(Jordan, this is just your day!)
In response to a condescending post suggesting my opinion was based on lack of knowledge/ confusion, I wrote back:
I thought I should clarify: I know the supposed distinction between sex and gender. I know that sex refers to the sex one is born (biological sex characteristics) while gender is seen as being a social construct that refers to the way one acts and the attributes one adopts. I am not getting the two confused due to a lack of knowledge. I simply don't agree with this perspective. I do not think that gender is fluid; I do not think we should strive to make it fluid, and believe that sex and gender are and ought to be exactly the same thing. The sex that I was born (female) with female organs, anatomy etc embodies the gender that I am as well since I do not believe gender is a social construct.
Indeed, as I mentioned, I think the idea of "performing gender" is ridiculous. We are born human, are we not? Or is humanity too a social construct? Can I "perform humanity" or "perform animality?" Can I choose to perform as a dog tomorrow? To me, the concept is foolish and arbitrary. In the same way that we are born human and are born with sex characteristics that identify us as male or female, I believe that we are born with a gender that matches those sex characteristics. I do think a female has a natural affinity toward nurturing, caring, being emotional, sensitive and sweet; I think this is innate. The fact that the tribes in New Guinea were different in terms of hunter-gatherer/ coquettish roles is immaterial. All that demonstrates is that it is *possible* to change up one's role. That doesn't mean it is natural to do so. The assumption the researcher made is that because she saw the natives in those roles, that meant gender was societally constructed. How does that follow? People rebel against their nature all the time. Some of those tribes were cannabilistic! If I choose to be a cannibal, does that mean that eating food as opposed to people is a social construct? I think not. I believe that humans are born with some innate sense of right and wrong, morals, etc (just as I believe they are born with a gender that is the same as their sex characteristics.) That some choose to rebel against that innate sense of right and wrong and/or to rebel aginst their innate sense of self does not persuade me that the idea of gender as a whole (or right and wrong or morality) is all a societal construct. In the same way that I have no desire to adopt cannabilism, I have no desire to attempt to actively work to change my innate characteristics as a female over for learned supposedly male characteristics. One can learn anything, at that rate. I can crawl on the floor, bark like a dog, and eat raw meat. Does that mean humanity is a societal construct? No, I don't think so, and I will not have become a dog.
Or to put it another way:
Rav Simcha Zissel records an incid ent in the life of the Rambam (Maimonides, a noted Judaic scholar). A group of wise men approached him and told him that they could change the nature of a cat, training it to be as gracious and polite and as giving as a human being, making the cat into a servile butler. The Rambam argued that it was impossible to change the nature of a cat.
The group of 'wise men' set about for weeks and weeks to train a cat. They trained it to walk on its hind legs. They dressed the cat up in a little suit. It was trained that when people came into the room the cat would escort them to their seats. In fact, the cat acted just like a butler. They further trained the cat to hold a little cup and to serve the people when they got to their seats. They invited the Rambam to show him their accomplishment and to prove to him that it is possible to train an animal to be just like a human being.
The cat greeted the Rambam and guided him to his seat. When the Rambam got to his seat he removed a box from his pocket. In the box was a little mouse. He dropped the mouse on the floor. The cat suddenly forgot that it was a butler and scampered after the mouse. The Rambam turned to the wise men and said, "A cat is a cat and will always be a cat."
Similarly, a male is a male and will always be male; a female is a female and will always be female. The fact that you can *learn* differently does not change the innate qualities you possess from birth. When I am born, gender is ascribed to me. I have female sex characteristics; I am female. I can "learn" male behaviors, if you like, just as the cat did (or the tribes in New Guineau) but that will not change what I truly am and the essence of me.