To be able to criticise the gender system which creates the masculine and feminine sex role scripts while also making room for sex identity its necessary to separate femininity from woman and masculinity from man. There are those who have separated male from man and female from woman, but if the sense of being a man or a woman exists separate from the sexed body what is it and how can it be defined without masculinity and femininity.
To pin this down the experience of living in a male or female body needs to be thought about from an angle of living independant of the masculinity and femininity scripts and independent of how others treat you because of the sexed body.
Most people need to know the sex of the person to work out how to interact with them, and this is so they can refer to the social gender schema to take short cuts in the conversation. This results in a set of assumptions being made about what the person is interested in, how much each of you should talk, and also how you rate the person in terms of being likable or not likable. The very existence of sex based expectations leads to things that are seen as good in one sex seeing as negative in another, leading to some people needing to be seen more like the opposite sex to get people to register them different on their gender schema. We have an option of playing up to a widely held stereotype which is closer to how we want to be treated, examples are tomboys who may have some of the interests coded as male and if they can be registered as a tomboy and recognised that way then people are more likely to assume closer as to preferences of that person. The problem though is the push, because the sense of whats right and wrong based on sex is also in the social gender schema and this will lead to everyone gradually pushing the tomboy closer to the side of whats expected for their sex and further from their own interests. Humans whole social reward system is dependant on interaction and this results in a need for many to fit in and be accepted, and a feeling for many that the only way to get this need met is to be what they dont want. Over time a divide can be felt within by those who are giving too much of themselves up to fit with whats expected, and this can be felt as another self. All of this is a product of socially constructed masculinity and femininity, the problem is felt as interactional and based around how others treat you, its different depending on the company and also on how much energy reserves you have that day. Just existing as yourself feels depleting because your energy is dispersed by others in effect sending waves crashing in the opposite direction to what your ship is sailing, while others carry on the natural current, the current of the gender system.
Many are unaware there is a tide and instead think its their ship, its blamed directly on their sex. If only i had been born male, i would not be expected to look pretty, or to reproduce or to be so emotionally open and connected. I would have got to be seen as a free thinking independent minded person, whose opinions were listened to or at least debated, but never referred to as trivial or emotional or even irrational. If only i was male i would not have to deal with all this focus on my appearance, all they would care about is if i was tidy or not, they would not be looking at every tone in my hair, skin or even voice. If only i had been born male i would not be expected to be so emotionally tuned in, i would be able to tune out and navigate the world with a blank face and no one expecting me to smile. If only i had been born male i could navigate the world virtually unseen, but never unheard if i choose to speak. If only i had been born male i could be laughed at when im joking and not laughed at when im being serious as oppose to the reverse. If only i had been born male i would have been a great person in everyones eyes. If only i had been born male i would not be seen as the vehicle for the next generation, the world would be my stage until the day i died.
All the above is clearly to do with the social gender schema, nothing in it is about biology at all, yet all these things if blamed on sex and not on society, by those unaware this is sexism at work can end up with sex identity issues. Many trans people have social role issues more than biology issues, its the need to be treated in a certain way, one more inline with who they are inside. The problem is that different way of treating the sexes is a command not a service, an imposition not a thing one gets much say in. Its based around ideas about not just what the sexes are but what they should be doing because of it. It is based on the idea women are the nurturers and the ornaments, their role is expressive and for this reason they are meant to be expressive emotionally in communication and expressive decorative on their body, they are to tone down their instrumentality i.e functionality. This ranges from body functions, things that make the body more functional like muscles and functional clothing and thinking and doing stuff. The creations of women are not expected to shape the outer world, they are to be service orientated towards people as opposed to systemising and technical. A big personality and interest clash with ones sex role will leave one feeling like they are emotionally exhausted from all the expected interaction, they need more space and they just need to be able to achieve something instrumental and find so much of what they are is coded as masculine in culture, a need arises to form a self that will enclose all they are to some degree and protect them from all they are expected to be. Like it would be great to get away with less interaction, more action and have people see what you do rather than be still there wondering why you’re ignoring them. Like the wish to just walk in say hi and get to work, in much the same way men can if they want without people making assessments as to mood etc. The basic problem lies in the instrumental vs expressive role expectations based on sex.
If all this was to vanish and the entire domain of human interaction on all levels was free from masculine and feminine coding, what would it mean to be a man or a woman then, right and wrong would be based on whats against the law at the time and also whats harmful. How everyone sees everyone would be transformed overnight, like the woman who has 3 kids and her male partner does all the housework and cares for them while she works 80 hours a week, suddenly she would be transformed from selfish power obsessed to a great provider and hard working person and he would be transformed from a downtrodden “mangina” to an homemaker and great parent. The woman who slept with 10 men in a month will be no different from the man who slept with 10 women in a month, how they’re viewed would depend on how one views the behaviour itself rather than who does it and the situation the behaviour takes place in.
