- All Debates
- Popular Debates
- Active Debates
- New Debates
- Open Challenge Debates
- My Challenge Debates
- Accepted Challenges
- Debate Communities
- Argument Waterfall
- New People
- People by Points
Your profile reflects your reputation, it will build itself as you create new debates, write arguments and form new relationships.
I think the definition provided for a social class theory of gender is fairly clear, as far as semantic clarity can go. Is there something specific which you find ambiguous?
I also don't think the meaning of the concepts needs to be especially clear for this particular ethical discussion. What is in question is the ethics of how we understand and regard ourselves and others. For example, a personal attribute theory of identity would generally suggest that identity classes like gender are intrinsic to a person and speak to something about a person. Whereas a social class theory of identity would generally suggest that identity classes like gender do not correspond with anything in a person but instead reflect our ideas and preferences towards that person. The sorts of actions that can be justified through each approach are different, which carries ethical implications.
Gender concepts predate christianity by several millennia, nor would having their origin in christianity demonstrate that this meaning were epistemically correct or ethically preferable.
The remainder of your remarks are not topical. This discussion has nothing to do with contemporary progressivism (Haslanger's position is actually at odds with it) nor with LGBTQ issues. You have been cautioned elsewhere to remain topical; failure to do so will result in a ban.
It seems strange that much of the world has decided that gender (or even sex) is completely malleable, while traits such as assertiveness or compassion have somewhat fixed gender associations. We identify courage as a masculine trait, and courageous women as being somewhat manly. Nurturing is a feminine thing to do so nurturing men are somehow other than completely male on an ill-defined supposed spectrum. It’s really absurd.
That understanding of masculinity and femininity is common today, but isn't significantly more fixed than gender or sex. For instance, crying only became non-masculine around the 17th century in Europe and there are documented historical cases of masculinity and crying being paired together as consistent attributes (e.g. Odysseus in the Iliad, Jesus in the Bible, etc.)
Queen Victoria, Katherine the Great, and Queen “Bloody” Mary would have all been surprised to find out that they aren’t women according to Haslanger. Haslanger’s #3 is the worst of her stated traits. To be a woman is to necessarily be subjugated, as if she cannot conceive of the stereotype of an domineering mother or in-law. Or maybe she is referring to the kind of societal subjugation that privileges men to be vastly disproportionately murdered, imprisoned, and sent to war.
Haslanger acknowledges that under her definition some people whom we're accustomed to regarding as women would no longer count as women. However, she argues that these aren't really people we're concerned about precisely because they aren't socially subjugated. The function of her definitions is to call out the phenomenon of social inequity that exists due to class-based distinctions like gender (indeed, with the ultimate goal that there will be no women or men).
Haslanger's idea of a "socially subordinated/privileged position" entails being subordinated/privileged overall, so I think it can allow for some particular cases of male subordination. However, I think that's insufficient and am inclined to agree with your objection here. The cases you've called attention to seem like cases that we ought really to be concerned with. I don't think this is an insurmountable obstacle for a social class theory approach, although it is a problem for Haslanger's particular theory.
Consider Haslanger’s #1 for a moment. A woman is perceived as female. Does this condition persist when the woman is alone and not currently perceiving herself? Is there some other factor that causes people to perceive her as female? Perhaps some kind of existential physical qualities that do not alter regardless of perception? Perhaps the notion of objectivity in gender is just a step too far...
Haslanger is concerned with overall social position and experience, so one could still plausibly be a woman so long as one is not generally unperceived. In that event, or in any other case where the criteria aren't satisfied generally, she would say the person in question is not a woman and be fine with that exclusion. No reference to existential physical qualities is needed.
To answer the question, it is more ethical to think of gender as an individual attribute rather than as a social position. Identity (derived from identification) is not up for a vote. It is not a matter of opinion. A thing’s identity is what it is. Accurate categorization helps us orient ourselves to the world around us, which is independent of our opinions, not subject to them.
There is no immediate reason to suppose that this is a correct or preferable understanding of identity. Semantically, "identity" may be defined as you've suggested but it is also formally defined in terms of individualized character and/or psychological relation.
This also does not answer the question, really. That a conception of identity exists does not entail that we should prefer an identitarian conception of something like gender. Mucg of what you go on to discuss later in your post concerns a dispute between two different forms of identitarian personal attribute theory - roughly, biological gender essentialism and psycho-social essentialism. The question I posed concerns the disagreement between identitarian/attributive theory and social class/positional theory.
