Setzer, I think this is on topic, because the idea of "destroying gender" is quite radical, and is important in some types of radical feminism. If you think this is off topic, we can move this discussion to another thread.
Torchship wrote: Enuja wrote:In this post
, I linked to the thread in which I explored this idea in much more detail. I'm happy to answer any of the questions you have, and that thread probably doesn't answer all of your questions, but it's a good place to start. For one thing, the answers will be different for different people.
I don't think anything you described in the posts you linked really fits the descriptor "destroy gender". Nothing you've written supports the idea of eliminating masculinity and femininity as acceptable concepts (which is what "destroy gender" suggests), merely weakening their current stranglehold over society. Unless specifically discouraged (which, to my best interpretation, you have never stated you wish to do), the majority of people will likely continue to associate with the gender they are familiar with, and they will pass these general social trends onto their children even after the absolute dominion of the modern gender binary is demolished (though the number of people outside these bounds will increase enormously). Hence the concept of gender will survive your reforms, though it will be significantly weakened. I suspect "weaken gender" or "destroy the gender binary" are much more apt descriptions of what you wish to do.
I think the difference between the outcome I expect and the outcome you expect is related to our suspicions and assumptions about human biology, psychology, and society. I think that gender has to fight against a huge number of social pressures to continue to exist, and I think in the absence of positive pressure, it would completely dissolve (in 200 years or so: I'm not talking short term).
I also don't see a big difference between gender and the gender binary. To me, gender is a social identity primarily mapped to binary sex. Without the binary part, and the mapped to assumed or preferred sex part, it's not gender. Adding a third gender, or 6 more, would destroy gender, because, among other things, "gender" group membership couldn't be easily assigned to specific infants. I can see how gender could be a linear scale instead of a binary, but I really don't think that would last. As long as you're looking at enough variety to have a full, well developed scale, and allowing people that much choice, I think enough of them are going to chose things outside of the line that gender itself will break down, not just its binary.
I do want to discourage "masculinity" and "femininity," but the way I want to do that is to simply stop labeling things that way, and to be more specific instead. Instead of praising a long hair as feminine, I just want to praise the long hair for its length and grace. Instead of praising "studly" behavior, I want to praise happy promiscuity. And, of course, I don't want to bias my appreciation of people's traits on their perceived or chosen gender.
Choboman wrote:[looks around apprehensively]
There is something that's not clear to me: many of you in the discussion have mentioned that one of the goals of radical feminism is to eliminate gender. What does this mean in a practical sense? Eliminating the subtle [or sometimes not-so-subtle] pressures society exerts to make us conform to traditional gender roles? Try to make us not notice gender in interactions? To push the notion that we're all the same? Something else? Are there any objective measures that we could use to tell when we succeeded, or would it just be a subjective feeling or things being fairer/more-androgynous/something-else?
[ducks back under stairwell to continue lurking]
To answer the parts of your questions I don't believe I've answered anywhere...
Once gender is gone (long after I'm dead) people won't notice gender in interactions, because these people and the people they are interacting with won't have gender. Like no-one before the invention of computers noticed how much of a programmer-type people they were interacting with were, gender simply won't exist, and of course won't be noticed.
I don't think we're all the same, and I don't think getting rid of gender will make us seem all the same: I think that our variety exists on many axes, and consists of a lot of different characteristics grabbed from different groups and combined into one person. I think that gender actually makes us much more simliar to each other than I would prefer we were. Because we all have to conform, or specifically rebel against, one of two plans for how to be a person.
There is a very objective test of whether gender is gone: does anybody (who isn't a historian or otherwise strongly seeped in social history) know what gender is? If gender is a non-existent concept, then gender had been destroyed.