Debate: Abolish All Gender Prefential Laws For True Equality

Ed. Note: Chris Seaton challenged me to a debate, following the Boy Scouts of America allowing girls to join and changing its name to Scouts BSA. Was this the end of gender distinction? Were they truly just a social construct? I argued the negative and Chris argues the affirmative:

Third wave intersectional feminism* slew another public monster when it managed to sever the terms “Boy” and “Scouts.” The institution wasn’t necessarily an issue. Rather, it was one more nail to the church door of the third wave feminist thesis** that boys and girls don’t have any fundamental differences. Gender*** is an irrelevant social construct.

If we are to accept this premise, then I submit we take the bold leap and abolish all gender preferential laws. Equality means we take away the regulations designed to benefit or deter a particular gender and level the playing field completely.

Defining a “gender preferential law” is tricky, but for the purposes of this debate let’s use “laws designed to benefit or penalize a specific gender.” Moving forward, this allows us to knock down a few laws that are essentially irrelevant under this new mental framework.

Let’s start with a law that’s been distorted beyond its original intent: Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. This law was passed to ensure girls and young women in education were given equal opportunities for participation in activities and education. After all, women should get the opportunity to play softball or baseball just as much as men, right?

 

Well, with our new gender framework we can finally rid ourselves of the relic that is Title IX. If gender is meaningless then this law is redundant and should be stricken from the books.

 

The same can be said of the regulatory guidelines turning college campuses on their heads. The “Dear Colleague” Title IX tribunals were, at face value, created to give young women the chance to speak out in cases of sexual assault and be heard in an easier fashion than if they had to go through the actual legal system.**** Since we’ve reduced gender to a simple social construct, no one should have an issue jettisoning the “Dear Colleague” guidelines.

Some reading this by now are probably dismissing my arguments as presenting outlandish cases to make my point. Let’s take a moment and scale things to a more palatable level.

 

There is a classification of business called “woman-owned” for a reason: it’s easier to secure contracts if you’re listed as one. Now that we’ve reduced gender to nothing, there’s no reason for the Small Business Administration to keep providing these benefits to businesses that are 51% or more owned by women. Strike these certifications from the books and allow all businesses to compete on their merits.

 

At the heart of the issue is the desire for equality of opportunity and equality of outcome. If that means allowing girls and women leaders into Scout packs and troops, it also means shedding the legal benefits favoring a person based on gender. If one truly believes gender is a social construct, then that person should have no issues striking from the books every gender preferential law.

If you begin to sputter counter-arguments about “privilege” and “toxic masculinity,” then your original thesis on gender is invalid. If gender means nothing, then there is no male privilege or toxic masculinity. Allowing exceptions based on intersectional talking points doesn’t just defeat the entire gender thesis, it’s blatantly hypocritical.

Worse yet, if you choose to make the argument that women deserve these legal benefits because of their lack of privilege or oppression in society, you argue against a cornerstone of feminism itself: men and women are equal. Treating one gender as deserving of special treatment because the patriarchy harmed them for generations means you belittle the personal agency of people identifying as that gender. You’re calling them helpless.

These statements may seem as though they fall into the category of reductio ad absurdum, but this is where our modern society finds ourselves. Academia has clashed long enough with basic science and biology to the point where we must consider the absurd as factual. I can run my hand down my throat and feel the Adam’s Apple. A biological female cannot do the same thing. Yet we are told by our “betters” in their ivory towers that even making such a statement renders you a sexist bigot.

So let’s test the mettle of academia in the real world. If those preaching the dogma of third wave intersectional feminism truly believe what they say, they should have no problems ending all gender preferential laws. Not one blue haired gender studies major gets to screech from this point forward about lack of equal treatment from zir cisgendered peers.

 

We’re all the same, living in harmony, so let’s get to work in the trenches of law and strike as many of these redundant laws from the books as possible.

 

*The school of feminism that believes women are oppressed yet powerful, that hierarchies of “privilege” exist, and that all oppressed groups much come together to smash the “patriarchy.”

**Given the dogmatic approach of some feminists, a Martin Luther reference was appropriate.

***For the purposes of this argument, “gender” and “sex” mean the same thing.
***This footnote shouldn’t be needed, but in today’s society: no, I am not condoning rape or sexual assault. This is called a debate for a reason.

23 thoughts on “Debate: Abolish All Gender Prefential Laws For True Equality

  1. B. McLeod

    All of this rather ignoring that the Girl Scouts are still the Girl Scouts, and sailing right along like always.

      1. Frank

        And from where I sit, that’s pretty much all they do. Burton’s makes the same cookies, for less than half the price.

    1. CLS

      What’s terrifying about this entire situation is the girls entering Scouts BSA now have to sell that damnable popcorn instead of delicious cookies. That’s practically child abuse.

  2. Hunting Guy

    Heinlein again.

    “Whenever women have insisted on absolute equality with men, they have invariably wound up on the dirty end of the stick. What they are and what they can do makes them superior to men, and their proper tactic is to demand special privileges, all the traffic will bear. They should never settle merely for equality. For women, “equality” is a disaster.”

    1. SHG

      When I was a much younger man, I marveled at the fact that women were so much smarter than men. They always knew when they were going to have sex. We never did. There was nothing equal about it.

  3. Richard Kopf

    SHG,

    Why not coed prisons? So, I say put men and women in the same prisons and let the chips fall where they may.* Equality demands nothing less.

    OK, if not coed prisons, how about requiring absolutely equality in prison programming. For example, if a prison for women allows young mothers to have their young children stay overnight for several days at a time on several occasions while serving their prison sentence so that the moms may continue their bond with toddlers shouldn’t male prisons be required to provide the same wonderful program to men? Or if male prisons provide welding course to men but not women isn’t that absolutely wrong?

