There’s Beauty in the Binary

In Defense of Gender

Image+by+Tocekas+via+Wikimedia+Commons
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There’s Beauty in the Binary

Image by Tocekas via Wikimedia Commons

Image by Tocekas via Wikimedia Commons

Image by Tocekas via Wikimedia Commons

Image by Tocekas via Wikimedia Commons

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What is the purpose of gender?  

Nothing, if you ask some people at Beachwood, except to perpetuate the patriarchy and subjugate women.  

I couldn’t disagree more with that notion.  I believe biological gender and the privileges that come with it are immensely valuable.

However, increasingly in more liberal circles across the United States, gender is considered fluid, changing day to day, with little consideration of biological factors.

We at Beachwood are an amazing cross-section of the United States, but that means we have our share of issues. One of which, I believe, is the weakening of the definitions of scientific facts.

Many on the right deny the legitimacy of climate change studies, and many on the left deny the biological importance of gender. This notion frightens and saddens me, not because I am afraid of people who do not adhere to the binary, but because gender is an important factor in who we are.   

Boys who learn what it is to be a man are dependable and strong people who respect boundaries while searching for ways to expand the world for the better.  Girls who learn what it means to be a woman are compassionate, empathetic, and intuitive, instructing those around them of these ideals.

Despite the common negative connotations of traditional gender, we ought not to forget the distinct positive values associated with being a man or woman.

Boys who learn what it is to be a man are dependable and strong people who respect boundaries while searching for ways to expand the world for the better.  Girls who learn what it means to be a woman are compassionate, empathetic, and intuitive, instructing those around them of these ideals.”

The fact that we as a country and community cannot agree on what makes a man a man and a woman a woman leads me to believe that our country is divided beyond reconciliation. I sincerely hope that is not the case.

We know that from conception a fetus has unique DNA from its mother, which is merely evidence that humans are not animals that reproduce asexually. But this also brings about the reality of fetal development, wherein at six weeks, testosterone sends signals to the gonad cells of a fetus with XY chromosomes, developing the gonad cells into proper male genitalia.

When this process goes awry, as it may, a baby may be born with ambiguous genitalia, and that parents must make a choice on how to raise that child, either as a boy or a girl.

Those parents will also have to invest in therapy and hormone treatments as that child grows up. But this is the exception, not the norm.

While it is completely unreasonable to expect every situation to be the same in regards to intersexuality and gender identity, it is crucial to have legitimate boundaries and definitions of gender.

Gender is a gift. It is a guideline, a boundary. Just as there is a division between the northbound and southbound routes of 271, there are confines within which we can operate. There is nothing wrong with going south or going north, but trying to drive through the boundary can lead to great damage.

In the same way, there is nothing wrong with being a boy or a girl, but being placed in the middle, especially by one’s parents, results in ultimate confusion. Being encouraged as a young child to live as another gender, if it results in hormone treatments, can cause damage to a child’s future reproductive abilities, should they want that options, as well as further confusion about one’s basic identity.  

My main issue with the notion to do away with the gender binary is that too many modern parents readily indulge their children’s whims with regard to gender identity. If a little boy dresses in a tutu, that does not automatically mean that he wants to be a girl. He could be imitating his older sister or want to impress his mother.

It is important to recall that young children are not capable of making the best decisions for themselves, which is why they are cared for by their parents. Most three-year-olds can’t even add, let alone multiply or completely comprehend the sadness that accompanies the loss of a grandparent, nor can they empathize on the same level that a developed adult can.

Our school psychologist Kevin Kemelhar would urge young children not to make any life-altering decisions.

“Children do not have the necessary information to make a decision about their gender at a young age,” he said.

It is actually impossible for a child to know what is best for them. If the child knew what was best for them, we might as well drop them off in the forest to eat leaves like caterpillars.

That being said, parents shouldn’t raise boys and girls completely differently. Boys need to learn that girls are human just like them, that girls are worthy of respect and are wonderful playmates. Girls need to learn that boys are human just like them, not icky and gross, but little kids.

Gender is a gift. It is a guideline, a boundary. Just as there is a division between the northbound and southbound routes of 271, there are confines within which we can operate. There is nothing wrong with going south or going north, but trying to drive through the boundary can lead to great damage. ”

We can’t do so when we only expect girls to play with dolls or chat with friends, and boys to only like sports or roughhousing. When we do, every young girl who plays soccer grows up to be a young man.  Young boys grow out of imitating their older sisters, and many girls grow out of the so-called “tomboy” stage.

Parents should get to know their children and respect each child’s personality. Should such a phase persist beyond childhood, that is cause for medical and psychological intervention.  By expecting only stereotypical behavior to signify gender, we lose the unique element of personality as it relates to gender.

I believe gender is a good thing; I consider it a divine gift. Ensuring that children understand their biological gender as it is appropriate for their age and as they grow up allows them to understand rudimentary rules, such as loving your neighbor as yourself.  

I want children to grow up with rules, expectations, and responsibilities that enable them to become productive members of society. I cannot grasp how doing away with something as rudimentary as gender would increase the aforementioned ideals.

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