What's Makes A Man/Woman?

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I am going to attempt to crowdsource my existential crisis.

If you don't know, I recently accepted that I was transgender. Right now, I am figuring out I am just simply gender nonconforming or I am a woman in a man's body.

A question came to me recently that I do not have an answer to. What's the difference between a man and a woman? Besides, their physical differences. Is there anything really different between the genders? The only differences I can think of are just social construct that society just places on both genders.

So, please help me. I am genuinely curious what other people opinions about the differences of each gender. Maybe this will help me.

http://www.shavemagazine.com/women/10-Psychological-Differences-Between-Men-and-Women

https://stanmed.stanford.edu/2017spring/how-mens-and-womens-brains-are-different.html

There's that for starters.

Social constructs aside, there's plenty of psychological differences between men and women. But, basically, my view is that "a man/woman should be able to do as they please (bar causing harm to others), and while certain interests/activities/careers will appeal more to one gender than the other, either gender should be able to do as they will." So, for instance, stands to reason there'll be more male than female soldiers, or more female nurses than male nurses, but there should be no shame or barrier to anyone in doing what they want to do. And I say this as a hetrosexual male who had a phase of collecting skydancer and sailor moon dolls as a kid alongside other action figures, and likes MLP, while also loving stuff like James Bond.

I dunno. I resent and reject a lot of attributes that are traditionally associated with masculinity but on generally I never had any doubts about my identity as a man. I mean, I like action movies and guns and expensive cars and blondes with big tits but on the most basic level that's not the things that I think make me a man.

What it comes down to, I never looked at myself, looked at my testicles, my dick, the hair on my arms and legs and felt like all of this didn't belong to me. The features that make my body "male" don't feel foreign to me, neither do my chromosomes or my hormones or anything else that denotes biological masculinity. I never felt that my biology didn't conform to the person I am.

can you put up a shelf and parallel park?

if you can answer yes to both these questions you are either a man or a woman.

if you answer no you shouldn't be driving and put that screwdriver down.

There are certainly statistical trends when it comes to men and women but, as you point out, the vast majority of what makes a "man" and a "woman", beyond the physical traits, is purely a social construct.

You are you, and you don't need to be constrained by the social concept of gender, no-one does.

I've started to wonder if there is any real difference. I've never had much question about my own, but any time someone says "well men are ______ and women are ______" I can think of at least one person I've met who is an exception. No matter what trait is placed in either blank. That evidence is enough to make me doubt the social constructs.

KissingSunlight:
I am going to attempt to crowdsource my existential crisis.

If you don't know, I recently accepted that I was transgender. Right now, I am figuring out I am just simply gender nonconforming or I am a woman in a man's body.

A question came to me recently that I do not have an answer to. What's the difference between a man and a woman? Besides, their physical differences. Is there anything really different between the genders? The only differences I can think of are just social construct that society just places on both genders.

So, please help me. I am genuinely curious what other people opinions about the differences of each gender. Maybe this will help me.

Besides natural physical diifferences we come to the level of individuality and thus you ask wrong question. Ask yourself what is important to you and what defines you as an individual. Could be that physical gender and sexuality is completely irrelevant. And that's fine.

Otherwise you slide down and may end up trying to conform to statistical measures, how majority/average/minority etc. is. Which pretty much hold no value to you as an individual. Why would you try to fit in to what is represennted as majority/minority/on average? Why would you want to be identified as a kog in collective when all you ave to do is be yourself (granted figuring out who you are and what are your needs is important to do things which you will be satisfied with).

That's all.

What we call men and women have a set of physical characteristics that society decided were distinct enough to count as two discreet categories, however those characteristics are inconsistent person to person and rife with exceptions, which makes the whole categorising thing at best a rule of thumb and not something that anyone should have taken too seriously.

Unless you are seeking to conform to some stereotype, why not just be who you are, or what makes you happy, rather than what you think others think you should be. Not everything needs to be labelled.

I've worked for a decade in a heavily female dominated workforce and almost a decade in a male dominated one. I've seen more difference between people within a sex than between the sexes (not related to physical attributes). But then I'm probably not a great example. I don't get offended that my partner earns more than me (apparently that's a stereotype) and I do more than half the cleaning. The later may have come down to living by myself for almost a decade and I don't particularly like too much filth around.

