With all the backlash against awarding a gold medal to a man in the Women’s 500 Free and against the new executive order that would further guarantee such “wins”, one senses a spring of common sense. But when you hear the objection – that it’s not fair for a “biological male” to enter (and then win) a women’s swimming event – you wonder. What other kind of buck is there? A witty a? This is, of course, exactly what “gender” strives to manufacture: a spiritual sex, arbitrarily linked to our bodies in a way that may or may not “align” with them. To the extent that we allow such fictional sex to take place in our thoughts and words, we are still in the mental fog of winter.
The Roots of “Gender Identity”
Before the 1950s, when psychologists like John Money began experimenting on children with congenital disorders of sex development, the terms “sex” and “gender” were synonymous. In fact, ‘gender’ was not the disembodied counterpart of ‘sex’, its etymological roots gave us words like ‘generation’, ‘begetting’ and ‘offspring’. Generation, of course, is made possible by sex, the word for which refers to the “division” within a species between male and female individuals.
But from Money, the idea of a spiritual sex distinct from the real sex of the child officially hatched, when he suggested that a “gender identity” could be imprinted on a child with the proper upbringing. But that meant that sex itself had to be redefined. Sex had to become only “biological sex”. “Gender” was the tool for the mastery of sex. By downgrading sex, he made “sex” accessible to any “assignment” the will gave it.
In truth, some feminists like Simone de Beauvoir and Margaret Mead had laid the groundwork for the distinction between sex and gender. Both were interested in social influences on the sexes, and both were convinced that the adult man and (especially) the adult woman were little more than the products of a culture that had imposed “social roles” on them and “expectations” (“gender”). . Without denying the real and unnatural violence that certain “expectations” can inflict – one thinks of the practices of genital mutilation and binding of feet – Mead and Beauvoir were thinking within the paradigm of nature-culture dualism, first enunciated by Jean- Jacques Rousseau’s “state of nature” theory, then applied to the sexes by John Stuart Mill.
According to this dualism, the “roles” and “expectations” of society were understood as alienating, a departure from “nature”. They were like this, by their very nature, suspicious. To educate children was therefore to confine them to the dreaded “stereotypes,at the center of which was motherhood, just that. Moreover, the “alienation” was so complete that any inquiry into the real nature was forbidden, for there was nothing left uncontaminated by social influences (as Mill put it). Either way, the “nature” in question was nothing more than what Beauvoir called “biological data” in the first place, so whatever was left to discover was already irrelevant.
While Mead and Beauvoir never thought a girl could be “expected” to be a boy, Money did. And in his case, he thought “waiting” was positivenot alienating, because in his time there was not much left for the “biological sex”.
Also more recently, the origin of “gender” has expanded. In addition to being from the company, it can come from within, feelings (“gender core”) or choices (“self-identification”). “Gender” coming from society is of course bad, while “gender” coming from oneself is good, since in this case one is his Master. In any case, everyone now agrees that “gender” is something other. Now there is “sex” and “genre.”
The impossible distinction
The are, of course legitimate distinctions in the domain of the sexual, as in the domain of life, in general. But the “sex and Gender distinction has nothing to do with them. Indeed, it exists to undermine them.
There is the distinction between a nascent organism and an adult, according to which the more an organism is intelligent, the more it needs to be educated (“nurture”) by its society. Social dependence is greatest for the rational animal. This dependence is inscribed in the very biology of the human child, who needs an additional year in what the Swiss biologist Adolf Portmann calls the “social womb” of the family to achieve the freedom of movement enjoyed by his fellow mammals from their first day. If the human child were deprived of the “social belly”, he would learn neither to walk upright nor to speak, two of the most intrinsically human (hence also biological) activities.
But just as the phenomena of righteousness and speech cannot be abstracted from education, neither can sexual difference. Accordingly, it is in the very nature of boys and girls to need family, teachers, culture and customs of society to grow into men and women. In other words, education is the necessary implication of the type of sexually differentiated individual that is the human being: a deeply social and rational individual. It is impossible to consider him as something essentially extrinsic to what is otherwise an asocial individual, and his (merely) ‘biological sex’. But in the “sex-gender” distinction, this is exactly the case.
