Talk:Gender/Archive 1

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Archive 1 Archive 2

Dictionary definitions

According to the OED the definition of gender is the grammatical classification of nouns and other words into different sexes - ie. Grammatical gender. It does say that it is sometimes used as a euphemism for sex (often by feminists wanting to emphasise the social and cultural as opposed to biological distinction between the sexes. --Cap 18:59, 5 Sep 2004 (UTC)

sex when used to identify maleness and femaleness is also a construct in populations there is always variation including in morphology refusing to examine cases on the boundary of the catagories with arguements which reduce to "there are two bathrooms therefore there are two


Gender is commonly used as a synonym for sex, refering to "males" and "females" classified according to genotypic differences and distinct primary and secondary sex characteristics. This usage is considered incorrect by some.

Under what circumstances is this considered incorrect? Mintguy
Some people like to make a clear distinction between gender==gender role and sex==sex (biology). In their view, using gender to refer to sex (biology) is incorrect. An example of such "incorrect" usage would be: "the ability to reproduce in most mammals is limited to the female gender". Supposedly, this should be rewritten as "the ability to reproduce in most mammals is limited to the female sex".
I do not mean to advocate such beliefs - merely to represent them... -Martin

Martin is correct. I cut this:

  • Gender is commonly used as a synonym for sex, refering to "males" and "females" classified according to genotypic differences and distinct primary and secondary sex characteristics. This usage is considered incorrect by some. Also known as biological gender.

I am not sure what "commonly" means, or who, exactly, uses the term "biological gender." My sense is that an encyclopedia is not a dictionary and should not deal with common (and often sloppy) examples of English usage. In the scientific and social science literature, as well as in the humanities, sex refers to biological characteristics, and gender to social ones. Male and female are words used to refer to the two sexes, but boys and girls (for children), and men and women (for adults), are the words used to refer to the two (in Western cultures) genders. Slrubenstein

For context only: http://dictionary.reference.com/search?r=67&q=gender
My view is: not all writers of wikipedia articles will be clear on the distinction between sex and gender (such as you have eloquently described here). Therefore, some such writers will link to gender when they should link to sex. Therefore, because this is a disambiguation page, we should provide a link to sex, along with a very brief description of what sex means. -Martin

Hm... well I have to own up to my ignorance here. I was not aware that there was such a distinction. Having said that I don't think I would have used the specific sentence Martin quotes with the word gender(it doesn't scan well), but I probably would use it in the same context in other circumstances. Perhaps the article should address the issue to educate ignoramuses(ignorami?) like myself. Mintguy (added after edit conflict-> --- I see Martin thinks it needs a mention.

let me see if i get this straight slrubenstein boys and girls are genders? dont you know that childhood is a construct - a widespread cultural human created construct which had genesis in historical time The fbi are in your computer right now;}
posters to this page of culture warriors need to wrap their heads around Sapir-Whorf hypothesis. After all, isn't the limits off your langauge the limit of your world
t-zero

I've been changing some redirects. At a rough guess, on wikipedia usage of the term "gender" breaks down as follows:

  1. gender role: 50%
  2. grammatical gender: 20%
  3. sex: 10%
  4. both 1 & 3 (ie "people of indeterminate gender or sex"): 20%

Incidentally, gender role is going to suddenly be getting a bunch more links, so it might need some improvement... -Martin

"Gender" has a specific meaning to do with social roles. The use of "gender" to mean "sex" is not an alternative usage, it is a euphemisim, that is (according to Webster) "substituting a mild, indirect, or vague term for one considered harsh, blunt, or offensive". Still, some people do say "gender" to mean "sex", so let us happily accept it as a common usage. To be consistent, of course, we must now proceed to apply this policy more broadly. Starting tonight, I will comb Wikipedia for the word "urination" and replace it with the phrase "having a twinkle", for the word "genocide" and replace it with "humane population regulation program", and for the phrase "sexual intercourse" in order to replace it with "what mummies and daddies do".Tannin

uh, with all due respect, I think you mean "tinkle." Or is this an alternative usage? Slrubenstein

Some comments:

  1. According to various dictionaries (such as [1]) one meaning of gender is as a synonym for sex. Do you have any evidence for your claim that this meaning is a euphemism rather than an alternative usage? The dictionaries seem clear that it is a valid meaning.
  2. Nobody has been combing wikipedia for the term "sex" and replacing it with "gender" as far as I know. Do you have specific changes in mind that are objectionable? Martin

Do you have any evidence to show that "having a tinkle" is a euphemism rather than an alternative usage? If we need evidence for the clearly self-evident, then you better show me yours and I'll show you mine. (Err ... I think I better rephrase that.)

Seriously now, dictionaries list the meanings of euphemisms as a matter of routine. Once the euphemisim becomes common enough to come to the attention of lexicographers, it is added to dictionaries as an extra sense. Take the example of the word "toilet", which actually means "bathe, dress and groom onself" but is a common euphemism for "lavatory" (which itself was originally a euphemism for another word many years ago, of course). "Toilet" in the eumphemistic sense is listed in my Shorter Oxford as a subsiduary meaning, as are a host of other euphemisms. Eventually, if the euphemism takes hold, it becomes necessary to invent a new word to replace the euphemism in its original sense. In the meantime, people who want to communicate clearly are well advised to avoid euphemisims. As you say (at least to my knowledge) no-one is combing Wikipedia replacing "sex" with the euphemism "gender". And while that happy state remains, for my part, I promise not to go combing through it replacing other precise, accurate words with equally silly phrases like "having a tinkle" (or, for those who prefer alternative uses, "twinkle"). Tannin

Well, the dictionary lists tinkle=urinate as informal... and, umm, well... I see your point. ;-)
As it happens I once did some research on the etymology of the word gender. It seems that gender started off meaning grammatical gender, then it was used in a humourous/euphemistic sense for the male/female distinction (both biological and sociological). Later it was used in a more genuine sense for the male/female distinction, since sex had broadened its meaning to include sexual intercourse. Later still, social scientists and others of that ilk distinguished between the biological and the sociological senses of sex/gender, referring to the former as sex and the latter as gender.
I'm not sure how accurate that is, and it's old research, so I've lost my sources. But perhaps it's interesting. I guess I could put it in wikipedia at gender (word) or some such, unless it's too much like dictionary-information? Martin
That history pretty much squares with how I recall it, Martin, though I didn't realise that "sex" did not always mean "intercourse", or had perhaps forgotten it. And there is indeed much to be learned from the history of words. In fact, as I was having my light-hearted but pointed fun the other day (the post where I first mentioned "twinkle"), it occurred to me that there is currently no entry on euphemism - and there ought to be. It is a fascinating thing, the way people dance around "hot-button" words and language changes over time, and an entirely proper subject for Wikipedia to cover. There is no shortage of sociological and linguistic work in the area to draw on, and it would be both fun and useful to trace the evolution of a representative sample of key words over the centuries. Or rather, key meanings - for the underlying meanings remains more-or-less constant, while the fashionable euphemism changes from time to time.
Woops! There is an existing entry. I must have misspelled it when searching the other day. Just the same, I think there is room in it for an in-detail examination of three or four historical examples. Yet another thing for my already impossibly long to-do list? Tannin

I want to re-open this discussion.

(1) The blanket prohibition on "gender" meaning "sex" is at best incomplete. This is the most common usage in everyday language (in my experience), and we shouldn't pretend otherwise. What exactly was wrong with the original treatment:

Gender is commonly used as a synonym for sex, refering to "males" and "females" classified according to genotypic differences and distinct primary and secondary sex characteristics. This usage is considered incorrect by some.

I think this was perfect. The dictionary definition http://dictionary.reference.com/search?r=67&q=gender certainly supports this view (much more than it supports the prohibition on gender=sex).

I agree (unsurprising really - I wrote it)

(2) This page leaves the impression that one meaning of the word "gender" is equivalent to "gender role". I don't believe that this is true, and again the dictionary definition does not support this. Instead, the difference between "sex" and "gender" is a nuance. The former is commonly used when discussing biological topics, and the latter is commonly used when discussing sociological topics. But just because the discussion is sociological doesn't mean that it throws the biology out the window. E.g. the "gender gap" does not refer to the unequal status of the different gender roles, but the unequal status if the different genders (i.e. sexes). Keeping "gender" and "gender role" distinct is useful and important.

(See also the discussion at the bottom of Talk:Gender-neutral_pronoun.)

GGano

Here I disagree. The page isn't saying that gender role is a synonym for gender - it's saying that the sociological concept of gender is described at the article on gender roles. Similarly fubar redirects to snafu - the two acronyms express subtly different ideas - but the differences are sufficiently small that they can both be succinctly described at the same article. Martin

The second bullet more or less says that gender is a role. Or at least something in that ballpark. Plus, look at the "see" directions on bullets 1 and 4 - they're pointing to synonyms. That's why I think it's confusing.

I made a bunch of changes, let me know what you think. --GGano

Slrubenstein, my questions are:

  • Just to clarify this usage, does usage 3 imply the belief that sex and gender can be different, and that there aren't just 2 genders?
  • Isn't the article on "gender roles" talking about something different than this? Usage 3 here is not talking about whether the person is aggressive or nurturing, but whether they are taking the role of a male or female, right? It seems to me that if a person of female gender can be aggressive, then it's not true that this usage of "gender" is discussed on the "gender role" page.
  • Do all (or almost all) social scientists use "gender" is this way, or only some?
  • Perhaps some social scientists use "gender" in the nuanced way I indicate above - i.e. gender is the same thing as sex, but you use this word when talking about sociological issues - but some use it in the way you're describing? That's my guess.