There are some weird social anomalies, like everyone understands that I have only so many hellos in me for one day. As its shift work, a third of the way through my shift, people just starting understand that they need to say hello to me before getting a response. They also try to match me up with the one other male in the company that works about an hour away. Like I need male contact to... I don't know. Feel male I suppose. I know that's a tactic for females in male dominated industries. I feel I can talk to anyone, irrelevant of genitalia.

As to what your going through. You probably need to see any expert. There are many causes and some solutions can be damaging if used on the wrong problem.

1. Gender is a social construct.
2. You do not feel like you are a man.
3. If woman is a social construct, do you feel like it?

There are definitely differences and these are the product of hormones. I agree that trivial shit like who is better at cleaning the house, who drives better etc. is nonsense but gender differentiation itself(outside the obvious physical signs) is not a social construct. You could argue before puberty differences between boys and girls is little but after activation of sex hormones these differences increase only to subside as people age as women go into menopause and men's testosterone production tampers off.

How much behavior can be classified as 'typically' male or female is irrelevant and mostly either hack science or popcultural fluff but hormones definitely have a huge influence on thought and feelings. Men don't produce progesteron or estrogen and women not the large qualities of testosteron. It's not a coincidence that differences between men and women is greatest at the reproductive age when hormones are at their peak.

Ofcourse, none of this implies that there can't be greater differences between men than a man and a woman(and vice versa). Or that there can't be exceptions to the rule. If you look at it from an evolutionary perspective the individual is not even important but rather the survival of the species. Hormones simply contribute to behavior that is evolutionary advantageous and that is, again for the wider populace, definitely gender specific. Atleast during the reproductive age. After that nature drops you like a brick. :p

stroopwafel:
There are definitely differences and these are the product of hormones. I agree that trivial shit like who is better at cleaning the house, who drives better etc. is nonsense but gender differentiation itself(outside the obvious physical signs) is not a social construct. You could argue before puberty differences between boys and girls is little but after activation of sex hormones these differences increase only to subside as people age as women go into menopause and men's testosterone production tampers off.

How much behavior can be classified as 'typically' male or female is irrelevant and mostly either hack science or popcultural fluff but hormones definitely have a huge influence on thought and feelings. Men don't produce progesteron or estrogen and women not the large qualities of testosteron. It's not a coincidence that differences between men and women is greatest at the reproductive age when hormones are at their peak.

Ofcourse, none of this implies that there can't be greater differences between men than a man and a woman(and vice versa). Or that there can't be exceptions to the rule. If you look at it from an evolutionary perspective the individual is not even important but rather the survival of the species. Hormones simply contribute to behavior that is evolutionary advantageous and that is, again for the wider populace, definitely gender specific. Atleast during the reproductive age. After that nature drops you like a brick. :p

I think you're under valuing how society dictates gender. Girls are socialized to like pink and flowers and stuff, and that has nothing to do with hormones

Yes there are differences but "society" (by that I mostly mean the parents or the people who directly raise the child) has a huge influence on gender. I'd say the social differences are more important because that's the one we have control over. Knowing that boys tend to have more testosterone should make us teach boys how to handle emotions better and be less violent

Being comfortable with the idea of being one, as far as I can make out. There's no simple set of parameters that will tell you if you're an effeminate man or a trans woman or none binary to some degree. Reading about the personal experiences of plenty of different people is always a good place to start. If you're lucky, you'll find something that totally clicks with your experience and makes everything clear. If not, it'll provide a range of different insights and help you get a handle on what will make you happy.

Kyrian007:
I've started to wonder if there is any real difference.

Having considered it over the past few months, I'm left questioning what any actual differences are there aside from societal constructs too.

Like, when I really think about it, really think, I don't know how I would explain or describe "being male". Even beyond the fact that however it applies to me is not how it applies to anyone else, I can't think of any particular time where I "feel" like I'm defined by my maleness. It's how society identifies me due to my physical characteristics and I don't object to that, but otherwise there is nothing that makes me think "Yeah, I'm a man."

Now, obviously I'm also free to think that way because, as a man, there are far less societal pressures on me demanding that I conform to some sort of standard uniform with my gender. I can't speak for what a woman's perspective on this would be, or even a trans man's or non-binary person's perspective.

Additionally, there's the loaded conception of "masculinity" and "femininity", which is somehow supposed to define men and women. I don't like many things which are typically coded as "masculine"; does that make me "less" of a man? And that's not even approaching the fact that things coded as "feminine" are almost always viewed as negative in the societal whole. That's why so much of the language used for degrading men is based in equating them with women, or in diminishing their "masculinity".

shrekfan246:

Like, when I really think about it, really think, I don't know how I would explain or describe "being male".

