I just watched a neutral presentation of interviews with college students about the difference between sex and gender. Poor kids. They have been taught sanctimonious theory, and can regurgitate it upon demand, but the Rousseauvian nature of their goofball ideas they have no comprehension of.
Sex is a huge subject, and everything I hear from young folk strikes me absurd and unscientific — and based upon political pressure and ideological need, not upon biological reality.
I believe that we live in a new age of a rampant fear and hatred of the biological reality of sex.
It is a sort of mirror image of the traditional fear of sex.
Whereas the old fear was based on the notion of the consequences of action, and the centrality of the idea of responsibility, the new fear is based upon a notion of cosmic fairness, and the centrality of identity (what we used to call personhood).
In olden times, religion was the dominant institution of social control, and people imagined that their selves, their persons, were ghosts stuck in the icky machinery of biology. Fearing being trapped in the consequences of unrestrained sexual passion — disease, death, children one could not provide for — the traditional sex fear expressed itself in a euphemestic manner of speaking about the subject, with extensive social pressure to refrain from sexual behavior except in limited circumstances, socially valorized.
In modern times, political government is the dominant institution of social control, and people imagine that their very selves, their identities, are social constructs imposed on the malleable matter of the brain’s tabula rasa. Today’s taboos center around protecting a person’s expression of what used to be called (incessantly so, by women) their “sexuality.” This expression is said to be their “gender,” which constitutes the sum total of their desires, affects, self-regard, and choice in pronouns.
Both models strike me as absurd. But at least the older paradigm recognized the inherent power of carnality.
Postmodernity sucks, and “gender” theory — its shiniest, newest offspring — is cretinous.
My advice to the youngsters? Forget your “gender.” Sure, folks make hasty judgments and may express biased expectations about you based on your sex. But have a little gumption. Construct your own life according to your own lights, and deal with your biological heritage prudently, and not as a slave either to tradition or fashion.
Be individuals. Persons.