Sunday, September 10, 2017

Male And Female


On the categories of male and female. 

I've tried, imperfectly I'm sure, to work out an idea. I don't know if I've done it at all successfully.

As I understand Jordan Peterson for one, he argues that gender fluidity taken to the point of exposing male and female as merely arbitrarily imposed social constructs is Post Modern. 

He says it's Post Modern due to that view denying any objective social reality and holding that social truth is but the ascendancy of certain modes of power expressing themselves in class, race and gender. 

In that view history itself is historicism, the study of the impacts of changing conditions of ascendant power over time. 

Therefore, category shattering gender fluidity ostensibly attacks the "patriarchy's" imposition of male superiority in oppressing women. 

Gender fluidity exposes the arbitrary parading as the necessary. 

And in this case the denial of social truth even entails a criticism of scientific truth, the essential biological division between male and female. 

Peterson argues that good biology obviously differentiates between male and female--for Post Modernism, bad biological essentialism--and that social recognition of that differentiation in animals, including of course and chiefly humans, is a truthful social mapping of biology. 

Then what to do with the many examples  of gender dysphoria as but one real thing standing against simplistic definitions of male and female? 

I'm not sure what Peterson says about that, but it must be that he recognizes the many examples.

So moving away from him, I'd say that he's right insofar as far as I've outlined his view, hopefully correctly. 

I'd say that the many examples of transgender and gender fluidity in fact underscore the social truth of male female as a correct mapping of biological truth. I'd say so for three reasons that occur to me. There may be more telling ones. 

One reason is that these examples, for as many as there are, are still far to the margin of clearly understood male female designation and so function as exceptions proving the rule. 

Another is that these marginal examples still frame themselves within the dominating social and biological truths of male and female, either going to one or the other or taking on aspects of each. 

And third, the social truths of male and female can be inaptly rigid in too narrowly comprehending and insisting on their limits. 

Challenge, rethinking, refinement and broadening are but good for what's too rigid. 

It doesn't follow, however, from such challenges that the categories of male and female are merely arbitrary social constructs generated by oppressive power and unmoored from what is so, that in fact there is no what is so. 

The baby perforce survives the refreshing of the bath water.

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