Tag: Gender

In Harris Funeral Homes Supreme Court Case, We Should Ask ‘Am I Next?’

 

“Am I next?” That’s the question that should come to your mind when you think of G.R. & R.G. Harris Funeral Homes v. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission, which the US Supreme Court is set to hear Tuesday, Oct. 8.

And no, that’s not a reference to funeral homes in general—along the lines of “ask not for whom the bell tolls”—but whether or not Americans can rely on what the law says. If the ACLU has its way and defeats Harris Funeral Homes, everyday Americans will face punishment for violating laws that unelected officials have changed out from under them.

That’s at the heart of Harris. Ignoring almost a half-century of precedent—and more importantly, the text of federal law itself—a federal court of appeals effectively redefined “sex” to include “gender identity” to punish a funeral homeowner who was depending on the law to run his fifth-generation family business.

You Know What They Say About “They”

 

Most of my pet peeves have to do with words and their use, misuse, and abuse — though baseball caps worn backward irritate me too. Give me a few more years and I’ll probably let my inner Kowalski run free, but so far I’ve kept him pretty well in check: I’m generally a live and let live kind of guy.

The use of the third-person plural pronoun “they” in reference to a single individual has always stuck in my craw. Saying “he or she” isn’t so hard, and has the virtue of grammatical correctness. Anyway, that’s what I thought, until I bothered to look up the use/misuse of the word in this context.

Mattel’s “Gender-Non-Binary Doll” a Hat Tip to Larger, Troubling Trend for Parents

 

Move over, Barbie, the new face of Mattel has arrived. Ze may not be as shapely and enduring as their predecessor, but according to a glowing feature in TIME magazine, ve might be headed for a holiday-neutral pine tree near you this December.

Billing their latest product as “a doll for everyone,” Mattel becomes the latest Fortune 500 corporation to go all-in on gender identity with its androgynous “Creatable World” doll, which follows closely on the heels of its decision last year to nix its respective boys and girls toy divisions.

So with yet another multi-billion-dollar company toeing the line and perhaps the world’s most recognizable toy brand going woke, perhaps there is more incentive for parents and other responsible adults to sit up and take notice.

What We Can Learn from the Latest Outrages Over Gender Identity

 

Mario Lopez and Carissa Pinkston.

Perhaps this pair of stories could be overlooked as forgettable examples of George Orwell’s “Two Minutes Hate”—the daily, formal pause during which citizens of a fictional utopia spewed outrage at their enemy—but to ignore them would be at our own peril.

Taken alone or together, they’re a frightening 1-2 punch of intolerance, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness. One might say that America seems only moments away from having its own “Two Minutes Hate.”

Pride Month and Father’s Day

 

Sunday was Father’s Day and June is Pride month. Until a few years ago, I’d have found nothing particularly incongruous about that conjunction: there is nothing about the celebration of one’s sexual preference, however odd it may be to call that “pride,” that precludes, obfuscates, or undermines an appreciation of the role fathers play in the lives of their children and their value to society.

Should Democrats Avoid Women Candidates?

 

Many Democratic voters are worried that a woman candidate cannot win the presidency in 2020.  “I don’t think they’re strong enough to carry it for themselves,” an Iowa voter told the Washington Post. Amber Phillips reports that “female politicians are held by voters to a much higher standard than men,” and points to polls showing that today’s support for Elizabeth Warren (12 percent) and Kamala Harris (8 percent) drops to low single digits when voters are asked who is likely to defeat Trump.

Without denying that some people may harbor misogynistic feelings, and that many Democrats may indeed fear, as Phillips reported, that while they personally would happily vote for a woman for president, their neighbors might not, this doesn’t prove that women are held to a higher standard. The evidence is mixed. It’s never possible to know with certainty what motivates voters. Could Romney’s religion have decided the 2012 race? It’s possible.

Breasts

 

Now that I have your attention, I wish to direct it to a split decision handed down today by the 10th Circuit. On equal-protection grounds, the court struck down an ordinance in place in Fort Collins, CO forbidding women from baring their breasts in public except for the purpose of breastfeeding. Ed Whelan at National Review is on the case, and he reports the following:

In his majority opinion (joined by Judge Mary Beck Briscoe), Judge Gregory A. Phillips cites with approval the district court’s objection that the ordinance “perpetuates a stereotype engrained in our society that female breasts are primarily objects of sexual desire whereas male breasts are not.” In a classic false dichotomy, Phillips concludes that the city’s “professed interest in protecting children derives not from any morphological differences between men’s and women’s breasts but from negative stereotypes depicting women’s breasts, but not men’s breasts, as sex objects.” Ditto for “notions of morality” that might underlie the law.

You Can’t Say That on Twitter

 

She tweeted that “men are not women,” and for that, Meghan Murphy, a feminist journalist, was banned from Twitter. An anodyne statement of biological reality qualifies as “hate speech” for some of the gnomes at Twitter HQ.  Murphy received a rote notification that “you may not promote violence against, threaten, or harass other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or serious disease.”

