Analysing gender and sex using the integral framework

So the left are very focussed on gender being a construct and the right on it being biological. How would this fit in an integral lense?

I feel this video makes some good points to consider that it is more than just a construct …

Is a social construct coming from lower left or lower right? I feel it’s a lower left construct which green are pointing to the fact that it can be deconstructed.

Whichever it is coming from it shows that this is just a part of the puzzle as your biological sex is another component coming from the upper right quadrant and this needs to be included too.

Have i used the framework accurately to analyse this? I would love to hear peoples thoughts.

For me, integral means we can’t just accept what either the right or the left say on this matter, but break it all apart and look at things “as they are”.
First, we should separate gender and sexual attraction. For example, “gay” is not a gender.
The second thing is to separate cultural norms and expectations from biology. So for example, feminine behavior is not a gender.
The third thing is to separate cultural ceremonies and structures from gender. For example, marriage is 100% an invented social structure that has nothing to do with chromosomes on a biological level.

A penis is a biological form. We can call this biological form “male”. But a penis (male) doesn’t mean marriage to another person is a biological requirement of having a penis. Nor does having a penis require that I act “manly”, and then it also follows that having a penis does not require me to only use it in specific ways.
Now, I can hear a lot of uproar and confusion with this. Conservatives will say “See, so penis goes in the boys restroom and vagina goes into the girls restroom.” But bathroom separation is not a biological separation, but a cultural one. In my house and in most households, both vaginas and penises use the same restroom. There is no “penis toilet” and “vagina toilet” in my house or 99.99% of most houses. Guests who are both vaginas and penises use the same toilet. So separation of toilets and showers is not according to biology, but social norms.
Also, language is a social construct so pronouns are 100% sociological and 0% biological. Some languages don’t even use pronouns that much, or have gender neutral pronouns that do not mean a beast or inanimate object.
We can go through all kinds of examples, but the essence is that when conservatives say that they think gender is biological, they also include a lot that just isn’t biological at all in their debate such as pronouns, separate toilets, behavior, or preferred sexual interaction. So liberals react to this by taking the opposite position “it’s a construct”.

Here’s a graphic I made many years back that may help shine some light (though it could probably use some updates):

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I see according to the model I was conflating gender and sex in my post.
I’ll use the excuse that this weekend I had to fill out several government and insurance forms, and all of them asked for my gender and had only two options. The option “heteroflexible CIS-male attracted to the least amount of problems” wasn’t an option. :wink:
I seem to vaguely recall that at some point in time, the term gender replaced sex on bureaucratic forms because the word sex is naughty and caused children to giggle. I don’t know. Maybe there was another reason for it.
I suppose bureaucracy is a “subculture” in a way, with it’s own definitions and terms I never use anywhere else in the same way (like “White not of Hispanic origin”), and that there are also other subcultures that disagree amongst each other on definitions and roles.

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I feel that the redefinition of words is not constructive. The “heteroflexible CIS-male” Raybennett suggested to me was comical but right on point. Perhaps the better Integral way to communicate would be to leave the definition of words alone and establish new words that better encapsulate meanings. It’s not a matter of agreeing or disagreeing it’s only about understanding. That to me is the Integration needed to keep us sane and constructive through this transitional phase of our evolution.

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This is exactly what i needed thanks Corey. I could do with one of these maps for every political position. It would be worth doing i think.

Hey, if you liked that, you might love this one! Gun violence, in all four quadrants :wink:

(Scroll down this page to see it, beneath the main text):

One of the things that really piss me off about gender issues is that, as we continue fighting and arguing about it ad nausaum, we forget we are -first and foremost- HUMAN who just so happens to be male or female, gay or straight, black or white. We should fucking forget about gender and RACE as long as it takes until we really start learning what it means to be a fucking human being human- for Christ sake!
And in this respect, we still have a LOT to learn but we will never do so if we keep tormenting each other with endless arguments that go nowhere. And we should stop trying to find answers through all manner of Integral theories. You really want to know what it means to be human!? Go to a good psychotherapists and tell him your worst stuff as if you had a fucking gun to your head. THEN you will know just how deep being human really is. Until then, we are just masturbating with theories by talking ABOUT them to please our ego and our infatuation with ideas. Fuck theories! As Dr. Horney (horne-eye) said

Any sudden increase in interest over sex differences, therefore, must be regarded as a danger signal for women, particularly, in a patriarchal society where men find it advantageous to prove on biologic premises that women should not take part in shaping the economy and the political order. On these premises elaborate convictions serving the interests of masculine ideologies become strategical means of preserving masculine superiority in the economic and political world by convincing women that innately she is glad to keep out of it

