"...it's not the training to be mean but the training to be kind that is used to keep us leashed best." ~ Black Dog Red

"In case you haven't recognized the trend: it proceeds action, dissent, speech." ~ davidly, on how wars get done

"...What sort of meager, unerotic existence must a man live to find himself moved to such ecstatic heights by the mundane sniping of a congressional budget fight. The fate of human existence does not hang in the balance. The gods are not arrayed on either side. Poseiden, earth-shaker, has regrettably set his sights on the poor fishermen of northern Japan and not on Washington, D.C. where his ire might do some good--I can think of no better spot for a little wetland reclamation project, if you know what I mean. The fight is neither revolution nor apocalypse; it is hardly even a fight. A lot of apparatchiks are moving a lot of phony numbers with more zeros than a century of soccer scores around, weaving a brittle chrysalis around a gross worm that, some time hence, will emerge, untransformed, still a worm." ~ IOZ

Jul 12, 2011

Egalia

When I first read this article, I was all like omigodwhatthefuck, and shit. My reaction was, to put it lightly, negative. But, I also almost immediately distrusted my own emotional resistance to it. I could see the outlines of my own defensiveness, and those ramparts I've built up in my life, most often just to preserve that life.

I wouldn't call it crippling, but I found myself unable to write about it, or anything else. It helped that I've been ill and have paid more in co-pays and percentages, over the last three weeks, than I did over the last triplet of three year durations. If I'd been hit by a bus, say two weeks ago, I think my last emotional flurry before my brain went dark would have been one of gratitude.

All the same, this story has been on my mind the whole time. And I don't know what I think or feel about it, which is in and of itself unique.

I don't have an angry Crowvian rant, or anything.

Just, mayhap, some hope for an interesting discussion.

Anyway - here it is:

Egalia.

Thoughts?

56 comments:

Lisa Simeone said...

Hilarious. Absurd and hilarious.

Karl Franz Ochstradt said...

As I've said repeatedly in the past couple years, the present era has much to remind me of the Vietnam War era, including the absurd fad of that era, "unisex."

Whatever.

Sweden would be the tanks of Tianenmen Square, and individuality would be the poor young Chinese man being trampled.

Gender "roles" (quotes = it's a poor choice of words but it's what euphemism requires, apparently) exist because there are behavioral, psychological, biochemical and even... yes, Virginia... ANATOMIC differences between XX and XY human genotypes.

Now if only we could destroy those differences, everything could be hunky-dory, eh?

No.

Not even if Sweden's Egalia school's faddish curriculum says so, no.

fish said...

Gender "roles" (quotes = it's a poor choice of words but it's what euphemism requires, apparently) exist because there are behavioral, psychological, biochemical and even... yes, Virginia... ANATOMIC differences between XX and XY human genotypes.

The "science" behind arguments like this (other than genitalia) is pretty much garbage and the conclusions of said sciences remarkably always seem to support some 1950's version of men and women. While I get some nagging suspicions in my mind that the approach is somewhat naive or wishful (but I like Jack, am a bit mistrustful of my own "instincts"), I at least applaud the striving to change that the school represents.
There is patriarchy crap that is so deeply embedded in our culture (and it is only a cultural construct) that it is likely only radical approaches can really root it out and destroy it.

Karl Franz Ochstradt said...

Yep, it's "garbage science" that I have a penis and testes, and women have a vagina and ovaries.

True, that's "garbage." Obviously.

And obviously, the preponderance of testosterone in XY genomes is "garbage," as is the dominance of estrogen in XX genomes.

Still more garbage!

Don't know where you were larn'd, fish, but I'm guessing it wasn't rigorous and didn't require much more than memorizing doctrine and regurgitating it with accuracy. Surely there isn't a mote of holism in that outlook.

Karl Franz Ochstradt said...

On the other hand, if we focus strictly on the ethereal and vague, we can find all sorts of barriers decaying from non-use.

