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Noah Alston

WRTC 103

Professor Fielding

Rhetorical Analysis

Biology & Gender

For many people, the terms "gender" and "sex" are used interchangeably, and thus

incorrectly (Gender Is). In the society we live in today, gender is decided as soon a new born

baby enters the vast world, and even before that in some cases. However, todays society falsely

places sex and gender into the same category; todays society connects biology with gender,

which should not be done. Unlike sex, gender is not binary whatsoever. The complex

interrelationship between an individual's sex and one's internal sense of self as male, female,

both or neither as well as one's outward presentations and behaviors related to that perception

(Gender Is). This definition of gender from the Gender Spectrum, adequately explains exactly

how complex the concept of gender really is, and clearly, the majority of society cannot grasp it

at all. In the article, Gender Is Not Inherently Connected to Biology, written by the

organization Gender Spectrum, the distorted concept that gender is interchangeable with

sex, is challenged in all facets. The group effectively convinces the audience that biology and

gender are not connected in any way, in a variety of ways, but most apparently through

personally connecting with the audience using emotional appeal.

In this article, the author(s) try to convince the audience that gender is not connected to a

persons biological sex. They claim that gender is more than the binary concept that Western

culture has made it out to be. The binary concept of Western culture is one that limits society to

have only two choices of gender, male or female, when in reality the possibilities vary greatly.
Gender has a huge variety and one should not be confined to the two options that society gives

them. Gender Spectrum provides a multitude of very informative information on the gender

topic, with the goal that the audience will be become less assuming of ones gender. Topics such

as: the history of the gender spectrum, the variety of gender, and the acceptance of non-binary

individuals, are all included in the article.

The Gender Spectrum Organization is a group that helps create a gender sensitive and

inclusive environment for all children and teens (Gender Spectrum). They provide a wide array

of services including: books, training, and helpful information; all of which are designed to help

families, schools, and organizations with the difficult topic of gender. In this article, the group

effectively portrays this message by the way the article is written. They try to convince the

audience that biology is not connected to gender through explaining the ethics of how people

should be more sensitive towards people who do not fit in the binary genders, as well as

discussing the ethics that society should follow. This spectrum of anatomical variations by itself

should be enough to disregard the simplistic notions of a binary gender system.

The main point of the article is to convince the audience that biological sex and gender

are separate concepts often interchanged and misconstrued in modern society. The author(s)

argue that this cannot be true because even if gender is to be restricted to basic biology, a

biological concept still fails to capture the rich variation observed (Gender Is) such as in the

case of intersex persons. One can logically conclude that because there are even cases of innate

biological variation greater than either male or female that a binary concept does not account for

all possibilities. The article also disproves the rigid static model of gender roles and identities by

describing the change in gender conforming norms over time. For example, men wearing

earrings and women sporting tattoos are two examples of gender norms that have changed
overtime which exhibit the flexibility of gender concepts and lead the audience to deduce that

gender is a social construct as opposed to a (Gender Is). In addition, the article cites cultures in

which gender diversity is welcomed. The calabai, and calalai of Indonesia, two-spirit Native

Americans, and the hijra of India all represent more complex understandings of gender than

allowed for by a simplistic binary model (Gender Is). This further solidifies the point that

gender and sex are separate because there are real world examples of non-binary gender diverse


To bring this issue into perspective, the Gender Spectrum explains that those who are

cisgender, (people who are typically gendered), would never understand the daily struggles of a

gender nonconforming person because they never have to think about these things in a culture

that powerfully standardizes gender. Some examples are illustrated by the quote, Forms they fill

out, the clothing stores in which they shop, or identification papers they carry bring few if any

second thoughts (Gender Is). This allows the reader to see the world through the eyes of a

gender nonconforming person where simple everyday tasks cause a struggle. Yet for a

transgender or gender nonconforming person, each of these, and many more examples, are

constant reminders that they move about in a culture that really does not account for their own

experience (Gender Is). This evokes an emotional response out of the reader by highlighting a

population that is alienated and not accommodated for in todays culture.

Overall, Gender Spectrum does an exceptional job in its attempt to convince the audience

that biology is not connected to gender and explaining why the topic is so relevant in todays

society. With children being more exposed to topics like these, we should teach them the ethics

behind how to act about it. The number of people in the non-binary gender community, will
continue to grow as society becomes more accepting of the concept. Everyone has the right to be

the person that they truly are, and not be frowned upon.
Works Cited

Gender Spectrum. "Gender Is Not Inherently Connected to Biology." Gender Roles, edited by

Nol Merino, Greenhaven Press, 2014. Opposing Viewpoints. Opposing Viewpoints in


6. Accessed 5 Oct. 2017. Originally published as "Understanding Gender,", 2009.