Here's The Difference Between Sex And Gender For Everyone Who's Confused
Start writing a post
Politics and Activism

Here's The Difference Between Sex And Gender For Everyone Who's Confused

Sex is who we are, and gender is how we present ourselves to society.

Here's The Difference Between Sex And Gender For Everyone Who's Confused

People like to use the terms sex and gender interchangeably; as if they are both the same thing. However, that is not the case. Sex and gender are completely TWO separate entities when it comes to our personal identity. So why are they often lumped together?

"Sex refers to the biological and physiological characteristics that define men and women. Gender refers to the socially constructed roles, behaviours, activities, and attributions that a given society considers appropriate for men and women." (World Health Organization)

Sex is defined as the biological determinate of whether we are male, female, or other defining terms on the spectrum. It is initially determined when we are born, but can change over time (if the person does not initially identify as that sex they were born with). Gender is a completely different concept.

Gender is used to put our masculinity/femininity into a social context. Biologically you could be one thing, but if you act, behave, and present yourself as another sex, then that is how society constructs your identity. If you are seen as identifying as either male or female in the gender context, or as being a less traditionally feminine woman or masculine male, you will be assigned those gender roles and stereotypes associated with those characteristics. Let me give you another example:

A woman who does not present the traditional femininity roles, you would stereotype her as being a lesbian and/or butch. This doesn't make her less of a female, it just puts her gender in a different context.

This is the reason many people have a hard time understanding transgender, intersex, and gender fluid individuals. The sex of a person is seen as being more concrete and defined, whereas gender can fluctuate and change from person to person and over time. Gender is so broad that people have a hard time understanding and conceptualizing it.

We tend to assign the gender characteristics to a person's initial sex. Those who are born male are constructed and expected to follow the masculine gender characteristics (strong, assertive, and decisive); and the same goes for females and femininity (sensitive, supportive, and patient).

So, if gender is just a social construct we use to identify ourselves in others with, then why is there still a huge emphasis on gender roles? We already know that gender is not assigned to a person's sex. But why is there still this ancient societal rule that those who identify as men have to be masculine, and those who identify as women have to be feminine?

The only way for us to truly differentiate between the gender and the sex is to due away with traditional masculine and feminine gender roles. A woman can identify as female sex as well as have a masculine gender identity and vice versa.

For some reason it is a lot easier to define both terms as the same. Both of these things define who we are as individuals on completely separate levels. Sex is who we are, and gender is how we present ourselves to society.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
the beatles
Wikipedia Commons

For as long as I can remember, I have been listening to The Beatles. Every year, my mom would appropriately blast “Birthday” on anyone’s birthday. I knew all of the words to “Back In The U.S.S.R” by the time I was 5 (Even though I had no idea what or where the U.S.S.R was). I grew up with John, Paul, George, and Ringo instead Justin, JC, Joey, Chris and Lance (I had to google N*SYNC to remember their names). The highlight of my short life was Paul McCartney in concert twice. I’m not someone to “fangirl” but those days I fangirled hard. The music of The Beatles has gotten me through everything. Their songs have brought me more joy, peace, and comfort. I can listen to them in any situation and find what I need. Here are the best lyrics from The Beatles for every and any occasion.

Keep Reading...Show less
Being Invisible The Best Super Power

The best superpower ever? Being invisible of course. Imagine just being able to go from seen to unseen on a dime. Who wouldn't want to have the opportunity to be invisible? Superman and Batman have nothing on being invisible with their superhero abilities. Here are some things that you could do while being invisible, because being invisible can benefit your social life too.

Keep Reading...Show less

19 Lessons I'll Never Forget from Growing Up In a Small Town

There have been many lessons learned.

houses under green sky
Photo by Alev Takil on Unsplash

Small towns certainly have their pros and cons. Many people who grow up in small towns find themselves counting the days until they get to escape their roots and plant new ones in bigger, "better" places. And that's fine. I'd be lying if I said I hadn't thought those same thoughts before too. We all have, but they say it's important to remember where you came from. When I think about where I come from, I can't help having an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for my roots. Being from a small town has taught me so many important lessons that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

Keep Reading...Show less
​a woman sitting at a table having a coffee

I can't say "thank you" enough to express how grateful I am for you coming into my life. You have made such a huge impact on my life. I would not be the person I am today without you and I know that you will keep inspiring me to become an even better version of myself.

Keep Reading...Show less
Student Life

Waitlisted for a College Class? Here's What to Do!

Dealing with the inevitable realities of college life.

college students waiting in a long line in the hallway

Course registration at college can be a big hassle and is almost never talked about. Classes you want to take fill up before you get a chance to register. You might change your mind about a class you want to take and must struggle to find another class to fit in the same time period. You also have to make sure no classes clash by time. Like I said, it's a big hassle.

This semester, I was waitlisted for two classes. Most people in this situation, especially first years, freak out because they don't know what to do. Here is what you should do when this happens.

Keep Reading...Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments