Sexist and Not

Spiked is with me on man-sized tissues.

I think people often get confused on what kind of gendering is wrong. Noticing obvious and real physiological differences between men and women is neither wrong nor offensive. Pretending that such differences don’t exist leads people to say silly things like “pregnant people” and such. So men tend to be taller than women on average and have larger noses and hands. So what? That’s a biological fact. It has no ideological weight. Noticing it is not sexist.

What’s sexist is to make these obvious and real differences into something prescriptive and ideological. Women have smaller noses so they shouldn’t work in. . . I don’t know, wine-tasting, or whatever. Or women menstruate (again, an obvious biological fact) so they shouldn’t have jobs.

Biological differences exist. Their existence is not offensive. Dictating to people what they should or shouldn’t do on the basis of those differences, that’s where unfair discrimination might appear. (Or not, like when paraplegics are not invited to dance at the Bolshoi.)

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