--GGano

---

Re: the recent edit, I don't care whether you're thinking "outside the box" (and assuming that the rest of us aren't), you STILL must make a neutral article. Which means you cannot definitively state that gender identity is a construct. You must qualify it, because not everyone holds this belief. Just because you happen to believe it is correct does not mean you can put it that way in Wikipedia. Shall we say instead, "Radical feminists believe that gender identity is a social construction", or something of the sort? Graft

Say what you like about gender identity, but please say it at gender identity. This is a disambiguation page, not a wikipedia article - in an ideal world, nobody would ever see it. To my mind, the most important purpose is to get three different kinds of reader to the correct destination: readers of linguistics to grammatical gender, readers of biology to sex, and readers of sociology to gender role aka sex role aka gender identity aka gender paradigm aka gender. Martin

If someone who is appointed to the helping professions is using the Wikipedia to understand and distinguish the particulars of a presenting problem involving physical sex, sexual identity, or gender then it would have meaning to distinguish these concepts together on a page devoted to a bettter understanding of the single concept of "gender" especially since the common confusion is to merge these concepts into one category. Jaimenote

Ah-hah! "Gender identity" is the word I was looking for. Half the problem we've been having is that the "gender role" page confuses gender role and gender identity, which are two different things. See http://labs.google.com/glossary?q=gender+role and http://labs.google.com/glossary?q=gender+identity. I'll take this up on the gender role page, but for now I've changed links from gender role to gender identity, which is currently the same page but will hopefully be separated. (Martin's right, those are the pages where the different opinions about gender-as-in-gender-identity belong.) I'm pretty happy with the page as it is now. --GGano

Agreed! There should be a seperate page for Gender Identity as this is a different concept than is Gender Role. Role is something we perform or assume, identity is more constitutional in our development and there is another can of worms! I hope that the Gender Identity link will no longer be redirected to role as this appears to be an oversight. Jaimenote

Done! --GGano

Thank you and Good Work!!

Very close... OK, Sexologists have studied gender identity. These studies indicate that gender identity is fixed by the second year of development. This would suggest that a drag queen would not be able to adopt a true gender identity that corresponds with the female sex and role. At most they would be able to assimilate and perform the gender role which most cultures attribute to the female sex. Commonly this is a melodramatic or stylized performance of that role termed, "flamboyant." Jaimenote

People may wish to check through the pages that link to gender role, gender identity, and sex, and check that they all link to the right place. I know I made a few links to gender role that probably should have gone to gender identity. Martin

Sorry to bring it up again....

I know you've all been over this, but the use of genders for connectors- as far as I can tell- probably predates the field of gender studies altogether (I'm assuming it started around the 1970's or later). Thus it seems rather odd that the use of gender=sex in the sociology of the past generation or two led to mechanics and plumbers and engineers at least two generations ago using the terms. May I propose that the paragraph be reworded as:
The use of gender as a synonym for sex, referring to the physical characteristics commonly used to differentiate male from female, is typically considered deprecated in modern sociology. The use of "gender" to describe the style of protrusions and/or indentations on connectors and fasteners, however, predates the development of modern gender studies and is thus considered correct in engineering, electronics, and related fields.
--BillyL 06:43, 7 Apr 2005 (UTC)

The use of genders for grammar dates to Protagoras in the fifth century. Hyacinth 07:11, 7 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Do not revert non-vandalism as vandalism

Excuse me, but AlexR just reverted my changes, which were clearly NOT vandalism. Marking them as vandalism when they're not is a violation of Wikipedia policy. I'm moving the changes back. -Nathan J. Yoder 12:41, 17 May 2005 (UTC)

I think I agree. Nathan's edits were clearly in good faith, and well-argued in the summary. I agree with most of them. That doesn't mean that his version is perfect, and I am sure with some extra work we can find a superior explanation that covers the viewpoints expressed by both sides of the debate. But Nathan's edit were far from vandalism. But instead of discussing editorial policy and perceived rudeness, let's look at the changes:
  1. Nathan removed the following without subsitute: "Gender expression is commonly attributed to self-expression and innate characteristics, nature vs. nurture, and reaction to societal acceptance and oppression". Fine by me, since I don't understand it. If somebody wants to put it back, explain what it means (it might be genuinely interesting).
  2. There was a long explanation of the etymology and and "correct usage" of the word gender in the old version. That passage extremely POVish. Nobody can claim ownership of a common noun and write normatively about what it is supposed to mean. Not even on the basis of etymology. Obviously, the semantic POV itself is interesting and needs to presented here, since it is a central part of the debate, but the old version started with this: "Gender is often, and incorrectly, used as a synonym for sex". Well, my dictionary does exactly that. Calling it incorrect is POV.
  3. Nathan made the new (short, but relatively neutral version) a stub, inviting further collaboration. I think that is fine, but don't care either way.
What's next? We need somebody to present the POV of the "gender is a social construct" in a neutral voice. I'm sure that is doable. Maybe we can salvage parts of the older version and just improve the wording a bit by introducing weasel terms? It's not perfect, but doable and keeps information about the existence of this POV on this page. AlexR, could you do that? Arbor 13:30, 17 May 2005 (UTC)

Nathan's edits were pointless, and the reason given for them phony at best. I also did note his latest edits on the talk page, only I saw nothing there that was worth answering; especially given his usual "style" in debates. This is going RfC now. -- AlexR 19:12, 17 May 2005 (UTC)

I've just come onto this page as part of the RfC and I'm slightly confused about the precise nature of the dispute here. Examining the last revert by Nathan J. Yoder I can see the following changes have been made:
  • "Gender, for the purposes of this article, is the perceived or projected (self-identified) masculinity or femininity of a person or characteristic." - The removal of charactersitic seems amibgous here. Surely gender can also be applied to things? What possible objections exist for the removal here?
  • "...limited to physical sex, male and female, as conventionaly determined. Gender expression is commonly attributed to self-expression and innate characteristics, nature vs. nurture, and reaction to societal acceptance and oppression." - This whole section was deleted for no good reason I can ascertain. I admit erhaps the use of "commonly" is a bit POV and could be modified, otherwise I have no idea what further objections could arise from this sectoin.
  • The rest of the content on this page has been completely deleted in what appears to be an attemp to whitewash this article of any alternative definition of gender. It's true, gender is commonly used as a synonym for sex, but it is equally true that gender can be used to describe characteristics seperate to sex. Deletion here does not seem warranted - modifications.
I note that Njyoder says "see talk" in the edit summary for his last edit but I can see no justification or proper attempt to explain his changes on this talk page. Further explanation here would be useful. --Axon 12:43, 18 May 2005 (UTC)

I explained most of why I edited the stuff in the edit summary itself and Arbor clarified my reasoning fairly well, hence I referred him back to the talk page. It is disingenuous for you to suggest that I was in the wrong for referring him to the talk page when clearly someone explained my edits. He just utterly refused and violated several guidelines and policies in the process. He took it to RfC without even bothering to make the slightest attempt to explain why he wrongfully reverted my edits as vandalism (a violation of wikipedia policy).

A request for a fuller explanation of Nathan's edits on the talk page does not seem "disingenuous" to me: one editor's remarks do not constitute a consensus on a satisfactory explanation and I'd like to be informed as to the reasons and positions of the various people topic. Also, reverting an edit does not constitute a breach of policy per se, and a RfC seems like a reasonable way to settle a dispute - wgar specifically do you take exception to? --Axon 09:28, 19 May 2005 (UTC)

1. I removed characteristic because it doesn't make sense to refer to a characteristic as a gender. There are masculine and feminine characteristics, but not male and female characteristics.

Of course there are - in the west, for example, long hair is generaly considered a female characteristic, a deep voice a male. And so on ... [AR]
Umm, no. There is definitely a significant distinction between "feminine" and "female": for example, the distinction between the sex organs is "female and male", while hair is "feminine and masculine". – ugen64 22:48, 18 May 2005 (UTC)
I'm not sure why you consider "feminine" is not related to gender yet "female" is? Surely a feminine characteristic is considered to be female? Female is the feminine gender[2]. -Axon 09:41, 19 May 2005 (UTC)
"Gender, for the purposes of this article, is the perceived or projected (self-identified) masculinity or femininity of a person [or characteristic]."
Well, there are problems no matter which way you interpret this sentence, so I'll go for a different interpretation to explain what it doesn't fit. Masculinity and femininity are, by definition, the characteristics typically associated with males and females. Thus, the end of that sentence, with the "characteristic" addition would be saying "characteristics typically associated with being male and female are used to describe characteristics."
The other interpretations don't make sense either, which I was getting at before. Like with the case of hair you don't say "that's a male hairstyle," you say "that's a masculine hairstyle." A better example might be saying "he's very male" instead of "he's very masculine." One refers to the gender itself, the other refers to one or more of the characteristics associated with the gender. -Nathan J. Yoder 05:22, 24 May 2005 (UTC)
In my mind it seems prefectly valid to say a man has a "male hairstyle". One can just as easily say "he's very male". A characteristic that is male can be described as masculine and male.Axon 10:09, 24 May 2005 (UTC)

2. The whole "nature vs. nurture" sentence is so horribly convuluted it doesn't even make sense, thus I removed it. Arbor doesn't seem to understand what it means either. If someone wants to put a clarified sentence back in proper English, then do so, but until then it's out.

