You’ve Heard of Colorblind Racism, but What About Genderblind Sexism?

If you’ve been following the latest contradictory edicts of the “woke” crowd, then you’ve probably at least vaguely come across the term colorblind racism. For those unfamiliar, the idea is that while it seems anti-racist to say “I don’t see color”, it actually makes one blind to racial inequalities embedded in the system. According to this line of logic for an example, not acknowledging someone’s race (i.e. black) also makes one turn a blind eye to substantial inequalities they have to face specifically due to the exact racial identity you are “blind” to. To the Left, one is required to take race into consideration in treating others in order to not discriminate based on their race. (Yes, it’s quite the paradox!) 😉 In real life applications this ideology factors into affirmative action, “scaled” grading, adversity scoring, etc… You can take a guess at what my opinion on the matter is…

However, the concept brings up another idea the Left probably hasn’t thought of and certainly is doing: Genderblind sexism. Think of genderblind sexism the same way as colorblind racism only substitute gender for race. Sexism and misogyny are things the Left loves to accuse conservatives of. Conservative values oppress women, women are under a cis white male patriarchy, women are paid less for equal work, women are at the mercy of predatory men without any way to fight back, women and girls are more vulnerable to violence, being a stay at home mom is antiquated, marriage is patriarchal etc… Does sexism exist? Yes, and plenty of women face unfair circumstances in life including vulnerability to violence. However, is our country deeply entrenched in sexism against women on a systematic level? I’d argue no. Women today are more empowered than ever in this country to create their own lives and dreams. Just look at how they treat women in 3rd world countries. There are plenty of ways in which women are not the “damsels in distress” the Left loves to paint them as, needing saving from sexist microagressions!

That said, there are still ways women are not equal to men in life. Equality can come in many forms including equal opportunities and equal outcomes. Many inequalities are not socially designed or even human-made, such as physical and physiological differences between men and women. Homo sapiens is a sexually dimorphic species, which means males and females are physically and physiologically different from each other. For examples beyond “the obvious” down-below, men on average are taller, have more upper body strength, denser muscle mass and are overall stronger than women. They can run faster, farther and have more physical strength. Women on average are shorter, distribute fat differently on their bodies, don’t grow facial hair like men, have enlarged breasts for nursing offspring, a wider pelvis, and less muscle mass than men. Studies have shown women are usually more adept at subjects like reading and language comprehension from a younger age, have a higher pain tolerance in some cases (probably for enduring childbirth), better verbal fluency, and more fine motor skills. Men have been shown to do better on mathematical/scientific tasks, have greater spatial awareness, and working memory for a few examples.

Now some argue that some of these differences could be due to social influences on raising boys and girls to gravitate to certain gender roles, but it seems a stretch to imagine gender roles somehow popped out of thin air with no basis in innate characteristics. Noting these differences should not be a construed as a value judgement, or that any characteristic is more preferable. Acknowledging that men and women do have biological and physiological differences in their bodies and brains does not put one at an advantage over the other as a whole. Where one may be stronger in one area, they are weaker in another and vice versa. Nor does this mean a man or woman cannot achieve proficiency or be above average in an area usually attributed to the other sex. There are plenty of gifted male writers and gifted female scientists and mathematicians. Generally speaking though, it is foolish to deny the very real differences between men and women as a whole.

This brings us back to genderblind sexism: What happens when we choose to ignore those very real differences, such as disparities in physical strength between men and women? Many unjust inequalities that do exist between men and women are exacerbated by factors like that. Just think of the odds of the average woman fighting off the average man in a fight. What about a woman trying to get away from a male attacker? Or outrun a predator? What about a man pinning her down? Yes, weapons and self defense techniques help, but the man usually still comes with an automatic advantage from the get-go. Why are women disproportionately the victims of physical violence? The Left cites a toxic masculine patriarchal culture, but on the practical level what about the woman’s ability to fight back? Another man may easily fight back and get away whereas the average woman may literally not be able to.

