In the last few months, two friends have mentioned to me that their children feel swamped by a tide of friends declaring their transgenderism. “What do I say?” asked one mother.
With news like this, you can’t imagine how fast I scooped up this week’s book, Sex Scandal by Ashley McGuire. For one thing, McGuire is a millennial. She’s known nothing but this anything-goes world we all live in now. So, what has she got to say about the state of things?
“The Sexual Revolution was like a hydrogen bomb taken to human sexuality,” she says. Started by her elders, she and her contemporaries inherited “the fallout.”
“To understand where we are today . . . You have to pull back the curtain.”
This isn’t book you read when you crave chocolate and relaxation. Heavy on facts, quotes and a whole lot of bad news, it can be infuriating.
But it’s also infuriating to watch your teenagers face a culture that’s now, as one of Ms. McGuire’s sources puts it, “an incoherent mess of double standards.”
McGuire discusses Sexual Revolution and its effect on
- Gender fluidity
Who lit the fuse on the Sexual Revolution bomb? You’ll see familiar names in McGuire’s book: Betty Friedan, Gloria Steinem, Hugh Hefner. (Hefner, for you youngsters, was the head of the Playboy empire, Playboy magazine, Playboy clubs. It was how we did porn back when we had to go looking for it.)
Hefner, by the way, considers himself a great friend of feminism, freeing woman from old strictures that kept them from, um, enjoying life. But who did this new freedom benefit most? Women? Or men like Hefner?
You have to ask questions like that. Whose interest does this serve? What are the likely results?
I’m happy that the Sexual Revolution brought us contraception. I wouldn’t like being pregnant all the time.
What I’m not happy about is the use-’em-and-lose-’em attitude it has spawned in men. Nor is McGuire. Read her take on a Beyonce concert or on her college friend who kindly offered a blow job to one of their male friends.
I’m happy that women get to try more professions.
What I’m not happy about is handing women rifles and sending them to war. Nor is McGuire. Read her research on how “[t]he willful blindness to basic biological difference under the mantra of equality ultimately disempowers women. It forces them to compete on male terms and punishes them when they fail.”
I’m happy when women get to compete in more sports.
No, actually I don’t care. Yet Ms. McGuire snags my interest as she discusses the havoc gender fluidity wreaks in the sports world. Read her account of a martial arts contest in which a female contestant, “no china doll,” matches up with a foe born male but now competing as a woman. Read the list of injuries she suffers. Read the lack of sympathy from commenters eager to show their commitment to equality, to the point of “willful blindness.”
Which brings us to the gender fluidity thing.
Sometimes I think the soldiers in this cause are simply the worn-out warriors for gender equality. They might have told themselves, Let’s get rid of the whole gender idea, problem solved.
Where this “willful blindness” is likely to take our society is material for a few more books. McGuire, however, confines herself to projecting its more immediate effects on women.
If the law’s “mantra of equality” allows genetic males into female restrooms and locker rooms, McGuire’s sources tell us that women’s prisons and women’s shelters come next.
What are the likely results? Empowerment of women? Or law of the jungle?
So there you are, sharing an afternoon snack with your high-schooler, listening to who came out this week.
What are you going to say?
If it were my kids, I’d sure like to point out how they’ve been socialized to be nice, to be inclusive, too often at the expense of their own safety and cultural survival.
I can’t expect my kids to share my opinions. I can’t expect them to stand athwart history, yelling “Halt!” But I can expect them to lend me their ears and let me say, “Here is information I want you to have.”
You might find, in McGuire’s book, information you want your kid to have.