Vive la difference! was, not so long ago, a joyful exclamation. Ashley McGuire’s book “Sex Scandal: The Drive to Abolish Male and Female,” traces how gender warriors have worked towards the breakdown of any such sentiment that celebrates – or even simply recognizes—the difference between the sexes. Why this attack on reality? How might an innocent call to embrace our sex differences end up labelled as virtual hate speech?
McGuire sheds much needed light on this phenomenon, and notes that “the denial of sexual differences has been unfolding before us for decades.” She gives readers a bird’s eye view of the damage wrought by gender theory—and by its prime drivers, the sexual revolution and second wave feminism—to any real progress in human understanding and communication.
Gender ideologists are now in hyper drive when it comes to their persistent urge to abolish sex differences across the board. Their slogan “Burn the binary!” translates to “Kill the difference!” This project has been getting loads of support from power elites everywhere, including Hollywood and pop culture celebrities, the media, major corporations, retailers, legislators, and judges. But it has been academia, particularly those in gender studies departments, who for generations have been manufacturing and selling this project. So, what seemed fringy yesterday is suddenly at the forefront of policy today with the arrival of what Time Magazine dubbed “the transgender tipping point.”
‘Women Are Set Up To Fail’
McGuire’s verdict is that gender ideology has actually moved society much farther away from improving the lives of women. And that is a scandal. The real endgame is to abolish sex distinctions, and that means abolishing women and all qualities that make women unique, and that in turn “ensures that women will continue to be at a disadvantage.” We’ve seen this happen in just about every aspect of life. Women are basically being coerced into denying their biological reality. They seem socially conditioned to ape male patterns of sexual behavior. They are pressured to make typically male life choices as though those are the only valid choices for women. In short, gender ideology throws women under the bus, having sold them what McGuire calls “a false equality” that was “premised on sameness but produced differences that harm women in particular.”
We can see this especially in the wake of the sexual revolution, which produced a wasteland of confusion and delusion when it comes to personal identity and personal relationships. If your idea of progress is miserable women and miserable men who are less and less able to connect emotionally and even physically—then perhaps you think gender revolutionaries have made—inroads for women. But if you are a normal woman—or man—looking for real happiness, you’ve been sold a bill of goods.
According to McGuire, “One feminist principle—complete gender blind equality—has come into direct conflict with two others—bodily autonomy and choice.” The sexual revolution sends young women into “hook-up hell” especially on college campuses where there’s a clear message that having sex is socially compulsory. And they are prodded to see home and motherhood as a choice less valid than any career, whether it’s high powered or nine to five drudgery.
McGuire’s verdict on the sexual revolution is most apt: It’s “just a Ponzi scheme for the patriarchy.”
What ‘Sex Scandal’ Tells Us About Transgenderism
Though “Sex Scandal” is not a book specifically about transgenderism, it delivers the picture of the chaos sown into our culture by the transgender project—in our schools, in pop culture, in the corruption of our language. There can be no question that this particular outgrowth of gender ideology pits us all against a new kind of social insanity.
I was pleased to see McGuire kick off her discussion of transgenderism by mentioning a 2014 essay in Slate entitled “Don’t Let the Doctor Do This To Your Newborn.” That article attacked the mere act of recognizing a newborn’s sex as though it was an unethical “procedure” of arbitrarily “assigning” sex. And it revealed far and wide that the true intent of gender warriors is the total abolition of male and female in law. (Before that article appeared, I had been trying for several years to call attention to a sleeper phrase “sex assigned at birth” written into all gender identity non-discrimination laws thus far. The legal effect of that premise was universal, meant to codify the universal erasure of everybody’s sex. The Slate article was the first mainstream vindication that that was exactly what the “sex assigned at birth” phrase was intended to do all along.)
Readers should also appreciate this book’s discussion of the corruption of our language. The conflation of the meaning of the word “sex” (the physical, biological reality) and “gender” (a term which until a few decades ago simply came up in the context of grammar) has sown Orwellian confusion into our communication. McGuire concludes, “Fifty years after the birth of gender theory, we still don’t know exactly what it is.”
