Egalitarianism and complementarism, statistics and exceptions

Egalitarianism and complementarism, statistics and exceptions

Following my post about egalitarianism and complementarism, I receive an email from Mary, a young woman from North Dakota who has been living in Lancashire (not far from the city where I now live) for three years.

https://lotharlorraine.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/25df8-two_puzzle_pieces_coming_together_pc_1600_clr.png

I find it extremely interesting and insightful, so I reproduce it here:

“I have some very strong feelings about this topic.
I respect you and your method of communicating, and you also stated that your views were open to evolving if you were given new information, so I feel it would be worthwhile for us to open a little dialogue on this.

Now, it’s difficult for me to get into a dispassionate conversation about this topic, because it has had such blatant and hurtful affects on me.  I can keep my emotions uninvolved when it comes to discussing many, many topics, but this is not one.  So please understand if I liberally insert a bit of my personal feelings and experiences into this, although I will try to present plenty of non-anecdotal evidence for my position as well.

Complimentarianism and Egalitarianism were defined well in the article.  Egalitarians believe that people should be judged on their individual merits alone, without regard to their gender.  Complimentarians believe that judgments should be partly made by gender, because being a certain sex infuses you with certain merits and qualities that the other gender cannot fulfill.  Indeed, complimentarians will generally say that a woman will be most fulfilled if she embraces feminine roles, and a man will be most fulfilled if he embraces masculine roles because that is what their bodies and souls were designed for.  Their gender defines them, at least in part.

First of all, I want to emphasize that there is NOTHING wrong with fulfilling a traditional gender role.  If a woman wants to be a stay-at-home mom and a man wants to be a breadwinner, I will not judge them… so long as that decision was made by them, and not by their culture.  However, I can tell you without reservation that complimentarianism hurts people.  Enormously, horrendously, gruesomely, it hurts people.  In a slightly more distant sense, it harms people like gays and lesbians and transgender people who seem to transcend conservative ideas of what “man” and “woman” can be.  These people face violence and discrimination as a direct result of defying these little generalizations.  However, it has a much more direct affect too.  I’ve seen many young lives boxed up and stored on separate shelves, labeled “man” and “woman” and, to me, that is a tragedy.  I’ve seen young women quietly discouraged from going to college, or held back a  grade in high school so that their younger brother can attend school with them to protect them from society’s influences.  I’ve seen women who never left home because their family expected them to stay under their father’s authority until marriage… after all, a woman is most fulfilled as a wife and mother, not in a career.  I’ve seen young men ostracized by their friends because of a soft voice and a penchant for wearing jewelry.  I’ve seen women taught to fear their bodies and men taught to fear their sexual urges.  All of this was done in the name of protecting and preparing children for their pre-designed roles… roles that were assigned from birth, before the parent even had a chance to get to know their son or daughter for who they are.

   And herein lies the insidious poison of Complimentarianism: it is disguised as stability and support, when in truth it undermines the individual and tries to replace it with a mold that might not fit.  Plenty of men and women will step forward and explain how they are happy in their roles, and how perfect it is for them.  But for every man and woman that fits that role, there will be others that do not, and still more that will spend untold years in pain, trying to force themselves into those neat boxes in order to please their family and culture.

   For my own experience, I hated being a girl.  From the age of six, I told my mother that I should have been born a boy.  Perhaps part of the problem was my own gender identity, but that was not all; I simply had a deep desire to be respected as strong, fierce, courageous, heroic, smart, and capable.  Even from that young age, I’d absorbed that these were MALE traits.  Females were to be respected for grace, compassion, gentleness, meekness, and modesty.  So great was this distinction, that I believed my own body was the reason that I didn’t fit the box, not the box itself.  And this dissonance dominated huge parts of my young life.

