How Do You Gender?

Operational Definitions:

Sex is biological. This is your DNA, your genitalia, and any physiological marker of male and female.

Gender is socially constructed (Berger 1967). This is a fluid construct that can change over time and context. It is your behavior at any given moment. A century ago, it was proper for a “man” to sit on the lap or even hold the hand of his best guy friend. Nowadays—not so much. This is how society views us.

Gender identity is personal. This is how a person identifies, regardless of their biological makeup. A person can be a biological woman, be viewed by society as female, but identify as a male.

Cisgender is when gender and identity align. Transgender is when they deviate from one another.

Gender in Society

There you have it. When you see the word “gender” in the media, they are not interpreting it the same way that most people do. They are referring to a social construct, rather than biology. This is a very important distinction. To not be able to grasp this very basic tenet is to misconstrue the totality of the situation.

With the “coming out” of newly transgender spokesperson, Caitlyn (Bruce) Jenner, the removal of gender labels from Target toy and bedding sections, and a push to make more gender neutral restrooms available to the public; the average person may feel bombarded with the feeling that their typically adhered to social norms are being attacked. This is because they are.

Academia is producing a generation of students that are taught, at length, to challenge our deeply held social norms. Our professors are often radical extremist leftists. Even when they attempt to remain unbiased, the subjects of our classes are not biased. These students leave our Universities and take positions at other schools, in government institutions, and in the media. They have infiltrated every avenue for how we receive information.

Arguments against Gender

Gender is but one target (pun intended), and society has yet to see the fruits of this philosophy come to fruition. Here are three arguments that support why conventional gender is under attack.

  1. Gender is fluid. Definitions of masculinity and femininity change over time, therefore, society can change gender to fit their own definitions.
  2. Gender is not binary. None of us are entirely masculine or entirely feminine. Therefore, to judge all people by one of these two terms causes stress and anxiety when proper conformation does not occur. Furthermore, intersex individuals (those born with biological male and female parts) do not fit comfortably into either gender norm.
  3. Gender is oppressive. Throughout human history, we have oppressed people based on their gender. Women have always been second-class citizens, and feminine men are shamed into conformity or treated the same as women.

The extremists that are pushing this agenda do not want to install gender neutral restrooms and remove labels in stores. They want to totally disrupt any conventional understanding of gender. They want this because they truly believe it will end gender based oppression. There will be “equal pay for equal work”, the removal of the “separate spheres” of the feminine home and masculine workplace, and acceptance of marginalized groups like transgender and homosexual people.

In order for this complete equality to take place, the entire concept of gender must be eradicated. The only thing remaining will be biological sex, and gender identity, and it is the identity that society should use with respect to individuals. Without gender oppression, a person can identify in whichever way they choose without fear of social consequences.

The same logic applies with race and sexuality. Both are social constructions, and we need to eliminate those constructs in order to reach a more equal society. Notice how traditional views of these topics are also under attack? I will post more on these later, but I want you think of them as fractions of an entire movement bent on reshaping society into an amorphous blob of equal members.

This is the goal of social engineers. The postmodern turn has put emphasis on the fragmentations of society, thus each fragment must be “fixed” and placed together neatly in order to reform social order. We are like a puzzle in disarray.

Social scientists talk about “doing gender” (West and Zimmerman 1987) so that our biology has no significance to our behavior. We act out gender roles like a stage performance (Goffman 1959). Our front stage behavior, the actions that are visible to the audience, is gender. The back stage, however, may be our identity. In order to achieve true homogeneity between our representations of self, the front and back stage need to align. With stigma attached to transgender people, the stages do not align causing the actor anguish and inner turmoil.

They argue that in order for all people to feel included and de-stigmatized, we need to neutralize gender in all public settings. As a community of androgynous people, we would eliminate otherwise oppressive views of gender. There would no longer be the need to define feminine as opposition to masculine, but the two would be pieces of the puzzle that neatly fit together.

How Does Gender Occur?