Men can shove their penises into asses! The receiver thereby becomes a "woman", psychologically and/or sex-role speaking. Look at us! We're tearing down barriers!

Women can strap on a penis-device and then fuck MEN in the ass! Look! Women, acting like dominant gay men! Barriers being destroyed!

Lord, the crap effluvium that flows when "patriarchy" gets tossed around wholesale.

davidly said...

Thoughts?
1) Welcome back, Jack!
2) Egal, i.a. "indifferent" in German, and in the expression "Es ist mir scheiss egal!" = "I don't give a shit!"
So your post title made me think of a land where people don't care.
3) I looked at it once, thought about it twice, read the comments and have concluded: Es ist mir scheiss egal.

what the Tee Vee taught said...

I know this:

We need to make these little booger-pickers ready for the real world.

What if they're ill-prepared to face the life outside of kindergarten? I mean... for fuck's shit! What are we going to do!

These kids need an identity (because that's not a stupid, fucked-up nonsense idea...) and pronto. These kids need to know "who they are"... because, goddamn it, they are something! Deep down inside: these kids ARE something! We're going to give these kids all kinds of labels to choose from, but hurry the fuck up... label yourself, kiddo! We have social statistics to compile!

Quin said...

I teach very small children, and there's a "gender" unit where we teach about "he" and "she" and making boys feel different from girls and vice versa which always makes my skin crawl. I never know exactly how to approach it, other than to just breeze past it quickly with as light a touch as possible. It's bad enough regularly having girls come in with fake jeweled tiaras (or even full princess getups) or pre-school boys arriving in full sports team uniform. It might be okay if it ever went the other way (girls in baseball uniform, boys in jewelry or [horrors] a dress), but in the area I work at least (which is not Stockholm), it never-- ever-- does. Kids normally get taught heteronormativity from-- in most cases, probably quite literally-- the day they are able to start comprehending the world around them. Disney, anyone? Or just about any other character marketed at children, for that matter.

I'm only working from the article Jack linked, but based on what I'm reading so far, I don't see that what Egalia is peddling is any more warping to a young mind than what kids get from a normal school. I mean, maybe the teachers make the boys mop the floor if they're caught playing with trucks, or make the girls do pushups if they're seen in a dress. But the portrait described here seems more about letting boys and girls both feel that construction and cooking can both be okay. And indeed, in my experience, kids of both sexes tend to like nearly everything until a certain age when, suddenly, they don't.

I guess I can't prove that it's nurture, not nature, that's the deciding factor in this sudden personality change, but it sure looks that way from where I'm standing.

Quin said...

Edit to clarify that I didn't mean it's like everything about a kid's personality changes over night. But boys who used to like heart stickers start saying "eew", or girls get very unhappy if you try to offer them a car instead of a rainbow. (To be fair I like rainbows more than cars, too.)

JM said...

I agree with Fish.

Karl Franz Ochstradt said...

Kids learn identity from their parents, not from their school.

And they learn the identity by seeing and copying, not by listening to a super-pwog adult lecturing them as if they were 25, about the role of gender identity.

Jack Crow said...

Sorry I don't have a big contribution. My eyes are still dilated and typing is hard. My question is, why do boys need to be masculinized?

Why is this important?

fish said...

Don't know where you were larn'd, fish, but I'm guessing it wasn't rigorous and didn't require much more than memorizing doctrine and regurgitating it with accuracy.

LOL

Karl Franz Ochstradt said...

Yeah, I laughed at your comment too. Doesn't that make me superior!

Josh said...

what the tee vee said

My question is, why do boys need to be masculinized?

Why is this important?


Because people have this weird insatiable urge to make things just like themselves.

Also, like, somebody's gotta do the oppressing here, I guess. Nobody's waging war with a spatula.

(btw, been reading your blog for a while, first time commenter)

d.mantis said...

Not superior but...well, while I usually enjoy your contributions Karl...chill with the nerdrage.