   I strove with all of my might to distinguish myself as a boy.  I started by loudly proclaiming my disdain towards anything that might be seen as girly (birds, bunnies, pink, purple, flowers, bows, and more).  I was filled with shame when I found myself liking Lisa Frank merchandise (I don’t know if you remember those rainbow-colored relics of the 90’s) and I would literally only walk into that aisle of the toy store if no one else was around to see, and I would hide if someone else showed up.  I fiercely argued with my sister when she tried to explain to me that I couldn’t grow up to be a fireman, and I’d be a firewoman instead.  I didn’t want to be a firewoman.  A firewoman would be lesser because she would be meek and gentle instead of strong and brave.  I created alternate identities for myself, all male, and I adored the uncle that I’d never met simply because he referred to me sometimes by the nickname “Al”.  I tried very hard to get other friends to call me by that nickname, but it never stuck.

   Most importantly, my parents never even worked hard to force me into this gender role.  Yes, the implications were there, but I can’t recall many times that I was told to repress my personality or to stop being a tomboy.  My parents encouraged me to pursue my interest in Physics, even if it was a stereotypically male field.  They let me play sports and act tough.  They encouraged me to be independent.  And yet, at 6 years old, I had already recognized that being a woman was less than being a man or at least a woman could not be ME… and that belief never changed until long after I had left home.

   I can think of a few things that my parents did to encourage the gender divide.  My mother did urge me to prepare for motherhood and care of a household, long before I had made any indications that I would ever wish to do these things (I didn’t).  I was thoroughly versed in modesty teachings, and taught to be ashamed and afraid of my developing body because it was an instrument of sin.  I was instructed in “purity” teachings that worked to highlight the difference between the two sexes, and set them up for a lifetime of separation together.  None of these things helped with my gender dissatisfaction.

   But, in large part, it was the culture of Complimentarianism in the Fundamentalist world that taught me to be unhappy with myself as a young woman.  It wasn’t forced and it wasn’t beaten into me; it was so much more insidious than that.  Just because my compliance with gender roles wasn’t outright demanded doesn’t mean that the pressure wasn’t very real.  And very confusing and damaging to a developing young mind that just didn’t fit.

   So when supporters of Complimentarianism try to tell me “I would never force my kids to fit those roles; it would just be strongly encouraged as the best way to achieve happiness,” I have to shake my head.  They clearly have never felt the cognitive dissonance of existing in a world that strongly encourages them to be something they’re not.  That strong encouragement can warp a child’s expectations of themselves, alter their dreams, drive them to self-loathing, or provoke an outright rebellion and fracture of the family.  Why would anyone risk all of that in the name of an outdated presumption of what men and women can or cannot do?  Is a child’s body parts truly more important than their individual identity?

    Indeed, many complimentarians object to many of the stories I tell.  “I would never hold my daughter back from college” or “a man can like jewelry” might be the quick responses.  But Complimentarianism CANNOT be separated from these sorts of tragedies, because, at it’s core, it is erasure of the individual in favor of a stereotype.  It is telling a child when it is born “I don’t even know you yet, I don’t know your personality or your talents or desires or fears… but I DEMAND you to fulfill my stereotype based on that little bit of biology right there between your legs.  I will demand it through my judgments, my encouragements, my suggestions of what you will do and where you will go.  I will demand it through the school activities I will put you in, I will demand it through the pastor’s sermons about how women need to stop talking and men need to “man up”.  I will demand you to fulfill this role and, if you fail, it is because you must be
 broken,
 damaged, flawed.”

Are there statistical differences between men and women?  Sure.  But, especially in all psychological areas, there is more overlap than difference.  Just look through this article if you are in doubt.  http://www.psych.rochester.edu/people/reis_harry/assets/pdf/CarothersReis_2012.pdf  Most men and women are psychologically NO DIFFERENT.  Science has shown this.  And many of the differences can probably be attributed to cultural conditioning… we expect women to be X and men to be Y from a young age, so they develop to fulfill that.  And then Complimentarianists can pat themselves on the back and say “see?  Men and women are different after all” when half of the differences come from this very social construct of Complimentarianism.

