Your innate, invisible gender identity

When beliefs about “gender” topple into full-on woo bullshit.

It’s a reply to a comment at the Huffington Post (which provides a link to the comment but not the reply, go figure):


Vanessa Sheridan ·

With respect, I would suggest that how the world relates to you has nothing to do with your femininity. Femininity comes from within, not from without. How others may or may not perceive you has nothing to do with your innate, invisible gender identity. That identity is self-determined (at least in an emotionally healthy person), and external forces are simply that: external and, for the most part, extraneous. Oh, it’s nice when other people validate and affirm your femininity, to be sure, but other people don’t deserve to be allowed to determine it for you. Your femininity is a direct result of an innate and very personal awareness. The influence of others in this regard is only relevant to the degree that you permit it to be. Speaking only for myself, no one but me gets to determine the extent of my femininity. What other people think about it is irrelevant–because it’s my life, my body, and my identity, not theirs.

No. That’s completely wrong. It’s nonsensical.

How the world relates to you has everything to do with your gender, because gender is social. It’s not a magical inner feeling, it’s the hierarchy that frames women as subordinate to men. There is no such thing as “innate, invisible gender identity” – you might as well talk about fairies and goblins. Gender is not self-determined, because it is, again, social. It’s imposed. It would be lovely to be able to say the imposition is external and therefore extraneous and have it be true, but it isn’t true: women are socially constructed as the subordinate inferior sex, and that’s why we’re still arguing about it after all this time.

This is the politics of idiots, in the Greek sense – a private person who lacked the skills to participate in public life aka politics – the affairs of the polis. Claiming that gender is just a thought in the gender-haver’s head, independent of other people, is idiotic in that solipsistic way.

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