The argument would be that we are born a blank slate, much like John Locke theorized. Therefore, any additional trait other those passed through genetics must be learned. From the moment of birth, the baby is assigned a gender. They are labeled “boy” or “girl” and given appropriate masculine or feminine names. A baby girl is typically adorned with pink clothing and baby dolls. A boy is dressed in blue and plays with trucks, soldiers, and weapons. As they begin to gain a conception of self, they have already been indoctrinated with gender norms. This is why we confuse nature with nurture. It happens from so early, that we assume certain behavior to be natural.

As the child ages, more gender norms become understood. They begin to identify with the parent that shares their gender. Girls want to be like mommy, and they imitate mommy’s customs. They wear dresses, grow their hair long, etc. This often occurs during the play stage (Mead 1934) where children first learn to imitate the “other” and reinforce their behavior through playing.

The child enters school where they encounter other same gendered children and reinforce norms. They realize that any deviation of the norms results in shaming rituals intended to keep them in their place.

As adults, those struggling with the cisgender mentality may begin a second life of dressing in drag. Others opt to go through the process of hormone replacement and surgery to fulfill their desire to “become” the gender that they identify as.

Other adults take to shaming those that are different. The stigma of being transgender is enough to keep many of them silent and unhappy. Cisgender adults eventually have children of their own, and perpetuate gender norms during child rearing and the cycle continues.

Conclusion

This is a very, very short synopsis of a much larger argument. It is almost impossible to condense hundreds of writings into a few hundred words. However, I believe that anyone reading this can gain insight into the world of social construction.

I cannot stress enough the importance of this concept. The media has only scratched the surface of the depths of postmodern deconstruction. Please understand that this is being taught in our Universities to those of us who are most likely to go into the world and affect social change. These are the views held by the media reporting on stories that you read. These are the views held by the Congress that writes laws. These are the views held by judges who rule on cases of discrimination. These are the views of the President of the United States—the most powerful man on the planet.

And this is just the beginning.

Works Cited

Berger, Peter and Thomas Luckman. 1967. The Social Construction of Reality: A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge. New York, NY: Doubleday.

Goffman, Erving. 1959. The Presentation of Everyday Life. Woodstock, NY: Overlook Press.

Mead, George Herbert. 1934. Mind, Self, and Society. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

West, Candace and Don H. Zimmerman. 1987. “Doing Gender.” Gender and Society. 1(2): 125-151.

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Critical Thinking in the Modern Age

Why?

It is one of the first questions we articulate as children, yet we often forget to ask it as adults.

Perhaps we were told too often by our parents to stop asking, and we listened too well. Perhaps we should start asking it more often.

Why do I want this job? Why do I go to church? Why do I love this person? Why do I like going out with my friends? Why do I need this drink? Why?

There are also the bigger questions like why was I born at this time? Why do I feel empty inside?

It seems that we have some kind of gut feeling with regard to each of these scenarios. We know that we like our spouse or our friends. We know that we need a job. We know when we are unhappy, but we have stopped asking, “why?”

As a father of four girls (perhaps I should have asked “Why?” more often as well), I often ask my oldest two—the ones who can actually articulate words—why they do or say certain things. The answer I receive most often is a shrug of the shoulders. My nine year old said something interestingly profound a few days ago. My wife and I were talking politics, or, rather, I was talking politics and my wife was a captive audience, when my oldest said, “who would want that job?”

I asked her why she would say that, and she claimed not to know. I was honestly curious, but she shied away from answering. However, it got me thinking, why WOULD anyone want that job?

Being President of the United States has to be entirely exhausting. Every action and inaction is scrutinized by celebrities, media pundits, and families at the dinner table. The world watches and mocks when you misspeak at a press conference or have a bad round of golf. Simple tasks like going to a restaurant become headlines when you order a cheeseburger after promoting healthy eating. You sign laws and enact budgets that you did not write, and pay the price whenever an industry that you never worked in implodes. Is it no wonder why every president seems to age 20 years during the 4-8 that they are in office?

There are basically two reasons why someone would run for office. They are either altruistic individuals who are willing to give their lives for public service, or they are power hungry control freaks. More often than not, our leaders fall into the latter category.

This election season, we should ask ourselves two questions. Why is this candidate running for the office? And why am I supporting this candidate?

