a perfect example to describe how gender roles may or may not be based on biological sex according to the situation.

The average Keyali citizen belongs to a class. There are four classes: fighters, scientists, traders and farmers. Whom you like is a very complex topic in Keleia, there is no real concept of "sexual orientation" but rather an orientation towards a combination of a specific class and a biological gender. Fighters are dominant in their relationships and therefore it is a common literary topos that they (whether female or male) are attracted to young female farmers as well as traders (whether male or female) are mainly attracted by scientists. (And so on...)

Biological gender does matter, but it does in different ways than we are used to. For example, in a very simple act like a hug, males (who are usually stronger physically than women) are supposed to be protecting while females are protected. In a more complex act like a battle, though, women (who are faster and better skilled with daggers) are supposed to protect males who are often the ones being protected.

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Re: Fully socially determined genders

Post by Omzinesý » 12 Jan 2014 17:40

XXXVII wrote:
Omzinesý wrote:But there is are still two genders that are fully socially determined.
I suppose my first question in trying to answer this is: why?

There is no real reason that there would only be two categories for people to fall into who have no sexual dimorphism (internal or external, I assume). Also, given your example, there would be nothing "masculine" about taking care of the house and/or parents, it would merely be construed as a job for the eldest. There would be no gendered component to their thinking about the role since there is no gender in their society. As such, I can't imagine that a socialization of gender would result... at least not in their eyes, but probably in ours if we interacted with them.

I have to wonder also, how they reproduce? This would be really important in determining how they would likely structure their homes/families I would think. You mention parents, but don't discuss how or why these sexless folks would pair up.

I think the long and short of it is that we need a lot more info to be able to help you... or possibly, gender roles are a little too enmeshed in your thinking to properly think about a gender-less society (which is probably true for a lot of people).
This is just a thought experiment. In that context, I purposefully take much granted. As far as I know, sociology is not that much about why but how. So, I just supposed there are two genders.

Gender is, of course, a term that overlaps with sex (In Finnish we don't even have a specific word for it.). But the terms "masculine" and "feminine" are used very broadly even in scientific contexts. Europe is, for example, masculine and emphasizes masculine values. I don't actually like this terminology too much.

I didn't said anything about reproduction. But I, again, supposed the society is hetero normative, and there needs to be a "man" and "a woman" to reproduce, or of course, there is supposed to be a man and a woman.

I'm basically wondering, HOW could the genders differ. How would they be different form ours, if they didn't need to have anything to do with sexes.
So this is absolutely not a genderless society, by definition.

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Re: Fully socially determined genders

Post by Thrice Xandvii » 12 Jan 2014 21:11

Omzinesý wrote:I didn't said anything about reproduction. But I, again, supposed the society is hetero normative, and there needs to be a "man" and "a woman" to reproduce, or of course, there is supposed to be a man and a woman.
How are there men and women if there aren't genders?
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Re: Fully socially determined genders

Post by Omzinesý » 12 Jan 2014 21:25

XXXVII wrote:
Omzinesý wrote:I didn't said anything about reproduction. But I, again, supposed the society is hetero normative, and there needs to be a "man" and "a woman" to reproduce, or of course, there is supposed to be a man and a woman.
How are there men and women if there aren't genders?
There are GENDERS; there are not SEXES.
That's the whole point.

Gender is a role, that you acquire in the society you live in. There are two genders that I call men and women, because I don't have a better term.
Sex is basically if you have a penis or a vagina. They are biologically determined.

The whole point is how would the genders be if they existed without sexes.

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Re: Fully socially determined genders

Post by Salmoneus » 13 Jan 2014 01:02

But the point is, if there aren't sexes, they're not men and women, and they don't have genders. They just have divisions of labour. Non-sex-based divisions of labour aren't a new idea, we have them already. We don't call them genders, though, because they aren't sex-based.

You may note, however, that such labour divisions tend not to have anything to do with reproduction because, again, they're not sex based. And divisions that are related to reproduction (eg cultures that have zodiacal limitations on marriage) aren't usually correlated with labour divisions. Because there's no reason for them to be.

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Re: Fully socially determined genders

Post by Thrice Xandvii » 13 Jan 2014 17:41

Salmoneus wrote:But the point is, if there aren't sexes, they're not men and women, and they don't have genders.
Precisely!

And my other question about reproduction is indeed a salient one, despite the quick dismissal it got. You talk of these "genders" grouping together as we do in "man" and "woman" pairs (heteronormatively), and yet I can't wrap my head around WHY they would choose to do it that way if there were no biological reason to.
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Re: Fully socially determined genders

Post by thetha » 13 Jan 2014 17:58

If you count child rearing as a relevant process to biology then that is a pretty good reason to pair up, even if you and your spouse both have p's or v's.

