What elaborates on how gender is not biological,

What is gender? Should it be overcome? I believe that gender is not a biological factor, but rather a choice a person makes to identify themselves as masculine or feminine. Authors Sabine Lang, Simone De Beauvoir, Adrienne Rich, and Patrick D. Hopkins all have different perspectives when it comes to how gender is expressed and if it should be overcome or not. Patrick D. Hopkins wrote an article titled “Homophobia, Masculinity, and Threatened Identities,” which states that much of our identity, which he refers to as our ‘personhood’ is based on gender notions. Maleness is an essential to one’s identity and is not an accidental feature. Associating with a gender is not based on your physical appearance and such but rather what you choose to be identified as. Referring back to my thesis, he elaborates on how gender is not biological, but a personal choice.  The binary system suggests that we are either a man or women and that are one or the other.  To be a man, you have to not be a woman by possessing a number of qualities that make it clear.  He makes a point that homosexuality is a form of gender treachery, and homophobia is a result of the extreme unease produced by a threat to personal identity.  A threat to manhood and masculinity is a threat to personal identity. Concluding, Hopkins does not eliminate the gender ideals. Simone de Beauvoir is a feminist thinker and writer. She wrote a piece titled “‘Introduction’ to The Second Sex.” In this section of her book, she says the line “One is not born, but rather becomes a woman.”  By saying this, she is explaining that the role women play are not given to them at the time of birth or by their biology, but rather how they are socially constructed.   She outlines the ways in which women are perceived as the ‘other’, as opposed to a man who is treated as the ‘first’ or default sex. She rejects the idea that this is a pure biological, psychoanalytic and economic explanation.   By being the ‘second sex’ woman are taught which roles they can or cannot perform. They look up to the model of ‘eternal feminism’ which is how their conscience is structured when they are around feminine social environments. Women are usually expected to maintain this image of femininity. Today, we might try to find the distinction between sex and gender, but one’s sex just seems to be a biological fact. Whereas one’s gender identity is socially constructed. This goes along with what I believe a gender is, something that is not given to you at birth, but something you develop. Adrienne Rich argues from a lesbian standpoint that heterosexuality is not natural but rather it is developed between cultures and society situations. In her article titled “Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence” she argues that heterosexuality is institutionalized and is imposed as a norm for women while it actually disempowers them. If they try to break out of this norm, they are looked down upon.  She believes that women can further benefit more from having a relationship with another woman, than they could with men. After all, almost everyone had their first bond with their mother. Therefore, she believes that both males and females have a connection with women.  Rich argues that the patriarchal, male dominated society insists on compulsory heterosexuality because men benefit from it. Society has romanticized heterosexual relationships. The author argues that men perpetuate the myth that any other relationship is deviant.   Rich debates  that ‘sexuality, like capitalism, colonialism, and racism, is a political institution that disempowers women, induces  false consciousness and is maintained with force and violence.’ Behind the theory of compulsory heterosexuality, is the idea that biological sex is determined, and gender is how one behaves and sexuality is a preference. Sabine Long wrote the article titled “Various Kinds of Two Spirit People” and in that she explains the role two spirited people play in Native American society. Two spirited people are defined as alternatively gendered of either sex. There is much more to a two spirited person than their sexual behavior. For some time, two spirited roles were institutionalized as male homosexuality as a way to integrate homosexuality. Females taking up the ways of men were not usually included in discussions of the two spirit. The same holds true for lesbians, the reality is that hardly anything had ever been written about them.  Lang states the fact  that it has  been very likely for a member of both female and male two spirits did enter relationships with the opposite sex for numerous reasons. One important reason is that traditional two spirit roles are not defined in terms of their sexual preference, but instead in terms of gender. In many Native American cultures there were three or four genders; a woman, a man, two spirit/womanly males, and two spirit/mainly females. It is believed that two spirit men and women are seen as a mixture of feminine and masculine. However, this does not mean that they  are not seen as separate genders. On the contrary, two spirit males and females are seen as genders of their own.


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