Just because two people do not understand a sentence that is no reason to remove it. [AR]
That sentence was terribly constructed. Sure, it could have remained, but in any case, it doesn't belong in the lead paragraph. – ugen64 22:48, 18 May 2005 (UTC)
And that is 3 people now who don't understand it. When people keep saying that the sentence was very poorly formed, maybe you should take it as a hint that, *gasp*, it's poorly formed. -Nathan J. Yoder 05:22, 24 May 2005 (UTC)
I think the point made here is that a poorly formed sentence should be corrected and not deleted --Axon 10:09, 24 May 2005 (UTC)

3. As I and Arbhor said, this etymology has no place here. Wikipedia is not a dictionary, nor does it allow subjective, POV interpretations of etymology. It used wonderful phrases like "dismay can still be found concerning the term's replacement of sex" and "Gender is often, and incorrectly, used as a synonym for sex". They are clearly POV and should be removed.

Unfortunately, you are wrong as far as the dictionary part is concerned - Wikipedia is not a dictionary refers to entries that are dicdefs only, it most certainly does not prohibit adding such information to a genuine article.
As for the "dismay", well, that can be found, there are still people out there who argue either that "gender" as seperate from "sex" does not exist, or who protest that an originally mainly gramatical term should not get a new meaning. If you don't like the sentence, put in a better one - don't remove content, though. [AR]
As for the "incorrectly" that is plainly and simply correct - those who don't think there is any difference between "sex" and "gender" don't use "gender" at all, while some people who use it use it incorrectly synonymously. Besides, your criticism regarding that sentence obviously only covers two words out of it - so why remove the whole sentence? [AR]
You've got to be kidding me here. The general consensus here has already been reached that gender=sex and it is also agreed upon by all the major dictionary. "Often incorrectly" is factually WRONG. The rest of the sentence was based on the assertion that it's incorrect, so it all had to be removed. "Dismay" is quite obviously POV and if you notice that you're the only one who thinks it is not. Give it up already. Being persistent is one thing, but now you're just being flat out stubborn and thick headed despite EVERYONE opposing you. -Nathan J. Yoder 05:22, 24 May 2005 (UTC)
There's no reason to have etymologies here - if someone cares that much, point them to Wiktionary:Gender. – ugen64 22:48, 18 May 2005 (UTC)
I'm not sure why we should ignore etymologies - is there a specific Wikipedia injunction against them? If an etymology is of interest in the discussion of a topic and - as we can see from the fervent discussion here - it would seem to be I can think of no reason to ignore it. -Axon 09:41, 19 May 2005 (UTC)
Roughly half of the article was about etymology and inaccurate, speculative and POV etymology at that. That would make it into a dictionary entry. Even with just a sentence or two, you have to question its value since it's not the kind of thing someone would use an encyclopedia for and they can always click the wiktionary link for details. -Nathan J. Yoder 05:22, 24 May 2005 (UTC)
The point is not that the entymologies are incorrect but that there is nothing preventing a discussion of entymologies in a wikipedia article. The entymology does not seem "POV" in my mind and you have yet to explain why it is POV and provide evidence to back up your claims. Axon 10:09, 24 May 2005 (UTC)

Another POV etymological statemet: "Gender is also evolving in this usage from noun to adjective: it is increasingly being seen as an attribute (like color) rather than as a distinct entity in itself." is completely unsubstantiated. I've never heard anyone say "that color is male/female." A color being preferred by a gender doesn't make it a gender in itself. This usage is non-existant.

You are joking, right? Nobody in their right mind will understand that sentence as "colours can be male or female", rather, colour (or size, or weight, or several other things) is an attribute, just as gender can be an attribute. So you might consider restoring that sentence. [AR]
I must agree with you there. – ugen64 22:48, 18 May 2005 (UTC)
Since when is gender an attribute? Gender is a set of attributes, it's not an attribute by itself. Masculine and feminine refer to attributes, not male and female. -Nathan J. Yoder 05:22, 24 May 2005 (UTC)

The only statement that was actually half-accurate, NPOV and made sense regarding etymology was this: "The English noun "gender" is derived from the Old French word genre, meaning "kind of thing". It goes back to the Latin word genus (meaning "kind", "species")." It isn't quite right though. Not that it belongs in an encyclopedia (as opposed to a dictionary) entry anyway.

Whoever wrote this etymology stuff was not only very POV, but they didn't really do their research that well. It's complete garbage for any standpoint.

Unfortunately, you have nothing whatever to proove that claim, and as for the stuff belonging here, see above. [AR]
There are several minor errors, and it doesn't belong in any case. – ugen64 22:48, 18 May 2005 (UTC)
I'm not sure that it does not belong. Citing Wikipedia policy prohibiting discussion of etymology in an article would be helpful here. Otherwise, minor errors should be corrected and not deleted outright. -Axon 09:41, 19 May 2005 (UTC)
This is silly AR, everyone has agreed that there is not just POV, but _obvious_ POV. I don't know of any wikipedia policy on it, but I think it's out of place. There's a template specifically for linking to wiktionary and they can do just that in case the person wants to know the etmology. -Nathan J. Yoder 05:22, 24 May 2005 (UTC)
Are you responding to AR's comments or mine? Furhtermore, everyone has not agreed the section is POV despite your claims: there is no consensus on this page yet and you should not claim so.Axon 10:09, 24 May 2005 (UTC)

4. The rest of the sentences I removed because the language was so poorly phrased that it didn't make much sense, like with the "nature vs. nurture" sentence. I tried to rephrase some of it, but the rest was too nonsensical to salvage. The whole statement preceding "nouns and pronouns are said to have a grammatical gender", for example, is very poorly phrased.

Correct it, if you can - you cannot go around and remove stuff just because you think it should be expressed better. [AR]
It wasn't necessarily incomprehensible, but there was a great deal of extraneous material; "Gender associations are constantly changing as society progesses. For example, the color pink was considered masculine in the early 1900s and is now seen as feminine" sounds much better than "This aggregate gender is often not easily categorized simply, although societies may tend to assume simple binary categorizations, as Western culture on the basis of what is often seen as natural sex division. The extreme of this belief is called essentialism, while its opposition is constructionism. Gender associations are constantly being renegotiated, as, for example, the color pink, considered masculine in the early 1900s, is now seen as feminine, and vice versa for blue. Gender is also evolving in this usage from noun to adjective: it is increasingly being seen as an attribute (like color) rather than as a distinct entity in itself," for example. – ugen64 22:48, 18 May 2005 (UTC)

Given that AlexR reverted my changes as vandalism (in violation of wikipedia policy and guidelines) and immediatly went to rfc suggest that he's not actually willing to address this in any remotely objective manner. I'm also willing to bet that given his history, he probably tried to recruit some people off #wikipedia on IRC to bully me out of the article (he frequently pastes links there to gender related articles when someone makes changes he doesn't like).

Also, given that you have a history of trying to push POV in gender and sexuality related articles (in spite of general consensus disagreeing with you), that you deliberately ignored the explanation on the talk page, you deliberately ignored obvious POV phrases in the article, I doubt you have any real intention of being objective either. I know both of your histories and I know you're both acting in bad faith here. -Nathan J. Yoder 16:41, 18 May 2005 (UTC)

Am I "both" now? I didn't know I suffer from schizophrenia, but thanks for the infomation. As for good faith or bad faith, well, let others decide that. -- AlexR 22:34, 18 May 2005 (UTC)
Ah, facetiousness. It only works if your point is correct. – ugen64 22:48, 18 May 2005 (UTC)
That seems a little unnecesarily snarky. Apologies if you were joking but let's try and keep this civil. I'm unfamiliar with AlexR's "histories" but I do know that Nathan caused an edit war that blocked Bisexuality and also has a history of making controversial edits to articles that cause issues. Perhaps AlexR was a little hasty in reverting Nathan's edits as vandalism but equally I don't think Nathan sufficiently explained his non-trivial changes. --Axon 09:28, 19 May 2005 (UTC)
Are you kidding me? There is no "perhaps" about it, his revert as vandalism was totally inappropriate and out of line. If you can't even acknowledge that, then you're ridiculously biased. I gave a complete explanation for my edits and if you don't like the explanation why not reply to my points instead of just saying "oh it's wrong"? All you're doing is reinforcing the fact that you don't want to cooperate and follow wikipedia guidelines in settling a dispute. Additionally, I don't have a history of "controversial edits." That's completely disingenuous to say. You're referring to a single edit I made on a single article which you and AlexR threw a fit over. I'm sorry, but even if that edit was controversial, a single edit does not count as being a "history of controversial edits." Please keep on making yourself look bad. -Nathan J. Yoder 20:14, 19 May 2005 (UTC)
Please tone down the personal insults, Nathan. As I recall, you made more than a couple of reverts and edits on the bisexuality page and started a minor edit war through your own deletion of content. I see no reason not to mention this in light of your own accusations against AlexR. Now, I've been civil and open to discussion with you but I don't really see anything in the above remarks that might convince me or another editor that you are particularly inclined cooperate either. Also, please do not see my criticism of AlexR's edits an endorsement of your own edits. --Axon 10:44, 20 May 2005 (UTC)
  • At least I hope we can all get a good laugh off the fact that this stub has now been sorted as a sex-stub. :-) Arbor 20:02, 18 May 2005 (UTC)

AlexR's edit got removed? A bug with Mediawiki?

