I'm almost seventy, and my whole life has been one of embracing roles and then abandoning them for others that became a better fit. I thank my Lord that I was born before surgical and hormonal interventions existed to make the embracing of roles permanent, or at least not completely reversible. The human body is somewhat plastic and the human mind seems infinitely so. Locking oneself into ANY role seems to be tragic at worst, and a waste of time that could be better used elsewise at best.
It's interesting to wonder how much of this relies on pop science and the simplification of evolution. I've made several comments in your comment section showing my disdain for pop science before.
It reminds me of such ideas as "women be shopping" because of genetics, as women were the gatherers in nomadic tribes, so of course women would like to gather materialistic items as it was instilled within them via evolution! It seems so simplistic and really seems like a non sequitur in my opinion.
The same seems to happen here with the idea of alpha male, or heck even with people like Liver King and his central tenets, but that all works out if you obfuscate the fact that our ancestors didn't have access to pharmaceutical-grade anabolic steroids (at least as far as I am aware. I'll be on the lookout for cave paintings depicting bodybuilder competitions and anthropologists discovering tanning oil).
It's very easy to take bits of science and either co-opt it or bastardize it to make it palatable for the lay person, and there's a ton of damage in doing that, as can be seen with the gender ideology stuff.
I do find it rather interesting that gender ideology has itself regressed, once arguing that gender was not inherent to one's behavior or hobbies. But apparently now one's gender is justified by those same mechanisms.
But as cultures change so too do the lifestyles and behaviors of those in it, such as the man/woman paradigm, and I think part of the gender ideology survives on the fact that gender is now argued to be a "social construct" because that makes gender ephemeral, and thus the ideology can now sustain itself because of its ever changing definitions.
I think that's part of what James Lindsay's intent was in the Oxford Union debate, taking the side that "woke has not gone far enough" in order to make the argument that within wokeness is imbedded the belief that wokeness can never go far enough, and thus becomes a self-sustaining ideology:
Heather, I completely agree with you and admire your courage to write and speak about this whole gender craziness we live in. I am wondering what you think about the choices made by a good friend of mine who chose to transition to male in her 50s? I find the choices people make fascinating and try not to judge how they meander through the journey of life. But I feel for her body that now is dependent on hormones and who knows what else. But this person knew what they were getting into. At what age does personal choice become a valid consideration?
I like the distinction, which I take from Joseph Henrich, between dominance hierarchies and prestige hierarchies. Rather than calling the best fire starter dominant in starting fires, we could say that the best fire starter is prestigious. We respond to dominance with fear, compliance, and resentment. We react to prestige with admiration and gratitude (and also sometimes jealousy).
In my experience, and from my frame of reference, men are usually extraordinarily happy to have their daughters alongside building, playing, shooting and doing man things. We never thought that made them less feminine and we are so much more likely to show additional patience and empathy with them.
'Cuz they're our girls!
As always I truly enjoy your writing, but this topic really hit home. I feel our society is so anti-male it is hard to see past it most of the time. Watching my boys grow up in a world full of "girl power" while they are told to sit still and act like girls, not horse around and use their amazing energy as they should. Thank you for sharing so beautifully and well.
You always make me think about a lot of things, usually to many and to far away to mention. But here I want to say that you make me think about consent.
You dedicate a paragraph to your childhood experience of a kind of freedom to define yourself, to do the things that would make you into the person, the woman, that you are today. To me that paragraph is about consent.
My hypothesis is that, like other primates with similar sexual dimorphism, that human evolved in a polygynous / multi-male environment. That is a far more complex social context than a linear hierarchy with an alpha male at the top. Males would need to collaborate effectively with other males to be part of the 'alpha group' and not be driven out of the larger band. Females would need to know how the group dynamic is shifting to make smart mating decisions.
That feels like an evolutionary environment that might develop the human brain.
A true alpha male (akin to what you see in primates with more sexual dimorphism, like gorillas) would be problem. They would try to dominate and not collaborate. The ones that couldn't adapt would be driven out.
Again, that feels like the basics of a human moral system: don't kill, rape, steal, etc.
You do realize that "bogeymen" is sexist? Almost stopped reading right there...(though maybe the context allows it ;-). Bogey on, Heather. Always interesting.
I couldn't open the link to your journal article. Got this:
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Is there a different link you can share?
Off topic, but do you still record these for audio? The last one I can find is from October. Thanks!