I watched an episode of House called “Skin Deep” last night, and instead of having to look for potential meta-messages, I found the message right in the dialog: “the ultimate woman is a man.”
House is treating a 15 year old female supermodel who turns out to be chromosomally male. Don’t ask me about the science: according to this website about intersex conditions, the science was wrong and offensive, anyway. But to give you the story’s context, House talks about how we all begin as female, and then the Y chromosome differentiates male fetuses, but sometimes it doesn’t work. In this case, the compensatory estrogen had created an astoundingly perfect woman from genes designed for a male. In addition to looking perfect, she was described as never getting angry, and she’d made a habit of sleeping with men in order to guilt them into letting her have her way.
The ultimate female stereotype, then, is a man.
The writers’ intent was, I believe, to point out how very thin the line between male and female biology is (true enough), which is the traditional counterpoint to the argument that men and women are biologically destined to think and behave differently. The character in the story was a woman (and a stereotypical one) because that’s what she’d made of herself, biologically and behaviorally.
Even in physiology, gender is not a black and white determinant of what we are, want, believe or can do.