User:Woozle/2009-06-24 response to EriKy

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The text below is in response to this posting.

Ok, we have a little problem here, but perhaps not as much problem as it looks like.

It sounds like what you're basically saying here is that the idea of transsexuality is a problem because the idea of "switching genders" embraces gender stereotypes.

I think we're all agreed that gender stereotypes are a problem, and can be downright eville when rigorously enforced or widely believed by the sort of people who seem to believe they were hired by the Department of Social Norms to harass anyone who deviates in any way that fits nicely into a taunt.

The reason many people believe such stereotypes has to do with statistics.

One thing which the Social Norm Police like to do is take a statistic (73% of Group X are framjous) and apply it across the board: "you belong to Group X, therefore you must be framjous" -- or possibly even "if you belong to Group X and you are not framjous, you must be some kind of deviant pervert". This abuse of logic and reason is a cause of many problems (and a major tool used by psychopathic asshole powermongers in their ongoing quest to control and dominate, but that's another discussion).

One of these problems is gender stereotypes, which can go as far as "You are male/female, therefore you must display all the patterns of behavior and characteristics of a male/female or else you are a rotten stinking pervert and I'm not saying anyone should kill you violently and horribly, but it would just be poetic justice." but is more likely to manifest as "if you are female and don't do X, Y, and Z, you should feel vaguely inferior and wrong.

These stereotypes are simply wrong. I think we're all agreed on that.

There is, however, a strong correlation between biological gender and behavior patterns.

* Well, okay this isn't 100% true, but I'm not going to muddy the waters by getting into that here unless someone thinks it's important. Suffice it to say that I firmly support the principle that it doesn't and shouldn't matter, and anything else is just a personal preference.

There are many, many behavior patterns to correlate, and very few people (if any) actually fit all of them -- so in some sense we are all "deviants"; it's just a matter of how much importance you attach to each characteristic and what your overall tolerance is. I think it would be fair to say that the essence of social liberalism (with which I agree) is to set the bar at infinity, i.e. I don't give a fig which gender you behave like*, because what's important is how you are as a human bean.

Now, to the bits of information which your post appears to be overlooking.

First: among those various characteristics are body-shape preferences.

We are taught by the media to think that what one finds attractive either on one's self or on others is something largely influenced by outside forces. This is to some extent true; where an individual has no strong innate preferences, socialization (including "media brainwashing" and other "fashion" influences) can make enough of a difference to change the choices of large numbers of people. Entire industries are built on the ability to do this.

However, there is a growing body of evidence that there are some hard-wired preferences, which seem to include genital shape and breast size. People whose hard-wired body-maps tell them that they should have a certain shape in a certain place feel lifelong discomfort for as long as they have the "wrong" shape.

Second: Whether or not we believe that gender stereotypes are evil, the fact is that we are surrounded by them. This isn't to say that there is anything wrong with rebelling completely against these stereotypes – personally, I encourage and support this activity – but that is also a personal choice. Nobody should be forced to go against social norms if they don't want to. (Gender-specific laws should be abolished, however; such laws should refer purely to whatever logistics are relevant e.g. "persons capable of becoming pregnant", perhaps, rather than "female", since "female" can mean so many different things. But I digress.)

Third: Some people's behavior fits the "other" gender's stereotypes much better -- so what's wrong with adopting a different gender "brand" if it makes you feel more comfortable interacting with other people, and they with you?

I don't know which areas of this need more substantiation, so I'll wait to see what holes you choose to poke in it before going into more detail. (Aren't you glad?)

I've written more about how "mental gender" fits into the grand scheme of things over here, fwiw.