a moot point? Rather than being socially constructed, I have read studies that suggest that gender might have a biological component. In a nutshell: FtM transgender people’s brains were (in some areas) closer to cisM brains than to cisF brains. I’m really having trouble wrapping my head around this concept of gender, because I can’t seem to “feel” my gender. Shed some more light on this please?
I hope this won’t end up being too long, but it probably will.
As a warning - I’m not a gender studies pscyhologist. Nor am I a neurologist. However, I have SOME background in how brains and sociology function in relation to my own field - linguistics. Also, I believe that science should not be inaccessible to people who have not devoted their life to it. Science should be a constant ongoing discussion. I’ll try not to make too many overarching claims though.
1 - Marriage results in tax benefits. Nationality results is specific legal rights. Well… so does perceived gender. WE set these results. They do not occur organically because the Great Mother Nature wills into being. We decide, as a society, what Marriage results in. A simple village union? A tax benefits break? A political claim to your combined offspring? This is different all over the world. Marriage works in different ways in different countries. Nationality does as well. So does gender.
It’s true that any trait formerly assigned to gender is negotiable. So is any trait assigned to nationality. So is any trait assigned to religious belief. Really, anything is negotiable, to the extent that any group is willing to negotiate it.
2 - I’ve also read various studies about “brain gender” .There are many studies on the science of the human mind in general. Some suggest that ‘girl brains’ and ‘boy brains’ are the thing that make girls and boys behave differently at the onset of their personhood. That’s why boys are typically read as more violent and pushy and girls as more social and rule-abiding.
There are also studies that indicate that a girl and a boy’s brain is LESS different than the brain of a London taxi-driver and someone who’s only visited London once. (source)
Brains are different. ALL brains - and “girl” and “boy” brains are not always different in the same way. Humans ARE the brains. We just have bodies to go with it. And our brain has hardcore settings that we are grown with, and it also has things that change as we mature as organisms.
(From hereonforth, I’ll be referring to “assigned-male” individuals as boys, similarly to “assigned female” individuals as girls in order to demonstrate how the parenting individuals perceive and react to this assigned gender.)
A large part of this can be seen in the fact that boys that are naturally more social and emotional are usually trained out of it by the standards society sets for them. Until recently, there has not been any severe challenge to parenting boys with things like “boys will be boys” as a response to violent harassment of playmates and “boys don’t cry“ when they are hurt by something and have an emotional reaction. Similarly, girls have traditionally been parented with a direction and setting of “girls should be cute” and “girls should be demure”.
The generation that’s growing up challenging these things wide-scale? They’re still not done growing up. The suggestion to change this (AND the active attempt TO change it) is still in the works. We cannot properly determine what changes would take place if we were to parent gender-neutrally in terms of development until we’ve seen several hundreds worth of results. I’m not aware of many studies that do this.
So my point is - I personally do not believe there are “girl brains” or “boy brains” or “none brains with left genderqueer”. There are brains, and by structure, they can probably be categorized into sections like “more prone to team-work” or “more prone to rash life-endangering decisions” but these qualities do not indicate that they are more or less likely to come with a matching penis or vagina. They are brains which develop in accordance to whatever chemistry our body does when we are in the womb, and they are brains which are influenced by both nature AND nurture throughout our lifetime. They are not stone organs, they grow and change.
And our gender, similarly, is something that is a reaction to our society having categories for gender. Our brains DO have a gender. It’s not a fake thing. But it isn’t a thing that is a little on-and-off switch. It’s something complex that we feel based on how we perceive ourselves in our society, what role we perceive we should be in, and what our personal identification without our families, communities, and peer-groups is.
If you do not feel like you have a gender, then maybe you’re looking too hard for a sign that lights up neon and points you in a single direction. I think a real sign of gender would be more akin to looking at yourself as you would like to be perceived by your friends and family, where you feel comfortable, what future you feel most happy with when you see yourself maturing and growing as a person, not as a set of genitals.
At least, that’s my take on it.