Re: Non-Binary Genders | Contrapoints

0:00-0:28

The first thing I want to comment on here is your mention of traditional gender roles. This is brought up as if to imply that these traditional gender roles are generally seen as the desired state to live in, as opposed to a state with non-binary genders. This is not necessarily true. You can reject both the traditional gender roles and the existence of non-binary genders, as I will detail later on in this post. It is likely that you know this, but due to the fact that this particular statement was not made in response to any individual person, rather a general response to the people on YouTube, I really can’t know for sure.

(I cut out about thirty-six seconds of introduction. 0:28-1:05)

1:05-1:50

I object to your claim that non-binary people don’t need to provide arguments in support of their own existence. The first problem I have with this sentiment is the idea that this can be characterized as an issue over their existence. This was your wording. And it is nothing more than loaded language. The issue is not whether people who identify as non-binary exist or not; it is over what their identity actually is and how it should be accepted in the mainstream. Rejecting this identity does not mean they, as a person, don’t exist in the world, but that this manifestation of their identity is objectionable.

The second thing is your actual claim that they don’t need to provide arguments in favor of the non-binary identity. They do. This isn’t some moral condemnation. Even if you agree with the widespread acceptance of non-binary genders, this argument still stands. What non-binary people are asking for is a change in social consciousness. The acceptance of non-binary identities runs completely counter to the current understanding of both gender roles and identities in the west. Practically speaking, if you want to bring about change, then the burden of proof lies on your lap, not the other way around. I certainly don’t think non-binary identities are a practical solution in society. It vastly over complicates things, and demands too much of other people. I could be convinced, but I don’t see any reason to accept it at this point.

1:50-2:48

This harkens back to what I previously said about going against the social consciousness. When you propose an idea that is counter to what people expect, especially something as heretical as introducing brand new genders, you not only cannot expect people to go along with it, but there is no reason for them to go along with it either. Why? You must provide an argument for that. As far as I am concerned, this non-binary shtick is just an ideological fad manifesting in the Left that will almost certainly die out in a few years or so. The modern day progressives have a pathological adherence to group identities and non-binary genders are an expression of this.

2:48-3:27

This is not as simple as an appeal to authority. An appeal to authority generally involves someone basing his argument off of something an individual person in an authoritative position said, particularly when that person actually has no authority on the subject at hand. What Blaire is referencing here is not a statement or opinion made by one person, but the general consensus in the medical community. Because of this, I think there is an argument to be made that non-binary people are not the same as those who are transgender. Basically what this consensus is is the best, most well educated, stance on the issue at this point. It isn’t perfect, especially due to it being a soft science, but it functions much like hard science in that it provides the best description/explanation of the universe around us given our current knowledge. If someone provides an argument for going against this consensus, I am happy to listen, but I won’t just accept it.

And I will grant you that non-binary could be included as a diagnosis at some point, but this simply means they don’t feel like they fit into any particular gender category. This does not mean that new gender categories ought to be magicked into existence to play into their delusion. Ideally, they should be treated psychologically since this is a problem with the mind. If not, then there is no point in diagnosing them in the first place. People with gender dysphoria are diagnosed so they can get treatment; what reason should non-binary people be diagnosed if the solution isn’t to change them, but the society that they live in? This is comparable to homosexuality, which you brought up yourself. Homosexuals are an evolutionary dead end. If a bunch of chemicals were dumped in the water that turned the friggin’ straights gay, we would go extinct, if not for artificial insemination. From a biological standpoint, there is no reason to believe that homosexuality is, in any way, natural. Yet, it is no longer a diagnosis. This is because we have decided that homosexuals do not need to change. Society changed, not the homosexuals. So you can only have one: either the social consciousness ought to change to accommodate non-binary people, or the non-binary people ought to change to fit society. Whether this non-binary phenomenon can actually be diagnosed, and is not just some ideological fad, will have major implications in this.

