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How To Define “Male” And “Female”???


How To Define “Male” And “Female”

Sure, there are physical differences but outside of mammals, the terms "male" and "female" take on different meanings.
unisex bathroom sign

Photo: Bart Maguire (flickr)

What is really considered "male" and what is really considered "female?"

When you go to the pet store to pick out a new puppy, one of the first questions you may be asked is whether you want a male or a female. And when your friends have a new baby the first thing you find out is whether it’s a boy or a girl.




But what about socially? 

Is "maleness" and "femaleness" purely physical? 

What about my transgendered friends? 

How do you define gender/sex? 



Asked by MamaK88 at 11:28 AM on Mar. 2, 2011 in Religion & Beliefs

Level 33 (62,090 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (11)
  • Sex is biological and physiological. Gender is how we identify ourselves and social roles and behaviors expected within society. This may vary depending on the society and how people see themselves.

    It does make me smile when I hear people saying they're going to find out what 'gender' their baby is when they get their ultrasound. I had trouble keeping straight face when people asked me what gender my son was going to be while I was pregnant. I had to force myself to say 'We're having a boy' instead of 'we have no idea what gender yet, but we know the sex' or 'You can't tell what gender a fetus is'. It seems like a lot of people use the words sex and gender interchangeably (or maybe they just don't want to say sex LOL).

    Answer by pam19 at 12:00 PM on Mar. 2, 2011

  • Sex is biologically defined. It defines you as male or female. That is what is between your legs. Gender is socially defined. Different societies have different definitions of what maleness and femaleness is. What it means to be a woman can be different from one culture to the next.

    Answer by purpleducky at 12:19 PM on Mar. 2, 2011

  • males have a penis , females have a vagina
    chemical make up is different.
    what is the same is all people are human.

    Answer by letstalk747 at 11:30 AM on Mar. 2, 2011

  • You can have all the surgery in the world, but your DNA will always be what you were born with. If you were born female and you have sex-reassignment surgery, guess what? You're still genetically and biologically female.

    The ideals that are associated with gender are man made, but the biology doesn't change.

    Answer by SnapdragonSMT at 12:48 PM on Mar. 2, 2011

  • Boys have a Penis and Girls have a vagina, that's pretty much it for me. As far as transgendered, i don't know. I personally don't know any. But would refere to them as they would like to be called

    Answer by Zakysmommy at 11:30 AM on Mar. 2, 2011

  • I would view sex as being the biological componant (X chromosome or Y chromosome? Penis or vagina? And bear in mind the two don't go together... more people than you would think are intersexed in the sense of having chromosomes that don't match the genitals or genitals that aren't clearly differentiated.) I would say that gender is the social componant in terms of how we self-define and how we view gender roles and the social aspects of being male or female.

    I've known a couple people who didn't easily 'fit' into categories (one was born intersexed- XY chromosomes but she was resistant to testosterone and thus developed female genitalia; one was a biological male living as a female awaiting gender reassignment.) In those cases I would refer to them how they wanted to be referred to.

    Answer by Freela at 6:58 PM on Mar. 2, 2011

  • IMO...Gender (in humans at least) exists between the EARS...not between the LEGS.

    Comment by MamaK88 (original poster) at 11:29 AM on Mar. 2, 2011

  • Male and female are define by both your mind and the physical.

    Answer by older at 11:40 AM on Mar. 2, 2011

  • Generally it's by the chromosome present. So primarily I define it biologically. of course there are exceptions to the rule such as transgender or hermaphrodites in which case it is up to that individual to decide fofr themselves what they wish to be addressed as and I will respect those wishes.

    Answer by KristiS11384 at 12:17 PM on Mar. 2, 2011

  • Males have a penis and females have a vagina. The idea of gender is a social construction of reality, meaning that we have made up the ideas, values, and norms that go along with gender.

    Answer by Namaste17 at 12:27 PM on Mar. 2, 2011