May 29th 2010


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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY: A program for Australia's future

OPINION: Is Rudd's resources super profits tax constitutional?

EDITORIAL: Stop Rudd's super profits tax!

CANBERRA OBSERVED: Labor's 'destroy Abbott' strategy may backfire

FEDERAL BUDGET: No budget relief for single-breadwinner families

OPINION: The Henry tax review's better proposals

EARLY CHILDHOOD: Kinder kids quizzed on their sexuality

GLOBAL FINANCIAL CRISIS: European debt crisis reveals globalisation's shortcomings

INDIA: India's 'Red Corridor' and the Naxalite threat

ISLAM: Feminists silent about women in burqas

GENDER AND IDENTITY: Radical ideologues deny innate gender differences

UNITED STATES: The politics of religion in America

Tony Abbott alienating Australian families (letter)

New York bomber 'disenchanted' (letter)

Canberra power-grab (letter)

AS THE WORLD TURNS: Absolutely terrified; Globalisation of higher education; Muslim woman becomes UK Conservative party chairman; British bobbies are being replaced

BOOK REVIEW: O'MALLEY MHR, by Larry Noye

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GENDER AND IDENTITY:
Radical ideologues deny innate gender differences


by Bill Muehlenberg

News Weekly, May 29, 2010
Social engineers have to go to great lengths to push their agendas. They often have to deny fundamental reality and make a mockery of human history and biology. But they are more than happy to push bizarre and ludicrous views if it fits in with their ideological worldview.

As a classic example of this, in recent debates with a leading homosexual activist, I was repeatedly told that there are no differences whatsoever between men and women. Not only are male and female interchangeable categories, but anyone who dares to suggest otherwise is guilty of "sexism"! I kid you not.

So to affirm what everyone without ideological blinders knows as a most basic of truths is to mean one is guilty of the great evil of sexism - yes, right up there with racism and other evils. Fortunately for this activist, his parents knew better, and were able to bring this person into the world by the very act of celebrating and enjoying their differences.

This is not mere idiocy on the part of the activists. You can be very sure that as they increase in power they will enforce this lunacy on the rest of society. To suggest that men and women are different is for these activists a type of hate speech, and when they fully get into power we will find the new crime of "sexism", just as they are seeking to outlaw all forms of "homophobia".

Of course, the homosexual activists, along with the radical feminists, have long pushed the androgyny line, that male and female are merely interchangeable roles and artificial social constructs, that gender is fluid, and that there is no physical, biological or genetic basis for sex differences.

This is all part of their radical agenda to destroy marriage and family, and foist their own brave new world onto the rest of society, whether people like it or not. As is always the case, verbal engineering precedes social engineering. And the radical social engineers have become expert in abusing language to further their militant agendas.

But normal people who are not driven by radical social ideologies know full well that the sexes are fundamentally different. Men and women bring unique and complementary skills, abilities, gifts and talents to relationships, to work, to society, and to one another.

Careful studies into human societies have found that gender distinctions are pretty much universal. And the universality of gender differences has been backed up by a wealth of information from various fields: neurology, evolutionary biology, and social anthropology, for example. All document the socially determinative innate sex differences.

As one expert, Steven E. Rhoads, a professor at the University of Virginia and author of Taking Sex Differences Seriously (2006), has put it, "Sex differences are large, deeply rooted and consequential. Men and women still have different natures, and, generally speaking, different preferences, talents and interests. ... These differences can be explained in part by hormones and other physiological and chemical distinctions between men and women. Thus they won't disappear unless we tinker with our fundamental biological natures."

Numerous studies can be cited here. But the work of neuroscientists in brain research shows that the brain seems to be sexed in the womb. Gender differences, in other words, are not some social construct, but very much based on brain circuitry and function.

For more on this important field of study, readers should consult such volumes as: Anne Moir and David Jessel, Brainsex (1992); Deborah Blum, Sex on the Brain: The Biological Differences Between Men and Women (1998); Louann Brizendine, The Female Brain (2007); and Louann Brizendine, The Male Brain (2010).

These differences do lead to different social roles, and become most important in parenting. As one expert puts it, "In the study of kinship, a central finding of anthropology is that in the crucial areas of filiation - defined as who the child affiliates with, emotionally, morally, practically, and legally - the overwhelming majority of human societies are bilateral. Almost all human societies strongly seek for the child to affiliate with both its mother and father."

