Radical Feminism

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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby Роберт » Fri Sep 21, 2012 5:54 pm UTC

setzer777 wrote:Yeah, I can see how that makes sense. Extending beyond lesbian communities (which I naturally have limited experience with), it does seem like a lot of people have problems with trans people in the abstract. It's one thing to not be attracted to somebody because of their physical features, but in my experience there are a lot of men who would suddenly lose all interest in a woman they perceived as a sterile cis woman if they were told that she is trans.

I agree that you're not obligated to have sex with anyone, but I think that some reasons should be scrutinized. If you reject someone (whom you were previously interested in) because you discover that their great-grandfather was a black man, I'm going to strongly suspect that you hold some pretty racist views.

True. But just hand-waving at assumed relationship percentages and claiming that definitely proves hypocrisy is about as invalid an argument as I can think of. I'm not saying "no, lesbians aren't transphobic". In fact, if you look at my initial objection to that argument, you'll note I also found it dumb that it seemed to claim that no lesbians were openly transphobic. I mean, the whole "womyn-born womyn" is a thing for some lesbians.
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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby guenther » Fri Sep 21, 2012 7:07 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:Something else to keep in mind: I've decided that the definition of 'people' is 'human beings with sufficiently pale skin'. Is my definition wrong?

If you use it that way without supplying your definition up front, then you're using the word wrong. And it's not because it's inconsistent with other methods of categorization; it's because it's inconsistent with the dictionary, or more broadly, our consensus on what that word means. (If you are up front about your definition, then I don't think it's incorrect, though naturally I would suspect your motivations for choosing it.)

When consensus isn't clear like with gender, then we can still make claims about consistency with other uses of the word. But right usage is just a matter of opinion, and when someone presents their usage as correct, then it's a case of confusing opinion with fact.

Anyway, that's all I have to say on the topic of definitions. Carrying this further is really just about semantics. If you or someone else still disagrees with me, I'm fine with that. There's plenty of common ground to be found elsewhere.
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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby The Great Hippo » Fri Sep 21, 2012 7:44 pm UTC

guenther wrote:If you use it that way without supplying your definition up front, then you're using the word wrong. And it's not because it's inconsistent with other methods of categorization; it's because it's inconsistent with the dictionary, or more broadly, our consensus on what that word means.
What's the fundamental difference between a dictionary and a method of categorization?
guenther wrote:Anyway, that's all I have to say on the topic of definitions. Carrying this further is really just about semantics. If you or someone else still disagrees with me, I'm fine with that. There's plenty of common ground to be found elsewhere.
I respectfully disagree; I think understanding definitions and their impact is critical to understanding gender. I think that part of the problem with gender is the tangled knot we've created with our definitions, and our resistance to the notion of expanding those definitions when it becomes clear that there is benefit in doing so.

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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby guenther » Fri Sep 21, 2012 8:21 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:What's the fundamental difference between a dictionary and a method of categorization?

I'm not making a distinction. The main point was consensus. If there are competing ideas on how to use a word and no clear consensus, then how do you decide what the right usage is? My answer is that rightness is poorly defined. I suppose you could have wrongness defined even with an undefined rightness. If everyone agrees that having two hands isn't related to maleness, then it's wrong to use it that way even if there's no consensus on the right way. But there's no consensus on the Y chromosome being unrelated to maleness, and in fact some promote it as the defining characteristic (notably sam_I_am in this thread).

The Great Hippo wrote:I respectfully disagree; I think understanding definitions and their impact is critical to understanding gender. I think that part of the problem with gender is the tangled knot we've created with our definitions, and our resistance to the notion of expanding those definitions when it becomes clear that there is benefit in doing so.

But we're not discussing what gender means, we're discussing whether you can evaluate a proposed definition as right or wrong. We can disagree on this and still be in complete agreement on what that proposed definition is and whether it has value.
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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby Роберт » Fri Sep 21, 2012 8:35 pm UTC

guenther wrote:
The Great Hippo wrote:What's the fundamental difference between a dictionary and a method of categorization?

