Gender and Sexuality
Non-fiction (Gender, Sexuality)
A book in the collection: The West
A book in the series: Identity
For all our talk of nature, the West has lost sight that we’re biological beings with instincts to survive and procreate. Traditional moralities arose naturally within communities of people caring for each other, but the West’s ever-widening rejection of those moralities is our indifference to others: our individualism.
Gender theory (or ideology) is illogical, contradictory, and harmful. To call physical differences between people merely social constructions is to demand we live as if we’re each born alone on an island without knowledge of anyone else. Conversely, transgenderism and innate homosexuality are political constructs. Never mind who, we don’t know what we are.
Lives grounded in biological reality and human nature are more comfortable and fulfilling. They’re also sustainable.
- The Science of People
- Gender Identity
- The End of Certainty
- Birth Control
- Lovers without Love
- Transgender Ideology
- Free Market Mental Health
- Promoting Transgender
- Biological Self-Loathing
- Losing our Sexuality
- Homosexual Ideology
- Promoting Homosexuality
- Sexual Identity
- Sexual Contraception
- Homosexual Despair
- The End of Sexual Morality
- Communities without Community
- Enforcing Diversity
- Commercial Interests
- Homosexual Imperialism
- A Right to Die
Chapter 1: The Science of People
Listening to an animal biologist talk about lizards selecting mates according to their natural instincts, I was struck by how impossible it had become in the West to say the same thing about people. Daniel spoke of male and female, their attractions to each other, territorialism, and protecting their offspring and herd, but only about lizards. After his public talk at Ku-ring-gai Council chambers that second Thursday in December 2011, I put to him an observation I’d read recently about those instincts in humans, that “evolutionary psychology isn’t taken seriously by academics when it comes to gender differences…”
Scientists are as vulnerable as the rest of us to the politics of people and power; they need the esteem of universities and people passing through them, conferring government and other endowments. Few of us suffer to say things powerful people don’t want to hear. We’ve politicised knowledge, interpreting facts to make conclusions to keep us in our careers. “Human biologists are quite conservative about what they say,” replied Daniel, “but they all think, well, we’re all animals aren’t we?”
In our postmodern West, we’re not animals. We’re not people. For a populace who talk so much about nature, we’re extraordinarily uninterested in our biological natures.
Each one of us has flesh and muscle, we can squeeze in our fingers. We have blood, bones, and brains, along with functioning organs requiring our care. We’re physiologically real, with genes and chromosomes.
European peoples, whether in Europe, North America, Australasia, or elsewhere, have lost sight that we’re biological beings with natural instincts. No longer do we contemplate natural desires towards bearing children, as we did in our time of science. Lest anyone imagine that ours is an age of science instead of the Age of Ideology unlike anything past, then our blotting away of human biology ought to lay that to rest.
We mightn’t consider ourselves ideologues or even idealists, but ideals don’t cease being ideologies because we trust them to be true. Western individualism has become so pervasive, if only among us, we don’t realise it’s merely an idea: a shared ideology. An idea becomes an ideology when we impose it without regard for the facts.
Our natures haven’t changed. What changed is our attitude towards them.
Insisting everyone’s equal can be equitable, if we apply equality to particular, practical contexts (citizenry before the law, for example). Are my wife and I not equal, not in spite but because we’re of different genders? Were we the same gender, we couldn’t be parents. We need each other. Our different genders make us equal.
The West’s ideology of equality imposes equality all over the place. On top of that, we insist everyone’s the same. Refusing to discriminate, we don’t even distinguish. We denote people identical; so much for “vive la différence!”
We dismiss the physical and psychological differences between people as merely human social and political constructions. We called it gender theory rather than race theory because we don’t like mentioning race, but they’re the same doctrines. (I nearly said sister doctrines.) It became gender studies, or gender ideology, when we insisted it was true. If our current diminution of Western races has a name, it’s gender ideology.
Lizards don’t seem to think gender is a social or political construct. They know one species of lizard from another. They know a lizard from a giraffe.
Ideologies are political constructions, created and disseminated by people. Embracing everyone, construing biology away, the West reduces people to no more than political constructs. We invented uniformity, a sociology of sameness, thinking we can make physical differences and biological relationships disappear if we stop noticing them. It’s a bit like assuming the weather changes because we talk so much about it.
We invented individualism. Only a person born alone on an island without sense of another can’t imagine gender, family, or race, although might comprehend being distinct from a palm tree.
Without another creature, the person has no sense of species. Being fat or thin, smart or stupid, only mean something by comparison with somebody else.
