There are so many misconceptions in the world, and one that trumps many others is the definition of sex and gender. Most people have had a tough time differentiating between or using both words interchangeably, thereby bringing about more discord. In previous years, both the word sex and gender could mean one thing, and everyone was comfortable as long as it distinctively classified the predominant two species of the human race. Books, schools, and even discourse of the early turn of the century just believed that once you can identify the male from the female, all other things are acceptable.
So what is the difference between Sex and Gender? How do you differentiate one from the other? To get to the bottom of this, we will be discussing the significant difference and pointers that categorically classify them in this post. Then, we would touch on the origin of both words and expatiate more of their definition.
Definition of Sex and Gender
This section will give brief but distinct definitions of both terms to express what both terms mean adequately. With several variations, not these terms, we would stick with one that explicitly divulges as much information as possible to convey their true meaning.
Sex is defined as the significant difference between both a male and a female at the point of birth, judging by the major characteristics such as the biological and physiological difference in the make-up of the individual. This definition tries as much as possible to cover which aspects need to be considered for sex to be determined. This includes attributes that can barely be changed, such as hormones, reproductive organs, and individual chromosomes. As much as this definition has tried to differentiate this, many believe that the intent is broad enough to have the term gender under it. However, the differences highlighted in this definition try as much as possible to spell out the gap in distinction.
Gender is a social term used to define society’s roles to both males and females, drawing a line on who should or can undertake certain activities. This definition highlights the essential roles, how each participant should stick to their assigned roles norms, and how they relate to other men and women groups. As limiting as this definition can be, it is determined by society, and what can be characterized as gender in Society A may not fly when introduced to Society B. This is why as the world is becoming a global community, such distinction in the role of sex is thinning, as gender roles are now believed to supersede individual, societal choosing.
Gender is also a term highlighting how relationships work within a society based on men’s and women’s interactions. First, however, the term is guided by some core concept, including the following.
- Relational element
- Hierarchical element
- Institutional element
- Contextual element
- Historical element
These elements are fundamental in the expression of gender in society. However, when individuals or groups try to break out of this concept of gender roles, they are often allowed to face stigmatization, abuse, and the like.
Effect of Sex and Gender on modern-day society
For many people, the distinction between sex and gender is something they try as much as possible to avoid in their day-to-day lives. This is because its adverse effect is noticeable and can often be undertaken without notice. However, with the advent of social media, the awareness of these differences is now obvious, as more people are at the point of expressing themselves the way they seem fit. Society has also allowed for more gender expression and trying as much as possible to create a gender-equal society.
Now, as the world moves towards achieving a global practice regarding gender roles, at least in the mainstream world, more people are more open about their gender expression, thereby seeing men and women go into activities formerly reserved for the other sexes. More women are getting into STEM than before, with men also participating in fashion and things that were termed feminine.
Gender and sexual expression have also become a thing, thereby accepting many other gender expressions outside the three sexes. This has made it easier for people to be more at ease, thereby bringing about more diversity. Although in most regions of the world, gender expression hasn’t taken a foothold, the work of gender communities is opening more frontiers and allowing more people to come out of the closet to express themselves.
Another factor that plays a role is a sexual expression which has taken an upward trend with the general acceptance of making sexual intercourse more enjoyable and pleasurable. The use of sex dolls and toys to help improve sexual activity is now on the rise, and this is a positive move in the right direction.
Expression of Sex and Gender
As much as the difference in both sex and gender isn’t still widespread, most people are finding it hard to understand how they differ and what it means. For most people, the idea that sexes or “gender” is classified into two is a huge problem for more expression by the underlying groups. This is why it’s imperative to differentiate both groups adequately, thereby spreading the message and knowledge.
In the expression of sex, there are three types of sexes: male, female, and intersex. These three groups are how all individuals are classified based on their reproductive and hormonal differences. For example, a child is classified as male when he possesses the male reproductive system; a female is also classified if a child possesses a female reproductive system. However, when it comes to intersex, the child possesses both male and female reproductive organs. In such scenarios, medical personnel asks the parents to choose whether they want the sex to remain that way or undertake surgery to choose an assigned sex.
Gender expression can also be classified into over 64 classifications, as this enables every individual to express themselves in the way they deem fit adequately. The previous two-term classification has been an issue, as it has restricted millions of individuals who do not fit into these rigid terms. However, with more communities coming up to help new members grow, we now see more genders expressing themselves in public devoid of shame or fear.
In conclusion, we have looked at the difference between sex and gender, and we have tried as much as possible to put out as much information as possible. The terms sex and gender are one topic that would be on people’s lips for a very long time. This is because expression and experience differ, limiting the scope of seeing the world.