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.