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Why Do We Think We See Gender?

By May 30, 2018 May 18th, 2019 No Comments

Is it real or invented by our eyes?

Ours is a culture that depends a lot on imagery. In the first place, there is a blind spot right in the middle of the eye, along with much smaller blind spots throughout the eye. Thus, those who depend on sight as their primary source of information are actually depending on culture, which teaches us from the first days of sight what to see and how to see it, including gender and sexual orientation. The “how” part includes what meanings are attributed to each sight. Until we feminists noted and named the difference between sex and gender, they were assumed to be identical.

Upon emergence from the womb, the doctor took a look and announced that a baby was a boy or girl, and that’s what it was for life, except for a bold few who defied the system and usually were considered freaks, drag queens, or prostitutes.

The same imagery is used in watching movies, television and stage shows. It is used in the streets of most countries. There is a battle going on the size of the newly resurrected Cold War about whether these are legitimate differences. For the moment, they are legitimate only in one sense and that is to use the equipment to make a baby, to reproduce oneself. Soon enough, there will be other ways to accomplish reproduction.

Otherwise what difference does it make who wears what clothing or does one particular job? Those are being shown to be the function of societal ignorance or prejudice. We have special names for the millions of individuals whose preferences and desires do not match society’s normative demands. They are the outsiders, known as LGBTQ, etc.

Science will soon show that these are a function of different gender points being turned on and off and not of a unitary and consistent system. Perhaps the label “LGBTQ” will be removed, along with “non-binary,” and those who are rigidly binary will be considered outside the norm. After all, for example, what does L have to do with G or T, but being considered outsiders to the binary system? Other than being thrown together by an ignorant culture, they could not be more different. I will discuss these differences in future posts.

This article was originally published in Psychology Today.

Ellyn Kaschak

Ellyn Kaschak

Ellyn Kaschak, Ph.D. is an internationally acclaimed and award-winning psychologist, author and teacher. She is well-known as a speaker, workshop leader, human rights advocate and a public intellectual.