Monday, August 11, 2014

Catholic Stand: The Identity of a Woman

As if identity politics weren’t bad enough, it’s taken a turn for the bizarre. In New Yorker magazine, Michelle Goldberg tells us of an ongoing struggle between radical feminists and the “transgendered” — a term that includes not only pre-op and post-op transsexuals, but also men and women who for their own reasons wish to identify as the other or neither sex. The problem for radical feminists is that men who claim to be women, even those who undergo “gender-reassignment surgery”, aren’t really women.

Not because the transgendered don’t have the right parts, or because the parts have been artificially implanted; oh no, that would simply be common sense, and who wants that? (“Common sense,” Stuart Chase once sniffed, “is that which tells us the earth is flat.”) No, the radical feminist objection is that the transgendered haven’t been raised with the suffering and victimization inherent in a paternalist society, and that transgenderism represents a kind of male-imperialist encroachment on uniquely female territory.

To make matters worse (?), radical feminists seem to be losing the fight. The universities and PACs, which once hosted — or at least suffered — their message of male oppression, are now starting to push back wherever that message conflicts with transgender rights. Says Rachel Ivey, “If I were to say in a typical women’s-studies class today, ‘Female people are oppressed on the basis of reproduction,’ I would get called out.” Other students, she adds, would ask, “What about women who are male?”

Women who are male. In four words, the surreality of the transgender Weltanschauung is encapsulated. This is the apotheosis of strong social constructionism, which “proposes that the notions of ‘real’ and ‘unreal’ are themselves social constructs, so that the question of whether anything is ‘real’ is just a matter of social convention. … It reasons that all reality is thought, all thought is in a language, all language is a convention, and that all convention is socially acceptable[;] hence, it uses language to socially program.”

Read more at Catholic Stand!