Social Constructive Views Versus Holistic Views of Sexuality and Gender
The idea that gender and sexuality is entirely socially constructed is a belief many feminist and queer circles cherish, however some have more holistic views on these topics. Some feminist and queer activists adopt gender artifactualism (a term coined by Julia Serano to describe “the tendency to conceptualize and depict gender as being primarily or entirely a cultural artifact.”) because it counteracts gender determinism. Many of us ask a broader question: who or what is in charge of creating our sexuality and gender identities and how do these intertwine?
Some may say this is all in the hands of God but in more Western Societies gender is usually determined by biological make up: women having XX chromosomes and men, XY. These differences in chromosomes are said to result in great differences in the brain, making women extremely polite, feminine, dainty and making men strong, driven and powerful. This belief that gender is innate and predetermined is rather archaic, as social expectations and enforcements of gender roles contribute more to gender than anything biological, as gender itself is entirely a social construct.
In my beliefs gender is most definitely a social construct, however sexuality has been debated as a biological trait. In my personal views, these two things are intertwined; not only is gender a social construct but sexuality is too. Question: How can one’s sexuality not be a product of social constructionism if it is based one’s gender?
My model of gender is that we recognize we may be biologically similar to one another in many ways, and we may share the same culture of social expectation, however we are all uniquely socially situated- not one body has shared the same life experiences, environment, and relationships. There are many aspects that influence our genders, sex, and sexualities, there are always many outcomes. How is this intertwined to the folks we are sexually and/or romantically attracted to?
When one says they are attracted to, “females, and females only”, they are usually insinuating, “I am attracted to cis-gendered women.” Society has left us with stereotype of a cis-gendered women being fragile, weak, submissive, dainty and pretty, a word some may put to it- feminine. So some may take “females, and females only” as “I am attracted to feminine presenting people.” Here’s an example: A cis- lesbian identified women says she is attracted to other females and finds herself one day attracted to a feminine presenting non-binary person- is she really only attracted to “females?”
One’s views on who or what has created gender and sexuality vary and there are limitless opinions to this broad topic, however as feminist and queer activists we should challenge all and every form of sexism instead of focusing so heavily on the construction of gender and sexuality.