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      CommentAuthoroddbill
    • CommentTimeJan 11th 2011 edited
     (9405.1)
    This is a concept that I think @Argos and I invented on Twitter last night. Pardon the long image, but here's how the idea unfolded (it doesn't actually take that long to read it, it's a shorter exchange than it seems):

    gendersphere

    It's unfortunate that the same words, Male & Female, are used as labels for sets of social behaviors as well as for the physical sexes which they are usually, but not always, associated with.

    I think these are three separate graphs:

    • Male/Female - this is the actual biological sex, it is almost completely binary, there is only a very small set of individuals that fall somewhere between poles along a single axis due to hormonal variation and unusual chromosomal expression. Most people are on one or the other pole, morphologically.

    • Straight/Gay - this is sexual orientation, a completely different graph, with an x axis where the weight is largely concentrated on either end (mostly attracted to male, mostly attracted to female), but with a much larger spread across the middle than the Male/Female axis. I think there is also a Y axis here that graphs the degree the individual is sexually motivated at all. High Ys are highly sexual, low Ys are asexual. Most everyone is a point somewhere on this plane, moving up and down along the Y fairly freely over the course of their lives, but mostly hovering around the same x position they found themselves in when they became sexually aware, with maybe a little fluctuation, but for most people not much.

    • Masculine/Feminine - This is the gender graph, that we are talking about in the twitter conversation in the picture. It's another completely different graph, and it occured to us last night that maybe it's a sphere with possibly infinite axes.


    That's like a logical progression from a one dimensional line (sex) to a two dimensional plane (orientation) to a three dimensional sphere (gender).

    I'm guessing I'm not the first person to think in this direction, and that there are individuals here that have thought deeper about the nature of sex/orientation/gender than I have. What do you think about this? Does it seem like a useful scheme for mapping being?

    What other unexpected ways have you found to locate aspects of identity in the experience space of being human?
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      CommentAuthorJay Kay
    • CommentTimeJan 11th 2011
     (9405.2)
    Very interesting--though I don't think I quite understand that the people in the photo mean by "vulnerable/invulnerable."
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      CommentAuthoroddbill
    • CommentTimeJan 11th 2011
     (9405.3)
    Vulnerable/Invulnerable is meant to be a kind of volume... sort of a measure of confidence. You have some gender based behaviors that you learned, or found comfortable to inhabit, but the degree to which you are inclined to act them out in public reflects your coordinate on the vulnerability scale. Very vulnerable people will keep their gender close and unobtrusive, trying mostly not to be noticed, not acting it out in public. Invulnerable people will unselfconsciously act out their gender in public.

    That's the idea, anyway.
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      CommentAuthorJay Kay
    • CommentTimeJan 11th 2011
     (9405.4)
    Okay--I was thinking of "vulnerability" as sort of varying levels of self-confidence and self-respect, and while I imagine someone who is still unsure of their gender would feel vulnerable, I didn't see self-confidence being linked with gender.
  1.  (9405.5)
    @oddbill - Thanks for clearing that up (re. Vulnerable/Invulnerable). I was wondering for a bit if you meant something more along the lines of sensitive/insensitive, so to speak.

    That said, either way, I would say that certainly gives a lot more flex as to where/how people can identify themselves, especially once there's a visual chart.

    Just don't add zombies to the mix. Especially the fast ones.
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      CommentAuthorJay Kay
    • CommentTimeJan 11th 2011
     (9405.6)
    Yeah--I think a literal visual chart would make it a lot more understandable; not to mention probably look pretty cool.

    I wonder if this is close to what you were talking about it--I saw it being thrown around as a deviantART meme fairly recently:

    Identity Spectrum
    • CommentAuthor256
    • CommentTimeJan 12th 2011
     (9405.7)
    Very interesting - I love exploring radical gender/sex/queerological realms, and I LOVE graphs, so this is awesome.

    However:
    That's like a logical progression from a one dimensional line (sex) to a two dimensional plane (orientation) to a three dimensional sphere (gender).

