T Nation

Gender Norms, Postmodernism and How We Identify and MeToo


That’s precisely what the guy in the video does… ‘Because there is an exception to the rule, it’s no longer a rule.’ Clearly he never studied the English language in elementary school. “I before E… except after C”


Ughhhhhh. Fuck English.

My daughter is 7 right now, and I never fathomed how mind numbingly stupid this rule would be to explain to kids.


That was an excellent explanation actually. I tend to agree. There is no one without the other and to discount one for the other is a fool’s errand.
It’s a sliding scale, philosopher’s have been arguing about this for centuries and nobody has managed to figure out where we are on this scale. Probably because it varies by person.


This is @SkyzykS walking into his wife’s office:


Does the exception make it not a rule, or is the exception itself a rule or part of the rule?


Biology and chemistry - really.

Because I’m familiar with sociology.

I said they aren’t final arbiters on “this stuff”, meaning how society chooses to ultimately organize these categories, of which academia plays only a part. And I’m still not convinced “gender science” can rightfully claim to be a science, in any event. Science, by its nature, has no ideological aim, only a search for truth. Gender science can’t claim that, among its other problems.

All knowing though you might be, you’d still benefit from the perspective of what other scientists think on the matter.

It’s loaded insofar as it is addressing your claim that the existing taxonomies are in danger of being outdated because of the evolutionary changes that will render them obsolete - meaning you think they won’t be anomalies much longer. So, I’m asking - how long do you honestly think that’ll be?

You’re confused as to what a walk back is - I said I was familiar with it (and I am), but my knowledge on the matter isn’t limited to thhe articles I’ve read. Your mistake is assuming the literature is the unassailable Gospel on the topic and that you can’t be informed on these issues unless you commit to the fringe academic literature in this space. That’s nonsense.

So, yes, I’m familiar indeed, but unlike you, I’m interested in original argument, not a constant appeal to authority (logical fallacy).

Re: practicing science text (quote isn’t working):

Nope, those are the function of rigorous method, and even still get challenged (see physics and black holes). Point is, they’re open to self-audit, unlike Gender Studies.


They are the final arbiters of what matters, which is the science itself. It may take a while, but society usually comes around once outdated viewpoints have been shown to be just that.

If gender scientists are conducting their work in an appropriate fashion, their work is legit. Are their gender-studies academics with an ideological ax to grind? Of course. But I’m not referencing them.

Feel free, via links to their work, to educate me as to “what other scientists think on the matter.”

[quote function not working]
“It’s loaded insofar as it is addressing your claim that the existing taxonomies are in danger of being outdated”

No, that’s not what makes it loaded. What makes the term anomalies loaded is the fact that it (the term) a priori categorizes the phenomenon in question as abnormal–as an outlier, an exception. As I said, doing this is tantamount to assuming your conclusion.

[quote function not working]
"your claim that the existing taxonomies are in danger of being outdated because of the evolutionary changes that will render them obsolete "

Please provide a link to me making a claim about ‘evolutionary changes.’ You brought that nonsense up, not me.

As for when the binary model will be obsolete–it already is.

You’re flopping like a carp on a dock. Yes or no: Are you claiming to be an authority on gender science?

In other words, you can’t provide a citation for a mainstream, current gender-science textbook that uses the binary model as its starting point. As none exist, this is unsurprising. Nuff said.



It’s probably better to use the term bimodal rather than binary here. Bimodal is more accurate than the term spectrum when talking about sex and gender.


Say that one curve there is biological males/ cisgender/ hetero orientation. The other is the female counterpart.

There’s going to be some scatter or overlap. A few people are intersex or TG, lesbian or gay.

As for change over time? I predict that more people going forward will decide that a man who likes poetry, or a woman who lifts weights is “some other gender” or is somewhere “on the spectrum,” particularly if they’re taking classes from people like Russell and have peers who have decided to redefine themselves in these ways.

@ Sexuality. Kinsey had a scale of 0-6 for sexual orientation I think. Zero is exclusively hetero, and a six would be exclusively lesbian or gay, and the middle would be bisexual I believe. I’m not sure where he put people who claim to be asexual. I think a bimodal distribution is likely more accurate for that, with gay people as more rare in the normal distribution of the bell curve.

