Friday, February 17, 2012

Feminism and Gender

Salvo magazine has now made available on their website the first article I ever published with them. In the article I discuss the confusion of gender that permeates our contemporary society. I also show the folly in a particular strain of feminist theory which has tried to deny the legitimacy of the gender polarity. Among such feminists is Andrea Dworkin who has asserted that "the discovery is, of course, that 'man' and 'woman' are fictions, caricatures, cultural constructs . . . demeaning to the female, dead-ended for male and female both." 
Family therapist Olga Silverstein expresses similar sentiments when she urges "the end of the gender split," for, according to her, "until we are willing to question the very idea of a male sex role . . . we will be denying both men and women their full ­humanity."
In The Second Sex, Simone de Beauvoir is even more blunt: "Women are made, they are not born," she asserts. And since women have been "made" by society, the corollary to becoming more enlightened is that we should strive to unmake the female. 
This is exactly what the influential psychologist Sandra Bem has suggested. She would like to see the concept of androgyny so absorbed by the culture that, as Melanie Phillips puts it in The Sex-Change Society, paraphrasing Bem's views, "concepts of masculinity and femininity would cease to have distinct content and distinctions would 'blur into invisibility.'"
Susan Moller Okin is equally wistful when contemplating a future without gender. She thinks that "a just future would be one without gender. In its social structures and practices, one's sex would have no more relevance than one's eye color or the length of one's toes."
If we take the above statements seriously, then we'd have to say that Nietzsche was wrong when he posited the √úbermensch as the pinnacle of the evolutionary process. Rather, true utopia will be found in neither the superman nor the superwoman, but in the liberated unisex being that will emerge out of the liquidation of gender.
Other, less radical gender scholars have taken the view that while gender does have coherent meaning, there is no necessary relationship between one's gender and one's biological sex. Thus, it is now standard orthodoxy among sociologists that not all members of, say, the male sex are members of the male gender. (They can produce Venn diagrams to prove this, by the way.) 

To read my entire article, visit Salvo Magazine's website.

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