I'm not making a distinction. The main point was consensus. If there are competing ideas on how to use a word and no clear consensus, then how do you decide what the right usage is? My answer is that rightness is poorly defined. I suppose you could have wrongness defined even with an undefined rightness. If everyone agrees that having two hands isn't related to maleness, then it's wrong to use it that way even if there's no consensus on the right way. But there's no consensus on the Y chromosome being unrelated to maleness, and in fact some promote it as the defining characteristic (notably sam_I_am in this thread).
Just because there's no clear agreement doesn't mean we can't say some of the suggestions are ludicrous.

The suggestion that "maleness" has to do with whether or not you possess any Y chromosomes is ludicrous.
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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby guenther » Fri Sep 21, 2012 8:46 pm UTC

I agree. But I think I already said something to that effect. You can call something out as ludicrous without taking a stance on whether it's right or wrong. For example, it's ludicrous to walk around a dark alley fanning big stacks of $100 bills. But is such behavior wrong?
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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby netcrusher88 » Fri Sep 21, 2012 8:48 pm UTC

guenther wrote:I agree. But I think I already said something to that effect. You can call something out as ludicrous without taking a stance on whether it's right or wrong. For example, it's ludicrous to walk around a dark alley fanning big stacks of $100 bills. But is such behavior wrong?

People who believe chromosomes define gender are not invited to the consensus, because that position is based on objectively false tenets. This has nothing to do with trans and cis; about 1 in 500 cis men is XXY. Some are XX. Some cis women are XY. And so forth.

Yes, it's wrong.
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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby Choboman » Fri Sep 21, 2012 8:53 pm UTC

Doesn't people arguing about genitalia and/or Y-chromosomes (or the lack thereof) as a defining criteria for 'male-ness', and trying to disprove this criteria by providing counter-examples where people can possess some of those characteristics but not all, ignore the fact that there's no reason that gender should be considered completely binary? Male, Female, and Intersex (possessing characteristics of both sexes) would appear to address this issue, wouldn't it?

[Edit]Saying that cis-men sometimes have XXY or XX chromosomes when you're arguing about what defines men seems to fail rhetorically to me. The person who claims that men=XY chromosomes would argue that those weren't really cis-men that you were referring to since they weren't XYs - that they were women or intersex people who displayed outward characteristics of men. It's all about defining terms, but that means that if you make the definitions completely subjective then they no longer have much value in common conversation.
Last edited by Choboman on Fri Sep 21, 2012 9:01 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby guenther » Fri Sep 21, 2012 8:55 pm UTC

@netcrusher88: What are the objectively false tenets?
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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby Роберт » Fri Sep 21, 2012 9:23 pm UTC

Choboman wrote:[Edit]Saying that cis-men sometimes have XXY or XX chromosomes when you're arguing about what defines men seems to fail rhetorically to me. The person who claims that men=XY chromosomes would argue that those weren't really cis-men that you were referring to since they weren't XYs - that they were women or intersex people who displayed outward characteristics of men. It's all about defining terms, but that means that if you make the definitions completely subjective then they no longer have much value in common conversation.


You could claim that... but you would then be claiming that it's impossible to know whether your are cis or not without genetic testing. How is that valuable?
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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby natraj » Sat Sep 22, 2012 4:09 pm UTC

since being cis- or trans- gendered has nothing to do with your chromosomes and instead has to do with whether your identified gender matches the one you were assigned at birth/by society, it is not valuable at all. unless when you were born people tested your chromosomes before saying "it's a [boy|girl]"! just to be on the safe side.
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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby CorruptUser » Sun Sep 23, 2012 12:16 am UTC

Well, amniocentesis is rather routine...

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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby gmalivuk » Sun Sep 23, 2012 1:33 am UTC

Is it? I know it carries risks, so is it really done that often for average pregnancies, without the usual risk factors of age and genetic history and such?
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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby CorruptUser » Sun Sep 23, 2012 4:14 am UTC

Hold on, let me fact check. Errm, common, not routine (sorry!). Something like 113,000 aminos a year, compared to nearly 4m births. According to the source, 3% of all childbirths. I wouldn't go so far as to just divide the numbers like the source does; I'd imagine that a not insignificant number of aminos result in abortion, unwanted pregnancies less likely to be carried to term anyway, etc.

I'd also imagine that aminos are much more common in places like India or China, coupled with abortion; that or there is a hell of a lot more infanticide* going on than I realize.