You could say the categorization 'male' or 'female' is simply a part of humans trying to understand their nature. Animals don't attribute meaning to their gender but atleast with mammals the system of sexual selection remains the same. What separates humans from other primates are their higher brain functions and this allows them to contextualize their gender and attribute cultural and social meaning that ofcourse have little relevance on hundreds of thousands of years of evolutionary adaptation.

Men and women exists because sexual reproduction diversifies the immune system and for human survival pathogen resistance is the most importand thing. Through adaptation you can only ensure survival when certain character traits are inherited that are distinctly male or female as this is the most evolutionary advantageous. That one doesn't adhere to the cultural norm of 'maleness' is ofcourse totally irrelevant. That is simply culture attributing meaning where there is none. Being male or female is part of selection, nothing more and nothing less.

People change. The times change. Ideas change. Cultures change. Human history knows no constant but one: human nature. And the sexual selection for it's enduring survival.


Obviously the answer is this, there can be no other.

Really aside from child bearing, it is one of those really really hard questions to definitively answer.

My definitive answer is: A functional penis doesn't make one a woman.

Or it's not possible to give a simple answer. Human interaction will always keep up some gender roles, but those fluctuate.

shrekfan246:

Kyrian007:
I've started to wonder if there is any real difference.

Having considered it over the past few months, I'm left questioning what any actual differences are there aside from societal constructs too.

Like, when I really think about it, really think, I don't know how I would explain or describe "being male". Even beyond the fact that however it applies to me is not how it applies to anyone else, I can't think of any particular time where I "feel" like I'm defined by my maleness. It's how society identifies me due to my physical characteristics and I don't object to that, but otherwise there is nothing that makes me think "Yeah, I'm a man."

Now, obviously I'm also free to think that way because, as a man, there are far less societal pressures on me demanding that I conform to some sort of standard uniform with my gender. I can't speak for what a woman's perspective on this would be, or even a trans man's or non-binary person's perspective.

Additionally, there's the loaded conception of "masculinity" and "femininity", which is somehow supposed to define men and women. I don't like many things which are typically coded as "masculine"; does that make me "less" of a man? And that's not even approaching the fact that things coded as "feminine" are almost always viewed as negative in the societal whole. That's why so much of the language used for degrading men is based in equating them with women, or in diminishing their "masculinity".

That comes with what you let others do to you.

In environment I grew up in from a male it was expected to:
* don't show emotions, nobody cares
* don't ever cry - suffer through any form of pain silently/proudly
* don't complain about and cope with the issue you can't solve on your own
* take responsibility for your actions
* always be ready to back up your words with your actions
* don't lie, keep your word
* don't steal
* don't run away from a confrontation
* be attractive to women (groom yourself, stay in shape etc.)
* don't hurt, insult or yell at women (unconditional - so being insulted, yelled at or hurt ment you can not respond, thus showing 'superiority' as dumb as it is)
* be self sufficient (i.e. don't expect any help)
* be able to provide to a family and if need be support it on your own
* have interest in sports (various sports)
* be capable of agressively, physically defend yourself and others
* be able to fix/maintain house appliances
* die/sacrifice your life for your country/family
* obey stronger/more capable people or take the lead
+ tons of minor annoying BS, like aforementioned prefering blue to pink, keeping your hair short etc.

* don't lose your honour, you can lose your honour only once <-- this one is separate, because failing to meet most of the above ment being shamed by others and loss of honour.

Over time I rejected most of these or applied them to all people regardless of their sex. Some I keep following. I selectively pass few of them on my son, since I'd rather make sure he has been prepped by me, than strangers. Toughen him up so to speak :/

Point is you are who you are, an individual. If other see you fit to do things you don't approve of. F-em. If others expect from you things which you find unreasonable. F-em.
Be an egoist first. If you want to, ask yourself what can you do to please others. If what you came up with is fine by you, do it. Do it, because you thought that through and want to do that not because you are expected to. Even if these things will overlap.
From outside people can't tell the difference anyway.

Women like cars, football, MMA, Van Damme movies and shit. Men like flowers, cooking, romcoms, shopping and shit. That's about it.

