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Sex and Gender
· In life people never make clear distinctions between sex and gender.
· Sex is the biological make-up of chromosomes i.e. if you are male or female,
gender is if you have feminine, masculine or androgynous traits.
· For example, on some application forms some employers will ask for one's
gender whilst others ask for one's sex. The case is if they wish to know if you
are male or female they should ask for your sex, not gender.
· Sex also refers to the physical differences between men and women or boys
and girls. As sex is genetic it means an individuals sex is fixed and these
so-called `sex change' operations do not change a persons sex. However some
people could argue against this as many people determine sex on their
anatomy (for example, genitals). Therefore during an operation where the
genitals are changed, some could argue one's sex changes.
· An example of this is when a transsexual women has a penis constructed and
her breasts removed to feel like a man. She has therefore changed her anatomy
and could argue that because of this her sex has changed also.
· Most transsexuals, as long as they look like the opposite gender, do not care for
the biological definition. A real-life application to this is the ANTM contestant
Isis whereby her sex is male but her gender identity is feminine.
· Gender focuses on one's attitudes and behaviours. There is evidence that
unlike sex, a persons gender can actually be changed. This some from the case
study of the Batista Boys done by Imperato-McGinley.
· The aim of the study was to demonstrate that a person can change their gender
role and identity.
· The study was carried out on 18 males of the same extended family, all of
which lived in the dominican republic. They were born with a hormone
definancy meaning their genitals appeared to be female and because of this
they were brought up as girls. Evidence suggested they had no problem
adapting to the feminine role and identity until puberty. At puberty hormones
caused their testicals to descend and there clitreous like genitals to develop
· The results showed that following their biological transformation at puberty,
nearly all of the boys easily adapted to their true sex. They adopted masculine
identites and began to `behave like men'.
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In conclusion this study showed that sex and gender are distinct concepts. The
individuals sex had clearly not changed over time, but their gender had. When
investigated they had fully embraced their gender role showing gender is
· The problem with this case study is that the samples are small it is one
extended family living in the dominican republic.
· Other cultures could adapt differently to this situation and it therefore cannot
be generalised.…read more