Lesbian Frankenstein πŸ§™β€β™€οΈπŸ’€πŸŽƒ   @MagsVisaggs

Gender exists the way color exists: in our minds, entirely subjectively, and culturally conditioned.

Let me explain.

Lesbian Frankenstein πŸ§™β€β™€οΈπŸ’€πŸŽƒ   @MagsVisaggs

You might be thinking "color doesn't objectively exist? Just look up and see that blue sky!" But here's the thing. Go back in time to the Bronze Age Levant, for example, and nobody would agree with you.

They didn't even have a *word* for blue.

Lesbian Frankenstein πŸ§™β€β™€οΈπŸ’€πŸŽƒ   @MagsVisaggs

You see this across ancient literature. The ocean is called "dark," the sky "black." There's no CONCEPT of blue whatsoever.

It turns out colors get named according to pretty predictable pattern as language develops over thousands of years.

Lesbian Frankenstein πŸ§™β€β™€οΈπŸ’€πŸŽƒ   @MagsVisaggs

Black and white are the first, but really all they mean is "dark" and "not dark." Then red. Then green and yellow. Then blue. So what's the point of saying this?

Naming colors creates color categories.

Lesbian Frankenstein πŸ§™β€β™€οΈπŸ’€πŸŽƒ   @MagsVisaggs

These colors are both identifiable as "red," yes? Even though they're different shades, wildly different shades, we recognize them as a single color category

Lesbian Frankenstein πŸ§™β€β™€οΈπŸ’€πŸŽƒ   @MagsVisaggs

But these? THESE are two *different* color categories, even though pink is just light red.

Lesbian Frankenstein πŸ§™β€β™€οΈπŸ’€πŸŽƒ   @MagsVisaggs

This isn't just a fun fact; my brain is conceptually primed to *distinguish* pink objects from red objects, but not bright red from dark red.

Lesbian Frankenstein πŸ§™β€β™€οΈπŸ’€πŸŽƒ   @MagsVisaggs

Society names colors as we need.

Black and white to distinguish dark from light.

Red to describe blood and injury.

Yellow and green help identify ripe and unripe fruit.

But blue?

Most people don't encounter a ton of blue day to day in nature.

Lesbian Frankenstein πŸ§™β€β™€οΈπŸ’€πŸŽƒ   @MagsVisaggs

Blue only shows up as a color at the same time blue paints and dyes start to show up, and suddenly there's a need to distinguish black from blue. And what's wilder, some cultures have a "light blue" cardinal color the same way we have pink.

Lesbian Frankenstein πŸ§™β€β™€οΈπŸ’€πŸŽƒ   @MagsVisaggs

So what does this have to do with gender?

Lesbian Frankenstein πŸ§™β€β™€οΈπŸ’€πŸŽƒ   @MagsVisaggs

Well, one, we take colors as givens of the world, but they're linguistic and conceptual structures designed to help us *navigate* the world. They're IDEAS associated with light frequencies.

Lesbian Frankenstein πŸ§™β€β™€οΈπŸ’€πŸŽƒ   @MagsVisaggs

If I had no word for blue, yes, I would still see things that I would call blue, but I wouldn't have any reason to conceptualize it as a category. The sky is black, in that imagination; dark at night, light in day, but always black.

Lesbian Frankenstein πŸ§™β€β™€οΈπŸ’€πŸŽƒ   @MagsVisaggs

Gender, like language and like color, is an invention. It's a way to conceptualize and understand sense data in a way that is broadly predictive.

Lesbian Frankenstein πŸ§™β€β™€οΈπŸ’€πŸŽƒ   @MagsVisaggs

The human brain is GREAT at prediction. It's the main thing it's designed to do; to help us see reasonably into the future based own the past. And gender -- as distinguished from physical sex!! -- is another predictive tool.

Lesbian Frankenstein πŸ§™β€β™€οΈπŸ’€πŸŽƒ   @MagsVisaggs

In THE SECOND SEX, Simone de Beauvoir (SdB) talks about how womanhood was constructed in prehistory as a form of property; consequently, it became necessary for the human brain to be able to distinguish at a glance what *social function* someone had.

Lesbian Frankenstein πŸ§™β€β™€οΈπŸ’€πŸŽƒ   @MagsVisaggs

It's why we invented uniforms, btw, and gender is a sort of uniform. You'll notice, for example, all of the things that get wrapped up in gender -- expectations of behavior, of dress, of interest, of hierarchy.