The example where genderblind sexism would come in here would be in the debate on transgender access to women’s spaces where women are vulnerable such as changing rooms and restrooms. The need for separate spaces for women has been common sense up until recently. Now, a truly transgender “woman” who lives as a woman is not the main threat, but the cisgender man pretending to be a trans-woman to gain access to women’s private spaces is. If we allow anyone in who simply claims to be transgender access to women and girls in compromising circumstances like a state of undress there is a probability of some having nefarious intentions leading to potential assaults. If we ignore that unique vulnerability of women, because they are different than men, we also ignore a real threat to their safety, and their equal right to be free from danger and victimization.

For a lower-stakes but significant contributor to women’s inequality is the debate on transgender women in women’s sports. This blatantly ignores very real differences in physical strength and endurance between men and women. Male athletes outperform even the best women in many sports. A good example being a biological male up against a woman in a sprinting competition where fractions of a second mean you win or lose. Male runners outperform even the best female runners. What about women’s football and other contact sports? A biological male, even transitioning into a more female-like body after puberty still retains a higher muscle mass and physical strength. If he smashes at full speed into a woman, she’ll be the one in the hospital! The playing field with trans-women is NOT equal by any stretch of the imagination. Ignoring this reality for the sake of gender ideology ensures real women will be outcompeted by a man every time they get out and play.

Another dimension to genderblind sexism goes beyond just the physical, but also societal and cultural: The erasure of women’s unique “lived experiences” in the words of the Left. I went into this in much greater detail in my post “My Gender is Not Your Costume“, but in essence by erasing objective differences between the sexes, it erases the unique experiences of each sex/gender. A person who is male simply cannot truly know what it is like to live as a female. This is rooted in biology, but also societal experiences. There is a reason cultures have gender roles, even ones where they are less ridged. Name one human culture where men and women are treated exactly the same. Not merely in similar opportunities, or social acceptance to do what the other gender does, but a psychological blindness to men and women, boys and girls being in any way different in personalities, temperament and abilities. We learn much of our gender expression from society, but where did society learn it? It is silly to deny the nature part of the equation as well as the nurture.

I’m honestly surprised in a sense how the Left, who loves to cite all the experiences women face that men will never truly understand, like the fear of assault or violence for instance, or the pressures on women in society, say it’s okay for a man to basically appropriate the identity of a woman. Or, as some say, if gender is merely a social construct and can be dismantled, so can the voices and stories of countless women in their unique experiences as women. This cultural and societal erasure of women and their lived experience is also consequence of the newfangled gender ideology sweeping our society.

If it is sexist to deny women an equal chance at protection from violence,

If it is sexist to deny women an equal playing field in her sport,

If it is sexist to deny women their unique “lived experiences” as a valid identity rooted in biology and in our culture,

Then it is sexist to pretend gender simply a social construct and a man can choose to be a woman merely because he feels like it.

A final point to reflect on is the idea of equity vs, equality. The Left loves this one: Equality in opportunities does not always yield equality of outcome. The “equal” playfield for trans-women makes it inherently unequal to biological women because they carry physical advantages over women. However equity is giving what a person or group needs based on their actual needs, not just blindly without considering disparities in circumstance. Giving women a private space to undress away from men is equitable as women are more vulnerable to assault by men, even though it’s a form of gendered segregation. Having all gender bathrooms in the name of equality erases the very real fear women have of assault in those kinds of spaces.

Now, some may argue that since I reject the idea of colorblind racism, then why would I advocate for seeing genderblind sexism? My answer is that unlike race, where there are significantly less differences between races rooted in objective biological criteria, there is far more evidence to support the idea of innate differences between both sexes. Most importantly, unlike many racial disparities, many differences between the sexes on average, are biological and innate and cannot be changed by changing society, such as overall disparities in physical strength being my “strongest” example.

