#1226  
Old 02-22-2012, 05:13 PM
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Originally Posted by seebs View Post
I think there's a tendency to confuse "the specific cues people use to communicate their gender identity are fungible" (which they obviously are) with "gender identity only exists because of society", which Jhally clearly states
Can you show me the quote in the transcript where he says gender identity only exists because of society? I remember him using gender, sex, gender display, but NOT gender "identity", and that seems to be what you are stuck on.
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  #1227  
Old 02-22-2012, 05:31 PM
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Default Re: Return to Gender 101

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Given that we know of an instinctive desire to categorize, why do we need more explanations than that?
Wait what? How do we "know" it's instinctive? That's the question at hand isn't it, whether that desire to know is instinctually or culturally derived?

As it it's simply not possible to remove people from their cultures, or remove culture from humanity, seebs, I don't understand why you are so insistent on distinguishing between culture and instinct. Aside from sexual selection, I see no reason for the evolutionary development of an instinctual desire to know the gender of every person interacted with.

We, as a social species, add layers and layers of cultural stuff on to the simple fact that as a sexually reproductive species most people fall into one of two genders. Some cultures include a third gender, in modern time the Hijra in SE Asia, and Eunichs throughout history...so it's possible for humans to accept additional categories.

From a "natural" standpoint, some species have a third gender...Red Deer have two types of males, one with and one without antlers.
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  #1228  
Old 02-22-2012, 05:38 PM
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Default Re: Return to Gender 101

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Originally Posted by LadyShea View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by seebs View Post
I think there's a tendency to confuse "the specific cues people use to communicate their gender identity are fungible" (which they obviously are) with "gender identity only exists because of society", which Jhally clearly states
Can you show me the quote in the transcript where he says gender identity only exists because of society? I remember him using gender, sex, gender display, but NOT gender "identity", and that seems to be what you are stuck on.
Right here:
Goffman argues that there is nothing natural about gender identity. That is, we don’t just pop out the womb with our gender identities imprinted in our genes; that it is part of a process whereby we learn to take on certain attributes that we think are appropriate to our understanding of ourselves in gendered terms.
That's the passage I've quoted a couple of times here. It continues:
...In this way, there is nothing natural or biological about gender or our gender identities. We learn to inhabit the gender category that we have been assigned from outside, from the culture.
This is pretty specific, and completely false.

If this were true, there could not be such a thing as "transgendered" people. The allegation that people "learn to inhabit the gender category that we have been assigned from outside" is simply false, with a very large pile or corpses to prove it.
There are some interesting cases where individuals born as one sex have been assigned to the “wrong” gender category. That is, someone born with male physical characteristics but assigned to the female gender, and they then grow up as that gender, despite the physical sexual origin.
And what the writer neglects to mention is that the suicide rate among people so treated is insanely high -- I believe in excess of 50%.

The fact is, sense of gender identity is, in most people, inborn, and the writing here ignores mountains of completely unambiguous evidence.

If this theory were true, the trans people I know would not be trans; they would have inhabited the gender identity assigned from outside and been happy. But they weren't. Despite the complete 100% consistency of all available cues both physical and social telling them that they were of a given gender.

And since this premise is foundational to most of the other claims, it's a pretty serious hole in the piece.

It's still brilliant analysis of how the coding works and what kinds of things it communicates, and I think a review across cultures shows that many things we regard as masculine or feminine are merely cultural norms. Whether "pink" is a boy thing or a girl thing appears to be entirely arbitrary, for instance.

But the claim that gender identity comes from outside is quite demonstrably false.
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  #1229  
Old 02-22-2012, 05:42 PM
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Default Re: Return to Gender 101

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Originally Posted by LadyShea View Post
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Given that we know of an instinctive desire to categorize, why do we need more explanations than that?
Wait what? How do we "know" it's instinctive? That's the question at hand isn't it, whether that desire to know is instinctually or culturally derived?
We ain't nothing but mammals.
-- Mathers
We have compelling evidence that mammals categorize other members of their species. Without evidence that humans don't, I don't see any reason to imagine that we don't have that instinct too.