"And obviously, the preponderance of testosterone in XY genomes is "garbage," as is the dominance of estrogen in XX genomes."

Its not about biology, its about hierarchy and societal constructs that put unfair expectations and limitations based on gender.

"Kids learn identity from their parents, not from their school."

I call bullshit on this one too. Kids are sponges that will learn identity from anywhere. I have direct experience with my kids. They couldn't give 2 shits about girl stuff vs. boy stuff until they started going to daycare. Now we can't have anything relating to the "other gender" cause their friends will make fun of them.

Maybe take some time and apply a little more thought behind your comments. I read you often and have never found this much coming out of your ass before.

Karl Franz Ochstradt said...

Chill with the accusations regarding mental states, fuckstick.

Thanks.

Kids learn by watching and imitating.

Most people try to figure out how kids learn by watching their own kids, in whom they have immense pride and therefore about whom they have an immeasurable blind spot of massive subjective bias.

The most difficult childhood behavioral problems tend to come from what the child was exposed to, rather than what the child was "taught" via parental lecture.

I'm sure that's irrelevant, though, because d.mantis says so.

/rolleyes on the substance

/doublerolleyes on the "nerdrage" accusation

/triplerolleyes on pretending to know another's reasons for choosing to word a comment this way or that.

Karl Franz Ochstradt said...

I read you often and have never found this much coming out of your ass before.

Nice one. Best all-time concern troll wording there... lead with the "compliment" and end with the 8th grade put-down.

I love the "feminists" and their anger when someone counters "feminist" doctrine about "patriarchy." Shit, this may as well be Melissa McEwan's blog for all the "patriarchy" crap tossed about directly or, in "d.mantis" case, implicitly.

JM said...

What's your actual objection to this? what the fuck's wrong with learning about sexual orientations at a young age?

Weldon Berger said...

It's a fine idea--not without its perils for the kids once they leave that environment and move into a more Lord of the Flies-like one, but fine. The parents are obviously people who don't want their kids to get locked into gender-based concepts of what kinds of things boys and girls can and can't do, and the school will help for that. The curriculum doesn't attempt to elide the physical differences between boys and girls, so they aren't pretending there's no difference.

So: Fine. If it produces some kids who don't get discouraged from doing stuff they like just because they're a boy or a girl, more power to them.

Weldon Berger said...

And yes, very much welcome back and get better and everything.

Jack Crow said...

I wonder if the "?" is a better way to approach disagreement or misunderstanding, at least compared to blanket declarations.

Coldtype said...

Utterly preposterous. My first reaction.

Jonathan Versen said...

So many things are a question of degree. Some boys will resist being masculinized in a more traditional environment, while I imagine in the Egalia environment some boys will resist being neutralized(as it were), and the corresponding situation will apply to the girls.

My main concern is they will likely be ill-equipped to deal with the outside world. I'm reminded of the stance the organization of black social workers towards inter-racial adoption, objecting to white parents raising black kids as potentially oblivious to the racism of the larger world, and therefore poorly prepared to deal with it.

boetian said...

My question is, why do boys need to be masculinized?

Why, it's right there in the article:

"The kind of things that boys like to do – run around and turn sticks into swords – will soon be disapproved of," he said. "So gender neutrality at its worst is emasculating maleness."

Maybe you haven't heard? There's a war on! Somewhere, everywhere, forever. That's why the world is so invested in a conception of the eternal masculine that has, as its foundation, the turning of sticks into swords.

fish said...

My main concern is they will likely be ill-equipped to deal with the outside world. I'm reminded of the stance the organization of black social workers towards inter-racial adoption, objecting to white parents raising black kids as potentially oblivious to the racism of the larger world, and therefore poorly prepared to deal with it.

I am not convinced of this line of argument. Does the black kid in the white household really suffer because s/he is shielded from some forms of racism? I suspect the benefits far far outweigh the risks in such a scenario. Similar benefits are likely to be conveyed by shielding kids from gender role constriction early on. When they are older, they have more sophisticated defenses than compliance or conformity to protect themselves with.

