Phi Beta Cons

Sociology: The Silliest Science?

A winner in the unintentional satire contest is an article on Inside Higher Ed describing a discussion among sociologists about how many and what kind of genders to include on a form. After reading it, it’s hard to imagine ever taking any sociologist seriously again. Included is a recommendation that you need to have separate categories for “transgendered” and “transsexual” because “transsexual people and transgender people ‘have not always appreciated being lumped into the same category.’”

Here is a list of the options for one potential form:

  • Cis [a sociological term for someone whose gender identity matches his or her anatomical gender at birth]:
    • Female
    • Male
  • Trans:
  • [Woman born in a male body]
  • [Man born in a female body]
  • Transgender
  • No gender
  • _______________
  • Prefer not to answer

This type of absurdity is what you get when the participants in the discussion include “a moderator of the Social (In)Queery blog who is completing a postdoctorate at Princeton University and will be an assistant professor of sociology and studies of women, gender, and sexuality at Harvard University in 2014,” and she seems no sillier than the others.


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