So, yesterday there was a comment I didn’t approve. I didn’t approve it because it was posted on my er… competition with Larry Correia for worst person in the world. Or something. And since most of ya’ll had moved on, I figured you didn’t need a chew toy.
It started by telling me – because, you know, I’m stupid, and I hadn’t covered it in the blog post or anything – that “that gender is a social construct has been established since like the eighties.” To begin with, yeah, “gender as a social construct” as people here pointed out is a sociological “percept” but gender in sociology doesn’t refer to your biological sex or to whom you happen to be attracted to, or to any, you know, immutable characteristics of men and women.
In fact, it refers to how gender is expressed in a PARTICULAR SOCIETY. Being a woman in Saudi-Arabia, say, and being a woman in the USA are two completely different sociological personas, and the layered bits about “who you are” clearly are part of that society.
Now, this doesn’t alter certain characteristics of those born with a vagina, because, well… uh… uh… uh… when you’re in the womb, you develop differently if you don’t have a Y chromosome. You just do.
This is not, as I pointed out in the earlier post, to say there isn’t a WIDE variation among individuals of the same gender on how those characteristics display or the level to which they display. Or to put it simply, some women are more feminine than others. That’s because of being individuals, see?
However, on a statistical sample basis, if you take a random woman and a random man, he’s going to be stronger (even if less muscular) and capable of overpowering her by brute force. He’s also going to be more interested in risky and/or dirty jobs. She’s going to be (on average) more interested in things relating to language, and – sigh, I hate to admit this, because I hate it when people ask me “so you write children’s books?” based on nothing but my sex – more interested in jobs involving children.
Now, if you take Minnie, the Olympic weight lifter and Mickey the slacker kid down the block who only gets off his sofa to get a soda, yeah, she can do push ups with him. But that doesn’t invalidate the argument. If you take a random 100 men and a random 100 women, the men in aggregate will wipe the floor with women on strength and interest in doing unpleasant physical jobs.
That means that “gender” in anything outside the social sciences – biology, real life behavior, etc – is not a construct. The way it’s expressed is – at least to an extent. For instance, one of the expressions of gender, in Portugal, for women, was being really good at handywork. All my classmates had trousseaus full of embroidered sheets. Because of hand-eye issues, I wasn’t able to do anything but cross stitch till my middle twenties (and astigmatism correction!) The fact that I couldn’t do it didn’t invalidate the fact I was female. It just made people entertain doubts about me, because in that society it was so strongly associated that even my colleagues who were in medical school spent all their free time madly embroidering and crocheting. In the states saying “I don’t embroider” didn’t make people doubt my femininity but in Portugal it did, because the EXPRESSION of gender is a social construct. In the States what makes people doubt my femininity (or at least my orientation) is my habit of shopping by the male method: “Run into store. Grab first thing that looks vaguely like what I need. Pay. Run out again, because stores are boring and annoying.” (Exceptions made for good bookstores, back when they existed.)
However, in both countries, I’m weaker than the average male, and have to be aware of this when I go out at night unaccompanied because, well, mugging being an outdoor and risky occupation, most muggers are male and therefore stronger than I. And Buffy the Vampire Slayer and other 90 lbs females who can beat big hulking guys are fantasies. Fun, sure, but fantasies.
Forgetting which part of gender is a construction and which reality can end up with very dead (but empowered!) young women.
We’ll leave for later this “has been established” thing – since that I know in the social sciences things can be accepted or believed but not “established.” I.e., the science is never settled. (Or if it is, we wouldn’t have a regime that has killed 100 million in the ascendant, while we’re told this time they’ll do it right.)
This person – and I’d guess age at high school senior if that old – then went on to tell me the only people who denied that were conservatives, because they wanted to keep things “as they’ve always been.” And also that from my using “vileprog” I must be one of those conservatives, and perhaps I should broaden my mind and consider new ideas.
You know, someone like that has only met conservatives inside their own head. And that’s accepting that everything not a vileprog, and everyone who knows progs are vile is a “conservative.”
First, let me count the fails. This person clearly believes “progressive” is a new idea. Oh, honey, Marx wrote his load of crap WELL OVER 100 years ago. The Soviet Union tried to implement it for 70 years and has now been in failure mode for twenty some years. Beyond all that, his great idea that the world would be perfect if we took from those who had and gave it to those who didn’t have it, was old when he came along. Hell, Cataline had tried something very like in the Roman Republic. (There were differences because the Roman Republic was not, in any sense, a capitalist society.) This neat idea of hurting people whom you envy and taking their stuff is not futuristic or new. It’s old as sin.