Not counting abortions, depending on your point of view.

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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby VannA » Wed Sep 26, 2012 8:39 am UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:I think that part of the problem with gender is the tangled knot we've created with our definitions, and our resistance to the notion of expanding those definitions when it becomes clear that there is benefit in doing so.



Added to the (Potentially discussed in the last 11 pages) fact that we tend to apply traits to labels, and presuming their existance, instead of applying labels to traits.
Where are trait is an attribute, and a label is a crass generalisation or tightly defined grouping of traits.

Anyway, I like syntactically correct language, and English is truly terrible for it. (Not that there's much better.)
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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby 12obin » Tue Nov 04, 2014 3:10 am UTC

I'm a trans person and a feminist and I want to be on this thread and I never check my subscriptions, so hello. Posting to follow.

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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby RealisticIdealist » Mon Nov 17, 2014 11:49 pm UTC

I wonder how it is possible to entirely dissociate all traits with genders. I don't mean to say I am entirely opposed to the idea, although it is not the approach I would take (in my mind, being a women is OK, and doing anything you want as a women is ok. Being a proud women and then saying that there is no difference between man and woman seems to be at odds to me).

The problem I have is many of the traits we characterize as masculine or feminine can be reinforced with observations. The majority of women I know enjoy clothes shopping, whereas the majority of men I know could care less. That doesn't mean there aren't men that love to try new clothes and pays a close attention to there outfits, and that is completely fine, and on the reverse, there may be women who have little to no interest in what they wear, which to me is also fine. But if you were to present to me a card asking to identify someone solely based on their love of shoes, I would make a confident guess that it is a woman.

You could argue that those are societal constructs, and those women loves clothes shopping because it has been forced on them from a young age, and I am partly willing to buy that. But then I have a question.

So if we were to somehow, hypothetically, magically and instantaneously get rid of all "gender traits" and no longer have any bias to a gender for any particular trait, would all those women all of a sudden stop loving clothes shopping? If yes, then societal constructs seem to have a bigger, even ridiculous impact then I thought, and I wonder how we started them. If no, then wouldn't human observation eventually associate those characteristics with women and man?

I don't want to in any way indicate that I am against breaking out against "norms" set on women and men. I prefer my women more feminine, but if a woman wants to shave her head and wear hoodies and combat boots, that's completely fine with me. I just find that completely dissociating gender characteristics to be an extraordinarily difficult (if not impossible) thing, that may not even be necessary.

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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby The Great Hippo » Tue Nov 18, 2014 1:02 am UTC

RealisticIdealist wrote:You could argue that those are societal constructs, and those women loves clothes shopping because it has been forced on them from a young age, and I am partly willing to buy that. But then I have a question.

So if we were to somehow, hypothetically, magically and instantaneously get rid of all "gender traits" and no longer have any bias to a gender for any particular trait, would all those women all of a sudden stop loving clothes shopping? If yes, then societal constructs seem to have a bigger, even ridiculous impact then I thought, and I wonder how we started them. If no, then wouldn't human observation eventually associate those characteristics with women and man?
Let's get something out of the way, first: Clothes are awesome. There's nothing wrong with loving them. Same goes for shoes, trucks, beer, knitting, and the color pink. These are all things that anyone can come to enjoy. Regardless of gender.

I'm mentioning this because of your language: 'because it has been forced on them from a young age' strongly implies that it is bad to get girls interested in clothes, or boys interested in trucks. It isn't: Clothes and trucks are both awesome, and totally worth our time. The problem is that we don't bother to see if girls are interested in trucks -- or boys in clothes. And if they are, we don't support their interests -- in fact, a lot of us actively discourage them from pursuing these things.

I think knitting is awesome. But, as a man, when I pursue it, I get weird looks and laughter. Why? Is knitting only awesome when women do it?

The goal here isn't to stop raising children to find these things interesting -- it's just to stop raising children to only find these things interesting. There's a whole wide world out there, full of fascinating things -- and yet we've decided to arbitrarily define boundaries on what things you should and shouldn't be interested in -- based on something as arbitrary as the particular shape of your genitals (or your chromosomes -- or even just how you outwardly present your gender).

