February 10, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization
The huge majority of parents know better. But alas, in this stranger-than-ever world of ours, many do not. Elite opinion-making long ago plunged to some pretty low depths of absurdity, but one of the lowest involves the notion that an individual’s sex is, in some undefined way, not a product of biology, but of socialization.
Radical feminism has peddled that nonsense for a long time even though it’s never made sense. Put simply, they have the matter exactly backwards. Yes, there are plenty of social messages about what is masculine and what is feminine. But the social justice warriors looked at those messages and decided that, without them, sex would be, er, fluid. Or something.
It never occurred to them that all that social messaging simply reflects the reality of sex differences instead of creating them. It didn’t occur to them because their ideology demands that sex, like pretty much everything else, be created out of whole cloth by the patriarchy.
As it so often does with radical feminism, science begs to differ (Baltimore Sun 1/6/17).
In steadfast pursuit of gender equality and to promote nonconformity, it’s become popular in some social circles to start early, very early, by raising young children in a gender-neutral way: not revealing the baby’s sex at birth, dressing them and their bedroom in various shades of oatmeal, encouraging them to play with gender-neutral toys. There’s also pressure on corporations to help; parental complaints led Target to stop sex-segregating its toys, for instance.
Offering kids the opportunity to pursue what they’d like, freed from societal expectations, is an undeniably positive thing — whether it has to do with toys, clothing, or their future aspirations. But the scientific reality is that it’s futile to treat children as blank slates with no predetermined characteristics. Biology matters.
Biology not only matters, it, apart from everything else, decides the matter of sex. Male and female brains differ structurally and on the cellular level. So, even when a male brain receives the same hormonal secretions that a female brain receives, it may react very differently due to having receptors on cells in different areas.
An immense body of neuroimaging research has shown brain differences between the sexes. One meta-analysis of 126 studies found that men have larger total brain volumes than women. Men also show greater white matter connectivity running from the front to the back of the brain, while women have more of these connections running between the two hemispheres.
Additionally, when researchers reanalyzed the same brain data from the “no sex differences” study, they found that it was possible to correctly identify whether a given brain was male or female 73% of the time.
Unsurprisingly, actual children remain blissfully unaware of the blandishments of radical feminism. As countless parents can attest, kids demonstrate characteristic male or female behaviors very early in life. As the linked-to article’s author, Debra Soh points out, they do so well before they’re even aware of their own sex or that of anyone else.
A large and long-standing body of research literature shows that toy preferences, for example, are innate, not socially constructed or shaped by parental feedback.
Most girls will gravitate toward socially interesting toys, like dolls, that help social and verbal abilities develop. Most boys will gravitate toward toys that are mechanically interesting, like cars and trucks, fostering visuo-spatial skills.
One recent study, published in Infant and Child Development, showed that these preferences emerge as early as nine months of age — before children are developmentally aware that gender differences exist, at around 18 months.
Of course none of this hard, scientific reality will deter those who insist that sex is strictly a social construct. They’ve got their story and they’re stickin’ to it. After all, for them to admit the dictates of empirical reality would be to abandon the lion’s share of radical feminism and, as so often before, they opt for ideology over intellectual honesty every time.
Meanwhile, Soh grasps an important – and far too seldom voiced – concept.
The gender-neutral trend capitalizes on fears that parents have of inadvertently limiting their child’s potential. We want the best for our children; for daughters to grow up to be as competitive for STEM jobs as their male counterparts, and for sons to possess strong social and communication skills.
But whether your child leans toward gender-atypical traits will likely have more to do with the prenatal environment —testosterone levels in utero — than a perfectly balanced upbringing. Besides, so long as children are given the option to take part in activities they find interesting, there’s nothing wrong with being gender-typical.
Acknowledging inherent sex differences isn’t harmful or sexist; differences don’t necessitate one sex being better than the other.
Exactly. The radical feminist notion has always been that one’s sex is a prison, that to be a girl or a woman means a person can’t be an engineer, a soccer player or a politician, that one can only, in Hilary Clinton’s timeless phrase, “stay home and bake cookies.” That women throughout history have done far more than that manages to escape their notice.
In thrall to that flawed notion, many parents take the attitude that the only acceptable choice for a child is to be sexually atypical. Such an idea truly plumbs the depths of absurdity. If gender equality means anything, it means the social acceptance of the legitimate choices made by men and women. And that includes women who choose to be wives and mothers and men who choose to bring home the bacon.
That I (and Soh) even have to say that demonstrates beyond a shadow of a doubt how much we’ve regressed as a culture, all the while loudly proclaiming our progressivism.
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