Quote:
As it it's simply not possible to remove people from their cultures, or remove culture from humanity, seebs, I don't understand why you are so insistent on distinguishing between culture and instinct. Aside from sexual selection, I see no reason for the evolutionary development of an instinctual desire to know the gender of every person interacted with.
I don't know, or care, whether there is a good reason for it. I observe that mammals make this distinction. We're mammals. I have never, ever, heard of a society in which people did not compulsively make this distinction. When a behavioral trait is found in every culture we have ever heard of, I am inclined to consider it a species trait rather than a societal trait.

And I'm insistent on it because it seems to me to be a fairly solid conclusion from evidence.

Quote:
We, as a social species, add layers and layers of cultural stuff on to the simple fact that as a sexually reproductive species most people fall into one of two genders. Some cultures include a third gender, in modern time the Hijra in SE Asia, and Eunichs throughout history...so it's possible for humans to accept additional categories.
Sure. But they're still feeling a need to identify categories and determine which categories people are in.

That there could be more than two categories doesn't change this.
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  #1230  
Old 02-22-2012, 05:44 PM
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Default Re: Return to Gender 101

BTW, since I know I sometimes express in ways I don't intend: I'm really enjoying this conversation and I think it's fascinating. I am vaguely aware that my terrier-like reaction to a thing that might be an interesting argument is sometimes upsetting to people, but I don't seem to be able to stop doing it except for an occasional step back to observe that it's happening. Please don't take any of this as intending insult. The issue is, admittedly, one on which I have formed strong feelings despite my personal intuition being that gender identity is obviously incoherent and can't possibly be real.
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  #1231  
Old 02-22-2012, 05:51 PM
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Default Re: Return to Gender 101

[quote=seebs;1038754]
Quote:
Originally Posted by LadyShea View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by seebs View Post
I think there's a tendency to confuse "the specific cues people use to communicate their gender identity are fungible" (which they obviously are) with "gender identity only exists because of society", which Jhally clearly states
Can you show me the quote in the transcript where he says gender identity only exists because of society? I remember him using gender, sex, gender display, but NOT gender "identity", and that seems to be what you are stuck on.
Quote:
Right here:
Goffman argues that there is nothing natural about gender identity. That is, we don’t just pop out the womb with our gender identities imprinted in our genes; that it is part of a process whereby we learn to take on certain attributes that we think are appropriate to our understanding of ourselves in gendered terms.
That's the passage I've quoted a couple of times here. It continues:
...In this way, there is nothing natural or biological about gender or our gender identities. We learn to inhabit the gender category that we have been assigned from outside, from the culture.
I think you're interpreting it differently than I am.
Quote:
we learn to take on certain attributes that we think are appropriate to our understanding of ourselves in gendered terms.
Don't we all take on the "attributes" of the gender we understand ourselves to be?

Isn't this "learning to take on certain attributes" exactly what a transgendered person does when attempting to "pass" or be accepted as the gender they understand themselves to be?

Quote:
We learn to inhabit the gender category that we have been assigned from outside, from the culture.
If there were no assigned gender attributes from the culture, how would a trans person even know how to act or look like their gender, or aspire to look and act a certain way in order to present as their own gender rather than present as their sex?

Please note he is using gender completely separately from sex.
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  #1232  
Old 02-22-2012, 06:01 PM
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Default Re: Return to Gender 101

Quotes for reference:
Goffman argues that there is nothing natural about gender identity. That is, we don’t just pop out the womb with our gender identities imprinted in our genes; that it is part of a process whereby we learn to take on certain attributes that we think are appropriate to our understanding of ourselves in gendered terms.
...In this way, there is nothing natural or biological about gender or our gender identities. We learn to inhabit the gender category that we have been assigned from outside, from the culture.
Quote:
Originally Posted by LadyShea View Post

I think you're interpreting it differently than I am.
Quote:
we learn to take on certain attributes that we think are appropriate to our understanding of ourselves in gendered terms.
Don't we all take on the "attributes" of the gender we understand ourselves to be?
Yes, but read the whole paragraph. He's asserting that there is no identity there to begin with. Not just that the expression is learned, but that the identity itself has no existence except for being learned.

