Yes, yes, OK, I’m 52, I’m not supposed to understand the youth of today

Just as my grandparents weren’t supposed to understand the excitement that was punk (although they did get zoot suiters which, despite the fashion differences, wasn’t far off) but even so:

Mount Holyoke College canceled its annual production of “The Vagina Monologues” because it’s insufficiently inclusive regarding women without vaginas and men who, as the saying goes, “self-identify” as women. “Gender,” said a student, “is a wide and varied experience, one that cannot simply be reduced to biological or anatomical distinctions,” and the show “is inherently reductionist and exclusive.”

Or is this just the revolution eating its children as it has since forever?

20 thoughts on “Yes, yes, OK, I’m 52, I’m not supposed to understand the youth of today”

  1. “Insufficiently inclusive of women without vaginas and men who self-identify as women”

    But not

    “Insufficiently inclusive of women without vaginas and men”

    Not that any man but a mangina would be interested anyway.

    Still, it is amusing that the same wrecking tactics employed by women’s groups against men are now being applied against them by the nutters.

  2. I suspect the transgendered “women” prefer to think of themselves as the superior improved version of womanhood because they don’t leak ( blood, lochia, milk, thrush, urine post menopause).

  3. The common thread in these groups (though they don’t realise it, and hence don’t get along) is that they’re all trying in various ways to transcend the flesh. Very Neo-Platonist, or even Gnostic (the spirit is imprisoned in its physical form, which drags it down to the level of mere mud).

    Orthodox Christianity, particularly when you look at Paul, is predicated on the other hand on the resurrection of the body, which is therefore not an inferior prison. In the Kingdom Of God, everyone will be resurrected into flesh- perfect, incorruptible flesh.

    One reason that the proto-orthodox and the Gnostics (et al) didn’t get on with each other either.

  4. No, I think we’re at a point where people are just playing at revolution. Punk was a bit, but at least it was fun. But there were youth movements at that time that were against real problems like racism and homophobia. And not someone going to a fancy dress party as a red indian, but skinheads kicking the shit out of black people.

    These college kids are just desperately looking for a problem, something to be part of. There isn’t really a problem with trans people out there. I mean, I will upset the people who say how gorgeous Caitlin Jenner is, because they’re bullshitters, but very few people are actively hateful towards her.

  5. Can’t imagine you’d have any problem understanding the youth of today, Tim. The ones I meet seem much as we always were. Some have retarded their education by going to university, but they soon catch up.
    Try this bollocks in a pub in Walthamstowe & they’d be laughed at. Persist & they’d get a clip round the ear. And that’s just from the girls.
    You’re talking about a subset of a subset, by my aren’t they vocal? And they all seem to be doing media studies courses.

  6. Goddess save me from anything ‘insufficiently inclusive’. Pillocks! Entertainments have intended audiences, despite which some not in the intended audience may find them entertaining. That’s how the real world works. I don;t give a monekys if a talk on post-industrial neo-Platonist drama through the medium of dance isn’t ‘inclusive’ of my complete lack of interest in the subject – I simply don’t go if I don;t find it interesting. It’s cretins like those at Mount Holyoke College that give feminism a bad name, and IMHO actually make things worse for everyone.

  7. Esme-

    You’re missing the point. If something isn’t your cup of tea, you’re being excluded. So, if I don’t attend a talk on Victorian Manhole Covers because I don’t give a fig about them, then I’m being excluded, which is discrimination, and the talk must be changed to something I do want to attend, so that I no longer am suffering discrimination.

  8. Well, he got one thing right at least. Gender is, as he said, *not* about biology or anatomy. Biology and anatomy differences is sex. Gender is your sex-based identity and social interactions with people and society around you.

    Sex is what’s between your legs, gender is what’s between your ears.

  9. “Gender” is a term borrowed from linguistics, transferred into social and political theory via literary (critical) theory. It’s basically meaningless in these contexts, an irrational jargon term.

    There’s no need for a separate term for what you are, compared to what you think you are, any more than we need a separate word for me thinking I am handsome while others think I am ugly, or me thinking I am Napoleon when others think I am Ian B. Etc.

    The word sex describes a biological state. This is the only useful description.

  10. There appears to be competition going on as to who is most tolerant. For some tolerance is not merely the supreme virtue but the only one.
    Hence the perpetual drive to find new things to tolerate, the more extreme the better.

  11. “There’s no need for a separate term for what you are, compared to what you think you are,”

    It depends on why you think you are. If you think it because of biology – e.g. you think you’re Napoleon because you’re schizophrenic, then ‘schizophrenic’ is the proper term for you.

    Likewise, ‘transgender’ means people thinking they’re a different sex to their genitals because of biology – sex-linked biological differences in the brain being inconsistent with the similarly sex-linked biological differences in the genitals.

    Someone who thought they were the other sex because they’d been brainwashed by feminists, on the other hand, wouldn’t have any biological basis for their belief and that would be more in line with what you’re talking about. As it turns out, it’s been tried and it didn’t work – brain biology trumps culture every time.

  12. “The Vagina Monologues or, as I like to call it, Cunts Who Won’t Shut Up.”

    But as Hannibal Lecter might have hissed: “they have now”.

