Screw Your Preconceptions (Part 2)

As a follow-up to this post, I’d just like to point out the difference between sex and gender. Sex is seen as biological while gender is a social construct. What it means to be a man or a woman varies by culture (masculinity in Mexico is not at all the same as masculinity in Japan, for example). What this means is that a person can be biologically XY (sex) while also being female EDIT: a woman—thank you to ellenfremedon for the correction—(gender). Even this man-woman dichotomy is an erroneous preconception, however! Humans have more than two sexes, and genders vary so much across the world that I wouldn’t want to have the job of counting them all. And just in case you were wondering, etiquette dictates that you refer to someone with the pronoun appropriate to their gender, not their sex. (When in doubt, ask, but don’t be a jerk about it.)


5 responses to “Screw Your Preconceptions (Part 2)

  1. “What this means is that a person can be biologically XY (sex) while also being female (gender).” Not “female,” a woman, feminine, whatever. But “female” (and “male”) refers to biological sex (XX or XY) not to gender (grammar and culture).

  2. Unless a job description actually references physical beauty as a requirement then it is wrong that women – or men – should be expected to conform to such ideals. But it is interesting for example how positions can be more readily taken by the visually unchallenging nonetheless. An obvious example of this over here and in your country is newsreaders. Now being easy on the eye in and of itself is no more than what I shall erroneously refer to as good genes but they are not essential for appearing before a camera however. As long as he / she has perfect diction and can read an autocue thet is all that is needed. But the superfluous bit gets used nonetheless. The natural default position should be to ignore it but this is not necessarily so. But it should not be. The other more serious issue is age where – certainly over here – old male newsreaders can be kept on while female ones have a definitive sell by date. I say keep them on for as long as is possible and if it makes me uncomfortable then good. Though I think that nowadays it is not so bad as it used to be, although there was a case not that long ago of a female presenter on a nature programme being substituted for a younger one. This is not really on though it may have been that she was the only available choice. However, that senator is a tad out of touch. Women are just as capable as men and do not need this. If they want to do it themselves or if it is necessary, jobwise, that is fine, but coming from a man engaging in nothing more than benevolent sexism I do not think so

  3. Yeah, physical appearance is very often a factor in how a person’s talents are evaluated. It’s a pretty pervasive cognitive bias (, but it does seem clear that it’s exercised more harshly toward women. I think it’s safe to conclude that this is the result of the sexist double standard we see applied to appearance and attractiveness.

  4. I also think that the pressure to conform to being beautiful is just as much referenced from women themselves – this can be seen for example in fashion magazines where most if not all of the editorial staff are women – so it is not all emanating from the patriarchy.

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