And look at the second paragraph again:
In this way, there is nothing natural or biological about gender or our gender identities. We learn to inhabit the gender category that we have been assigned from outside, from the culture.
This is not true. My MTF friend was assigned a gender identity from outside, and did not learn to inhabit it, because she could not learn to inhabit a male gender identity. Because her gender identity was female.

It's simply totally untrue that there is nothing natural or biological about gender or gender identity. They are absolutely, verifiably, real. They exist. They are not purely learned. They are not assigned from outside. Attempts to assign them from outside are consistently lethal.

Now, it appears that some people don't really have a strong identity this way, but most seem to.

Quote:
Isn't this "learning to take on certain attributes" exactly what a transgendered person does when attempting to "pass" or be accepted as the gender they understand themselves to be?
Well, that's the thing. If Goffman was right, there would be no such thing as "transgendered", because they would understand themselves to be what they were told they were, because gender would be purely an assigned construct. You could take kids with wee-wees, tell them they were girls, raise them as girls, and all of them would end up being women who happened to have wee-wees. They'd be unhappy at not having boobs, and they'd like pink things.

But that's not what happens. If you try to assign gender to people, the vast majority of them don't take the gender you assign them, they take the gender they already have wired into their brains.

Quote:
If there were no assigned gender attributes from the culture, how would a trans person even know how to act or look like their gender, or aspire to look and act a certain way in order to present as their own gender rather than present as their sex?
Again, the claim I'm disputing is that gender identity is assigned from outside and that's the only reason it exists.

My guess is that they'd either transition or die in the absence of other ways to pass.
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  #1233  
Old 02-22-2012, 06:21 PM
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Default Re: Return to Gender 101

Quote:
Originally Posted by seebs View Post
Quotes for reference:
Goffman argues that there is nothing natural about gender identity. That is, we don’t just pop out the womb with our gender identities imprinted in our genes; that it is part of a process whereby we learn to take on certain attributes that we think are appropriate to our understanding of ourselves in gendered terms.
...In this way, there is nothing natural or biological about gender or our gender identities. We learn to inhabit the gender category that we have been assigned from outside, from the culture.
Quote:
Originally Posted by LadyShea View Post

I think you're interpreting it differently than I am.
Quote:
we learn to take on certain attributes that we think are appropriate to our understanding of ourselves in gendered terms.
Don't we all take on the "attributes" of the gender we understand ourselves to be?
Quote:
Originally Posted by seebs
Yes, but read the whole paragraph. He's asserting that there is no identity there to begin with. Not just that the expression is learned, but that the identity itself has no existence except for being learned.

And look at the second paragraph again:
In this way, there is nothing natural or biological about gender or our gender identities. We learn to inhabit the gender category that we have been assigned from outside, from the culture.
This is not true. My MTF friend was assigned a gender identity from outside, and did not learn to inhabit it, because she could not learn to inhabit a male gender identity. Because her gender identity was female.
The whole point is that female/male gender attributes are assigned from the outside, we are not talking about any individual's gender.

Tell me, what does it mean to be male? What does it mean to be female? There is no biological definition that works in all cases, because if you make it about sex organs only, transgendered people wouldn't exist. There are multiple types of intersexuality that would also rule out a purely biological definition of gender.

This was not about parents or doctors or something assigning an individual to a gender group, it's about any and all individuals learning what it means to be a female/male, what the gender categories are, what the attributes for that category are, and learning how to inhabit that category based on their own understanding of their own gender.

So, females (according to their own gender identity) learn to inhabit the female gender category, the female gender category's attributes are hypothetically assigned by the culture. Had your friend been left to her own gender identity realizations, then as a female she would have learned to inhabit the female gender category as society has created it.

You are making it specific to the individual, and not general to the whole gender category. This is where I think you are interpreting what I am saying, and what the guy in the video was saying incorrectly....or at the very least differently.

I also feel like you are at least somewhat conflating sex with gender, which are separate definitions.
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  #1234  
Old 02-22-2012, 06:30 PM
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Again, he says that the category is assigned from outside, and that is not true!

