What’s Sex Got To Do With… The Hustler Opinion Section?

Take a look at a column from this week’s opinion section:

http://www.vanderbilthustler.com/opinion/article_0af63f48-4916-11e4-be44-001a4bcf6878.html#.VC2Sxvy-JLY.twitter

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There’s some good and some bad in this piece, and I want to parse out which is which. As a former opinion writer, I’m glad to see somebody buying into campus discourse, affirming critical thought as a social culture rather than just a classroom performance. I also appreciate the intent I read behind this piece. I see a genuine interest in productive dialogue informed by genuine concern for gender politics issues. I think I even agree with the spirit of the piece (is it condescending to say “I agree with what he’s trying to say”?), the idea that government shouldn’t intervene to artificially equalize socio-economic outcomes assuming it’s provided for equal opportunity.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned so far in WGS 160 though, it’s this: words matter… bigtime. It’s on those grounds that I take issue with this piece. Think about this paragraph:

 

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He’s conflated biologically determined sex (what parts you have) with socially constructed gender (how you present your body socially), using the logic of one category to make arguments about another. Even if we ignore the erasure of intersex bodies implicit in the binary absolutism of “men are biologically programmed to be providers, and women are more predisposed to be better caregivers,” at the very least, there’s a terminological confusion in making claims about the behavioral tendencies of certain gender identities based on evidence that only speaks to differences between sexes. Gender and sex aren’t the same thing, plain and simple. Although I doubt it was a deliberate mistake, we reify social institutions in our word choices regardless of whether it’s deliberate. Biological essentialism has done real damage over the years, so should it always be put down when it rears its head?

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One thought on “What’s Sex Got To Do With… The Hustler Opinion Section?

  1. I agree with everything you are saying here! I also believe that the author had good intentions in creating a dialogue on a much-debated topic that is especially ignored by men. I am even thrilled that they had the balls to stand behind feminism as a man. However, just as you were saying, in trying to defend feminism in his own kind of way as a man, he, in a way violates the movement as well by reaffirming gender roles. He writes that they serve “important purposes” which, I’m sorry, but to me is bullshit. A man is just as capable at being nurturing while women can just as easily be the provider. I also have an issue with the writer using the trend that “women choose to pursue less lucrative majors and go into lower paying professions” as a defense for why the wage gap exists; IGNORING THE FACT that the wage gap is an issue because women are being paid less for the SAME positions as men, not just differing positions.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/24/upshot/the-pay-gap-is-because-of-gender-not-jobs.html?_r=0&abt=0002&abg=1

    The more I read this article the more it seems to me that the writer has missed the point; that he truly does not understand what feminism is (but then again, a lot of people don’t). Sure, I applaud him for being for equal opportunity of the sexes, however that is not the only thing that characterizes feminism. I encourage men to really really do their research on this topic and try to understand ALL intricacies that plays into what feminism has evolved into today; not just stats that prove only their point and reaffirm male dominance.

    Liked by 1 person

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