The 5 differences between sex and gender

Psychology applied to the difference in behavior between men and women has always been an area of ​​study that has generated much controversy. This is because of the social repercussions that either view can have on what it means to be “male” or “female”.

Next, we will examine what are the distinguishing elements of two of the most used concepts in this field: the differences between sex and gender.

    What are sex and gender?

    Since the beginning of the story, we know that society expects different things from men and women, And that in turn, men and women behave differently (to some extent).

    But … is this distinction between ways of thinking and acting that we can recognize between men and women the result of their biology, or is it simply their effort to adapt to socially assigned roles? ? This is one of the fundamental questions that many researchers in biology and in anthropology and psychology have tried to answer.

    To begin to understand the most accepted differences in what sex and gender are, let’s first examine a relatively simple first definition of these concepts.

    Sex is all the biological characteristics which makes it possible to differentiate the two types of subjects involved in sexual reproduction. Thus, this category refers to a categorization which depends on the way in which certain forms of life must be perpetuated, to create new generations.

    On the other hand, sex is made up of characteristics that are relatively easy to isolate from the rest of the body and observable in a laboratory environment with the right instruments. In addition, sex is found in places of the body and physical elements known in advance.

    Gender, on the other hand, is a dynamic thing, Which is expressed through actions, behaviors. This means that it cannot be known faithfully by making objective measurements, as it depends on a perspective provided by language.

    Gender is, to some extent, a psychological and symbolic phenomenon. What many experts and scientists are, as we will see, is whether there is a biology behind it too, or whether sex and gender are totally dissociated and only seem to be united because of ‘a kind of social pressure inherited from generation to generation.

      The main differences between sex and gender

      Now that we know what we’re talking about above, let’s take a look at the differences between sex and gender.

      1. Gender is a social construct, not sex

      This needs to be clarified, because any concept (be it tree, mountain or river) is a social construct. However, while sex refers to elements that are biologically developed without our having the capacity to alter them, in the genre if our ideas and expectations are involved.

      For example, certain androgynous traits in women, like uniform thinness all over the body, may seem un-feminine today, but by the 1920s they were feminine and sexually attractive. However, our appreciation of things and our expectations don’t change the fact that the vast majority of people are born with a penis or a vagina, it is these attributes that help identify a person’s gender.

        2. Gender is exclusive to abstract thinking animals

        while we can locate the sexes even in plants and fish, The genus alone is present in animals with a relatively high abstract thinking capacity, the highest representative of which is man (in the past, perhaps, other species of the genus Homo).

        This is so because gender is, at least in part, a social construct, as we have seen, and in order to develop social constructs it is necessary to build semantics and symbol systems on what is feminine. and masculine.

        3. Sex may be in a continuum, sex may not be

        As gender is mediated by culture, it is possible to see how feminine and masculine are different between people, based on their opinions. In turn, a person may feel neither feminine nor masculine, which means that their thought applied to self-image does not clearly categorize who one is. This, far from being a purely subjective thing, it is the proof of a verbal behavior (thought) fleeing from closed categories male / female.

        Gender, on the other hand, can sometimes present itself in a very unusual way, but in general there is a very limited group of criteria by which to assess it: genitals, gonad types and chromosomes, mainly.

        4. Sex cannot be performative

        As we have seen, the genre is at least partly symbolic. This means that it is expressed in movement, what we do, while sex is static, depends on quickly objectivable elements that we find in material elements. That makes the kind can be ‘negotiated’ in conversations and in the way we relate with the others.

        For example, if a man disguises himself as a bachelor party and tries to act in a feminine manner, it is generally considered to be a comedy. However, in another context, this same action can directly be the expression of a real desire to be part of the female gender.

        5. Sex plays a different reproductive role

        This is one of the fundamental differences between sex and gender. A woman, regardless of her gender perceptions, it has a different reproductive function than a man: Passage during pregnancy, etc. Sex can lead to experiencing this fact in one way or another, but that doesn’t change it.

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