Conflation error

At Quillette, a look at the logic necessitating the internecine warfare between transgender activists and lesbians/gays: It’s Time for ‘LGB’ and ‘T’ to Go Their Separate Ways

A slice, but RTWT:

Gay rights activists simply want society to accept their different ways of living and loving—since gay men and lesbians pursue romantic interests and build families in ways that are at odds with conventional heterosexual expectations. Followers of radical gender theory, on the other hand, demand that we all reject our basic understanding of biological sex in favor of a recently conceptualized abstract notion of human identity.

…[I]n recent years, transgender activists have demanded that sex and gender be conflated, and that the very idea of innate biological differences be pushed into the background. At the most absurd extreme, there are now athletes and scholars who seriously suggest that being male offers no competitive physical advantages over being female, a proposition that even small children know to be unhinged.”

We’ll meet one such ‘scholar’ below.

I think LGB and T have already gone their separate ways. They have no choice, because they can’t both be right about the human condition.

The Other Club has written about the TERF War several times. A couple examples:

“[T]here is some tension (you might say cognitive dissonance) for that subset of those gender feminists (the so-called Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists) who want to preserve a traditional definition of the word “female” in the face of trans-sexual attack. And attack is the right word…”

And,

Of course, by “biological determinism” both sides of the TERF war mean to reject the idea that there is a biological difference between sexes. Differences between men and women are determined wholly by social conditioning.

If both sides agree with Dr. Matte that there’s no such thing as biological sex, why do they care who calls themselves a woman? Well, if your biological sex can be determined moment by moment at your whim, what’s the point of Women’s Studies? If it can’t be, what’s the point of Transgender Studies? People’s careers are at stake. So is the basis of their power.”

In case you’re unfamiliar with Dr. Matte,

“Dr. Nicholas Matte, professor of gender studies at University of Toronto, is claiming that biological sex differences are an error in perception which only arises because of the way we’ve been socialized. Sexual identity is, therefore, whimsical. Never mind the 99.7% correspondence between physical characteristics and how people identify as men or women; they’re deluded, it’s just words and experience, nothing objective whatsoever.”

Conflating gender and sex is untenable. It leads to the idea that refusal to date a trans person of the same biological sex makes you a heterosexual bigot, while refusing to date a trans person of the opposite biological sex makes you a gay or lesbian bigot.

Now the feminists are being forced to acknowledge their error in popularizing the idea that the psychological traits of human beings are completely determined by socialization.

A bridge too close

Every man has a property in his own person. This nobody has a right to, but himself.
-John Locke

And nobody has to accept his claim his rights supercede their rights.

Trans ‘rights’ advocates are pushing past a once distant bridge.  They have the same rights as the rest of us.  Not among those rights is immunity to charges of indecent exposure because of their self-perception.

“[W]hat threat could possibly unite radical feminists and Christian women conservatives?

This: Feminists, Conservatives Join Forces to Oppose ‘Equality Act’

We should tolerate everyone’s perceived personhood. So long as it’s merely psychological, and not infringing.

We can be civil, nothing more is required, without having to agree with their opinion. Or being forced to use their pronouns, share bathrooms with them, or date them.

We should not let a tiny, arguably delusional, minority define personhood as “whatever I think I am at the moment.”

We should not legislate such transitory, whimsical definitions.

Choices

Gender feminist theory predicts we’d see nearly equal employment of males and females in all occupations if we could erase the ‘patriarchy.’

In STEM and managerial positions there would be more women; in health care and K-12 teaching there would be more men (a side effect of no real interest). That this is not the case is indisputable evidence of pervasive discrimination based on sex.  (Except, of course, for dangerous, physical jobs like lumberjack, oil rigger, lineman…)

The intersectionalists leading those feminists (i.e., almost all of them) are quite certain this misogyny results from the evils of capitalism, insufficient government dictation of female-friendly employment rules, and paucity of financial incentives favoring females. In short, any difference in male vs. female outcome results from deep systemic suppression of female choice.  Don’t doubt this.  James Damore did, and look what happened to him.

The root cause is white male privilege – of which capitalism and too little government coercion are but symptoms. I’m sure I’ve left out much else of the intersectionalist potpourri, but life is short.

Drawing lines from every situation ever encountered by humans to meet at a grand conspiracy theory nexus (so long as such drawing elevates your identity group’s oppression quotient) can be lots of fun, I guess. It keeps you occupied, and gives you all the perks of victimhood. Still, blaming everyone else, over all of history, for everything that isn’t perfect in your present society seems like more work than any supposed insight might be worth.

