Extinguishing the spark – The price of gender neutrality
As part of our efforts to evolve as an inclusive human society, devoid of stereotypes and discrimination of any kind, societies around the world have rightfully engaged in a continuous reduction in discrimination that has intensified in the last couple of centuries. To use the US as an example, it started with the abolition of slavery in 1865 (after Great Britain had abolished it in 1833), voting rights to all citizens regardless of race in 1870 and continued in ragged steps to women's voting rights in the year 1920, ending legally gender discrimination. Next was sexual orientation discrimination. It took the US another 77 years to legally end criminalization of non heterosexual sexual activity (or any other sexual activity between consenting adults nationwide) in 2003, and another 12 years to fully outlaw any kind of sexual orientation discrimination in 2015, by mandating marriage licenses, adoption of children and other rights in every single state by a Supreme court decision. Although anti discrimination legislation still varies from state to state, LGBT rights have been more and more recognized and enforced with every passing years, and rightfully so. In the meantime, issues such as class, caste, religion and other types of discrimination have been disappearing gradually in most countries in the world. The trend is inevitable: we are moving towards a discrimination free society as a human species, slower in some states, countries or cultures compared to others, but steadily onwards. Even in countries such as Saudi Arabia steps are taken towards equality, recently allowing women to drive! one of many examples of change. Although laws protect from discrimination, changing how people feel and think inside is a different story. Discrimination is not just a matter of legislative protection but also of culture and education and it takes a couple of generations for some changes to become widely accepted and felt. Nonetheless, we have done well as humanity: We have had a multi racial president in the US and other countries, women and minorities claim any and all political positions like prime ministers and presidents, women, blacks and homosexuals are CEOs of Fortune 500 companies and multinationals and enjoy lucrative careers in every possible field, enjoying society wide popularity and acceptance through education and cultural shifts. No doubt: just looking just half a century back we can see the huge advances that we have achieved and keep achieving as a human community in general towards an all inclusive, non discriminatory society, and our direction and progress seems unstoppable. But is it?
Two new movements, appearing as stern and committed supporters of the all inclusive non discriminatory path may actually be the greatest danger to it: The MeToo and Non binary (else called genderqueer) movements. These two movements, seemingly unrelated, present extremely similar beliefs, arguments and philosophies: mainly the evils of the imperialistic, archaic patriarchal socioeconomic system, the toxicity and abusiveness of masculinity and the imperatives of abolishing and destroying "traditional archaic and abusive" roles. The MeToo movement in particular is arbitrarily changing our justice system unilaterally without any societal debate, agreement or consent. They do this by blackmailing companies and governments into firing people on allegations of sexual harassment, impropriety, uninvited intimacy and more, including improper messages, comments or even looks, thus destroying the "innocent until proven guilty" and "burden of proof" fundamental principles of any developed justice system. They also negate the statute of limitations, waging pogroms against people for things alleged to have happened 20, 30, 40 or even 50 years ago, making a mockery of the very legal systems that protect people from discrimination. They bully governments, companies and individuals into submission, terrorizing people into resigning or organizations into firing them for unproven and anyway non illegal offences such as uncomfortable hugs, comments, looks, touches on the shoulder, messages, phone conversations (the actor Michael Douglas was accused as an offender of sexual misconduct by a woman supported by MeToo because, among other absurdities, almost 30 ! years ago "he was talking inappropriately with his male friends on the phone in private conversations"), and even just personal opinions. They are so successful in judging and convicting on unproven and mostly firmly denied allegations that there will probably not be any Noble prizes this year, due to half the quorum being forced to resign under the weight of similar, unproven and sometimes frivolous allegations. But both of these movements are doing something even worse: they are attempting to forcibly educate everybody's children according to their particular, highly discriminatory beliefs: that the masculine is toxic, unhealthy and abusive! Nonetheless, they fully embrace and encourage "traditionally masculine" in women, such as women who fight, are aggressive and macho, wielding machine guns, bazookas and swords, beating and dominating everybody and especially men in an avalanche of recent movies.
The announcement by Abercrombie Kids (a part of Abercombie&Fitch, a traditional retailer chain) of its gender neutral line recently, was celebrated by both these movements with a barrage of congratulatory articles in all media. However, for some in the MeToo and Non binary movements it was not enough. Angry at even positive for their viewpoints developments, they strike Abercrombie & Fitch for not going far enough in bluring genders, for not making boys wear skirts. A representative example is in an article on the website www.them.us by Devin-Norelle, a self proclaimed transgender advocate, writer and model, featured in HuffPost, Nylon, The Daily Show, Refinery 29, Buzzfeed, GLAAD, and Mic. The article is titled "Abercombie's gender neutral collection isn't neutral, it is lazy. Where are the skirts?". Interesting excerpts follow:
"I was stoked that a major clothing line worn mainly by white children actively chose to reject archaic gender roles established by Western imperialism. One of my hopes is that Abercrombie’s introduction of a gender-neutral line for kids — as childhood is a critical time for self-development — helps to educate children on how unnecessary and detrimental fixed gender expectations are to our well-being. They can take these lessons with them into adulthood, and continue to cast away gender. But as I perused the new line, I sighed in familiar disappointment as I asked the vital question: Where are the skirts?! I found sweatshirts, basic long sleeve t-shirts, shorts, bomber jackets, a few accessories, and an overall lack of range. Not only are there no skirts, but there are no dresses or anything unquestionably coded as feminine."
