Why I banned gender essentialism

A while ago, I wrote that this site would no longer allow gender essentialism and evolutionary biology arguments in comments. People who’d seen these arguments (ab)used again and again to silence people understood why I was doing that. But other people since have had questions, and I want to address that.

First, here’s the thread that caused me to make that rule. In fact, there was so much wrong with the approach used by “no-thing-there” that I also wrote this post about his strategy of attempting to extort personal information in order to put me on an emotional, defensive footing. But I digress. In the original thread, no-thing-there extrapolates from evolutionary biology and his personal experience that women are too nurturing to make kids behave, which is one of the most asinine things I’ve ever heard:

I guess my point is that there is something in my demeanor (i am not a violent or even angry person) that motivates him to respect my wishes and the homework gets done.
Bottom line the (generic) mother says, “no matter what you have done, or not done in this case, i still love you.” I say “get in there and do it or i’ll kick your butt (implied, of course). I love my children and would never and have never resorted to any physical discipline.

This is not a rational discussion of evolutionary biology. This is idiotic. This is someone twisting a science to say what he wants it to say, the same way people interpret the Bible to say “I rock, you suck, you die now”. He could get the same affirmation of his “Man strong, woman weak” philosophy from a phone book.

I don’t know which talk radio jackass these guys are listening to, but there are a lot of them. They go around the net, condescending and bullying and (ab)using evolutionary biology to support their own prejudices. They patiently explain to us how people of certain races or genders are predisposed to criminality or weakness and so on. Well, good lord, almost every hideous act of mass brutality in history was committed by a white Gentile man, so I guess all white men who aren’t Jewish are hard-wired for teh evil and what we ought to do is put them all in detention centers at birth before they start with all the killing and the raping and the brutality, right? Seriously, by their logic, this makes sense. So what good can come of these arguments?

I’m sure on a site about science and evolutionary biology you can have some great discussions. But then I doubt anyone will be arguing that a study of 161 English people proved that women love the color pink. /eyeroll


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