His claim is that outside forces determine whether you identify as male or female. Not true. He gives the example of kids being raised as a gender contrary to their sex type, as though this is evidence that gender identity is arbitrary and comes from outside -- but in reality, that has a lethality in excess of 50%.

It is absolutely, totally, unequivocally a claim that there is no such thing as a biological gender identity, and that gender identity is assigned from outside. Not the attributes, but the identity itself.

Again:

"We learn to inhabit the gender category that we have been assigned from outside, from the culture."

Not "we learn to adopt the attributes assigned by our culture to the gender category we were born with", "we learn to inhabit the gender category that we have been assigned from outside".

I am totally mystified here. I cannot see how you could possibly read this as claiming only that the expression of gender roles is cultural. There are multiple explicit assertions that gender identity itself is purely a thing assigned to you from the outside. That you could assign any identity you wanted to a kid, and the kid would then live in that gender identity. That the gender identity they understand for themselves is the one handed to them from outside. The entire point of this was to assert that if you took a kid with a wee-wee, and raised that kid as a girl, the kid's gender identity would be female, and this is not true.

Keep in mind, Goffman was writing in 1978. At that point, there was not a ton of research on transgendered people, and basically nothing on neuroscience. It's not that this was a ridiculous thing for Goffman to assert in 1978; it's that it's clearly been disproven since.

To clarify: I think I agree with you about the nature of gender identity. I disagree with you about what Sut Jhally is claiming, based on citations to Goffman. I think Jhally's words are completely clear assertions that there is no innate gender identity whatsoever, and that you could raise people either way without difficulty.

And no, I'm not conflating sex with gender.
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  #1235  
Old 02-22-2012, 06:32 PM
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Default Re: Return to Gender 101

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Originally Posted by seebs View Post
Again, he says that the category is assigned from outside, and that is not true!

His claim is that outside forces determine whether you identify as male or female. Not true. He gives the example of kids being raised as a gender contrary to their sex type, as though this is evidence that gender identity is arbitrary and comes from outside -- but in reality, that has a lethality in excess of 50%.
No, he claimed that outside forces tell us what females/males are or should be, not that they determine your personal identification.

Again you are talking about assigning gender to an individual based on sex, rather than society defining what the gender's attributes should be and what any individual assigns to themselves.

Please read my heavily edited post above yours.
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  #1236  
Old 02-22-2012, 06:38 PM
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Originally Posted by LadyShea View Post
No, he claimed that outside forces tell us what females/males are or should be, not that they determine your personal identification.
He claimed both.

Quote:
Again you are talking about assigning gender to an individual, rather than society defining what the genders actually are.
Yes, because THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT JHALLY IS TALKING ABOUT.
We learn to inhabit the gender category that we have been assigned from outside, from the culture.
What gender category do we end up in? The one assigned from outside. According to Jhally, you do not identify as female because of anything about your brain or body, but because your parents assigned you to the female category.
There are some interesting cases where individuals born as one sex have been assigned to the “wrong” gender category. That is, someone born with male physical characteristics but assigned to the female gender, and they then grow up as that gender, despite the physical sexual origin.
INDIVIDUALS are ASSIGNED gender. That is Jhally's claim. And the claim is that, if you are assigned a gender, you grow up as that gender.

THIS IS NOT TRUE.

If you are assigned a gender, and it does not match you, you grow up as the gender you really are, or you die. Those are, realistically, the options.
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  #1237  
Old 02-22-2012, 06:46 PM
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Default Re: Return to Gender 101

Okay let's simplify things a bit.

Please define male, and define female, and describe some male and female attributes that are purely biological, in such a way that every single person, with no exceptions, can be assigned to one or the other category.

I don't think it can be done without excluding someone, and without having to appeal to cultural norms for the attributes, but I may have less information than you do.
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  #1238  
Old 02-22-2012, 07:01 PM
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Originally Posted by LadyShea View Post
Okay let's simplify things a bit.