I just noticed that AlexR, without even consulting the talk page, tried reverting the same thing he did before. The only difference is that he didn't call it vandalism this time, he just said it was reverting a large removal of text. After I reverted back to my version, his edit disappeared for some reason (it does not show up in the history), so it looks on the history page like I reverted my version to my version, instead of reverting AlexR's version to mine. Is this a bug or did an admin do something? -Nathan J. Yoder 14:19, 17 May 2005 (UTC)

Odd, I checked and you can get a diff of the two versions (mine and AlexR's) as linked from my Watchlist page, but not a diff from the history page which just shows my version diffed against my version (meaning no changes). His edit summary was "Revert widespread removal of content". Here is a url provided by the 'diff' link on my watchlist page. -Nathan J. Yoder 14:27, 17 May 2005 (UTC)

What's wrong with this page?

(Arbor speaking:) It seems we are quite a few editors who have found this page now. Some have previous issues related to this page or similar ones, and issues with each other. But I am confident that our combined brainpower, editing skills, and civility will be able to improve what we have found here to our mutual satisfaction.

I have looked through the talk page, and clicked through the article's history for some snapshots of its evolution. In 2003, this page was as a disambiguation page for the term gender, and I think it was in pretty good shape then. The biggest change comes in 2004, when a new disambiguation pages was made, and the current page focussed on one the word's meanings, namely the one dominating in American academia. I am not sure this was a good idea. The pages for gender identity and gender role are pretty good (at least, they look good to an interested outsider like me), while the current gender page in its various forms wasn't. Moreover, this has led to heated debates over what the word really means, and futile arguments about whether or not the meaning " gender = sex " is (1) common, (2) outdated, (3) correct, or (4) offensive. Before I have read more about his, I am not able to make a decision about which POV should "own" the word, and I may change my mind about this, but naïvely it seems that Wikipedia shouldn't have an opinion about this at all. Wikipedia should avoid being a normative reference for semantics, especially not when those semantics form (what seems to be) an important part of a dispute. We're not a dictionary, and we're certainly not a POV dictionary or a soapbox. (Maybe I need to think this through more…)

Questions from me to you:

  1. My immediate reaction would be a page called something like Gender (sociology). Is this sensible? Such a page would be allowed to start with For the purpose of this article, gender means…. It could even explain the etymological argument for this, which I personally find interesting, and explain the dispute over it.[Arbor]
    Why? One might argue the starting sentence is improvable, but I see no reason to move this page to gender (sociology) since the only other main use already has its own article, namely, Grammatical gender. And by now, gender in the non-grammatical sense sure exceeds the use in the grammatical sense, too. [AR]
    That's NOT the only other use, it's already been well established that gender=sex is a valid alternate use. You're deliberately ignoring what people have already reached a general consensus on, please stop lying to make a point. -Nathan J. Yoder
    I agree with AlexR, here: I see no good reason to make sucha distinction here. Besides, creating a seperate page simply to avoid disputes (seperate parties working on seperate pages) is against Wikipedia policy, AFAIK. --Axon 11:09, 20 May 2005 (UTC)
    If there is no seperate page, then it should cover both rather than being limited to just non-biological gender. The proposal for the new page wasn't to avoid a dispute, it was to reorganize it in a way that makes more sense. -Nathan J. Yoder 05:54, 24 May 2005 (UTC)
  1. Amazingly, I agree with you here, Nathan: the page should cover both non-biological and biological gender, although I would argue that "biological gender" is itself open to some dispute given the experiences of transexuals and middlesex individuals. 10:18, 24 May 2005 (UTC)
    Of course, one can argue very much whether something like a "biological gender" exists at all - and that what is occasionally meant by that is already covered in sex. Well, article is due for a re-write anyway, so let's see how we do it there. -- AlexR 12:52, 24 May 2005 (UTC)
  1. The current page seems to be about the word gender and what it should mean. I think this page would benefit from an overview of how this word in other languages. What do German sociologists do, AlexR? They can't use Geschlecht, can they? This includes Englishes outside the US. I also looked up "gender" in Project Gutenberg to find some older usages and see how it has been used before 1960. This is original research of course, but somebody else must have done a verifiable study if people care so much. (I don't, frankly.) [Arbor]
    I doubt there is much use in bringing in other languages, the situation is bound to be different. For example, German started to use "Geschlecht" and "Geschlechtsorgane"; but of course "Geschlecht" has far less associations with sex (the action) to begin with, hence posing less of a problem. It was more "dual meaning" from the start. In recent years, though, influenced by English, "gender" has started to become widely used, at least in formal and academic texts; it is, however, contrasted far more with "körperliches Geschlecht" or similar than with "sex" because "Sex" is pretty much "sex (the action)" only in German.
    British English, BTW, went the same way with "gender", as did Australian, Canadian etc, so this is not a US thing. Also, there are by no means so many people who care in the first place, the only opposition against the whole concept of gender comes from the right wing, which does not appreciate any notions that the equiptment you are born with does not determin how you feel, behave, and love. (See heteronormativity). [AR]
    The original article already brought up its meaning in other languages in the form of incorrect etymology. You're being totally inconsistent. You're not even making sense, how can someone "oppose the concept of gender"? One might oppose a certain analysis of gender, but I've never heard of anyone actually opposing the concept except those from exremist left-wing branches of feminism, the types oh zealously believe that we should use gender neutral terms like "zie" and "zir." Your assertion is not only wrong, it's the opposite of the way it is. -Nathan J. Yoder
    I agree, the issue here is that the biased POV that gender as inherent should be noted and taken into account in the writing of this article. Perhaps a "controversy" section or something similar could be created. I see no reason not to include a discussion of the usage of "gender" and like words in other languages. --Axon 11:09, 20 May 2005 (UTC)
    Because this is the English Wikipedia, hence it should cover just the English language unless the language analysis is directly related to the perception of gender within that culture. It's a purely linguistic history, and doesnt really belong here as it doesn't address the concept of gender. I don't know where this issue is coming from, no one inserted any POV into the article suggesting that gender was inherent and it being inherent or not has nothing to do with the etymology. The only POV inserted into this article was from pople who thought gender was NOT inherent. It's funny how you ignore that most of the etymology inserted was not only wrong and incoherent, but it was also biased in favor of your personal views. Don't scream "OMG POV" when it's people on your side inserting it. -Nathan J. Yoder 05:54, 24 May 2005 (UTC)
    This is the English Wikipedia, but we do not limit ourselves to discussion of English language concerns only: for example, we discuss other languages and I see no reason that we should not discuss the usage of gender in other languages if it has a bearing on the topic under consideration. We do not ignore French language, for example, just because we are English speaking.
    Finally, please tone down the hostility, Nathan. Your uncivility does you argument no favors. Clearly, a group here thinks you removal of content was itself POV and disputes that the content, as it was, was POV. Axon 10:18, 24 May 2005 (UTC)
  2. Could the current page be reduced to a really short disambiguation page? My background is in the sciences, so I looked at spin, which also has a strictly academic meaning (in particle physics) and several other usages (like public relations, etc.) Arbor 11:26, 19 May 2005 (UTC)
    No, definitely not. The reason this page was expanded in the first place what that many people started to redirect every instance of gender to other articles, including [[sex|gender]] . However, many of those links were meant to point to "gender" as the generic term, including all those who derived from it, like gender role and gender identity; so the redirects to those were factually wrong, too. Besides, the usual uses of gender are not that far apart in the first place, unlike many other terms that require a disamig of the classical sort. -- AlexR 16:25, 19 May 2005 (UTC)
    The redirects aren't factually wrong if it's a disambiguation page, which is exactly what this should be. With a disambiguation page the user can easily click which interpretation is meant. It doesn't make sense to be opposed to a disambiguation page, especially considering that the "typical usage" can have multiple meanings. -Nathan J. Yoder
    Again, I agree with AlexR. For the same reasons we should probably avoid a second article being created (see my comments above), we should avoid turning this into a disamb page. Gender describes one thing, even if there is some disagreement over what that thing is. --Axon 11:09, 20 May 2005 (UTC)
    If you agree, then why are you allowing the article to be just about gender as a social construct? You either use seperate pages or you include them in both. -Nathan J. Yoder 05:54, 24 May 2005 (UTC)
    I think you misunderstand my point here, the article should be about both but, according to your own edits, one version should not take precendence over another. Axon 10:18, 24 May 2005 (UTC)

AlexR, why have you not addressed my criticisms of the aritcle? You don't seem the slightest bit interested in a) acknowledging your violation of wikipedia policy and b) being cooperative. Instead, in bad faith, you iniated an RfC against me as a hissy fit. The general consensus is AGAINST you, accept it and stop inserting your POV everywhere. And looking at it further, even the choice of "see also" and "External links" are POV. I'm sorry AlexR, but your bad faith won't cut it, please read Wikipedia:Wikipedia is not a soapbox. -Nathan J. Yoder 20:27, 19 May 2005 (UTC)

Nathan, I believe you and I are on the same page wrt how this page could be improved. On the other hand, I don't think your issues with AlexR's editorial policies are much help. I have tried to start a constructive discourse about the future of this page, and would be sorry to see it lost in a bout of angry (and ultimately useless) mudslinging between the two of you.