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Re: Fully socially determined genders

Post by Thrice Xandvii » 14 Jan 2014 06:35

Teddy wrote:If you count child rearing as a relevant process to biology then that is a pretty good reason to pair up, even if you and your spouse both have p's or v's.
Child rearing can be done by any number of people, from 1 to a whole village. No pairing is necessitated, really. Also, as of yet, we haven't a clue what the anatomy of these folks are like, for all we know, they are like Ken dolls down there. LOL
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Re: Fully socially determined genders

Post by k1234567890y » 14 Jan 2014 14:28

XXXVII wrote:
Teddy wrote:If you count child rearing as a relevant process to biology then that is a pretty good reason to pair up, even if you and your spouse both have p's or v's.
Child rearing can be done by any number of people, from 1 to a whole village. No pairing is necessitated, really. Also, as of yet, we haven't a clue what the anatomy of these folks are like, for all we know, they are like Ken dolls down there. LOL
yes.

however, even a kind of animal is hermaphrodite, it is not always possible for them to perform autogamy, if a kind of animal cannot perform autogamy, and cannot perform any kind of asexual reproduction either, they still have to perform sexual reproduction to give birth to children even though they are hermaphrodite; if they can perform autogamy or any kind of asexual reproduction, an individual can still give birth to children, forming a family(or let the whole village to help em(using spivak pronoun here) to take care of air children) even the individual don't perform sexual reproduction at all.
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Re: Fully socially determined genders

Post by Yačay256 » 01 Feb 2014 18:11

Great topic!
Sex is biologically determined; gender is a social construct, albeit a cross-cultural universal one.
BTW, not all cultures have only two genders: Take the Qhariwarmi of the Inka, for example.
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Re: Fully socially determined genders

Post by Salmoneus » 01 Feb 2014 20:52

The whole 'sex is biologically determined, gender is socially constructed' thing is really, really stale by now. The first half of it is transparently false, and even the second half is highly tendentious.

The reality is that there a number of characteristics people have, and societies tend to reduce the continua of those characteristics to a small number of values, and then aggregate those values into a small number of multi-characteristic classes to produce a smaller and more manageable set of more quantised metacharacteristics. Sex and gender are two of those metacharacteristics that are widely used in Western society, and with which most other societies have metacharacteristics that correlate.

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Re: Fully socially determined genders

Post by Yačay256 » 03 Feb 2014 01:46

Salmoneus wrote:The whole 'sex is biologically determined, gender is socially constructed' thing is really, really stale by now. The first half of it is transparently false, and even the second half is highly tendentious.

The reality is that there a number of characteristics people have, and societies tend to reduce the continua of those characteristics to a small number of values, and then aggregate those values into a small number of multi-characteristic classes to produce a smaller and more manageable set of more quantised metacharacteristics. Sex and gender are two of those metacharacteristics that are widely used in Western society, and with which most other societies have metacharacteristics that correlate.
[Emphasis mine] No, it isn't: Any species that engages in sexual reproduction can have one or more distinct sexes, as well as one or more sexes per individual.

You're statement that gender is not really a social construct (not your exact words, but functionally so) is very much inaccurate: There is nothing about having a penis that makes one more or less likely to be good at knitting, just as there is nothing about having a vagina that makes one more or less good intelligent; for while there are indeed some objective differences between human (and non-human) sexes (such as men being physically stronger on average), these are insignificant for a sapient species which relies on its mind, not its body, for success. (And while, yes, the brain is part of the body, it is not different enough between any sex to enable the making of objective rankings of any sex.)
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Re: Fully socially determined genders

Post by Thrice Xandvii » 03 Feb 2014 06:06

Yačay256 wrote:You're [sic] statement that gender is not really a social construct (not your exact words, but functionally so) is very much inaccurate: There is nothing about having a penis that makes one more or less likely to be good at knitting, just as there is nothing about having a vagina that makes one more or less good intelligent; for while there are indeed some objective differences between human (and non-human) sexes (such as men being physically stronger on average), these are insignificant for a sapient species which relies on its mind, not its body, for success. (And while, yes, the brain is part of the body, it is not different enough between any sex to enable the making of objective rankings of any sex.)
I don't understand how any of that relates to what Salmoneus said. This seems like a very large non sequitur to me.
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Re: Fully socially determined genders

Post by Yačay256 » 03 Feb 2014 17:58

XXXVII wrote:
Yačay256 wrote:You're [sic] statement that gender is not really a social construct (not your exact words, but functionally so) is very much inaccurate: There is nothing about having a penis that makes one more or less likely to be good at knitting, just as there is nothing about having a vagina that makes one more or less good intelligent; for while there are indeed some objective differences between human (and non-human) sexes (such as men being physically stronger on average), these are insignificant for a sapient species which relies on its mind, not its body, for success. (And while, yes, the brain is part of the body, it is not different enough between any sex to enable the making of objective rankings of any sex.)
I don't understand how any of that relates to what Salmoneus said. This seems like a very large non sequitur to me.
I am not sure why you say that I am using a non sequitur, as, at least from what I understood, Salmoneus in effect said, albeit indirectly and apparently (to me) covertly, that sex and gender are the same thing. I was just citing examples from biology and human culture that he was simply incorrect.

Perhaps I did overreact; though I'm a heterosexual male, I am very strongly against discrimination against any gender, sex or sexual orientation.
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Re: Fully socially determined genders

Post by Thrice Xandvii » 04 Feb 2014 08:55

I think I just had a vastly different reading of his post: that sex and gender are inextricably linked and yet far more complex than these cliches can express...

I very well could have read between the lines very wrongly. I dunno, I sometimes have trouble interpreting opinions in text since no tone or inflection or body language is conveyed.
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