Lesbian Frankenstein πŸ§™β€β™€οΈπŸ’€πŸŽƒ   @MagsVisaggs

But this bifurcation of human *society* and *psychology* was not inevitable; we could just as easily have invented "genders" based on fertility. And in a cultural (non-developmental!) sense, even *age* is a kind of gender.

Lesbian Frankenstein πŸ§™β€β™€οΈπŸ’€πŸŽƒ   @MagsVisaggs

We didn't used to distinguish teenagers as a group; there were children, and there were adults.

Lesbian Frankenstein πŸ§™β€β™€οΈπŸ’€πŸŽƒ   @MagsVisaggs

BUT, in the twentieth century, it became necessary in Western society to identify this set of adolescents in a LARGER CULTURAL WAY: by recognizing them as a distinct group that was developing its own culture *and* to more effectively market to them.

Lesbian Frankenstein πŸ§™β€β™€οΈπŸ’€πŸŽƒ   @MagsVisaggs

And YES, there were people going around saying "What the fuck is a 'teen-ager'?? Kids these days!"

Lesbian Frankenstein πŸ§™β€β™€οΈπŸ’€πŸŽƒ   @MagsVisaggs

We just ACCEPT these divisions, these categories, because we LIVE them. Our brains use these structures to anticipate the world we live in and navigate it.

Race, too, is an invention, and our modern conception of it originated precisely to justify and perpetuate slavery.

Lesbian Frankenstein πŸ§™β€β™€οΈπŸ’€πŸŽƒ   @MagsVisaggs

None of this was inevitable. We are contingent beings living contingent lives in contingent societies that are the result of *twelve-thousand years* of increasing organizational and conceptual complexity. How we organize ourselves by gender is just as contingent.

Lesbian Frankenstein πŸ§™β€β™€οΈπŸ’€πŸŽƒ   @MagsVisaggs

I'm not saying gender doesn't exist. I'm saying it's an invention, a technology, the same way as this laptop, as this couch, as Twitter. It's *real.* It's just not immutable.

Lesbian Frankenstein πŸ§™β€β™€οΈπŸ’€πŸŽƒ   @MagsVisaggs

You can see the world in black and white or you can see it in color with the exact same eyes. How the system runs depends on its operating system.

Lesbian Frankenstein πŸ§™β€β™€οΈπŸ’€πŸŽƒ   @MagsVisaggs

"Man" and "woman" are just black and white. They did their job for a long, long time, but now human society is sufficiently distanced from "we must have babies right now" and of sufficient medical expertise that it's not enough.

Lesbian Frankenstein πŸ§™β€β™€οΈπŸ’€πŸŽƒ   @MagsVisaggs

Here's the fact: go to any time and place in human history bringing hormones and surgeries and you will have people LINING UP to make the switch. The reason we need words for this now is because we have the means to make it.

Lesbian Frankenstein πŸ§™β€β™€οΈπŸ’€πŸŽƒ   @MagsVisaggs

We do not need to reproduce to survive; there's billions of us. We don't need kids to till our fields. We don't lock women away in towers or gynaeceums, or proscribe them from public life. So the need for a hard, immutable distinction isn't there to quite the same degree.

Lesbian Frankenstein πŸ§™β€β™€οΈπŸ’€πŸŽƒ   @MagsVisaggs

And we have the means now that someone assigned one gender at birth can not only decide they *want* to be the other, they *can* be -- even according to our socially conditioned definitions!

Lesbian Frankenstein πŸ§™β€β™€οΈπŸ’€πŸŽƒ   @MagsVisaggs

But as we try to broaden the definition of woman, others are *also* participating in changing it.

We didn't know about XX or XY chromosomes until we did; we've been using that as a symbolic gender signifier for less than a century.

Lesbian Frankenstein πŸ§™β€β™€οΈπŸ’€πŸŽƒ   @MagsVisaggs

The way we articulate, understand, and define our bodies and identities in relation to the world is ever shifting, ever growing, ever reacting to new discoveries.

Lesbian Frankenstein πŸ§™β€β™€οΈπŸ’€πŸŽƒ   @MagsVisaggs

We didn't have a word for airplane until we had the means to build one. We didn't have a word for book until we started writing. We live in our heads, in imagined worlds of forms and concepts and categories -- cognitive shortcuts to making reasonable judgments.

Lesbian Frankenstein πŸ§™β€β™€οΈπŸ’€πŸŽƒ   @MagsVisaggs

Whether or not these are all the same color or not depends entirely on who's looking.

Lesbian Frankenstein πŸ§™β€β™€οΈπŸ’€πŸŽƒ   @MagsVisaggs

TL;DR - Nothing is real so calm the fuck down.