Elsewhere she says

Once and for all we should stop bothering about what is feminine and what is not. Such concerns only undermine our energies. Standards of masculinity and femininity are artificial standards. All that we definitely know at present about sex differences is that we do not know what they are. Scientific differences between the two sexes certainly exist, but we shall never be able to discover what they are until we have first developed our potentialities as human beings. Paradoxical as it may sound, we shall find out about these differences only if we forget about them. In the meantime what we can do is to work together for the full development of the human personalities of all for the sake of general welfare

The above excerpts are from Dr. Bernard J Paris’s book Karen Horney: A Psychoanalyst’s Search for Self-Understanding
Appendix B Women’s Fear Of Action

Let’s stop worshipping it as the measure of all things. I’m sure Dr. Greuter would agree to it.


For clarity - are you venting about an experience you had elsewhere, or do you believe that in this discussion the participants are fighting and arguing?

To anyone interested in this topic I would recommend reading ‘Testosterone Rex’ by Cordelia Fine, winner of the Science book prize 2017.

When it comes to sex differences, rather than gender differences, analyses with more advanced analytical methods available to us today, combined with our greater understanding of cultural mechanisms, allow us to break down the outdated narrative science has given. I think the question always really comes down to understanding differences in the upper right quadrant (but with influences from other quadrants), because that’s from where all the arguments stem. I think people recognise that ‘feminine’ and ‘masculine’ qualities clearly exist within all of us to greater and lesser extents, and I’d say this has been understood by many throughout history, and by the majority in current times in the west.

The argument from people believing in concrete, absolute differences, as people have said in this thread, usually come back to biology and what is ‘natural’. Without that I think the other three quadrants would be based around gender identity instead, or on certain qualities creating multiple categories.

There are still psychological differences based on sex - but they’re far too small from which to be creating two categories of gender based on biology: E.g. 6 out of 10 men will tend to be more masculine than the average woman on a certain quality, and 6 out of 10 women will be more feminine than the average man on a certain quality.

I’m pissed off that Integral theory is not manifesting in the political/socioeconomic world we are living in.
If you could foresee in, say, in 10 years that we were going to have another major financial crisis that would end capitalism as we know it creating chaos, what would you do NOW to prevent it? Why is it that so many people do not give a rat’s ass about the food we eat, the rich getting richer, politicians who are puppets to the rich elite, endless dysfunction and corruption in politics, and the fallacies of our educational system?
And what about the middle and working class who are struggling with all manner of existential economic crisis as Trump used their fear and anger to storm the capital? Just how fucked up do we have to be before we do something about it? And how is possible that we still don’t have heath care? As a result of all this madness, it’s all too easy to take refuge in all manner of escapism hence not deal with these very serious problems. Whether it’s 24/7 entertainment, religion, video games, or Integral theories, the vast majority of the population are oblivious of the madness they see before their eyes. Normality is madness.

Why can’t Ken Wilber get out of his house and give talks around the world about our most pressing issues from an integral perspective but without the Integral jargon? Where are the Hannah Arendt’s, Carl Jung’s, and Freud’s of today? Why hasn’t the Integral movement created a documentary that can explain our dire existential dilemmas we presently find ourselves in as shown in Adam Curtis’s documentary?
Just watch the first two minutes- you can’t help but feel a tinge of existential angst.
This documentary and the subsequent films Adam created is not for the fainthearted. I’d like to see Wilber (instead of Corey) say something about these films instead of those Hollywood films Corey has been integra-lizing with quadrants and stages as if we are at a high school mentality.
I’d also like to see Susanne Cook Grueter -who apparently is the only one calling out the Integral community- candidly express her dire concerns about the future of Integral as she did years ago. Integralist need to be reminded that being too enamored with integral ideas is a serious mistake. I am not optimistic about the future and to believe integral is going to make a difference is an illusion if it continues an unexamined path. We should be mad as hell about the way the world is headed and I don’t see this anger in the integral community.

Ok I watched it. So the problem is the right see everything through an interior lense and the left from an exterior lense. Is the issue for the right that they are at magic or mythic stages which are 1st and second person and cant see third person yet? Is the problem with the left that they are modern and post modern stages which have transcended 1st, 2nd person I and WE and moved into 3rd person IT and ITS without being able to include and understand I and WE? So if that is the case the only real solution is an integral understanding.