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Woman’s Hour yesterday

I’ve no idea how I end up listening to these broadcasts, but Radio 4 Woman’s Hour exposed once again the hypocrisies of the (allegedly) liberal educated mindset. As is typical, two women and a token stammering feminist sympathiser were discussing a topic (yesterday, a contentious relationship advice book) and wringing hands over how cultural inequities seen to favour men could only ever be a result of socialisation. Of course, it suits the mindset to blame the evils of structured and stereotyped gender norms on an external, corrupting influence. If “gender characteristics” were seen to be innate, it would essentialise and make inevitable – the perceived social malaise of female victimhood and subjugation of girls, which they are constantly railing against at the taxpayer’s expense.

I tend to agree with the nurture interpretation of gender identity, but it stinks when it is abused selectively – even blindly, facultitatively by the educated classes. In the same broadcasts and from the same individuals, I repeatedly hear loathesome resorts to essentialist biological nativism – again, when it suits the preconceived ideology. On the issue of transgender, for example, constructionism is offered as a justification for gender nonbinary identities – all good so far. And then, in the very same breath, it is accepted de facto, that there is an essentially “female” state of mind that may exist within an essentially “male” physical state (a reason given for gender reassignment). No attempt is made to “save” the transitioning party from what must surely be their “capitulation” to socially-indoctrinated gender binarism!

And then, not far down the road, that old chestnut of identity politics – inborn sexual orientation (“born this way”). These commentators, who it appears have absorbed and then rejected as ornament the endlessly complex matrix of expectations and prescribed behaviours that is gender identity, have the audacity to scoff at the idea that a desire referring to said might just be contingent upon ones enculturation and personal history.

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