I could probably write for another 3 years on the subject, but I guess I’ll stop for now.  Please, I beg of you, consider what I’m saying, ask questions, and just give it all some thought.  People are suffering still under these ideas and it breaks my heart.  People are people, regardless of gender, and we should not be making blanket judgments about them because of their gender.

Thank you very much for reading.  All the best to you!!!”

I am thankful to Mary for having raised so many important issues. If she decides to react to comments, I would be very grateful if everyone were to treat her with the uttermost respect.

Despite having given up her faith, she remains extremely friendly towards Christians and given the circumstances I view this a miracle.

I think that she did an excellent job exposing the huge suffering that Evangelical complementarianism might be causing in quite a few cases.

This was not, however, what I was saying in my last post.

The differences I pointed out are of a statistical nature and there are certainly quite a few exceptions.

There is absolutely nothing wrong about women having the temperament of breadwinners and men preferring taking care of the home and they should never be ridiculed owing to this.

Likewise, I believe that a minority of humans have a homosexual nature and that it is healthy for them to marry someone of the same sex since this is not harmful.

A woman applying for a position in the army should be judged by her own skills alone and not by those of the average female.

What I do oppose, however, is this willingness to impose an equal demography between the two sexes in every sector.

https://i1.wp.com/www.aviseo.at/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/baustelle-mann-frau.gif

I and many secular folks reject this silly endeavor of the European Union to forcefully introduce equal quotas for it ignores the fact that (statistically speaking) men and women are psychologically and biologically different.

(Analyzing the evidence and counter-evidence is beyond the scope of this post).

Advertisements

10 thoughts on “Egalitarianism and complementarism, statistics and exceptions

  1. Indeed, complimentarians will generally say that a woman will be most fulfilled if she embraces feminine roles, and a man will be most fulfilled if he embraces masculine roles because that is what their bodies and souls were designed for.

    That doesn’t seem necessary for complimentarianism, particularly complimentarianism which acknowledges that the differences in question, while on average manifesting, in principle admit exceptions. A better way to put it would be that complimentarianism argues that men and women are (typically) different, and that we should acknowledge and accept these differences rather than deny them or downplay them.

    Complimentarians believe that judgments should be partly made by gender, because being a certain sex infuses you with certain merits and qualities that the other gender cannot fulfill.

    Again, this doesn’t seem right – or at the very least, not necessary given complimentarianism. You can get by simply acknowledging that sex typically highly influences one’s capabilities and qualities in some respects, and that this is not something to be ashamed of or overcome necessarily. Judgments can be partly made by gender in a broad sense, sure – if you’re planning out a new hospital, women will be the ones who need a maternity ward.

    I’ve seen young women quietly discouraged from going to college, or held back a grade in high school so that their younger brother can attend school with them to protect them from society’s influences.

    More men should be discouraged from going to college. It’s not as useful as most people make it out to be, and is the source of a tremendous amount of adult misery. (Student debt for getting an english degree – if you even graduate.) And considering women now make up the majority of college attendees, I question this supposed influence.

    And herein lies the insidious poison of Complimentarianism: it is disguised as stability and support, when in truth it undermines the individual and tries to replace it with a mold that might not fit.

    No, it doesn’t. You can simply recognize the realities of gender differences and the complimentary nature therein while still accepting that there may be outliers. Encouraging people to be active and healthy and get a lot of exercise doesn’t automatically mean that cripples are regarded with contempt.

    So when supporters of Complimentarianism try to tell me “I would never force my kids to fit those roles; it would just be strongly encouraged as the best way to achieve happiness,” I have to shake my head.

    Supporters of complimentarianism can also tell you that there are going to be exceptions, but the exceptions shouldn’t be treated as the rule.

    But Complimentarianism CANNOT be separated from these sorts of tragedies, because, at it’s core, it is erasure of the individual in favor of a stereotype.

