An update on the Ada Initiative
Posted Jan 17, 2012 16:40 UTC (Tue) by nybble41 (subscriber, #55106)
No, they're not. Even when speaking of people, there are feminine males and masculine females--people who are biologically male, but express more than the average/expected degree of feminine gender traits, and visa-versa.
Of course, it's generally not an all-or-nothing proposition, but rather a continuum. Most people display at least some gender traits contrary to their sex, while in a few rare cases sex and gender are completely at odds with each other.
"Male" and "female" are biological traits (though even at this level not all cases are perfectly clear-cut). "Masculine" and "feminine" are derived classifications based on physiological traits, behaviors, psychology, and perhaps other factors. There is a strong correlation, to be sure, but they are far from being synonyms.
Posted Jan 17, 2012 18:45 UTC (Tue) by dgm (subscriber, #49227)
Masculine and feminine are adjectives, while male and female are usually nouns. And that's all.
Posted Jan 17, 2012 20:00 UTC (Tue) by giraffedata (subscriber, #1954)
Male and female are primarily adjectives. I believe it is a recent invention to use them as nouns; we used to say "man" and "woman" where we say "male" and "female" now. I even heard once that calling a man a male is special to American English.
I never heard a distinction between gender and sex before now, but I like it. There are two things to discuss and two words; it makes sense to use one for each. The history and common usage also matter of course; I don't know much about that.
There is a world of difference between masculine and male. I've never heard of a masculine connector or a feminine hamster.
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