Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Common Dreams: From Jenner to Dolezal: One Trans Good, The Other Not So Much

   I think there's a fair amount of good stuff in this, though it does spiral down into trendy humanities-speak at several points. One of the important things that Reed gets right is something that I was going on about recently: the way the left is insisting that we talk and think about these issues is a giant, confused step backwards with respect to sex and gender. One of the central themes there goes roughly like this: Jenner looks and dresses as women have traditionally done, therefore Jenner is a woman. From the perspective of old-school feminism, this is totally wrong-headed. The most important point in this vicinity is that sex and gender are not necessarily nor normatively linked. The traditional correlations between sex and gender are merely statistical. Males tend to be masculine, females tend to be feminine. If we fold appearance and mode of dress into the genders (masculine and feminine), then the point is, basically, that some males are feminine and that's ok, and some females are masculine and that's ok too. To insist that Jenner is a woman (i.e. an adult female human) because he now dresses and looks like one is some seriously Neanderthal nonsense IMO. But that line is not only being pushed by the left, it's being insisted on--if you deny this retrograde, bullshit line, then you are an oppressor, jack...
   Of course the conversation is somewhat complicated by the confused attempt to turn man and woman into genders...but that's a different point.
   Anyway, I don't really care so much about this stuff except insofar as it all illustrates what can happen when bad philosophy meets crazy political dogmatism...

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