There are no winners in this story.
So this Norwegian comedian (at least, I think he is) has created a series of videos called Hjernevask (Brainwashing) in which he sets out and asks whether, for instance, sexual differences are innate or created by society, as in the video below. (The videos, it must be admitted, are boring and certainly not comprehensive inquiries into their subject matter; plus the host is bit of pest and interviews or picks on the same academics across multiple episodes.)
Now this is a question so silly only an academic can ask it because until recently it has always been obvious to everybody in all places and in all times that men and women are different. They think differently than one another, they act differently, they certainly operate differently. Not always. Of course not always. Not in every facet of behavior. Of course not in every behavior. But in many ways that count the two sexes are foreigners. Yes, a person’s environment plays a role, but a constrained one. We are not blank slates. Vive la différence! says anybody whose head is screwed on tightly.
Anyway, one of the current follies embraced by a sizable chunk of academia is that “gender is a construct.” This is the claim that boys act like boys not because they are boys but because society has taught them to act like boys. If the myriad subtle and pervasive societal prejudices which turn boys into boys were not in place, boys might act like girls, and girls like boys. There would be no telling the difference between one or the other, except in the showers. But even here, there’d be no telling the innies from the outies—at least, nobody would in good taste publicly recognize these anomalies.
Do we need to point out the central tenet of gender-as-construct is faulty? After all, how do we know boys act like boys? I mean, how do we know these young people are acting like boys unless we know that this is how boys and not girls act? It is because we have characterized and classified the behaviors of mini-humans with outies in every culture and time and said, “This is how boys act” and then forced boys to act according to this catalog? But then how do we know to “construct” the behavior of an outie except by noting he is an outie? It’s easy to get lost in this tangle.
Academic feminists admit there are observed differences between the sexes but claim these are not true differences. They say it is largely men who enforce the observed differences. So is this enforcement a true difference? I mean, are men better at being gender bullies? If so, then there are true differences. Or is it that women are just as good at being gender bullies but that men out-bullied them? Wait…
The whole thing is ridiculous. So exasperating is it that a second group of scientists, doubting their commonsense, were forced into proving what everybody already knew what was true, that biological differences between the sexes exist. The video quotes some of this research, and if you have some free time you can listen. Evolution says this-and-so; testosterone is responsible in such-and-such a way; measurements of day-old newborns reveal “gender” differences; that sort of thing.
The videographer put this hard evidence to two gender-as-construct academics and asked them the key question (I’m paraphrasing) “What scientific evidence do you have that gender differences are not biological?”
The female academic said (at 34:28)—and here my spit take was as dramatic as John Boehner’s when they asked him for a statement in support of Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson—“I have what you would call a theoretical basis. There is no room for biology in there for me.” The male academic (sporting a becoming single earring) after denying the scientific evidence existed said, “My hypothesis is that there are [no biological differences].”
And there you have it. Theory trumps reality. The desire that something be true is turned into a theory, and the theory is all that survives, a pseudo-scientific mask for the desire. The theory is immune to corruption, it is too beautiful to abandon.
“Equality” is a destructive force.
Thanks to André van Delft (@AndreVanDelft) for alerting us to this video.