Accurate categorization helps us orient ourselves to the world around us, which is independent of our opinions, not subject to them.
Categorization is a way in which we may and often do navigate our seeming material reality, but that does not mean that these categories actually track a material reality. That claim would require further substantiation than you've provided. Moreover, even if we suppose that categorization is generally useful that does not mean that every particular instantiation of categorization is useful. So it also remains to be proved why, exactly, gender categorization is useful. Personally, I do not see how something as generic as gender can be useful in understanding unique individuals.
A woman with character traits most often associated with a man is still a woman. She has a character which is relatively unique among women, but she is a woman. The converse is true as well.
If a person has character traits most often associated to both men and women then it is unclear why we should regard them as a woman. That determination seems arbitrary at best, and motivated to confirm the existence of precisely what is in question.If the concept of woman (or man) referenced a material reality we would reasonably expect it to be consistent and readily identifiable, but this grey area along with the variance of gender conceptions across time and cultures suggests otherwise.
A person born with a genetic condition that puts them outside of the two sexes, is outside of the two sexes. Whether to adopt one or neither is their prerogative, but they need to be slow to judge those who do not know how to address them. They should be forthright about their condition with any perspective partners. Perspective partners have also have moral obligations concerning the matter. & A person who is genetically one sex, but feels compelled to undergo chemical and physical synthetic gender transformation, has a hard road ahead of them. They probably shouldn’t take irreversible measures, for their own sake. If that’s what they decide to do, they too need to be forthright about the state of their genetic sex to perspective partners. It IS the perspective partner’s business.
The people you're discussing aren't any less forthright than their counterparts if they do not disclose. Their behavior is identical. The difference is that the unsound presumptions about biological sex and physical expression which the other party holds are demonstrably unsound in these cases. It is not obvious to me why someone should bear a disproportionate burden of declaration as an exclusive consequence of the assumptions other people make. I think it is more coherent and reasonable to expect others to take responsibility for the assumptions they operate upon.
People need to be honest and peaceful for society to be a worthwhile endeavor. Claiming that men can be women on a whim, and forcing others to accept it, is neither honest nor peaceful. While I expect that we have arrived at this moment due, in part, to a lack of peace experienced by people with atypical gender issues, that violence is becoming less and less of an issue. It needs to be no issue at all. We don’t get their by lying about identity.
Claiming that people are men or women is categorically whimsical, regardless of whether the claim expresses a cisgender or transgender conception of gender. I'm dubious that anyone is being "forced" to accept non-traditional genders. What is evident is the force which has been and continues to be exerted to maintain the traditional gender concepts you're defending. That force has included and still includes the systematic criminalization and pathologization of gender non-conforming people, as well as de facto social discrimination and violence. Suggesting that this persecution and violence is due to the alleged dishonesty and violence of gender non-conforming people is ignorant, at best.
It may behoove you to know that when you are discussing gender non-conforming people you are in fact discussing me. I do not believe I have a gender, do not profess one, and do not present myself in conformity with one either; this is an authentic expression of myself as I know myself to be. I will not force anyone to regard me as I regard myself, but I will command the same basic respect my gender conforming counterparts receive. By your reasoning, I am therefore dishonest and responsible for the discrimination I have faced. Frankly, I think that's bullshit. You may of course continue to hold and express beliefs like those you've expressed, but for my part I will certainly reassess how I relate to and engage with you. Do with that knowledge what you will.
This seems more likely a thinly veiled objection to transgender people than a response to the question. Nothing in OP remotely suggests anything pertaining to "whacking off their weiner" as part of a social position. Make a topical response or I will ban you from this discussion.
That's a very broad statement as in the "correct social role" as the goalposts have shifted dramatically with societal changes over the last 50 years or so.
That is true, however the concern is with the general kind of social role rather than its particular features. The social role is either subordinate or privileged and it is the general attribute which matters for the sake of the concept, rather than the particular goalposts at a given time and place. Haslanger does acknowledge that the definitions won't include all cultures, such as matriarchal cultures, but is only concerned with a working concept for the cultures relevant to herself and her likely readers. The definitions are contextual rather than absolute.
I totally disagree with that statement and I suspect many women would also, it sounds very much like something a militant feminist would say.
Okay. What is the basis of your disagreement?
Gender to me is a personal attribute and not a social position and I would like to hear a detailed description of how it could be a social position as it seems to be a sweeping generalization to me anyway
That description is provided in the article which was provided. I'm glad to elaborate upon that, but I need a more specific question or objection to be able to do so.