Anonymous asked: This is the terminology!anon from before, I think I was confusing in my ask, these two friends don’t know each other, I understand terminology should always be tailored to each individuals needs, I was just wondering if it is *ever* okay to use male or female as purely scientific terms. I’m sure my friend who uses these terms wouldn’t do it against someones will, but I wasn’t sure if it was even appropriate in general.
Short answer: no, it’s not appropriate in general. Avoid using them if you can, except if you’ve been given permission to use the terms.
Long answer: If you work in a scientific or medical field, using male/female terminology is going to be much more difficult to avoid. If you apply words like male/female to animals who don’t care about worlds, none of the animals are going to be hurt by this, of course. But our brains learn by repetition, and so if you keep allowing yourself to refer to creatures with certain physical attributes as male or female, that just means that the thought pattern keeps being relearned.
So I find that there’s NO situation in which it is necessary to refer to anything or anyone as male or female, except when requested to do so by the person I’m talking about. What people often mean when they say “male” or “female” is “having a high-estrogen system” or “having mammary tissue” or “having erectile genitals large enough for penetrative sex” or “having sperm-producing gonads”. Many people even use male/female to mean things like “having a grandiose and horrifying sense of entitlement” or “having been trained to believe oneself worthless except for sex.” NONE of these implicit meanings are universal to all people to whom terms like “female-bodied” or “male-bodied” are (erroneously) applied.
So I find it worthwhile to train myself to say what I actually mean rather than falling back on (often cissexist) applications of the words “male” and “female.” It takes a lot of training, but it can be done.