Back on topic, I think I would be most happy with either

  1. this page is just a disambiguation page
  2. this page favours one of the possible meanings, in which case I would suggest grammatical gender
  3. a really nice encyclopedic article encompassing everything from the geekdom of electrical connectors to the sociopolitical issues considered in gender studies.

Frankly, I would love the latter version, but given this page's history I am not sure if we can find sufficiently talented and benevolent editors for it. Arbor 07:42, 20 May 2005 (UTC)

Agreed. I've just come in via the RFC: on the basic deadlock, I agreee with Njyoder. AlexR's longer version is full of unsourced and/or POV content: the "often, and incorrectly"; the pink vs blue inversion (where can I find that verified?); the claimed noun-to-adjective shift (again, where can I find evidence?); the "dismay can still be found concerning the term's replacement of sex" (who, apart from AlexR, is "dismayed"?); and so on.
I would like to point out that I am "dismayed" by the deletion of the content from the original article. --Axon 13:11, 23 May 2005 (UTC)
He was asking if you were dismayed by the term's replacement of sex, not by my changes. In any case, to say it is done to "dismay" is an obviously POV statement that AR refuses to admit is POV. This is why I think he should just be banned from gender and sexuality articles, he refueses to conceded even the most blatantly obvious cases of POV. -Nathan J. Yoder 05:54, 24 May 2005 (UTC)
Please tone down your threats: I think it unlikely that anyone will get banned from editing articles at this point. Axon 10:18, 24 May 2005 (UTC)
Also I would like to add that I was most likely not the person who inserted "dismayed" in the article in the first place, so why am I attacked for it? -- AlexR 12:52, 24 May 2005 (UTC)
The current Njyoder version looks fair, but (necessarily, given the situation) uninterestingly abstract. There's a wealth of interesting specific detail that could be added. I see the article as becoming, ideally, a fairly terse but interest-rich introductory overview of the many gender-related topics on Wikipedia. RayGirvan 12:02, 20 May 2005 (UTC)
I would really suggest that when people make such statements, they try to get a hint of knowledge first. Lemme see: Re the pink/blue shift, try [3] (first link to come up when one searches Google for "pink blue boy girl"). Re the usage of gender as an adjective - well, have you ever heard of "masculine and feminine"? If my English teachers were not mistaken, those are adjectives, and re: the dismay: I am not dismayed, but you might read the top of the talk page to find a debate about exactly that point. Also, please note that the unvandalized version was not my version, I was hardly the only contributor to it. Mind you, I sure would not mind if the page was improved, but I object to "improving" it by deleting everything Njyoder doesn't like or know about. That is not an improvement. -- AlexR 12:42, 20 May 2005 (UTC)
So the references found at [4] should be cited (Cite sources - "the most important thing is to enter the complete reference information") rather than assuming that readers, who may not even use Google, will divine the precise Google search string. A Yahoo search, for instance, doesn't find those sites. [RayGirvan]
Actually, the linked reference should certainly not be cited, at least no without somebody making sure it is correct. If you read the linked web page, it contains a comment from a reader who actually tried to find the relevant material:
Having read all over the Web the claim that the quotation about pink being most suitable for boys and blue for girls, I went to great lengths to obtain and check a copy of the _Ladies Home Journal_ for June 1918 (the date invariably mentioned) and found no such reference in it whatsoever. It is possible that someone got the date wrong and that this has just been repeated in ignorance. However, as an academic to whom it is important to verify such things I'd like to find out where the quotation actually comes from (perhaps another month of the same journal in the same year)... Dr Daniel Chandler, University of Wales, Aberystwyth
Of course, that claim itself may be false as well (Chandler mightn't even exist). But the fact remains that the linked reference doesn't look like something we should trust without further verification. Arbor 05:45, 24 May 2005 (UTC)
I'm well aware that gender can be used an adjective - I'm talking of the claim that it's "evolving in this usage" and "increasingly being seen". It may well be true, but again it needs authoritative citation, or it's just unsubstantiated opinion. A lot of the POV problems here would be helped by adherence to the citation requirement. RayGirvan 13:53, 20 May 2005 (UTC)
I've tried this with him in the past, whenever I call him on absurd factual errors, he cries and whines and refuses to provide sources. He's probably the single biggest POV pusher in gender related articles. AlexR, stop referring to my change as vandalism, it is not, everyone agrees that is not, you couldn't more clearly have POV pushing agenda here. And if you're intent on improving it AR, why haven't you added anything to it? In your mind, it's better to have a whole ton of POV information that supports your view, rather than a brief stub that is NPOV. As discussed above, dismay is obviously POV, you have lost at general consensus AS USUAL. "Masculine and feminine" aren't genders, they are used to describe gendered characteristics, but not the genders themselves. -Nathan J. Yoder 05:54, 24 May 2005 (UTC)
You have never tried anything that even remotely came close to trying to find consent. As for this article, I will start working on an improved version soon, I was a bit busy in the last few days. As for the "general consensus" I have allegedly lost ... maybe on another page, or in another reality, but most certainly not here. -- AlexR 12:52, 24 May 2005 (UTC)

I've tried to read up on this subject now. Here's a wonderful reference:

Haig, D. (2004) The inexorable rise of gender and the decline of sex: social change in academic titles, 1945-2001. Archives of Sexual Behavior 33: 87-96.

There's a pdf version at [5]. The paper briefly details the history of the uses of gender for sex, but mainly surveys the social science semantics for gender based on the Science Citation Index. There's even a graph to show us how large a fraction of the academic literature each year uses the term in one sense or the other. Wonderful work. And did you know that what we today call gender role (since 1955, by the way) actually appeared as sex role when it was first defined? Anyway, I think this paper contains much goodness for the basis of our little endeavor here. I'm a bit pressed for time these days, so maybe somebody else wants to abstract the work. Arbor 08:04, 23 May 2005 (UTC)

Agree with criticisms of gender as article. Restored disambig page. Old introduction failed to distinguish the subject matter from that of gender identity, and as such only created unneeded duplication. (Anon)

Obviously, reverted - as already stated above, that is not a good idea. Also, gender is obviously not just gender identity. And kindly sign your entries, and best, get a username; anons don't get much trust, and for a reason. -- AlexR 12:52, 24 May 2005 (UTC)

I learned more from the discussion than from the article, at least in its current version, which seems a very impolite way to compromise hiding ones very personal views behind a NPOV curtain. I do not know if the situation discussed here at length occurs in other languages. The links to at least two other Wikipedias (Spanish and French) make me think that it is not so (I have no idea of the situation in Japanese, Hebrew or Norsk); in both romance languages the relation gender-sex does not seem to have the importance that it has in English. In both cases the interwikipedia-links point to the equivalent of genus (plural genera), which is wrong, they ought to point to the disambiguation pages. In neither language there is a distinct word for gender neither as grammatical or human social sexual identity; in both languages the different concepts are referred to with the equivalent of genus; it seems that this Latin word, the root of both gender and genus came twice, at different times, into English, which is not a rare case.

English Latin Spanish French
sex sexus sexo sexe
gender genus género genre
genus genus género genre

Lcgarcia 07:06, 25 May 2005 (UTC)

Suggestions

During this debate I have been getting increasingly interested in this topic, and I firmly believe that we can write an exciting and informative article about his subject. I hope at least some of you are with me.

Further up, I solicited some comments; let me try to summarise what the answers were (in my opinion)

  1. This page shouldn't be a disambig. (That was my own original suggestion, but I have now understood that making such a page just to avoid controversy is bad and stupid. I stand corrected.) A full fledged page it is. I assume that this entails merging some of the other articles back here, at least in part. (Maybe Grammatical gender can retain its separate article, but there still should be a section on it here focussing on classification that corresponds to the two sexes. (Not on grammatical systems that have other noun classes, like animate/inanimate).)
  2. An overview of the word's etymology is interesting and informative, not at least because of the politically charged shift in meaning since 1960. From this perspective, etymology is certainly Wikipedia material.
  3. How this term is treated in other languages is interesting. Especially, it's illuminating (1) how other languages label the concept of "socially constructed gender". (See Lcgarcia's remarks. I happen to know that it's genus in Swedish.) (2) how grammatical gender may have nothing to do with the word's (biological or social) gender in most languages. The Grammatical gender article already does this.