This thread was started with a Thadeus Russel clip who argues against any biological categories. He wants to do away with all boxes, say they’re all meaningless.

A lot of this is an effort to redefine terms, use language to overcome categories that have been oppressed or marginalized. These boxes have been historically used to oppress or discriminate, so the logic is that in order to make a more just world be must destroy ALL the boxes.

This is an interesting response to the Gender Spectrum from a TG person, and points out a lot of the ideology behind that.

@ neuroscience and gender.

This is a really nice article, I have put up in the Science thread before. He gets into a lot of the history here about some of the counter-reaction people who study neurological differences get from gender studies folks and people like Russell who want to tear down all the boxes.

And an entire issue of the Journal of Neuroscience Research devoted to sex/ gender influences on nervous system function.



You haven’t referenced anyone, but it’s an important note (and concession) that members of this academic circle don’t practice science at all and results-driven ideology is their motivation. But more to the point, I’m not even prepared to say it is a science at all. Not at this point, and not as it is currently produced in niche academic circles designed not to question one another, but to function as an echo chamber.

Would you actually read them?

They are abnormal, that’s commonly understood. There’s no credible argument that they’re not. That’s not a value judgment - it’s a scientific fact. That it hurts your argument (posts ago, before goal posts were moved) that the current state of biological categorization is doomed to soon be obsolete is not my problem to fix.

Again, if scientists discover a hermaphrodite squirrel in the wild, they don’t suddenly say the categorization of male and female squirrels is ipso facto obsolete. It’s an anomaly, and the categorization will change if/when abnormal become the normal. And likewise with humans.

That’s science. Like 101 stuff.

No, it isn’t, because obsolescence is a function of usefulness (or not). The current categorization works just fine, remains useful, and therefore is not obsolete - which was my original point in this thread.

Now, do a segment of cloistered ideology-bent academics want it to be obsolete so they can argue it must be replaced with an alternative that achieves their ideological goals? Yes. But that doesn’t make it actually so.

I can’t be flopping, as I never claimed to be an authority on gender science. You obviously aren’t either. That isn’t a backtrack or a flop.

But more importantly, as I mentioned earlier, I’m not sure I put much stock in any claimed authority on this “science”. You obviously do, since you don’t have a go-to move other than to appeal to authority (a logical fallacy).

I’m much more interested in original argument, if you have one.

Heh. A mainstream current gender science textbook is a contradiction in terms, there’s nothing mainstream about it. But, as I’ve said repeatedly, I don’t have the (blind) faith/confirmation bias you have with respect ti this academic literature. It isn’t my starting point, but most importantly - and I’ll emphasize this point since you keep missing it - there’s no requirement I start there.

You really are the bad,at haughtily declaring victory when all’s we’re trying to do is have a discussion.


The issue is and always has been whether the larger society is required to accept self-definitions. A man can identify as a woman - does that mean he is entitled to a scholarship for women? Or that he can play in the WNBA?


And the flip side is, whether society has the right to define us.


Perhaps you should alert the editors at SA, because if you’re right, they have made a most embarrassing error:

I strongly suspect we’ll never get to find out.

Given that the binary model is, at this juncture, discredited, whether a given phenomenon is considered “abnormal” by its precepts is moot.

Re scientific theory, obsolescence occurs when a theory no longer provides the most complete, elegant and parsimonious accounting of the data. That’s science. Like 101 stuff.

You mean, like the ones featured in the SA edition I linked?

I’m glad that’s settled. Further, I dare say you’ve no particular expertise in evolutionary theory either. Despite these facts, you feel able to draw upon your (non)expertise in evolutionary theory to reach ‘logical conclusions’ regarding the untenability of non-binary models of gender.

Indeed (see above). Despite possessing no more than rudimentary knowledge regarding the relevant topics, you nevertheless have concluded that you’re right, and virtually every expert out there is wrong.

You do not recognize facts, electing instead to elevate your relatively uniformed opinion over and above that which is even common knowledge (eg, the fact that the entire sex/gender scientific community has moved on from the binary model). This renders discussion essentially impossible. Which I suppose is as good a point as any for me to bow out. The field is yours.


This is hilarious


You’re seriously considering this?



Nah. I’d say more like a sharpei that was dressed in a wal-mart men’s department. Discount aisle.