Furthermore, we should begin asking “why” in so many more instances. It is the essence of critical thinking. This three-letter question provides necessary introspection in many cases. In this fast-paced society where time is a limited commodity, we run on instinct. This leads to extremely quick decisions that are often not entirely beneficial to us.

Next time you feel overwhelmed by a choice that could lead to a self-destructive behavior or major life change, ask yourself why?

It is the essence of critical thinking—a skill that is often overlooked. There need not be a complex philosophical Socratic methodology of logic and inquiry.

Just ask, “why?”

My GOP Debate Analysis

In order of winner to loser:

  1. Ted Cruz-Everything he said is exactly what I believe, and his delivery was eloquent, intelligent, and honest. He is a virtually flawless speaker, and I love that he had statistics or examples of every one of his positions.
  2. Marco Rubio-I disliked one part of one answer. When talking about education, I did not like that he spoke of poor federal spending without addressing that there should be NO federal money in our schools. Other than that, I enjoyed his passion, positions, and poise. If Ted was not so flawless, Marco would have been the winner.
  3. Carson and Paul-This is a tie for me. Carson is a very good man, possibly the most personable of the field. However, his answers fell a little flat until the end, but he ended incredibly strong. Paul was feisty and passionate. I thought he got the best of the sparring with Christie, although I did not get the same impression when watching the post-debate edited video. In context, he killed Christie. Out of context, he looked like a yippy puppy. Otherwise, his answers were solid all the way through.
  4. Huckabee-I am a very huge critic of the Huckster, but he is a skilled debater. I appreciate his declaration to try and overturn Roe v. Wade, but we all know that it is just completely unrealistic. He benefited from being able to dodge, duck, dip, dive, and dodge questions on immigration and education—my two biggest issues with him.
  5. Fiorina-Like Cruz, she had a flawless performance. I put her down here simply because her lack of competition in the early debate made her seem miles ahead of everyone, whereas she is actually in line with a few of the main candidates.
  6. Christie-A skilled performer, Christie said a lot of the right things the right way. Unfortunately, his defense of poor state performance and history of scandals like “Bridgegate” and the possibility that he single-handedly handed Obama the election in 2012 (which Paul expertly addressed in his “hug” comment) moves the big man down the list a bit. He’s only this high because of his style is great. Substance, however, he lacks.
  7. Walker-Was Scott Walker on stage? I would have barely known he was even there, which is good for him. He did not make headlines, but he also did not make waves. I liked his answer on abortion—life of the baby or life of the mother is a false choice. However, if all other options were removed from the table (an unlikely scenario given modern medical techniques, but I suppose it can possibly happen), I would always choose the life of the mother. He handled it well, and let those around him implode. It was a safe debate, but we will see him again.
  8. Kasich-Like Walker, Kasich just seemed to exist. All I came out of it knowing was that he balanced the budget, made Ohio suck less, and his dad was a mailman. I do not think he stands a chance, but he will be a viable candidate as a cabinet member someday.
  9. Trump-I liked half of his answers. Unfortunately, every time I started to agree, he ruined it by being Trump. Yes, we are to politically correct, but that does not mean you should attack every person who challenges you. Trump is incredibly thin skinned. He bullies people. I also HATED his answers that include “using the laws” and “buying politicians” to build his empire. While his bankruptcies were legal, they were not ethical. He cheated to get rich, we know it and he flaunts it. Even through all that, his performance was entertaining enough that he will still dominate the news cycle. His strongest supporters will dig in deeper, but I think he lost some of the ones on the fence. I predicted that the debate format would produce soundbytes, but skilled debaters like Cruz and Paul would overshadow him. Both came true, but he was not the worst of the night.
  10. Bush-As the “front-runner” over all but Trump, Bush faded throughout the night. He tried to stand out at first, but proved to be mortal. His biggest issues are being a Bush, immigration, and education. He doubled down on his support for a pathway to citizenship (amnesty, regardless of denial) and Common Core. Even if you do believe in Common Core only on the state level (which it is not, and he doesn’t regardless of what he said last night), the curriculum itself is awful. It was designed by non-educators, makes no sense, and teaches to the test rather than learning. The entire concept is awful. Jeb did a very poor job in standing out in any positive, believable way.
  11. Perry-He had an average second place performance in the early debate. Unfortunately, I believe he would have looked even worse with the big boys. I like Perry, but he is simply bad in debates.
  12. Pataki-This guy had some decent points, and his delivery was good, but he is just so irrelevant.
  13. Santorum-When asked if his time had passed, Santorum should have answered “yes”. Sorry Rick, but your time has come.
  14. Jindal-A non-factor, really. I like the guy, but no one cares about him. He did nothing to change that last night.
  15. Gilmore-He came to the debate as an unknown, and left the same way. I cannot even remember which state he was a governor—or was it a senator—see? I still know nothing about him.
  16. Graham-He is the worst of the worst. His delivery seemed as though he just woke up, fell down the stairs, and took morphine to ease his pain. He was clearly reading his responses, and I doubt that he actually wrote them. My favorite part was his view on women’s health—which he somehow turned into killing ISIS. I think he would send our troops overseas to fight anyone whose name is Muhammad for any reason whatsoever. Beheading Christians? Go to war. Chanting “death to America”? Go to war. Chewing bubble gum? Go to war. He is insane. His performance was so bad, that S. Carolina should immediately seek to remove him from the Senate and lock him away in a padded room with only a copy of the Koran to read.

