Relation Between Gender and Anatomical Sex Difference

Relation Between Gender and

Anatomical Sex Difference-

The question is ‘does gender represent anatomical sex differences or are gender roles independent constructs’.

In other words, it is to be decided if, gender is wired into biology.

On examination, it will be clear that this is not one question but two.

First it has to be established that natural kinds exist in nature and that primates are a natural kind. When biologists speak of the three stages of sex-linked identity, beginning with the primary stage of chromosome-based identity, it is to be ascertained if, they can really provide an essentialist definition of male and female identity.

While discussing the brute fact of biological identity of sex differences between male and female one may insist on remaining confined to scientific explanations based on ‘hard’ data.

All these sophisticated philosophical questions revolving on how our conceptual schemes fit the world or all these discussions relating to the concept of ‘concepts’ may seem entirely out of place and misleading.

It has already been established beyond doubt that the male members of the species have Y-chromosomes which the female members lack Probably, this is the accepted basis of the distinction between males and females.

Starting from this base it could be argued that subsequent secondary and tertiary sex traits are causally linked to this basic chromosome differentia. Many environmental factors add on to the complex sex-traits of the tertiary stage.

Notwithstanding these later inputs it could be argued that original causal linkages between chromosomes and later personality manifestations are definitely present and can in no way be denied.

While constructing gender norms the prescriptions to be effective must be sensitive to the male and female biological nature. It is this nature that provides for the reality constraint for any subsequent cultural construct of gender roles.

If gender roles are normative prescriptions for the way men and women should behave in a given culture and if these roles are wired into biology then we must be prepared to accept a naturalistic account of culturalnorms.

The pairing the sex and gender role should be one of caring, one the other hand, men by virtue of having Y-chromosomes are aggressive by nature so they should play the role of physical protectors.

A naturalistic account of gender necessarily commits on to a naturalistic account of norms. The argument is that if gender roles are insensitive to primary and secondary sex- identities then they will impose a pressure on the individual – men and women will be constrained to function against their nature.

All sorts of maladjustments will follow as natural consequence, whereas, if nature determines gender, by implication nature determines culture then the natural status quo can be maintained and an efficient division of labour achieved. So, it is argued that there is such a thing as a natural fit between sex and gender, gender is and ought to be wired into sex.

To program gender otherwise would be a violation of nature. Many feminists subscribe to this view. It must be kept in mind that feminist positions are by no means homogeneous. There are many internal debates within feminism, giving birth to distinctive schools.

These schools in turn take up diverse projects for social justice. Among them some are essentialist and conservative in their attitude, and they would like to see a distinct division of labour on the basis of sex – this lead so seeing woman as man’s ‘other’.

Human begins are seen as sexual beings – one is either a man or a woman. One Possible consequence of this position would be to confine men and women to distinct domains – women could be confined to the domestic sphere and be gendered to look after the household.

Men could look after the greater world of politics and culture-construction. A common justification for this division would be to argue that the seclusion of women has been a blessing in disguise, remaining far from the madding crowd women have succeeded in preserving and developing a basic goodness.

They are the privileged possessors of virtues like purity, patience, self-sacrifice, spirituality and maternal instinct of nurturing and caring. Being attributed with these virtues woman is projected as the superior sex whose secluded protection needs to be perpetuated for the sake of value preservation.

Alternatively, it has been argued that seclusion has prepared her to be a more effective political being who can redeem dirty politics if given a chance.

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