We don’t like to compare. We don’t want to judge. We’re trying to be nice, but it’s hard to imagine anything more damaging to our mental well-being than setting us apart from reality. Biological definitions are narrow, but if they weren’t narrow, they wouldn’t be definitions. Without them, we have no definition, vanishing in a haze of undefined norms. Striving so hard to be everyone, we end up being none.
Ours is another view unique to the West. The rest of the world believes in biology: race, gender, family, and species are facts. Race is their identity. They get on with their lives.
For us, race, gender, and family aren’t facts, although gender and family are among our post-racial identities. They’re just not biological. No longer enjoying the differences between genders, we’re denying them. Instead of respecting biology, we defy it. We demand people be individuals, as if born alone on our islands and remaining alone, but equally alone.
Losing our biology means losing our psychology. In spite of our convictions everyone is the same, our individualism presumes we have no common instincts. We don’t imagine instincts at all, as we push our natures further away.
Discarding our innate tribal instincts separates us from our other natural instincts. Far removed from everything Daniel said about lizards, our biological individualism gives way to sexual individualism; they’re never far apart. Heterosexuality becomes a social construct because that individual born alone on an island can’t imagine heterosexuality any more than any other attraction, except perhaps to a palm tree.
We refuse to recognise natural norms, dismissing them as mere heterosexism. Whenever our postmodern West labels a fact a mere “-ism,” then labelling a natural feeling a phobia comes close behind.
In the conflicts between facts and inclusion of all peoples around, we’re inclusive. Inclusion matters more to us than people living lives in accordance with our human natures. The West’s problem is having lost faith in primitive nature and natural social forces (at least in ours) since the Second World War. Instead of facilitating human fulfilment, we’re condemned to living without it.
We can maintain our awareness of instincts, even if we can’t or don’t act upon them. Losing sense of our instincts altogether suggests something is wrong. Our unadulterated human instincts are objective standards, however subjective might be our efforts to express them. Human nature is to want companionship, but rights alone don’t accord us relationship. If there’s a right worth having, then it’s to a fulfilling, comfortable life. Lives aren’t just more valid, profound, and intrinsically more satisfying when founded upon nature rather than living in lieu of it. They’re more sustainable.
We’ve lost track of our most innate of instincts: to survive. Human instinct is self-preservation: forming tribes to keep us, living among our kind. Nothing’s more natural than a desire to perpetuate our people, family, and selves: finding mates and bearing our young.
Instead of blithely continuing as we are, we’d do well to examine the people around us. We ought to consider our pasts and what other peoples say, think, and do, learning from them. Never mind complexities, it’s the simplicities of human biology we no longer understand.
We need to make time and space to be human, based in biology, and feel what it inspires. More than self-interest, we could choose self-realisation, bringing up our attributes from within. We could be what human beings are, with our glorious failings and inglorious strengths. We could bask in being men and women, biologically brilliant and flawed, trying to get a little bit better. Without the arrogance to think we can overcome ourselves or anyone else with political constructions, thinking there’s freedom in trying to change human natures, we could find freedom by fulfilling our natures.
Loving or hating ourselves, we could stand before our bathroom silver mirrors. We might recognise the silent strangers poised before us.
Sometimes, we seem to live so much in ourselves, when we’re not really living there. We’re just not living anywhere else.
The observation about evolutionary psychology I quoted to Daniel was made by Am of Melbourne, commenting on research by John Locke, professor of linguistics at Lehman College, City University of New York. In his 2011 book Duels and Duets: Why Men and Women Talk So Differently, Locke rejected the view that men favour confrontation and women avoid it by gossiping because of some self-perpetuating social conditioning. He believed the difference is biological, that the two genders use different means of communication to satisfy their evolutionary needs. That is to say, to procreate.
“It is not unusual for one man to go up to another and greet him with a playful insult,” said Locke, “making fun of his bulging midriff, thinning hair, or odd clothing; or to depict himself as the hero in the stories he tells… This is all fairly showy… Women are not at all like this. Their natural disposition is to form close relationships with other women by building trust. The glue that keeps these relationships together is disclosure. Frequently, this material is shared in whispers, but women are able to compete with rivals by working indirectly through their friendships.”
Locke drew upon equivalent behaviours in other primates to say men attract women with what he called “verbal plumage.” Our tones of voice are no less evolutionary. “Men with low-pitched voices tend to have more testosterone than others, and they also father more offspring than men with higher voices.”
