Previous: The ‘Art of Thinking’ about Gender, Leicester Secular Hall, 3rd Feb, 7.30pm
Philosopher Dr Greg Scorzo will be giving an entertaining thought provoking talk, followed by a discussion, with the ethos of using empathy, clarity and courage when engaging with each other.
Admission min. £3.00 Pay what you can afford.
Talk starts promptly at 7.30pm
We live in a moment where gender is highly politicised and emotive subject in different ways. This is a complicated, and we will be focussing on one particular philosophical aspect of the contemporary conversation.
Is gender a social construction of what a man and woman should be, that can be challenged, or does it relate to an internal ‘sense’ of being a man or a woman, or another type that doesn’t fit either category?
- If gender is a feeling, isn’t the nature of a person’s gender entirely up to them? However is it then true that the person’s reasons for feeling that they are a certain gender, involve the view that there are narrow and fixed gender norms? Should we question either their feeling or the stereotypes motivating it?
- If gender norms produce a reactionary set of stereotypes, can you challenge them, and gender present however you wish. And if gender is a reactionary set of stereotypes, does it even make sense to say someone was born in the wrong body?
We are sadly seeing a (sometimes vitriolic) cultural clash as people who are adopting the ‘social construction’ view can be seen as ‘Trans exclusionary’ or ‘Transphobes.’ People who are adopting the ‘gender is a feeling’ view can be seen as as insulting, offending or harming the rights of women or gays.
Originating from feminist viewpoint, gender is often described as a set of socially constructed roles dictating how men and women should present and live their lives. In this view these need to be challenged. The argument would be that women or men regardless of their biological sex should have equal opportunities to live, work and dress as they wish, without the imposition of socially constructed expectations of what a man and woman should be.
On the other hand, today many advocate that transgenderism as an umbrella term for people whose gender is different from their ‘assigned’ sex at birth. This involves accepting fixed binary notions of what a man and woman is, in terms of how they live, work and dress. This then leads to the belief some people are in the wrong body, so need to transition from one gender to another. It also means many people identify as neither a man or a woman and identify as non-binary.
Both of these viewpoints see gender as being fluid and on a spectrum. However do we need to stand back and look at how and why these viewpoints clash, without demonisation of the alternative viewpoints, in order to bring everyone into the conversation?