when referring 2 sciency bullshit can we all just start using genitals to categorize things instead of “”“”sex”“”“”“”“”
but… I think that’s sort of what sex is, when compared to gender? unless you mean in terms of literal different genitalia/medical discrepancies?
Actually the problem with “sex” is that it conflates a bunch of different bodily features that can occur in multiple combinations. So for example, people with penises can also have uteruses. This is rare, but it does occur. “Sex” conflates
- external genital formation
- Internal reproductive formation
- reproductive viability/capacity
- secondary sex characteristics
The idea that there are only two naturally occurring combinations of these things is inaccurate and actually impedes the ability of doctors to give good medical care. Gender activists have argued that instead of using the broad, crude categories “male”/”female” medical practitioners should ask more specific questions such as “do you menstruate”, “do you have a penis”, etc.
Sex, as you have been discussing it, is not so much a truth about bodies as it is a fictive, heteronormative body-ideal. The way bodies actually manifest sex is more complex than just M or F, and arguably medicine would be practiced better were it not tied down to these categories.
I also want to mention a couple of other things.
That list of body features, which is a good list, everything on that list with the exception of chromosomes can be altered or changed, accidentally, intentionally or as a result of getting older or something else. Those features are variable throughout an individuals life. They are variable among people as well (people’s hormones levels…. all can be radically different from each other and yet they could still wind up in the same sex classification).
So at which point are these features a valid indicator of ‘sex’? Because there is certainly this feeling that one is always just one ‘sex’ for their entire life, though their gender or gender labels may change (note I say label because there are def. trans* individuals who feel as if they were always their gender the label was just wrong). So if most of those features are able to be altered, are able to be changed, when are those features a valid indication of ‘sex’? Birth? Puberty? What about trans* folks who start their transitions before puberty? Or is sex maybe something that can be just as fluid as gender?
And now, as something that I feel is far, far, FAR more important when discussing actual people and their lives and their identities (the above is all relevant and interesting and good shit to talk about but just not as important as real damn people) is the note that the words we currently use to describe ‘sex’ are the same words we use to describe gender. Male/female…. those are gendered words. And it is invalidating, gross, cissexist and generally fucked up to apply those terms to people and their bodies without their consent. There is no reason at all to attach gendered words to body parts, to hormone types or hormone levels, to chromosomes, to bits our bodies have or things they can do, as broad categories, as a whole (which doesn’t mean people can’t do that individually to their own bits and functions and shit, go hog fucking wild, seriously whatever makes you comfortable or whatever, it’s your body, you can do that) except to maintain a broken as shit, oppressive, unhelpful status quo of body categorization.
My body is not female. It’s not male. My boobs, not female. My elbows, not male. The fact that I menstruate, not a ‘female thing’. And this is all personal, so individual results may vary. Other people’s boobs may totally be female parts. And that’s fine, it’s just that mine aren’t. My genitals, not male genitals, not female genitals. They’re just mine. Sometimes I’ll call them genderfucked parts because hey I can, but my feelings change on this too, I’m allowed.
So ultimately, after a long ramble, the basic point is,listen to the OP, talk about what you fucking mean. If you’re talking about x body part, say that. Don’t use male as a short hand for penis. Not every penis is on a male body or belongs to a male person. Or is found on a body with other ‘male’ things. You’ll be more accurate and you won’t be contributing to cissexism, win for everyone.