Gender Atheist

Someone wrote…

I’m a Gender Atheist. I don’t believe in gender. It’s a human construct that involves conditioning, mimicking, and bullying people into one side of the binary system or the other. Gender-specific behavioral descriptions are nothing more than personality traits, and they have nothing to do with chromosomes or genitals. All our lives, we are taught that gender is very important; that “Males” behave this way and “Females” behave that way. Behavioral differences are a result of societal brainwashing, mimicking the behaviors of others, and hormones.

What’s your experience?

And what are you thinking about gender right now?


Posted by on December 20th, 2013 at 08:00 am

Category: your voice 17 comments »

17 Responses to “Gender Atheist”

  1. Jan

    This this this!

    [Reply]

  2. Caroline

    I think that to say that gender is entirely culturally constructed is a bit silly. You even say yourself that behavioral differences are in part due to hormonal dimorphism. I’d agree that many gendered ideals are socially determined, but to somehow imply that gender is entirely a fabrication is taking things a little far. Gendered behavior occurs all the time in other animals, and they don’t even have symbolic culture at all. Obviously, humans are rather different, and perhaps our behavioral flexibility is what affords us such a wide spectrum of gender. Obviously, gender is viewed and performed differently across cultures, and many cultures are painfully restrictive in the assignment of gender roles, but I really don’t think that the issue is so simple as to say that we could do away with gender all together. I do strongly believe that we need to be way more educated and accepting of non binary identities, to be clear. But gender is different from race, with which there are really no intrinsic behavioral differences in people of different races.

    [Reply]

    Anonymous replied:

    I think that you are confusing gender with sex

    [Reply]

  3. Jan

    The trouble with assuming that gendered behaviour often occurs because different sexes have different levels of hormones is that the changes hormones make appears to depend as much on individual sensitivity to them as on the hormones themselves eg. http://psycnet.apa.org/psycinfo/1989-21811-001
    I haven’t seen any research that shows that levels vs. sensitivity don’t more or less balance out across the population.

    Also I cannot think of any gendered behaviour that could not be described as two overlapping bell curves, which means that applying the concept of gender to any one individual is not a great idea as you have no idea where on the bell curve they lie, so the idea of applying it to any one individual is entirely invented since if anything doing so is likely to lead to mistakes rather than to getting to know them better.

    Above all though, I don’t see what purpose the concept of gender serves, I really don’t. Why should we keep it? If one person is different to the next due to their physiology, why bring gender into that instead of just accepting that people vary full stop, like people who identify as the same gender but are very different from one another have to? I think when something causes such a huge amount of pain we need to justify keeping it around if we’re going to.

    [Reply]

    Skye replied:

    I see no reason to keep it around because it just causes divisiveness among the human race instead of bringing unity among us. The human race is full of gender-related hate slogans that I won’t bother mentioning them. I a genderless world, Misogyny and Misandry would be eradicated! That would be ssoooo wonderful! No one would be labeled “superior” because they were born with a penis, no one would be labeled “weak” for having a vagina, and nobody would be needlessly mutilated and called “abnormal” for being born with ambiguous genitalia!

    [Reply]

  4. Jan

    P.S. I am three-quarters asleep so what I just wrote may not be 100% relevant, it’s just what came to mind. I’m most sure of the last paragraph. The stuff about hormones is just interesting in general though given that there are so many people out there who still believe that “men and women are fundamentally different because testosterone”.

    [Reply]

  5. Caroline

    I think it’s an interesting discussion, and I don’t actually really think that there’s a clear answer. Regarding hormones and behavior, I didn’t talk about it in my first comment, but I actually largely agree with you on that point. The main issue there for me is that you can’t really determine causality in a broad sense (i.e. are there any broad patterns in gendered behavior that can be attributed to sex hormone levels?— this is clearly very very difficult to answer with any reliability). Furthermore, I don’t actually believe that sex hormone levels play a determining factor in one’s self conception of gender (otherwise we wouldn’t really have trans people, would we?). I will say that I believe that certain, specific gendered behavioral stereotypes MAY be related to sex hormone levels, for example, ‘male’ aggressiveness and T, etc (but of course, these are still problematic anyway). But for me, I don’t actually really put a lot of stake in the concept of ‘biological sex’ to begin with (I say this as an avid student of biology), but I guess that’s a different conversation.
    I think you bring up a good point about the pain inflicted by the gendered paradigm, but I’d argue that the pain stems more from gender-based oppression, restrictive ideals, and Julia Serano’s ‘oppositional sexism’ that from the concept of gender per se. I honestly just don’t really think that getting rid of gender altogether is really possible. I do think that there is some intrinsic nature to gender identity. I am a woman, and I couldn’t really specifically pinpoint why, but it is something that I’ve put a lot of thought into, and determined after deep questioning and consideration. At the same time, I also feel that the way I express that is entirely my own decision that is not to be invalidated by any other person. I also would say that I think it’s important for all of us to consistently question and challenge our own assumptions about gender instead of making hard and fast assumptions about where a particular person may lie on a gender continuum (it seems we agree on that point).
    As a parallel, race is a concept that doesn’t actually have a biological basis, however, there are definite cultural patterns reflected across ethnicities.. At the same time, all of us are (or should be) free to create our own meaning from our own ethnicity, and to define it on our own terms. For me, being Japanese-American does not necessarily mean the same thing as it does for someone else. Also in this case, recognizing this diversity is not hurtful in itself, but the rampant racial oppression across societies is.
    As it happens, my general expression is probably largely within the ‘feminine’ bell curve you described, but I don’t believe that gives any more validity to my identity as to someone who deviates from the oppressive norm. I think the really important thing is to not try and sum people up so readily based on their appearance or demeanor, and to recognize and embrace the wonderful diversity in human gender identities and expression.

