Why Using Gender as a Defining Criterion for Goodness is Just Wrong.

Back in the early 1990s, I read magazine essays about renewing your life and moving on to be sure you’re really breathing.

Whether I meant to go, or was shoved along by life’s little exigencies—I was quite in need of jumping off the cliff—with no guarantee my wings would grow, I left my position as Director of Women’s Studies at my university and went back to teaching police ethics in the Department of Criminal Justice.

Although the separation was more than painful, I had come to understand that different women had very different ideas when it came to empowerment—and entitlement—that were not in the best interest of all. Rather, they were self-serving and reflected much the same intolerance as men.

It was a reoccurring vision that set my teeth on edge and compelled me to jump. Before I did, I wrote this poem:

There they were—lines of wide-mouthed women. Hordes of immature, needy men. All wanting to suckle at my shriven breasts, my sore and hurting nipples—no milk, no substance—blood was all they could suck.

The worst were those waking dreams at 4:00 a.m. when I was not me, but a bleeding cow, whose udders leaked an ever-decreasing supply of blood.

Women’s studies—university vampires sucking us dry while they revel in our futile strivings, knowing that soon we will lie lifeless—and die.

I was a consultant to the Pentagon while Phyllis Schafly was on center stage debating the Equal Rights Amendment. I remember thinking that this woman must be a female impersonator. Now I’m wondering if she wasn’t right for the wrong reasons.

Then, in 2014, a female student in my online class attempted to sue me for violating her First Amendment rights to free speech. She was using our online discussion board to promote her admiration for Adolph Hitler. It was disrupting the class and diverting them from their assignments, so I deleted her posts—much the way Twitter has now blocked Trump. She tied up university lawyers for several years, until finally a federal district court threw out her claims. She stopped suing me and filed a suit against the judge. We were the fourth institution that this woman had made claims against; all were dismissed.

In 2015/16, I railed against Madeline Albright and Gloria Steinem for calling on young women to vote for Hillary Clinton because she is female, as if that were the criterion for positive and effective leadership. 

Now we see Women for Trump. A new hero to the cause was martyred when she joined the insurrectionist mob at the Capitol.

What further proof does one need to know that gender does not define us? Our humanity does.

Published by Carole J. Garrison

I’m a conversationalist, an observer, a passionate participant in life. And now, in my later years, I’m a recorder of the lessons of my life through essays, stories, and novels. I live in the fourth moment of life, just outside the normal distribution of most people and it is from this place that I write.

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