Why Social Conservatives are Losing Society

Life is a battlefield, and we are waving the white flag.

Whether you like it or not, the culture war has been, is, and will be on your doorstep. The villainous, tyrannical forces of evil pervade your soul and your children every time you turn on the television or leave the house to go to a shopping center.

I know so many people who try to distance themselves from reality. They avoid watching the news, they censor their movies, and put content blockers on the computer. These people keep their children out of the schools and allow association only with other like-minded people. They hope that the only influence on their kids will be theirs and approved friends and family.

That is just not realistic.

They go to the mall and hear unapproved music on the speakers, they see unapproved sexual images on billboards, DVD cases, album covers, and magazine covers at the checkout line. Our kids watch unapproved movies on displays at Wal-Mart and Best Buy to help sell high definition televisions. We all notice the unapproved attire being modeled by other customers in our shopping trips.

This is all around us, and it is endless.

Playing the ostrich burying your heads in the sand will not protect yourself or your children from the evils of the world. What makes matters worse is that your silence is part of the problem.

There is a lot of feigned outrage out there. A lesbian couple claimed $135,000 worth of emotional damages from not getting a wedding cake from a business that served them several times in the past. Celebrities are crying on national television over the death of a lion that they’ve never met in a country they’ve barely even heard of.

What happens when something truly outrageous happens? Nothing.

This is because of the silence of the principled.

Christians and political conservatives share many of the same principles. In fact, I cannot comprehend any other political philosophy that a Christian could possibly adhere to. However, the Left—which used to be the “far” left before social justice became the mainstream—is destroying all that we hold dear. They are effective, while we remain impotent because of just a few reasons that we want to ignore.

  1. They utilize social media.

Rather than posting hundreds of pictures of their children or delicious meals, the cultural engineers are on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pasting #hashtags all over every outlet they can. Bloggers take to social media with legions of likeminded mobs and dominate the trending topics.

Cynics make fun of these “wackos” for sitting in their parent’s basements in their underwear. Conservative commentators mock leftist bloggers and hashtag diplomacy, but guess what?

They are getting what they want!

While we sit idly by and laugh at their seemingly inconsequential efforts, they are reshaping society. The major media, always seeking to capitalize on public infatuation, picks up the trending topics on Facebook and Twitter, and stories like Cecil the Lion are discussed by ALL media. Even if it is to express displeasure in the stupidity of the outrage, talking about Cecil means not talking about ISIS or Planned Parenthood.

  1. They utilize boycotts and protests.

We love to de-emphasize the effectiveness of protestors. We sit in our ivory towers and mock the gatherings of radicals that take to the streets to “occupy” or march to Washington for whatever cause is the flavor of the month.