Attempts to bring about a gender-neutral society are relatively recent innovations. Scandinavia in general and Sweden in particular come to mind here. But assessments of these grand social experiments have found many problems associated with these attempts at androgyny. In seeking to dent innate gender differences, there have been some very heavy costs to pay.

As but one example of the negative consequences of seeking to force gender neutrality onto the sexes, consider how boys have fared in such an environment. Christina Hoff Sommers' important book, The War Against Boys: How Misguided Feminism Is Harming Our Young Men (2000), documents how feminist-led attempts to enforce social androgyny have been especially destructive for boys and young men.

Indeed, US family expert Dr Allan Carlson speaks of the "overwhelming medical, social and psychological evidence affirming the naturalness and critical importance of traditional sex roles". His important book is well worth consulting here, Family Questions: Reflections on the American Social Crisis (Transaction Books, 1988).

Men and women are different, and both bring unique qualities to parenthood. As sociologist W. Bradford Wilcox argues, "The primary problem with this androgynous impulse is that it does not recognise the unique talents that men and women bring to the most fundamental unit of society: the family.

"A growing body of social scientific evidence confirms what common sense and many of the world's religions tell us: Men and women do indeed bring different gifts to the parenting enterprise. Consequently, at all levels of social life - the international, national and local - public policies, cultural norms, and social roles should be organised to protect rather than prohibit the complementary parenting styles that fathers and mothers bring to family life."

He goes on to show, for example, how vital the complementarity of the sexes is for parenting, according to the social sciences research. He says: "Research on parenting styles and family structure indicates that sex-differentiated parenting helps children in important ways. A review of research on parenting in child development found that children of parents who engaged in sex-typical behaviour where the mother was more responsive/nurturing and the father was more challenging/firm were more 'competent' than children whose parents did not engage in sex-typical behaviour. Another study of adolescents found that the best parenting approach was one in which parents were highly responsive and highly demanding of their children."

Fatherhood is indispensable, and is premised on masculinity, maleness, being a man. Research is quite clear that children need a father. Children growing up without fathers experience numerous problems, including more involvement in criminal activities, poorer educational performance, higher rates of suicide, a greater likelihood of involvement in illicit drug use, an increased risk of promiscuity and other sexual problems (including gender confusion), a greater chance of growing up poor, and so on.

The masculine gender is an essential ingredient for fatherhood, and children raised by a committed father do much better in life. Children who grow up without fathers do not always experience these negative outcomes; but, generally speaking, such problems are the usual result of growing up in fatherless families. The research on this has become quite extensive and persuasive.

Indeed, so much research on the negative impact of fatherlessness has accumulated over the years that a number of book-length summaries have been written to cover all the data. There has also been a large amount of Australian data to back up this international research.

Moreover, the broader issue of how children thrive in a biological two-parent family also ties in here. Most often when the two-parent family is not found, it is the father who is missing. Thus single-parent families are overwhelmingly headed by mothers. The research on these sorts of households shows the same negative outcomes for children. And again, the research is massive, with good summaries of the data now available. Moreover, the Australia data replicates the findings from overseas.

The various ways in which children need, and thrive with, a father cannot here be recounted. But just one small example, of many, can here be offered: fathers are essential in playing with their children, especially boys, in what is known as rough-and-tumble play. This enables boys to sublimate their excess energy and use their muscles in a socially acceptable way.

One of the reasons for so much anti-social behaviour by boys - vandalism, street-fighting, gangs, etc. - is because of father-absence. In single-mother homes, the mothers do their best, but cannot substitute for the absent father.

Indeed, one youth worker who has counselled many hundreds of delinquent young males has noted that the reason they tend to gravitate towards gangs, violence and drugs is precisely because of being brought up in father-absent households. He says that "almost 100 per cent" of these kids are from "single-parent families or blended families".

Thus maleness and fathers are indispensable to the wellbeing of society and the healthy development of children.

So next time you hear an activist telling you it is sexist to suggest that men and women are different, recognise that they simply have their feet firmly planted in mid air.

For much more detail on this important topic, see the research paper, 21 Reasons Why Gender Matters (New South Wales: Fatherhood Foundation, 2007), with its 178 references, available from the Australian Family Association and News Weekly.

Bill Muehlenberg is a commentator on contemporary issues, and lectures on ethics and philosophy. His website CultureWatch is at: www.billmuehlenberg.com




























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