So, to answer your question: It's irrelevant. If we all woke up tomorrow with no gender biases whatsoever, and all of us ended up in the very same arrangement we're in right now -- well, okay. The existence of a biological impulse toward knitting or driving trucks doesn't change the fact that there are guys who want to knit and girls who want to drive trucks. We shouldn't discourage that sort of behavior -- if anything, we should encourage it.

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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby RealisticIdealist » Tue Nov 18, 2014 6:38 am UTC

That doesn't really answer my question.

I'm not saying we should discourage people from doing the things that interest, and I hope I didn't imply that in any way in my last post. I thought I tried to make that clear when I said it was completely fine for men to enjoy clothes to. I'm not saying that it isn't ok for women to like guns and for guys to like ponies. It doesn't make any difference to me.

I was speaking more on the terms of a large number of people. If we are trying to completely dissociate all activities from gender, and yet we would have the same arrangement tomorrow, would we not automatically begin associating things once more? "Oh, it seems more women are interested in shoes then men, that must be a thing that girls like more then guys." That would be a gender association, and we do it from a young age. I see nothing wrong with this association so long as it doesn't become "Oh, this must be a thing that girls like more then guys, thus guys aren't allowed to do it"

If you do find it wrong to associate ANYTHING with a gender, then how are you supposed to stop it?
Again, I'm not saying it is wrong for there to be, for lack of a better word, outliers. You mentioned you like knitting, and that is absolutely fine to me. The idea of people disliking you doing that because they think it is a more feminine thing is wrong. There is no argument from me there.

Anybody can love anything, and I agree with that. There shouldn't be any barring of what you love, regardless of what your gender. But more women like X, so X at least seems to be more of a feminine thing. Why is that association wrong (so long as it isn't used to bar men from it) and if it is, how are you supposed to stop it?

And when I say "forced upon them from a young age" I would say that meant to the exclusion of other things. Forcing things upon people tends to suggest that they aren't interested. I never said it was wrong to love anything.

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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby Forest Goose » Tue Nov 18, 2014 6:51 am UTC

If women like shopping for clothes more than men, on average, then women like shopping for clothes more than men, on average. I don't see the problem, it would be a fact (I have no idea if it is true). I don't think the point is "Such facts cannot be", but "Such facts don't govern acceptability". I don't like trucks or beer, I like clothes shopping, fancy tea cups, and my favorite colour is pink...and no one really seems to care. Is it atypical? Maybe. Does that matter? Not at all. (Which you seem to be fine with too). Do you have a link to someone who is objecting to the possible existence of trends among genders?

If you're question is boiling down to: are these societal constructs? That's a thorny matter, and I would say that it depends on just what you are talking about, and we could probably argue to the end of time without conclusion. If your question is, however: are we allowed to associate traits with gender if the fact of the matter is that there are such traits? Then, yes, we are, but I'm confused about why that would ever be questioned.
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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby RealisticIdealist » Tue Nov 18, 2014 7:10 am UTC

I ask the latter. There is this talk of destroying gender, and that associating things with a gender is wrong and bigoted. I wonder why.

Perhaps people aren't saying that we shouldn't associate things with gender, but it sure SEEMS like it sometimes.

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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby 12obin » Tue Nov 18, 2014 7:14 am UTC

Some people are saying that. Obviously there are lots of feminisms with different models and theories and beliefs. There are some radfems who are gender abolitionist, which is what you're talking about. I...am strongly at odds with them and can't really present their politic in a neutral way. But they do exist, yes.

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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby Forest Goose » Tue Nov 18, 2014 7:21 am UTC

I have heard people make claims like you are suggesting. In some cases, sure, people probably mean the absurd version of exactly what it sounds like, but every group has people that make no sense. I think, and this is my take, that the meaning of "Destroying gender" is that gender will no longer matter in terms of what can be done, even if it influences what is done. In other words, in a genderless world, women may be the majority of people throwing tea parties in pink, but there would be no one would care if a guy did the same - by the same token, men may be the majority who are at monster truck rallies in suspenders chugging beer, but no one would care if a woman showed up to do the same.

That there are differences between genders is an established fact, the extent of those differences isn't obvious, and, in more general cases, their cause is even less obvious, but they certainly exist. The majority of people over 6'4" will be men, the majority of women at equal level of fitness have a higher bf%, etc. There are some things, too, that are mutable; pink used to be masculine, now its feminine (but, not everywhere...). Other things, it's hard to say, if they're biological or social. But, again, in a genderless world, these facts exist, but they don't dictate what ought.

