To The FemmeMobile! Away!

{February 9, 2010}   Help! I’ve lost my gender!

A phrase I keep hearing lately is one that I find very, very odd. It’s “genderless.”

The first time I heard this I completely lost the thread of the conversation, because I was sitting there trying to figure out what that was supposed to mean. Without a gender identity? Due to context, I was pretty sure we were talking about sexual orientation. Did it mean I didn’t have a gender preference, I would date any man with any gender? Or did they mean I didn’t have a biological sex preference? I finally decided they probably meant they were bisexual, and didn’t discriminate between male and female.

Still. What an odd term, given gender doesn’t mean sex. Really, the phrase genderless makes me thing of someone who considers themselves without gender. I imagine there are people like that out there, and yet, this isn’t what was meant at all.

Part of the problem was that in the place I heard it — that sexuality class I’m in — not everyone understands the difference between sex and gender, that they don’t necessarily go together. I mean, we discussed it and they passed around a handout, but I’ve noticed ‘gender’ often gets used when the speaker really means ‘sex.’ It makes me very aware of how important it is to have a clear definition of the words you’re using. It also makes me aware of how the word is used in every day life. I almost want to go apply for jobs now, so that I can mark the ‘male’ ticky box under gender, just to mess with people.

I know, I know, I’m a bad person.

Language is all important, and yet we have such different ideas of what means what. It makes communication tricky, sometimes. 😉



It is sooooo frustrating when people can’t separate biological sex from GENDER! And sooooo old-fashioned. Sheesh. Get with the times people!

But seriously, you’ll find that MANY MANY disagreements are rooted in different understandings/usages of the SAME word. In addition to gender, “privilege,” and “oppression” are often sources of conceptual Trouble.

Oh, language!! What fun!

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