Joe said...

I sympathize with the idea that people shouldn't be confined to fake gender roles--there's obviously no real reason a woman can't be an auto mechanic or a man a fashion designer, for instance. But on the other hand, I'm highly suspicious of any form of institutionalized mass indoctrination, even for a supposed good reason. And the belief that you're going to change people's behavior by eliminating gender-specific pronouns strikes me as just more p.c. ridiculousness.

Jack Crow said...

Seems like the opposing sentiment could generally be understood as, "See how easily children are socialized. It's hard to socialize children."

Quin said...

@Joe

In my read of the article ("Staff try to shed masculine and feminine references from their speech), it didn't sound to me like they're actually fully eliminating gender-specific pronouns-- only in the particular cases where it's appropriate, such as when people come who the kids haven't met yet. That actually strikes me as pretty reasonable. It could even be used as a pretty fun way to fuel anticipation in the children about their special visitors. (And the article has a fairly stupid sentence when they mention "'hen', a word that doesn't exist in Swedish but is used in some feminist and gay circles". So they're saying some Swedish people do use it, but that doesn't count as real Swedish because... why?)

As for "institutionalized mass indoctrination", I'm pretty sure that the current norms for preschools should also qualify. I still don't see how encouraging kids that their options are more diverse, rather than less, could be construed as something worse than the status quo.

@Jack:
Would you mind clarifying your last comment?

Quin said...

I just happened to come across this somewhat tangentially related horrifying/fascinating blog post. Given just how tightly focused the gender messages are in consumer society's attempts to hypnotize children, I'm rather surprised girls ever manage to grow up to do anything at all except chores, taking care of babies, and putting on makeup. I can certainly understand why some parents would be happy to find an alternative environment in which their children could spend some of their time.

fish said...

If you don't think there are still gender issues to work out, discover the new milk campaign.

Jack Crow said...

Glad to, Quin.

I was out running, which for some reason helps to clarify my thoughts, and I was thinking over my own initial rejection of Egalia, plus the replies which took umbrage with it, here.

It occurred to me that the arguments against seem to imply that, first, children are quite easily socialized. I think that's what underlies the entire, "but, once they get out in the real world" dispute. It also seems to color the conviction that children are predominately the produce of their parents.

[As an aside - my own two sons are more clearly influenced by school, our larger family, their friendships, some popular culture and our parenting than by any largely fictional parental domination of their worldviews. I've no doubt that if we could have managed a gender neutral terminology, they'd have picked it up. My oldest, to whom I don't preach, has nonetheless absorbed some of my political views. He's also definitely be "genderized" by association with his male peers, who are cliche macho teenagers. He's not macho himself, but there are behaviors, clothing and even commodities with which he will not associate, because it's "social suicide, Dad." School is not a value neutral environment, as some seem to be implying.]


Children are rather obviously and easily socialized. That's what we do to our kids. And to other people's children. It's easy to do, precisely because we're not born with identities, worldviews or concepts of self.

Where the argument against Egalia type experiments fail, is in the implication or assertion that because children are so easily socialized everywhere and anywhen, the task of undertaking a different treatment of gender is insurmountably difficult, because countering all those competing socialization efforts is hard.

I just don't think the argument has much in the way of internal logic, since it concedes its main objection in order to make it.

Cüneyt said...

Well, it's nice to see the Internet male resentment. Some things never change in this world. Karl should go read Scott Adams' blog; it'll be more his flavor.

As far as this, I'm skeptical. I don't think "partner" is the answer to "husbands and wives," personally. I delight in calling lesbian couples "wife and wife," and "partner" only serves to render more vague what should be openly declared. Likewise, I don't mind "boys" and "girls." I wish there was another word added to our vocab--something for the intersexed--but I don't know what's wrong, in and of itself, with calling biological sex by its proper name.

