Why we can’t just pretend gender is something to opt out of

“The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history” – George Orwell

Gender is constructed. It is constructed and imposed on sex bodies and is a defining structural feature of the world. Conceptions of gender are reproduced through legislation, legislation which shapes lives, and it is reproduced through institutional structures, economics, market functioning, social policy, and it the reproductive labour it is designed to harness that mean that those looking after children slip out of the market sphere and have lives shaped by those conceptions.

Austerity used those conceptions and even though equality legislation was passed decades ago, the lack of application of equality legislation and market driven conceptions of gender equality to state benefits, child protection legislation, and courtrooms mean women’s lives are shaped by it while equality is rolled back

For the likes of Laurie Penny it’s nothing more than how she chooses to cut her hair. Because she is so privileged her life will never be shaped in these rigid ways. We can’t opt out of gender. If we could, gender inequality wouldn’t so damn persistent. We can’t just have fun with it cos courts, quasi judicial benefits processes, and entire global systems built around the need to keep reproductivelabour invisible will not allow it. We have to address those things. Describe them. Pretending gender is about how we get our hair done in the hairdressers we cant afford is and we can ‘just have fun with it’, while being attacked for  discussion of structural inequality, is insulting. It is how spoiled little girls like Laurie make sure women stay in their place.

The gender binary disappearing before gender equality was a thing, while those gender divides are marked out with violence, structural and physical, was always going to cause problems. Is complicated. Only in the world of privileged elite students it is not complicated.

We don’t care about your special snowflake status but we do care about the abuse of media platforms built on gender inequality, to erase that inequality from discussion. We cannot just sacrifice the language to describe our world, because it is offensive to silly girls who will never have to experience gender inequality. THat they want to take that is their problem and not ours. Denying us the ability to describe walls as they close in on us is not feminism, its abuse of women by the privileged under the guise of identity politics.

Gender is not a self realisable truth, its the walls around our world and we need to describe them to pull them down.

 

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