This paper explores the concept of “gendered seeing”: the capacity to visually perceive another person's gender and the role that one's own gender plays in that perception. Assuming that gendered properties are actually perceptible, my goal is to provide some support from the philosophy of perception on how gendered visual experiences are possible. I begin by exploring the ways in which sociologists and psychologists study how we perceive one's sex and the implications of these studies for the sex/gender distinction. I then discuss feminist philosopher Linda Alcoff's concept of “interpretative horizons,” which highlights the role that one's social and political identities play in how we understand the world around us. I also discuss Elizabeth Grosz's notion (borrowed from Merleau-Ponty) of double sensation. I then apply some work in the philosophy of perception on perceptual learning and the cognitive penetration of perception to gendered seeing. My hypothesis is that we can explain how one's interpretative horizons are acquired through some notion of perceptual learning. I conclude by suggesting some of the epistemic and ethical implications of gendered seeing.
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