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What is Critical Gender Theory

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Critical Gender Theory (CGT) is, like Critical Race Theory (CRT), a variant of the Woke worldview. As such, CGT shares the same doctrines and dogmas as Woke, including the categorical rejection of the classical liberal, enlightened, Judeo-Cristian traditions of science and verifiable knowledge and truth. (See Understanding Woke)   LINK  Like CRT, CGT is also Marxist. However, where CRT replaces Marx’s original focus on economics and class conflict with culture and race conflict, CGT substitutes sex and gender conflict. Whereas CRT engages in the moral scapegoating of white people for all social ills past and present, CGT, in keeping with radical Woke feminism, generally scapegoats’ men, masculinity and the male patriarchy. However, increasingly, the social transformations demanded and put in place by the transactivist movement is also harming the recent and hard-earned civil rights succusses of biological women (I.e., athletics, safety protections) and causing open fractures between Woke and non-Woke feminist and Woke CGT inspired transgenderists.

CGT rests entirely on an absurd rejection of basic science and on a confused conflation of the terms sex, gender, the phenomena of sexual preferences and gender dysphoria (GD). (See The Absurdity of Gender Theory,  M. Mattix, Jan. 19, 2015 Kirk Center for Cultural Renewal)   LINK      Arguably, this terminological confusion is by design and a sleight-of-hand tactic common to all Woke variants, as described in Understanding Woke. (See They Share our Vocabulary, but not our Dictionary- Understanding Woke)  LINK

Traditionally (i.e., scientifically speaking and before Woke reinterpretations), a person’s sex was understood to refer to an aspect of human biology—the end result of the development of a person’s genes. (See Sex determination involves synergistic actions of SRY and SF! on a specific Sox9 enhancer, R. Sekido & R Lovell-Badge Nature (May 4, 2008)  LINK   Specifically, the presence of the SRY gene leads to the development of a male (a person with a penis and other biological attributes of the masculine sex). The absence of SRY leads to the development of a female (a person with an ovary and other biological attributes of the female sex). Thus, human beings, like almost every other complex multicellular organism, are dimorphic (i.e., sexually divided into male and female). Scholar David Geary’s book Male, Female: The Evolution of Human Sex Differences is an excellent and definitive collection of this body of scientific knowledge. (See Deeper Dive below-Male, Female: The Evolution of Human Sex Differences, D. Geary 3rd Ed. 2021); See also An Issue Whose Time has Come, L. Cahill. Vol. 95 Journal of Neuroscience Research Feb 2017)  LINK   A copy of Geary’s book was given to President Harms on January 4, 2021.

 

The number of differences between men and women, male and female, is too long to list. But they are driven by different genetics and hormone releases beginning in utero months before the child is exposed to any kind of social influence. For example, at birth and thereafter, the brains of males and females are identifiably different. Moreover, within days of birth male and female infants exhibit distinct sex differences in behavior. Boys search for objects and movement while girls search for human faces. (Things v People dichotomy). Only a few hours after birth girls respond to the cries of other infants, while boys show no interest. (Geary p. 304). These biologically driven sex differences persist into adolescence and adulthood and are manifest in most every form of behavior. Geary’s book comprehensively documents and sources all the scientific literature proving it. In fact, since February, 2016 the National Institutes of Health (NIH) requires that all biomedical research grant applications specifically state how the proposed research effects men and women differently, if at all. Research must also account for the variability between men and women in the researcher’s data collection, data analysis and conclusions. (See NIH Policy on Sex as a biological Variable NIH)   LINK   

 

Gender, in turn, is understood by science to refer to the set of shared characteristics of each sex. To be sure some are almost entirely shaped by culture (use of colors pink v blue, hair styles, etc.). But many of these characteristics of gender are shaped in part by a person’s biological sex. For instance, the well-established Things verses People dichotomy. Regardless of culture, on average males generally are more interested in things, while women tend to be more interested in people. (Geary p 428; See also The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature, S. Pinker 2001; and Human Diversity: The Biology of Gender, Race and Class, C. Murry 2020) A growing body of peer reviewed science shows these inherent, natural differences in interests consistently manifest in men and women as different choices in academic and career paths. (Geary p. 428) Within the STEM fields men tend more towards the inorganic topics (e.g. physics, engineering, computer science) and not the life sciences and related fields (e.g. medicine, veterinary medicine), where women often outnumber men. (Geary p. 429). In fact, sex differences in self-chosen occupations are larger in prosperous and egalitarian cultures because women have more opportunities equal with those of men. (Why can't a man be more like a woman? Sex differences in Big Five personality traits across 55 cultures, Schmitt JP., J Pers Soc Psychol. 2008 Jan;94(1):168-182. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.94.1.168.) In other words, the more culturally western the country (classically liberal, enlightened) the more likely women and men are to choose so called “traditional” occupations because these occupations actually interest them; like engineering and mechanics for males (things) and medicine and nursing for females (people).  Thus, the empirical data from both the natural and social sciences totally eviscerate the core tenets of CGT, like social constructivism and the Woke knowledge principle (See Understanding Woke)   LINK