He cited a study of thirteen-year-old girls the subject of gossip to say only one in ten ever discovered the perpetrator’s identity. “When women discuss the activities of others, they’re sharing information that’s relevant to their own lives. Sometimes it’s a way of expressing approval or admiration. When it goes in the opposite direction, it’s usually because women have witnessed things that seem wrong. For example, promiscuity may threaten the women’s marital relationships, or the moral climate of the community in which they’re raising their children. If a woman seems to be neglecting or abusing her children, or maintaining an unhealthy home, this necessarily concerns all women who care about community standards.”
Sexual morality and standards arose naturally among communities of people, especially the women, looking after everyone within that community. Alone on that island, and in our postmodern West, there’s no community.
Knowing that he was being sexist, Locke said he was simply expressing the facts. “I don’t see anything negative in pointing out that men and women differ in certain ways,” he defended himself. “I do not comment on the abilities of men and women, only their natural disposition. Both men and women do their best to play their cards successfully, but it is clear that the sexes evolved in fundamentally different ways.”
Much as Daniel made generalisations about lizards, their instincts, and natures, Locke made them about people. “The sterio types described in this evolutionary picture bore me to death,” complained Deep, misspelling, in response to The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper reporting Locke’s research. Our rejection of natural instincts and traits in people is our rejection of generalisations: our individualism. “I wish we could all just be friends.”
I was at a loss to know how menfolk and womenfolk understanding each other prevented us from being friends. I thought it would help.
The most reasonable explanations for many of the differences between men and women are biological, related to procreation. If we tolerate promiscuous men more than promiscuous women it may be because promiscuous men prove their virility, but we entrust our children, families, and futures to responsible mothers. Promiscuous married men threaten their families only when people know of their promiscuity.
“Men seem to respond to red as a superficial cue,” said Oxford University psychologist Nancy Puccinelli in 2013. “They literally see red and have a more positive attitude.” Her research, published in the Journal of Retailing, reported a sample of four hundred men believing they received eighty-five percent more of a discount with red price labels than black-and-white labels. When researchers told them their decision was important, they paid closer attention to the labels. The red effect disappeared.
“Other research has shown that men are attracted by the colour red,” continued Puccinelli. “In one experiment, women who wore red shirts were considered more attractive and were likely to be asked out.” Still more research showed waitresses wearing red receive bigger tips, and female hitchhikers are more likely to be offered lifts when wearing red. “Men appear to be particularly susceptible to the effects of red colour, possibly for evolutionary reasons.” (I still recall the woman who became my wife wearing red tartan the first evening I took her out, to a Bible study meeting in a home at Wahroonga; I am a romantic fellow.) A rosy complexion in a female might indicate increased fertility.
Our instincts aren’t only sexist. They’re racist, which was our first reason to reject them. Only European peoples have rosy complexions.
Research from the University of Western Sydney and Singapore Management University published in the European Journal of Personality in 2012 suggested men and women try to identify quality mates willing to commit to relationships by appearing self-confident, talking to others, and not being too accessible. Women use the tactics more than men. “Because a woman risks more in her sexual relationships than men do – pregnancy costs,” said the report, “she should want a mate who has higher value and is unlikely to leave her saddled with an offspring.”
In much the same vein, my girlfriend I met at law school spoke of having read that men should marry women ten years their junior. She was four months older than I. The man she went onto marry was around about seven years older than she was.
My wife is only three years younger than I am. Men choose women for their beauty. Women choose men for security. It augurs well for parenthood.
A man is a good husband when he’s a good father. Conversely, seeing our children’s devotion to their mother, a good husband is a good father. A rare kernel of useful advice my father gave me was in the year I married: to marry a woman who would be a good mother.
“Do you know,” asked Frenchwoman Nicole de Cortillion in the 1938 American film The Rage of Paris, “when a girl gets engaged, the mother doesn’t say, ‘I’m happy because Alfonse is so handsome,’ but she says, ‘I’m happy because Alfonse has such a wonderful job with the gas company.’”
“That’s true,” replied Jim Trevor. “I never thought of that.”
“And this is very sensible, because when the children come, it’s nice for them to have everything.”
Evolutionary psychology involves whole families. It also comes with romance, at least it did in 1938 America.
“Every woman believe this,” de Cortillion went onto say, “but every woman has a big danger. She meets a boy. She likes the way he talks, the way his hands look, the way he looks when he gets angry, and then she falls in love with him, and she doesn’t care whether he has money or not.”
In our postmodern West, the woman might not be a woman. Alfonse might not be a boy. They’re not a people and might never be a family, but simply sponsor a child in the Seychelles. Our ideologies of inclusion, individualism, and equality can’t change the science of people, the biology, but they help us ignore it. Never mind who, we don’t know what we are.