gender isn’t a social construct
September 20, 2015 § 2 Comments
If sexual orientation is biologically rooted, rather than socially constructed, then gender would be similarly biologically rooted to the degree that it is related to sexual orientation.
Nobody would claim that gender is entirely biological, of course. I think it’s pretty unlikely that there is a genetic basis for little boys preferring G. I. Joes and girls Barbie dolls. We can probably say with relative confidence that superficial aspects of gender are indeed attributable to cultural convention, but unless we’re prepared to either argue that gender has no connection to sexual orientation or that sexual orientation is culturally constructed, the feminist contention that gender is constructed is inconsistent.
What coherent counter argument can a feminist make? If she argues that sexual orientation is culturally constructed, then she has put herself on the same side of the debate as religious conservatives who believe that homosexuals can pray the gay away in Jesus camp. If she wants to argue that sexual orientation has no relationship to gender identity, how would she even support this argument? Maybe it’s possible to support it, but it certainly seems counter intuitive and highly unlikely.
I suppose she would have no choice but to choose the latter counter argument and contend that gender has no relationship to sexual orientation, because otherwise she would have to concede to a position which would render the whole of feminism incoherent. If gender is not culturally constructed, then there is no possible equality, no possible victory for feminists to win.
So our hypothetical feminist is stuck in this corner and has to dissociate a biologically rooted sexual orientation from a culturally constructed gender identity, unless there’s some other way out of the trap that I’m not thinking of.