Yet we ignore that such a large number of protests cannot simply be ignored forever. As idiotic as we thought the call for $15 an hour minimum wage at McDonalds, there have not only been states that have implemented the policy, but the major Democratic presidential candidates have begun to run on the idea.

Boycotts have caused television shows to be ripped from the airwaves, like the Christian home improvement brothers from HGTV, but have shut down entire businesses.

Racial protests in Ferguson and Baltimore have led to cities being burned, businesses closing, and provided an entryway for the federal government to begin to police on local levels.

What happens to any company that Christians disagree with? Nothing. How is Planned Parenthood doing? Congress can not even remove tax dollars from their coffers. How about ESPN, which routinely skirts our principles by glorifying the homosexual kiss of Michael Sam or giving “Caitlyn” Jenner a hero award? They are doing just fine. And who owns ESPN?

Disney.

Disney is responsible for hero worshiping a transsexual over a war veteran and a female athlete who bravely fought but ultimately lost her life to cancer. Could you toss your Princess DVDs in the trash? How about *gasp* not watching the new Star Wars movie in protest?

That would never happen, and Disney/ESPN knows it.

  1. They utilize passion.

As insane as we may think they are, our enemies actually care about what they are doing. They have a mission to remake society, and they will stop at nothing to do so. They use every single tool at their disposal to demonize conservatives and Christians. They blast us on film and television. They distort our views on the news and roll over us in debates. They teach our children, if not through public schools, through college, movies, or peer pressure from friends who cave into evil beliefs.

And we remain apathetic.

  1. They capitalize on our apathy.

Not only have we stopped caring, but they know that we have. They count on it. On the very rare occasion that Christians stand up for themselves, like with Chic-Fil-A, it throws our enemies into turmoil. They are so shocked that they wail and cry, but they know that it is not likely to happen to the next cause.

They overwhelm us into submission, and we eventually give them anything they want. Like the United States and Iran, we capitulate to their every desire without getting anything in return.

The solution to all this is for you to WAKE UP! Stand your ground to your friends, family, co-workers, and social media. Start a movement on Facebook and watch it spread like wildfire. Write a blog. Have meetings with your pastors. Donate to a political campaign—volunteer if you have to. Get engaged with like-minded people and form a mob. Do SOMETHING!

I spend hours a day thinking about this stuff. I take the time to write down my thoughts in hope that SOMEONE WILL PAY ATTENTION!

It has yet to work, but at least I am trying. Can you say the same? I cannot promise you success, but I can promise that your apathy will lead to the complete loss of our culture.

Has the Church Lost its Fight?

I just watched a documentary on Netflix called “Fight Church” about the increasing number of American pastors and churches that not only accept, but participate in mixed martial arts.

The argument that the movie makes is this: should Christians engage in an activity that inevitably ends with two people trying to physically harm one another?

My quick answer to this, is yes. MMA has become a sanctioned sporting event rather than a barroom brawl or street fight. I personally see no issue with engaging in consensual physical competition, even if it includes blood or head trauma. What is the difference between MMA and NFL in that regard?

That is not my ultimate takeaway, however. One of the pastors featured spoke of the emasculation of the modern church as he proudly stood next to his young son, each holding a handgun and firing at targets. This is the sentiment that actually got me thinking. Is it true? Have our churches become too effeminate?

I think the answer to this is both a yes and no. It is more complex, of course, than any one word can describe. Unfortunately, I would have to lean more toward the “yes” side of the equation.

When I was a child, I remembered hearing of Hell, the Lake of Fire, the coming judgment, and the penalty of sin in explicit details. For instance, at one particularly memorable session at a church sponsored summer camp close to twenty years ago, the speaker asked us to tense up every muscle in our body at once and hold it. We obliged, and the pain was quite palpable (and I encourage anyone reading this to try it out for about 15 seconds to get the full effect). It became unbearable after only a short time, and the speaker informed us that the pain in Hell would feel like that, but worse and for eternity! It was a powerful enough experience that I still remember it, and quite often, actually.

