I am one of those annoying people who gets perplexed at things that don’t affect me in the slightest. Love it or hate it that’s just me – just ask my friends who have to suffer my wittering on a regular basis. I also have a tendency to get obsessed with topics, which can best be described as contentious, and at worst divisive. And this issue certainly falls within both categories. Gender-neutralism is described by Wikipedia as something which:
“describes the idea that policies, language, and other social institutions should avoid distinguishing roles according to people’s sex or gender, in order to avoid discrimination arising from the impression that there are social roles for which one gender is more suited than another.”
It sounds pretty innocent, doesn’t it? Because we as individuals should be allowed to follow our own path in life – regardless of our sex. But, what I find immensely disturbing, is when gender neutralism doesn’t become a choice but rather becomes enforced. If anyone managed to watch BBC 3’s latest ‘docu-experiment’, aptly called, ‘No more Boys and Girls: Can Our Kids Go Gender Free, will understand what I am referring to. The premise of this show was that a Year 3 class would have to get rid of all the things that defined their gender. Girls dispensed with anything deemed to be pretty and pink and boys did the same with their action figure toys and footballs. The idea was that if society stopped creating gender barriers in a child’s formative years then boys and girls would more open to other possibilities and ways of thinking. But this whole process looked incredibly uncomfortable: To watch Dr. Javid go into a little girls room, and essentially bin, all of her toys, felt a tad cruel. Whilst the creation of a unisex toilet in the primary school was really unnecessary – where you could see plenty of the 7-year-olds taking real umbrage with this.
Now, I have nothing against an individual wanting not to be defined by their gender. However, once this belief system becomes forced on other people then this is not something that sits right with me – particularly when you bear in mind that the basis of gender-neutralism and nonbinary is based on choice. I totally distinguish this cultural expression from transgender dysmorphia: something which is neurological and very difficult for people who suffer with it. Conversely, being Gender neutral is a political expression of intertwining sexes – via the removal of physical and psychological barriers. But, by this extension, I could wake up one day and ask to be referred to as ‘It’ or another equally bizarre pronoun, even though I have the biological makeup of a man, with no desire to become a woman. That’s bloody confusing if you ask me.
Men and Women – whatever way you want to look at it are different. Neither sex is superior or inferior and the fact that there is such a prominent pay gap is something I find totally baffling. But both sexes are constructed differently. Women ovulate, men do not. Men have penises, women don’t. This does not mean a woman can’t enjoy a beer or watch a game of football. Nor does this mean that a man cannot enjoy a spa break or a spot of clothes shopping (please excuse the poor stereotypes). But the biological differences between men and women must be respected and appreciated.
A gender neutral stance has the potential to blur the fundamental differences between the sexes and in my opinion that can be incredibly confusing and dangerous.