Likewise. Yes, and I think that observable biological reality is the ground upon which all thinking on gender is built for most people.Res Ipsa wrote: ↑Sun May 01, 2022 3:51 amThanks for the detailed response, Reverend. We do tend to see things through different lenses, which is why I enjoy engaging with you and find it helpful in thinking about things.
I agree that the spectrum has always existed. To me, just thinking through the whole issue of gender is a little surreal. We have biological criteria that allow us to classify the vast majority of humanity into one of two categories: men and women.
Yes, much of what we think of as gender is socially constructed, and the majority of people, most of the time, have not separated out the socially constructed from the biological. Moreover, there are those who think the socially constructed piece of the puzzle is not simply socially constructed but also divinely mandated.Res Ipsa wrote: ↑Sun May 01, 2022 3:51 amBut on top of that, we have this mass of socially constructed ideas about the significance of that distinction: what it “means” to be a man. How should a woman behave? And those two things — biological distinction and socially constructed meanings, expectations, and consequences — are entangled and jumbled up to the extent that we mostly don’t think about the difference.
I have not lived in a stereotypically gendered household since puberty. One of the things my parents fought over was, essentially, gender roles in their intersection with household economy. My dad ultimately lost when my mother asked him to move out for the second time. In retrospect, I see both of them as being at fault in their own way. They were poorly prepared to deal with the cultural freight train that had taken them for a ride.Res Ipsa wrote: ↑Sun May 01, 2022 3:51 amIn my lifetime, I’ve seen many of those socially constructed gender roles collapse into each other. At some level, the notion of saying “Screw your gender roles — I’m just going to be who I am and not worrying about which box you think I belong in” really resonates with me.
It is great to say screw your gender roles, so long as you find the others, so to speak, and make them your society. I do question, however, whether everyone is obliged to be those others. Right now there is a great deal of pressure to make everyone conform to one opinion, which is, after all, normal. It is obviously right to progressives that gender is a glorious rainbow and every--within reason (no pedophiles or rapists!)--expression should be accepted as welcome everywhere. This naturally extends to using the law to force others who do not share that viewpoint to fall in line.
Yes, some of the more vocal opponents of the new gender spectrum are in fact transgender people, who experienced their struggles in a context of, and based their decisions on, a gender binary that now some are insisting is completely erroneous. A person is born appearing to be a boy but really internally a girl, and that person transitioned into being a girl, only to be told that there is no binary. That is potentially confusing and upsetting when they already invested so much of themselves in that construct.What’s weird for me personally, having a trans daughter, is that she isn’t really rejecting the socially constructed boxes — she’s saying she belongs in the box that was constructed for the other biological sex. I don’t care about the boxes — be who you are and don’t worry about the boxes. But she cares, and that’s important to me.
Yes, fascinating, and thanks for sharing that. I think you and I have a lot in common. The difference is that I sincerely doubt that being non-binary is about not sweating the boxes so much as finding a box, at least for a lot of people. They feel driven to explore all of the contours of this newly discovered box and then share with others all about their new box. This is what inspired me to say that I really don't care to hear all about everybody's new box.I think that’s why I like the idea of non-binary. In terms of gender roles, just be you and don’t sweat the boxes. I have my hands full with what it means to be Res Ipsa without having to think about which gender box I belong in and what it means to be in that box.
I partly suspect that it is the fragmented mindset of consumer culture that results in the Balkanization of human sexuality. Since humanity has been almost fully commodified, we now have infinite brands with their different styles, flavors, shapes, colors, and sexual expressions. And just like we would be silly to open a grocery store with very few options, it just makes sense that we want every variety on the shelf of our community. Who knows what you might be hankering for today? Which brand is right for you? People even commit to their brands to the point of making a television show a lifestyle, or even a kind of computer. Surely sexuality, being much more serious (even when it is playful and supposedly carefree), needs to find its full range of expressions to which we can commit wholeheartedly.
I am not either. I merely noted that this is the kind of fodder people of a particular ideological bent look for and glom onto. And, I think it is not such a bad idea to admit, at the very least, that the best intentions can lead to absurd outcomes, as they did here.All of which is a long winded way of saying yes, I’m not focused on two this incident will fuel the overblown outrage machines that seem to be driving society these days. If there aren’t sufficient actual events around to fuel the outrage, people will simply make stuff up. There is plenty of material for outrage junkies to get their fixes, whether real or fake.
Sure. I tend to think ideology makes people stupid, especially dominant ideologies locked in a life-or-death struggle with each other. The kind of ideologies that push people not to wear masks when wearing them should be a no-brainer, or to house a person with a functioning set of male genitals in a women's prison. Stupid, stupid, stupid. And almost totally the result of ideological tribalism, in my opinion.I think your questions about how common the situation is and the cost of possible solutions are good ones. What I find myself not caring about so much is finding someone or something to blame. Whatever politics you may subscribe to, there will always be instances in which they produce bad or stupid results. To me, whatever “woke culture” is, it doesn’t require housing a person with a functional male reproductive system in the same Prison with other people who have functional female reproductive systems. Based on the information I have, it looks like a bad decision — one of perhaps millions of bad decisions made every day. Rather than becoming a herd of outraged rhinos, just make a better decision.
Sure. If one's ideology is basically satisfactory, then it may only take practical tweaks to address the problems. I concede that this is an attractive way to think about the problem. On the other hand, it could be that the histrionics and outrage are connected to genuine concerns. In this case, a large number of people really believe that there are men and women, whom God made to be men and women. Deviation from that divinely appointed order is evil, in their eyes. They view coercion to go against their beliefs to be intolerable and a just reason to resort to violence.I’m too old for all the manufactured histrionics and outrage. It’s both idiotic and exhausting. Bad decisions will always be made by imperfect human beings. Just fix the problem and learn from bad decisions to make better decisions.
Yes. That is true. So what to do? Will we see government forms in the future that carry the full array of ways of self-identifying? Will there be special legislation to protect every category of person? I know that sounds ludicrous, and I am being somewhat tongue-in-cheek here, but so far we are only seeing more and more complexity in this system. If people generally didn't care and had a live and let live attitude, as I would prefer, then we wouldn't need all of this granularity in counting and legislating the vast array of differences.It sounds to me like we both would like the same thing. I agree that a complex system of gender categories is not sustainable. But I don’t think that trying to reimpose a binary distinction for gender is sustainable either.
Yes, true. And yet at the same time it seems that every time I turn around some progressive thought-leader is coming up with a new term or capitalization scheme for particular groups that someone is going to get their tighty-whiteys in a bunch over if a mistake is made. Part of the reason I am exasperated with all of this is that I have no idea whether non-binary will soon be an offensive term that others frown at me for using. "How could you not have known?"US society used to have a set of terms to differentiate Americans based on their fraction of “blackness.” When was the last time you ever anyone referred to as a quadroon, octoroon, or even mulatto? All of that has collapsed into a much more generalized category of “mixed race.” And even the distinction between “mixed race” and “pure race” is fading in importance. That’s my hope for gender roles. People will settle down and be kinder to each other s rigid categories collapse into each other and become less important than, well, being kind.