[DWJ] Any number of threads (composite response)

Jadwiga Zajaczkowa / Jenne Heise jenne at fiedlerfamily.net
Thu Apr 19 13:38:39 EDT 2007


> >Nope.  Shakespeare used it of the sexual act, between amphibians.  Don=
't
> >ask me where, but something was for them "to knot and gender in".
>=20
> Yes, but that was as a verb, "gender-short-for-engender" meaning
> "copulate", not in the sense of "which gender is that person" as oppose=
d to
> "which sex is that person".

Curiously, the OED connects gender with genre=20

"({sm}d{zh}{ope}nd{schwa}(r))  [a. OF. gen(d)re (F. genre) =3D Sp. and Pg=
.=20
genero, It. genere, ad. L. gener- stem form of genus race, kind =3D Gr.=20
{gamma}{geacu}{nu}{omicron}{fsigma}, Skr. j=E1nas:{em}OAryan *genes-, f.=20
root {gamma}{epsilon}{nu}- to produce; cf. KIN.]=20

    {dag}1. Kind, sort, class; also, genus as opposed to species. the=20
general gender: the common sort (of people). Obs."

and with the masculine/feminine/neuter qualities of language/grammar:

"   2. Gram. Each of the three (or in some languages two) grammatical=20
.kinds., corresponding more or less to distinctions of sex (and absence=20
of sex) in the objects denoted, into which substantives are=20
discriminated according to the nature of the modification they require=20
in words syntactically associated with them; the property (in a n.) of=20
belonging to, or (in other parts of speech) of having the form=20
appropriate to concord with, a specified one of these kinds. Also, the=20
distinction of words into .genders., as a principle of grammatical=20
classification."

It also defines gender as:

  3. transf. Sex. Now only jocular.
1387-8 T. USK Test. Love II. iii. (Skeat) 13 No mo genders been there=20
but masculine, and femynyne, all the remnaunte been no genders but of=20
grace, in facultie of grammer. c1460 Towneley Myst. xxx. 161 Primus=20
demon. Has thou oght writen there of the femynyn gendere? 1632 MARMION=20
Holland's Leaguer III. iv, Here's a woman! The soul of Hercules has got=20
into her. She has a spirit, is more masculine Than the first gender.=20
1709 LADY M. W. MONTAGU Let. to Mrs. Wortley lxvi. 108 Of the fair=20
sex..my only consolation for being of that gender has been the assurance=20
it gave me of never being married to any one among them. 1896 Daily News=20
17 July 6/4 As to one's success in the work one does, surely that is not=20
a question of gender either.

but agrees that the use of the term gender, as opposed to sex, is:

"  b. In mod. (esp. feminist) use, a euphemism for the sex of a human=20
being, often intended to emphasize the social and cultural, as opposed=20
to the biological, distinctions between the sexes."

Which seems to be an interesting division, having documented the use of=20
gender for sex before 1900, then claiming that such modern usage is=20
either jocular or euphemistic.=20

Curiously the  OED does not=20
associate the word "sex" as a noun with sexual intercourse except in=20
passing and after 1929: "b. Sexual=20
intercourse. Freq. in phr. to have sex (with). 1929 D. H. LAWRENCE=20
Pansies 57 If you want to have sex, you've got to trust At the core of=20
your heart, the other creature."

Whereas it mentions the sex act and sex activity by 1887.=20

Very odd.=20

The American/scholarly attitude is described by the The American=20
Heritage=AE Book of English Usage:

"Traditionally, writers have used the term Gender to refer to the=20
grammatical categories of masculine, feminine, and neuter, as in=20
languages such as French or Spanish whose nouns and adjectives carry=20
such distinctions. In recent years, however, more people have been using=20
the word to refer to sex-based categories, as in phrases such as gender=20
gap (as in voting trends) and politics of gender. Anthropologists=20
especially like to maintain a distinction between the terms Gender and=20
sex, reserving sex for reference to the biological categories of male=20
and female and using Gender to refer to social or cultural categories,=20
such as different gender roles in a religious organization. According to=20
this distinction, you would say The effectiveness of the treatment=20
appears to depend on the sex (not Gender) of the patient but In society,=20
gender (not sex) roles are clearly defined. A majority of the Usage=20
Panel approves of this distinction, but opinions are mixed. In a=20
sentence similar to the first one above, 51 percent choose sex, 31=20
percent choose gender, and 17 percent would allow both. Similarly, for=20
the example Sex/gender differences are more likely to be clearly defined=20
in peasant societies, 47 percent prefer Gender, 38 percent would use=20
sex, and 15 percent would allow both words."

Certainly, in doing scholarly searches, the use of the term gender for=20
biological categorization of sexual dimorphism avoids confusion with the=20
genres or kinds of sex act or sexual activity, since gender is generally=20
NOT used to describe the sex act. A classic case of Humpty-Dumptyism, I=20
suppose.

--=20
-- Jadwiga Zajaczkowa, Knowledge Pika jenne at fiedlerfamily.net=20
"I thought you might need rescuing . . . We have a bunch of professors=20
wandering around who need students." -- Dan Guernsey



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