heron61: (Dandy)
[personal profile] heron61
Here's an interesting and thankfully entirely non-transphobic article about a woman and her butch but definitively female-identified daughter

This article reminds me of various comments [personal profile] teaotter has made, that one huge problem with modern constructions of gender is that definitions of male and female have become increasingly narrow, and while we are both pleased that there's increasing awareness of transgendered, non-binary and bi-gendered people, there's absolutely no reason that acknowledging their existence needs to narrow gender categories.

Also, it doesn't look like that's the causation. Instead, it appears that both male and female gender norms began narrowing prior to the most recent surge in transgendered, non-binary and bi-gendered awareness, presumably as a backlash or reaction to both social pressures towards gender equality and growing acceptance of people who are not heterosexual. I'm assuming that at least part of the reason is straight cis people's fear of being assumed to be something other than straight and perhaps cis given that other options are now possible to openly discuss *sigh*.

However, despite such fears, not all male bodied people with gender presentations that don't conform to masculine norms (like me *waves*, with my proud self-definition as a fop and a sissy) are transgendered, non-binary, or bi-gendered (but some definitely are), and in fact, not all such male-bodied people are even gay (although many are).

Similarly, not all female bodied people with gender presentations that don't conform to feminine norms (like [personal profile] teaotter) are transgendered, non-binary, or bi-gendered (but some definitely are), and in fact, not all such female-bodied people are even lesbians (although many are).

Once again, we face the fact that there are no simple answers or formulas for human behavior – living creatures are complicated, and sentient ones are ever more so.

Date: 2017-04-20 11:20 pm (UTC)
graydon: (Default)
From: [personal profile] graydon
I don't think it's a reaction to gender equality. (Which isn't really a thing, socially. It's an idea but it's still not much of a thing.) I think it's a very long term (since 1700 at least) reaction to patriarchal insecurity.

As the world gets better connected, the number of people you, as a hypothetical high-status male, both interact with and must defer to gets much larger. In a village setup, it's a small number, your perceptual space is rarely invaded by anyone else, it's age-sorted, and you've known everybody since forever so there isn't much actual social friction; you can stay in your space and they can stay in theirs and there is no status ambiguity. And ambiguity produces insecurity.

So there's a lot of pressure to remove the ambiguity because there isn't any way (inside that social framework) to make deference unthreatening, and a many-and-increasing-divisions-of-labour economy requires habitual deference to work.

Date: 2017-04-21 04:49 am (UTC)
china_shop: text icon that says "age shall not weary her, nor custom stale her infinite squee" (age shall not weary her)
From: [personal profile] china_shop
This article reminds me of various comments [personal profile] teaotter has made, that one huge problem with modern constructions of gender is that definitions of male and female have become increasingly narrow

Yeah, I feel that too. Like, I think there was a push particularly in the 70s and 80s to broaden the categories and disrupt the stereotypes, and recently the focus has shifted to creating more categories -- which can inadvertently reinforce stereotypes. I don't begrudge anyone their identity, and I understand how important and empowering it can be to find a label that fits; I just don't want the existence of other identities (particularly overlapping ones such as demi-girl, etc) to imply that my identity is getting narrower and no longer has room for me.

Date: 2017-04-21 08:51 am (UTC)
autopope: Me, myself, and I (Default)
From: [personal profile] autopope
Plausible, but a bit on the abstract side? And doesn't take into account inter-cultural variations and whether or not there's a short-term correlation with large scale economic security.

Date: 2017-04-21 06:52 pm (UTC)
graydon: (Default)
From: [personal profile] graydon
I think economic and patriarchal are functionally the same thing; if you have no economic security you are very, very aware that someone can tell you what to do.

The whole point of patriarchal norms is to guarantee that no one tells you what to do who "doesn't have the right"; that's older men with more power. (Most of the Trump racist support is driven by a great screaming need to be certain the pain of having to think of a black man as able to tell them what to do goes away.) Women can't have management jobs because it violates patriarchal norms. Race hierarchies are a way to make sure the bottom tier white males have someone to exercise power on with impunity, and so on. High-tech is objectionable because it doesn't work on seniority; the whole "boss baby" thing wouldn't have any cultural resonance at all if it wasn't a real thing and a real social fear. I don't think it's any more complicated than that.

Date: 2017-04-21 07:00 pm (UTC)
graydon: (Default)
From: [personal profile] graydon
I don't think there has been any significant change in gender relations EXCEPT an expectation that men do child care for infants. (Which is very large, but also probably transient.)

I don't think contraception has a whole lot to do with that, and education does. (Rather like public sanitation is way more important than antibiotics to mortality expectations.) Contraception gets a lot of the blame but I think it's far more economically driven than a result of sexual possibility.

Generally, all of it is moot; expanding the presumptive prescriptive norm can't work (and we can see it failing now); that's one of the reasons it's such a wretchedly persistent social mechanism. Once you accept that things are measured by their distance from correctness you can't think your way out, you've got to ditch the axiom, and ditching childhood axioms isn't a practical expectation. People get violently determined to "restore order" to the position of their axiomatic norm and you get roundheads (after Elizabeth Gloriana) and early Victorian public morals (after the Regency) and so on.

There's alternative sets of axioms that don't start with a presumptive norm (which don't result in infinite arguments about taxonomies) but that in turn comes down to education, and look at how hard the reactionary forces work to prevent and control education. I don't know of very many working at a general public ethics that says "there is no good; there is no bad; there are results, and your preferences are not special".

Date: 2017-04-22 10:42 pm (UTC)
mlerules: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mlerules
Thanks for helping make DW a place to read thoughtful, interesting, more in-depth than FB articles/essays/posts.

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