The Oakville trans teacher, and knowing without knowing why
Yeah, the "blank check" acceptance of any and all trans expression is probably going to backfire. In fact, none of us is free to express ourselves however we want in public spaces. And this is especially true in schools and work places.
The problem is that the progressive position on many of the trans issues is going to lead a lot of center-left people to find common cause with Republicans.
You wrote that mainstream feminism "will never go so far as to accuse men of possessing inherent traits to a different degree than women—because the idea that “men have some negative traits unique to men” opens up the door to “men have some positive traits unique to men”.
Sadly this is true, which is more costly to women than it is to men.
Yes, men are physically bigger, stronger, and faster than women. Men tend to be better at math and science, perhaps because they tend to be more interested in it.
But women can create human beings inside their bodies (no, men cannot actually get pregnant) we are much less violent, less impulsive, and less sexually perverted and aggressive than men. We also tend to be better at language and communication, and to be more nurturing and empathetic.
When sex differences are acknowledged, women come out pretty far ahead.
Yet pretending there are no innate sex differences is being sold to women as a "win".
It's only a "win" if men are considered the gold standard of humanity.
I sometimes think what currently passes as "feminism" is a far bigger threat to women than "Incels" could ever be.
Couple things I would point out: as armchair psychoanalysis goes, there's a decent chance this teacher is angling for a payout/settlement. He could very well be trying to get fired so he can claim discrimination. Unfortunately, if that's the case then the kids in his class end up collateral damage to his grandstanding.
I appreciate your take on this. I think it’s important to always question and consider the value of our gut feelings. At the same time, those feelings often clue us into vital instincts that have kept humanity safe for tens of thousands of years.
I think you may be interested in Kurt Freund's research on how paraphilias tend to cluster. Basically if a person has one paraphilia they will have a slightly elevated rate of having other paraphilias, and Freund's research provided evidence for this hypothesis that on top of that certain paraphilias formed "clusters" where having one paraphilia in the cluster elevated the chance of having other paraphilias in the same cluster.
One such cluster is called "courtship disorders" and covers everything from flashing to preferring coercive sex over consensual sex (e.g. Bill Cosby could have gotten with tons of willing partners but chose to drug women instead). There is research to support your idea that if a practice is considered sexual and likely to make most others uncomfortable, yet the person insists on doing it, it likely means that the offender either has terrible judgement, or is acting on a paraphilia that is correlated to some truly dangerous interests.
Very thoughtful piece.
Excellent. I knew I was troubled by this incident but I would have had difficulty articulating why. You have won another paying customer.
Norms are the whole ball of wax. Breaking norms is almost always a political act. A statement. So it’s fair to have a theory of mind about the person making the statement. What is your theory of mind about this person?
Late to the party, but thanks for this. It's brilliantly stated.
My intuition tells me this person is an "attention whore." I apologize if that term is offensive, but it seems appropriate in this particular case. This individual was intentionally trying to draw a flood of eyeballs and likely knew no fan club was going to form around them. Maybe this person is not only an exhibitionist, but also a masochist. Whatever the case may be, a high school is not an appropriate forum to behave in this non-conformist way.
This is going to blow up in the person's face, and it should.
It's hard to believe this is even real. It seems like a right wing stunt ---Hey, let's plant a fake story about a giant boob-man teacher to make transpeople look bad. Talk about poor judgment. The other thing I'll say (and I'm resisting the urge to throat clear) is that I believe transphobia is just flat normal. Cruelty against any person or group is never justified, but fear is reasonable.