We live in confusing times
Kevin DeYoung | Progressives can’t keep their story straight on sex and gender
Follow me in the following intellectual exercise:
Gender is a social construct. Period.
At the same time, it’s always good when women can break glass ceilings. We should celebrate all the firsts that we see women do because women are certainly not men.
By women, of course, I mean anyone who identifies as a woman, including people we used to know as men. Sex is a socially derived category that assigns certain physical differences and then labels those differences as “male” or “female.” There are no immutable distinctions between men and women. We are all on a spectrum. We can all change.
Unless we are talking about sexual desires. Coming out as gay or lesbian is something we should all be proud of because people can’t change the way they were born. In fact, it should be illegal for doctors and counselors and religious leaders to try to change people who were born a certain way.
But some people definitely should be able to change the way they were born in terms of gender—and doctors and counselors and religious leaders should do everything they can to encourage this change. Sometimes our bodies don’t align with our true selves. Never forget: Your self-identity is your genuine identity.
Except when it comes to race and ethnicity. You should never claim an ethnic or racial identity that isn’t yours. Be very careful what you eat and what you wear; you can’t just appropriate someone else’s culture.
But you can appropriate someone else’s gender. Or go with no gender at all. We have all been socialized into a gender system that tells us how to think and how to act. The sooner we do away with the notion of a gender binary altogether, the better.
But just remember, women have been held back by the evils of patriarchy. Women are oppressed; men are oppressors. That’s a fact.
Not that “women” or “men” are anything more than fluid and culturally conditioned modes of self-identification. Obviously.
Still, we shouldn’t do away with women’s sports. It’s essential that every college have as many sports for women as for men. We must have equal opportunities for both sexes. Sports for women, sports for men. Those categories are absolutely critical.
But if men want to participate as women in women’s sports, that’s also really good because the sexual differences upon which the existence of men’s and women’s sports rest—those differences don’t really exist.
But don’t get me wrong, women have it a lot harder than men, trying to balance being a mom and pursuing a career.
Just to be clear, though, men can also be mothers. Birthing persons come in all genders.
Not that gender is anything more than what our culture tells us it is. Don’t forget that.
And don’t forget that women get paid less than men in the workplace. And women are underrepresented in Fortune 500 companies. And we’ve still never had a woman president.
Or at least not a president that we took to be a woman. It’s hard to say what a woman is without biologists weighing in.
Not that being a man or a woman is rooted in biology. That goes without saying.
Well, whatever a woman is, we know this much for sure: Women have a right to do what they want with their bodies. Reproductive freedom is the most important women’s issue of our time.
But I’m not saying that only women reproduce. Men can menstruate too.
Being a woman has many challenges. That’s why it’s important we protect women and make them feel safe.
Except in restrooms, in locker rooms, and in prisons. Then it’s OK for women to feel unsafe around men because everyone knows those men are really women.
It’s also worth remembering that men and women don’t have to look a certain way. But if a man becomes a woman, he should definitely pick a woman’s name and try not to look masculine anymore.
I mean, if there were such a thing as masculinity. Because obviously there isn’t.
But sometimes there is, and then it’s completely toxic.
Here’s the bottom line: Gender is a social construct. Period.
I know, it’s complicated. But don’t worry, the less you think about it the more it will make sense.
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