Sex vs. Gender

I have found that many people do not know or understand the difference between sex and gender.  In fact, sex and gender are often used interchangeably in newspapers, magazines, and people everyday.  This makes me kind of crazy.  In an attempt to inform more people and thereby make me less crazy, I will explain the difference.

via Julia at Autostraddle

Sex: the reproductive, chromosomal and hormonal organs and processes that place a body in the categories of male, female or intersex.

Gender: the set of processes and practices that shape our understanding of sexed bodies; the way a sexed body becomes socially intelligible, that is, a “man” or a “woman,” “masculine” or “feminine.”

Thus, sex refers to male and female whereas gender refers to social constructs of masculinity and femininity as well as their social roles.  It is important to recognize this difference because gender is variable and should be understood to be something that one does rather than something that one is.

Now if you find someone using sex and gender interchangeably you can tell them the difference.  Spread the word!  Knowledge is power!

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One thought on “Sex vs. Gender

  1. I am enlightened, thank you. 🙂
    This being said, I’d like to gender you up sometime, if you don’t mind. 😛

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