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The Altar of Androgeny By: Carey Roberts
The New Media Alliance | Thursday, August 17, 2006


Fact and feminism keep tripping over each other.

For decades, radical feminists have prostrated themselves upon the altar of androgeny, flatly declaring that all differences between the sexes are socially constructed. So when men earn more money than women, they say that’s proof of sex discrimination.

But men have the Y chromosome, while women don’t. And it turns out that one chromosome contains 78 very important genes. Those genes contain programming instructions that control a man’s brain structure, sex hormones, and a host of other functions.

These critical genetic differences play out in thousands of ways that influence risk-taking, sex relationships, and social roles. Steven Rhoads’ book, Taking Sex Differences Seriously, is an information-packed, must-read on this topic.

Women conceive babies, men can’t. Women are better at decoding facial expressions, hearing a baby’s whimper in the night, and simultaneously talking and listening. Fine.

But what happens when we insist that men and women are social equivalents, twisting like neutered cogs in a giant gender nirvana?

Last year I was talking with a woman who insisted female athletes are just as skilled as the men. A few months later, the US female Olympic hockey team played a boys’ high school team from Warroad, Minnesota. The small town boys prevailed 2-1 over the elite Olympians – and that was a non-checking game.

Then there are the women-in-combat zealots. They parade girls like PFC Jessica Lynch as living proof that women can handle the fierce demands of front line combat. You may recall that war heroine Lynch later admitted about her Iraqi mishap, “I did not shoot, not a round, nothing. I went down praying to my knees. And that’s the last I remember.”

What about women in the media? Remember, they were going to bring us a more balanced and empathic perspective on the world.

Well, that was before Oprah Winfrey predicted one in five heterosexual Americans would die from AIDS by 1990 and Meryl Streep duped the EPA to ban alar.

Let’s not forget Connie Chung’s scientific discovery that breast implants make women sick. Even though researchers could never prove the link between implants and connective tissue disease, the ensuing hysteria-driven lawsuits eventually forced Dow Corning into bankruptcy.

Of course there’s the ever-apoplectic Maureen Dowd, left to wonder why the New York Times circulation numbers tumble ever-downward. And rumor has it that once Katie Couric debuts at CBS News, she’s planning to sign up Cindy Sheehan as a political analyst for the upcoming November elections.

And women, it is said, will make the political arena more ethical and fair: “Research shows the presence of women raises the standards of ethical behavior and lowers corruption.” That quote comes to us by way of senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, which practically makes the claim self-refuting.

We were promised that women in academia would bring important new insights. But soon the ladies came to the sobering realization that Beethoven composed Ode to Joy to induce men into a sexual frenzy, and Newton’s Principia Mathematica is actually a rape manual.

We should all feel especially sorry for MIT professor Nancy Hopkins.

As a biologist, she no doubt learned how primates engage in sex-specific courtship rituals and hunting patterns. But then ex-Harvard president Larry Summers suggested that innate differences in the human species also might exist, causing the ever-delicate Dr. Hopkins to lapse into a swoon.

Smelling salts, anyone?

Those examples are mostly amusing. But there’s one variation on the woman-can-do-anything-a-man-can-do theme that’s downright dangerous. It’s the “mothers and fathers are interchangeable” mantra.

The reason is simple: little boys don’t identify with their moms the same way they bond with their dads. And girls learn different lessons from dads than from moms.

Want proof?

Look at inner city ghettos ravaged by Great Society programs that required dad to vacate the home before mom was entitled to collect her welfare check. Bereft of their loving fathers, boys looked to the media and gangs for their male role models.

Is anyone surprised when all manner of social pathologies take root and flourish?

It’s one of the conundrums of our time that while demanding fealty to the dogma of androgeny, feminists condemn the expression of masculine qualities by men and then turn around and demand that “liberated” women exemplify exactly those same attributes.

As my mother used to say, Who said women had to be logical?

Carey Roberts is a staff writer for the New Media Alliance, Inc. is a non-profit (501c3) national coalition of writers, journalists and grass-roots media outlets.

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