However, CGT either flat out denies or quietly ignores this vast, irrefutable body of scientific knowledge. CGT claims there is no essential connection between sex and gender (where gender is understood to refer to one’s identity as male or female). Sex “is an analytic attribute…It does not cause gender, and gender cannot be understood to reflect or express sex.  Gender is always acquired.” (Gender Trouble, J. Butler 1990) Woke advocates of CGT describe established science as “theoretically unjustified”. (See The Absurdity of Gender Theory)  LINK   Some go as far as to invert the causal relationship between sex and gender. Whereas science shows sex precedes and is causative of many gender characteristics, CGT contends that gender precedes and determines sex, and, therefore, both are merely arbitrary, fluid social constructs “assigned at birth”. Hence President Harms DEI Survey, borrowed from the Woke NAIS, asked respondents (LH parents and students) “What Sex were you assigned at birth: Male, Female, Intersex”.  (See LH DEI AIM Survey Question #6-LH’s Subtle but Significant Changes)   LINK      This absurdity is also central to the Woke course content of LH’s Gender Studies class. CGT advocates arrive at this absurdity because CGT, like all variants of Woke, subscribes to the Woke knowledge principle: all knowledge, including scientific knowledge, is socially constructed to serve the interests of the group identity that created it. (See Understanding Woke)  LINK       Thus, according to CGT dogma scientific categories, methodology and concepts are merely arbitrary social constructs created by the white, Eurocentric male patriarchal power structure.   

 

Fact is, to believe that sex is socially constructed (“assigned at birth”) - as some of LH leadership clearly does - is to hold that sex is an illusion. CGT theorists espouse this fantastical position because they have taken the uncontroversial observation that some gender characteristics are socially constructed and erroneously applied it to all gender characteristics, including those driven by biological differences. What empirical evidence do they offer that our sex, or all of our gender identities as male and female, are constructed and not the result of nature? None. (The Absurdity of Gender Theory) In order to obfuscate the complete absence of empirical evidence, CGT theorists frequently demagogue and conflate issues of sex, gender, sexual preference, gender non-conforming behavior and the psychosocial disorder called gender dysphoria (GD). Specifically, CGT theorists cite the universally recognized fact that human beings have a variety of sexual preferences and that in a small fraction of the population gender identity and behavior is different from biological sex. These recognized phenomena are cited as support of the CGT doctrine of social constructivism and a denial of the biologically determined dimorphic sex categories and gender characteristics.  

However, a multiplicity of sexual preferences does not make the biological sexes disappear, nor does it increase the number of sexes. There are only two sexes, male and female. (Geary). Furthermore, while there has been an explosion of creative gender identities from the Woke, gender non-conforming behavior and clinically documented incidents of gender dysphoria do not render all gender characteristics fluid, optional or located on an ever-expanding “spectrum”. As documented and sourced above, a vast array of gender charateristics are biologically driven, in part or whole. (Geary). Fact is “…more than 99% of people identify [] with the sex of their birth.” (Geary p. 444). Gender identity and biological sex are the single most correlated psychosocial-biological phenomenon in human beings. A meta-analysis indicated that “…1 in every 14,705 individuals were transwomen (i.e., natal male who identified as women) and 1 in every 38,461 individuals were transmen (i.e., natal women who identified as men.” (Geary p. 445) In comparison, GD is even less frequent within the human population than other body-image dysphoria, like Anorexia Nervosa (1.2% to 1.9% of the population), Bulimia Nervosa (1.0% to 1.7% of the population), and Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (1.9% to 3.5% of the population) (See Epidemiology of Eating Disorders: Incidence, Prevalence and Mortality Rates, F. Smink, et. al US National Library of Medicine, National Institute of Health. Aug 2012) LINK

We want to be clear. Each and every person with any of these dysphoria is deserving of all of our love, acceptance and mutual respect. Mutual respect means the decision to use either traditional or innovative pronouns must be voluntary and a function of mutually polite behavior, not demanding personal tantrums or enforced edicts from Woke DEI centers of power and authority. More importantly, LH must teach (age appropriate) knowledge, not Woke dogma, with respect to the topics of sex, gender, sexual orientation and all forms of dysphoria. In fact, given their inevitable encounter with Woke CGT at the next level after graduation, we are asking LH leadership to design a mandatory unit within the hard sciences educating each LH student in the wealth of scientific knowledge on these issues. And LH policy must be grounded on that knowledge, not a Woke political agenda, like: the NAIS PoCC & SDLC seminar content; the LH DEI speech codes banning the phrase “boys and girls” in our lower school; permitting biological males to compete against biological females in athletics; or a class in Gender Studies that proselytizes the very CGT nonsense thoroughly refuted by every subdiscipline of the natural and social sciences applicable to human beings.

 

Deeper Dive

Male, Female: The Evolution of Human Sex Differences, D. Geary 3rd Ed. 2021

The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature, S. Pinker 2002

Human Diversity: The Biology of Gender, Race and Class, C. Murry 2020

An Issue Whose Time has Come, L. Cahill. Vol. 95 Journal of Neuroscience Research Feb 2017)      (A 791 page special edition, with 68 peer reviewed papers and 5 commentaries, from the leading neuroscientists in the field utterly annihilate CGT and social construct theory with data and evidence.)   LINK

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