    It simply is not. You don’t need to ‘erase the individual’ to acknowledge typical natural inclinations, complimentary behaviors, and roles, or to recognize outliers. If some people are absolutely furious at the idea that there may even be a passive expectation of themselves culturally speaking that they may not fit into, I suggest that the source of the problem may be their attitude, not necessarily the culture.

    This isn’t to say I can’t imagine some people being inane with these stereotypes. ‘You’re a woman, no woman can be good at physics!’ Sure, that’s wrong. But so is ‘You’re a woman, you just want to be a mother because of pressure! Have better goals in your life!’

    Are there statistical differences between men and women? Sure. But, especially in all psychological areas, there is more overlap than difference.

    Considerable differences typically remain. Sure, they’re more alike than they are not alike, in the sense that a man has more in common with a woman than he does a zebra.

    Most men and women are psychologically NO DIFFERENT. Science has shown this.

    No, it hasn’t, save for in the aforementioned zebra sense. Differences remain – physical and mental – and they’re important to recognize, even if there are exceptions.

    And many of the differences can probably be attributed to cultural conditioning…

    Being able to in principle attribute the differences to cultural conditioning does not mean that the differences are, in fact, due to cultural conditioning. Nor the converse. Regardless, science hasn’t shown what you’re saying it has shown.

    Men and women are different after all” when half of the differences come from this very social construct of Complimentarianism.

    No one socially constructed women and men into having their variety of physical differences – and those physical differences alone would be enough to practically guarantee a typical set of mental differences.

  2. Lothlorraine, you have rather changed the definition of complimentarianism from what was given in the article that you posted. The article said:

    “Complementarianism is the belief that men and women have God given differences that are essential to their person. Men and women are ontologically (in their essential nature) equal, but often, functionally, take subordinate roles (like the Trinity). These differences complete or “complement” each other. Due to these differences, there will be some things that women are predisposed and purposed to do more than men. As well, there will be some things that men are predisposed and purposed to do more than women. Therefore, there are ideal roles for both men and women that should be celebrated, exemplified, typified, and promoted in the church, family, and society. To deny these differences is to deny the design of God and thwart his purpose.” (emphasis added)

    You cannot simultaneously claim that you agree with all of the above statement and also pretend that you support a world in which men and women are not ridiculed or strongly pressured for being “exceptions” to the supposed rules. Read it again. These supposed gender differences are essential to their person (meaning that those who lack them are missing something essential). Men and women are purposed to do different things (meaning if you fail to fulfill these roles, you are failing your purpose). These things are to be exemplified, typified, and promoted (meaning people are to be heavily pressured to fulfill these roles since they are the only ones that are promoted in the church, family, and in society). And on top of that, the author finishes this all by indicating that those who deny these roles are denying God. This is toxic… utterly toxic. Now, if you don’t believe any of that, fine. But then how can you, in good conscience, promote such a toxic article on your blog?

    To Crude, you have also seemed to move away from some of how the article defined Complimentarianism, but you are closer in your response than Lothar. I would say to you all of the things I said above, but add a few things:

    1) Please don’t tell me that I am a liar about my own experiences. Two of my friends were indeed held away from college because of complimentarian ideas. Of course this doesn’t mean all people do that, as evidenced by the male/female college ratio. But when I see a tragedy in my own personal life, I will lay the blame where it is due, so please don’t say “I question the supposed influence” when you weren’t there and I was. It’s rude and unproductive to a conversation.

    2) I cannot think of a worse way to make your point than to compare people who do not fill traditional gender roles to being crippled! “It’s healthy to fulfill gender roles and if you don’t, well you are permanently damaged and crippled, but I’ll still be nice to you” is what you’re saying. I certainly hope that’s not what you meant. But I am baffled how you can’t see that this is exactly the sort of oppressive mindset that makes complimentarianism so abusive to “exceptions.”

