What is being a woman: something we are or something we become?
A question in the heart of the feminist debate for a long time. Simone de Beauvoir answered to it: for her, we “become woman”.
I have no answer to tell the truth but recently I viewed two reports which brought me to think about this question. The specificity of these documentaries was their angle of approach of the gender and the sex (and not of the sexuality).
The first one, scheduled on arte but at present unavailable on Web. It deals with the intersexuality (persons having no “defined” biological sex). During several years not to say decades, we imposed “surgically” to the intersexual children a sex in the birth and we raised them according to the sex which had been given to them. This initiative was impulsed by the works of Dr John MEYNE who thought that the gender was not determined by the sex but by the education.
Yet, numerous intersexual persons rebel henceforth against this system which had a fatal influence on their life. They did not feel in sync with the sex they have been attributed. Today, the science supposes that the gender would be defined neither by the biological sex, nor by the education but by the brain. In parallel, the report followed the life of an intersexual person about five years old who the parents raised in a neutral way, letting her/him choose if he/she was a boy or a girl. Now the child did not seem decided to choose a gender. The report suggested that the choice came generally with the adolescence.
The second scheduled on France 4 deals with the transsexuality. This report has a more human and more opened approach. Two things were particularly interesting.
The first one is to see men and women raised according to their biological sex but with the feeling of another sex. The second is a couple among which the one is transgenre, that is hehas man’s sex, lives with a woman but alternates the male and feminine gender.
For me, the gender was a “social construction “. And I thought that the society inculcates us values (the sweetness, the maternity, the sensualism) on which we build our gender and thus our personality. But it is interesting and disconcerting to become aware that the human being can define himself man or woman without taking into account necessarily the biological sex or the education. If we envisage this hypothesis, the social gender can be deconstructed but there would be the other thing which would make us feel man or woman. Is the gender only social? Only biological? Only cerebral? Or maybe a mixture of all this …