Family Conflicts

Classified in Philosophy and ethics

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1.- Explain how the sex-gender distinction is key to the advancement of feminist consciousness, and how some feminist authors elaborate on it, including those who question it. It is true that the distinction between sex and gender is key to the advancement of feminist consciousness. There are several authors who have argued that this distinction is very important. However, other authors question whether it is really important to make this distinction between sex and gender or is not really necessary. On the one hand we have authors who think it is important to make the distinction between sex and gender. One of these authors is Mary Wollstonecraft. Her book A Vindication of the Rights of Woman was probably the most important book in the feminist world since Wollstonecraft was the first woman to talk about the distinction between gender and sex. She suggested that women should be treated and viewed as human first. Wollstonecraft also wrote in her book that women had to be seen as human beings and not as a very distant and different species from men. Since both men and women have been put on earth to develop in the same way. Wollstonecraft was convinced that gendered behaviour was learned through education and experience, rather than being something with which one was born. She argues that the way a girl was educated by wearing a corset or making her sew for hours make the difference with which a child was educated even bigger. Wollstonecraft put a lot of effort into showing that the education given to the boys and girls of the time made the difference between genders bigger. She believed that gender had more to do with culture than with biology. She believed that sex was something you were born with, but gender was something culturally given to you over time, since she thought that if the same education was given to both sexes from birth there would not be any difference. Simone de Beauvoir was also a feminist who wrote about this distinction. Beauvoir says in her book The Second Sex says thatone is not born, but rather becomes, a woman”. That is, you become a woman while you grow. Beauvoir suggests that gender is an aspect that is acquired as time passes. The distinction between sex and gender has been key to show that anatomy is not just luck. That is, sex is an aspect of the female body that can not be changed in any way since it does not vary and is anatomically different and gender is the cultural meaning and shape that the body takes. With this distinction it is not possible to attribute the values or social functions of women to biological necessity. Beauvoir also makes it clear how man seems to be the dominant sex and how the woman is the Other. Here we can see how the distinction between genders is man and the Other and no man and woman. As mentioned before, anatomy is not just luck. Masculinity and femininity come from how an individual is raised that is nurture. Another example of how the sex-gender distinction is key to the advancement of feminist consciousness is the definitions of Kate Millet. Her book Sexual Politics is mostly based on the ideas of Simone de Beauvoir. Millet thinks that gender differences have more cultural than biological bases that come from the differential treatment that has been received. For Millett, the gender is the sum of the treatment received by parents or partners depending on the cultural notions of what is appropriate for each gender as well as the interest, status or character. She also explains how women have been culturally reared so that they are socialized in social roles of subordination. That is, teach them to be docile and ignorant people. However, since these roles are learned, that is, they do not come biologically, they can be taught differently. Feminists should encourage everyone to diminish the influence of socialization. Rousseau one of the most prominent authors at the time did not make a big difference between sex and gender. Rousseau believed that the woman was the weaker sex that is why by nature the woman should be chaste, submissive and modest in addition to dedicating herself completely to her family and home. That is to say, since a woman was born she already had her duties set. He also believed that the woman only needed physical contact because they had to reproduce and that is why they were looking for a man. Meanwhile, on the other hand, man by nature is destined to have power over women and society. In conclusion, Rousseau believed that biologically you were born with a sex and that's why you had to be educated about your gender. In conclusion, with these three authors we can see how the distinction between sex and gender is totally related to culture and biology. Both Wollstonecraft and Beauvoir like Millet believed that a person was born with a sex. That is to say, that biologically you were given a sex but that genders were culturally cultivated. It depended a lot if you were girl or boy in how they would raised you. Girls were always raised as fragile and weak beings while children were raised to work in jobs were you needed to be strong and to be the dominant being. These three authors want to show that if both genders had been culturally educated in the same way, there would not be much difference. However, we can also see how Rousseau did not make a big difference between sex and gender. He believed that once you were born with a sex you had to be educated in a way corresponding to that gender. That is why he speaks of the man as the dominant and the woman as the dominated.

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