Though we may not know what “it” is, McGuire provides evidence that it still smacks us in the face: “What happens to women’s sports in a world where the very reality of sexual difference is in dispute?” We can already see the major disruption of girls’ sports that is rendering Title IX irrelevant. Boys who identify as transgender girls—as well as girls injected with testosterone—are competing against purely biological girls. The results are predictable: Those with the most testosterone and muscle mass take the trophies.
Worst of all, is that if you so much as whisper about the unfairness of it, then “you are the scandal.” And, indeed, this is where I personally say that gender theory becomes utterly meaningless as a social justice concept. Though McGuire doesn’t go there, this is where I expound that the tactics of gender militants is entirely consistent with what totalitarian regimes have done throughout history: “Social justice” is a cover and justification for the thought policing of entire societies.
Taken at face value, the gender warriors’ conundrum is that they seem to be in hot pursuit of a standard that does away with all standards. And yet, as their Orwellian pronoun protocols show, as they try to do away with sex differences, they are “forced to refer back to gendered language as the anchoring framework.”
Landmarks On the Way To Gender Insanity
In addition to being an essential contribution to the discussion of gender theory, I’d add that McGuire’s book gives us something much needed today: a retrospective road map of how we got here. If you are baffled by the current landscape of gender confusion, Sex Scandal will help you begin to understand the territory and the conditions of this social battlefield.
There are lots of anecdotes that serve as landmarks on this stealth road to erasing differences between male and female. We can identify one landmark in the 2006 firing of Harvard president Larry Summers for citing statistics that indicated differences between men and women. We can see the same pattern in the go-along-to-get-along-corporate world with retailers like Target adopting a so-called gender-neutral restroom policy, as well as neutering their toy department. Gender revolutionaries forced our military to downgrade its physical fitness requirements, first for women, and then for men as well. Medicine and science are being assaulted by the denial of sex differences, which even insist that pregnant women not be referred to as women or mothers but as pregnant “persons.” And gender revolutionaries are also responsible for throwing young women into “hook-up hell” on campuses.
“So what is pop culture’s vision of the empowered woman?” McGuire asks. Well, if you can bear it, you have to look at someone like Lena Dunham, whose show “Girls” is a dismal picture of aimlessness and gratuitous nudity—to the point of Dunham sitting naked on a toilet eating cake. McGuire’s conclusion: “Dunham made her name and fortune off of a show that almost revels in today’s sexual objectification of women, and their professional flounderings. Even so, she’s been crowned the spokeswoman for my generation when it comes to gender.” Sad, no?
Sex Scandal packs a lot into less than 200 pages. Despite the book’s general scope, I think there are a few other points that, if mentioned, could have lent extra depth to its exploration of the drive to abolish male and female. Both the shallowness and tragedy of the transgender agenda is illustrated by sex change regret, an issue highlighted in the work of former transgender Walt Heyer.
Further consideration of the legal implications of de-sexing everybody, and the abolition of our bodies in the eyes of the law, along the lines of Daniel Moody’s book “The Flesh Made Word” is another point worth mentioning. And finally, I’d have liked to see some discussion about where gender ideology ultimately takes us, if left to its own devices: transhumanism. I think it’s worth mentioning because it’s essential in any battle to anticipate what happens next.
All would fit nicely into McGuire’s summary that: “the reality is that we are not disembodied. We are body and soul,” or perhaps into her excellent insight that so much of gender theory is not at all new, but a return to gnosticism.
Regardless, McGuire has provided a major public service with this book by laying out the landscape of gender ideology so that we might be better able to recognize the pitfalls. We have a lot of territory to navigate in order to reclaim and acknowledge the reality of male and female. So, damn the political correctness. Full speed ahead. Because, as the author notes: “Culture may change, but reality doesn’t.”