    If you have a graph with three axes, the space that it describes is a cube, not a sphere. (Imagine the point whose coordinates are the maximum on each axis - this would be the corner of the cube, and the origin of the graph is the centre.)

    GENDERCUBE.
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      CommentAuthorSlick
    • CommentTimeJan 12th 2011
     (9405.8)
    depends on the relationships between the variables, it could be a cube a sphere or any three dimensional shape.
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      CommentAuthorInternaut
    • CommentTimeJan 12th 2011 edited
     (9405.9)
    This short youtube video, involving an anthropomorphized penis in the style of Teletubbies, was posted in the wrong thread. I apologize and remove it.
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      CommentAuthorArtenshiur
    • CommentTimeJan 12th 2011
     (9405.10)
    256: The sphere is, to my mind, the most natural representation of a three dimensional space. Axes are just your coordinate system, and so not particularly meaningful. Spherical, cylindrical, and other coordinate systems describe a three dimensional space equally well. Also, the vertices you mention actually describe an octohedron.

    But to hell with geometry, this is good stuff. I'm always glad to see these conversations going on, even though I'm never really able to add much.
    • CommentAuthorRenThing
    • CommentTimeJan 12th 2011
     (9405.11)
    @Internaut

    I think this is one of the few forums where such a flub could A) happen and B) the apology would be understood and accepted by the general populous.
    • CommentAuthoricelandbob
    • CommentTimeJan 12th 2011
     (9405.12)
    so what shape would a 4 -dimensional gender graph take? A gendercube/sphere travelling through time?

    Overall this helps to confirm my notion that Sexuality cannot be a binary construction but essentially a fluid spectrum that takes many forms. Especially if my previous sexually encounters are anything to go by....
    • CommentAuthorRenThing
    • CommentTimeJan 12th 2011
     (9405.13)
    @icelandbob

    Now that sounds like some stories to hear over some alcohol.

    The idea that sexuality isn't a binary thing isn't very new, it's certainly been out there since Kinsey and Masters & Johnson. I think that the complexity of sexuality (everything from how people view their physical hardware to their social software to their preferences for partners, or lack there of, and relationship styles) has been growing as people have paid more attention to it.
    • CommentAuthor256
    • CommentTimeJan 12th 2011
     (9405.14)
    It would be really interesting to see data from a large population plotted spatially. I expect that you'd see certain "cloud" clusters which would be centred around particular identities that we have names for ("Plain ol' straight male" would probably be a big one, something like "butch dyke" less so, and then smaller ones at "male lesbian" or whatever) - I guess this is based on the assumption that existing gender identities influence how people think about themselves (ie that they form templates for behaviour, increasing the granularity of identity), but it's possible that the graph of a large sample would actually disprove that (if clustering isn't significant/strong - not sure how you'd test that, maybe some sort of Laplacian thing? ugh).

    The other difficulty, as ever, would be in measuring people against the scale - objective data from something that is very very subjective.

    ALSO: Re fluctuation in identity over time - if you took a "reading" of a subject over time (every six months, year, two years, whatever), and connected each identity point over a long enough time span, you'd be able to see the evolution of someone's identity as a line in space (probably sorta twisty and zig-zagging for some, maybe just a single dot for others).
    [this would, in a sense, be FOUR dimensional].

    @Artenshiur: Alternative coordinate systems - Yeah, that's true. If one was really wedded to the idea of a sphere, you could use polar coordinates (I'm thinking of the one with r, theta and phi, I think that's polar) to define a spherical volume (but not a spherical surface, which would only have two coords).
    Also, the vertices you mention actually describe an octohedron

    Oops, I was unclear there - the ends of the axes themselves form the 6 corners of an octohedron, but the space defined by them has 8 extreme points (ie the points whose coordinates are all the possible combinations of the max/min values possible), and these are the 8 corners of a cube. (If your three axes all run from 1 to -1, the extreme points are (1,1,1), (1,-1,1), (-1,-1,1), (-1,1,1), (1,-1,-1), (1,-1,-1), (1,1,-1), (-1,1,-1), and (-1,-1,-1).)

