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For the last 10-15 years, the word "gender" has been supplanting the word "sex". Originally the words had two different meanings. Gender was an attribute of a noun, sex of an animal or person.

It baffled me for a long time. I knew it wasn't because we had become more prudish. Finally I figured out that it came from the feminist notion that gender is a social construct. If it's a social construct, a term from linguistics makes more sense than a term from biology.

I am reminded of this new-fangled usage whenever I go to get a prescription filled. (As I did Friday). At the pharmacist counter they carry a number of different pregnancy-related products. One of them is a product called "Intelligender" which is (these are the words on the box) a "gender prediction test".

And every time I see that product I realize how stupid this new usage is. Because really, how much socialization goes on in the womb?


I never say gender in reference to a person. Languages have genders. People have sexes.