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Why do people talk about a baby's gender not sex?


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113 replies to this topic

#1 PatG

Posted 20 February 2013 - 08:09 PM

A lot of the baby name threads say something like "we aren't finding out the gender".  Is it because the word sex is linked to things other than the biological options of male, female or intersex?  I am of the opinion that gender is something totally different to sex....

#2 cinnabubble

Posted 20 February 2013 - 08:14 PM

But sex is rude and gender is sophisticated.

#3 FeralHez

Posted 20 February 2013 - 08:15 PM

I agree I think in this context its because people don't like the sound of the word "sex".

And it self-perpetuates as one person says it, and another, and it snowball into the norm.

#4 ~Supernova~

Posted 20 February 2013 - 08:16 PM

Well gender is technically incorrect. But honestly, who cares? It's not the end of the world!

#5 FeralSis

Posted 20 February 2013 - 08:16 PM

It irks me too.

I think it is indeed the word 'sex.'

Sex and gender are not the same.

Gender is how a person identifies themselves eg male or female roles in society.

One doesn't undergo a 'gender change' - they would have a sex change.

#6 BetteBoop

Posted 20 February 2013 - 08:17 PM

Most people don't understand there is any difference between someone's socialised gender role and the contents of their underpants.

So to many people sex and gender are interchangeable.

#7 FEdeRAL

Posted 20 February 2013 - 08:18 PM

Hmm good question. I use the word sex in conversations and gender in writings such as on EB. Gender is a mouthful though compared to sex. But you are right, sex is the correct biological term, gender has a whole lot of other things thrown in.

#8 dimensionk

Posted 20 February 2013 - 08:18 PM

Oh, I didn't even realise that gender is incorrect!

#9 Expelliarmus

Posted 20 February 2013 - 08:19 PM

Drives me nuts, OP.

Sex sex sex sex sex!

Just say it!

Babies don't have a gender because gender is a socially constructed self identification!

But sex is a naughty word, so ...

#10 EssentialBludger

Posted 20 February 2013 - 08:21 PM

A lot of people don't know that there is a difference. I only know because of EB.

#11 Alacritous~Andy

Posted 20 February 2013 - 08:21 PM

Sex is a swear.

Gender is much 'softer'.

#12 Jenferal

Posted 20 February 2013 - 08:23 PM

Because not everyone is as smart as some people in this thread and don't know there is a difference.


Does it matter?

#13 ~Supernova~

Posted 20 February 2013 - 08:24 PM

QUOTE (EssentialBludger @ 20/02/2013, 09:21 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
A lot of people don't know that there is a difference. I only know because of EB.


I never learned it in school, which is quite sad. It wasn't until uni that I realised there was a difference. Public education FTW...or not.

#14 LynnyP

Posted 20 February 2013 - 08:29 PM

Sex can be a mouthful.

#15 Dionysus

Posted 20 February 2013 - 08:32 PM

snort

#16 Expelliarmus

Posted 20 February 2013 - 08:33 PM

I do think it matters actually.

but I've been shot down on that before.

#17 PatG

Posted 20 February 2013 - 08:39 PM

QUOTE (Jenflea @ 20/02/2013, 08:23 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Because not everyone is as smart as some people in this thread and don't know there is a difference.


Does it matter?



I don't really think it matters, but I was wondering why people use gender when they are referring to sex - seems to be either not realising there is a difference or the word gender seemingly being more polite.  

Not knowing there is a difference has nothing to do with being "smart" but rather being ignorant (and ignorant isn't a negative term!) due to never having being made aware of the concept.

#18 ~Supernova~

Posted 20 February 2013 - 08:39 PM

QUOTE (howdo @ 20/02/2013, 09:33 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I do think it matters actually.

but I've been shot down on that before.


The difference IS important AND it matters. But you can't hold it against people because they don't know, or never learned it.

#19 Etienne

Posted 20 February 2013 - 08:44 PM

To be honest I just used the term 'gender' in another topic posted.  I didn't realise the difference until then.. and yeah it makes perfect sense now but whatever really... there are probably many of us that hadn't thought of the true definitions and their correct use.  It certainly doesn't bother me.

I just followed suit as most people here seem to use gender as opposed to sex wink.gif

#20 wildflowers

Posted 20 February 2013 - 08:45 PM

Mareek could you please tell me why?  I would never have used it as a derogatory term to ask someone about their baby and I would never have worried if someone asked me what gender or sex my children were. I must be missing something.

#21 ~Supernova~

Posted 20 February 2013 - 08:47 PM

QUOTE (wildflowers @ 20/02/2013, 09:45 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Mareek could you please tell me why?  I would never have used it as a derogatory term to ask someone about their baby and I would never have worried if someone asked me what gender or sex my children were. I must be missing something.


It is important because gender is a fluid concept. Many people identify with a different "gender" to their biological "sex".

#22 Magnus

Posted 20 February 2013 - 08:49 PM

Because gender and sex used in these ways are fairly specialised terminologies. They're not even used consistently within academic fields. The debates around them can get more complicated than biology vs social construction too.

A lot of people might not agree with gender and sex being used in these ways if they seem them as the same thing, i.e. 'I have female biology and this causes me to act like a female and do stereotypical things and my gender is feminine.' If you think like that then it's not necessarily a big deal or big difference, I think.

I tend to use the word 'sex' though, in the above context, FWIW.

#23 ~Supernova~

Posted 20 February 2013 - 08:49 PM

QUOTE (Mareek @ 20/02/2013, 09:47 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
It is important because gender is a fluid concept. Many people identify with a different "gender" to their biological "sex".


And please don't think you have been derogative. It is incorrect, but IMO not offensive if you don't know the difference.

#24 PatG

Posted 20 February 2013 - 08:50 PM

QUOTE (wildflowers @ 20/02/2013, 08:45 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Mareek could you please tell me why?  I would never have used it as a derogatory term to ask someone about their baby and I would never have worried if someone asked me what gender or sex my children were. I must be missing something.



It matters because if people repeatably use the terms interchangeably it reinforces the idea that a person's gender identity is directly linked to their sex and therefore diminishing the understanding in the wider population that people can, for example, be biological male but have the opposite gender identity.

#25 ~Supernova~

Posted 20 February 2013 - 08:52 PM

QUOTE (Magnus @ 20/02/2013, 09:49 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Because gender and sex used in these ways are fairly specialised terminologies. They're not even used consistently within academic fields. The debates around them can get more complicated than biology vs social construction too.

A lot of people might not agree with gender and sex being used in these ways if they seem them as the same thing, i.e. 'I have female biology and this causes me to act like a female and do stereotypical things and my gender is feminine.' If you think like that then it's not necessarily a big deal or big difference, I think.

I tend to use the word 'sex' though, in the above context, FWIW.


In the psychological field the terms are very distinct and agreed upon. I have no experience or knowledge in other fields.




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