What is your identity?

My modern hero is Candace Owens, a “black” (actually, brown, if we want to be more accurate about the melanin content of her epidermis) woman (XX chromosomes in each cell, content of estrogen and progesterone much higher than testosterone, if we want to be more precise about gender), self identifying as a Christian before anything else (which includes skin hue or gender), who explicitly rejects the entire concept of victimhood (as did my hero, Booker T. Washington). I want you to note the salient points. I am starting with a more exact definition of each term (black, woman), which is necessary in this climate of imprecise over-politeness (better known as political correctness) and gender confusion; skin hue and gender are components of self identification, and not the most important.

I just watched a TED talk by Michael Kimmel entitled “Why Gender Equality Is Good For Everyone.” Not knowing how the speaker intended to define his topic and defend his conclusion, I got a neon-flashing hint when he introduced the pop phrase, “structural inequality”. That was followed by a virtue-signaling joke about how men wear ties as a “gender signifier”, a tie being an example of “mind-body duality” since one end is a noose around the neck and the other end points to the genitals. Everyone laughed, and I wish to know what the point is. Ties originated in the 17th century, when they were worn by Croatian mercenaries during the 30 years war in France. While they were practical, used to hold their jackets closed, the French king liked the decorative effect so much, he made cravats required attire for men. If that wasn’t the point, I guess I’m not woke enough to get it.

Just in case the audience didn’t quite catch how “woke” the speaker is, he threw in a further pop cliche “mansplaining” followed by “premature self-congratulation” . Halfway through the talk, after so many witticisms and much wokeness, I still didn’t hear him define “gender equality”. While I insist that the beginning of mutual understanding about anything is defining your terms–and he didn’t–he made a very good point about “entitlement”. He was describing the segment of a show called “A black woman stole my job”, and explaining how the keyword in the sentence was “my”. I agree. Because if you work for someone else, and are under their authority, you don’t own anything there except your own accountability. But that wasn’t his point. His point was, if you’re a white male you don’t see your own sense of entitlement. I suggest he tell that to the overwhelmingly white, poor and sick, coal miners and steelworkers.

Kimmel explains that countries with the most gender equality also score highest on the happiness scale, as if juxtaposing these two indicates a cause-effect relationship. I am still waiting for the definition of gender equality, and now there is yet another phrase begging for a definition, “happiness scale”. If he’s referring to the U.N. happiness scale, the top five countries in order are Finland, Norway, Denmark, Iceland and Switzerland–all overwhelmingly white, highly homogeneous in population and rich in government-provided benefits. What if those three characteristics are more related to so-called happiness than is gender equality? He then cites things like more gender equality is associated with more company productivity, less turnover, higher satisfaction (maybe his happiness is workplace related?). I won’t dispute any of that. Speaking personally, the best bosses I had in my employee career were women. I do believe in equitable pay regardless of gender. Of my 50 years in the workforce, about half were what we call self employment (which really means working for hundreds of clients rather than one boss), because I wanted to own something other than the responsibility to build someone else’s future.

He ends the talk with a quote from a magazine article, written in 1915, about the women’s suffrage movement. The quote, which obviously he believes, is “feminism for the first time will allow men to be free.” Since he didn’t define “feminism”, I will simply take it to mean what self described feminists defend. If that’s the case, I can certainly agree with the quote, with the following modifications: “feminism made it possible for men to be freer of the responsibilities of being a man.” Men can feel freer to exploit women sexually and walk away with less guilt and responsibility, they can be freer to expect their female partners to engage with them in the scourge of pornography, they can give more of the burden of providing for the family to women, they can divorce or leave their families with less shame. Don’t get me wrong, I am very much a proponent of sharing child and household responsibilities between spouses, and that has nothing to do with feminism or any society wide trends and woke buzzwords. It was my and my wife’s joint decision as individuals.

I mentioned Candace Owens as an example of someone who has her identity priorities straight. If she were asked to define “gender equality”, she might say: “men and women are equally precious in God’s sight.” Is there any more relevant definition? I took the graphic, above, from Bing images for “gender equality.” There were none suggesting God has anything to do with it.

In conclusion, what I read in the transcript (so as not to miss anything) was a surfeit of pandering (the majority of the audience was female), “see how woke I am” cliches (structural inequality, white privilege, mind-body duality, premature self congratulation, mansplaining, gender signifier), lack of definition of the crucial terms, cause-effect confusion, ending with a vital misunderstanding of what feminism has wrought. He was right about two things though: sharing responsibilities in the home is good for everyone, and the real beneficiaries of feminism are men. Not every man, mind you, just the most selfish, lazy and irresponsible ones.

Author: iamcurmudgeon

When I began this blog, I was a 70 year old man, with a young mind and a body trying to recover from a stroke, and my purpose for this whole blog thing is to provoke thinking, to ridicule reflex reaction, and provide a legacy to my children.

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