However. And here's where my anger at the "women are women, men are men, just 'cause!" argument comes in. However--there is so much that is engendered (pardon the pun) in children, about what "the roles" are. Fuck you for not letting my boys cry. Male emotionality was tolerated a lot more in some cultures before industrial civilization dared to tell us what men "were" and "are." Fuck you for telling me that some people clean and cook while others delegate, rule, and direct. I can't stand that shit.

And the fact is that school is nothing less than an indoctrination machine. Sure, children learn from their parents, but school isn't insignificant just because parents wield greater influence. I just watched pre-schoolers sing Lee Greenwood, though, so maybe I'm just painfully aware of the indoctrination that so many of us accept as given.

But oogy boogy! Feminism scary! It's no misogyny when you pose as a victim!

Karl Franz Ochstradt said...

Cuneyt, your snide snark not only is unwarranted, but appears to be based on a caricature of views I have not even expressed.

So thanks for that. You sure are superior! And progressive too!

But you forgot to call me a part of the patriarchy, didn't you?

Karl Franz Ochstradt said...

For example:

I am not "afraid" of feminism, any more than I am "afraid" of alchemy, economics, psychiatry, 3-card-monte, the Spanish Prisoner gambit, or the Nigerian cashier's check scam.

You have no clue what my childhood was like, Cuneyt... no more than fish has.

You don't know what sorts of experiences I had at the hands of men, versus at the hands of women.

"Feminists" love to imagine that it's all down to XY vs XX and patriarchy vs feminism. I presume that's because "feminists" have been wronged by men, and attribute the wrong to maleness.

Nice job, missing the details that don't fit your worldview. Congrats on that. Big kudos, and all.

Jack Crow said...

Karl,

I have my problems with how "patriarchy" is defined, articulated and used - but I don't think it's reasonable to assume that feminist = wronged by dudes.

Jack Crow said...

Cuneyt,

I'm still working this all out for myself, but I sometimes wonder at the resistance to changing males norms as if it were more an indication of how weak men feel - as a loss of armoring - than an expression of vitality or strength.

I think about masculinity, as a set of physical traits, and try to understand where it does not overlap with the learned postures of machismo.

Karl Franz Ochstradt said...

I do, Jack. And I have no problem disagreeing with you on it.

I tire of "feminists" proving they are the most femme-able man. It's an underhanded way to get in a woman's pants, apparently. Or a way to prove more-progressive-than-thou.

Humanism is where it's at. Not gender-specific hate or praise.

Humanism.

Women can be cruel, destructive and murderous. There's no benefit to praising women and heaping scorn on men, from a gender perspective.

Individual men, individual women... they are the malefactors.

Spin it up to a cultural thing if you want, I can't stop you and most likely cannot persuade you of the wrongheadedness of that direction.

I'm surely not going to sit still and be accused of hating women merely for pointing out that their gender has the capacity for destruction, deceit and murder just like the male gender.

And I'm not going to allow someone to label me as a "patriarchist" or whatever for pointing out that there are distinct differences between genders, and that the differences are not just anatomic.

I don't really care what "fish" says he/she can "prove" otherwise, but fails to prove. I really don't.

And the superiority angle plied by several here: they can eat my dick!

Quin said...

Thanks, Jack!

I see your point now. I think it's a good one.

But I also imagine that there's something else bothering the naysayers here. More of a gut feeling thing. I think some people are turned off from Egalia because of the possibility that this is some kind of cultural brainwashing by the P.C. police. I saw this not because of any particular comments here, but because it was my first gut reaction, probably due to the way that the HuffPo article kind of hints at this point of view around its edges.

I really don't know what Egalia looks like in practice. But when I see comments such as @ Karl:

"[Kids] learn the identity by seeing and copying, not by listening to a super-pwog adult lecturing them as if they were 25, about the role of gender identity"

(a sentiment I actually agree with if taken in isolation), it looks to me like my imagined Egalia is a very different place from yours, Karl. A pre-schools kind of has to be an interesting place for the kids, or else it just ends up turning into mayhem all the time.

