Leftism’s greatest trick is making the obvious sound esoteric. The sum total of modern Liberal Arts “education,” for instance, is asserting that everything is a “social construction.” Back in the old days they said everything is an economic construction, but the trick is the same. “___ is a social construction” is just a fancy way of saying “if things were different, they wouldn’t be the same.”
So yes, in that sense, “gender is a social construction” — the ancient Greeks thought it was acceptable to bugger little boys, we think the opposite (though the Left is rapidly coming around), and isn’t diversity wonderful? If we were raised by ancient Greeks, in ancient Greece, we’d be ancient Greeks. This seems trivially true (because it is), but if you lard it up with 50 cent jargon and feed it to impressionable youth who’ve never thought about it before — say, in a freshman Humanities seminar — it seems like a big, important new insight.
More importantly, it makes arguments against Leftist positions seem dumb and pigheaded. “Gender isn’t a social construction? Oh, so if you were raised by Socrates in Ancient Athens you’d literally still be an American dudebro. Wow just wow I can’t even.” And that makes stealing intellectual bases easy, because of course Leftist academics don’t mean “ancient Greeks were ancient Greeks” when they say “gender is a social construction.” They mean that big, obvious differences between men and women, like physical strength, are “socially constructed” too. Raise boys like girls, and soon nobody will be able to open a pickle jar. But since “gender is a social construction” is a beachhead fact, arguing against the latter makes it sound like you’re denying the former. What, you don’t think the way girls are raised has some kind of impact on their bodies?
We need to learn how to judo flip straw men the way the Left does. Obviously we can’t use things like “gender is a social construction” — you know, since we’re the Reality people — but it’s certainly possible to word our propositions in such a way that anyone who denies them sounds like a fool. This is what I was getting at in the photo essay, below. Why is this bad?
Make them answer. When they try to retreat into jargon, make them define it. When they try to imply you’re stupid for not knowing what “intersectionality” means, come back with “no, I didn’t waste 5 years and a hundred fifty thousand dollars on that stuff. I was out working a job and having sex with attractive partners. Now answer the question.” Taunt them. Mock them. Be merciless. What, specifically, is wrong with little kids playing store in the backyard? Is it that they’re getting too much fresh air? Have too many friends? Will build too much self-esteem?
You know what’s “wrong” with that picture, and so do I. But Chad and Stacey don’t. Judo flip that straw man. Make them answer. Then sit back and watch some soy-addled amygdalae explode.