This is the theory upon which the current feminist societal prescription rests. Let’s examine some outcomes where it has been tested.  Emphasis mine.

Countries with Higher Levels of Gender Equality Show Larger National Sex Differences in Mathematics Anxiety and Relatively Lower Parental Mathematics Valuation for Girls
-Plos One, 2016

“We propose that while economic considerations may play a more prominent role in STEM-related interest for individuals living in less developed countries, intrinsic subject-specific interest will play a more important role in educational and occupational attitudes and choices for individuals living in countries with higher levels of economic well-being. When the relative role of interests become more important than the financial drivers, and when men and women have more freedom to pursue their intrinsic interests, the well established sex difference in occupational interests will become more strongly expressed [74–77]. Altogether, these patterns might explain why girls benefit less than boys in terms of reduced mathematics anxiety. For example, in more developed countries in which people engage more in activities that intrinsically interest them, girls might not engage in STEM activities as much as boys, giving them less opportunity to reduce their negative feelings about mathematics…”

In sum, wealthy societies provide more opportunity for choice. This should not be surprising. But, put another way: Free market capitalism is most likely to indulge individual “intrinsic interests.” It is a superior economic system in terms of choice – regardless of sex. And, “the well established sex difference in occupational interests will become more strongly expressed,” suggests men and women pick activities and occupations most appealing to them. Differences in outcome would not, then, appear to be the result of a conspiracy to oppress women.

There is more evidence for this conclusion:

The Gender Scandal: Part One (Scandinavia) and Part Two (Canada)
-Jordan Peterson, 2018

“Given that differences in temperament and interest help determine occupational choice, and that difference in occupational choice drives variability in such things as income, it follows that political doctrines that promote equality of opportunity also drive inequality of outcome.”

When barriers to choice are lowered more choices will be made according to individual preference. Outcomes will then vary according to “temperament and interest.” This is also what the feminists claim. What they don’t like is that the result confounds their prediction. More choice does not appear to make females more nearly identical to males.

In fact, the opposite happens:

Sex differences in personality are larger in gender equal countries: Replicating and extending a surprising finding
-International Journal of Psychology, 2018

Sex differences in personality have been shown to be larger in more gender equal countries. We advance this research by using an extensive personality measure, the IPIP‐NEO‐120, with large country samples (N > 1000), from 22 countries. Furthermore, to capture the multidimensionality of personality we measure sex differences with a multivariate effect size (Mahalanobis distance D). Results indicate that past research, using univariate measures of effect size, have underestimated the size of between‐country sex differences in personality. Confirming past research, there was a strong correlation (r = .69) between a country’s sex differences in personality and their Gender Equality Index. Additional analyses showed that women typically score higher than men on all five trait factors (Neuroticism, Extraversion, Openness, Agreeableness and Conscientiousness), and that these relative differences are larger in more gender equal countries. We speculate that as gender equality increases both men and women gravitate towards their traditional gender roles.”

This next is related (though men and women compete in separate chess tournaments, and for reasons similar to the idea that it is unfair for male and female athletes to compete head to head):

Which countries are best for creating and encouraging women chess players?
-Marginal Revolution, 2019

“To oversimplify only a wee bit, it is the countries with less gender equality which have more female chess players, relative to male chess players. Here is some description:

Denmark is the worst country in our list of participation, with only one female player to roughly 50 males, while the rest of Scandinavia as well as most of western Europe also languish at the bottom.

On the other hand, some of the best countries show evidence of the effect of female role models, and would be no surprise to players familiar with women’s chess history. Georgia (ranked 5th) and China (ranked 4th) both featured multiple women’s World Champions. There are also some high rates from a few unexpected sources: Vietnam (1st), the United Arab Emirates (2nd), Indonesia (8th), and even Kenya (12th) really buck the trend. Interestingly, a lot of the best countries for female chess players are in Asia. Besides Vietnam, there are five other countries in the best ten, and if I am a little more lenient with the chess population cut-offs, Mongolia and Tajikistan would also be in there.

Here is one cited hypothesis:

Could it be that, deep down, women just don’t like chess as much as men?

I consider that to be possible, but unconfirmed. In any case, the lesson is that gender imbalance in a particular field can be correlated with greater equality of opportunity overall.”

Let’s look at the number of women in senior business positions in the most gender equal countries:

Nordic Welfare States Worsen the Gender Gap
-National Review, 2018

“Saadia Zahidi, senior director and head of gender parity and human capital at the World Economic Forum, has stated that “while patterns vary across the Nordic countries, on the whole, these economies have made it possible for parents to combine work and family, resulting in more women in the workplace, more shared participation in childcare, more equitable distribution of labour at home, better work-life balance for both women and men and, in some cases, a boost to waning fertility rates…”

So how are women faring in the modern Nordic welfare states? They’re doing quite well in many ways. Nordic societies have a large share of women active in the workplace, perhaps the most gender-equal attitudes in the world, and a tradition of women’s empowerment in the political sphere.