Excuse me, but that sound you heard was me spitting my coffee across the desk. I cannot count the number of times I’ve been harassed on Twitter on some of the above grounds. Twitter has benefits, but let’s face it, threats, vile abuse, and harassment have become a key part of Twitter’s brand. Louis Farrakhan has an account. Terrorists romp through its pixels with ease, and the Russians deploy bots like biological agents. Only a select few offenders are punished or banned.

When founder Jack Dorsey was asked on Sam Harris’s podcast why suspensions and other disciplinary actions always seem to go in a PC direction, Dorsey was phlegmatic, “I don’t believe we should optimize for neutrality.” That was Silicon Valley-speak for “We are not fair.”

Gillette Is Not Wrong

 

Is the new Gillette razor ad a radical feminist attack on masculinity – the commercial embodiment of a woke sensibility? I was prepared to think so. But having watched it twice, I find a lot to like. The ad has been panned by some conservative commentators. With all due respect, I think they are falling into a trap. They seem to have accepted the feminist framing. Feminists see culture as a Manichean struggle. It’s women versus men. Women are benign and men are malign. For society to progress, men must change. We must extirpate “toxic masculinity.”

Understandably, this rubs conservatives the wrong way. I’ve risen to the defense of masculinity many times myself. But is the Gillette ad really “the product of mainstream radicalized feminism—and emblematic of Cultural Marxism,” as Turning Point USA’s Candace Owen put it? Is it part of “a war on masculinity in America,” as Todd Starnes argued on Fox News?

Conservatives stripping off their coats to get into this brawl are like the man who, seeing a barfight unfold, asks “Is this a private quarrel or can anyone join in?”

Member Post

 

I used the word “Femininity” in the title only because it’s the counterpart of “Masculinity.” This post is about feminists, and femininity is anathema to them. It’s about Feminism’s antipathy toward makeup and feminine beauty, which they regard as disgusting attempts to seduce members of – gasp – The Patriarchy (wull, uh, yeah). “Makeup Shaming” […]

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The Real Story Behind ‘On the Basis of Sex’

 

The new highly publicized movie “On the Basis of Sex” offers a somewhat fictionalized account of the early professional life of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Intermingled with her life story, the film presents an idealized narrative of her early legal crusade against gender discrimination, fought in part with her late (and most devoted) husband, the eminent tax lawyer Martin Ginsburg.

Ginsburg argued or participated in several of the early influential cases on sex discrimination and went on to found the Women’s Rights Project at the American Civil Liberties Union. When she started teaching, she was one of only about 20 female law professors in the United States.  She was very much a pioneer in the women’s rights movement, motivated by her own life experiences. She had on numerous occasions been rejected from positions solely on grounds of her sex, notwithstanding her great academic distinction, and was well aware that similar obstacles fell in the path of other women who sought to make a career in the law. The film goes into these issues in depth, but I shall not dwell on them here. I am a lawyer, not a film critic, so I will comment only on Justice Ginsburg’s substantive arguments against gender discrimination

Most legal writers support Justice Ginsburg’s position that both the Due Process and the Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment prohibit government discrimination on the basis of sex. I offer a split verdict on her legal efforts and of those who followed in her path. I think that she was right on the early cases that sought to get rid of senseless distinctions based on gender.  But as the law subsequently developed, she and the courts pushed the crusade too far, creating new forms of gender imbalance that the law should have resisted. Failure to understand the economics of discrimination have led courts to impose new versions of the very discrimination that the law is intended to eliminate. In general, truly competitive markets do a better job in rooting out gender discrimination than government regulation.

Member Post

 

My wife, daughter, and I went to the Seattle Public Library to hear Susan Orlean talk about her new book, The Library Book. I’ve enjoyed her work before and after I get a chance to read it, I might write about it here. But that’s not what this post is about. The library distributed a survey […]

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Member Post

 

David Marcus on defining gender. WIRED and other progressive outlets are coming out against chromosomes and anatomy as being…anti-science? Progressives are barbarously enabling and encouraging mental illness and bodily mutilation. People that need help, often children, are being inflicted with irreversible mental and physical harm in an attempt to bend reality to fantasy. A rejection […]

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False Claims for Gender Equality

 

The number of female CEOs leading Fortune 500 companies has dropped from 32 in 2017 to 24 in 2018. That 25 percent decline has spurred deep consternation among feminists and liberals. Writing about the New York Times’ New Rules Summit, a conference about women in leadership, journalists Rebecca Blumenstein and Jessica Bennett concluded: “For women, the climb to the top has sputtered.” Feminists claim that this decline has ominous consequences not only for the cause of gender equality, but also for the overall level of growth in the economy. Indeed, the McKinsey Global Institute’s (MGI) influential 2015 study, “The Power of Parity,” makes the astonishing claim that the achievement of gender equality in the workforce may “add $12 trillion to global wealth” by the year 2025, which for the United States translates into a 26 percent increase in gross domestic product by that year.

Studies like the MGI’s have fueled the recent passage of a California law that requires publicly traded corporations headquartered within the state to include a minimum number of women on their boards or face substantial financial penalties. California Governor Jerry Brown signed the law with a defiant message. He cited the 1886 Supreme Court case, Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad, which held that corporations should be treated as persons entitled to protection against the deprivation of property without due process of law. “Given all the special privileges that corporations have enjoyed for so long,” Brown said, “it’s high time corporate boards include the people who constitute more than half the ‘persons’ in America.”

