Jewish World Review June 18, 2003 / 18 Sivan 5763
A Conscientious Objector to the Gender War
http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | Future feminists will look back in disbelief at the false notion of a built-in Gender War between men and women in the much the same way we regard past theories of a flat earth. Only, flat-earthers were generally harmless people. Politically correct feminists can be vicious.
To understand the Gender War it is necessary to examine each word separately.
What is Gender?
PC feminists consider "sex" to be a matter of biology; that is, you are physically male or female. By contrast, "gender" is a social construct; that is, your sexuality is defined by society, not biology. (There are currently about twenty different categories of gender, from heterosexual to lesbian, from transvestite to transgendered.)
"Socially constructed" means that everything about your sexuality -- short of the brute biology -- can be transformed by changing your environment. PC feminists claim that everything from the urge to procreate to male-female attraction is created by society. This is different from merely claiming that your environment influences you.
Transformation the environment is a political matter. The institutions of society -- such as the legal system, churches, and the family -- must be deconstructed and rebuilt according to "correct" principles.
What is the War About?
The current principles are said to be incorrect and anti-woman because men, acting as a class constructed them. Men define "woman" by her biology -- e.g. as a sex partner or mother -- and they force a male definition of gender upon her through their institutions.
In short, the Gender War is a tugging contest between two classes, men and women, for control of "woman." The political interest of men is called "patriarchy," or white male culture. The political interest of women is PC or gender feminism.
Many assumptions of the Gender War are absurdly false, beginning with the rejection of biology's crucial role in human nature. Perhaps the most destructive assumption is that men and women are separate and antagonistic political classes.
There can be valid reasons for dividing women and men into separate classes. For example, doctors often medically separate the sexes to apply different treatments. Women are examined for breast cancer; men for prostrate problems. But medicine does not claim that the basic health interests of men and women as human beings are separate and in conflict. Indeed, the interests of both do not widely diverge. Because of a common biology, the sexes share the same basic approach to nutrition, exercise and common sense lifestyle choices. Health for men and women is roughly defined and pursued in the same manner.
By contrast, PC feminism separates men and women into political classes and claims that their common humanity is less important than their genders. Men and women not only have no shared political interests; their interests directly conflict.
Consider freedom of speech. You might assume that all human beings benefit from the uninhibited flow of words and ideas, even offensive ones. But that would be a "male" assumption, coming from male institutions. Freedom of speech is simply a guise by which men "control the dialogue" to oppress women. Thus, PC feminists often dismiss the U.S. Constitution -- including the First Amendment -- as a document written by dead white men and of no importance.
To counter male control of the dialogue, such feminists seek to suppress politically incorrect words and ideas. In the workplace, laws such as those against verbal sexual harassment control words. In academia, ideas are regulated by language codes which categorize criticism or "attacks" on categories of human being -- other than white males -- as hate speech. Even children's textbooks are edited to remove un-PC references.
To PC feminists such censorship is not a violation of freedom of speech. In essence, they claim there is no such freedom; there is only social control through social construction. The real question is whose hands will be on the helm: men's or women's.
This is the key to understanding the cult of victimhood surrounding PC feminism. As long as "male institutions" remain, women are -- by definition and everywhere -- oppressed. In their worldview, the only way to cease being victims is for feminists to grab the helm.
Whenever they do so, men cry out, we have become second-class citizens! We are legally disadvantaged in the workplace by affirmative action, ignored as victims of domestic violence in the home, discriminated against in funding for health care, oppressed by family courts that favor a mother's claim to custody...the list scrolls on.
But protesting men miss the point. Until the "utopian" day when the institutions of society have been reconstructed, gender feminists claim no equality is possible. It is men against us; men win only if women lose, and vice versa. That's the class conflict known as the Gender War.
The only way out of the quagmire is to abandon convoluted social theory and return to common sense. Men and women are first and foremost human beings. Biology is a controlling factor of human nature, albeit not the only one. Men and women act as individuals, not as cogs in some vast class struggle. And, as individuals, we all share the same political interest: freedom.
Enjoy this writer's work? Why not sign-up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.
06/04/03: Gender issues impacted by masculinists