Now I sit here and think back to the sermons I have heard for the past decade or so. None of them have been nearly as powerful. For all the talk about how great our God is, and how loving, merciful, and rewarding a relationship with Christ can be, I have not heard a preacher (and I have sat under several) preach a fiery sermon that scares me since I was a child.

The first question is why did they want to scare children in past decades? But more importantly, why do modern pastors not want to scare adults? Has it become a matter of political correctness? Perhaps it is due to religion being more appealing to women, statistically speaking. Has the message of the Bible become soft? The answer to the last question is no. The Bible never changes, so something in the current church climate has.

Jesus spoke of love. God is love. Love one another; love your neighbor and love your enemy. Love is amazing, and we should be a loving people. Christians should spread the message of love, and we sometimes need reminded that Jesus loves us, even as we are decrepit sinners.

However, Christ also got angry. A good healthy rage needs to be discussed from the pulpits as well. Jesus turned over the tables at the temple because of corruption in the church.

Well, friends, our church has been corrupted as well. False doctrines threaten our heritage. Pastors across the world are succumbing to political pressures and have spouted heretical, anti-Biblical, cowardly nonsense. Some, like Rob Bell have begun to doubt the existence of Hell and The Pope has become a global warming loving socialist. The Westboro Baptist Church protests military funerals to make a political statement that “God hates fags” which is, of course, completely against the scriptures telling us to hate the sin, but love the sinner.

These are the public representatives of our Faith.

What do our pastors preach about, rather than this distortion of Christianity? They compensate by speaking almost exclusively about the love of God, rather than the ire of an angry God.

Where is the outrage? Our pulpits are largely empty of any passionate defense of our Faith against the impostors that seek to destroy Christianity from within. Moreover, it seems to me, that modern pastors are scared to death to deal with the implications of government intrusion that we have seen across the United States or even the atrocities of ISIS in the Middle-East.

If you are a Christian business owner, the odds are that your pastor has not publicly addressed that our government will inevitably force you to placate all customers, even if you find it morally reprehensible to do so. I am still waiting to see a public outcry of preachers who take a stand against performing gay marriages. The government has yet to enforce that policy, but you would have to be naïve to think that it will not happen. Maybe they are waiting until someone loses their tax-exempt status before the legion of leaders stands in protest.

As always, Christians will be reactive, rather than proactive.

I have yet to see an outpouring of Christian leaders that take a stand against the Islamic murders of our brothers and sisters overseas. At my own church, the mass beheadings were a footnote during one sermon right after the killing of the 21 Christians by ISIS. More believers have fallen under the Muslim sword since then, but the topic has yet to be addressed consistently from our pulpit.

So yes, Christians have been neutered by political correctness and other social pressure. We have been emasculated. However, churches are doing a great job at building up strong, spiritual men because of the focus on being leaders in the home.

My church does an amazing job at pushing home leadership, which is anything but a feminine ideal. I know there has been similar happenings in other churches. This is refreshing, and it hits home because it is a conceivably easy task compared with changing the world.

But we are supposed to change the world.

We are supposed to be soldiers. We are to put on the armor of God and go to battle against spiritual wickedness. Well, is there anything more wicked than Planned Parenthood selling baby parts for profit, mass murders in the name of religion, or race riots that seem to be catching like wildfire?

If David had the modern Christian mindset, he would never have stepped up to Goliath until half of the Hebrew army was slaughtered, and then he would have but whimpered and offered the murderous giant a word of love and encouragement.

If our Founding Fathers were like us, we would still be speaking with a British accent and drinking Earl Grey tea with extended pinkies while singing “God Save the Queen”.

We need not start another Crusade, mind you, but we are even too fearful to speak about uncomfortable issues on social media. How could we ever think it possible to defeat evil? God is on our side, and I cannot imagine that he is happy with the sniveling weaklings that Laodicean Christians have become.

We are apathetic and apologetic, and our leaders deserve a large part of the blame. The rest of us are at fault as well, and probably even more so. Rather than getting fired up, we are complacent and overly self-reflective.

The world around us burns while we pretend that the only control we have is within our own home.

God help us, because we can no longer help ourselves.