Could one use 'cortar' here instead and which is more common and where (Spain vs South America)?
Grammatical gender does not correspond with biological gender. "Ese" and "esa" do not have sexist connotations. In grammar, you use neuter words like "eso" when you don't know what the object is, what its gender (not biological gender!) is, or when you are referring to an idea or situation.
This is hard for English speakers to grasp since English has not had gendered words for many centuries, but you'll get there!
If you want to read more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grammatical_gender
Perhaps grammatical and biological gender don't respond, but they do significantly influence one another. For example: psychologytoday.com/blog/culture-conscious/201209/masculine-or-feminine-and-why-it-matters
cheese typically has a neutral odor when it still has the rind on it, limburger cheese has an especially ripe odor when cut ... thus the american slang, thus the reason I have a smile, I apologize, I enjoy a wee bit of scatological humor now and again. Thanks duo for the unintentional guffaw.
Here are the various forms of "partir": http://www.wordreference.com/es/en/translation.asp?spen=partir%20de
DUOLIIIINGO!!!! Qué clase de Español estás enseñando??? PARTIR no es lo mismo que CORTAR! My friends: if you are going to use a knife, you are going to "cortar". If your are going to use your hands to brake a nugat, you are going to "partir". Is it clear? I´m getting angry...there are so so so many wrong translations on this Spanish course!