by Shelley Pineo-Jensen, Ph.D.
The construct of patriarchy is predicated, fundamentally, on the gender binary.
Increase in number of abject traits intensifies the effect.
Gender is a construct.
Transmen and women disrupt the codified power relations between genders.
Biology (sex) is what it is, but “gender” is a construct, a sorting of universal human attributes into two boxes.
The binary is a construct.
Queer theory is the name of these theories of human behavior.
Queer is saying “I do not accept the socially constructed limitations of my gender assignment. I can manifest a full range of human behaviors and am not restricted to performing only the behaviors assigned to my gender.”
Disrupting the gender imbalance goes to the heart of patriarchy – the belief in winners and losers.
Gender is a construct
What it means – “gender is a construct” – is that “winners and losers” is a construct. The gender binary, also known as “masculine hegemony” and “the patriarchy” is a belief system that allows a few members of the group to exploit and disadvantage others. These titans of industry/thieves/corrupters monopolize huge amounts of the earth’s resources, depriving billions of other earthlings the resources they need.
The silly billionaires take rockets to the stratosphere, but the more venal ones are transnational corporations gobbling up the earth’s resources and leaving a wasteland behind.
I feel like I’m living in a badly written Phillip K. Dick story.
Masculine hegemony and patriarchy seem to mean pretty much the same thing. It is a universal cultural belief that there is a natural division among all the peoples of the world into two classes, the gender binary, male and female and hence masculine and feminine.
There is a huge difference between those two sets of words.
Male and female are biological facts although there is not as strict a biological divide as many people assume. Even here, there is a continuum between most “male” and “female” with intersex somewhere between.
Masculine and feminine, on the other hand, are ascribed. They are an arbitrary distribution of characteristics of human beings. From birth, American children are sorted into two boxes, masculine and feminine. Baby boys are tough. Baby girls are sweet. Gender is so pervasive that it is largely invisible, except to border crossing trans people and other queer folk.
“The other is bad” can be dispensed with when you become the other. Everyone and anyone is capable of being queer. Being queer is simply not being willing to comply with one’s gender assignment.
Liberation from gender assignment allows women agency as leaders, inventors, and innovators.
Liberation from gender assignment allows men emotions and feelings, along with collaboration, communication, and cooperation (all characteristics assigned to the female side of the binary that are also essential for the continuation of the species and probably all life on the planet).
We’re driving toward the cliff at full throttle now, like Thema and Louise, well knowing that we’re already at 400 parts per million and you know what that means. Well past 350.org.
Earth will host human life. We can do it, united beyond the gender divide, winners and losers, and patriarchal violence to the delicate balance of earth’s biosphere.
Give voice to these queer ideas.
“Gender is a construct.”
Say it out loud to people where you can fit it in.
Open a conversation among all people.
That thus we empower ourselves to see past the binary that divides us into winners and losers.
As long as we continue to perpetuate winners and losers in America,
we will give all the resources to a few selfish greedy men (mostly) who use their billions to waste fossil fuels to blast themselves up into space.
You’re On Your Own (YOYO)
We MUST abandon winners and losers -- “You’re On Your Own”(YOYO).
The falsity of the gender divide drives people to cross over to the other side of the divide – more every day. Trans men and trans women are the pioneers of “gender is a construct” – proving it with their bodies and lives.
We’re In It Together (WITT)
Human beings must reject the conventional wisdom of “winners and losers” and start advocating for human solutions.
Figure 1. Winners and Losers in Patriarchy