The Subversion of Gender

“Two options for gender is (sic) too few. There are billions of people on this earth. We owe ourselves at least that many choices for how to be a person.”

Sam Killermann, A Guide to Gender, 2017 [1]

Radical feminists seeking to overturn perceived patriarchy and to marginalize males thought that they could do so by subverting society’s concept of gender, and so they did.  Judith Butler’s “Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity” is most often cited as the spark that lit the fire. In it, Butler argued that gender is created by society and can be separated from biology.   Said Butler, “…gender is not a fact, the various acts of gender create the idea of gender, and without those acts, there would be no gender at all.” Butler argued “that gender is brought into being by a person unconsciously acting in ways that are accepted to be “masculine” or “feminine”—and that even biological sex is a product of culture.” [2]

A Spectrum?

According to one poll, the idea that gender is not binary but rather a spectrum is a view currently held by 50 percent of millennials. [3]   This view of gender, rooted in Butler’s ideas and empowered by the Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision [4], is inherently self-contradictory which can be seen clearly by considering the “spectrum” version pushed by activist Sam Killermann, who employs the “Genderbread Person”  model.[5]

Sam Killermann’s “Genderbread Person”

Some inconsistencies

For Killermann and his Millennial audience, gender has no less than five components, each on its own spectrum spanning the traditional binary masculine and feminine norms.  So here is a definition of gender which seeks to jettison the traditional binary model of gender but whose very definition depends upon it!

And that’s not all.  Consider the commonly referenced categories of “LGBT”.  L,G,B, and T all require a binary foundation of biological male and female.  A lesbian (“L”) is a biological female who is sexually and romantically attracted to other females, a definition that is completely dependent upon a binary definition of gender.[6]

Take the term “cisgender”, common in all postmodern gender discussions.  Killermann says that it means “having your sex assigned at birth correspond (emphasis added) to your gender identity.” [7]  If anatomical sex and identity are each points on a spectrum of an infinite number of points then it would be nearly impossible for anatomical gender and gender identity to ever actually “correspond.”  

And now the transgenders

Eliminating the biological from notions of gender doesn’t always lead people to embrace the spectra offered by Killermann and his friends. For some transgender individuals, gender is still very binary:

“My doctor treats me as a female person, my racing license says female, but people who oppose my existence still want to think of me as male . . . So, if we want to say, that I believe you’re a woman for all of society, except for this massive central part that is sport, then that’s not fair.”

Women’s World Champion Cyclist Rachel McKinnon, a biological male who presents as a woman

The Unnecessary Male

This postmodern gender theory has had disastrous consequences, some intended, and some unintended.

In the view of radical feminists like Judith Butler, females cannot depend upon males for anything, so in order to assure this, the notion of gender complementarity must be absolutely destroyed. Males must be rendered essentially unnecessary, and thus the first thing to be relegated to the trash bin is conjugal reproduction, which is replaced with a variety of reproductive technologies involving sperm, but without the male. Of course, having a father in the home is not all that necessary either.

Bodily Mutilation

The sundering of gender from biology also results in a disrespect for the human body, as is seen in the growing number of “sex reassignment” surgeries where breasts, ovaries, uteri, testicles, and penises are removed, and hormone therapies where young children are given “puberty blockers”.

Harming Real Women 

Ironically, the postmodern theories of gender, while originating in radical feminism as an effort to usurp “patriarchy” and to render males unnecessary, are also harmful to real women. 

Many women are worried that the enforcement of transgender “rights” based on post modern gender theory puts them in the uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous position of sharing restrooms with biological men. [8] Where once restrooms were gender-segregated to accommodate anatomical differences and to provide comfort and security for women, it seems now that those purposes have been jettisoned in favor of a new purpose:  to express a state of mind.

In 2015, the Obama Administration issued guidance that stated that the Title IX (20 U.S.C. 1681 et seq.) prohibitions of discrimination “on the basis of sex” require access to sex-segregated facilities based on gender identity.  The Trump Administration rescinded this guidance in 2017,[9]  after the U.S Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit had based its ruling in “Gloucester County School Board vs. G.G.”, a case in which a transgender student sued the school board for their policy that transgender students only be allowed access to single-stall unisex restrooms or restrooms that correspond with their anatomical gender, on the Obama Administration’s guidance. The Supreme Court of the United States bounced the case back to the Fourth Circuit after the original guidance was rescinded.  The Supreme Court has heard similar cases this year, and the opinion(s) should be issued in 2020. [10]  

Meanwhile, in 2019 Connecticut high school track and field runner Selina Soule and two other female athletes filed a complaint with the very same U.S. Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights [11],  arguing that two transgender runners who took top honors in a state championship track meet have “competitive advantages” and that it unfair that biological males are displacing females at the upper levels in the sport of of high school track and field. Bianca Stanescu, Soule’s mother, said, “The genders are segregated for a reason. They might as well just say women don’t exist as a category.[12]

A Brave New World

It’s very tempting for men to chuckle about this and hope that the feminists experience the full disastrous effects of their folly, but that might be a bit short-sighted. The roots of postmodern gender theory are tied to an effort to marginalize men, which does not bode well for how masculinity will fare in the brave new world that is emerging.

References

[1] Killermann, Sam. “A Guide to Gender (2nd Edition): The Social Justice Advocate’s Handbook”. Impetus Books 2017, Austin, Texas .

[2] Smith-Liang, Tim. “An Analysis of Judith Butler’s Gender Trouble (The Macat Library).” Macat International Ltd., 2017, London, United Kingdom. P. 29, 36.

[3] Wong, Curtis M. “50 Percent Of Millennials Believe Gender Is A Spectrum, Fusion’s Massive Millennial Poll Finds.” Huffington Post, February 5, 2015, https://www.huffpost.com/entry/fusion-millennial-poll-gender_n_6624200

[4] Skinner-Thompson, Scott. “How Obergefell Could Help Transgender Rights.” Slate, June 26, 2015, https://slate.com/human-interest/2015/06/obergefell-and-trans-rights-the-supreme-courts-endorsement-of-identity-expression-could-help-trans-activism.html

[5] Killermann, Sam. “A Guide to Gender (2nd Edition): The Social Justice Advocate’s Handbook”. Impetus Books 2017, Austin, Texas .

[6] Stanton, Glenn. “5 Fatal Flaws of Gender Theory”. National Catholic Register, March 18, 2017, http://.ncregister.com/blog/gstanton/5-fatal-flaws-of-gender-theory

[7] Killermann, Sam. “A Guide to Gender (2nd Edition): The Social Justice Advocate’s Handbook”. Impetus Books 2017, Austin, Texas.

[8] Shrier, Abigail. “The Transgender War on Women.” The Wall Street Journal, March 26, https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-transgender-war-on-women-11553640683

[9] SCOTUS Blog, “Gloucester County School Board vs. G.G.”
https://www.scotusblog.com/case-files/cases/gloucester-county-school-board-v-g-g/

[10] Liptak, Adam. Peters, Jeremy W. “Supreme Court Considers Whether Civil Rights Act Protects L.G.B.T. Workers”. New York Times, October 8, 2019,
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/08/us/politics/supreme-court-gay-transgender.html

[11] Brechlin, Dan. “Connecticut high school transgender athletes ‘no longer want to remain silent’ following Title IX complaint”. The Hartford Courant,
https://www.courant.com/sports/high-schools/hc-sp-transgender-policy-runners-respond-201 90619-20190620-5x2c7s2f5jb6dnw2dwpftiw6ru-story.html

[12] Ibid.

Manchester

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