In whether the person is a boy or a

In order to make a human baby, a
male’s sperm must fuse with a female’s egg. This establishes a clear boundary
of sex. But that does not mean there is a clear boundary of gender. Gender is
defined as being male or female in a socially or culturally constructed manner,
as opposed to sex which is defined as being male or female biologically, but
many use them interchangeably. This cookie-cutter representation of female or
male could be leaving some individuals left out and will be the main topic of
this essay. I believe being labeled as a man or a woman is not genetically

In a “typical” human there are 44
autosomes and either two X chromosomes or an X and a Y chromosome. Just one
chromosome determines whether the person is a boy or a girl. What exactly does
it take to be a man or a woman. For a man, they must have a working penis and
testes, have the correct chemicals/hormones, and two X chromosomes, plus lack
the traits that women have. To be a woman you need the correct
chemicals/hormones, working ovaries, a uterus, working mamillary glands, and an
X and Y chromosome, plus lack the traits men have. In 1988, Maria Patino was
ready to leave for the Olympics on Spain’s Olympic team for women’s hurdles but
she needed a DNA test to confirm her femininity even though you could tell from
looking at her that she was indeed female. Test results came back showing a Y
chromosome in her cells. She did not have ovaries or a uterus and her labia hid
testes within. Even though she had a woman’s strength, looked like a woman, and
always thought of herself as a woman, she was kicked off the team
(Fausto-Sterling 1). According to the criteria of being a woman, she does not
match as one.

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 Now what if you lack one of these sex
chromosomes? “Turner syndrome, also referred to as monosomy X (45X) occurs in
individuals that have one X chromosome, no Y chromosome, and are phenotypically
female” (WHO). In addition, they have abnormal growth patterns, are short, lack
prominent female secondary sex characteristics (e.g. breast size, hip size),
and are sterile. Those with Turner syndrome are phenotypically female but fail
to confine to the criteria of being a woman. Is it correct to call them a
female based on the way they look or how they are genetically made up?

Another controversial genetic
dilemma is hermaphroditism. True hermaphroditism being “a genetic condition in
which affected individuals have both mature ovarian and testicular tissue”
(WHO). It occurs from autosomal inheritance and implies sex chromosomes are not
the only chromosomes able to affect sexual traits.

Furthermore, in Steven Pinker’s
paper on gender, there is a list of fundamental differences between men and
women. Men have larger brains with more neurons, are more likely to compete
violently, prefer no-strings attached sex, have a greater ability to visualize
three-dimensional objects, and have a higher pain tolerance. While women have a
stronger connection to basic emotions, have more intimate social relationships,
maintain eye contact more often, have more gray matter, more sensitive to
sounds and smells, and are more dexterous (Pinker 344-348). So, if a man falls
under the “criteria of a man” including every possible trait of being a man
like being better at math than a woman, should he truly be identified as a man?
Is there a manliest man? If there is, every other man would not actually be a
man. Therefore, I do not believe genetics plays a role in defining man or

To conclude, there are genetic
discrepancies that cannot label a person as man or woman. Whether it is
adding/deleting a sex chromosome or adding/deleting sex traits of a biological
man or woman, genetics does not determine being a woman or being a man.