Hawki:
http://www.shavemagazine.com/women/10-Psychological-Differences-Between-Men-and-Women

https://stanmed.stanford.edu/2017spring/how-mens-and-womens-brains-are-different.html

There's that for starters.

Social constructs aside, there's plenty of psychological differences between men and women. But, basically, my view is that "a man/woman should be able to do as they please (bar causing harm to others), and while certain interests/activities/careers will appeal more to one gender than the other, either gender should be able to do as they will." So, for instance, stands to reason there'll be more male than female soldiers, or more female nurses than male nurses, but there should be no shame or barrier to anyone in doing what they want to do. And I say this as a hetrosexual male who had a phase of collecting skydancer and sailor moon dolls as a kid alongside other action figures, and likes MLP, while also loving stuff like James Bond.

I've never see a /thread worthy post so fast.

There are some biological differences whether people want to admit it or not, and there is nothing wrong with that. I personally think difference in the sexes should be at least accepted and ideally celebrated. There's nothing wrong with acknowledging that some professions, interests, or hobbies might be more widely liked by one sex or another. That being said, people should be free to express themselves in any way that want without fear of retribution regardless of their sex or gender.

I might be a 215 pound power lifter who likes cars, computers, and D&D, but I also really enjoy bubble baths and receiving anal sex from women. That doesn't make me less of a man.

Gender is a social construct.
Sex is biologically conditioned by genes and hormones gradually.

One may inform the other, but gender never determines hormone generation. The inverse holds true though, so therefore it's another abstraction.

I was raised by a (comparitively, to the West) very conservative family and I've never been challenged in my own assertion as a stable individual by my elders.

Ehm...if they bleed, theyre a man/woman. If not, they're a rock or a hallucination. Unless you hallucinate them bleeding, then I guess they are promoted to begin 'the trials.'

What makes, or is an Alpha 2.0? That's been bugging me for a while. Actually, that's probably better off being made a separate thread instead of derailing this one.

You do not need our or anyone else's approval.

KissingSunlight:
I am going to attempt to crowdsource my existential crisis.

If you don't know, I recently accepted that I was transgender. Right now, I am figuring out I am just simply gender nonconforming or I am a woman in a man's body.

A question came to me recently that I do not have an answer to. What's the difference between a man and a woman? Besides, their physical differences. Is there anything really different between the genders? The only differences I can think of are just social construct that society just places on both genders.

So, please help me. I am genuinely curious what other people opinions about the differences of each gender. Maybe this will help me.

It really does not matter, but I'll give some advice anyway as far as being trans goes. Don't chop anything off, don't get anything surgically put in. If you want to go the way of horomones for the sake of looking and sounding more feminine then go for it if it is really super important to you. I'm sure you know this but there will be a lot of people who don't agree with you on the whole gender thing, so as far as romance goes, be open as possible; if they won't date you because you're trans, it wasn't meant to be. Lastly, just be yourself, don't seek to perform because you'll just look foolish, if your voice isn't high and you have thick facial hair, who cares? It doesn't make you less than you are, after all, you should be a person and individual first, and transness should just be a part of how you are, like having brown hair. I think I covered everything but I have a question for you.

How do you know you feel this way about gender, what made you confirm that you are trans? Because I really don't understand any of it.

Hawki:
http://www.shavemagazine.com/women/10-Psychological-Differences-Between-Men-and-Women

https://stanmed.stanford.edu/2017spring/how-mens-and-womens-brains-are-different.html

There's that for starters.

Social constructs aside, there's plenty of psychological differences between men and women. But, basically, my view is that "a man/woman should be able to do as they please (bar causing harm to others), and while certain interests/activities/careers will appeal more to one gender than the other, either gender should be able to do as they will." So, for instance, stands to reason there'll be more male than female soldiers, or more female nurses than male nurses, but there should be no shame or barrier to anyone in doing what they want to do. And I say this as a hetrosexual male who had a phase of collecting skydancer and sailor moon dolls as a kid alongside other action figures, and likes MLP, while also loving stuff like James Bond.

I don't get it, if there are "male" brains and "female" brains how is gender a "social construct"? It seems to completely negate the idea as there's a very visible difference.

Also, there are more male soldiers in combat roles due to women are far less fit physically to the role and in case of a barrier to entry it is obvious there should be one (and in any other job that can result in life or death).

Anyways, it's pretty much imposible to define a difference considering you can't get both experiences, like asking "how would you have been if you were born with different dominant arm?".