Final example: If I told you the majority of people who buy gold earrings had green eyes, would you find it strange and unacceptable to see someone with blue eyes wearing them? No. If I said that majority of tennis shoe buyers were over 6'0", would someone 5'3" in tennis shoes seem socially unacceptable to you? No. The same sense should apply to men in pink and women at monster truck rallies.

* I'm not suggesting in my examples that women are inclined to pink tea parties and men to monster trucks (I have no clue), just using common tropes to make a clear example *
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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby Derek » Tue Nov 18, 2014 7:36 am UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:Let's get something out of the way, first: Clothes are awesome. There's nothing wrong with loving them. Same goes for shoes, trucks, beer, knitting, and the color pink. These are all things that anyone can come to enjoy. Regardless of gender.

Meh, the only interest I have in clothes is their ability to protect me from the elements (also, pockets are nice).

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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby 12obin » Tue Nov 18, 2014 7:44 am UTC

Forest Goose wrote:The majority of people over 6'4" will be men, the majority of women at equal level of fitness have a higher bf%, etc. 


I actually disagree with this analysis. These statistics are only true in a system with two pretty arbitrarily defined and mutually exclusive biological sexes. The body fat to muscle mass ratio is defined by hormones, for instance, but sex is made up of many physical/biological characteristics of which hormones are only one, and these characteristics can exist in myriad combinations, which could all be understood as distinct sexes, or all as part of a single, fluid continuum, or any specific number of sexes, as is the case in various global cultures which define 3 or 4.

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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby Forest Goose » Tue Nov 18, 2014 7:54 am UTC

12obin wrote:
Forest Goose wrote:The majority of people over 6'4" will be men, the majority of women at equal level of fitness have a higher bf%, etc. 


I actually disagree with this analysis. These statistics are only true in a system with two pretty arbitrarily defined and mutually exclusive biological sexes. The body fat to muscle mass ratio is defined by hormones, for instance, but sex is made up of many physical/biological characteristics of which hormones are only one, and these characteristics can exist in myriad combinations, which could all be understood as distinct sexes, or all as part of a single, fluid continuum, or any specific number of sexes, as is the case in various global cultures which define 3 or 4.


I'll defer to you on that, I was just pointing to simple examples that would apply to what the majority of people in western society would classify as Male/Female, on a biological basis. In that sense, it is accurate.

I'm not entirely sure I'd agree with biological sex as being "arbitrarily defined", though, it was certainly not picked at random; and it does seem to have some degree of relevance as pertains to things like medicine, etc. Perhaps other definitions of gender do too, in which case we can have as many categories of gender as we need; nonetheless, talking relative to this specific category, it is a legitimately true statement. In other words, even if we should consider multiple biological sexes, in general, the statement is made relative a fixed distinction and is true relative to it. There are some cultures that don't distinguish green and yellow, but if I said I dislike green, but like yellow, that wouldn't be a grounds to dispute that.
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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby 12obin » Tue Nov 18, 2014 8:31 am UTC

I strongly disagree. If anything, medicine subscribing to a social construct of binary biological sex is dangerous to patients whose body do not conform to that construct. In practice, sex is designated to infants purely on the basis of the size of their external genitalia. However, medical conditions associated with which sex a person is are rarely related to external genitalia. People with higher estrogen are more susceptible to osteoporosis. People with higher testosterone are more susceptible to high blood pressure and heart disease. Cancers are associated with particular anatomy which is often internal, such as the prostate or ovaries. Genetic conditions relate to chromosomes. Most people never even know their chromosomal sex, since it is only tested if there is a problem that brings it into question, but it happens more often than you would think that people who have lived a very normative cisgender life, who get genetic testing for some medical issue, turn out to be genetically intersex.
Let alone that trans men, for instance, often don't get pap smears because they have to go to "women's" clinics and be questioned and outed, because a cervix is defined as something women have.

