Sex and Gender


In Elizabeth P. Challinor’s article entitled “Sex Changes and Changing Rooms,” she says, “gender has become such a mainstream word that in some contexts has become a substitute for sex.” Nowadays, people feel it is no longer politically correct or safe to say the word “sex” unless referring to the physical act.

 So, is there a difference between sex and gender? Subjectively, sex can be referred to the biological body and gender to the interpretations of the biological differences between men and women, which results in their specific roles in society. However, in Western countries especially, it is this divide and necessity to choose only one gender in order to be socially accepted. Unlike the Berdaches, the Hijras of India, the Kathoey in Thailand, or the Muxe in Mexico, practicing a third gender is less prevalent and almost nonexistent. For instance, there is no third box to check off of gender when filling out any sort of paperwork, there is only male or female.

 When deciding which term, either sex or gender, to describe which category a person falls under one may think of certain words that go along with these two terms, that may impact their word choice. Sex is usually tied with sexism and the split between male and female, while gender is equated with equality. So, I believe gender is used more often than sex because of its looseness and versatility due to the fact that a person can be more than one gender.