    3) If you’re going to keep saying “considerable differences remain” and “science hasn’t proven that” then you should really back that up, because I gave you an article to prove my point and I get the feeling you didn’t even look at it. The article clearly states that the psychological differences between men and women appear to be dimensional rather than taxonic, meaning that people cannot be reliably categorized as male or female based on psychological factors, while they CAN generally be classified based on physical factors (such as height or physical strength). The majority of men and women fall in an overlapping zone which cannot be distinguished as one or the other when you study psychological factors, which means that we cannot accurately label certain behaviors “male” and others “female”. In addition, while not ALL of the remaining statistical variation may be based on societal gender norms, it is the current majority-belief of the psychology community that most of the remaining variation is indeed based on societal influence.

    In conclusion, I have to ask you both this: if you truly feel that there is absolutely nothing inferior at all in a man being stereotypically feminine or a woman being stereotypically masculine, then why do we need to put such emphasis on these gender categories at all? If there is absolutely nothing wrong with defying gender roles, why are you so desperate to promote them? If a woman wants to fill a “female” role and a man wants to fill a “male” role, then they should be able to do so without special conditioning. On the other hand, if a woman wants to fill a “male” role and a man wants to fill a “female” role, then they would be much more free to do so and would be able to find more role models willing to encourage them in that endeavor, instead of only “traditional” roles being exemplified, celebrated, and typified. Why are these arbitrary rules that have exceptions that you are IN NO WAY opposed to necessary? If you had laws discouraging protesting in in the park, but actually believed it was JUST as acceptable to protest in the park as at the courthouse, you would repeal that law, because there would be no reason to give special encouragement to the courthouse protestors vs. the park protesters. So, why are gender roles singled out to be so important, when you also claim those who do not follow them are in no way inferior?

    • You cannot simultaneously claim that you agree with all of the above statement and also pretend that you support a world in which men and women are not ridiculed or strongly pressured for being “exceptions” to the supposed rules.

      Sure he can. What is it about recognizing essential differences that mandates ridicule and strong pressure? Granted, there would be SOME pressure – in the form of typical cultural influence, etc. But if a woman doesn’t want to be a mother, she won’t be forced into being one. And I’d happily work against anyone who would try to force that. Certainly I’d object to anyone ridiculing a woman for not meeting that standard. Or a man, for that matter.

      1) Please don’t tell me that I am a liar about my own experiences.

      I didn’t, and please don’t call me a liar baselessly. I nowhere said you lied about your experiences – I questioned your reasoning, and the extent of what you said was happening. Accent on: extent. Do you know the current gender makeup of men attending college versus women? Would you like me to quote that stat?

      2) I cannot think of a worse way to make your point than to compare people who do not fill traditional gender roles to being crippled!

      And I think it’s a fine way, because it answers a charge you keep coming back to: ridicule, mocking, etc. But I gave a great example of a way ‘health’ can be celebrated, without ridiculing people who do not meet that standard. It’s a comparison, not a statement of equal nature.

      3) If you’re going to keep saying “considerable differences remain” and “science hasn’t proven that” then you should really back that up, because I gave you an article to prove my point and I get the feeling you didn’t even look at it.

      I did look at it. Did you? It was singularly vague and unimpressive.

      See, here’s the problem. I can point at an article showing that men and women’s brains are wired differently, but for any difference I point out, you can dig in your heels and insist that it’s all a matter of cultural pressure rather than biology.

      You talk about ‘the majority of men and women fall in an overlapping zone’ but you pay no attention to the tendencies and prevalences of those zones – or, for that matter, cultural impact. But would you ignore it for those areas where there was a big deviation?

      In conclusion, I have to ask you both this: if you truly feel that there is absolutely nothing inferior at all in a man being stereotypically feminine or a woman being stereotypically masculine, then why do we need to put such emphasis on these gender categories at all?

      Because the existence of outliers doesn’t remove the existence of norms, or even ideals. Why does the existene of some outliers mean we should be completely quiet about norms and patterns and expectations and realities otherwise?

      If there is absolutely nothing wrong with defying gender roles, why are you so desperate to promote them?