    My first trial confronted these issues. For 30 days I heard evidence on prison programming and spent days going to Nebraska prisons. When I ruled in favor of the women and required equal programming I was told by the Court of Appeals I was comparing apples to oranges. Klinger v. Nebraska Dept. of Correctional Services, 824 F. Supp. 1374 (D. Neb. 1993), rev’d 31 F.3d 727 (8th Cir. 1994).

    I am happy to say that one law student thought I was properly woke. See Angie Baker, Leapfrogging over Equal Protection Analysis: The Eighth Circuit Sanctions Separate and Unequal Prison Facilities for Males and Females in Klinger v. Department of Corrections, 31 F.3d 727 (8th Cir. 1994), 76 Neb. L. Rev. (1997), available at: https://digitalcommons.unl.edu/nlr/vol76/iss2/7.

    All the best.

    RGK

    * Perhaps this is tongue in check. Perhaps not.

    1. SHG

      Now that you mention it, Judge, coed prisons could fix a lot of problems. They might cause a few as well, but one step at a time.

    2. losingtrader

      I wondered what happened to Klinger after Mash. Couldn’t get out of the army or the prison…. but it’s nice you played along, judge

  4. Bryan Burroughs

    Methinks you may have written this without the benefit of your regular dose of coffee.
    1) In a discussion about gender as a social construct, you are massively begging the question if you start off by saying that, for the purpose of the argument, sex and gender mean the same thing. You might as well have said, “Given that the earth is flat, I’d like to engage in an argument about whether the earth is round.”
    2) It’s a bit of a strawman to reduce “gender is a social construct” down to “no gender should ever be treated differently from another gender,” especially in the context of whether “girls” (OMG HE SAID GIRLS) should be allowed in the Boy Scouts. In this case, I imagine the “construct” argument is brought up to suggest that there’s no such thing as “boy interests” vs “girl interests,” as opposed to “we shouldn’t treat boys and girls differently.” The merits of such an argument aren’t my concern.
    3) The first two logical fallacies notwithstanding, it’s not at all incongruous for someone to believe that there is no rational difference between two things while also admitting that those two things have been treated differently, possibly to the detriment of one of them. “Gender is a social construct” is a statement that there’s not a meaningful difference between male and female, but that wouldn’t preclude me from recognizing that, historically speaking, it has sucked to be a woman. Put differently, can I not see racial disparities in our criminal justice system while simultaneously seeing no difference between a white man and a black man? It follows, then, that laws passed in an attempt to address different historical treatments of genders don’t necessarily conflict with the notion that genders aren’t different. Whether such laws are a good idea is a different matter.

    1. SHG

      Chris is a coffee drinker? I didn’t know that. You know more about Chris than I do. Now I feel sad.

      As for your other arguments, you kinda did what you accuse Chris of doing. If the social construct argument that there is no reality to differences in boy/girl interests, then eliminating detriments puts everyone on the same level playing field. But providing preferential treatment takes them from equal to preferring one over the other. So is it equality or is it preference? You can’t have both.

      1. Sacho

        You could eliminate preference in law, but that won’t remove the primary influence that social justice advocates fight against – the patriarchy. The patriarchy forces all individuals to conform to certain gendered roles, twisting males into the collection of behaviors known as “toxic masculinity”, and oppressing women by limiting their options(“glass ceiling”), and so on.

        This preferential treatment in law is not any more inconsistent than affirmative action. Affirmative action combats the “latent racism” present in society, and preferential treatment for women combats the “latent sexism” of the patriarchy. If you reach a point at which gender roles have been demolished, then you could also remove these laws, as they would no longer be needed. As social justice advocates would argue, it’s not “equality” if one person starts with “privilege”(i.e. not being tossed by the police for being black), thus laws that try to “level the playing field” are absolutely in line with the social justice agenda. This does not even have to touch the “equality of opportunity” vs “equality of outcome” split – you can argue that a woman in socjus’s theory of the world isn’t given the same “opportunities” as a man if she repeatedly faces societal sexism when looking for a job, etc.

  5. Bryan Burroughs

    That’s kind of ignoring my 2nd point. “Gender is a social construct” is just a statement. It’s not an argument for any particular policy. “The Earth is warming” isn’t an argument to combat climate change. One might build a further argument off of such a statement, but the statement itself doesn’t support or attack gender-preferential treatment. Up and until someone says “genders should be treated the same,” there’s no conflict in supporting preferential treatment.

    BTW, I presupposed coffee, so as not to impugn him by suggesting any other pick-me-ups he might enjoy 😀 Chris may need to clear the air now, due to my horrible assumptions about his beverage habits.

  6. Chris Ryan

    When I read both essays, it strikes me that both are from the same side of the debate. One merely accepts the belief that gender is not merely a social construct, while the other sets up a test for people claiming it is and then dares them to knock it down. Maybe Chris’ debate style is lost on me, but I have been using similar arguments for years as proof that gender is not simply a social construct.

    1. PAV

      Telling the “gender is a social construct” crowd that this means trans people are also a social construct is a sure fire way to blow a circuit.

      1. Ken Mackenzie

        “Sexual orientation is a social construct,” won’t raise a cheer in the campus safe space room either.

  7. Ken Mackenzie

    The public debate about gender and biology/society follows a similar pattern to the debate about criminals and nature/nurture. It quickly becomes obvious who is capable of thought, and who prefers the absolute answers and slogans of their orthodox faith.

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