How to proceed? Should we put a Work in progress sticker on the front page and just start editing? Or should we keep our efforts on a subpage while we're playing? Should we agree on an outline before we start? Should we agree on a definition? Arbor 08:14, 25 May 2005 (UTC)

Well, tricky question - I was pretty busy getting an arbitration case together against Njyoder; I really think that it is rather pointless to attempt to have any meaningful debate while he behaves that way. I had already copied the old version of the article to User:AlexR/gender to do some work on it, but hadn't started yet. We have to keep the problem in mind while deciding how to proceed working on the article.
As for the content of the new article, I think we should try to decided what should go into it first - after all, there are already other articles as well dealing with related topics, not just grammatical gender but also gender identity and gender role, and in my opinion those two should also remain seperate articles (some of them in need of improvement, though). There are also other articles that do not yet exist, but might some day, like gender expression and gender perception. I would recomment dealing with those matters only briefly here and linking to seperate articles, since each of those terms has quite some debates attached to it; otherwise, this article here would become too long and convoluted.
So that would leave this article with a section on the etymology and usage history of the term, including the formation of the idea that there was something that was not based on biological sex alone, and yet was usualy assiciated with it; the Haig article you found should be an excellent source for parts of that. And we need a section on the sex=gender question, because obviously there are at least two schools of thought here who use it that way: One is the school that denies that biological sex and gender (identiy, role, expression, etc) can be unrelated at all, and the other is, quote Haig: "Among the reasons that working scientists have given me for choosing gender rather than sex in biological contexts are desires to signal sympathy with feminist goals, to use a more academic term, or to avoid the connotation of copulation." (That's of course not counting those who simply don't know the difference between the two terms.)
As for the term in other languages, I would not insist on attributing too much weight to whether they use any form of "genus" for the expression of the concept, nor all that much on what words are used at all. I think the relevant thing is how the concept is accepted in other cultures and languages instead. In India, for example, it is obvious that some notion of an independence of sex and gender exists, compare Hijra; nevertheless, how that is expressed liguistically, I have no idea. -- AlexR 13:04, 25 May 2005 (UTC)
For the sex=gender? question, I even ran into this problem with the Unisex name article (an anon was changing gender to sex). You might look at some of my discussion on the talk page there for ideas on how to cover the issue (Talk:Unisex name#Gender). BlankVerse 16:32, 25 May 2005 (UTC)
Yes, that is exactly the problem we are talking about, although it has the added dimention of the "naturalness" of gender roles; see the feminist discourses. However, it is even more complicated that described there - for example a person with a seemingly female sex but XY chromosomes will usually have a female gender identity, but only usually. Just as a person with XXY usually has an male gender identity - however, somewhat more than can be expected statistically have a female one. (No scientifc counts available, of course.) So far the facts, but you mustn't forget that there are still people who claim there is no difference between sex and gender after all. Very complicated matter. All the more reason to be very clear in this article on a) what is the difference between the terms sex and gender, and b) on the reason they get confused or used synonymously. Interesting also the statement by the anon that a baby doesn't have a gender identity - exactly that is one of the very disputed points. Oh, and BTW: "individuals born who have anomalous or ambiguous genitals at birth" are intersex (although they are not the only intersex people). -- AlexR 17:56, 25 May 2005 (UTC)
I wish I could remember where I read it, or the correct number, but I think that according to what I read there were supposed to be seven different dimensions to sex. Just guess as to what they would be, I could only think of four: genetic, hormonal, body morphology, psychological. BlankVerse 19:02, 25 May 2005 (UTC)
Lemme see - for sex, usually there's chromosomes, gonads, hormone levels, and organs; guess you could split the organs in internal or external or something; sex has a table that has these 5 criteria. It also has 6 different gender criteria ("psychosocial levels"), with the last somewhat debated. Assigned sex, gender of rearing, gender identity, gender role, sexual orientation, and sexual power. You could also add gender presentation and gender perception. Of course, there is also the as yet unanswered question whether gender identity does not really have at least some biologiocal components as well; there are some studies that suggest so. However, currently, the question is still open; if answered positively, it would place at least some gender-variant people among the intersex and gender identity at least to some extend among the sex criteria. -- AlexR 19:53, 25 May 2005 (UTC)

Please vandalise my subpage

To get the ball rolling, I have created a subpage at User talk:Arbor/gender User:Arbor/gender and sketched how I think this article might look. Most of the contents I hastily stole from other sources, and this is only meant as a sketch. I encourage others to either make a similar mock-up (if they strongly disagree with my idea) or start improving/editing that subpage (if they basically agree with my idea). There is even an attempt at a definition, which I expect to be the target of close scrutiny and eloquent feedback. Arbor 13:58, 26 May 2005 (UTC)

Thanks for proposing this. Perhaps you should move it to User:Arbor/gender so it can have an associated talk page? FreplySpang (talk) 16:08, 26 May 2005 (UTC)
Good point. Done.Arbor 17:45, 26 May 2005 (UTC)

I'm putting together an alternative version at User:AlexR/gender (at the time of writing, still working on it), because I do not like the attempt to make the article encompass all that; the connectors, and the grammatical gender, and all that stuff are hardly used so often that they warrant the inclusion; plus, the resulting article would be extremely confusing, in my opinion. I very much advocate that this article should concentrate on the social, psychological etc concept of gender, with links to the appropriate articles where necessary. -- AlexR 18:30, 26 May 2005 (UTC)

AlexR, as you can see from my initial suggestions up-page, I originally advocated the same course of action: to have one page per intended meaning. (I suggested Gender (sociology) for the page you are envisioning.) But some of the other voices on this page convinced me that such an approach would basically just be a "POV fork", or "disambiguating to avoid controversy". And that such a solution would be cowardly and boring. So I completely changed my mind and am now getting very excited about a combined article. (I had no idea this topic was intersting when I accidentally stumbled on this page.) At this stage, is it advisable to have a poll on which philosophy should be pursued? Or will editors just vote with their feet and help on one page or the other? It would be a shame to waste our efforts if and when we have to decide which version to adopt... Arbor 19:20, 26 May 2005 (UTC)
Actually, I think you misunderstood the objections - they were not towards a page sticking to gender in the sociological sense (plus, arguably, the sex=gender thing). Even Njyoder advocated only a page covering those two meanings, and nobody proposed including for example plugs again. Also, you should not be exactly intimidated by comments by that user; there is a reason, you know, the arbitration request was supported by more people and accepted very quickly.
I therefore stick to my original proposal, namely, have the article at gender cover gender in the sociological/psychological sense, talk about the sex=gender thing, and, if so desired, talk about the concept of sex and gender in various languages; although I think I would prefer a discussion on sex and gender in various cultures instead.
I can't quite make up my mind where a debate regarding languages should go; any lenghty text on that might be something that is not quite in the usual WP style, but rather an essay/articles/study by itself. I am also not sure just how important it is whether a language has a specific word for gender in the sociological/psychological sense at all, isn't the question rather whether the concept itself exists or can be expressed and understood, regardless of how exactly it is expressed? Tricky, that one. Could also easily left till later, since this is the English Wikipedia after all. I think we should concentrate getting the basics done first. -- AlexR 20:06, 26 May 2005 (UTC)

Gender Identity Measurement

On the 25th of July I added a small section on gender identity measurement, which I feel has great relevance to the subject and also is well referenced in Academic journals. Barak Pick —Preceding unsigned comment added by 132.64.37.99 (talk) 12:17, 25 July 2010 (UTC)

Okay, IP. Flyer22 (talk) 22:15, 25 July 2010 (UTC)

Sources for gender taxonomy

The section on gender taxonomy 1. seems to be a full copy of gender taxonomy. That's not necessarily bad, but whatever. 2. needs to list its sources. I went to the gender taxonomy article and found [exactly one source]. Would someone who's read the full article (most likely the person who added the gender taxonomy section) do the honors and add this source here? I wouldn't feel right about doing it myself because I don't have access to the part of the source that contains the information used here. Darkfrog24 (talk) 03:15, 20 August 2010 (UTC)

Poor presentation

The content separation between "biological gender" and "Sociological gender" sections is quite wrong here. It was John Money who introduced gender as a role, to distinguish it from biological sex, but he is credited in the opposite section! See the paper by J. Richard Udry I added as further reading. Tijfo098 (talk) 04:21, 18 October 2010 (UTC)

Another fact not clearly conveyed is that in social science today gender means sex most of the time (also said in the same ref). Tijfo098 (talk) 04:28, 18 October 2010 (UTC)

You did a great job on the lead. Darkfrog24 and I have not gotten around to working on the whole article, so your help is appreciated. Flyer22 (talk) 16:16, 18 October 2010 (UTC)
Also, Tijfo098, in reference to social sciences, do you also mean anthropologists mostly use "gender" to mean biological sex? Most anthropologists I have come across or read up on usually distinguish between the two. Flyer22 (talk) 16:38, 18 October 2010 (UTC)
If you can provide a secondary ref that anthropologists mostly use it in a different way than the general trend (which is based on two secondary references) then by all means add it as another significant exception. Tijfo098 (talk) 16:55, 18 October 2010 (UTC)
What source do we have that there is a general trend in society to use gender to mean biological sex? I am quite confident that anthropologists uphold a distinction at least between social gender and biological sex, and many also distinguish third genders (and third sexes or more) - at least thats what all the anthropologists that I am reading and being taught by do. Some gender theoreticians also reject the notion of sex as an objectively existing category (Judith Butler for example).·Maunus·ƛ· 18:42, 18 October 2010 (UTC)
I agree that a chronological descrption of the development of the distinction would be preferable and that Money's study would appear much earlier in such a presentation than it currently does.·Maunus·ƛ· 18:48, 18 October 2010 (UTC)
Did you read Haig's paper? Or Udry's? They're the first two refs in this article. Like I wrote before, I'm not opposed to adding the anthropologists as an exception, although I prefer a reasonably authoritative citation for that. By authoritative I mean someone that discusses how the term is used, as opposed to someone mandating a usage. This page has been the subject of edit wars on material ever since Wikipedia began, particularly material that makes sweeping generalizations from sources that are prescriptive rather than descriptive. Besides there's also feminist anthropology, so the statement about feminism includes some anthropologists. :-) Tijfo098 (talk) 19:10, 18 October 2010 (UTC)
Besides anthropologists, should we also make clear in the lead that biological sex and gender are also often distinguished by the transgender community? To be clear, the transgender community often stresses their biological sex not matching the gender they identify as -- their gender identity. Flyer22 (talk) 16:33, 19 October 2010 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Something more needs to be said about gender identity in the lead (and not just in the transgender community, but in the mental health field as well, where the mainstream started to recognize it in the DSM-III). But that's not the same as social role. See the "trichotomy" paper. I'll get to it eventually. Tijfo098 (talk) 17:40, 19 October 2010 (UTC)

