Refuting the idea that gender is a social construct

So I am in a class with a feminist professor who pushes the notion that gender and biological sex are not connected; if someone is born biologically male, it does not actually mean they are male. The evidence for her claim seems a bit weak. She says that since some biological women don’t act feminine or pursue motherhood (while other women do), being biologically female is not always equal with the gender norms of a female. Therefore, gender is not determined by one’s biology, but instead must be a social construct that we all adhere to. Are there any good arguments to refute this idea? Perhaps some evidence to the contrary?

The Absurdist position goes against natural Biology. A boy is a boy and a girl is a girl as determined at birth, long before the baby has any concept of “social constructs.” To be blunt, that’s just nuts.

For a Catholic perspective:


Well…maybe there really **is **a difference between “gender” and “sex.”

As I recall, there have been threads on CAF where posters argued that the notion of “gender” is a modern construct of politically correct social engineering. In other words, people created the definition of gender specifically to create a means by which the definition could be challenged and changed, because we can’t *really *change sex, notwithstanding drugs and surgeries, and all that sciencey stuff.

If we define gender as nothing more than a generally accepted set of characteristics–I’m a boy, therefore I like cars and guns; I’m a girl, therefore I like dolls and dresses–we can flip it around: I like cars and guns, therefore I must be a boy even if my chromosomes show I’m a girl.

For generations we have accepted the term “tom-boy.”

What does the phrase ‘gender norms of female’ mean?

Back in the 60s or 70s a family in Canada had twin boys, they were taken in for circumcision and one was botched. A psychologist wanted to do an experiment, can you raise a biological male to be a female? Even as a child the little boy being raised as a girl preferred to play with his twin brothers toys, he had no since of identity and felt completely lost when puberty came around. I’d say that generally, yes, gender and biological sex are connected.

The argument is whether to distinguish between “sex” and “gender” and a lot of people who argue over the topic aren’t really clear on the definitions used. In the studies I’ve done, “gender” involves the role played in society. Sex involves biology.

Are these the definitions your professor is using? An argument against has to be on the same terms.

Take it from a retired research psychologist, psychologists make great observations, but their theories and conclusions are often utter nonsense.

Drop the class. You either agree or receive a low grade. If your GPA matters, bail! You will not change a radical progressive with reason, or else none of them would exist.

You don’t need to change the professor’s mind. The professor isn’t being paid to make sure you agree with the m. They’re being paid to make you engage with the material. If you work at it and lay out a cogent argument that isn’t riddled with ad hoc premises, unsatisfactory sources, erroneous data, and leaping to conclusions, you should be able to take a contrary position without jeopardizing your grade.

Given what little you said about your professor’s position, that sounds correct to me - if by “gender” the professor means the assuning of roles and norms that are in play in society. Is that what YOU mean by gender? This is important for formulating your argument, so you don’t talk past one another.

Just as a side note. If you’re respectful about how you do it, I’m sure your professor would love to discuss this at office hours to clarify the position they are taking.

I agree with what Rhubarb sez. And I would add: The rule is that gender follows biology; and yes, there are exceptions to every rule.

She must be very proud of herself for pointing out that societal norms (gender) don’t always mesh with biology. Ask her if abortion is also an example of societal norms not following biology.

The same people who sell this are pushing social conditioning to make genders opposite. We end up with thoroughly confused and conflicted people. Even a woman pushed to the max to be masculine will exbihit female tendencies. Social conditioning has effects, but it was originally born of nurturing that which was already there, not to fight it and literally “condition” it.

I would argue we had social nuturing, and now social conditioning. Not the other way around.

This is social engineering. Denying the truth. Here are your “gender options” on facebook.

Parents, make sure you talk with your children. Make sure they know that boy means boy and girl means girl. The Absurdist in schools and elsewhere are trying to teach people nonsense.


Indeed, why on earth bother going to University if you’re not going to engage with the material?

Well, that rule would be an ad hoc premise. If it can be supported and defended maybe it would work. It seems to me that as gender norms change from society to society (sometimes subtly and sometimes drastically) I’d find that rule hard to support.

However, I’m sure that’s what the professor thinks too. So if the OP can find a clever and coherent defense of this rule, I don’t see why it shouldn’t get a good grade - if written well.

I think better words to use would be male or female (physiological, biological sex) and masculine or feminine (having qualities or appearance traditionally associated with men/having qualities or appearance traditionally associated with women).

So someone could be a masculine male or a feminine male. Someone could be either a feminine female or a masculine female. Or someone could be somewhere in between.

If you add sexual orientation, someone could be a masculine male heterosexual or a masculine male homosexual or a feminine male heterosexual or a feminine male homosexual. A woman could be a feminine female heterosexual or a feminine female homosexual or a masculine female heterosexual or a masculine female homosexual.

If the ‘absurdity crowd’ truly wants all reference to gender wiped away, why are they not calling for an end to ‘gender’ even being listed on a birth certificate, after all, if a transgender grows up and decides they do not match their actual gender, I assume they would be angry it being listed on their birth certificate…right?

Why stop there, why do all the retail stores have mens and womens sections, shouldnt that change too?

If the powers that be want to give them all these rights, Im assuming when a transgender is arrested, they will get to decide whether they go to the mens or womens section too, wouldnt it be wrong for some judge or cop to ‘label’ them as a gender they do not feel like?

Their birth certificate records reality.


That used to be a no brainer with bathrooms too, but oh how that is changing.

The word gender is a rather inexact term that has different meanings depending on the context. What do you mean by “gender”?

According to Wikipedia:

Gender is the range of characteristics pertaining to, and differentiating between and from masculinity and femininity. Depending on the context, these characteristics may include biological sex (i.e. the state of being male, female or intersex), sex-based social structures (including gender roles and other social roles), or gender identity.

No. It’s just Absurdists at work.


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