David and Hannah Edwards are raising their 5-year-old son as a girl.
“From a very young age, Hannah said, her son always identified with the female characters in stories. This translated into dressing up as the girl character during playtime and requesting princess costumes to wear not just for Halloween, but for everyday attire.”
— MinnPost.com, Feb. 2
“The Edwardses filed a complaint with the St. Paul Human Rights Department on March 24, claiming their child was bullied at [a charter school] after starting kindergarten as a boy and switching that identification to a girl midway through the year.”
— Minneapolis Star-Tribune, April 13
When I saw the headline on a Think Progress tweet — “It takes a village to bully a transgender kindergartner” — my left eyebrow arched. This is anautonomic reflex, I think, although academic experts might theorize that arching an eyebrow in profound skepticism is socially constructed along with the gender binary and the heterosexual matrix. Professors get paid to overthink everything, and after two years of researching radical feminism, I’ve come to realize how this hyper-intellectual tendency makes it impossible for some people to live a happy, normal existence. When you need a theory to explain everything, especially if you are the kind of “progressive” who sees oppression all around you, the ordinary tasks of daily life become unnecessarily complicated. Parenting, for example:
When Dave and Hannah Edwards were lucky enough to win the lottery to enroll their child at Nova Classical Academy in St. Paul, Minnesota, they were excited about the charter school’s small classrooms, the kind teacher they’d met, and the special attention their kid would receive. What they didn’t anticipate was an entire community rising up against their family as they became the latest victims of an anti-transgender backlash sweeping the country.
Over the course of the school year, the kindergartner would transition from a gender non-conforming boy to a transgender girl. . . .
At the beginning of her Kindergarten year, the Edwards’ daughter still identified as a boy. She still wore the boys’ uniform and identified with male pronouns. But they already knew she was gender non-conforming from the many girly things she liked. Plus, Hannah told ThinkProgress, “She would say things like, ‘In my heart, I’m a girl,’ or ‘In my heart, I think I might be half and half.’”
This proved problematic at school. Classmates would make fun of her for her shoes, backpack, or other preferences that were more associated with girls than with boys. The Edwards, both teachers themselves, approached Nova to discuss ways to minimize that bullying. “We came from a place of both being educators and really believing in children having the educational tools and language to talk about things and how that might make a difference.” Hannah explained. “Kids, when they’re given the opportunity, can really learn and grow and they want to be good people.”
Their first impression was that the school was on the same page. In fact, administrators agreed to incorporate the book My Princess Boy into an anti-bullying lesson about gender diversity. But when they emailed the school community on October 14th to inform them of this lesson, the backlash began. “Once parents knew, things changed completely,” Dave said.
You can read the whole thing, but the fact that the parents of this boy/girl are both teachers should give you pause. What sort of theory of “gender” did Dave and Hannah Edwards learn in college, and how are these theories being implemented in public school policies and curricula? Furthermore, if the Edwards’ son is so profoundly confused, why?
Is it possible that the parenting methods of Dave and Hannah Edwards were influenced by what they learned as part of their own education? Isn’t it true that feminist influence in academia promotes hostility toward “gender” distinctions? Aren’t feminists against normal manifestations of sexual differences — men being masculine and women being feminine — because they believe these traits are “socially constructed”?
“Humanity has begun to transcend Nature: we can no longer justify the maintenance of a discriminatory sex class system on grounds of its origin in nature. . . .
“And just as the end goal of socialist revolution was not only the elimination of the economic class privilege but of the economic class distinction itself, so the end goal of feminist revolution must be . . . not just the elimination of male privilege but of the sexdistinction itself: genital differences between human beings would no longer matter culturally. . . . The tyranny of the biological family would be broken.”
— Shulamith Firestone, The Dialectic of Sex: The Case for Feminist Revolution (1970)
“We want to destroy sexism, that is, polar role definitions of male and female, man and woman. We want to destroy patriarchal power at its source, the family; in its most hideous form, the nation-state. We want to destroy the structure of culture as we know it, its art, its churches, its laws . . .
“The nuclear family is the school of values in a sexist, sexually repressed society. One learns what one must know: the roles, rituals, and behaviors appropriate to male-female polarity and the internalized mechanisms of sexual repression. . . .
