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boron
08-06-2010, 06:22 PM
What sounds better - "sex" or "gender" - in the health writing context (for American readers)?

Your daily calorie needs depend on your age, gender (sex), physical activity...

CaroGirl
08-06-2010, 06:24 PM
Sex.

"Gender" means something different that involves social roles and expectations rather than anatomy.

veinglory
08-06-2010, 06:30 PM
If you meant genetic and anatomical difference: sex. If you mean this as well as the social expectations, body image, diet, clothing etc that are sex-specific: gender.

defyalllogic
08-06-2010, 06:40 PM
sex

Medievalist
08-06-2010, 06:44 PM
Sex

CACTUSWENDY
08-06-2010, 06:44 PM
So, I'm a female as my sex, and ??? as my gender. Wife? Mother? Likes men? How do you reply as a 'gender'?

boron
08-06-2010, 06:44 PM
I was actually thinking gender is used only in grammar...but then I saw gender used on one Australian (http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Kilojoules_and_calories-explained) (gov!) and one American health website.

veinglory
08-06-2010, 06:47 PM
Gender is not only grammar, and government sites are not always well written. Some writers get all worked up about calling anatomical sex, sex, and female dogs bitches. But it is the most accurate word and I don't think readers are as dim and easily shocked as they are sometimes perceived.

katiemac
08-06-2010, 06:47 PM
So, I'm a female as my sex, and ??? as my gender. Wife? Mother? Likes men? How do you reply as a 'gender'?

Gender can be male, female, both, neither, somewhere in between.

Your sex is female and I'm guessing you'd identify female as your gender as well.

veinglory
08-06-2010, 06:48 PM
As can sex....

katiemac
08-06-2010, 06:48 PM
As can sex....

Right.

CaroGirl
08-06-2010, 06:52 PM
As can sex....
Yes, but that's far rarer than with gender. In terms of sex, there's male, female and versions of hermaphroditic characteristics that muddy the waters. Gender variations are more widespread and varied, and most definitely not rare.

RJK
08-06-2010, 07:08 PM
Virtually every form I've seen where descriptive information is requested, the word in that category is Sex. Sometimes with a checkbox for M or F. I've never seen a form asking what Gender I am.

veinglory
08-06-2010, 07:13 PM
I would note that sometimes with human data the word 'gender' is used instead of 'sex', because the participants represented themselves as being male or female--but there wasn't a physical check. However in general self-report is considered reliable.

Said The Sun
08-06-2010, 07:15 PM
Sex is always the answer.

boron
08-06-2010, 07:17 PM
gender on medical history forms (http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&biw=1600&bih=700&q=medical+history+form+gender&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=&gs_rfai=)

Medievalist
08-06-2010, 07:32 PM
So, I'm a female as my sex, and ??? as my gender. Wife? Mother? Likes men? How do you reply as a 'gender'?

We have four things conflated there:

Sex (biology)

Gender (psychology and language, and affected by biology but not biological)

Role (the various ways you relate to other people)

Sexual orientation (the persons you are attracted to sexually and emotionally)

Medievalist
08-06-2010, 07:36 PM
gender on medical history forms (http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&biw=1600&bih=700&q=medical+history+form+gender&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=&gs_rfai=)

Gender was used exclusively as a linguistic and social-psychological term until the 1960s in the U.S., where people apparently confused coitus with chromosomes.

Increasingly, sex has been treated as substitute for gender.

Medical literature tends to preserve the distinction more carefully.

PeterL
08-06-2010, 11:05 PM
Sex is much preferable. Gender was hijacked to mean something vaguely similar to "sex" not very long ago, and its efinition is so ill defined that the word sex often needs to be used also. Keep gender as the varieties of pronouns, and use sex when you mean the sex of an animal.

boron
08-07-2010, 06:06 PM
Increasingly, sex has been treated as substitute for gender.

Medical literature tends to preserve the distinction more carefully.

"Do you know how many calories you should get every day? The number recommended for you is based on your age, gender, height..."
American Heart Association (http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/FatsAndOils/TheDishwithDrEckel/The-Dish-Personal-Daily-Calorie-and-Fat-Limits_UCM_304896_Article.jsp)

I've got the impression gender is used in an attempt to be polite, less rough...

veinglory
08-07-2010, 06:16 PM
I would say so. But it is also significantly less accurate due to the broader and less clearly defined meaning of 'gender'.

Chase
08-07-2010, 06:35 PM
I've got the impression gender is used in attempt to be polite, less rough...

I think any gender between consenting adults is their business, although the rough gender you mention may get out of control and hurt more than . . . wait! Maybe "sex" would make more sense here.