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Perhaps reversing the propositions might
help to clarify the direction of the discussion;
hence the questions, do sexual characteristics influence
social behaviour? Are there (besides the obvious biological
ones) sexual characteristics of male and female that are different?

Looking at the inadequacies, stereo-types, mistreatments
&c. of the past is a distraction. The faults of the past are
irrelevant to determing the proprieties of the present if
such proprieties are to be based on inherent characteristics,
as opposed to external impositions.

Grant the equality of inherent value and right to respect
of both, what distinctions are to be made, if any?

Is there any significance to the fact that the preponderance
of males are also designated as men and the preponderance of
females are also designated as women?

No doubt different conclusions or answers to these questions
will be arrived at by different people for a variety of reasons,
hence there will be disagreement.

P.
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Tom Gray" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Tuesday, July 17, 2007 10:54 AM
Subject: Re: Sex and Gender, was Jeremiah ...?


Teh argument is that gender is socially defined.
However law is socially defined and language is
socially defined. Many philosophers even argue that
reality is socially defined (As an aside, this puts
Dawkin inanities into perspective).

So if the argument is that gender roles are socially
defined. The answer would be that the argument proves
nothing. There is an underlying argument that is not
being made explicit.

Tom Gray


--- Diana Manister <[log in to unmask]> wrote:


---------------------------------

Well then. Heaven will be full of all these sexed
souls with no options but premarital relations or
abstinence -- another absurdist joke on us made by our
creator? heh. Diana
Jesus said the would be no marriage,
but I don't think he said anything about sex. ;->

Cheers,
Peter
----- Original Message ----- 
From: Diana Manister
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Monday, July 16, 2007 6:35 AM
Subject: Re: Sex and Gender, was Jeremiah ...?



Perhaps those social roles are fig newtons of our
imaginations. It comes as news, however, that souls
are sexed. I thought we could be done with all that in
heaven. heh.

It is then astonishing how many brilliant scientists
and poets and
thinkers throughout history saw social roles.
Nancy

>>> Kate Troy <[log in to unmask]> 07/15/07 1:07 PM >>>

As an artist (painter), it is clear to me that the
differences between
male
and female go beyond the biological and the contour;
it is, in fact, a
matter
of  heart and soul, and social roles have nothing to
do with it.

Kate

In a message dated 7/15/2007 12:53:55 P.M. Eastern
Daylight Time,
[log in to unmask] writes:

Nancy  Gish wrote:
>
> Eliot is a dead poet and a topic of debate and
study, not a
participant
> in the debate.
>
> Gender does  not mean sex, and its separate meaning
is one of those
that
> has become  quite distinct in usage.  It is not a
euphemism for sex,
> which  does not need a euphemism anyway, as in
academic terms it
refers
> to  biological difference as distinguished from
social roles.  Read
any
> current or recent texts on gender.
>  Nancy

Considering how fixed the distinction between sex and
gender is  I'm
amazed that any literate person isn't familiar with
it.

Even  after making the distinction (gender = social;
sex = biology)
there
still  remain problems: Up until a couple centuries
ago (this is debated
by some  of course) the model was one sex, two
genders: the difference
between men  and women was a difference of degree --
women were
incompletely 'cooked'  men. See Thomas Laqueur,
_Making Sex: Body and
Gender from the Greeks to  Freud_ (Harvard UP, 1990).
See also a fine
review by Stephen Jay Gould,  "The Birth of the
Two-Sex World," NYRB,
June 13, 1991.

Gould  emphasizes that in terms of biology there are
equal arguments for
the  one-sex and the two-sex models. Politically I
have held elsewhere
that  probably the most desirable model is one-sex,
many genders. But
that _is_ a  POLITICAL not a biological or medical
issue. The biology is
quite neutral  on the topic.

From Gould's review:

****
The "two-sex model"  replaced this concept of woman
and man as two
clumps
on a graded continuum  with a notion of two
fundamentally distinct
entities, bearing different  organs that imply
divergent behaviors and
aptitudes; (divergent perhaps,  but still eminently
rankable, for sexism
is the one invariant in this  history of transition).
Laqueur writes:

Thus the old model, in which  men and women were
arrayed according to
their degree of metaphysical   perfection, their vital
heat, along an
axis whose telos was  male, gave way by the late
eighteenth century to a
new model of radical  dimorphism, of biological
divergence. An anatomy
and physiology of   incommensurability  replaced a
metaphysics of
hierarchy in the  representation of woman in relation
to man.

Why did this transition  occur, and why over a broad
stretch of time
centered on the early  eighteenth century? The answer
cannot lie in any
simplistic notion of  empirical discovery wrested from
nature by
triumphant science (quite a set  of male images). I
shall return to the
role of empirics among other causes  of transition
later in this review,
but a simple reason suffices to debar  factual
adequacy as a primary
agent of the switch: neither model is  "correct" by
any morphological
standard; both capture elements of  anatomical
reality.

******

Both models have supported  male-supremacist ideology,
but in different
ways, which can be crudely  summarized as hierarchical
vs "scientific."
Gould's review discusses that  contrast also.

Carrol







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