Some resources:
http://www.vox.com/2014/6/3/5776396/why ... hromosomes
http://www.isna.org/faq/ten_myths/rare
http://rhrealitycheck.org/article/2012/ ... rming-peo/

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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby Forest Goose » Tue Nov 18, 2014 8:49 am UTC

Assuming that as accurate (I'm not doubting, just not checking this very moment), I'm still not sure what that changes about the specific statements. Those categories do exist (even if they are not solely useful, nor always the most useful, they are not arbitrary) and the statement made relative them is accurate. Again, even if we can come up with a thirty five dimensional space to categorize gender/sex/etc. and this is more useful and accurate, that doesn't change the statement being made; you are disagreeing with that being the standard of sex, that doesn't change the truth value of statements made relative to it.

And, if medicine would be better served by considering a broader spectrum with more dimensions, then yeah, they absolutely should, it's foolish and backwards not to; supposing the facts of the matter are accurate, only an idiot could disagree with that. Nonetheless, it doesn't have any bearing on the truth of "By the standard western majority definition of sex, males are taller than females.".

Out of curiosity, is there a system of gender that contains something analogous to the traditional notion of biologically male in which the majority of people over 6'4" aren't cismales? For example, going off of chromosomal sex with XY as "male", etc.

Finally, you seem to be assuming I'm attaching some value to the traditional sex categories on the basis of making a statement relative to them, that's nonsense. I do disagree that they aren't arbitrary, and I am not entirely sure they are without use, but using them in a statement does not equate to believing they should be the only categories nor that they are somehow the only acceptable standard nor that they should be treated as primary - we can have 9000 distinctions and variations, it doesn't change any of the content of the statement made.
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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby 12obin » Tue Nov 18, 2014 8:57 am UTC

I just think it's circular. You're basically saying "according to a system that defines these traits as male, these traits are male." I mean it's not false, it's just pointless.

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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby Forest Goose » Tue Nov 18, 2014 9:04 am UTC

12obin wrote:I just think it's circular. You're basically saying "according to a system that defines these traits as male, these traits are male." I mean it's not false, it's just pointless.


How do you arrive at that conclusion? There are plenty of males that are shorter than 6'4", and the majority of males are not this. Moreover the traditional notion of being male sexed can be applied from birth for 99.9% of people. It would be circular if you had to be over 6'4" to be male, or if anyone over 6'4" was considered male, but those are not at all the case. It is not circular, it doesn't really matter, except for contrived situations, but it is accurate and it is not a fact that follows from definition.

Since the question I was replying to was speaking from the position of those very categories, it isn't pointless either, as pertains to a response. There are some definite differences between sexes as traditionally defined, that is true. I feel like you are assuming that there is more being said than what is written, or that there is some value attached to the terms involved, which is not the case. Again: is relevant to the question asked, is true, doesn't follow from definition. Beyond that: pointless except for contrived situations.
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gmalivuk
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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby gmalivuk » Tue Nov 18, 2014 12:50 pm UTC

12obin wrote:I just think it's circular. You're basically saying "according to a system that defines these traits as male, these traits are male." I mean it's not false, it's just pointless.

As mentioned, no system defines being over 6'4" as male, so it's not circular.

But if you prefer, the same statement could be made about people designated male at birth, or people with penises, or people with XY chromosomes, or people who identify as male. Those things correspond about 99% of the time, so when we're talking of statistical majorities and averages, most statements will remain true regardless of which clear and objective trait(s) you use in place of the vague "is male".
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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby HungryHobo » Tue Nov 18, 2014 1:52 pm UTC

12obin wrote:I just think it's circular. You're basically saying "according to a system that defines these traits as male, these traits are male." I mean it's not false, it's just pointless.


not really.

the existence of edge cases doesn't negate the existence of distinct subgroups.

if you take a random sample of human beings and graph their height you'll get 2 peeks, this tends to be the case when there's 2 distinct subgroups. If you separate those people into subgroups based on external genitalia then you'll get 2 almost perfect overlapping normal curves.

http://mindprod.com/image/math/livinghistogram.jpg

is dead and alive different? depending on your classifier if you go down to the hospital or hospice you'll likely find a few people per thousand who aren't definitely one or the other.