Yeah, I know the difference with social role. It's just that genetic/biological sex, in the transgender community, is clarified as not necessarily equating to one's gender (i.e. someone declared a boy at birth based on "his" genitals doesn't mean "he" will identify as a boy/man later in life). This is often said without the qualifier "identity." Transgender friends and acquaintances of mine have also stressed that "biological sex does not mean gender." I know that doesn't count as a reliable source for Wikipedia, but I'm sure there are reliable sources out there about how the transgender community feels about the terms. I also usually see sociologists distinguishing. Anyway, I look forward to further contributions from you regarding this article. Flyer22 (talk) 18:04, 19 October 2010 (UTC)

Lead-in definition

An IP keeps changing the first line which describes gender as "...a set of characteristics distinguishing between male and female, particularly in the cases of men and women." On the IP's talk page, I asked him or her what is problematic about the lead-in. I don't understand why the IP first changed it to this and then to this. I reverted both times because the IP is complicating the lead-in and his or her additions were/are also confusing to me. For example, binary classification has to do with math and science. The lead-in is accurate in describing what gender is about -- distinguishing between males and females (especially in the case of human beings). We go into exactly what we mean by that right after the first line, which is why I reverted the IP for a third time. So, again, I ask the IP what is so problematic about that first line, so much so that it has inspired him or her to engage in a WP:edit war? The IP has also reverted two of my most recent tweaks to the article further below, signaling to me that this IP is familiar with this article and may be a registered editor here. If the IP keeps this up, I will be taking this matter to WP:RfC. Flyer22 (talk) 23:05, 25 May 2011 (UTC)

As for the IP reverting two of my most recent changes, it seems the IP was simply editing an old version of the article...for whatever reason...which even includes a dead link recently removed by Bonze blayk. I'm not sure why the IP is editing a version days prior to those three changes. Flyer22 (talk) 23:18, 25 May 2011 (UTC)
gender is not a WP:Set_(mathematics) of the grouping characteristics. the lead is simply wrong. gender is the classification of characteristics distinguishing male and female. binary classification is the perfect example of this 134.219.72.135 (talk) 01:29, 26 May 2011 (UTC)
No where in the lead do we link Set (mathematics). But let's look at the definition given by that article. It says, "A set is a collection of distinct objects, considered as an object in its own right." If we take a look at "male/man" and "female/woman," they are respectively about a collection of distinct "objects," considered as objects in their own right. Males/Men, for example, are considered to have attributes that are distinct from females/women. These attributes are a collection, and males/men are considered an entity in their own right. Therefore, the lead, in my opinion, is not wrong...because gender pertains to a set of characteristics distinguishing between male and female. Perhaps "sets" would be more accurate. There is a set that is associated with males/men and there is a set that is associated with females/women. So how exactly is it wrong? And how is it vastly different than saying "the classification of characteristics distinguishing male and female"? Which, by the way, is the wording you should have used. I wouldn't have objected much to that. The Binary classification article, however, has to do with math and science. And its lead says that it is "...the task of classifying the members of a given set of objects into two groups on the basis of whether they have some property or not." Members of a given set of objects? (It uses the word "set" too, I notice.) Property? I ask who are these objects? People/Animals? The characteristics? And what is meant by "property"? In reading that article, it just doesn't sound like "binary classification" is the perfect example of gender. Perhaps you are defining it in a different way than that Wikipedia article? Maybe you mean gender binary?
It seems your main issue is with the word "set." If that is the case, I can agree to use your alternate wording: "Gender is the classification of characteristics distinguishing male and female." But I am not for your previous wordings. For one thing, if you mean "gender binary," this article covers those issues a lot better than that one. And "gender" is argued to be a non-human thing too. I feel that "gender binary," is only about humans. It also appears to be more about gender roles and gender identities, while "gender" covers a wider scope (at least it does in this article). But, yeah, I can accept your latest wording -- "the classification of characteristics." Flyer22 (talk) 05:52, 26 May 2011 (UTC)
I just saw the comment you left at your talk page before I even replied here. This is what you stated:
Hi Flyer22
Gender is not the characteristics themselves unless you wish to define masculinity and feminitiy as absolute discreet properties of the object, which according to maybe ~80% of the talk is only true in the biological sense. Your lead is simple yes but tautological; gender -> male and female -> genders.
please don't be close minded because a topic usually finds use in a certain area. Binary classification is not just math and science it is the act of spliting a larger subset by assigning labels due to the attributes related to the group. Assigning gender labels is binary classification first and foremost. Gender may be about distinguishing male and female but it is not the distinction nor the act of distinction and this was the point I was trying to convey.
It's only a small change but yet extends the scope of the article hugely, and if accuracy were a quantifiable scale (instead of a simple binary classification accurate/not-accurate) these few extra words make the lead much more accurate.
In response to that, I'm not exactly sure what you mean. Perhaps you can better explain? Were you speaking of "gender binary"? And if so, are you okay with my accepting your latest wording as a compromise? Flyer22 (talk) 06:03, 26 May 2011 (UTC)
Thanks, Flyer22, for maintaining a reasonable lead for this article...
The concept of gender is not necessarily restricted to a masculine/feminine BINARY... see Third gender. Some cultures provide gender roles which are distinct from the ones they prescribe for male-masculine and female-feminine... for example, from recall the Xanith have a mode of dress distinct from either men or women (though this is not mentioned in the article); and Shamanic roles in society often involve a distinct variety of gender identity and presentation [6].
So, in fact, the existing lead is not exactly correct, but hammering in the notion that all gender roles are "binary" in nature will make it much worse. No "compromise" should be made here. -- bonze blayk (talk) 11:58, 26 May 2011 (UTC)
Thanks you as well, Bonze blayk. Yes, I am familiar with third gender. I have even cleaned up and reverted a few things at that article before. The lead currently doesn't say anything about it (third gender), but it used to. And it does mention that "Some cultures have specific gender-related social roles that can be considered distinct from male and female, such as the hijra of India and Pakistan." I agree that "binary" should not be used. Which is why I offered using the IP's most recent wording of "the classification of characteristics" as a compromise, since I don't see it as too different from the current lead-in. But if you object to that as well, I have no problem with the objection. I suppose the first line isn't perfect (as you stated), but it is representative of what gender generally entails. To balance things out, we could add back in mention of third gender and combine it with the information about the hijra (which is a lone sentence right now). Flyer22 (talk) 15:10, 26 May 2011 (UTC)
yes the wording "the classification of characteristics" is by far the better wording good call. Though I would request the links since I believe articles should demonstrate the flow of information in their definitions; i.e. male/female->gender->classification of attributes not male/female->gender->male/female this is the tautoloigical loop in wikipedian logic that brought me here and is to date the only example of this.
to clarify the talk of sets, since it is a tricky concept and very hard to put into words. If gender is a set than atributes are always inherent to that set. this is how gender differs from gender binary It's very subtle but very important. The attributes here are a global set that is classified as having a certain likelihood to be either male or female (or third gender) hense the binary classification (splitting of one global set (attributes) into smaller sets (male/female) depending on their attributes) If gender is a set in itself than males and females will each have real and distinct attributes, rather than the attributes having certain elements of masculinity/feminity. This is what gender is, how these attributes are characterised masculine and feminine not the attributes themselves. Am i making this clear or just muddying the topic?134.219.74.251 (talk) 15:30, 26 May 2011 (UTC)
We'll see what Bonze blayk thinks about using the wording "classification of characteristics" and the other stuff you recently commented on. I can't say that I completely agree with your distinctions or understand them, but I sort of get where you are coming from. As for providing links, the Characteristics page is a disambiguation page. So that's why we don't link that. The same would apply for the Classification page. We also don't link words that are fairly understood. See WP:OVERLINKING. Flyer22 (talk) 15:40, 26 May 2011 (UTC)
Well as for being fairly well understood, I think the fact that we're having this discussion prove how well the classification of sets is. the disambiguation of the classification is why i linked binary classifiction. To define male and female as genders and to define genders as male and female doesn't sit well with me. Gender classifies attributes male/female, gender binary is the attributes male/female.134.219.74.251 (talk) 15:55, 26 May 2011 (UTC)
I've explained why the Binary classification article doesn't sit well with me. It does not appear to be related to this topic at all. If you are going to link something to explain gender, then it should be about gender. To me, that article is not. And the lead-in sentence in this (the Gender) article does not say that male and female are genders. It says "Gender is a set of characteristics distinguishing between male and female," which it is. It's not like "gender" is only used to distinguish between men and women (not to mention, for most people, their sex and gender are congruent). But even for that, the lead continues on with, "particularly in the cases of men and women." The rest of the lead explains how "sex" and "gender" are distinguished and how they are also often synonymous. It seems now (correct me if I'm wrong) that you are saying you don't like sex being called gender and gender being called sex. But whether you disagree with those assignments or not, it is a fact that they are often seen as the same thing. That is why we go over that aspect in the lead. The lead-in (the first line), on the other hand, is simply saying that gender is used to distinguish between the sexes, which it is. It's no different to me than the wording "the classification of characteristics distinguishing male and female." I know you have tried to explain the difference to me, but I just will not understand what you mean on that one. If there are WP:Reliable sources making the same distinctions, then perhaps I would understand after reading those sources. If it's just your personal feeling, then no. Flyer22 (talk) 16:48, 26 May 2011 (UTC)
I added "male (Masculinity) and female "(Femininity)" in the lead paragraph to help provide a hint that there is a distinction involved which is not simply tautological... if that helps ;-) ... as I noted in my edit comment the article on Femininity is dreadful: Cleavage, heels, corsets, OK! Now I TRULY understand the mysteries of The Feminine! -- bonze blayk (talk) 18:02, 26 May 2011 (UTC)
But, Bonze blayk, "masculinity" and "femininity" have more to do with gender roles and gender identity (and their articles make it seem like the terms only have to do with human beings) than they have to do with sex. Gender covers biological sex too, which is not always indicative of whether or not one will be masculine or feminine. And let's not forget, such traits are often found in both sexes (though usually more acceptable for a woman to display masculine traits). Flyer22 (talk) 18:41, 26 May 2011 (UTC)
I tweaked it to this, which I think helps to not definitively say that "male" and "female" is the same as "masculinity" and "femininity." Flyer22 (talk) 18:49, 26 May 2011 (UTC)
The only difference between us here is our attitude towards the interpretation of parentheses v. the virgule ;-) -- bonze blayk (talk) 20:36, 26 May 2011 (UTC)