At this point we will find people dressing and acting in a range of ways regardless of sex, and these ways won’t be boxed along a gender spectrum or even traced back to a notion of one way belonging to one sex or vice versa.
Biological sex will still be a factor though, and the limits of the biological vehicle itself and of the cultural tools available to it will determine its experience. At present cultural tools that enhance biology get sexed, like men running fast on concrete for example, this would not be without modern trainers people forget that when they point out women need breast support to run, we all need various aids to run because humans did not do much running historically unless they needed to flee and not on concrete. Men needed cultural tools to play sport, many which were denied to women, most of the male role is done with tools and requires still not aggression. Even wars are fought with skill and have been since humans took to using weapons over fists. All crafts and trades used tools, things that don’t come pre packaged in little boys and many not out of the physical ability of a woman, infact children historically have done a lot of the work. Biologically speaking males and females are both born with equal capacity to do the work allocated to women, as a lot of the female role requires less cultural tools and the instrument is the womans own body, communication and emotional expression for example. Both sexes are also born with the ability to display the personality traits associated with men, like using the thinking mind to use tools. There has been no justifiable reason for womens oppression throughout history, no material need for womens oppression. There have been times when men and women needed to do different tasks, but never the need to remove bodily rights from women and make them property. The work of yesterdays women involved making their own clothes with the basic tools they had, and various other things which is by nature more skilled than what the average office working man does today. Even if women were stupid in relation to men, which is not the case there would be no need to have oppression system we have because the skill level of most jobs is well below the average intelligence and has been for some time. The level of physical strength needed for higher profile jobs is lower and always has been, so if jobs were matched to ability there would be more women in those jobs. The whole class system would turn on its head without sex roles.
For sex identity to continue to exist independent of the ever changing roles, it has to be an interaction between mind and sexed body. What we know now as masculine and feminine would dissolve into a sea of humans who have a mix of instrumentality and expressiveness. Through the eyes of someone of today it may be possible to see females who appear to be like what we consider today as masculine, by that i mean they choose fitted functional clothes made of thicker fabrics with less detail on them, and they are less ornamental, active people who like to do physical jobs and are free spirited. In these times many things may be cast aside as no longer useful, other things will emerge and looking at humanity from a different angle will lead to a lot of changes. Say it worked out that the average woman was 45% instrumental and 65% expressive and the average man was 65% instrumental and 45% expressive just as the average man is taller than the average woman, this would not be translated to gender because the definition of masculine and feminine would be removed from instrumental and expressive. Height varies and only gets noticed as an anomaly if a man is very short, or a woman is very tall and even then its not automatically translated to masculinity and femininity, its put down to genes.
In these times the word man or woman will mean nothing more than adult male or female and transitioning will be purely biological. The sexes will look different as they do now, but may not want to spend every day of their lives pointing out those differences or more importantly expecting other people do.
This is what i think a post gender system world will be like.
How sex would be seen
Most humans are either male or female, the human race evolved to reproduce and those whose biology goes in the direction of either male or female are more likely to develop into adults capable of reproduction. Hormones and genes lead biology in the direction it heads in, other directions in biology other than male or female are possible, these rarely lead to adults capable of reproduction.
The trans experience
There are some humans who think their biology went in the wrong direction and wish to intervene to reshape their biology more inline with the direction they think they should be on. Cross sex hormones, hormone blockers and in some cases surgeries. No change in the way ones lives or acts is required, and only reason to transition today are purely biological
The assigning of things to people based on sex has ended, no concepts of masculine or feminine exist now, outside of physical male or female form. There is no expected modes of appearance, behaviour, expression, interests, jobs or sexual expression coded as for males or females. All things that ever existed still exist, there is still pink things and blue things and things in other colours too, though no two colours dominate for any reason other than current trends. No sex based fashions or products exist outside things needed for biologically based differences. Even down to underwear, sexes have things that fit their anatomy in various fabrics and colours. More things are unisex. Its not assumed things made for females have to be finer fabrics or pretty.
Peoples speech patterns are similar with little sex based variation, words used and subjects talked about are no different based on sex, facial expressions are also no different based on sex.
Its no longer assumed a persons sex is an indicator of who they will want to sleep with, for this reason identities around sexual preference are less common
An increasing number of places are stopping using terms he or she completely and going for options that just refer to them rather than linking to their sex all the time. This is due to the fact that these days its so hard to tell them apart. Most people now see themselves as people who just happen to be male or female or other, as opposed to seeing themselves as men or women and having a big identity around their junk
It still remains a mystery as to why some people are attracted to a certain physical sex, why some think their biology went in the wrong direction and they wish to change it, and also why we get people who are more interested in function and practicality and others willing to compromise both in the name of style. Biological sex or sex identity is no longer used as a way of making sense of it though.