Please define male, and define female, and describe some male and female attributes that are purely biological, in such a way that every single person, with no exceptions, can be assigned to one or the other category.
It can't be done. Nor have I ever said it could. It strikes me as obvious that it can't be done.

Quote:
I don't think it can be done without excluding someone, and without having to appeal to cultural norms for the attributes, but I may have less information than you do.
I don't think it can be done.

All I'm trying to communicate here is:

Jhally is absolutely, specifically, and using those exact words, talking about assigning gender identity to individuals. The individuals are passive receptors for a gender identity assigned from outside.

And that is not how it works.

The fact is that there are a lot of people -- probably a majority -- who have an innate sense of whether they are male or female. This is not a result of being "assigned" a gender. If you "assign" them a gender contrary to this sense, they will correct your error or die trying. In some rare cases, this sense unambiguously misaligns with body type. In some cases, the body type is ambiguous or hard to categorize.

In the past, many doctors believed that gender identity was intrinsically pliable; for instance, boys born with really tiny penises might be "reassigned" to female. This turned out to be disasterous; it doesn't work for a majority of them.

Jhally's claim is that there is no inborn sense of gender identity; it is assigned from outside. It is very specifically that individuals are assigned a gender identity by other people, and that they then grow up with the identity they are assigned.

This claim is false.

Now, there are certainly weird cases. There are intersex people, and there are people whose gender identity is ambiguous or effectively nonexistent. I have a friend who desperately wants to grow a beard but would never in a million years want a penis. This friend does not identify as male or female.

But again: If Jhally's claim were right, if people had no internal sense of gender and simply adopted the category assigned to them by society, that couldn't happen.

I'm not claiming that there's only two genders. I'm not claiming that everyone has a strong innate sense of gender. I'm claiming that a large number of people have a strong innate sense of gender which exists no matter what any society tells them.

Again, I'm taking issue with that paragraph about kids being assigned a gender role which doesn't match their sex, and the claim that they "grow up as that gender". No, in general, they don't. Unless that gender is the one that matches their innate sense of gender.
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  #1239  
Old 02-22-2012, 07:10 PM
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Default Re: Return to Gender 101

I am rewatching the video, because I seriously think you are missing some context or some definitions distinctions made
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  #1240  
Old 02-22-2012, 07:16 PM
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It's right up there near the beginning in the transcript. And the thing is, this is a thing that lots of people believe even now, and that was nearly universal among sciencey sorts in large parts of the 20th century. Once we realized that the cultural traits we associated with gender were arbitrary, it seemed obvious that gender was a social construct entirely.

So there was a brief period where doctors did rational things, like if they botched a circumcision they would just do sex reassignment because it'd be way better to be female than to be a guy with no working wang. Very rational.

... and consistently lethal. Whoops.

But basically, the idea that someone would be claiming that gender was purely a societal construct is totally unexceptional to me, because it's such an obvious conclusion, especially for someone writing in the 1970s; we didn't have nearly the data then that we do now about gender identity.
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  #1241  
Old 02-22-2012, 07:23 PM
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Quote:
SUT JHALLY: Goffman argues that there is nothing natural about gender identity. That is, we don’t just pop out the womb with our gender identities imprinted in our genes; that it is part of a process whereby we learn to take on certain attributes that we think are appropriate to our understanding of ourselves in gendered terms. Therefore, we have to analyze how the society constructs the categories within which we fit. And to understand how that takes place, we have to first make a distinction between the terms “sex” and “gender.”
Okay, the bolded and underlined above I think are important. What "we think" is appropriate for our gender, and how the gender categories are constructed.

Quote:
Sex refers to our different biological characteristics as we come out of the womb. Gender refers to the way those differences are made sense of within culture – in most cultures, by assigning it to one of two categories: male or female. And then each of those categories is further defined with a set of characteristics – that seem to be mutually exclusive – that are labeled as masculine and feminine.
Quote:
This does not mean that everything is about culture. The point is that while we are born with a set of different individual physical and biological characteristics, these traits are then made sense of through the categories of culture. In this way, there is nothing natural or biological about gender or our gender identities. We learn to inhabit the gender category that we have been assigned from outside, from the culture.
This part goes back to what I said about how male/female are defined and differentiated in any one culture, and those characterizations of what a male or female is or should be are absolutely assigned from the outside, from the culture. It's what he was referring to when he said "In this way..."

