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[–]Horror-SwordfishI don't get how flairs work 11 insightful - 1 fun11 insightful - 0 fun12 insightful - 1 fun -  (3 children)

Most people point to John Money for that:

Although that was a ways back that he differentiated between sex and "gender identity." I'm not really sure what caused it to become the current zeitgeist. It's only in the last few years that many people seriously consider "sex" and "gender" to be different things. Before that, most rational people considered "gender" to be a euphemism for "sex" because the word "sex" brings to mind "sexual intercourse."

You can see that in action when people start talking about "sexuality" as being "who you have sex with" as opposed to "what sex you are attracted to." Case in point: asexuals who consider a lack of sex drive a sexuality rather than a lack of attraction which would make more sense.

[–]Q-Continuum-kin 8 insightful - 1 fun8 insightful - 0 fun9 insightful - 1 fun -  (1 child)

People didn't used to use the word gender interchangeably with sex before the 50s or 60s.


Gender was mostly used to describe grammar and it had a meaning of "type / category / kind" so sometimes people would use it to describe the 2 sex categories while using literary creativity. John Money was a weirdo so people sometimes don't want to credit him with coining the term to be used in the social construct category sense but he did and then it was adopted by second wave feminism.


At some point in the 70s or 80s people started correctly using the term "gender bending" to refer to men and women breaking out of their socially constructed gender but people started to misunderstand the meaning of that and gender started to be interpreted as a polite way to say sex so colloquially it became incorrectly used interchangeably to literally refer to sex but that was never really the correct use of the term.


TRAs also misappropriated the term to try and pretend there was some magical "brain sex identity". As far as I can tell by observing how the word evolved since the 80s the plebs took this arcane feminist term and spun it through pop culture and it became so ubiquitous as a synonym for sex that it's basically annoyingly irreversible. TRAs took their undeserved confidence to "educate" the public based on what the feminist definition was originally and spun the word back out of the mainstream to an entirely new 3rd definition and this seems to be what you are referring to. I started to see that use online in about the early 00's. That's when i remember transgender people trying to make a real effort to define a reason to have gender dysphoria make sense in such a way that the reason to transition is validated. After that it was just a constant creep of postmodernism.

[–]Porphyria 3 insightful - 1 fun3 insightful - 0 fun4 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

Agreed. I can remember people in the 1970s getting angry when forms asked for their "Gender" instead of Sex, because they knew using gender to mean sex was incorrect : It was a grammar term not applicable to English, but to Romance and other languages that have masculine/feminine/neuter words.

The Victorians were a lot more forthright in their speech than their idiotic pop culture image suggests, and they had no problems using the word "sex" to mean male/man or female/woman.

[–]dilsencySame-sex community 2 insightful - 1 fun2 insightful - 0 fun3 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

You can see that in action when people start talking about "sexuality" as being "who you have sex with" as opposed to "what sex you are attracted to."

I can't tell you how much I hate the former. Really messed with my head back when I was coming to terms with being gay.

[–]JulienMayfair 4 insightful - 1 fun4 insightful - 0 fun5 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

One can point to various points of divergence, but traditional feminism talked of gender roles as a socially constructed system of meaning based on biological sex differences, but not wholly dependent on them. As is often the case with postmodern theories, because they don't believe in empirical science, gender theorists did away with biological sex and claimed that there was only gender, which they transformed into an identity.

[–]HelloMomo 4 insightful - 1 fun4 insightful - 0 fun5 insightful - 1 fun -  (6 children)

I can't cite this, so grain of salt, but I once heard someone claim that "gender" was a term coined by the Victorians as a euphemism for "sex", because "sex" sounded too sexual.

[–]PenseePansyBio-Sex or Bust 5 insightful - 1 fun5 insightful - 0 fun6 insightful - 1 fun -  (5 children)

I think this is surprisingly close to the mark, actually-- it just happened rather later than that. It wasn't until the 20th century that the word "sex" took on the meaning of "sexual activity" (as in Mae West's 1926 stage play, Sex); previously, it had always been shorthand for "biological sex". So that's when people got squeamish about using it. Plus of course there was confusion where there had once been none-- by "sex", did you mean "male/female", or "sex act"? That's how "gender" got repurposed as a synonym for "biological sex". Until the shift in meaning for "sex", we'd never needed one before. But once that happened, even the full term "biological sex" seemed too indecorous, I guess.

Unbelievable that something so silly could lead to the dismantling of LGB and women's hard-won protections, the destruction of civil rights, and the deliberate physical damaging of children, isn't it? :(

[–]HelloMomo 3 insightful - 1 fun3 insightful - 0 fun4 insightful - 1 fun -  (4 children)

Then what was the word for sexual activity in that time? Or was there not really a clinical term for it before, and it was mostly spoken of with flowery language, vulgar words, and euphemisms?

[–]PenseePansyBio-Sex or Bust 3 insightful - 1 fun3 insightful - 0 fun4 insightful - 1 fun -  (1 child)

I think that the clinical terms were "coitus" and "sexual intercourse" (the latter is more recent), though they would have only referred to the PiV variety. (I'm guessing that it was the development of the second term which led to "sex"'s modern meaning.) Other than these formal terms, yeah, it was largely euphemism-city-- either that or "vulgar" words which were not to be used in so-called "polite company". But my impression is that you just didn't speak of the subject at all in everyday discourse. At least directly; you would talk around it. And even then, the talk would mostly be about reproduction within marriage. Non-reproductive (and particularly same-sex) sexuality went mostly unacknowledged. In fact, until comparatively recently, I think there was little awareness that homosexuality or bisexuality even existed.

[–]HelloMomo 2 insightful - 1 fun2 insightful - 0 fun3 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

If I recall, there's a bit in Boots of Leather, Slippers of Gold about how in like lesbian community in Buffalo, New York, in the 30s or 40s they used the term "intimacy" to mean sex, and only in the 40s or 50s did they start using the word "sex"

[–]Q-Continuum-kin 2 insightful - 1 fun2 insightful - 0 fun3 insightful - 1 fun -  (1 child)

Also no citations but I seem to remember something about the history of England. Where the royals and upper class used "intercourse" because it was related to French. The term "fuck" became known as a swear because it was the term used by the peasants and was somehow related to a different language from Germanic tribes.

Sex is a category specifically related to reproduction.

[–]HelloMomo 2 insightful - 2 fun2 insightful - 1 fun3 insightful - 2 fun -  (0 children)

English has a lot of Germanic (original Old English) vs Latin (by way of French) etymology leading to having different connotations for words that are technically the same meaning!

Like "smell" (Germanic) vs "odor" (Latin). Or "cow" (English, because they spoke English out in the fields) vs "beef" (because they spoke French in the castle where it was prepared all fancy).

[–]Beryl 3 insightful - 1 fun3 insightful - 0 fun4 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

About the time John Money decided it was a good excuse to rape two children so bad they both committed suicide in early adulthood.

[–]automoderatorHuman-Exclusionary Radical Overlord[M] 1 insightful - 1 fun1 insightful - 0 fun2 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)


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[–]loveSloaneSuperDuperBi 1 insightful - 1 fun1 insightful - 0 fun2 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

Also- when did the meaning of gender change?