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Gender and Sexuality in Contemporary Paganisms – Part 2

By Yvonne Aburrow

Psychologically speaking, sex and gender are two different things: sex is your biological characteristics (chromosomes and genitalia) and gender is your psychological role – in which case there are as many genders as there are people. Many Pagan deities do not fit into patriarchal gender stereotypes. And now that we are emerging from the era of patriarchy, women and men are finding that they do not have to conform to the narrow and shallow definition of male and female purveyed by patriarchal traditions.

It has been pointed out by some feminists (e.g. Judith Butler) that sex is also socially constructed, given that we do not have to divide the world into the two categories of male and female, and that women’s and men’s bodies are differently developed according to gender stereotypes (e.g. men are encouraged to develop their muscles, and women are not).

Lou Hart (2005) has explored a variety of models of gender from other societies, and concluded that the conflation of sex and gender is a peculiarly Western idea. For example, in some societies, you could be a woman-man (woman living as a man), a man-woman (man living as a woman), cross-gendered (in modern terms, a gender-blender), a man, or a woman.

As we have seen, people’s theological stance can affect their views of gender. There are various models available in magical discourse.

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