race is not a set of black people and white people, race is an attribute given to all people that they may be classified as black or white or any other race. You may have a set of Christians a set of Jews and a set of Muslims but religion is not a set of Christians, Jews and Muslims. Gender is not a combination of male things or female things (that's what it means when you say set) That makes no sense. Gender is an inherent Quality_(philosophy) of attributes that can be either masculine or feminine. It is not the only concept in existence that can only be defined intuitively and it is not a concept so out of reach that it might be described by things outside it's own field (if ever someone asks about binary classification now you know even if you didn't understand the article) please don't be so defensive to refuse to admit that your prievious definition of gender as a grouping as wrong and the current edit 'Gender is a set of characteristics distinguishing between male (Masculinity) and female (Femininity)' particularly highlights this, as it doesn't distingush masculinity and feminity it is the quality of masculinity and feminity in things. Can nobody else see this?!?134.219.74.127 (talk) 18:47, 26 May 2011 (UTC)

'Gender is an inherent Quality_(philosophy) of attributes that can be either masculine or feminine. A quality that can be used to distinguish between male and female, particularly... ' does this sit well with everyone? no maths or science and no flawed logic either134.219.74.127 (talk) 18:47, 26 May 2011 (UTC)

By giving the other examples, I understand what you are saying now. But I still feel that gender is "a combination of things." It just happens to be split into two groups that are viewed as independent of each other (which are then further split into groups). You keep stressing the distinction between "set" and "classification"...when even you stated it as a subtle difference in this case. I understand what the Binary classification article is saying, and, in my view, it is not saying what you are saying. If you can find me a reliable source defining gender in that way (the way you describe it), that would be a different story. That said, I am still for a clean and less complicated first sentence. And for that, I still agree with "Gender is the classification of characteristics distinguishing male and female." I'm not for your latest proposal, no. Flyer22 (talk) 19:06, 26 May 2011 (UTC)
I changed it to this, per this talk page discussion. You and I are for "classification of characteristics" and Bonze blayk has yet to object to that wording in particular.
On a side note, it's best to wait until editors are in agreement before implementing the proposed changes. Because all it does is go back to reverting if one editor doesn't agree. Flyer22 (talk) 19:17, 26 May 2011 (UTC)

Section break

Another quick note: I think if anyone ever removes "classification" from the current lead because they feel it's complicating things to state "classification of characteristics" ("classification" being an extra, unneeded word or whatever), saying "is the characteristics" works. Or rather "are the characteristics" (whichever is correct grammar). We could also use "pertains to the characteristics." We don't need "set/sets" or "classification." But if the IP insists on "classification," I am okay with leaving it at that. Flyer22 (talk) 21:16, 26 May 2011 (UTC)
I think the old definition, "Gender is a set of characteristics...", was clearer than the current version. Also, I think third gender should be mentioned again in the lead. The fact that gender isn't always just male/female is important for understanding what gender is and how it varies between cultures. --Aronoel (talk) 15:26, 27 May 2011 (UTC)
Adding back the word "set" will put us right back at opposition with the IP, though. Perhaps we should use the word "range" instead? "Gender is a range of characteristics..." The IP may find some problem with "range" also, related to math or whatever, I don't know. But "range" sounds good and accurate to me, and I understand math pretty well. The lead does give off the vibe that there are only two genders (man and woman), but we do mention that "some cultures have specific gender-related social roles that can be considered distinct from male and female, such as the hijra of India and Pakistan." I ask where that line says "male" and "female," does it mean "distinct from man and woman"? I understand that people use "sex" and "gender" interchangeably, but while there are more than two genders, there are only two sexes -- male and female. Unless one considers intersex people to be "third sex." But, yeah, I agree to add back "third gender" (as I stated higher). Flyer22 (talk) 16:05, 27 May 2011 (UTC)
Honestly I don't agree with the IP's objections to "set." I don't see the tautological problem, and I disagree that gender is an inherent philosophical quality. As far as I can tell, these are just the IP's opinions. Maybe I'm not understanding the IP's objections though, because honestly their comments are a little confusing.
Here is the WHO's definition of gender: "'Gender' refers to the socially constructed roles, behaviours, activities, and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for men and women." To me, "set" makes more sense based on this source. --Aronoel (talk) 17:24, 27 May 2011 (UTC)
It's clear that Bonze blayk and I also disagreed with the IP. I was trying to compromise, however, to avoid the continuation of an edit war. If we can compromise with the IP, I don't see a problem. We might as well try "range" since the IP objects to "set." The word "range" was also used in the past (clarified in my second paragraph below).
Yes, we already use the World Health Organization definition in the lead. I was the one who put it early on at one point, after specifying that gender has a range of definitions. This was discussed at User talk: Darkfrog24# Change in lead of the Gender article, and a note about the Biology of gender article. And due to that discussion, it's not used so earlier on anymore because they have a restrictive definition of gender -- that gender is only socially constructed. The lead was also expanded by the editor who started the #Poor presentation section above, because of restrictive and "poor" presentations, and he downsized the WHO definition even further. You see, while I often distinguish between "sex" and "gender," many others do not, and enough people feel that gender has to do with the biological as well. This is what the lead currently makes clear, just as the article always did. If we are going to add a source for the initial definition of gender (that first line), then the source needs not to make the term restricted to a social construction, even though, as much as I have studied on the matter, gender is mostly about that. Flyer22 (talk) 17:57, 27 May 2011 (UTC)
Thanks. I didn't mean to suggest that we add the wording from the WHO definition. I think "range" is good, but if "set" is still better, then I don't think a compromise with the IP is necessary. The clear consensus here should be enough to stop an edit war if it comes to that again, I think. I'm fine with either "set" or "range" though.--Aronoel (talk) 18:15, 27 May 2011 (UTC)
Oh, I didn't necessarily think you were saying we should use the WHO definition first. I just wanted to explain why its importance in this article has been pruned. Anyway, I'm fine with you going ahead and changing the lead-in to "Gender is a range of characteristics...." I'd rather you do it since I've edit-warred with the IP enough and am not sure how he or she will take it (no matter how small). Flyer22 (talk) 18:35, 27 May 2011 (UTC)
OK, thanks. Will do.
Also, Bonze blayk pointed out here how horrible the article femininity was. I've been trying to fix it somewhat. Maybe people can take a look and give some feedback on the talk page. --Aronoel (talk) 18:42, 27 May 2011 (UTC)

"23 different" ones

There is something incomplete about this sentence since it omits plain vanilla heterosexuals, and maybe (?) plain vanilla homosexuals as well. So 99+% of humanity is absent from this list, is that correct? Varlaam (talk) 03:57, 28 August 2011 (UTC)

Gender and Poverty

I feel like the the Gender and Poverty section needs to be expanded. First, we can have a more specific, updated statistics on women and poverty around the world and what defines poverty (and below the poverty level). Also, it would be useful to have the side effects of poverty on women, including domestic violence, illness, and nutrition issue. Also, we can explain in more detail about the microfinance and its effect on women, which will be cropped from the previous section of gender and development--it's about two sentences. 76% of the clients of microfinance institutions are women and they have a better repayment record[1]. However,microfinance can also impose more suffering for women because they might be forced to give over their loans to male relatives and pressed to repay the loans that were not used for their entrepreneurial work[2]. If this is too specific to microfinance, then there can be another section underneath the Gender and Poverty named 'Microfinance and its effect on women.' Chloe.s.kwon (talk) 21:01, 29 March 2011 (UTC)

Good suggestions, but I must point out that your suggestions are focused on women. Is there not a lot to state about men in this regard? I wouldn't say that there should be a Microfinance and its effect on women section...unless the section is substantial enough to stand on its own. Flyer22 (talk) 06:39, 5 April 2011 (UTC)

So why no mention of male poverty? Is this about gender or womans issues? Some people claim that society shows lack of concern and care for underclass males. Most work related deaths are males. This section needs to be removed, or to be made more ballanced. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 217.207.182.205 (talk) 17:48, 9 January 2012 (UTC)

  1. ^ microcredit summit. 1996.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. ^ Goetz; Gupta (1996). Who takes the credit.  Missing or empty |title= (help)