I wasn’t going to prolong this conversation, but this is just too rich not to address. You - the self-congratulating authority on gender “science” and devotee to the settled truth that binary gender taxonomy has been “discredited” by the thoroughly vetted body of knowledge developed by experts that we plebians are not allowed to challenge - cite a Scientific Americam editorial as “proof” of the validity of this scientific field.

The editorial? It says:

  1. This is a new, developing field of inquiry that they think is very important to start paying attention to - so, not at all a settled body of knowledge that has reached a verified and self-audited consensus, and so by extension, currently limited in its scientific authority and ability to tout consensus. Heh.

  2. The editorial is almost entirely devoted to promotion of this new “science” in hopes of achieving - wait for it - ideological and political outcomes, like empowerment of women and they expressly advocate that this movement deserve the same attention and resources as climate change and nuclear diasarmament. And just in case there was any doubt that SA’s gender “science” push isn’t about science nearly as much as it is about results-driven ideology, they write:

Change will only continue if the institutions that matter stay open to it. The assault on women’s health by Republican lawmakers in Washington looms as a formidable obstacle.

So you cite an editorial that reaffirms exactly what my criticism of this field of “science” has been all along - it isn’t much of a field with any established, verified knowledge, and it primarily serves to advance not the disinterested goals of scientific answers (no matter where they lead), but to drive a political agenda.

Heh. Next time read the article you cite.

As is, I’m done with our conversation myself. I get bored when there’s no debate on the merits.


Quoting myself here.

It’s probably better to use the term bimodal rather than binary here. Bimodal is more accurate than the term spectrum when talking about sex and gender.

Say that one curve there is biological males/ cisgender/ hetero orientation. The other is the female counterpart.

There’s going to be some scatter or overlap. A few people are intersex or TG, lesbian or gay.

I thought this was an interesting comment from the Evolution is True article up there.

"It seems to me that there is not so much overlap between intersex people and trans people. Intersex persons are biologically ambiguous, due to some genetic or developmental abnormality, in a relatively clear fashion. They may end up living as one gender or another, but no one can doubt that they don’t fit cleanly into the normal binary categories.

Trans people seem to be mostly people with a clear biological sex who wish to identify with the other sex. (There are also those who don’t want to identify solely with either sex.) Of course, at some level they must have biologically different brains compared to ‘cis’ people, but brains are too scientifically murky and we don’t normally use them in defining biological sex.

So, while everyone deserves the same basic rights, it strikes me as kind of disingenuous when trans advocates bring up intersex cases. Intersex cases prove that sex is not a metaphysically fundamental binary. But most trans cases are people who would fit well in the binary classification except that they want to be on the other mode."


This thread blew up fast.

Political threads can get people heated easily. Especially ones with sexuality.

I agree with some people’s opinions, some people agree with my opinion, some only partially agree and some completley disagree.
So let’s agree that we might all disagree on something.

Some things are uncertain. And this is such a thing.

I don’t think that anyone should try to force others to change their mind. Convince - yes. Force - no. Too bad that big part of liberals is usually kinda forcing people to agree with their wiew of the world and are easily offended with sheer fact that someone has their own opinion, and they are also quick to overreact to it. I also have no idea why are they like that, and I don’t even care to know.

So I know how I identify, and that’s pretty much it, and also society sees me the same way as I identify, since well - straight guy is straight guy.

If you have beard, wide shoulders and hairy chest and say that you are a woman, you better be ready to at least have some raised eyebrows.
If you turn yourself in total freakshow you can expect to hear kids comment to eachother “is this guy or girl?”
And if you look as convincing member of opposite sex, some still won’t date you because, well, you weren’t born as such, there’s also the ones who would like to have kids (guys wanting their girl pregnant or girl wanting to get pregnant by her guy) and not to mention other possible reasons, like religious ones.

But it does take a lot of guts to be transgender, that one is for sure.


Since most of us in the English speaking world don’t talk to people using third person pronouns, we use “you” which is gender neutral if we use a pronoun, but rather we use their names, does that change things? If someone born a male says he identifies as female and his name is actually what is considered a female’s name, what do you do? If you refer to him (to you he’s a he) with that female name, are you somehow compromising your principles? Are you going to claim that not only can society impose its idea of gender identity on us but also can tell us what our names can and can’t be?