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Young identifies two broad groups of such practico-inert objects andrealities. First, phenomena associated with female bodies (physicalfacts), biological processes that take place in female bodies(menstruation, pregnancy, childbirth) and social rules associated withthese biological processes (social rules of menstruation, forinstance). Second, gender-coded objects and practices: pronouns, verbaland visual representations of gender, gender-coded artefacts and socialspaces, clothes, cosmetics, tools and furniture. So, women make up aseries since their lives and actions are organised around female bodiesand certain gender-coded objects. Their series is bound togetherpassively and the unity is “not one that arises from theindividuals called women” (Young 1997, 32).

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The social construction of reality is a theme widely debated among the scholars of various hues

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More recently, Mikkola (2011) has argued that the sex/gender distinction,which underlies views like Rubin's and MacKinnon's, has certainunintuitive and undesirable ontological commitments that render thedistinction politically unhelpful. First, claiming that gender issocially constructed implies that the existence of women and men is amind-dependent matter. This suggests that we can do away with womenand men simply by altering some social practices, conventions orconditions on which gender depends (whatever those are). However,ordinary social agents find this unintuitive given that (ordinarily)sex and gender are not distinguished. Second, claiming that gender isa product of oppressive social forces suggests that doing away withwomen and men should be feminism's political goal. But this harboursontologically undesirable commitments since many ordinary socialagents view their gender to be a source of positive value. So,feminism seems to want to do away with something that should not bedone away with, which is unlikely to motivate social agents to act inways that aim at gender justice. Given these problems, Mikkola arguesthat feminists should give up the distinction on practical politicalgrounds.

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To illustrate further the idea-construction of sex, consider thecase of the athlete Maria Patiño. Patiño has femalegenitalia, has always considered herself to be female and wasconsidered so by others. However, she was discovered to have XYchromosomes and was barred from competing in women's sports(Fausto-Sterling 2000b, 1–3). Patiño's genitalia were atodds with her chromosomes and the latter were taken to determine hersex. Patiño successfully fought to be recognised as a femaleathlete arguing that her chromosomes alone were not sufficientto not make her female. Intersexes, like Patiño,illustrate that our understandings of sex differ and suggest that thereis no immediately obvious way to settle what sex amounts to purelybiologically or scientifically. Deciding what sex is involvesevaluative judgements that are influenced by social factors.

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Elizabeth Spelman (1988) has influentially argued against genderrealism with her particularity argument. Roughly: gender realistsmistakenly assume that gender is constructed independently of race,class, ethnicity and nationality. If gender were separable from, forexample, race and class in this manner, all women would experiencewomanhood in the same way. And this is clearly false. For instance,Harris (1993) and Stone (2007) criticise MacKinnon's view, that sexualobjectification is the common condition that defines women's gender,for failing to take into account differences in women's backgroundsthat shape their sexuality. The history of racist oppressionillustrates that during slavery black women were‘hypersexualised’ and thought to be always sexuallyavailable whereas white women were thought to be pure and sexuallyvirtuous. In fact, the rape of a black woman was thought to beimpossible (Harris 1993). So, (the argument goes) sexualobjectification cannot serve as the common condition for womanhood since it varies considerably depending on one's race and class.[]

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Social construction of gender - Wikipedia

Witt's gender essentialist argument crucially pertains to socialindividuals, not to persons or human beings: saying that personsor human beings are gendered would be a category mistake. But why isgender essential to social individuals? For Witt, social individualsare those who occupy positions in social reality. Further,“social positions have norms or social roles associated withthem; a social role is what an individual who occupies a given socialposition is responsive to and evaluable under” (Witt 2011a,59). However, qua social individuals, we occupy multiplesocial positions at once and over time: we can be women, mothers,immigrants, sisters, academics, wives, community organisers andteam-sport coaches synchronically and diachronically. Now, the issuefor Witt is what unifies these positions so that asocial individual is constituted. After all, a bundle ofsocial position occupancies does not make for an individual (just as abundle of properties like being white, cube-shapedand sweet do not make for a sugar cube). For Witt, thisunifying role is undertaken by gender (being a woman or a man): itis

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Catharine MacKinnon develops her theory of gender as a theory ofsexuality. Very roughly: the social meaning of sex (gender) is createdby sexual objectification of women whereby women are viewed andtreated as objects for satisfying men's desires (MacKinnon1989). Masculinity is defined as sexual dominance, femininity assexual submissiveness: genders are “created through theeroticization of dominance and submission. The man/woman differenceand the dominance/submission dynamic define each other. This is thesocial meaning of sex” (MacKinnon 1989, 113). For MacKinnon,gender is constitutively constructed: in defining genders (ormasculinity and femininity) we must make reference to social factors(see Haslanger 1995, 98). In particular, we must make reference to theposition one occupies in the sexualised dominance/submission dynamic:men occupy the sexually dominant position, women the sexuallysubmissive one. As a result, genders are by definitionhierarchical and this hierarchy is fundamentally tied to sexualisedpower relations. The notion of ‘gender equality’, then,does not make sense to MacKinnon. If sexuality ceased to be amanifestation of dominance, hierarchical genders (that are definedin terms of sexuality) would cease to exist.