3:27-4:03

With regard to your comments about biological sex, intersex is nothing more than a birth abnormality. The entire reason that we, as biological creatures, are separated into two sexes is because of the need for sexual reproduction. The male sex creates the sperm and the female sex creates the egg; the sperm fertilizes the egg and the offspring is the result. Intersex does not come into this. There is no hermaphrodite middleman when two people have sex. And this also applies to the differing karyotypes that you brought up on the screen. XO, or just X, is what you would call Turner’s syndrome. This is when a biological female, yes, female, is born with only an X sex chromosome. The symptoms differ, but the sufferers from this condition typically have problems with spatial visualization and display certain physical deformities that include webbed neck, low-set ears, short stature, and swollen hands and feet at the time of birth. Sufferers also generally need hormone treatment in order to gain breasts and menstrual periods. Finally, they are sterile. Treatment can be given to help mediate this, but I think my point stands: people with Turner’s syndrome have a condition. This is not evidence of a third category of sex. In fact, they solely belong to the female sex. The other karyotypes share a rather similar story, including ones you did not mention, such as XXXY, XXXX, XXYY, and XXXXY. The XYY and XXX karyotypes are the two that display phenotypic effects that aren’t as severe as the rest, so they are the exception. But this does not address my point at the beginning that intersex people do not contribute to reproduction; so biologically speaking they have an abnormality. The biological sex binary exists for a reason.

I also want to make a point concerning gender roles/expression. You offhandedly mentioned these, but what I have to say will be relevant to my comments on gender identity. Gender roles are predicated on biological sex. They are socially constructed, with a general adherence to the biological reality of sex. When you look at gender roles throughout history the general rule is that there are two. Of course, there are exceptions, considering the fact that we are dealing with something that is socially constructed, but the emphasis here should be put on exceptions. There is a reason that, in most societies, there have only been two gender roles: the fact that it is predicated on biological sex.

Keep in mind that there is no objective way to look at gender roles, since gender roles are simply our way of perceiving people in society. This is supported by the fact that these exceptions people generally bring up all differ in what these extra gender roles are. Some societies consider the extra gender role to be a state between the two normal gender roles. Some think it is effeminate men. Some think there are four genders, which include the typical roles along with two extras: masculine women and feminine men. People are simply collectivizing themselves according to their behavior in a way that makes sense to them in their society. This can differ.

The main point I want to stress here is that there is no objective reason to accept any particular gender role in society, not even the ones we currently have in America.

Finally, your assertion that gender identity is what is in question here is dubious. Given the fact that non-binary people don’t feel like they fit into any gender category, it really is impossible to say what exactly this means. Do they feel like the current gender roles are too restrictive and they want a new role tailored just for them? Or are they experiencing something closer to what transgender people face, which is a deep inner feeling that something is wrong with their very psychology? These are not the same thing and the implications matter. If the latter were true, you would be right in classifying non-binary as partly an issue of gender identity. If the former were true, then I would say it isn’t an issue of gender identity at all, but that of purely gender roles. This is where medical diagnoses come in handy. They can act as the adjudicator. I am personally inclined to say the former is true. As I specified earlier, gender roles are simply our way of perceiving people in society. This can be take form in many different ways, for many different reasons. I think the progressive ideology today that emphasizes group identity is the reason for this new recognition of non-binary gender roles.

An added note for you to consider is that these so-called grey areas to biological sex don’t actually correlate with gender dysphoria or any of the extra gender roles. Hermaphroditic people don’t necessarily have gender dysphoria. And how often have these extra gender roles been ascribed to people with Turner’s syndrome, or any people with differing karyotypes, for that matter? The reason for this disconnect is because all of these things are each their own issue. They are all genetic defects of a different sort. If these were grey areas you would expect them to correlate, would you not? The grey areas in biological sex would overlay each other and on top of the grey areas of gender identity, and then these would be the extra genders roles that have popped up throughout history. But this is not the case.

4:03-4:32

This right here perfectly encapsulates the problem. Most people do not consider gender to be a major factor in their identity. We live in an individualist society and any sort of group identity runs counter to this. And this is all based on feelings. So how can you determine the difference between having a non-conforming gender identity and simply wanting a gender role tailored for you? As I said, medical diagnoses should be used.