Which is why I don’t call progressives progressives. I call them vileprogs, because captures the depths of the depravity they have perpetrated on the human race.
As for my being a conservative who wants to keep things as “they’ve always been” – uh uh. First, when you’re talking of genders… HOW have they always been? No, seriously. Other than those basic immutable things you can’t change: men have penises (unless there’s deformity) and women have vaginas (unless there’s deformity) and on average men are stronger, take more risks and are more likely to engage in outdoor, dirty occupations… WHAT has been immutable throughout history?
Certainly gender role expression hasn’t been, except in general. Most men nowadays aren’t hunters, for instance – certainly not with lance or bow and arrow. (Okay, my husband would be, given time, but…) And most women certainly don’t spin thread, even though it was so prevalent a female activity as to originate the word “Spinster.”
As for my wishing to keep things as they’ve always been, or even as they are – ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah – that alone was reason enough for me not to approve that post, since the poster didn’t even try to read about the person they were trying to put in her place. If they had they’d known that, though most of you disagree with me – I am in fact a supporter of such shocking things as equality under the law (which means an end to progressive taxation, among other things,) a supporter of small government (which means I stand in opposition to the ever increasing power of the state, in place since Henry VIII, and then consolidated into its present bureaucratic boondogle by Richelieu and Louis XIV.)
I believe in mind-bogglingly things that existed far too briefly upon this earth, uncurtailed: freedom of speech, association, right to bear arms, freedom to pick and practice your religion and other concepts that never existed in the ancient world and rarely exist now.
As for gender and its expression, people such as I believe people should be who they want to be and if they’re not hurting anyone, other people should leave them alone.
There’s a book called “Don’t hurt people, and don’t take their stuff.” And that is a revolutionary philosophy indeed.
I was born in a country that had strongly differentiated, rigid gender behaviors as part of its codes. Being allergic to metal (and having parents who disliked the idea of piercing a baby’s ears) meant that I violated those before I was two. And being sickly and wearing my brother’s cast offs meant that I violated the other major one. I.e. the “all little girls wear earrings” and “All little girls wear skirts.” This caused me to be like the boy named Sue and learn to fight before I learned to walk. (Not hard, as I learned to walk exceptionally late.)
This pretty much predisposed me to not give much of a hang about what is the accepted CONVENTION for your gender wherever I live. I do carpentry – and write novels, but that’s an acceptable profession for a woman almost anywhere – and I do crochet.
However, my gender is not socially determined – alas – and I still can’t arm wrestle even my out-of-shape 19 year old, who laughs at me when I can’t lift 100 pounds in a dead lift.
Does the fact I know the difference between those two applications of the word “gender” makes me a conservative? I don’t know. I thought it made me sane, but then again, perhaps Heinlein was right and in the Crazy Years a man (or woman) with all his gaskets tight is the true madman.
Or perhaps my poor would-be troll is just really confused and has a case of believing the label and drinking his own ink.
You see, in modern day, we vile “conservatives” are people who want to upend the social theories that have been in place (and largely driving people nuts) for at least fifty years: such as the idea that nothing is any individual’s fault or credit; the idea that laws SHOULDN’T be equally applied but equal OUTCOMES to any endeavor should be enforced; the idea that your taking my stuff is theft, but the government taking my stuff and giving it to you isn’t theft; the idea that if you just have enough self confidence you will never commit a crime; the idea– I could go on, but this is already too long. Suffice it to say that of the various isms of the twenty century, the only one that was proven real was Zionism, which was based on the idea that people would like to kill Jews, and so Jews needed a place where they could be safe. All others have proven poisonous fruit in various degrees.
And they’re not new. Or scientific. Or even “progressive.”
I was going to make a joke about how if the poster objected to vile progs we should call them “preservatives” instead. But those preservatives, judged by their results, have been pin-holed, and the offspring is monstrous.
Meanwhile, I recommend anyone who thinks those of us who oppose communitarian ideas are “for things as they’ve always been” should be aware that we claim intellectual descent from the Founding Fathers. Keeping things the way “they’d always been” was the least of their interests. Which is why they created the most revolutionary society in the world.
One we’re not going to allow you to destroy just to take us back to ideas that were old and disproven a 100 years ago.
You have been warned.
You can call us names, and you can do your best to lecture us. But I suggest you start to read what we say and to actually pay attention. These straw men of yours are very pretty, but they bear no resemblance to us.
And we are infinitely more dangerous.