Last edited by LadyShea; 02-22-2012 at 07:36 PM.
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  #1242  
Old 02-22-2012, 07:43 PM
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I do think the video over stated a few things, the cant knee particularly.
I read your post before I saw the video, so I had your post in mind when I watched it.

The one that made me say "buh?" was his claim that standing on one foot makes one vulnerable or off-balance. From my perspective, standing on one foot specifically represents balance and strength.
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  #1243  
Old 02-22-2012, 07:45 PM
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Default Re: Return to Gender 101

I think the video does make some oversimplifications when citing Goffman's work. I would agree that in some of those statements there is an element of cis-privilege taking place especially in terms of gender identity. This is because, in large part he is addressing the cis community rather than trans, who are already perfectly aware that physiological sex does not always correlate with gender. The cis community is his audience and that is important to what he is communicating.

However, Jhally does discuss the trans community in order to exhibit that despite societal pressures and policing on gender roles, they as outliers show that something else is going on and that gender CANNOT and SHOULD NOT be applied from the outside, even though those pressures exist. That is the main thesis of his argument, regardless of how he chooses to support it and to ignore that is to be uncharitable to the work he is attempting. Indeed, in the very beginning he addresses the dangers of social gender assignment as it relates to hate crimes against trans people.

Additionally, I think that Goffman's work on Frame Analysis would be useful to the discussion as it clears up some of the chick-egg dilemmas which are popping up in the discussion.

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Frames organize the experiences and guide action for the individual and/or for everyone. Frame analysis, then, is the study of organization of social experiences. One example that Goffman used to help people better understand the concept is associating the frame with the concept of a picture frame. He used the picture frame concept to illustrate how people use the frame (which represents structure) to hold together their picture (which represents the context) of what they are experiencing in their life.[14] The most basic frames are called primary frameworks. These frameworks take an experience or an aspect of a scene of an individual that would originally be meaningless and make it to become meaningful. One type of primary framework is natural frameworks, which identifies situations that happened in the natural world, and is completely physical with no human influences. The other type of framework is social framework, which explains events and connects it to humans. An example of natural framework would be the weather and an example of social framework would be the meteorologist who reports to people with the weather forecast.[15] Goffman concentrates more on the frameworks and tries to “construct a general statement regarding the structure, or form, of experiences individuals have at any moment of their social life.”
I think that Goffman would place gender identity as a natural framework. There are biological and physiological elements that place it in that frame. However, gender identity as it relates to gender roles is within the social framework as it is a relationship between that individual and society.
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Old 02-22-2012, 07:48 PM
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Default Re: Return to Gender 101

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chick-egg dilemmas
Wish I could remember who said it (Butler, maybe?) but the quote I like is "Gender is an imitation for which there is no original."
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Old 02-22-2012, 08:01 PM
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I do think the video over stated a few things, the cant knee particularly.
I read your post before I saw the video, so I had your post in mind when I watched it.

The one that made me say "buh?" was his claim that standing on one foot makes one vulnerable or off-balance. From my perspective, standing on one foot specifically represents balance and strength.
:lol: Yeah, my yoga instructor friends would take serious issue with that as well.

I still thing that the cant knee has far more to do with the composition of an image rather than anything symbolic. Throwing off the symmetry makes the image more complex and interesting to look at. It adds movement and suggests action. You look at the picture and see a figure that you translate as "dancer." That is no longer a mere human for but a human attributed with an action.

It also draws attention to the shape of the leg, and in cultures where legs are admired and men wear tights or women wear skirts, drawing the eye to that part adds to the aesthetic appeal.

I thought about it later, and I think the hand on hip functions in a similar way. It breaks the symmetry and adds to the appeal. In the tradition of showing men with that pose, I think it was to draw attention to the arms and accentuate strength. I think that pose can have the same cue when women are posed in that manner, however other outside ideas of femininity denigrate that strength to "sassy" just as female assertiveness is denigrated to "bitchiness."