Karl Franz Ochstradt said...

Quin, everyone sees what they want to see. Some of us are better at knowing our own blind spots.

Others of us can't even be convinced that we have blind spots.

*********

Curiously, everyone who is against me in this thread is standing against a view that is ascribed to me, but oddly hasn't been presented by me.

Thus you and others are reading into my posts what you want to read into them: bullying me, even.

Hilarious, that is.

Karl Franz Ochstradt said...

oh, and Quin:

stop objectifying me with that "@" symbol.

I'm not a target. I'm a fellow human. Maybe an XY genome, yes. But a fellow human regardless.

Quin said...

Karl, speaking as one humanist to another, sorry about the @ symbol. I'm in the recent habit of using it before names and quotes for readability's sake, and sometimes stick an extra one in by mistake. And I'm sorry if you feel like I'm bullying you, as it's honestly not my intent. But I can't control what goes on in your mind.

You're quite right about blind spots, though. I'd like to point out that you're far from the only person here to have expressed an anti-Egalia opinion. If people are directing an uneven amount of fire in your direction, it's probably because (A) you are leaving the most comments, and (B) you keep on telling people to suck your dick.

I guess it feels like self-defense to you. By my count it was you who dished out the first personally-directed insult of the thread ("Don't know where you were larn'd, fish, but I'm guessing it wasn't rigorous"). Just... keep in mind that it might-- possibly-- feel like self-defense all around.

Quin said...

@ Quin:
"And I'm sorry if you feel like I'm bullying you, as it's honestly not my intent. But I can't control what goes on in your mind."

And I'd like to formally apologize for having made this kind of weak non-apology, which I always hate when given by others.

Said better:

I'm not trying to bully you, just have a conversation with you about our disagreement. Please allow me and others to critique the content of what you say, without taking it as an attempt to bring you down a notch. Otherwise, how can you expect us to allow the same of you?

Justin said...

My thought is a evidence of one the many uncertain initial steps of human conciousness, to be honest. Its an effort to move past basing our inherent worth of humanity on particular facets of our selves and self-image. They are trying to move to a concept where our worth is derived in our capacity to relate to one another as equals. Patriarchal gender roles get in the way of that owing to historical and contemporary status afforded to white, heterosexual males above all others.

I believe the way past that is not to make boys become girls by adopting the grafting traditionally feminine roles onto masculinity or vice versa, in fact, that approach is still rooted in self-image, which is the question I think Jack is asking. The way past that, in my view, is to treat personal tastes and preferences as just that, personal taste and preference, as much a coin toss as being physically male or female.

To suggest that raising a bunch of kids to consider their tastes, gender and preferences independently of one another and indpendant of their self-worth as humans, and, in turn, considering the worth of others similarly, is the opposite of not preparing them for success in the real world.

Cüneyt said...

Jack, feeling of weakness has a lot to do with it. You've posted some pretty vitriolic stuff, and God knows I have. We may be confident in our choices of target, but the fact is that there is powerful magic in rejection, in saying no, in saying those cunts don't know what the real fight is, in saying it's not about that, it's really about this.

And Karl, never said I knew your childhood. But then again, you started out by aggressively telling us what is and what isn't regarding the entire human race, so I'll let your little hornet's nest of a mind figure out who's the more presumptuous.

Cüneyt said...

And a few words on humanism.

"Gender 'roles'... exist because there are behavioral, psychological, biochemical and even... ANATOMIC differences between XX and XY human genotypes.

Now if only we could destroy those differences, everything could be hunky-dory, eh?

No."

"Humanism is where it's at."

Now I can't make straight those two statements, but I don't have the rigorous learning I should. I just hear human difference emphasized when one feels it and then dismissed when one feels it. Follow that up with Karl's claim that he's being accused of hating women for supposedly denying their own sex's capacity for evil and I really wonder where the real meat of his argument is.

