Phyllis Schlafly is a culture warrior. Long ago, it was about the Equal Rights Amendment. Nowadays, it's about gender. Her recent post at the Eagle Forum is about an Oakland elementary school that had a presentation about gender identity. It was paid for by the California Teacher's Union.
The major message was that "gender identity" means people can choose to be different from the sex assigned at birth and can freely "change their sex." According to Gender Spectrum, "Gender identity is a spectrum where people can be girls, feel like girls, they feel like boys, they feel like both, or they can feel like neither."
Yep. That's why there were terms like 'tomboy' and 'girlyboy' and so on. Schlafly knows about those things, for sure. Surely she's not objecting to the fact that someone's saying something true. She's objecting, instead, to how this is being presented.
Kindergartners were introduced to this new subject by asking them to identify toys that are a "girl toy" or a "boy toy" or both, and whether they like the color pink. They were read a story called "My Princess Boy.". . . . The lessons seem more likely to confuse the kids about who they are and, indeed, Gender Spectrum boasted that its goal is to confuse the children and make them question traditional ideas about who is a boy and who is a girl.
It is the confusion that's objectionable, you see. That is, it can't be that Schlafly is objecting to it being made clear that some people are tomboys, it's that it is being taught that it's OK. That, she thinks, is confusing. Her thought seems to be: if you are going to educate children, it cannot be in the form of showing them that things are difficult, complex, and confusing. That's bad.
I'd like to know what Schafly thinks about teaching long division to third graders, because when my kid was in third grade, she had more trouble with remainders than she did with the idea that her classmate had two moms. Oh, and she still had to do the long division — being educated means that you have the cognitive tools to face confusing facts, not deny them.
But, you know, it's never really about the children with Schlafly. It's all dogwhistling for cultural conservatism. And the destruction of the intelligibility of sexual reality. Ready for the conservative culture-warrior dogwhistling money shot?
Gender Spectrum is determined to make children think that boy and girl don't mean anything anymore, and that it's no longer normal to believe people are born male or female or have different roles.
Phew! Now, I don't think that's possible, if they are on a spectrum. Otherwise, it wouldn't be a spectrum. Schlafly's point is confusion. An analogy: Black and white are on a spectrum, and you can have lots of things in the penubral space between the two. But for it to be a penumbra, the two must be different. The point of gender spectrum is that there isn't one way to be a girl or a boy. But that doesn't mean the terms don't mean anything. It's just that many of the things that we'd thought distinguished the two are irrelevant (playing with trucks, for example) and that a person's sex doesn't determine where that person is on the gender spectrum. Sure, it's complicated and confusing. But, geez, the only things that aren't complicated and potentially confusing are the mindsets of conservatives. Well, to clarify, they aren't confusing, but they are all too often confused.