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Sex and Gender Identity - Essay Example

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Nowadays it has become obvious that such 'typical' sexual features as height, weight, musculature and sinews are a great deal less connected with sex than it had consider to be. Aside from men and women biological distinctions there is a division of their social roles, forms of activities, difference in their behavior and emotional characteristics. Long ago anthropologists, ethnographers, and historians have ascertained in relativity of 'typically man' and 'typically women' notions. The point is that the same activity (behavior, characteristic), which in one community is regarded as manlike, may be treated as womanish in the other.
The world's variety of social characteristics of both men and women and fundamental sameness of human beings' biological characteristics brings us to a conclusion that biological sex can not be taken as an explanation to dissimilarity of their social roles, existing in different communities. Accordingly the notion of gender as summation of social and cultural norms, which are appointed by the society depending on the biological sex of individual, comes into being.
Let us consider two articles: 'Sex and Gender Identity' written by Jami L. Anderson, who states that we should reject biological essentialism and turn to the idea that sex categories are socially constructed, and 'The Five Sexes' written by Ann Fausto-Sterling, claiming that it is time to challenge the man and women division.
On studying the phenomenon of sex, Anderson throws discredit upon the conception of biological essentialism, which considers the categories of man and women as some biological categories, and according to which in order to qualify a human's sex, one should examine a human's body. Biological essentialist suggest the following definitions of sex categories man and woman:
A man is a human with a penis and testes
A woman is a human with ovaries and a uterus
Anderson points out the weak sides of these definitions. First of all, there are cases when people are born with testes and some aspects of female genitalia, and on the contrary some are born with ovaries and some aspects of male genitalia. So in such cases we cannot refer such people to any of these categories. More over there is a great number of women, who had to have hysterectomies in order to treat ovarian cancer. This notwithstanding they remain to be women. The same can be said about men, who have their testicles removed to deal with testicular cancer.
Some biological essentianalists may contest that chromosomes may be used as a key-determinant of sex category. Herewith they suggest the following definitions of sex categories man and woman:
A man is a human with XY chromosomes
A woman is a human with XX chromosomes
Anderson claims that these definitions are also a matter of argument, as 'it has been estimated that as many as 4 % of the world's population have a karotype other than XX or XY'. That is why the author states that the only way to make theses definitions exhaustive is to add another category:
An intersexed person is a human with a karotype other than XX or XY.
The author proposes us to consider sex categories as not biological ones, but as social categories. According to Anderson, both self- and other-identification play an important part in determining one's sex. Here we deal with gender, which main categories are ...Show more
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Summary

Modern science distinguishes notions of sex and gender. Traditionally the first one is used to denominate those anatomical (physiological) particular qualities of individuals, on the basis of which all human beings are qualified as men and women. Sex (i.e…
Sex and Gender Identity
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