I recently had a friend realize/decide that he felt he should transition. This has caused me to do a bit of deeper reading in the subject, to be as helpful as I can to someone that is essentially a part of my family.

The main difference is in neurological reactions to biochemistry; namely, testosterone and estrogen.

Brains are wired slightly differently based on gender, but there is a good deal of science to suggest that the wiring doesn't always match the pixelated parts. There's also a strong correlation between depression and isolation and the desire to transition in some (a way of shedding the imperfect "former self" for a conceptually "better" one). The danger lies in the cause of the urge to transition.

For people wired to favor one hormone (testosterone for the majority of male births, estrogen for the majority of female births), the increase of the other involved in hormone therapy can cause a worsening of depression and feelings of "wrongness" and isolation; this is likely a part of the cause of many suicides in the trans community.

For people wired to favor the other hormone than is typical for their sex, the hormone therapy typically causes a softening of depression symptoms (as hormone levels normalize) though a lifetime of living with depression tends to mean that it never fully goes away.

This is not, of course, including the population of people who use "transitioning" as a way to feel special (hence the quotation marks in this case), but do not suffer any form of actual identity crisis. This is also the group chiefly responsible for outsiders being unable to take the problem seriously.

The following is not intended as an insult, or to be in any way dismissive of the experiences of transitioning people.

Like any mental issue (depression, schizophrenia, anxiety), the difference between the two lies in chemistry. If what you are going through is biologic in origin, then hormone and chemical treatment will greatly help the problem over time. If what you are going on is the result of trauma, life experience, or stresses, then what you need is someone to talk to and to work through what is leading you to this point; all chemicals are going to do are make you feel strange and alien to yourself.

--Personal Views--
Personally, I long for the days where someone can 3D print themselves a new meat puppet to spec and download themselves into it. I look at sex reassignment surgery as an extreme form of body modification; if you want it do it. To be fair, I've got much the same opinion on anything someone does with their own body. But, like with any permanent modification, I suggest you make sure it's what you actually want through talking to those you trust, those who love you, and people trained in what it takes to do the modification, as well as what kind of after care you may need.

My mom spent a lifetime moving my family around the country. She abandoned friends, family, and connections, and did so for the rest of us, in what she realized in her latter years was an attempt to run away from herself. Any place she could see herself as a part of became toxic to her, until she understood that it wasn't the place, it was her own self-loathing and depression. 5 years later, I'm still trying to find her family, to inform them of her suicide.

I say this to give you an idea of where I'm coming from.

Make sure what you want is the destination, not simply to get away from where you are. Because no matter what you decide in the end, you're still going to be you.

kitsunefather:
courteous and well meaning -snip-

Your post moved me to tears. You seem to be a great friend and to look honestly and objectively on matters, while still remaining non-judgemental and polite.
I also agree with your personal views on transhumanism and remain hopeful for the future.
Thank you for sharing your story, gained personally through the long road taken, and I am sorry for your loss.

Wishing you well / Vendor-Lazarus

Thank you for the responses so far.

McMarbles:
You do not need our or anyone else's approval.

I wasn't asking for anyone's approval. I just wanted opinions on a question that has stumped me.

Souplex:
1. Gender is a social construct.
2. You do not feel like you are a man.
3. If woman is a social construct, do you feel like it?

That's a good question. The answer is "Yes". One thing I have done is to look back in the past and realized all the different things I had gravitated to that was feminine. Then I scolded myself for doing it and stopped doing it.

astrav1:
How do you know you feel this way about gender, what made you confirm that you are trans? Because I really don't understand any of it.

There was a post I made over a year ago. I stated I don't understand the issue of being transgender. However. I don't think they are wrong, because I don't understand. Since I have accepted that I am not the guy who I thought I was. I realized that I was making myself miserable trying to conform to that construct. I still don't understand the why's and the how's. I am just listening to what makes me feel more like myself. Instead of what "society" tells me to do. I wished I had something more concrete and logical to explain what I am dealing with now to help me and other people understand.

KissingSunlight:
I am genuinely curious what other people opinions about the differences of each gender. Maybe this will help me.

Quite a lot. Humans are a sexually dimorphic species. That means men/women are quite different, and this stems from them have different roles in the family which compliment each other to make a greater whole that the separate parts.