    [Reply]

    Skye replied:

    There’s another thing that truly puzzles me. When people say, “I feel feminine.” what does that mean? Is there some physical sensation that causes one to think and feel that way? Or do people say that based on gender stereotypes?

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  6. Ryan

    I don’t think getting rid of gender is viable or helpful, and I’m saying that as someone who is mostly agendered. It would solve some problems, yes, but it would create a lot of new ones. Instead of a totally agendered society, I’d rather see a gender pluralistic society where we cease to operate within a binary gender spectrum and acknowledge that there are many, many genders, and that no two people have an identical gender identity even if they use the same terms to describe themselves.

    The main reason it won’t work is that we all have different experiences, sometimes drastically different. We want to talk about those differences, as well as the similarities. We can’t get rid of gender because then we’re effectively saying everyone is the same gender, which just doesn’t work.

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    Skye replied:

    Well, actually what I’m saying is that everyone would be genderless. Why is society clinging to gender so much, even those who identify as Agender? Are people afraid of losing something in particular if gender were eradicated? I don’t see why we can’t have a variety of life experiences, a variety of similarities in our experiences, sorts of label-free personality traits, and a complete freedom to express ourselves. We can do all that without the construct of gender: an oppressive system that was created to control people, and makes our lives miserable.

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    radical/rebel replied:

    wow, it sounds like you are taking your cues straight from second-wave feminists, and trans-hating feminists like lierre keith. !! that’s super alarming. it freaks me out.

    gender is more than a system, more than a construct, more than the oppression of women and trans people. I think the kind of argument you’re making erases and does harm to a LOT of trans people and is really hurtful.

    [Reply]

    Skye replied:

    I’d prefer to engage with people who DON’T call me names when they have no idea who the hell I am. I’m not a trans-hating feminist. I don’t hate trans people because that would be like hating myself. I’m not a feminist because it has done more harm than good. Of course, YOU wouldn’t know that because you don’t know me! And I don’t know you either! It just seems to me that you are projecting some of your feminism/transphobia issues onto me. Perhaps you should calm down and take a walk around the park before responding in blind fury, attacking people when they share their opinions that, by the way, you don’t have to agree with or respond to. This is the last time that I’m gonna engage with you because I feel like you just want to argue. After all, this is supposed to be a safe, supportive space where people are encouraged to be kind to one another.

  7. radical/rebel

    “We can do all that without the construct of gender: an oppressive system that was created to control people, and makes our lives miserable.” these are your words.

    that is a really hyperbolic statement. I don’t agree with you. I’m not trying to attack you personally. it’s true that I don’t know you.

    If you’re going to keep posting on Genderfork, I’m going to keep saying that I don’t see things the way you do and that the way you articulate things can (and has been) hurtful to me.

    I’ve tried fairly hard to stay civil, because that is actually something I care about. I care a lot about Genderfork. I’ve been posting on this website for about seven years. I think it’s an amazing place and being here has changed my life in positive ways.

    radical/rebel

    [Reply]

  8. Francois Tremblay

    Stop pretending that gender atheism is a gender. Gender atheism is not a gender any more than bald is a hair color. Don’t involve us in your insanity.

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    tigr replied:

    (Mod hat:) Please be kind and respectful even (especially!) when you don’t agree with someone else. There’s enough room for judgmental comments elsewhere on the web.

    (Personal hat:) When talking about hair colors, I think it still makes sense to include, say, baldness – I might have (dyed) blue hair, someone else might have brown hair (whether that’s dyed or not), and a third person might not have any hair at all (whether that’s because of choice or not). It clearly doesn’t make sense to speak of “blue” or “brown” hair when there isn’t any, so in this context it makes perfect sense to answer to the question what hair color you have, “Oh, I’m bald”.

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  9. Catalyst

    I’ll have to say this as someone who is Gender Fluid as well as an Atheist…there is no such thing as Gender Atheist, and I say that with no disrespect! What it comes down to though…Is Gender exists…you don’t just ignore it. Your born with certain genitalia and brain chemistry, sometimes they match and sometimes they don’t, but GENDER IS STILL THERE. Atheism
    is literally “not believing in a god or gods” you can’t just use it to say you don’t believe in gender, cause whether or not you “claim” to believe in gender or not it still exists, you have genitalia in your pants, your gender exists, your just being ignorant at that point.

    I get your point, and I see how that would seem like an appropriate term but it’s not. Atheism and Gender are unrelated and not compatible for combination. There has got to be a better term for you to coin!

    just my opinion though…

    dropping that term in a group of atheists however…will not get you a good response so i don’t recommend it…Gender is science, Atheists love science, your insulting two cultures that thrive on each other.

    Genderbend smarter not harder!

    [Reply]

  10. Terry

    Yes atheism means not believing in god(s) but hey, this person was applying this concept to gender and using “gender atheist” as a way to describe that, just as some people don’t believe in god(s), they don’t believe in gender. I see nothing wrong with using language in new ways to describe what you feel.

    “Your born with certain genitalia and brain chemistry, sometimes they match” and “cause whether or not you “claim” to believe in gender or not it still exists, you have genitalia in your pants, your gender exists”

    I thought we had realized that genitalia and gender have nothing to do with each other. That it’s really harmful to equate certain physical features (=sex) with forms of behavior, presentation, etc. (=gender). I’m all with the gender atheist, I also don’t believe that gender exists and it worries me how fiercely people are clinging to it when it is actually the source of all problems, sorting people into boxes and sticking labels on them. Coming up with more boxes and labels does not change the fact that it’s primarily about dividing people apart. And I think it’s equally scary how being radically critically of gender is considered to equal transphobic for many. No!!! Just… NO!!!!! This missed the point entirely.

    [Reply]


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