This is the limited social definition of a man and a woman that you would see in human societies these days and in which is more prominant in less development societies.
||XXY, XXX, XY, XX
||homosexual, bisexual, asexual, …
The definition is constructed with a bundled set of attributes. I listed the primary one in the above table, but there are many other secondary attributes that one would attach to men or women depending of how can they be classified and connected to the primary attributes.
One would expect social constructs to be in line with the natural process of production, but that is not the case, for humans knowledge of nature have progressed over time and some social definitions which were built at a time of less scientific knowledge had a strong grip on people’s awareness, and made it hard for new – more correct – definitions to emerge.
The catch of natural production process is that it doesn’t work in a binary matter. In other words, it doesn’t only produce black and white. Every human organ comes in different shades. Look at the eyes of people for instance, you can find a whole range of colors, shapes and sizes. Look at people’s height, there is a wide range of heights as well. The same is applicable on people’s sexual organs. Nature doesn’t only produce a complete male procreation system vs a complete female procreation one, it does produce organs for both systems that varies in size, shape and task allocated. And in which it can be a system hybrid between the two.
Unfortunatly societies need to assign sex to new born in order to assign social roles later on. Babies who come with unclear sexual organs have to be worked on in order to fit in a *defined* sex even if it means that doctors may do a mistake and cut some sexual organs that came below the standard size.
The same applies on the genetic sexual chromosomes. They teach us at school that people come only with two types of sexual chromosomes: XY defines a man and XX define a woman. They never told us that some men do carry XX, or some women may carry XY, or even other sets like having someone with 3 chromosomes attached to each other like in XXY or XXX people. Maybe it would have been too complicated to be taught at schools, especially the part explaining how those chromosomes translates into a full defined sexual organs.
If that is not enough puzzling enough, then add the gender identity in the mix: the awareness of a person of his own gender. Like for instance someone of a male organs identifying himself to be either a man or a woman! They classical social definition has it one to one relationship for people with male organs to be identified as men, but nature says otherwise, and some people with male organs fail to identify themselves as men, some may identify themselves to be a woman, some would identify themselves to be in-between, and others don’t even identify with either.
The issue of gender is even more interesting because it doesn’t deal with some clear seen organs, instead it has to do with the psychology of a person and his self awareness of his own gender. It makes me wonder of how applicable gender issues to animals and how much people’s awareness and the constructs of human societies came up with such problems. I know that there are gender roles in the more complicated species of the animal kingdom, but who else, besides of humans, are aware of their gender and its role?
And then comes the attitude attached with being a man or a woman. For men in general having a clear physical advantage (which comes in a range as well) over women, one would assume that physical strength is translated into domination and superiority, and thus at a time where strength was essential for human societies, men dominated women. But that is not always the case, as size and physical strength don’t always translate into domination.
While it may be easier for us to bundle those set of attributes into a simple definition of a man and a woman, in reality, those set of attributes rarely come bundled all together. Each one comes in a spectrum of degrees. Different attributes that if we pay a closer look into it, we would all realize that the majority of us fall indeed under the last column in the table above – which is a question mark!