Biological Essentialism

Biological Essentialism

(compound noun | essentialist, adjective, or noun when referring to people)

The idea that men and women have inherent, unique, and natural attributes that qualify them as not only their separate genders but oppositional in nature and in basic biology. This outdated understanding of sex conflates gender with biological sex. It also assumes that gender and sex are binary-based. It also completely erases the existence of intersex and non-binary individuals.

Essentialism is also sometimes used as a way to try and support transgender people, by trying to establish a “trans gene” or that trans people “have the brain of the opposite gender” etc., but even employed in this way, the idea still runs afoul of the actual science of human biology and our growing understanding of gender as a largely social construct. Sometimes called “gender essentialism.” 

e.g. Newman pointed out how the entire industry built around “gender reveal parties” was steeped in biological essentialism, which is why they’re such a prominent running joke in the trans community.

“Gender Reveal” Cake - The concept of the “gender reveal” is a unique look into the world of biological essentialism.

“Gender Reveal” Cake

The concept of the “gender reveal” is a unique look into the world of biological essentialism.

Further reading to gain expanded context:

Why We Don’t Need Brain Scans to Confirm Trans People Are Actually Trans | them.


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