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The Future of Gender
Jules Hamilton   Apr 13, 2016   Ethical Technology  

Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness, a classic sci-fi, and Nebula Award winner for best novel, is about descendants of the human race that, due to evolution, periodically alternate their genetic sex. Sometimes they’re male and sometimes they’re female; it’s an intriguing exploration on the role of culture and gender. The story’s protagonist is like you and me, a visiting alien trying to understand the customs of this other world. What is gender? And why is everyone talking about it so much right now?

“Masculine” and “feminine” are adjectives we use on a collection of cultural ideas of what constitutes traditional “male” and “female” attributes. However, possession of certain traits can be as fluid as our wardrobe. Genetic sex exists, but how a man and woman behaves is an expression of cultural gender roles (i.e. dominant and aggressive, or delicate and pretty). The gender question could be reconceived as “how do I want to be perceived?”

Gender is performative. It can become habitual behavior, but it is not inextricably linked to one’s genetic sex. The moment someone accepts that men and women don’t have to behave any particular way according to their genetic sex, the fluidity of gender will become clear. There will always be differences between men and women but gender will no longer be part of the conversation.

Gender is a major topic of conversation because people are struggling with identity crisis. People are still asking, “What does it means to be human?” and "What is human nature?” They want to know who they are. They ask themselves the question “Who am I?” Many of these people are unfamiliar with modern neuroscience and how it validates millennia of Buddhist theories about consciousness. The self is an illusion. You are the story you tell yourself. When enough people realize that identity is not an act of finding yourself but rather an act of creating yourself, the identity crisis will end.

The demarcation line between male and female qualities is blurring. Men like strong women, women like feminine men, and people like people. Biological evidence suggests that humans are naturally bisexual (maybe on a genetic spectrum) and society codifies our behavior. Many millennials and people of the following generation see strict labels and "defining concepts" as limiting and that they interfere with natural fluidity.

We will see more unisex bathrooms and even locker rooms in the future. More unisex products are being released already, like Pharrell Williams's cologne Girl. The internet’s spread of The Third Culture is helping stigma fade as people share solidarity, making us less uptight about biology, and more knowledgeable about nature and science.

 

Jules Hamilton is a Popperian fallibilist, skeptic, libertarian, polyamorous, transhumanist. A renaissance man, Jules launched himself on Kickstarter after graduating from NYU with a sci-fi film about neuroplastic surgery, the ability to customize minds. Then he became social media director of Siegelvision, working closely under branding legend Alan Siegel. Jules transitioned building his first company producing videos for Siegelvision, Tinder, Suitcase Magazine, Cornell University School of Engineering, and SXSW. He participated in the BAFTRA award winning UK reality show Made in Chelsea to spread information, co-founding culture & lifestyle blog Polyglamorous. Under his umbrella company Innomatic Studios he hosts a monthly panel The Futurist Sessions at NYC's SoHo House, speaking alongside entrepreneurs and philosophers, with alumni Zoltan Istvan and Gray Scott. Jules is a proud ambassador for A Generation Empowered and Lifespan.io.



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