So, what does it mean to be a woman? Is there a fundamental biological script that we are overriding or merely social expectations that we are shunning?
Well, there is a god-awful confusion between sex and gender. We used to think of sex, we used to believe that sex is biologically determined by something called gametes, certain type of sex cells. We've honestly firmly and sincerely believed until well into the 1960s that sex is exclusively determined by gametes in a sexual differentiation process during the pregnancy, and that people are born either male or female.
So, sex is about being male or female. Today, we know a lot more, and we know that about 2% of people are born with an indeterminate sex. We also know that hormonal cascades, hormonal developments in later life can absolutely change one's sexuality and psychosexuality to the point that one has gender dysphoria, which is a bad name, a bad label. It should have been sex dysphoria.
So, we know that someone can be born as a man, but having been exposed to certain hormones in the womb and later on in life, etc., he can definitely feel that he is a female. He is born male, but he can feel that he is a female and vice versa.
So, there is the concept of sex fluidity.
Regrettably, it is hyped beyond measure, but it does exist. I also see nothing wrong in adolescence experimenting with sexual identities. Sooner or later, all adolescents settle on a single sexual identity. Now, this sexual identity can be, can be bisexuality, can be, it doesn't have to be male-female. We have about, I think, eight or nine sexual identities nowadays, which are recognised and recognisable, and documented in literature for thousands of years, by the way.
So, I don't see anything wrong in an adolescent experiment. Actually, adolescents had always experimented with homoeroticism and homosexuality. Even in the 1940s, even in the 1920s, even in the 19th century, people, when boys were growing up, they were experimenting with homosexuality. It was a well-known documented phenomenon.
So, people experiment as adolescents and then they settle on a single, usually lifelong identity and there is tight constancy after that.
So, sex is largely dependent and largely determined biologically on birth, but people can transition and there is sexual or sex fluidity. And in adolescence, it might even be a good idea to encourage people to explore the whole range until they can conveniently and safely and comfortably settle into a single sex, sex kind of role.
So, this is sex. While sex in something like 90% of the cases is determined at birth and is stable across the lifespan, gender is a completely different thing.
Now, remember, sex is male-female. We have sex in all the animal kingdom, male and female. Well, all the advanced organisms have sex, definitely mammals have sex like male and female. Sexual reproduction is the favorite strategy in nature.
If we ignore, for example, protozoa and microbes and so on, and if we talk about evolved complex organisms, sexual reproduction is by far the favorite strategy of nature. We transfer genes usually onwards intergenerationally using sexual reproduction.
So, this is sex.
And one could say pretty safely that sex is fixed. At the margins, there are people who are fluid and they can transition from one sex to another, but sex is a pretty fixed thing.
Not so gender. Sex is male-female. Gender is men-women. Men-women is a social cultural construct. It has no foundation, no real strong foundation in biology.
It so happens that people with vaginas were assigned the gender of women and people with penises were assigned the gender of men. But there is no biological foundation to decide that a specific gender role should forever be assigned to someone with a specific set of genitalia or that a specific gender role should be universal across all periods of history in all societies, all cultures and all geographical regions.
Actually, this is counterfactual. It's not true.
Gender roles, they are like thousands of gender roles throughout history in various cultures, societies, periods, etc.
Gender roles are inverted in northern Albania, which is a highly traditionalist and conservative country. There are women there who are considered to be men and treated as men.
Gender roles are inverted in many, many tribes in Africa, in Latin America, in the Amazon, etc.
Many primitive early societies had inverted gender roles, including passages in the Bible.
Gender is not a fixed thing. Gender is a social convention, essentially, and the outcome of upbringing.
To start with, as Butler had noted, gender is performative. It's a performance. Gender is what men do, how they act, including insects. Gender is what women do, how they act, their choices, including insects.
Sex underlies gender and kind of integrates with it in some way, but as a performance.
When people grow up, they are being consistently told, girls don't do this, boys don't do this, this is the way you should behave. To be a man, to grow up and be a man, this is the set of actions, choices, decisions, body language, etc. that you should adopt.
It's a stereotype, it's a role, and people are brought up to perform these roles.
So gender is performative. Gender is also the outcome of socialization. Society wants us to perform specific roles.
For example, there was a period in human history where society valued children very much, especially, for example, during the colonial times when they needed surplus population to take over colonies. So during that period, 17th, 18th and 19th century, women were encouraged to stay at home, reproduce and raise children. Society needed it. Men were encouraged to be just postural and laden, aggressive and so on, because society needed soldiers.
Societal needs shape and determine gender roles.
Today, for example, society needs women to be promiscuous. They need them to not have committed relationship. Society needs women to not have committed relationship. Society needs women to postpone, delay marriage and not have children.
Because society wants women to integrate in the workforce, to integrate in the workforce and to become consumers.
The overriding need of society today is to equate gender roles, to create a unigender where everyone, regardless of genitalia, is a consumer and a producer.
