This question came to me when I was designing the culture of a fictional country.  I was wondering outside of the life sciences, why do we use gender, and should we keep it in our daily lives.  In my own view the division of people by physical gender is pointless and serves only to create conflict.

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@kris:

Clearly my point is that one cannot separate "gender" from the life sciences since core to the concept is sexually reproduction.

The OP's question seems to compliment that perspective. He's not separating anything; he's asking why we should bother to extend that core concept outside of biological boundaries.

And I am agreeing with that point, when some people talk about gender they actually mean to talk about gender roles within a particular cultural setting, people should quit using the word gender alone when they are wanting to talk about gender roles. 

 when some people talk about gender they actually mean to talk about gender roles

I am perfectly happy to acknowledge the distinction you make in terminology when you speak, but English doesn't make that distinction. The OP is entirely correct in saying 'gender' -- not 'gender roles' -- as established by my own big mouth, Merriam-Webster, the Oxford English Dictionary and heck, even wikipedia (why not?).

Should people change their usage? Personally, it doesn't bother me at all the way things are now. The trend I see is that 'sex' is preferred when referring to biology and 'gender' is preferred when referring to other aspects of the masculine/ feminine dynamic. You can use them interchangeably and it's correct, but it's also redundant.

The words sex and gender are indeed employed differently in the sciences and sociology, and in all of my classes. There's even a separate major called "Gender Studies".

A good book to read on this is "the human zoo" by Desmond Morris

Yes, a good book & movie or series (I forgot which), and not just about gender roles.

I am sure that the logical reasoning for gender and the differences in genders is due to the fact that we are suppose to reproduce and have offspring? Also, attraction?

Edit: My keyboard made me put support instead of suppose...thanks Windows 8

I think that with human babies requiring such a lengthy period of care and human adults being so prone to war the social division between the sexes (gender) just came about through selection as a means of dividing people into caregivers and warriors, gatherers and hunters.  It also seems that most people are rather predisposed to assuming gender roles, even though such roles have become much less conventional.

What’s the purpose of gender?! Is that a serious question? What an incredibly naïve and silly question. I’m sorry, but this kind of mental masturbation is all very nice for cerebral exercise, but to actually contemplate it as reality based discussion is nuts. There’s a reason why the genders have fallen into their roles, and it’s because there is a difference between the sexes. DUH! It wasn’t engineered that way by any divine being. It was decided by nature long before there was a social consciousness. Isn’t this self-evident, as it is with just about every mammal? There may be the odd species that has the odd reproductive methods, but that’s not us. There is a clear physiological difference, and, therefore, mental and societal difference. Of course not every man is more masculine and/or stronger than every woman, and not every woman is more feminine and/or weaker (physically) than every man, and the range of each gender overlaps, but they do start on opposite ends of the spectrum. Did I mention that, with most species, the female choses the mate, while the males compete for her affections, by wooing her and/ or being that last male standing. Sound familiar? Regardless of how any animals reproduce, if there’s a male and a female in the equation, then there is a difference between them.

 

I don’t understand why most atheists are liberal. It’s as if whatever is as far away from religion as possible is where you go. In your minds, Conservatism = Religious Right. Liberals have no understanding of human nature. Your visions of society are all unachievable, when taken to their logical conclusions. Questions like this one, or the non-competitive world vision, where everyone is at the same level/status (or at least a regulated separation) put a childlike naivete on display, which goes against everything that makes an atheist not believe in any gods. John Lennon’s “Imagine” is a great song and a nice dream, but every verse is pie-in-the-sky fantasy that, if actually put into practice would lead to utter self-destruction. People will always compete for possessions, congregate into groups (or countries) of people they identify with, and (sadly) there will always be people who hope for a better, alternative reality in some form of religion. If you kept your dreams of what the world can become within the confine, that is the reality of human nature, you’d be conservatives.

 

I’ve only been on this site for a couple of weeks and, at first found a haven of fellow atheists to read from or trade stories or whatever. Over the last several days, though, I’ve have noticed a lot more politics----and it’s ALL left. Having been in burned out stage the last few years, with regard to politics, I’ve no ambition to engage, and still don’t really. However, when I saw this discussion posted, and saw supporters actually entertaining the question over whether gender in the human race is negligible, or even artificial, except for actual genitalia, I just couldn’t let that go. Being exponentially outnumbered here, politically, I expect to get bombarded by you all. I obvious won’t have the time, and probably won’t have the desire to have a right/left debate with all of you. I really would rather keep it to why I came here---religion and lack thereof.

I really would rather keep it to why I came here---religion and lack thereof.

If that was true, you wouldn't be posting this. What is this? Catharsis? Do you feel better?

The number of active political threads tends to ebb and flow. The site obviously trends left, (though it's not an active aim of Think Atheist as a site). In all likelihood that isn't going to change anytime soon. No one is going to force you to participate in threads which you dislike. If you're not going to engage, don't snipe from the sidelines then shout "I'm not playing anymore".

Was it cathartic? Yes. I really didn't (and don't) want to turn this site into a political debate. I'd been seeing cheap shots to the right thrown out, and was debating to myself if I want to stay here and be subjected to this or maybe find another site more suitable to my leanings. Either way, I wasn't going to engage, and start something that experience tells me NEVER ends. When I saw this post, and then saw multiple people giving the thought credibility, I couldn't hold it in any longer, then vented.

I fully expect to be bombarded on this, with me being 1 of about 100, and all. No, I don't want to play anymore, but I will take my beating and read the responses. I only hope I have the will power to not get dragged into a constant left vs right debate. That's sooo not why I came here and I'll burn out on this site, but it'd be my own doing. That's why I winced as I was hitting "add reply" last night. lol

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