Now what kind of research or societal concensus has determined that fixed gender expectations are unnecessary and detrimental to our well-being? It goes on:
"Because our society is still organized around patriarchy, we refuse to allow boys to express themselves in ways that are healthy for their development. We refuse to allow boys to embody masculinities that aren’t toxic. We refuse to let them appreciate, express, or be the feminine. Clothing, especially collections that are supposed to be "gender-neutral," should not uphold this patriarchy."
The same kind of narrative demonizing "patriarchy" and calling for educating our little boys that they should at worst embody moderate masculinity, that there is the "divine feminine" but no divine masculine and gender neutrality or ambiguity is what everybody should be aiming for, is transmitted by the MeToo movement. Jennifer Lawrence, the Hunger Games movies star was attacked by MeToo for wearing a feminine dress, despite being a declared feminist, and many women are told that if they choose to look sexy they are succumbing to the wishes of the nasty men of the patriarchal establishment who want to objectify them! They even call for women to wear track suits in order to not try to please the men. So boys should wear feminine clothes to get away from the nasty identification with the abusive, unhealthy masculine, but girls shouldn't to avoid being objectified! Is guiltifying men for their masculinity and women for their femininity any different than guiltifying LGBTs for their sexual essence, preference and orientation? Isn't it exactly the same as the indignities, judgment and guiltification that gays have suffered for thousands of years, being told that their sexual orientation is a toxic and horrible illness that they need to be taught to discard and deny? Are we going backwards rather than forwards? Are we creating new areas of exclusion and discrimination just when we are succesfully weaning out the previous ones? But reversal of our path towards a fully inclusive, free, non discriminating society with protection of our human rights and choices and destruction of all of our hard fought for principles of justice are not the worst consequences of standing by passively while these angry, demanding, perpetually unsatisfied and avenging movements are determining what is appropriate, not appropriate and that 45% of the planet's population that chooses to be masculine is toxic, abusive and unhealthy.
The worst possible consequence is losing polarity, the source of every spark, the fountain of passion and sexuality among many more modalities that make our lives and the interaction between people and the sexes vibrant and interesting. To have electricity, you need the maximum possible difference between the two poles. If only one pole or no poles exist, there is no polarity and therefore no spark. Nature has created genders very different, in size, character and most other functionalities, for a reason, and nature, what is, is divine by definition. And always infinitely wiser than any one of us. Nature is the way she is because it works; she allows creatures to survive, change and adapt to new conditions, evolve and flourish. The maligned patriarchal system is there, not only in humans but in the greatest variety of pack animals as well, because it works in a dangerous, predatory environment full of physical dangers, and so does the Alpha male system, allowing dogs, wolves, horses, gorillas and a multitude of other species that have flourished because of it. The proof is in the pudding: human beings not only have survived but have flourished all over the planet, 7,5 billion of us at last count and growing, it has over doubled our life expectancy and has created all the wonders of technology and civilization. Where nature needs to impose a matriarchal system she does, such as in the bee or many insect societies as well as in the human society when it was historically necessary for survival.
The patriarchal system is indeed outdated because physical survival is no longer the primary concern of humans, social survival is. But it should not be replaced by a domination by the feminine, but by true equality between the sexes. Equality, not sameness!
“Vive la Difference (long live our difference)!”, proclaim the French, because it is our differences that attract us, stimulate us and complement us. Opposites attract is the law of magnetism and also the law of sexuality and the more we moderate and confuse our gender, our sexuality and our energies the more our spark dwindles. Homosexual couples also play polarizing roles else the relationship becomes one of comfortable friends, devoid of passion and sexuality. And homosexuality serves a purpose in nature, neutrality does not, that is why it does not exist anywhere in nature. Complementing each other rather than competing with each other is what makes for great, passionate, loving relationships, and the interaction between the masculine and the feminine is the source of most of what moves us in literature, poetry, music and theater. Should we lose what is most valuable to us? The very spark of excitement and attraction between us? Is this the price you are willing to pay for social acceptance and safety from the persecution by the MeToo, Non Binary and other enraged movements? Are you willing to lose your spark and that of your children by moderating your femininity and your masculinity to conform with the demands of those who advocate the proper, grey, flavorless moderation of an intimidated society where everybody is afraid to stick out lest they be victims of the chicken pecking party of social condemnation? Are you? Think hard of the consequences because you will be relinquishing your soul, your choice.