If sexism is defined as inequality and disadvantage for one sex, and privilege for the other, genderblind sexism is sexism arising due to one’s “blindness” to real disparities between genders. Contrary to popular opinion, acknowledging real differences between men and women leads to more, not less equality. Equal does not always mean identical. Seeing women as just as worthy of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” in this country as men also must mean understanding that what will make them be able to achieve that goal can and does differ from men. Women will not be equal to men in this country until gender ideologues realize the unique circumstances women face due to their gender, and not turn a blind eye to the biological and cultural differences that make it so.

Washington Post Criticized For Transphobic Mueller Report Cartoon | The  Daily Dot

What Makes a Strong Woman?

In this day and age, the cultural Zeitgeist is all about “women’s empowerment” and raising “strong women”. We think we know what these ideas should mean and have a mental picture of what they look like, but what really does a strong woman look like? Many cite qualities like independence, autonomy, assertiveness, leadership, etc… Many see her in some sort of high position of power, or with fancy degrees in some high-status career like doctor, lawyer, politician, some STEM field. It’s common to think of her being able to do “anything a man can do” with slogans like “girl power” and “girls rule the world”…

However the question is raised, is that what really makes a woman “strong”? How exactly does one define “strong”? Is it in her assertiveness almost to the point of aggressiveness? Her job title or her credentials? Her assertions that she doesn’t need a man for anything? Her ability to throw off traditional gender norms and clamor for all things masculine? The irony that many qualities she strives for in herself she would now label “toxic” in a man? The fact that she has liberal “woke” politics and ideologies unlike the “gender traitors” who are conservative women? They say a strong woman can think for herself, yet labeled those who stood by Kavanaugh or Trump as “gender traitors”. Is that what strong women are expected to do? Feel threatened enough by others whose opinions you don’t like that you have to shut them up?

Thing is, while many qualities above in moderation such as independence, assertiveness or leadership are okay, I argue our current concept of what makes a woman “strong” really betrays a type of weakness and vulnerability as well as implicitly sexist. The most problematic aspect of how we think of a strong woman is rooted in the implicit idea that she must be like a man, and throw off her traditional gender roles as a woman because male=empowerment and female=oppression. To truly be “equal” in this frame of mind is to be able to be and do anything a man does, but no mention of anything uniquely “woman” in her fight for equality. Whatever a man can do is better than what women traditionally have done. She must want a career, because her “dreams” must go beyond “mere” house keeping and child raising. She needs to earn her own way, or else she’s too “dependent” on a man thus virtually enslaved! Being a wife and mother apparently is not enough to foster her “personal development”. She must literally wear the pants, because dressing as a woman is the “uniform of oppression”. She is “empowered” when she can silence any man who dares speak his mind on issues pertaining to her, cry victim anytime she wants, be pushy and rude and call it “assertiveness”, shun a more feminine identity and reduce it to a “stereotype” and declare that the world is stacked against her. Now, many women who consider themselves as strong don’t feel they support this idea of it, however their attitudes implicitly support many of these ideas.

When you tell a girl “But what else do you want to do? You’re still young…” When she says she wants to raise a family when she grows up.

When you say “You can’t comment on this issue because you’re not a woman!”

When you tell your daughters “Never depend on a man for anything.”

When you say to fight “stereotypes” of women such as being married, home making, and wearing dresses.

You are perpetuating a distorted view of what it means to be strong. To me honestly, such ideas about strength betray weakness and vulnerability. The idea that being a traditional woman is a sign of oppression and that to have any worth in society, or to be considered independent is to take on traditional masculine characteristics belittles womanhood as a whole. Also reinforcing the sexist and misogynist idea that women are second class or lesser members of society, and must imitate men to bear a semblance to anything worthy of being called empowered, equal and strong.

