Subject: In Praise Of Gender
Date: Thu 29 Oct 1998 - 14:25:31 GMT
I love gender. I am very much in favor of gender, of a system of
communications that identifies what role we choose to play and that enforces
that role though social pressures.
I love gender in the same way I love language. We symbolize meanings to
communicate, maybe the most powerful thing that makes humans humans. In
language, too, there is pressure to conform, to use common spellings and
conventional punctuation, to use words in a way that convey shared meanings,
and to look critically on people whose words make promises their choices don't
I love that we have a richly gendered culture, where we can express the
strongly masculine and the strongly feminine. Those messages of compilmentary
aspects thrill and intrigue me. They are both deeply rooted in sex roles, of
the truth that we know that as a whole, females/mommies have a different
approach than males/daddies. They are then richly embroidered with the social
aspects of fashion and style, of art and artistry, that make them sizzle:
stylized masculine and feminine representing components of a
heterogenderal/heterosexual attraction that provides a full circle.
Now, I'm not so thrilled about compulsory gender, where the pallette of gender
is split and assigned based on reproductive organs to encourage breeding. I
believe that the ability to become a whole human being, beyond cultural walls,
is vital. Yet, even as people find their own note, their own tune, as humans
we will always require others to compliment and connect with us, to perform as
a team where we each bring our special gifts. Becoming whole is not becoming
unneedful of compliments.
I hear many who call for the destruction of gender. They claim that words
like masculine and feminine are just constructions, only social artifiacts,
and of course, they are right. Yet constructions are the magic of language
and the magic of roles we perform in the community of humans. We construct
our own role and expression of that role based on the callings of our heart
and the needs/pressures/expectations of the society around us.
I value the constructions of human as the crystallized essence of their inner
meaning, the visible residue of the invisible contents of their heart. Symbols
are key not because of the symbols themselves but because of what they mean.
I have heard people claim that gender is an oppressive system designed only to
harm. I don't believe that. Gender, in some form or other, is present in
every human culture, a language that enables division of roles and aspects.
Gender allows expression of the soul, allows connection of diverse hearts.
I have written about this before. In fact, one of my first posts on this list
was on this topic
Gender Gender (Apr 97)</A>
I like gender. I like it a great deal. I like the concepts of masculine and
feminine. I don't like polemics disguised as theory that don't take the time
to look at the benefits of having a rich system of gender that communicates
and enforces cultural roles.
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