Student Life: Sex vs. Gender

The manipulation of the human environment has caused us to screech to an unprogressive standstill.  While advancements have been made very rapidly to the technology world, we still live in a gender oriented civilization. In order to free gender from being synonymous with sex, society needs to stop scrutinizing “masculine” females and “feminine” males. To form an equitable society, we need to be unchained from traditional gender roles. Firstly, humans have the ability to contribute to society in an uncountable amount of ways yet they are limited to what they can do due to their gender being assumed by their sex. Secondly, treating someone based on their gender isn’t a productive step towards achieving equality, even positive treatment towards a specific gender has undeniably bad outcomes at certain times.

To grow as a whole, humans need to have the capacity to create and produce. If we have gotten so far as a species, how can it not be possible to achieve equality? Human nature and nature are two different concepts, one has the potential for equality, and one needs inequality to function. Humans have the ability to discriminate and, also, categorize, as does nature. But our society has deemed gender to be the guidelines to how we should live our lives, basing it off how nature works, not knowing that we are so detached from it. Our physical characteristics are not lining up with how nature would have it. We seek order when pressuring gender rolls through from of mass media, that women should have that “natural yielding” or they should be “submissive” (Gillman 99) and that the synonyms of “man” imply all things productive in the world, from exploring to inventing (Gilman 135).  This illustrates then only men can be the ones that enlighten the world and that women are supposed to cater to the men’s needs. So “when [one says] Women, [most people assume they mean] Female—the sex,” which is not at all what it means. Although humans have the ability to separate gender from sex, our ignorance that they are two different things does not allow us to function as equals.

The separation of sex and gender may be difficult, even for the most capable minds, but there is more to it than just that. When a man sees a woman, assuming that men are male and women are females, they tend to treat each other in very standard ways. Things like being a gentle man, or a kind lady, or other gender specific behaviour aid in preserving gender rolls. This does not mean that you should not be kind to the opposite gender; it’s just that special treatment of a certain gender will make society shun someone with the same sex but not the same gender as the person receiving the special treatment. When an atmosphere in which the mass media is not capable of perpetuating how women and men should act because of their sexes, you get a more laid back and even feel. All women will be attractive in their own ways and men likewise (Skinner 28).  This leads to the point of how females are strictly treated like women. In society women have doors held open for them yet windows of opportunities bolted shut. They, at times, are treated like queens but have no place in running companies. To establish a bi-sexual community where women are just as important as men, the women must be given the same opportunities as men. When men are surrounded by females they “think that if there were men [they] could fight them, and if there were women […] there would be no obstacle at all” (Gilman 23).

Our way of living is based on how the Neanderthals lived. It’s basic and really not ideal for a civilization as complex as the one we live in today. As I talked about before, nature is a very gender based concept in where the certain sexes have responsibilities that are separate, especially when it comes to raising their offspring. We live in a monetary driven society where our jobs to keep humans going are not anywhere close to what happens in nature.

Shane Sharma, Student Life Contributor