This body still has living cells but no working systems, this body still has a beating heart but no working brain, this body has a brain but there's nothing but chaotic noise coming from it and their organs are being kept going by machines.

but 99.99999% of the time if you look at a human body you can classify it as either dead or alive based on things like "is the heart beating" "is it rotting" "is it running, jumping and shouting" "is it capable of solving math problems"

just because in 0.00001% of cases the classifier doesn't provide a clear answer doesn't mean that there's no subgroups or that the classifier is useless/meaningless.

being classified into the subgroup that matches you has some utility for you even if there's some potential cost to the tiny fraction who are misclassified.
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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby gmalivuk » Tue Nov 18, 2014 4:22 pm UTC

It is definitely a problem to insist that everyone fit perfectly into exactly one of several fuzzy-bordered groups. If you don't, then even on medical forms it's better to say that you don't fit into their categories than it is to pretend you're one or the other. (And far more than 0.00001% of people are intersex or transgender or otherwise not neatly categorizable into one of two sex or gender categories, btw.)

But the statements Forest Goose made weren't strictly categorizing everyone, they were just statistical tends, which remain true regardless of how or whether you categorize edge cases.
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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby 12obin » Tue Nov 18, 2014 8:41 pm UTC

being classified into the subgroup that matches you has some utility for you even if there's some potential cost to the tiny fraction who are misclassified.


Exactly. The groups should have utility and if they don't then they should be reconsidered. This is recognized by many people within scientific and medical communities.

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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby gmalivuk » Tue Nov 18, 2014 8:45 pm UTC

They don't need to be utterly without utility in order to justify reconsidering them. The fact that "male" and "female" unambiguously categorize the majority of people is not sufficient reason to close your eyes to the fact that those categories leave out a couple percent as well.
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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby 12obin » Tue Nov 18, 2014 8:55 pm UTC

The fact that "male" and "female" unambiguously categorize the majority of people...


I really don't think that they do, though.

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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby CorruptUser » Tue Nov 18, 2014 9:00 pm UTC

I think the actual percentages are something like .05% intersex and .3% trans*. That's roughly 1 in 300 people. It's certainly common enough that it's an issue that should be addressed.

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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby LaserGuy » Tue Nov 18, 2014 9:03 pm UTC

12obin wrote:
The fact that "male" and "female" unambiguously categorize the majority of people...


I really don't think that they do, though.


I think there's a clear difference between traits that are associated with your biology and traits associated with your gender. It may not be useful to define "likes beer and trucks" as a trait that is male, but it certainly might be useful to include "has a prostate gland" in the biological definition, particularly if you're interested in figuring out who needs screening for prostate cancer.

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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby gmalivuk » Tue Nov 18, 2014 9:15 pm UTC

12obin wrote:
The fact that "male" and "female" unambiguously categorize the majority of people...
I really don't think that they do, though.
You think that based on what, exactly?

Note that I'm not saying anything stupid about stereotypical gender roles or preferences, I'm talking about sex and gender identity only. I'm not saying that the majority of DMAB people like football or the majority of DFAB people like shopping. I am saying that the majority of DMAB people have XY chromosomes and identify as male, and the majority of DFAB people have XX chromosomes and identify as female.

(And remember that "majority" only means more than 50%. You take on a pretty hefty burden of proof if you want to argue that a majority of people are actually intersex and/or nonbinary or transgender or agender.)
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Re: Radical Feminism

Postby HungryHobo » Wed Nov 19, 2014 10:25 am UTC

gmalivuk wrote:They don't need to be utterly without utility in order to justify reconsidering them. The fact that "male" and "female" unambiguously categorize the majority of people is not sufficient reason to close your eyes to the fact that those categories leave out a couple percent as well.


Who said anything about that? the existence of A and B as almost always fairly clear groups does not negate the existence of C, D, E, U or U'

I was responding to the claim that they weren't real categories at all. they exist just as much as dead/alive exists. (And no I'm not arguing that people should be forced against their will to stay in one of those categories but their existence is not a fiction or slight against you.)

Regardless, the point was that existence of C, D, E, U or U' making up a small fraction of a percent of the population does not negate the existance of A and B.

1 in 300 sounds like a highball figure, the figures I've come across tend to be more along the lines of 1 in 1000.

I didn't claim the 0.00001% figure, that was in reference to dead vs alive and I suspect it's higher than that for people who aren't easily categorised into either of those categories.
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