Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Future of gender

Futuristically, in the memescape and world of ectogenesis, gender theoretically has less meaning. In the memosphere, only good memes matter, not their source. In digital metaverse worlds, avatar gender is irrelevant for actualization and collaboration activities (though highly relevant for some other activities), congruity between avatar gender and operator gender would be relevant to some operators and irrelevant to others. In many ways in the present physical world, gender should be irrelevant but results in incorrect bias as Malcolm Gladwell points out in "Blink."

Our current understanding of gender and gender development is still rudimentary but being elucidated with some recent medical research.

Gender is even more divisive than race and ethnicity. It is generally only socially acceptable to be male or female. Medical research documents that 1-2% of the population displays some sort of intersexing, a logical and expected phenomenon of biological variation and natural selection. Intersexing is an incongruency in the six levels of how gender is expressed in a person.

Science writer Deborah Rudacille in "The Riddle of Gender: Science, Activism, and Transgender Rights" articulates the six levels of human gender expression and their possible values: Chromosomal (XX, XY, XXY, XYY, etc.), Gonadal (testicles, ovaries or a mix or testicular/ovarian tissue), endocrine (dominance of androgen or estrogen), Morphological (body shape, body fat distribution and facial hair), Genital (penis, vagina, varied stages of formation of both or neither) and Gender Identity - how someone is sexed in the brain, perceives his/her gender.

Formerly, the practice was for the parents to select a gender category with attendant medical treatment for intersexed children early in life. The practice of letting the child grow up and decide to be male/female/other with attendant medical treatment is now realized to be more humane. Intersexed or transgendered persons are trying to have GID (Gender Identity Disorder), as it is now termed, removed from the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) and reclassified from a psychological disorder to a physiological condition. Homosexuality was removed from the DSM in 1974.

Interestingly, the emerging gender research has also found that genes may sex the brain in the first few weeks of embryonic development as opposed to at the 2 month mark when the default female fetus is bathed in androgens if the baby is to be male.

As people start to believe that gender is heavily based in physiology, and gender becomes increasingly less important and unseen in our physical and digital world activities, gender will have less relevance in that sphere of great human import - idea formation.


Running2Ks said...

I think you are dead-on right about this.

One of the fun things about people using pseudonyms (and no pictures) in writing is that sometimes I don't know what gender someone is. Or race, or anything. And I like that it doesn't matter. Good writing is good writing.

LaBlogga said...

Thank you for your comment, running2ks, I think anonymity and changeability of identity will allow us to focus more on the value of the content rather than valuing content based on presentation.