One might expect this to translate into many women reaching the top of the business world. But this clearly is not the case. In a new policy study for the Cato Institute, I show that the share of women among managers, as recorded by the International Labour Organization, is 43 percent in the United States, compared with 36 percent in Sweden and 28 percent in Denmark.

Comparing the Nordic countries with each other, a pattern emerges: Those with more extensive welfare-state policies have fewer women on top. Iceland, which has a moderately sized welfare state, has the most women managers. Second is Sweden, which has opened up welfare services such as education, health care, and elder care for private-sector competition. Denmark, which has the highest taxes and the biggest welfare state in the modern world, has the lowest share of women in managerial positions.”

So, managerial employment is inversely proportional to gender equity and statism. This is a correlation, not a cause.  But it is not a single example, and requires an explanation.  It does prove that the policy structure demanded by feminists is not producing the results they expect and desire.

Relationship of gender differences in preferences to economic development and gender equality
-Science, 2018

“What contributes to gender-associated differences in preferences such as the willingness to take risks, patience, altruism, positive and negative reciprocity, and trust? Falk and Hermle studied 80,000 individuals in 76 countries who participated in a Global Preference Survey and compared the data with country-level variables such as gross domestic product and indices of gender inequality. They observed that the more that women have equal opportunities, the more they differ from men in their preferences…”

[H]igher levels of economic development and gender equality favor the manifestation of gender differences in preferences across countries. Our results highlight the critical role of availability of material and social resources, as well as gender-equal access to these resources, in facilitating the independent formation and expression of gender-specific preferences.”

More simply, free market capitalism enables a luxury good – a focus on gender equality of opportunity – and when gender equality is maximized the differences in chosen employment increase.

I’m not sure if the intersectional feminists would argue that the reason fewer women choose to play chess, to pursue a career in STEM, or to aspire to managerial positions when its made easier for them to do so, is that they are subjugated by culture from the womb. It seems like one of the few arguments that would explain why their theory has been not just ineffective, but counterproductive.

With that claim, though, they would be hinting that many women in advanced countries are too dumb to see ‘the way’ when it’s shown to them.

Human personality is complex, more so because not every decision is rational, and there may be other explanations than individual interest/temperament/choice. Still, feminism is left to explain why less support, less equity, less freedom for women… results in more parity (as defined by equal outcomes) for women.

Encouraging women to be more like men has backfired if the goal is equal outcomes.

Maybe the definition of “gender gap” isn’t what we’ve been told it is. The science tends to show it’s a choice gap.  That’s very hard to ‘correct.’  You’d need government to enforce it.

So, if we want numerical equality of, say employment outcome, what we’re left with is making men more like women. This is the impetus for the toxic masculinity campaign.

Order and Chaos

Jordan Peterson appeared on Christina Hoff Sommers’ and Danielle Crittenden’s Femsplaining podcast in December:

The clip above starts at about 38 minutes into the podcast as Peterson speaks to a question about masculinity-femininity and order-chaos. It’s a 90 minute discussion and ends when you decide it’s no longer interesting. Or 52 minutes, whichever comes first.

If you watch to the end you’ll learn the results of Scandinavia’s experiment in minimizing male/female employment differences, get some excellent advice on child rearing, hear an interesting analysis of right vs. left wing views on government regulation of sex, get some relationship tips, learn something you probably didn’t know about Tinder, hear about an interesting anthropological study on female/female competition, and find some insights on the global decline of interest in physical sex among the young, male/female preferences in pornography, and more.

Sommers is the author of Who Stole Feminism? and The War Against Boys (a NY Times Notable Book of the Year) as well as many others. She has written for The Journal of Philosophy, The New England Journal of Medicine, The Wall Street Journal, The NY Times, The Washington Post, The New Republic, Slate, The Daily Beast, and The Atlantic, and is host of the popular video blog, The Factual Feminist.

Crittenden is the author of What Our Mothers Didn’t Tell Us and other books. She is a contributing editor to the Huffington Post, and has published in the Wall Street Journal, the NY Times, the Washington Post, and the Daily Telegraph. A former columnist for the New York Post, Ms. Crittendon has appeared on NBC’s Today show as well as CSPAN, MSNBC, PBS, CNN, and NPR.