Now children get in the way of this. Families, marriages, committed relationships, intimacy, they get in the way of profits and income and consumption and production, which are the ultimate values. They are the gods of today. They are the idols of today. Money.
The bottom line. Profits.
So these are the values of today.
So gender roles today had shifted to reflect these social preferences.
Similarly, gender roles reflect dominance submission. Men are supposed to be dominant. Women are supposed to be submissive.
Now everyone in the Manosphere will tell you this is the natural and biological way of things. That's utter unmitigated nonsense.
In numerous species, it is the female who is super dominant and the male who is submissive. There's nothing in nature that preordains this. Nothing in the biology of men and women determines who will be dominant and who will be submissive.
Yes, men have higher muscle mass. They have more muscles. Women, by the way, are better adapted to modern, postmodern society and its exigencies and demands.
But men for a very long time, during the agricultural and early industrial revolution, men had leveraged their muscles to dominate society and exert control over women, subdue, subjugate and submit them.
But this is a historical accident. Had we started with the industrial revolution or the information revolution in ancient Babylon, we would have had a matriarchy. Men would have been nothing. They wouldn't be dominant. They would be submissive.
And indeed, in many societies throughout history, there were matriarchies. Women were in control. They were dominant.
In quite a few societies to this very day, women married multiple men. Today in the West, 43% of primary breadwinners, the providers, those who bring the money home, those who bring the bread home, those who bring the money home, they're women, 43%.
And about half of all children are raised in single parent households, majority of which are women.
So dominance and submission is a socially imposed interpretation of what it means to be a man, what it means to be a woman and an integral underlying foundation of gender roles.
Then there is the issue of gendered personality. We are taught to become gendered.
Part of our identity formation is our gender. It's not like you're an accountant. Your identity is not that you're an accountant. Your identity is that you are, I don't know, a man, a woman.
So gender, masculine, feminine, is an integral part of your identity, unlike, for example, your profession or your academic accomplishments or degrees or whatever.
And so we are taught from an early age that this job, this job, it's a job of being a man, this job of being a woman, this job of being a father, this job of being a mother, this job of being a masculine, this job of being feminine, these are jobs, these are absolute jobs. We are taught that these are the only jobs that are part of our identity.
If you later become a PhD, that's not part of your identity. If you become an accountant, that's not part of your identity.
But if you are training to be a man, that's part of your identity. If you are about to become a mother, that is part of your identity.
We took a set of jobs, a set of employment opportunities, a set of, and we made them a part of our identity. And they should not be.
That you're a man or a woman should not be a part of your identity because that is a societal imposition in accordance with society's needs, not your needs.
Now you may feel comfortable being a man or a woman, no problem with that.
But just try to not feel comfortable and you will see the societal backlash against, for example, transgendered and transsexual people.
So masculine and feminine are narratives, societal narratives that tell you that you can't have a complete and whole identity if you don't have a gender, even though a gender is total fiction. It's a job.
And finally, there's the issue of boys and girls. We can't ignore the fact that women raise both boys and girls.
Children, regardless of their genitalia, are raised by women.
Now that creates an asymmetry in the way boys and girls are raised.
Naturally, naturally women have more affinity to girls, even if they don't admit it, even if they are totally infatuated with their boys rather than their girls.
Still, studies have shown that women raise girls differently to the way that they raise boys. For example, they are much more emotionally open and empathetic with their girl children than they are with their boy children.
Gradually, boys learn to separate from the mother, not only in a good way, but in some ways, in some dysfunctional ways, in some not so good ways. They learn, for example, boys learn, for example, that to express one's emotions is unmanly.
Now men today are softer. They're more effeminate. In other words, they had adopted some elements of the feminine gender role.
But still, they're very averse to expressing emotions, trying in public, admitting to vulnerabilities. They're much more averse than women.
There's a mountain of studies of this. And why are they averse?
Because that's the way they had been brought up by their mothers. The mother broadcasts to the boy child, to the boy's mother, the mother broadcasts, I'm much closer emotionally to my girl than to you. And the boy takes this on board and he understands that he shouldn't burden his mother and impose on her his emotions because she reserves her emotions to the girl, not to him as a boy.
Now this has been documented and observed and actually it constitutes one of the arguments in modern feminism. And theoretically, the presence of a male, the presence of a father should balance this, but it doesn't.
It doesn't because women monopolize the formative years, zero to six, absolutely monopolize.
Academically, the father has an extremely limited function before the age of six. And this is the critical age where we get all the messages that tell us how to be, who to be.
So our identity formation, these are the critical years. We become who we are. We have identity diffusion well into age 21, but the figments, the elements of our identity, we acquire these in the first formative years where mommy is in charge to the exclusion of daddy and boys get a different treatment bordering on discrimination.
Even if they are loved and adored and admired, they're loved and adored and admired in a way different to girls.
It could well be one of the main reasons for the current gender wars and the problems between men and women.
This is my commentary on the questions. I wish to thank my client for raising them. I hope I provoked your thoughts as she had provoked mine. Thank you for listening.
Men, women, males and females.