October 26, 2005

My review of Why Gender Matters:

What Parents and Teachers Need to Know about the Emerging Science of Sex Differences by Leonard Sax appears in the new Fall 2005 issue of the Claremont Review of Books. Not online, so subscribe here. An excerpt:

I must note that the title of Sax's book is likely to raise the hackles of readers who are purists about proper English. They may rightly snort, "Is this book about French grammar?" Obviously, Sax is misusing "gender" when he means "sex" - male or female.

I fear, though, that this usage battle is lost because the English language really does need two different words to distinguish between the fact and the act of sex. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg claims her secretary Millicent invented the use of "gender" to mean "sex" in the early 1970s while typing the crusading feminist's briefs against sex discrimination. Millicent pointed out to her boss that judges, like all men, have dirty minds when it comes to the word "sex," so she should use the boring term "gender" to keep those animals thinking just about the law. On my iSteve.com website, for example, I reluctantly use "gender" rather than "sex" in the HTML title code to avoid having web monitoring software block access to it as presumably pornographic.

Unfortunately, "gender" now comes with a vast superstructure of 99 percent fact-free feminist theorizing about how sex differences are all just socially constructed. According to this orthodoxy, it's insensitive to doubt a burly transvestite truck driver who is demanding a government-subsidized sex change when he says he feels like a little girl inside. Yet, it's also insensitive to assume that the average little girl feels like a little girl inside.

Speaking of that, you may have noticed that a number of intensely motivated transsexuals, such as computer maven Lynn Conway, have long been conducting an obsessive smear-and-destroy campaign, aided by (who else?) the Southern Poverty Law Center, against myself and anyone else who has ever had a good word to say for Northwestern U. professor of psychology J. Michael Bailey. Now, Bailey has issued a statement in the matter.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

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