      Why are you so desperate to undermine them? What is wrong with noting them, encouraging them, but allowing that some people may deviate?

      Or is it that you want more people deviating?

    • I apologize, I have been really extremely sloppy.

      I do not approve of everything written by Mike Patton.
      My main difference with him is that I believe it is only statistically the case.

      As for your article, I will really have to take a closer (and open) look at it (I am currently pretty busy).
      Until now I have read quite a few studies of evolutioanry psychologists showing significant differences between the sexes.

      I want to make clear I don’t have an axe to grind.

      If it turns out that the psychological differences between men and women are really small, I would gladly accept it.

      However, I still believe that the Complementarianism I have described does not lead to the horrendous consequences you have described.

      If a strong woman realizes she is a lesbian loving action, that’s perfectly fine and in Germany she would be allowed to marry another woman within the Protestant State Church which I find great.
      I would certainly step in if anyone dared calling her “deviant”.

      Given that, I would be glad to know what harmful consequences this form of Complementarianism could lead to, according to your opinion.
      I shall certainly abondon this system if it turns out to be noxious.

      • Until now I have read quite a few studies of evolutioanry psychologists showing significant differences between the sexes.

        My advise as an evolutionary biologist – take these results with a grain of salt. Evolutionary psychology is a problematic field, it has the same problem that all interdisciplinary fields have, the researchers are not always well trained in all relevant disciplines, it happens frequently for example that evolutionary psychologists assume that a given trait is heritable or at least has a large heritable component although it is extraordinarily unlikely that this is indeed the case.
        Furthermore, evolutionary psychologists (especially those that come from a Psychology instead of a Biology background) tend to overestimate the power of natural selection for a species like us. How strong natural selection is relative to neutral drift, depends on the effective population size of a species – and our effective population size is tiny compared to insects, marine invertebrates or single-celled organisms. This means that slightly deleterious traits are invisible for selection in a species like ours. As a good heuristic, consider something like red-green color blindness – this is a trait that is deleterious, but only *very* slightly so, and it thus has no detectable consequences for the reproductive success of individuals that have this trait. In a large population (like most bacterial species), such traits that have only very slight deleterious consequences, can be selected against, but this doesn´t work in humans – a trait like red-green color blindness is effectively invisible for natural selection. Keep that in mind when you read EP studies about gender differences. If they study a trait that sounds about as relevant (or less relevant) for your everyday life as whether you have a color vision deficiency or not, the trait in question is almost certainly not a trait that would lead to selectable differences and any significant gender difference is thus very likely caused by cultural factors.

        • Hello Andy.

          Thank you for your sound criticism of the field.

          I have read articles by David Buller and am aware of the problems you quoted.

          There are many things produced to cultural evolution which are misinterpreted as being due to genetic selection.

          That said, I think that some differences really seem to spring out of our biology.

          But as I have pointed out at the beginning of the post, I am by no means dogmatic about this.

          I will keep reading studies from various fields and if I feel there is no significant psychological differences, I would gladly embrace this result.

          However, I take a huge amount of time researching the origin of homosexuality and think it is very likely that biological factors play a very important role.
          (Which is a strong argument for gay marriage).
          And if that’s the case, it’s probably also true for men and women.

          Cheers.

      • Hi Marc,

        That said, I think that some differences really seem to spring out of our biology.

        Absolutely. But for a lot of those trends, in-group variance is much larger than between-group variance, which makes it a little misleading to call them “gender differences” (because that makes it sound as if gender would be a good predictor for the trait in question although it is actually a poor one). Strongly sexually dimorphic traits, like upper body strength for example, seem to be the exception.

        However, I take a huge amount of time researching the origin of homosexuality and think it is very likely that biological factors play a very important role.
        (Which is a strong argument for gay marriage).

        That there is a genetic component to the development of sexual orientation is true beyond any reasonable doubt. But I don´t see why that should be an argument for gay marriage. I would still support gay marriage if homosexuality had no heritable component at all and I would still support an age of consent somewhere around 15 years if pedophilia were 100% heritable – wouldn´t you?

        cheerio.