Put aside his failure to understand that the protection of corporate wealth from government confiscation helped fuel enormous economic growth in the nineteenth century for men and women alike. Put aside, as well, the many legal grounds alluded to by Governor Brown which may yet render this legislation inoperative. Instead, focus on the simple fact that the regulatory push toward gender equality has, paradoxically, huge political momentum but relatively little economic payoff. The usual all-purpose explanation for the male/female pay gap is pervasive gender discrimination by American businesses, notwithstanding their explicit and unwavering commitments to gender equity. It is best to look for other explanations that might account for the gap between the rhetoric and the reality.

Define “Historic”

 

Vermont gubernatorial candidate Christine Hallquist.

Tuesday’s primary results were hailed as “historic” by a number of media outlets. “Vermont Democrats made history Tuesday” declared the Burlington Free Press. NPR framed the matter with the same word, “historic,” as did the New York Times, ABC, and others. Most were pealing the bells for Vermont’s first “openly transgender” candidate for governor, Christine Hallquist. Hallquist was born male but now prefers to dress as a woman. Her success in the Democratic primary is being celebrated as comparable to the breakthroughs of African-American candidates (here is the New York Times video trumpeting a “night of firsts”).

Can Feminists Cure What Ails Men?

 

“Boys need feminists’ help too,” declares Feministing.com founder Jessica Valenti. Writing in the New York Times, Valenti worries that women are “protest[ing], run[ning] for office, and embrac[ing] the movement for gender equality in record numbers, [while] a generation of mostly white men are being radicalized into believing that their problems stem from women’s progress.”

Valenti cites the “manosphere,” the network of websites that peddle misogyny, and she’s right that it is disturbing. But Valenti undermines her case by citing the popularity of Jordan Peterson as more evidence of woman hatred. On the contrary, Valenti and other feminists would do well to remove their women-centric blinders and examine the situation of young men more sympathetically.

Valenti imagines that girls are doing great because when the mainstream culture gets them down, they can always repair to “feminist blogs and magazines” while “female college students who have critical questions about how gender shapes their lives can take women’s studies courses.” Actually, it’s very much an open question as to whether feminist interpretations of life make women happier. In my new book, Sex Matters: How Modern Feminism Lost Touch with Science, Love, and Common Sense, I argue that in many respects it has made them less happy. Certainly, polls such as the General Social Survey suggest that women have become steadily less happy every year since 1972.

Welcome to the Harvard Lunch Club Political Podcast for July 25, 2018 number 185!!! it’s the Theybie Morons edition of the show with your definitely not-moronic hosts, radio guy Todd Feinburg and dedicated AI-bot Mike Stopa.

This week we bring you two topics from the culture wars, the gender wars, the what are they doing to that baby?!? wars.

The Gender Conformity Cop-In

 

@katebraestrup got a lot of love a while back on her post, “Thoughts From a Former Dysphoric”. My impression upon reading it was she was describing gender nonconformity, not dysphoria. Our dear Kate was a tomboy, and there ain’t nothing wrong with that. Dysphoria ought to mean deep discomfort, though, not just being a little different. The red tribe has an interest in both downplaying and, well, up playing “gender dysphoria”. Describing tomboyishness as “dysphoria” both downplays and up plays the condition: First, tomboyishness is not so bad, not really all that dysphoric, so what are people complaining about? Second, if every tomboy becomes convinced she’s “gender dysphoric” then oh my sweet Jesus on rollerskates, what is this world coming to?!! Before you know it, there’ll be fire and brimstone coming down from the skies; rivers and seas boiling; forty years of darkness; earthquakes, volcanoes; the dead rising from the grave; human sacrifice; dogs and cats living together – mass hysteria!

What about those who aren’t just tomboys, or their male equivalent, but truly unhappy in their birth sex, perhaps with good reason? Even then, even though their discomfort is real, they may find copping into gender conformity a more sensible solution than, as @henryracette put it, copping out of it.

Conservatives, Common Courtesy, and the Gender Police

 

Transgender issues seem to be a tricky thing for many conservatives. (And it’s only going to get worse.) For example, a conservative told me the other day that “Misgendering is not a thing.” If you’re not hip to the lingo, misgendering is when you call someone by a gender label other than what they identify as. Like, if you call a lady “sir.” And it can be done accidentally or on purpose. People who care about transgender issues tend to (rightly so) get worked up about it, especially when it is done intentionally.

They also get worked up about “deadnaming.” That’s when you refer to a person who has transitioned by their pre-transition name. I see both misgendering and deadnaming occur here regularly on Ricochet anytime someone brings up Caitlyn Jenner. You may not realize it, but both intentional deadnaming and misgendering are insensitive at best and offensive at worse.

Now, I understand why conservatives do this. They’re taking a stand to preserve what they see as objective reality. If you have a penis, you’re a man, after all. To deny that damages reality or something, so it must stop here and now. This far and no further. Ils ne passeront pas!