I think all of this is more illustrative of how we interpret images rather than the images themselves. Which makes the job of the image's author all the more problematic when trying to communicate to their audience.
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Old 02-22-2012, 08:04 PM
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Default Re: Return to Gender 101

It's easier to push someone over who's body is off center or on one foot than it is to push over someone centered and "planted".
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Old 02-22-2012, 08:13 PM
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Default Re: Return to Gender 101

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chick-egg dilemmas
Wish I could remember who said it (Butler, maybe?) but the quote I like is "Gender is an imitation for which there is no original."
It was Butler and I love that quote. Because it is so true.

It is impossible to escape Gender because it is so pervasive in our culture. I think most researchers in this field believe that without those external forces we would all be more androgynous. We would cease to be qualified and would instead be individuals.

seebs earlier touched on gender reassignment cases similar to David Reimer, born as a "boy" and raised as a "girl" after his genitals were damaged. That case ended absolutely tragically with Reimer committing suicide. But I think everyone in this thread and Jhally and Goffman would all agree that the tragedy of Reimer's life stemmed from the external pressures placed on him as to what he was supposed to be. He should not have been raised as a "boy" or raised as a "girl" he should have been raised as "David." The huge amount of psychological turmoil and pain he went through was based on a crises of identity that came from his social frame not his natural one.
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Old 02-22-2012, 08:18 PM
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the tragedy of Reimer's life stemmed from the external pressures placed on him as to what he was supposed to be. He should not have been raised as a "boy" or raised as a "girl" he should have been raised as "David." The huge amount of psychological turmoil and pain he went through was based on a crises of identity that came from his social frame not his natural one.
Well said. I have been unable to articulate this at all.
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Old 02-22-2012, 08:23 PM
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chick-egg dilemmas
Wish I could remember who said it (Butler, maybe?) but the quote I like is "Gender is an imitation for which there is no original."
It was Butler and I love that quote. Because it is so true.

It is impossible to escape Gender because it is so pervasive in our culture. I think most researchers in this field believe that without those external forces we would all be more androgynous. We would cease to be qualified and would instead be individuals.

seebs earlier touched on gender reassignment cases similar to David Reimer, born as a "boy" and raised as a "girl" after his genitals were damaged. That case ended absolutely tragically with Reimer committing suicide. But I think everyone in this thread and Jhally and Goffman would all agree that the tragedy of Reimer's life stemmed from the external pressures placed on him as to what he was supposed to be. He should not have been raised as a "boy" or raised as a "girl" he should have been raised as "David." The huge amount of psychological turmoil and pain he went through was based on a crises of identity that came from his social frame not his natural one.
It's also the case that his twin was schizophrenic and committed suicide as well, so it's entirely probable they both would have been basketcases even without the penis accident.
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Old 02-22-2012, 08:30 PM
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Default Re: Return to Gender 101

His brother is definitely important to consider in terms of his development. Although the researchers thought his twin made for an excellent "control," they ignored the psychological implications of being raised together and how that would effect them. The therapies used were not just unethical, they were child abuse.

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Dr. Money forced the twins to rehearse sexual acts involving "thrusting movements" with David playing the bottom role.[4] As a child, David Reimer painfully recalled having to get "down on all fours" with his brother, Brian Reimer, "up behind his butt" with "his crotch against" his "buttocks".[4] In another sexual position, Dr. Money forced David to have his "legs spread" with Brian on top.[4] Dr. Money also forced the children to take their "clothes off" and engage in "genital inspections".[4] On at "least one occasion", Dr. Money took a "photograph" of the two children doing these activities.[4] Dr. Money's rationale for these various treatments was his belief that "childhood 'sexual rehearsal play'" was important for a "healthy adult gender identity".[4]
Simulated sex between siblings, enforced and recorded by Doctors would be damaging to any kid.

Those researchers were unethical in that they attempted to externally enforce gender on Reimer and it did him massive psychological harm. I would argue that most gender policing, trans or cis, does psychological harm to some degree, and that was the primary point in that video.
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