ON THE WATER
NEELS BLOM: Hard-won victory for ‘gender’ has perplexing results
Race and gender — and whatever next humans invent in their desperate search for identity — are no more than social constructs
For the handful of perplexed people who anticipate SA’s Women’s Day this Thursday, the nominally neutral Swiss Agency for Development and Co-operation defines gender as a "socially constructed definition" of women and men that is not the same as sex meaning the biological characteristics of women and men. Gender, says the agency, is the "conception of tasks, functions and roles attributed to women and men in society and in public and private life" — a determination that would have seen my granny roll her eyes before getting on with the business of running her farm near Tonteldoos, high up in the Steenkampsberg. It is unwise to nit-pick about this. Your reporter had to learn the hard way that the preference for the word "gender" as opposed to "sex" when referring to the role differentiation between men and women was hard won by the second-wave feminists and that it would not be surrendered in the fourth wave to knuckle-dragging grammar Nazis. The consequences are nevertheless perplex...