(I cut out some funny bits Contra put in. 4:32-5:53)

5:53-6:39

By and large, you are correct here. Language is determined by its usage, not by any sort of rules that it follows. The dictionary is more descriptive than it is prescriptive. Though it is important to note that it is not as simple as you make it out to be. You can break the language down into two classes of words: open class and closed class. The names of these two classes explain just how flexible the words are when it comes to changing them. Open classes contain words like nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs. These are open to constant change. Any speaker can modify these words with either inflectional or derivational morphemes. Respectively, these change the grammatical meaning of the word or change the word entirely. An example of this would be the word “fuck.” This word is rather unique, since it can become any of the open class words through its usage. It can be a noun: “You stupid fuck.” It can be a verb: “You want to fuck?” It can be an adjective: “This fucking guy.” And it can be an adverb: “Are you fucking stupid?” You can even invent new words, when it comes to open class words and they don’t necessarily have to be pre-established in order for it to have a comprehensible meaning. An example of this would be “verbing.” “Verbing” is a homological “word” that describes the process of adding an [-ing] morpheme to the end of a word to change it into a verb (usually from a noun). People do this often when they want to be playful with language, and the meaning of what they are saying is usually obvious. So this establishes the flexibility of an open class word.

The next group of words is closed class words. These words, true to the name, are words that are generally closed off to meddling. Words that fall into this category include: determiners, auxiliary verbs, coordinators, complementizers, and . . . pronouns. These words do not take on inflectional or derivational morphemes and their usage is quite prescriptive. This is not to say that they can never be changed—the second person singular pronoun “thou” is now “you,” which was formerly confined to the second person plural usage—but this isn’t something that just happens overnight. Unlike open class words, you can’t just invent new words on the spot and expect the people to understand what you are saying or to go along with it. It is entirely possible for the usage of the word “they” to naturally change as time goes by, but this is really a question of what comes first: will these pronouns become part of common usage, or will this non-binary fad fall out of favor? Only time will tell.

Finally, to address the onscreen claim that people use singular “they” whether they know it or not. Technically that is correct, but there is nuance attached to it. First, the singular usage of “they” is very informal, so there are many language professors who would never accept that in a formal setting, like if you are writing an essay. That aside, the singular usage of “they” is only used when the identity or the gender of the person being spoken about is unknown. It makes sense to use singular “they” in the following context: “The author states X. They then go on to state Y.” The subject of that sentence—the noun phrase, “the author”—is vague in that the author’s gender is unknown, so you can acceptably use the singular “they.” But there are interpretation problems when you use the singular “they” in contexts where the subject’s gender is hinted at through a name. This is evident in the following sentence: “Jack chose to quit work after speaking with an employer. They didn’t think the interaction went very well.” What does this mean? Is “they” the formal third person plural usage of the pronoun, referencing both parties mentioned in the sentence? Is this a sloppy, informal reference to the employer who is genderless? Or is Jack non-binary, using the “they,” “them,” and “their” pronouns? You need more context. This issue could be worked out some time in the future, who knows? But the point is that we don’t use singular “they” pronouns to reference specific people we are knowledgeable about, we only use them to informally reference people we aren’t knowledgeable about.

6:39-7:24

(I will skip ahead approximately 14 seconds to make a full response to two closely related questions. 7:24-7:38)

7:38-8:35

I completely agree with your statement that gender roles evolved in a time where it made more sense to have them. Especially in the modern day, people don’t always fit into their respective gender role set up by society nor do they need to. I part ways with you when you imply that these new gender roles are a step in the right direction. I have never understood the logic behind the idea of creating new gender roles. Here we have a problem: male and female gender roles are too rigid and some people just do not fall into either of the categories. This is because gender roles are basically the general behavior/expression of each of the sexes. Expecting people to fall perfectly in line with any gender role is like expecting everyone in a class with a grade average of seventy-two percent to each have a seventy-two percent. It does not follow. The solution to this should not be to increase the amount of emphasis we place on group identities like gender roles and then try to invent more categories by reaching up into our asses and pulling out the shittiest name we can find. The solution should be to reduce the amount of emphasis we place on gender roles as a group identity. Stop acting like these categories matter so much. Instead, emphasize individualism and personality. You don’t need to fit in with any fucking gender role. Just be you.