There is also the distinction between be a man or a woman and rational and free (personal) self-possession and communication in society (“expression”). As rational animals, men and women live their lives, not just instinctively, but freely and socially. And in doing so, there is no clear distinction between “purely biological” acts and personal and social acts. Begetting, conceiving, and nursing children are just as personal and social as housekeeping and child-rearing activities are biological. Being Human the acts, the biological, the social and the personal are inseparable in each of them.
In short, it is the only human organism that both is so what acts. It is impossible, in other words, to think of a living acting “I”, as a disembodied “identity” separable, even surpassing, the reality of its sexual difference to become something other rather than more fully what he or she already is. It is impossible to think that a man can “become” an “identity”, or “express himself”, as a “woman”, or to think that it is a “stereotype” that a man “must” describe themselves as a man. But in the “sex and gender distinction”, that is exactly what is meant.
Some reviews of gender ideology, however, still think that “sex and gender distinction” can be saved. The first term refers to bodily (biological) reality. The latter refers to “social roles”, that is to say the way in which biological reality is experienced or “expressed” from one culture to another, in different ways. There are Nope reason to deny the obvious distinction between the reality of being sexually distinct (a boy or a girl, a man or a woman) and in various ways in which it is lived; but there is something more fundamental than cultural variety. Human beings need culture training live themselves and become what they are.
If we start there, and not first with the culture varietywe let each other talk positively on the necessary role culture plays in bringing a boy or girl to maturity as a man or a woman, respectively. We move away from the agenda that inspired the search for cultural variety in the first place, namely to show how cultural “expectations” are extrinsically and arbitrarily imposed (“stereotypes”). We free ourselves from the taboo of doing what all other cultures have done, namely educating girls and boys on how to behave, dress and act in a way that promotes their eventual union and life together. together. This, of course, can go wrong in many ways, but this still go wrong if gender education begins by denying human meaning of them, downgrading them to “biological males or females”.
Perhaps the problem stems from the current preference for using “organic” over “natural.” One can, of course, use “biological” in the most robust sense, referring to the whole living organism. If I see a standing body, I see a human. If I see a body standing pregnant, I see a women. However, with the assertion that Lia Thomas is a “organic male” there is an implicit reservation about – perhaps the acceptance of – her being a “female” in another way (while keeping “her” out of the hallowed arena of women’s sport).
In fact, when we use the modifier “biological” for “sex”, it is almost impossible to designate the entire human organism, namely, the boy Where the girl, who must become a man Where a woman, respectively. Despite good intentions, we are sinking deeper into the hole that Money and others began to dig, exactly on the basis of a ‘biology’ abstracted from its own ‘identity’, the very biology which can now be mutilated and altered – to make a boy, for example, swim slower, like a girl.
Decades ago, Karol Wojtyła expressed a reservation about such use of “biological” and instead proposed the more comprehensive term “nature”.
The expression “order of nature” cannot be confused or identified with the expression “biological order”, because the latter, although also meaning the order of nature, designates it only insofar as it is accessible empirical-descriptive methods of the natural sciences. .
Likewise, in 2004, the Catholic Church affirmed that sexual difference “cannot be reduced to a pure and insignificant biological fact” because it is well understood as “a fundamental component of personality, one of its modes of be”.
Basically, “sex and The distinction of “gender” can only deepen the dualisms for which it was invented – between nature and culture and biology and identity. We should reject this binary and instead insist on using a Single term like the term “sexual difference”. This single term would be to understand distinctions, without sacrificing the unity between them. It would be a bit like the word law, which is further distinguished as “act one” and “act two”. In this case, it is this very distinction that we are talking about, namely between the birth of a boy or a girl and the fact that he becomes a man or a woman.