“We must refuse to submit to all forms of behavior and relationship which reinforce male-female polarity . . . “
— Andrea Dworkin, Woman Hating (1974)
“Women and men are divided by gender, made into the sexes as we know them, by the social requirements of its dominant form, heterosexuality, which institutionalizes male sexual dominance and female sexual submission.”
— Catharine MacKinnon, Toward a Feminist Theory of the State (1989)
“Gender, as radical feminists have always understood it, is a term which describes the systematic oppression of women, as a subordinate group, for the advantage of the dominant group, men.”
— Joan Scanlon, 2010
For more than 40 years, radical feminists have advocated androgyny — the abolition of gender — as the means of achieving “equality.” Radical feminism “sees gender not as an identity or personal choice but as a caste system designed for the perpetuation of male supremacy.” This is distinct from the so-called “Third Wave” feminist theory of Judith Butler, et al., but neither the radicals nor the postmodern disciples of Professor Butler are in favor of what most people would consider normal behavior.
Tobias “Tobi” Hill-Meyer, the boy who was raised by a lesbian feminist couple and grew up to become a transgender pornographer, is the tip of a large iceberg of evidence about what “feminist motherhood” produces.
Feminism condemns normal human behavior as “male privilege” and “tyranny” (Firestone), “patriarchal power” and “sexual repression” (Dworkin), “male sexual dominance” (MacKinnon), and “the systematic oppression of women” (Scanlon). Because of feminism’s hegemonic influence in academia, these ideas have become widely accepted on university campuses, and inevitably have begun influencing policy and curricula in public schools. Feminist ideas about “gender” are also influential in the entertainment industry and the news media, so that we see Bruce “Caitlyn” Jenner featured on the cover of Vanity Fair magazine and celebrated as Glamour magazine’s “Woman of the Year.”
The liberal media employ a rhetoric of “diversity” surrounding these issues, and activists exploit children to create a dishonest narrative about “victims of an anti-transgender backlash,” to deceive the public and distract parents from the bizarre agenda being promoted. Many people are understandably shocked by efforts to normalize “transgender” identity for children — parents like David and Hannah Edwards calling their son “her” — but what is in some ways even more radical is the obverse effect, i.e., stigmatizing normal behaviors. Expressions of ordinary beliefs that boys should act like boys are condemned as “bullying,” and the celebration of “gender non-conforming” children implies that parents who raise their sons and daughters normally areoppressing their children by forcing them to conform to an artificial “social construction.”
“The view that heterosexuality is a key site of male power is widely accepted within feminism. Within most feminist accounts, heterosexuality is seen not as an individual preference, something we are born like or gradually develop into, but as a socially constructed institution which structures and maintains male domination, in particular through the way it channels women into marriage and motherhood.”
— Diane Richardson, “Theorizing Heterosexuality,” inRethinking Sexuality (2000)
“If we accept that gender is constructed and that it is not in any way ‘naturally’ or inevitably connected to sex, then the distinction between sex and gender comes to seem increasingly unstable. In that case, gender is radically independent of sex, ‘a free-floating artifice’ as [Professor Judith] Butler puts it, raising the question as to whether ‘sex’ is as culturally constructed as gender; indeed, perhaps sex was always already gender, so that the sex/gender distinction is not actually a distinction at all. Butler dispenses with the idea that either gender or sex is an ‘abiding substance’ by arguing that a heterosexual, heterosexist culture establishes the coherence of these categories in order to perpetuate and maintain what the feminist poet and critic Adrienne Rich has called ‘compulsory heterosexuality’ — the dominant order in which men and women are required or even forced to be heterosexual.”
— Sara Salih, Judith Butler (2002)
“Heterosexuality and masculinity . . . are made manifest through patriarchy, which normalizes men as dominant over women. . . .
“This tenet of patriarchy is thus deeply connected to acts of sexual violence, which have been theorized as a physical reaffirmation of patriarchal power by men over women.”