Physically men are generally taller, shoulders are broader, they have about 50% more upper body strength, 30% more lower body strength, and are all around simply more physically capable. Men mentally are more object focused (studies with babies show the male babies spent more time looking at objects while the females looked more at faces) and are better at physical work and tasks "outside the camp" while women are far better in terms of the social hierarchy and tending to issues "In the camp." The "Social constructs" are embedded in our DNA and exist for a very good reason.

One thing you need to understand though, you will never be a woman. No matter how much surgery you have you will never have a womb, never have eggs, never have a period, never get pregnant, your physical body will still be male, and even if you spend millions on cosmetic surgery to get all of the above your DNA will still read Male. Gender is genetic, it is physical, and it is mental. Don't delude yourself into thinking you will ever be a true woman, because you genuinely can't.

Bear all that in mind, because a lot of people refuse to acknowledge this fact. However, if you take the time to factor in all of the above and truly spend the time you HAVE to for something this major and still feel like you are in the <0.03% of people (assuming you are a Yank and accepting the "1 million trans" stat I saw somewhere at face value) who are truly Trans, do what your heart tells you.

JUMBO PALACE:
I also really enjoy receiving anal sex from women. That doesn't make me less of a man.

Yet you lift to compensate for that. But sure, we believe you. :^)

demoman_chaos:

KissingSunlight:
I am genuinely curious what other people opinions about the differences of each gender. Maybe this will help me.

Quite a lot. Humans are a sexually dimorphic species. That means men/women are quite different, and this stems from them have different roles in the family which compliment each other to make a greater whole that the separate parts.

Physically men are generally taller, shoulders are broader, they have about 50% more upper body strength, 30% more lower body strength, and are all around simply more physically capable. Men mentally are more object focused (studies with babies show the male babies spent more time looking at objects while the females looked more at faces) and are better at physical work and tasks "outside the camp" while women are far better in terms of the social hierarchy and tending to issues "In the camp." The "Social constructs" are embedded in our DNA and exist for a very good reason.

One thing you need to understand though, you will never be a woman. No matter how much surgery you have you will never have a womb, never have eggs, never have a period, never get pregnant, your physical body will still be male, and even if you spend millions on cosmetic surgery to get all of the above your DNA will still read Male. Gender is genetic, it is physical, and it is mental. Don't delude yourself into thinking you will ever be a true woman, because you genuinely can't.

Bear all that in mind, because a lot of people refuse to acknowledge this fact. However, if you take the time to factor in all of the above and truly spend the time you HAVE to for something this major and still feel like you are in the <0.03% of people (assuming you are a Yank and accepting the "1 million trans" stat I saw somewhere at face value) who are truly Trans, do what your heart tells you.

Ah genetics, genetics. So fascinating, so complex, so imperfect. Within every cell lies all the information needed to create a being that is largely, if not entirely, unlike you. Conception is not the end point in the creation of a human being. It's the start of a long and messy process, filled with opportunities for things to drastically deviate from what their DNA says they should be. In this particular case, of interest to us is precisely how a person comes to acquire a male reproductive system, or lack thereof, and a generally masculine brain to go with it. Neither of these things develop without an external trigger, which comes in the a mixture of a few different androgenic hormones which are released to every foetus in the uterus. In normal development, a foetus with XX chromosomes will not be sensitive to the hormones and develop a female reproductive system, and all the other relevant physical traits, and a generally feminine brain. A foetus with XY chromosomes, on the other hand, will be sensitive to the hormones and will get a male reproductive system and brain. This is, of course, merely an idealised view of development. In practice, a small minority of foetuses, for one reason or another, often an abnormal X or Y chromosome, don't respond to a hormone they should, or do respond to a hormone they shouldn't. This goes some way to explaining why some people are trans (and intersex), although it's only a factor, and there are many other things both in and out of the womb that can influence a person's identity. Talking about the human brain in terms of genetics is reductive and unhelpful, as is any such notion of a "true" man or woman. There is more to being a man or woman than being male or female.

inu-kun:

I don't get it, if there are "male" brains and "female" brains how is gender a "social construct"? It seems to completely negate the idea as there's a very visible difference.

Also, there are more male soldiers in combat roles due to women are far less fit physically to the role and in case of a barrier to entry it is obvious there should be one (and in any other job that can result in life or death).

Anyways, it's pretty much imposible to define a difference considering you can't get both experiences, like asking "how would you have been if you were born with different dominant arm?".