  13. NiV-

    I was talking about the word “gender” not specifically “transgender”. It’s redundant. As a compound, we already had “transsexual”, to describe somebody who thinks they are the opposite sex.

    “Transgender” smuggles in this critical/literary theory idea that what we have is a gender rather than a sex. That is, rather than thinking you are the opposite sex, you actually are another “gender” (which is now up to a list of 50 or more).

    A table has no sex, but in the French language it has a female gender, which is assigned to it. By talking of “gender”, we accept that “genders” are assigned, rather than existent independent of language, and thus gender becomes something fluid and subjective, rather than a biological reality.

  14. As it turns out, it’s been tried and it didn’t work – brain biology trumps culture every time.

    Yes, there is a small number of people who at birth have visually indeterminate genitalia. Nowadays I suppose you could do DNA testing to determine whether the child is a boy or a girl, but back in the day they just guessed, and if necessary performed pediatric surgery to make the child look like the guessed sex. Needless to say there were serious problems for the child when the doctors guessed wrong.

  15. Insane. Some people have vaginas, and have issues (however neurotic and laughable those issues) with them. Whether some women (with or without scare quotes) don’t have vaginas doesn’t affect the issues that those who do have vaginas have.

    But of course it’s really about what Ian B and Pat have said.

  16. “It’s redundant. As a compound, we already had “transsexual”, to describe somebody who thinks they are the opposite sex.”

    Actually, it’s making just the distinction you was complaining about. ‘Sex’ is what’s between your legs. ‘Gender’ is what’s between your ears. ‘Transexual’ is when you change what’s between your legs. ‘Transgender’ is when you change the way you behave to conform to the other sex’s social roles, without necessarily changing sex (which as many here have noted, is a far from perfect technology as yet).

    Yes, I agree it’s not precisely the word’s original meaning. But as a mathematician I’m quite used to borrowing everyday words and ascribing strange abstract definitions to them. When you invent new concepts and distinctions, you need to invent new words for them, and it helps if they’re already sort of related to the concept.

    “By talking of “gender”, we accept that “genders” are assigned, rather than existent independent of language, and thus gender becomes something fluid and subjective, rather than a biological reality.”

    Quite. And that’s precisely the position I’m arguing against. Gender is a biological reality too, independent of how anyone might define it.

    Sex isn’t a singular characteristic – it’s a concatenation of many biological differences that generally go together. Men are taller, heavier, stronger, hairier, more aggressive, less talkative, more risk-taking, more promiscuous, are attracted to the ladies, have heavier brow ridges, differently shaped hips, bigger feet, undeveloped breasts, and yes, have male genitals. There are differences in brain structure that cause them to act differently, and want different things. Despite everything the post-modernist feminists might have thought, the differences in men’s and women’s minds are largely inbuilt, biological, unchangeable, or due to the interaction of culture with those inbuilt tendencies.

    And as with everything in nature, the boundaries are a little bit blurred, with a bit of overlap. People sometimes don’t have all the characteristics in the set. If a woman is born with a tendency to unusually coarse thick body hair, it’s not a logical impossibility (“But women don’t have coarse body hair! You must be a man!”), or a trick of post-modernist ideology, and it’s not unreasonable for her to want to do something medical about it. It’s the same with brain-related characteristics.

    Transsexualism and transgenderism are not socially constructed. Nobody consciously chooses “Hey! I think I’ll be transgender when I grow up!” like they’re picking a career or something. It’s an utter pain, and extremely unwelcome. And nobody does it to follow post-modern ideology, or fashion, parental/peer pressure, or to “fit in”. All the social pressures are pushing the other way – hard! The only thing that can trump all that is biology.

    It’s true the SJWs have taken up their cause, which causes a certain amount of confusion. Their idea is to pick some persecuted minority that people can feel sympathy with, and that they know the old reactionaries will reliably react against, and use them to justify the introduction of totalitarian measures in the name of protecting them. They’ve done it with the poor, blacks, women, gays, and immigrants. And in their environmentalist guise, with fluffy bunnies, coral reefs, fish, tweety birds, baby polar bears, and tree frogs. They use the group as a stalking horse and shield, so that anyone who objects to their creeping totalitarianism is painted as “anti-X” or an “X-phobe” with whichever group they’re currently using filling in the blank, and they get painted as heroic champions of liberty and tolerance. As they win each battle and it ceases to become an issue, they simply move on to another one.

    But they’re not the same people as the group they picked! So attacking the group they’re currently hiding behind gets you nowhere. It makes you unpopular, gains them sympathy, and pushes people into their camp. It also concentrates attention on the wrong issues – arguing the rights or wrongs of group X instead of the rights or wrongs of the totalitarian thoughtcrime laws introduced to protect group X.

    “The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others.” People changing gender (or sex) does no harm to others. Society should let them – it’s nobody else’s business. At the same time, disagreeing with people changing gender does nobody any harm, either, so long as you don’t directly bully them because of it. So if you genuinely don’t agree with it, or with the biological technicalities, fine, I’d support your right to say so. But please, don’t confuse them with the SJWs themselves.

  17. I think there’s money to be made running an online course in ‘offended studies’. With nice certificate at the end:

    – Being offended
    – Explaining to other people why they should be offended
    – Being vicariously offended for other people
    – Being offended when other people tell you to shut up
    – Being offended when other people don’t want you to be offended for them

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