But humanism. Since it came up. I've found it funny how certain people speak of universals. It's as if they expect others to "catch up" with them, to see things as they "ought," which is of course to see them as the speaker does. Queer activism is a waste of time! Liberate humanity. Racism is a charade; fight for every human being! There is no sexism, no persecution of this or that class or ethnic group--these are all fictions anyway, and it's people who persecute people. Plain and simple.

I can't blame someone who's a feminist first. If they see the conflict as occurring along gender lines, who's to say it hasn't happened that way for them? And is it not possible to be a feminist, a humanist, and an anti-racist?

Justin said...

Longer form of my response, after considering it over.

Jack, I happened to catch your comments over at SMBIVA, the bit about pins dancing and what is more valuable is concrete action to prepare for what we think it will take. Let me just state for the record that we are on the exact same page, if there is any perceived difference in our opinions on this owing from what I've said, rest assured that this is either a failing on my part to communicate clearly (quite likely) or on your part to interpret what I appeared to intend - not as likely, given how often I forget to enumerate the letters of how I get from A to Z. This often does make it appear that I am failing the sobriety test.

Glad you are feeling better.

humbly,

Joe said...

Quin,

It sounds like you gave the article a closer read than I did, and when you put it the way you did, I have less of a problem with it. But like I said, I don’t really have a problem with a gender-neutral approach. I do it with my own daughter who’s seven. I’m pretty sure I’ve never encouraged or discouraged any kind of play based on gender suitability. In fact, if anything, I’m more likely to encourage her to do “boy” stuff because, properly socialized male that I apparently am, I’d rather play with legos than barbies (I’d rather wallow in shit, to be honest, than play with barbies). It’s more the institutional setting that I have a problem with (I said “any form of” in my original comment and didn’t mean to exclude conventional schools or imply that they were, as Jack put, “value neutral” or that there weren’t any more “gender issues” out there to be dealt with). I’ll admit, my distaste for institutional education occasionally puts me in some seemingly untenable positions, where it appears I’m taking a reactionary stance on an issue when it’s really the whiff of “cultural brainwashing by the PC police” that I’m opposed to.

fish said...

Resources refuting Evolutionary Psychology (i.e. gender roles are primarily a function of biology), I am sticking to lay summaries as most of you will not have access to primary sources without paying:

A solid refutation of the methodology by David Buller.

A Slate article outlining Buller's arguments.

A good essay by Kenan Malik.

Stephen J Gould (recommended).

I am sure this won't qualify as "proof" because proof is a bullshit concept in internet comment threads tossed up as way to shut down discussion, but suffice it to say that very smart individuals specifically trained in the fields of evolution and/or psychology have significant issues with the assertion that specific behaviors can be explained by the presence or absence of the Y chromosome. The interplay of genes and environment (e.g. society) are too complex to reduce any behavior to simply sexual dimorphism.

Karl Franz Ochstradt said...

Cuneyt, your sense of superiority here is intact, worry not. You don't have to attack me for disagreeing with you. Your desire to belittle me for not buying your appreciation for an absurdly PC schooling scheme was noted by the Political Correctness Police and you'll be receiving a Citizen's Commendation for protecting the New Order.

I made a blanket statement of truth, that children learn by watching their elders and imitating them. You cannot disprove this general truth, so you attack ME.

Oh, the silliness and haughtiness combined is a great cocktail of amusement to wide-open thinkers like me.

Feel superior if you must. Denigrate me -- as you will. But don't believe you're "fixing" me, appropriately chastising me, necessarily correcting me, or anything else like that.

What you're doing is hiding behind a PC posture and expecting a gang-up.

A gang-up on me, a Shakesville confab of man-hatred.

Sheesh.

Since your need to correct others who threaten you reminds me so much of a particular person:

You can go fuck yourself, Dick Cheney!