What does it really say about society when the clamor for prominence and power in the public eye are valued far greater than the upbringing of our future generations? Just because a role is not as visible, doesn’t mean the job is any less needed. Motherhood, while more behind the scenes, IS a job in itself. A 24/7 job for life. Standing by your man does not mean you don’t have your own identity. Pants don’t equal freedom from some oppressed role and skirts and dresses don’t mean you’re second class. Wife and mother are just as important titles as CEO or PhD. Power and prestige are not all there is in life. Equal does not always mean identical; men and women can have separate gender roles and be equal in dignity and worth to each other. Putting men’s roles on a pedestal for women to be able to climb to inherently devalues traditional women’s roles even if cried for in the name of equality. Guarding one’s sexuality is not a form of coercion by the patriarchy when women have so much more to lose if she slips up. A woman’s purity is to be honored, not mocked and derided as “old fashioned”. A strong woman and a traditional woman exist side by side and are in no way mutually exclusive! 

So what does it mean to be a strong woman? A strong woman is many things in my opinion:

The confidence in her identity as a traditional women as valuable and meaningful in of itself without the need to be like a man to be worth something.

The ability to value her husband and children over any job title or credential she might earn.

Seeing her privilege, not her victimhood.

A self identity that is strong enough to not feel threatened by taking her husband’s name upon marriage, being “given away” at the altar, being called “Mrs.” or the idea of marriage.

Feeling as empowered and capable in a dress or skirt with long hair as in pants and short hair.

The strength to know she can depend on others like a father, brother, husband etc… for her care and safety and still be independent and strong in her own right.

Taking pride in the fact that she has the choice to give life, not in the choice to take it.

Who can handle words like “mankind” and “man” in the general sense without feeling excluded and microaggressed.

The fortitude to hold the family together in times of trouble, but also let a man take the lead and be the rock when she is given the chance.

Being a rock in her own unique way, as a moral compass of virtue, elegance, and grace for all to see in her family and in the world.

Dressing modestly as a sign of her inner worth and dignity, and having no need to flaunt her body for all to see for her to be “liberated”.

Who is strong enough to think for herself and not feel threatened by another’s opinion nor the need to force other women to think as she does.

Recognizing her ability to achieve her goals not in spite of being a woman in an “oppressive” society, but because of her determination, work ethic, and perseverance as a person. 

The strength it takes to be uniquely feminine, in her own right.

To me those are some things that make a strong woman 🙂

Strong woman

(I made this graphic myself!)

“I’m Just One Person”: The Response to Collective Guilt Demanded by The Left

A concept the Left likes to tout around and try to enforce is the idea that so called “privileged” individuals benefit from a wider system that is made for them, to the exclusion and oppression of others. The most common examples being race and gender, which I will focus on mainly as there is much to say on them. This “system” of oppression over women and racial minorities is the explanation for why they can’t seem to achieve in life or have that “American Dream” of hard work and related to that, why whites, men and especially white men, can’t actually take credit for their achievements! In other words, anything they achieve in life is not due to their own personal efforts, but to the wider “system”.

However, paradoxically, it seems to the Left, this “system” can also only work one way. For example, any criticism of minority communities is unjust because the larger forces, “the system” at work, is to blame, not individual choices. However why then is it the individual’s fault when talking about white people? The argument white people are complicit in a system of racial oppression and are each personally racist simply for having more privilege is just like arguing that poverty in minority communities is their personal fault despite a biased system outside any individual’s control. Or look at how men are told too, that they are responsible for benefiting from a system designed to put them on top and women second class citizens. However one cannot help being born male! Just because historically men as a group may have enacted systems barring women from achieving more, each individual man born in this era had zero personal part to play in the history of women’s oppression.

White individuals living today had absolutely no part to play in the racist atrocities of our past. They did not personally own slaves. Personally attend lynch mobs. Personally take land away from indigenous peoples or exploit them. Personally vote for segregation or internment camps as those living now would have not been born or of voting age. These events happened decades, several generations, even centuries before they were born. Before their grandparents were even born for some historical events! The vast majority of men around now had absolutely no part to play in barring women from entering the workforce or achieving outside the home. Many men raise their daughters to be strong independent women and treat their wives as their equals. Certainly none alive today barred women from getting the vote!

