Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Gender: Love It or Kill It?

Colleague George Dvorsky sent me a recent blog post of his, thinking that I might be interested -- the title is "Overcoming Gender", and it's a quick summary of a formal paper he and James Hughes are co-authoring on postgenderism. Perhaps it is my feminine nature, but I had to laugh when I read the summary because one of my first thoughts was, "how typically male it is to see gender as something that has to be overcome, rather than something to be embraced or even transcended." (a more tame version of what Ken Wilber said about men and testosterone in A Brief History of Everything) -- so dualistic, rather than integrated.

But then again, I suppose one could argue that that just proves his point?


Cherry 5000 said...

Ha! Gender must be conquered! Talk about male aggressiveness! Sounds like these guys could use a more gender-balanced perspective.

SabrinaW said...

Gender poses an interesting problem because it both affects us externally and internally. We both exist inside the problem and around it, which means that every person has a personal perspective on the issue that may not translate to another person.

For example, I have never been "girly" and really don't understand a lot of "girly" behaviors by other women, so how can I effectively evaluate the meaning or value of gender identity when I cannot even understand why someone would want to act in a certain way? Similarly, how can I expect a "girly girl" or a "manly man" to understand how I identify myself not by my chromosomal inheritance, but by my existential identity?

I voted for "transcending" gender because we will need to come to terms with biological influences on gender identity (hormones, brain structure, etc) and social influences as well as recognize that gender impacts everyone in a different way on a personal level.

I look forward to reading the article!

Anonymous said...

I might state how typically female to judge all men with the broad brush stroke based on the view of a few, and with female criteria. Its a little like saying how typically female for Hillary to cry under pressure. But I would agree with the above poster in that we are such unique individuals it is impossible to cast a mold of a whole gender. Transcend it pretty accurate from my male experience. Thoughout our formative years aggression, assertiveness, competition, and individual achievement... or failure is taught and often rewarded. Even females reward this model, who has the most dates in school, the aggressive jock or the sensitive nice guy. Who is more revered, the sensitive guy who is often branded girly or even gay, or the bad boy. And yet as I grew older and raised two daughters, the things I held as norms became a source of confusion as I tried to balance the beliefs and behavior of my youth with the realization that to a large degree these same traits contribute heavily to violent crime, abuse, and war.......I choose to see it as transcending, but I understand overcoming as we endeavor to be what we want to be rather than what we were taught to be.