  3. On one hand, you insist that there is nothing wrong with being an “outlier” and on the other you still insist on comparing people like me to being cripples (so, someone whose health falls short of what is good or ideal, but someone to at least be tolerated) and saying that there are indeed “ideals” for men and women (so anyone who does not meet these roles, like me, is not ideal). You can’t have it both ways, sorry. Either defying gender norms is just as good as following them or it isn’t.

    Also, deflection from my question is a pretty poor argument and awfully grade-school. I asked you a fair question: “why do you feel these norms need defending?” I’ve already explained in detail in my post what is wrong with them: they hurt people. As for whether I want more people deviating… I want people to fulfill their greatest potential, without running up against social pressure, shaming, and restraint based on gender. If that means more people deviate, I’m happy. If that means less people deviate, I’m happy. I support people being treated like individuals, not stereotypes. However, I’m quite sure I’ve made this clear and your question is just meant to be a scare-tactic.

    Lothar, if you are interested in continuing this conversation, please feel free to email me. I think I’m going to bow out of this discussion, however, since I entered it rather cautiously under the hope that it would be very respectful, and I can’t say that I feel particularly respected when someone calls my personality “crippled.” Crude is welcome to have the last word, but I will not be reading it. However frustrated and insulted I am by these responses, however, I do want to say thank you for at least engaging in conversation. I think these discussions are important to be had and to read… but it can be emotionally draining. I also apologize for leaving so soon, but as I said above, it is difficult for me to be completely cool-headed about something that has caused so much pain and damage for me and for people that I know. All the best to both of you, and anyone else who is reading. -Mary

    • On one hand, you insist that there is nothing wrong with being an “outlier” and on the other you still insist on comparing people like me to being cripples (so, someone whose health falls short of what is good or ideal, but someone to at least be tolerated)

      The purpose of the comparison to cripples was to show that mockery and pressure doesn’t follow just because someone fails to conform to the norm. I was not saying ‘You’re outside the norm? You’re crippled!’ Priests are outside the norm, so to speak. I don’t regard them as cripples.

      Second, what do you do when a deaf person insists that being deaf is not a disability? The metaphysics of ‘harm’ is trickier than people suppose.

      Either defying gender norms is just as good as following them or it isn’t.

      Who said ‘just as good’? What makes you think ‘good’ or ‘bad’ is always the proper reaction to differences anyway?

      I’ve already explained in detail in my post what is wrong with them: they hurt people.

      No, they don’t. You didn’t even begin to support that. You gave examples of people being belittled and mocked for failing to meet certain norms – that’s not part and parcel with there being norms. And further – the mere existence of someone feeling distress at X does not suffice to make X something that should be discouraged. The existence of claustrophobics does not mean that no one should ever construct small rooms, or that people living in smaller houses should be forbidden, for fear of upsetting the claustrophobic.

      As for whether I want more people deviating… I want people to fulfill their greatest potential,

      How do you even determine what is or isn’t their ‘greatest potential’? That’s not a scientific fact – that’s right back to philosophy, metaphysics… and expectations. What if they have desires that don’t meet up to your ‘greatest potential’? Apparently if they’re hurt by your standards, we should drop them.

      I think I’m going to bow out of this discussion, however, since I entered it rather cautiously under the hope that it would be very respectful, and I can’t say that I feel particularly respected when someone calls my personality “crippled.”

      I never said your personality was crippled. But you know what? I don’t particularly care if you decide to take offense at this. I said explicitly I was not calling people who are outside the norm – that includes myself, by the by – ‘crippled’ here. I denied the comparison immediately… but I understand how this particular game works. ‘Find something, anything to be offended by, even if it requires reading in, even if it requires overruling what the person said.’ That kind of game doesn’t get far with me.

      I was respectful. The problem is, I disagreed – strongly. I pointed out flaws in your reasoning. That is my sin here.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s