Monday, March 10, 2014

I'd forgotten about Raewyn!

Yesterday I posted an item about Judith Butler. She is an American academic and is considered the leading proponent of "gender theory" - a belief that masculinity and femininity are social constructs and that gender is therefore nothing more than a mere "performance".

The French Government tried to impose Butler's gender theory on French schools but was met with mass demonstrations from the French public. I posted this photo of Judith Butler to demonstrate just how much of an outlier she is when it comes to matters of sexual development:

A reader (thanks Titus) reminded me of the person who had previously been the world's leading expert on gender, namely Professor Bob Connell of the University of Sydney. His work on masculinity was taken up by the United Nations.

Bob Connell was not exactly sympathetic to traditional masculinity. He believed that an old, unjust social order was built around masculinity; therefore, to usher in the new, just, liberal world order there needed to be a process of degendering society. If only the personalities and the bodies of men could be de-masculinised, social reform would follow:
If the problem is basically about masculinity, structural change should follow from a remaking of personality.

...It follows that a degendering strategy, an attempt to dismantle hegemonic masculinity, is unavoidable.

The degendering strategy applies not only at the level of culture and institutions, but also at the level of the body - the ground chosen by defenders of patriarchy, where the fear of men being turned into women is most poignant.

What we are moving towards is indeed "something rich & strange"; and therefore, necessarily, a source of fear as well as desire.

What does this have to do with Judith Butler? Well, some years after writing this, Bob Connell made a major change in his life. He re-emerged as a transsexual woman called Raewyn Connell:

So, again, we have an extreme outlier being put in charge of government policies on gender and, once again, we have a denial that sex distinctions represent anything natural or desirable.


  1. In cases like these, personnel is policy. The policy is one of ever-increasing radical opposition to normal, biologically given sex natures, which they deny exist.

    People like this will never stop pushing further, because there is something wrong with them. So the fears of protesters who believe they have to defend natural sex roles and their children now because what has been accomplished so far is only the thin end of the wedge are wise.

  2. Are there any sexually attractive feminists out there?

  3. Hello Mark:

    I did a writeup on David Reimer & Judith Butler - a brief breakdown of her key theory.

    Butler is a fan of John Money's theory that gender is completely socially constructed, even after his work has been discredited. She was once asked to address the David Reimer situation and had a long, rambling response that implicitly blamed Reimer for his eventual suicide.

    Butler refuses to review scientific claims about biological differences. Further, the cult of personality around her is simply that. She sounds highly intelligent and educated, but she might the former but certainly isn't the latter.

    All the being said, I have a link you should find interesting about how transsexuality revolves around personality disorders, child abuse and inappropriate valuing of boys and girls vis-a-vie their mothers.

    It's a tad long and uses some advanced psychological concepts, but it is a fascinating read for lay people like me.

    Raewyn has ported out his own personal issues onto wider society, as he admits that it is more likely that he can change the entire world around him, instead of changing himself. There is a specific section about later in life male to female transsexuals, a profile that Raewyn probably fits.