I refer mainly to the work of Judith Butler, who, in her Gender Trouble
, writes that (from Wikipedia)
«the coherence of the categories of sex, gender, and sexuality—the natural-seeming coherence, for example, of masculine gender and heterosexual desire in male bodies—is culturally constructed through the repetition of stylized acts in time. These stylized bodily acts, in their repetition, establish the appearance of an essential, ontological "core" gender (...)The performance of gender, sex, and sexuality, however, is not a voluntary choice for Butler, who locates the construction of the gendered, sexed, desiring subject within what she calls, borrowing from Foucault's Discipline and Punish, "regulative discourses." These, also called "frameworks of intelligibility" or "disciplinary regimes," decide in advance what possibilities of sex, gender, and sexuality are socially permitted to appear as coherent or "natural."»
»Butler explicitly challenges biological accounts of binary sex, reconceiving the sexed body as itself culturally constructed by regulative discourse»
The sexed body, once established as a “natural” and unquestioned “fact,” is the alibi for constructions of gender and sexuality, unavoidably more cultural in their appearance, which can purport to be the just-as-natural expressions or consequences of a more fundamental sex. On Butler's account, it is on the basis of the construction of natural binary sex that binary gender and heterosexuality are likewise constructed as natural. In this way, Butler claims that without a critique of sex as produced by discourse, the sex/gender distinction as a feminist strategy for contesting constructions of binary asymmetric gender and compulsory heterosexuality will be ineffective.
So, according to Butler, not also the gender is a construction, but also the sexed body undergoes a process of construction, for they are «established as a "natural" and unquestioned "fact"».
Varislintu wrote:I would venture to say that I think our personalities are plastic/malleable. At least until a certain age. We become who we are in interaction to stimuli, for example people and ideas. There is, in my view, no pure state underneath all the influence. We are the result of the influence.
Here's the metaphysics I'm talking about, of which you are not aware. You say not only that men and women (or whatever they are) should be equal in rights and duty, but you go further and overcome the limits of a scientific thought by affirming that there is something natural (which you don't define, but nonetheless it is something) which constitutes the basis which justifies the attribution of equal rights to men and women.
Even if we could see such fundamental essence of human beings, one had to show the way it undergoes influences by society: how does such basis assimilate influences? How does it elaborate them? Is it a totally passive entity - like a robot? Or does it plays an active role in the assimilation of social stimuli? If it is passive, how can it become a distributor of stimuli for the new generations of passive individuals? How can it be co-opt to the flag of the universal falsification of reality?
If neither sex nor gender is natural, why do they have chosen those subdivisions (men and women) and not others?
Is there (or has ever been) in the world a society based on a totally different subdivision of roles?
But the fact is that no one cannot demonstrate the existence of such nature. We are here in a pure metaphysical field.
And if the universal falsification of reality is true, then it would not be possible to reach a level which does not undergoes such influence. The educational system in many northern European countries shows that you have to teach children the indistinction of gender roles. This proves that this indistinction is in no way a natural fact. You can teach it, but you cannot say there is an indistinct natural human being which has to be helped and preserved from the bad influences of society. Otherwise, we would not be totally socially determined, and so I could say that even the distinction of gender roles that you can find in any kind of society is beyond the limits of such a bad influence of society.
I don't say that the roles have to be those we are accustomed to (women at home, and men at work). I like the way we have overcome those distinctions. Now we have the same rights and duties. But this does not mean that even my sexual orientation has been determined totally by the society, or that a great amount of people should not be heterosexual without the bad influence of the society.
I don't think that sexual orientation is the only important thing. I've said before that everyone is unique. Even in the past, in the great repressive epoque where one had to be either man or women, there were a lot of great personalities: Newton, Galileo, Mozart, Einstein, Leonardo, Beethoven, etc... Thay did great works even in their "distorted" societies.