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 Заголовок сообщения: Postgenderism & Egalitarianism
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ELOI

Postgenderism & Egalitarianism

In their essay Postgenderism: Beyond the Gender Binary, George Dvorsky and James Hughes (hereafter D&H), argue that “the erosion of binary gender will be liberatory” and contend that “dyadic gender roles and sexual dimorphisms are generally to the detriment of individuals and society.” “Binary gender” refers to the existence of two genders, male and female. Therefore, D&H envisage a future in which male and female no longer exist and in which the two genders have been assimilated (in the sense of made the same) through the use of various biotechnologies. “Dyadic gender roles” are those roles that the male and female assume in a pair bond. The most obviously different role is that of child bearing. “Sexual dimorphism” refers to the difference in physical attributes between the male and the female, most strikingly the difference in height, strength, and sexual organs.

For some reason, D&H do not explain why the creation of an androgynous race will be liberatory. Perhaps they have addressed the question elsewhere. But the reader is left to wonder: Liberatory in what sense? What will the human race of today be liberated from? It’s “gendered traits”? But do humans want to lose their masculine or feminine natures, and if not, wouldn’t they experience the loss of such traits as a deprivation rather than a liberation?Again, one must ask how the existence of males and females is “generally to the detriment of individuals and society.” One often hears men complaining about women, and vice versa. But one rarely hears either men or women saying that the world would be better of if there was only one androgynous sex.

Though D&H state that “[p]ostgenderists donot call for the end of all gender traits, or universal androgyny, but rather that those traits become a matterof choice,” they do indicate their preference for androgyny as the ideal human condition when they assert that gender differences “are to the detriment of individuals and society.”

As regards “choice,” there are two issues: 1) Will the decision to androgynize always remain a matter of choice? It is possible that an elite of biotechnicians, if they ever achieved political power, will force androgynization on a mass scale. After all, if binary gender is detrimental to society, one could make the case for its elimination through legislation requiring biotechnological interventions. 2) Will parents or guardians make the choice for their children or wards? Might a child who has been androgynized through the use of various biotechnologies, including the use of irreversible genetic engineering, by his parents feel himself to be a freak of biotechnology once he had grown and started to interact with normal children? Could that adult child sue his parents for their having inflicted bodily harm and psychological damage?

It is possible that D&H’s dislike of gender differences arises from what bioconservative Leon Kass (in his Life, Liberty, and the Defense of Dignity) calls a transformation or corruption by expansion and exaggeration of the liberal democratic principles of freedom and equality (or egalitarianism). D&H refer approvingly to “our Enlightenment values” and are happy that what they term “the burdenof patriarchal oppression on women” has been reduced. But they point out that “[e]fforts to ameliorate patriarchy and the disabilities of binary gender through social, educational, political and economic reform can only achieve so much so long as the material basis, biological gendering of the body, brain and reproduction, remains fixed. Postgenderism confronts the limits of a social constructionist account of gender and sexuality, and proposes that the transcending of gender by social and political means is now being complemented and completed by technological means.”

Perhaps D&H view patriarchy negatively because it conflicts with their ideal of exaggerated equality. In any case, their solution to the problem of patriarchy is to assimilate humans beings into androgynes. This assimilation will be accomplished in part by drugs: “[T]he final liberation from dyadic, gendered, heteronormative relationships will likely come aboutthrough use of drugs that suppress pair-bonding impulses.”“Heteronormative relationships” we can assume are normal, heterosexual pair-bond relationships, which D&H are against because such relationships presuppose the existence of “binary gender.”

Surprisingly, the authors validate the contention of many people who see homosexual marriage as threatening the existence of the traditional family. “The spread of legal gay marriage in Europe,” D&H write, “and its slower adoption in the US, has accelerated the recognition of legal marriage as an arbitrary contract, rather than a religious, heterosexual, dyadic institution. Therefore laws against polygamy and group marriages must eventually fall, since they are clearly based in religious discrimination....The erosion of dyadic marriage will, in turn, help to erode the gender binary.”

