No, Animals Do Not Have Genders

How do we know that gender is not simply a biological fact? What makes it cultural, rather than analogous to sex-differentiated behavior in animals?Photograph by Susanne Nilsson / Flickr

Animals do not have genders. And although this statement is universally accepted by those who study and theorize about gender, there is a lot of confusion about it among those who do not. 

The confusion stems from the fact that males and females of many species systematically behave in different ways. Perhaps the most basic example is the act of mating. To have different sexes in a species simply means to have different variants that make different-sized gametes (eggs and sperm, for example). This often means different body types adapted to getting these gametes together efficiently (like penises and vaginas). And these body types necessitate different mating strategies (like mounting and presenting).

In some parts of the animal kingdom, sexually

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