The “system” is supposedly some uncontrolled force of its own impacting both the oppressed and benefiting the oppressors outside any one individual’s control to stop or change it. So why does it seem like the onus for changing this almost all powerful system on people who were simply born into it themselves? Just because white men are the “oppressors” benefiting from this alleged system, doesn’t mean they have the power to control it on an individual scale! It’s not often thought of this way, but one has as much control over being born white or male as one does being born an oppressed minority or a woman. Being born into a legacy of being the historical oppressor does not make one an oppressor by default! At least not in terms of moral responsibility. Yes, any part of an oppressive unfair system in society needs change, but to demand someone change it simply because they were born as its beneficiary is as unfair as making someone live under its thumb simply for who they were born as. The people who should be changing it are not one group. If we want change as a society, the whole society must be a part of that change. Our leaders. The people who are affected by it and have a stake in the issue such as the “oppressed” groups. Those who benefit but repudiate the unfairness of it. Plenty of whites have fought for racial equality side by side with minorities. Plenty of men fight for equality for women. There is no issue with that at all.

The problem is in the idea that the onus to change the system is on someone simply because they were born a certain race or gender but have not actually done anything tangible to oppress anyone else on a personal level. Put more simply, just because something unfair was done overall by a wider group, doesn’t mean one single individual is morally responsible for that wrongdoing. The moral onus to stop unfairness is on those being unfair. For example, it can easily be argued former slave owners morally owe reparations to those they enslaved. However does any non-slave owner owe reparations for slavery a distant ancestor, or even more broadly someone of their race was a part of 200 years ago?

A man who never personally oppressed women, stopped women from moving up in their careers, never treated a woman poorly or abused one, or stole an opportunity that was rightfully a woman’s has no moral responsibility for men who do and men who did. A white person who never treated another person as less than, oppressed them, stole any opportunity from them, or thought they were less of a human being deserving of respect and dignity due to race is not morally responsible for any wider systems of racism in society. Now the Left would come back and say, “but these issues are not about individuals and their actions but wider systematic issues.” and yeah, I can understand what they are trying to argue but they made it about individuals when they decided white people and men need to take moral responsibility for the privileges they were simply born into but never actually stole from anyone through their own actions.

These ideas about personal moral responsibility for a wider system sadly have taken hold on many white people and men who are genuinely not racist or sexist people and reject their unearned privileges and even actively fight alongside others against the alleged “system” benefiting them in the name of greater moral good. This leads to an idea akin to Original Sin where being born a white or male is cause for some form of collective guilt for inheriting privilege and a legacy of being designated as an oppressor. However, my response to that is: But I’m only one person. 

As an individual, I have no control over a wider social system. I only am able to control my own actions. So the questions I need to ask myself are not “How have I benefited from privileges I didn’t earn?” or “How am I complicit in a system I can’t control?” but “How have I treated those around me?” “How do I make sure I’m being fair and equitable?”, “How do I treat those who look different than me?” That’s all I can control! How I act. How I treat others.

You are not a racist for simply being white in (an alleged) system geared for whites and passively benefiting simply due to your race at birth. Your actions make you racist or not, not your whiteness. You are not a misogynist for simply being born a man in a society (allegedly) geared towards men in a similar light. The onus can’t be just on one person to change an entire society! And certainly one individual can’t be asked to feel moral guilt over something they were never personally a part of creating!

Not to mention, we all have unearned privileges in life. Why is “privilege” such a dirty word? Even if it’s not racial or gender privileges, having a good family, friends, SES, health, etc… are privileges that can be unearned but given to us through our lot in life. I also believe while we should take a moment to reflect on them and be thankful and not take them for granted, we shouldn’t feel guilt simply for having better luck than the next guy. We can’t “do it all” so to speak.

So while I would love to have the power to take away all the inequality, racism, sexism, injustice etc… in the world, the Left needs to remember:

I am just one person!

Image result for branco cartoon white privilege