Caterpillar genders

Kenelm Philip fnkwp at
Tue Jan 12 23:14:26 EST 1999

> I think the language is changing to become clearer. People see "sex"
> as an activity, and "gender" as a state of being.

	Unfortunately, it's a bit more complicated than that. The word
'gender' is being used both for one's biologically-determined sex, and
for the sexual role one assumes in society--two items which are not always
the same. There is thus some clarity to be gained by using 'sex' for
biological 'gender'.

	Furthermore, in this multicultural age, the choice of 'gender' for
a term to replace 'sex' as a 'state of being' is an odd one. 'Gender' is
a linguistic term--and not that well related to sex. Even in European
languages, some words have a gender opposite to their 'sex'. In some non-
European languages, gender could never be equated to sex (which would make
translating the current usage of 'gender' into those languages a real
challenge!). This current use of 'gender' is, on the whole, curiously

	On the other hand, there doesn't seem to be anything one can do
about it. Fighting changes in English appears to be a singularly
profitless endeavor.

							Ken Philip
fnkwp at

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