So there are some other physical difference in the brain like the Corpus Callosum which is way bigger in a woman. People have attribute multitasking and social skills to this.
There have also been studies on infants and toy selection. They prefer primary colours and tend not to engage with pink. Its only later that girls pick this up. This may be an example social construction (its in tiny humans so there is leeway here because they cant describe things.)
I work with kids. When people say, 'males prefer cars' etc. don't go around assuming that boys only like 'boys toys.' Its more like just over 50% to 2/3 of the time the spend on 'boys toys.' Its a clear preference but not necessarily dominate.

09philj:
Ah genetics, genetics. So fascinating, so complex, so imperfect. Within every cell lies all the information needed to create a being that is largely, if not entirely, unlike you. Conception is not the end point in the creation of a human being. It's the start of a long and messy process, filled with opportunities for things to drastically deviate from what their DNA says they should be. In this particular case, of interest to us is precisely how a person comes to acquire a male reproductive system, or lack thereof, and a generally masculine brain to go with it. Neither of these things develop without an external trigger, which comes in the a mixture of a few different androgenic hormones which are released to every foetus in the uterus. In normal development, a foetus with XX chromosomes will not be sensitive to the hormones and develop a female reproductive system, and all the other relevant physical traits, and a generally feminine brain. A fetus with XY chromosomes, on the other hand, will be sensitive to the hormones and will get a male reproductive system and brain. This is, of course, merely an idealised view of development. In practice, a small minority of foetuses, for one reason or another, often an abnormal X or Y chromosome, don't respond to a hormone they should, or do respond to a hormone they shouldn't. This goes some way to explaining why some people are trans (and intersex), although it's only a factor, and there are many other things both in and out of the womb that can influence a person's identity. Talking about the human brain in terms of genetics is reductive and unhelpful, as is any such notion of a "true" man or woman. There is more to being a man or woman than being male or female.

No doubt genetics is a complex subject, and often plays a large role in sexuality as well as transgenderism (though upbringing also plays a huge factor in the development of the brain, fetishes often have roots in childhood experiences). The brain is a curious thing, but mental issues are not physical ones (While the brain is entirely physical, mental and physical health are separate issues). Physically and genetically speaking someone born male is and always will be male (unless they start REALLY young, at which point they may have the physical build of a woman but will still be genetically male and won't develop female reproductive organs no matter how soon after birth you start treatments).

That is the main point I want to make and that so many people refuse to accept. People should be polite and refer to the person as the other gender (Unless they are a bitchy cunt about it, at which point I'm calling them their birth gender out of spite), but the transgender person needs to bear in mind that they are and will always be their birth gender.

It's difficult to say.

We know that DNA and genetics certainly informs it, and that DNA defines one's sex, but, sex isn't the same as gender. So, the reality is, we don't really know the link between genetics and gender. We know male and females have different brains, and we can theories that this may lead to differences in how one acts, thinks, and all that sort of thing. So, we could argue that this defines gender.

Then we get to another problem. Okay, if we say that Gender has a biological component, we can instead say that Gender roles are s social construct. And... That's largely correct. Certainly there's trends in society, and those trends are seemingly informed by males and females being dimorphic and therefore better suited to specific tasks, but, there's lots of cases where they aren't. (At this point, I'll say that Gender is self-identity, where as gender-roles are how society sees you, but, if somebody else has a definition, chip in.)

So, we're left with what's mostly a mine field when it comes to trying to change anything within that.

Gender roles are largely due to society and as such are probably a social construct, however, we have to also accept that these exist due to innate differences in men and women due to sexual dimorphism. So, in that, you're up against the easiest battle. Western society has generally accepted the idea that some people can have different gender roles, regardless of their sex.

Gender likely has a biological component, as our brains are different based on our sex. And this difference probably leads to different ways of thinking, feeling and so on, which will have an effect on how you self-identify, so, one could argue that in trying to change it, you're battling biology by trying to change your identity, and this is probably the hardest battle, as there's no enemy, you're up against yourself, and your body.

Sex is fixed and cannot be changed, it's purely biological, so, there's no battle to be had here.

Usually it comes down to a couple of catch 22s:

If gender has no biological component, why are you trying to change your physical attributes?

If gender has biological components, and those are defined in something that cannot change, is changing what you can enough?

Unfortunately, I don't think anyone has the answer to that, and it's one you have to struggle with and try to overcome yourself.

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