    Also, god damn it Whitechapel for making me do maths I never thought I'd have to do again.
  2.  (9405.15)
    i think this is one area where i would probably be considered 'closeminded' by my fellow whitechaplains, since im pretty sure there are only three gender options:

    male
    female
    trans

    i dont really feel that ones behavior/personality/sexual preference somehow creates other genders. if i am gay, straight or bi i am still a man. if a woman is butch, or a man is femme, they are still men and women. if you are transgender, you are a middle ground between the two genders, regardless if you are trans male or female. maybe im the minority here, but it seems pretty cut and dry to me?
  3.  (9405.16)
    I'm not sure transgender folk represent a middle ground between gender identities. There's quite a spectrum in the transgender community itself. Enough so that I don't think it can exist as a singular point in and of itself on a graph.
    • CommentAuthorArgos
    • CommentTimeJan 12th 2011 edited
     (9405.17)
    Omg, best thread ever. I love you guys.

    I chose the term "sphere" because that's what popped into my head first. Also, I think you can have more than three axes, but then it'd just get convoluted. Also it's more aesthetically pleasing, imo.

    @DarkKnightJared Just like that, but make each of those middles (0,0) and stick all those lines so that all the (0,0)'s intersect.

    @Icelandbob That'd be cool! My sexuality and gender identity are definitely very fluid. I feel very female somedays, very male others, but overall pretty androgynous/tomboyish. Same for my sexuality, usually overall more attracted to men, but sometimes more attracted to women, etc. etc. There is definitely a 4th dimension in which your dot in the sphere would be traveling and leaving a little trail.

    @Joe.Distort Gender is a social construct. I am a biological female. As such, society throws these gender roles at me. Dress pretty, wear makeup, blah blah blah. But I don't roll that way. I like working with my hands and playing in the dirt and reading comic books, which, yes, has blown people's minds before. My sister's friend thought it very funny and weird that I *gasp* played World of Warcraft. I very much love having a female body, but when it comes to gender roles, I prefer the male ones, or a mix of male and female roles. I tend to identify myself as a biologically female androgyne who is pansexual (meaning that I am sexually attracted to people of all sexes and gender identities. I like femme males & females as well as masculine males and females and adrogynous folk, etc. etc.). Also, some people have sexual preferences more strongly associated with gender than sex. For example, I have a friend who is attracted to anyone who is feminine, even if they are biologically male. She prefers a femme guy to a butch girl. I had a friend once who was born male, and eventually started undergoing transition to become female because she felt she was born in the wrong body (I'm using she here because 1) that's her preference and 2) the transition is complete), but this individual sexually liked females, so she identified as "a lesbian trapped in a male's body," because, even while "male," she identified with the female gender, and when crossdressing, she was one of the hottest women I knew. Passed with flying colors.

    @mercurialblonde Agreed, many genderqueer folk don't like the line concept, because many feel they lie outside of it, it's just, unfortunately, the easiest visual to produce (and make into a graph with other axes).

    I'd say more, but I'm actually currently in class (Critical Gender Studies, actually, haha). I do encourage everyone interested in this thread to check out GenderFork for more input on the topic from others who identify as queer in some form or another.
    • CommentAuthorRenThing
    • CommentTimeJan 12th 2011
     (9405.18)
    @joe.distort

    Gender is the social context/creation
    What you seem to be describing is "sex" which is typically thought to be the hard-ware you're currently sporting.
    • CommentAuthoricelandbob
    • CommentTimeJan 12th 2011
     (9405.19)
    Having said this, can you imagine a person who had a Gendersphere vector of (0,0,0), right smack bang in the middle, while travelling through the 4th time dimension?I wonder what sort of person that would be like?
  4.  (9405.20)
    then you guys would be right: i guess im purely talking about the 'sex' as split by that delineation, rather than gender. i was using the terms pretty much interchangebly.

    nevermind, then. its all good!

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