The authors recognize a Marxist element in postgenderism: “In her 1970 book The Dialectic of Sex socialist-feminist Shulamith Firestone argued that, just as the material reality of the means of production determined the power differential between the owners and workers, the material reality of women having to bear children determined the gendering of power insociety.”Firestone states that “the heart of women's oppression is her childbearing and child-rearing roles… To assure the elimination of sexual classes requires the revolt of the underclass (women) and seizure of control of reproduction:... so the end goal of the feminist revolution must be unlike that of the first feminist movement, not just the elimination of male privilege but of the sex distinction itself; genital differences between human beings would no longer matter.”

It is true that there always exists tension between the various social and economic classes, just as there always exits tension between male and female. The question is whether the attempt to resolve the tension by assimilating the classes produces more harm then good.

As regards “the seizure of control of reproduction,” it’s difficult to see why women should have to seize control of something that is going on inside them. Indeed, women nowadays have the legal right to kill their unborn children in the womb—surely an indication of absolute control.

“For Firestone,” D&H write, “the only way to fundamentally undermine patriarchy and gender itself was to liberate women from the necessity of childbearing with the technology of the artificial womb.”But the use of an artificial womb would put control of childbearing into the hands of technicians, possibly male technicians. In reality, Firestone is advocating not that women take control of reproduction, but that they put it into strangers’ hands. So great is her personal distaste for motherhood that she attempts to universalize that distaste by trying to convince all women that motherhood somehow oppresses them. To eliminate what she regards as male privilege, Firestone wants to deprive women “of the necessity of childbearing.” In other words, she wants to deprive women of their womanhood, their essential womanly nature. She sees pregnancy in negative terms, as a “deformation of the body” and as something that “hurts and isn’t good for you.”Why Firestone should take her personal distaste for motherhood and construct out of it an unnatural social and political ideology is a question to be asked.

D&H see in the current use of certain psychotropic drugs the beginnings of a means to assimilate the sexes: “[Psychotropic] efforts to treat female depression and male aggression, autism and ADD would give us ways to make the brain more androgynous. Francis Fukuyama lamented these trends, the ‘masculinizing’ of depressive women's moods by antidepressants, and the ‘feminizing’ of ADD boys with stimulant medications, in Our Posthuman Future, asserting that they were the result of pressure to conform to an ‘androgynous median personality’ in American society.”

As stated previously, the desire to create an “androgynous median personality,” or an actual androgyne, seems to stem from a desire for exaggerated equality. Kass points out that “liberal principles were, to begin with, narrowly political. The rights of the Declaration of Independence were asserted to protect against despotism, not to serve as sole moral tender in all social matters and private life....Yet as the nation has become more pluralistic and more secularized, and as the once merely political language of rights has invaded and come to dominate all moral discourse, the liberal principles have been transformed—and, in my view, corrupted—by expansion and exaggeration.”

Indeed, the idea of political equality cannot be transferred onto the natural world, being made up, as it is, of boundaries, hierarchies—in a word, of inequalities. Sex differences and the patriarchal family are aspects of a survival strategy that has evolved over evolutionary time.

Today, we in the West are wealthy, comfortable, and face no present threat. It has not always been so in the past. Will it always be so in the future? Someday, perhaps even tomorrow, we will need the evolutionary advantages that our sexual and familial strategies have given us. We cannot afford to tamper with them just because such tampering gratifies our egalitarian sensibilities.

The West, for the moment sustained by its great wealth and protected by its nuclear arsenal, is a kind of hothouse where all types of exotica can flourish. But once the hothouse glass is broken, and the merciless forces of selection pressure enter, these delicate organisms will wither. The androgynization of the human race would comport the loss of survival strategies that have been honed over evolutionary time. Therefore, what might be considered eccentric behavior in a few individuals could become dangerous when universalized into a mass movement.

Link to Postgenderism: Beyond the Gender Binary, by George Dvorsky and James Hughes, PhD: http://ieet.org/archive/IEET-03-PostGender.pdf
Published Wednesday, April 16, 2008 10:22 AM by eloi

Источник:
http://www.betterhumans.com/blogs/eloi/archive/2008/04/16/Postgenderism-_2600_-Egalitarianism.aspx


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