Sex vs. Gender: Mooroo creates a guide to understanding the difference

In a recent episode of Mooroo ke Khyalaat, Taimoor Salahuddin explains the difference between sex and gender, and the role of nature and nurture

By Farheen Abdullah

KARACHI: Sex and gender are terms which are often used interchangeably. However, the two are very different. Sex refers to one’s biology and genetic makeup, while gender is the product of one’s surroundings and the behaviours expected of a particular person. Heard of gender reveal parties? Yeah, those need to be renamed to ‘sex reveal’ parties. A recent episode of Mooroo Ke Khyalaat aims to highlight the same difference in a rather simplistic way.

While the show is titled “Mooroo’s thoughts”, the Youtuber mostly used science and research to back up his claims and perhaps played it safe by not giving too many of his own opinions.

Here is a gist of what Mooroo Ke Khyalaat addressed in the episode ‘Sex vs. Gender’:

Sex and genetics

Almost like a guide for children, Mooroo’s video simplifies the definition of sex and gender and breaks them down for better understanding. He explains that sex refers to the genetic profile of a person and the formation of sperm or ovum. However, there is no set pattern for a person’s genetic makeup and different variations may exist amongst humans.

Another contributing factor is the chromosome. While females own a combination of XX chromosome, and males have XY chromosomes, combinations of XYY, XXX and XXY is also common. This is not to say that a particular combination is the best or ‘normal’ one and all other variations are to be disregarded. For at the end of the day, we are all humans, each imperfect in their own way and no one is superior to the other. The episode also addresses intersex individuals, people who do not fit into definite ‘male’ or ‘female’ categories.

Gender identity

While sex is a part of a person’s nature, gender is nurtured and learned. Even before a child is born, we associate particular colours with his or her sex and expect the child to grow up and conform to our expectations. Gender stereotypes and gender roles are associated to the child to form his or her gender identity. However, it is not essential that a person’s physiology corresponds with how they perceive themselves. How they feel is entirely up to the person, and what they choose to wear, or how they choose to express their emotions should not be defining of their masculinity or femininity.

Toxic masculinity

In a momentarily snide remark, Mooroo boasts about his reproductive organ and its ability to prove that he is a ‘man’. He then (humorously) describes himself as a rough and tough man, one who has ‘daishat’ (is intimidating). Then another version of Mooroo appears symbolizing the epitome of toxic masculinity. He wears chains, has his shirt unbuttoned from the top, is overly obsessed with the testosterone running through his veins, and thinks saying ‘gender is a social construct’ is bullshit.

Natural abilities

The main purpose of the video seems to be to prove that each human is unique and gifted in their own way, and that there is no competition for one sex to be better than the other. Mooroo uses science to talk about the strengths and shortcomings of both, men and women. While men are better at aiming and throwing, women have better hearing abilities, are better are recognizing emotions and have better memory. Women are also better at reading and writing. However, the point is not to put people against each other, but to applaud each in their own capacity.

The 17-minute long episode of Mooroo Ke Khyalaat simplifies many concepts, such as what is feminism and entirely avoids the discussion on sexuality. Honestly, good for him because these are complicated topics and there is no one right way of addressing them. Mooroo probably does not even have the authority to speak on these topics.

Through a simple and short video, Mooroo managed to convey a few important things to his viewers, who will hopefully make use of the knowledge.

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