Karl Franz Ochstradt said...

fish has proved nothing, but has offered tangential points which stray from what I said.

fish wants my general assertion to be squeezed into what was supposedly "negated" by the things fish has read.

fish... out of water.

fish doesn't know anything about me or what I know, or what I have learned.

they believed in alchemy once, fish.

some believe in it today, only it's called something else.

and you think I'm arguing for sexual determinism.

what an asshole you are.

Karl Franz Ochstradt said...

A much simpler thing is to prevent a boy from using "he" referring to a girl, or vice-versa.

Telling a boy that he MUST be more feminine is fucked up.

But I guess that's how some people see "gender equality" -- erasing everything but the sex organs, which must be preserved to make new sex-organ-and-biochemistry-specific but behavior-neutral tiny humans.

"Jens, that penis makes you BAD!"

"Linette, that vagina makes you GOOD!"

And again, Cuneyt, you can fuck off for your armchair-shrink assessments of me. I could easily turn the tables on you, but I prefer to make absurdly rude comments to show you how absurdly rude YOU are. Fucker.

Cüneyt said...

I don't need to psychoanalyze you, Karl, when you so eagerly display your preoccupations. We all see the world as our Rorschach, and your accusations that I'm playing to some PC audience or that people are saying "penis bad, vagina good" work better than anything I could do with an observation window and a DSM.

Whatever your issues are or aren't, the fact is that your argument doesn't hold water. You employ humanistic rhetoric when you please and disregard your earlier claims of sexual essentialism. You say things that haven't been proven, and then retreat to more defensible, relatively minor points in your overall rants, such as that children learn by imitating elders.

Yes, Karl. That is correct. You're absolutely right--about that. I didn't disprove it, because I'm not trying to. What I tried to do was point out other things. And don't continue to insult everyone's intelligence by pretending that this was about poor widdle Kawl making an argument about parental/guardian influence or about the moral dubiousness of men and women alike. You're the one who's threatened, or at least I guess, because you're the one who's flailing. I don't see anybody here who's threatened by your Searing Truth, because so far you're not making much sense.

Quin said...

Joe: "In fact, if anything, I’m more likely to encourage her to do 'boy' stuff because, properly socialized male that I apparently am, I’d rather play with legos than barbies..."

It sounds like you have a good relationship with your daughter. But the issue isn't really about how parents raise their children, but about how society, and more specifically schools, socialize children. As the father of a seven year old girl, you have of course noticed that you're not the only one influencing you're daughter's views on gender. Hence often unhappy parents and books like "Cinderella Ate My Daughter". I don't really know attending to a school like Egalia is the best answer, but based on the limited information given, it seems to me like a perfectly valid strategy to try.

Karl: "Telling a boy that he MUST be more feminine is fucked up. But I guess that's how some people see 'gender equality'..."

I think you're reading too far between the lines and ending up in a place that doesn't actually exist. Who are these "some people"? Who in this thread, or in the linked article, are even hinting at telling boys to be more feminine, or girls to be more masculine? Please be specific. Maybe I've just missed it.

The "some people" that I'm actually seeing are the ones who want to allow children to make more of their own natural choices in terms of what behavior is acceptable. To teach boys and girls that it's completely okay to act both in the ways that are traditionally considered to be feminine and the masculine ways. That it's okay for boys to cry and take care of others; that it's okay for girls to be adventurous and to stand up for themselves even if it means not seeming "nice".

Joe said...

Quin,

Yes, I have noticed that I'm not the only one (besides my wife) influencing my daughter's views on gender, but the "girls do this, boys do that" stuff seems come more from peers (and even at that, it's pretty limited) than from the school itself. Honestly, at this point, I'm more concerned about how school inculcates a blind obedience to authority than I am about how or whether it deals with gender issues.

Quin said...

Sure, absolutely. That's a good distinction to make. Though, actually, even the educational materials my school uses now often teaches bad gender messages, in ways both big and small. But you're right-- and I bet that the average kid is much more influenced by, say, the TV they watch than the educational materials their school uses. Like I said, I'm not sure Egalia is the best answer. But it does at least acknowledge the problem, which is something.