Saturday, December 17, 2016

American academic: I would make gender no more important than...

I posted recently on how determined liberals are to make our biological sex not matter. I want to give a second example of how they are campaigning for this. Here in Australia a campaign has been launched called "Buy a boy a Barbie" as part of the "No gender December" movement.

I looked up one of the "experts" behind the No Gender December campaign (she is an American academic) and her ideas are exactly what you might expect them to be - they are "reverse traditionalist". Dr Christia Spears Brown is an associate professor at the University of Kentucky’s Department of Psychology. In an interview about "gendered toys" she said this:
Some people think that boys and girls (and men and women) are so very different from each other that to ignore gender, we are ignoring a key part of who someone is. We think we can better understand someone if we factor in their gender. But the reality is quite different. Individual children naturally differ from one another...Knowing someone’s gender actually tells us very little about what that person is like and what they are good at.

So parents may think that raising kids without gender stereotypes limits their children, pushing them all into a beige world. Really though it is pushing unique, distinct individual children into a pink box or a blue box that is limiting. I don’t advocate gender-neutral kids. I think we should make gender irrelevant, because focusing too much on gender distracts us from focusing on our children’s individuality.

We really need to do away with the assumption that boys and girls are drastically different from one another...

This gets to the heart of the debate. She is right in one sense: traditionalists do believe that men and women are different and that to deny this, and to declare our biological sex irrelevant, is to ignore a key part of who someone is. We do not identify as "its" but as men and women.

Second, she is correct that the liberal view is that having our biological sex matter is limiting to the individual. Liberals often use terms like "prison" and "fetter" and "constraint" when talking about our biological sex.

She is also representative of the liberal view when she states that "we should make gender irrelevant". That is the liberal aim: to make our sex not matter.

Where she is wrong is in the idea that the existence of masculine and feminine essences (i.e. a quality or a principle within reality that men and women identify with and that connects us in our identity to larger, transcendent values) means that there cannot be overlap between men and women in some aspects of life.

Most people, I believe, have a sense at times of a deep gulf between the worlds inhabited by men and women (the men and women are from different planets experience). But we also have experiences of ways in which some men might have more in common with some women than with some other men. For instance, an artsy kind of man might share some attributes with artsy women that he does not share with a rougher kind of man. It is clear, too, that there are some men who "think emotionally" and some women who "think detached and analytically" - so it would not be a surprise to discover that there is some overlap when it comes to the scientific mapping of the male and female brain.

But the existence of this kind of overlap doesn't mean that our manhood or womanhood is not relevant to who we are, to our identity, to our social roles and life purposes, and to the virtues we strive to embody (and, for those of us with a religious view, to how we are made to glorify God).

Therefore, we cannot follow along with Dr Brown's liberal ideal of making our sex irrelevant, as when she declares that:
I would make gender no more important than height or hair color for guiding our assumptions about what children are like.

So I went and bought my boy a barbie

6 comments:

  1. We need start jailing these academics and banning their 'research.'

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    1. Well, we definitely need to take the culture wars seriously and compete for institutional influence. It is no use being right in the abstract if we leave our young people to be raised by liberals in liberal institutions. Ideally we would initiate an intellectual/cultural movement; create our own intelligentsia; and then support them within the institutions.

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    2. We need start jailing these academics and banning their 'research.'

      Or just cut off their funding.

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  2. On average, there are certainly differences between the male and female brain, but as you indicate there is also plenty of overlap, so you can easily find an outlier woman that is much more masculine in abilities and interests than an outlier man. This is, of course, what liberals pick up on, and wish to encourage.

    This, to me, seems fine to a certain extent. If a girl is very interested in mathematics, do you deny her the chance to study it because it isn't feminine enough? If a boy takes an interest in playing with dolls, should he be stopped? I'd argue that it would be extreme to stop such study or play because of gender.

    The key, as you state, is the existence of social roles or a "best" structure. As I see it, encouraging masculine and feminine behaviour is about preparing boys and girls/men and women for their roles in life. This, to me, revolves largely around the concept of marriage and family. Families are stronger, communities are healthier, children are cared for, spouses love each other better when everyone understands their role.

    Liberals do not hold marriage as a fundamental good. It's fine if a woman has a child outside of marriage. It's fine if she leaves her husband and raises a child without a father. It's fine for men to sleep around and produce unwanted children. It's fine for women to pursue any manner of demanding career when she has an infant.

    Anyone that believes in the structure that marriage can provides has to admit that gender roles act as a map to help you get there. I don't believe it's a strict map, but one with flexibility. However, for anyone that would like to have a relationship/children in the future, which is most people, the concepts of masculine and feminine can help them set it up so everyone benefits.

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    1. That's an interesting comment because it pushes toward the next step of what has to be thought about. If we reject the liberal view of making sex not matter, and hold instead that sex does in fact matter, then what does that mean in practical terms? For me, this is something that a community has to decide on given a larger principle that men are created to develop along masculine lines and women along feminine lines. Therefore, a community/parents are going to want to encourage activities that help rather than hinder this development (which most parents do even now in a liberal society). For me a girl learning mathematics doesn't hinder her development to a fully developed womanhood. It may not contribute directly to her future role as a mother, but even so, it is an intellectual development that is generally to be considered something good. I'm less sure of a young boy playing with dolls. To me that falls into the category of "to be gently discouraged" - for the reason that it is sometimes (not always) associated with development along the path of a feminine identity. But, again, that's for parents to monitor.

      One of the sad things about the liberal obsession with making our sex not matter is that it distracts from the higher level aims of a community, one of which is to enculturate boys in the kinds of masculine virtues that will help them fulfil their future role in society and girls for their future role. As you point out, it can't just be assumed that family life will always be robust, as family life requires a "culture of family life" to support it. One part of building this culture of family life is to raise boys to have the kinds of qualities that will make them effective husbands and fathers, and equally importantly, girls to be fit for the roles of wife and mother.

      We just don't do this anymore.

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  3. Liberals can't even use "sex" and "gender" in a consistent way. Sex is usually used by them to mean the physical body and gender to refer to the sexual identity of a person regardless of their sex. So the male gender refers to the identity that most people of the male sex have.

    When she says gender shouldn't matter she means sex shouldn't matter because to them gender is the most important thing -- and immutable. Or is she suggesting that what most Liberals consider so important -- their sense of who they are in terms of sexual identity -- isn't important either. That would be new.

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