— Sara Carrigan Wooten, The Crisis of Campus Sexual Violence: Critical Perspectives on Prevention and Response (2015)
Feminism Is Queer, as Eastern Washington University Professor Mimi Marinucci has explained, requiring what Professor Butler calls “the subversion of identity.” Feminist gender theory aims not only to eliminate normal adult roles associated with marriage and family (men as husband/father, women as wife/mother) but also to eliminate the traits and behaviors associated with those roles — the masculinity of men, the femininity of women, and heterosexuality, per se. Framing their arguments in a rhetoric of “social justice,” Third Wave feminists depict males and heterosexuals as “privileged” (bad) while women and homosexuals are “oppressed” (and therefore good). We see this attitude displayed by Everyday Feminism editor Melissa Fabello, who constantly voices her contempt for heterosexual males while working for a website that celebrates “LGBTQIA” sexuality:
How to Respectfully Love a
Trans Woman: Navigating Transmisogyny
in Your Romantic Relationship
— Kaylee Jakubowski, Jan. 19, 2015
5 Ways to Stand Up to Toxic Messages
and Accept Yourself as a Bisexual Person
— Erin Tatum, Jan. 25, 2015
Your Top 10 Questions About
Being Genderqueer Answered
— Kris Nelson, July 17, 2015
What Is Heteronormativity — And How Does
It Apply to Your Feminism? Here Are 4 Examples
— Kris Nelson, July 24, 2015
Ever Been Told You’re
‘Too Pretty to Be a Lesbian?’
Here Are 3 Ways to Respond
— Maddie McClouskey, Nov. 2, 2015
Yes, I Chose to Be Queer —
I Was Not Born This Way,
And Here’s Why That’s Okay
— Hari Ziyad, Nov. 5, 2015
3 Things ‘We’re Not All Lesbians’ Is
Really Saying (And Why It’s Anti-Feminist)
— Carmen Rios, Dec. 13, 2015
Why Freezing My Sperm Matters
to Me as a Trans Woman
— Rhiannon Catherwood, Dec. 25, 2015
3 Ways Gender and Sexuality Are
More Fluid Than We Think
— Alex-Quan Pham, Feb. 4, 2016
6 Ways Transphobia Directly Contributes to
High Rates of Suicide in Trans Communities
— Brynn Tannehill, March 19, 2016
I’m Gender Non-Conforming — And I Need
People to Stop Pressuring Me to ‘Pass’
— Alex-Quan Pham, April 10, 2016
7 Ways Parents Can Be More
Body Positive Toward Their Queer
and Transgender Kids
— Meg Zulch, April 26, 2016
This sampling of headlines from Everyday Feminism indicates the extent to which a bias against normal sexuality and normal “gender identity” has become characteristic of the feminist movement in the 21st century.
Feminist mothers actively seek to undermine their sons’ masculinity from an early age. A typical example from a 2014 column by Rosita Gonzalez:
When I first learned I would have a son, my first thought was, “Well, I don’t know what to do with a son!” I had come from a family of girls. I had babysat only girls. And I was a feminist. . . .
So, when my son was young, I began teaching him to be compassionate. I stressed the importance of his feelings and the feelings of others. . . .
In my feminist frenzy, I bought him dolls and dressed him in neutral-colored clothing. I endured comments like, “What a sweet, cute girl! How old is she?”
Fiona Joy Green, a professor of Women and Gender Studies at Canada’s University of Winnipeg, wrote in 2001, “Since the birth of my son . . . I have been raising him with the conscious understanding that the mother-son relationship as proscribed by patriarchy is limited, damaging, and dangerous.” Professor Green wrote of “the struggles of feminist mothers to raise sons in ways that challenge the status quo.” Natalie Wilson, who teaches Women’s Studies at Cal State University-San Marcos, wrote inMs. magazine in 2011 that she “dreaded” giving birth to a son:
I wanted a daughter — a girl that would grow into a woman with whom I could fight the feminist good fight, a girl whom I could give the feminist upbringing I never had, a girl who I could let know from Day One was as strong, smart and capable as any penis-privileged human. Looking back, this dread of having a son embarrasses me. I see now that it is just as important to raise feminist sons as it is to raise feminist daughters. . . .
As a card-carrying member of the ‘gender is socially constructed club,’ I thus believed I could raise my son to love justice more than football, peace more than toy guns and hot pink more than camouflage.
Football and toy guns are bad, because masculinity is bad, according to feminist theory, and the project of raising “feminist sons” therefore requires mothers to find ways to “challenge the status quo.”
Encouraging boys to identify with girl characters in stories and wear “princess costumes” during playtime? That’s feminist motherhood.