(I cut out the outro of the video. 8:35-9:27)

References

Video: https://www.youtube.com/edit?o=U&video_id=tgMMKNbRp28

Original: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=36egVNVBqZU

Gender roles:

http://www.tate.org.uk/context-comment/articles/men-women-pacific

http://nativeout.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Two-Spirits-Nadleeh-and-Navajo-LGBTQ2-Gaze.pdf

Alex Jones: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OqWSzv7ESJY

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Response to Noel Plum

I just watched your discussion with Dr. Moriarty on the debate of nature vs. nurture, specifically applied to gender differences. Both of you seemed to miss a point that I read about in a book on evolutionary psychology that is very pertinent to the discussion. Basically, it is a debunk of the nature vs. nurture dichotomy. To illustrate this, I want to present an analogy that was provided by the book, that I thought was amazing.

Say you are baking a cake. When you do such a thing, you have to follow through on a set of instructions, the first of which is combining all of the ingredients—the flour, the salt, the sugar, etc.—and mixing them up. These are the genes, or the nature element, of the analogy. The second step is putting the cake into the oven and cooking it. This is the nurture element of the analogy. Once the cake is done, you have this fluffy, bread-like consistency. So, then, the question would be: what makes the cake fluffy? Is it the ingredients or is it cooking it in the oven? Was it the nature aspect of it, or the nurture aspect of it? You may be thinking, “What? Why would you attribute this to only one or the other?” And you would be right! Both the ingredients and the cooking within the oven contribute to the fluffy consistency. The ingredients and the oven are not independent of one another; they work together for this common goal.

Now apply this reasoning to the nature vs. nurture debate in humans: both genes and the environment work together to formulate people into whom they are. Pointing out that genetics is involved does not mean the environment cannot affect people; pointing out that the environment has influence does not mean genetics is not involved. This will make more sense if I get more specific. Turn your mind to the development of a child. It is well known that children’s minds are more plastic than adult’s minds are. This is why it is so important to send children to school. This is the time at which humans learn the best. They are biologically primed for this. Our minds are biologically primed to learn at a young age, so this can be the nature aspect of it; at the same time, how we are raised, and what we learn during this period is important, so this can be the nurture aspect of it. As is true with the cake analogy, you cannot separate the nature from the nurture. A good example of this is a baby’s attachment to the mother. The general assumption in this is that the baby is born with a biological attachment to the mother. But it is not this simple. What is being realized now is that the baby actually acquires this attachment during its time in the womb. That is, the baby is biologically inclined to form an attachment with anyone, and it forms it with the mother because of its time in the womb. It is both nature and nurture.

Applying this to the gender differences debate, this will stray a little into theory. I want to address a point that Dr. Moriarty brought up, that was also agreed upon by yourself. He pointed out that in different geographical locations, gender differences varied, which demonstrates that these particular differences are quite susceptible to nurture. I postulate that this is not as simple as that, in line with what I detailed above. These geographical differences could be due to both nature and nurture. Children’s minds are more plastic than adult minds, so the way they are raised from a young age in geographical location A will shape their mind one way, while in another way in geographical location B. The important thing to note is that once someone’s childhood is over, their mind is no longer as plastic, and these behaviors become ingrained; it is unlikely that people will change after this. The reason this is so relevant is because of feminists’ push to get women into fields like engineering. They give scholarships to women as incentive. But it isn’t that simple. By the time women go to college, they are unlikely to change what they have already learned in the first years of their life.

Another very important point to make is that since nature and nurture work together to shape people into who they are, it is impossible to say what people are naturally like without any sort of socialization. Both you and Dr. Moriarty seem to be working from the assumption that there is a natural state for men and women, and you both want to keep things as neutral as possible so they can be as close to this natural state as they possible can. If it is true that gender is due to both nature and nurture as illustrated above, this implies that there is no natural state to men or women. A girl socialized in a way that makes her prefer math is just as natural as a girl socialized in a way that makes her prefer nursing. Through nature and nurture, they are both biologically inclined to these states. There is no natural state. Any worry that you may be influencing your child’s development to favor stereotypes may be unfounded, as you may be doing that no matter how you raise them.

I don’t definitively know how far this may go. If what I just discussed is true, then it could imply that men and women may very well have no psychological differences. But, it could also be said that men and women are biologically primed to learn different things. Women’s minds may be biologically inclined to focus on social interactions, which leads to them learning to interact in this way. Men’s minds may be biologically inclined to focus on spatial recognition, which leads to them learning to think in that way. The speculation could go on and on.

But this is just something you may find interesting.

Video: https://www.youtube.com/edit?o=U&video_id=UfEAAImJOfM