Do we want to play the game of ascribing certain characteristics (how someone speaks, or their mannerisms) as being masculine or feminine? In many parts of the Middle East and Africa, men hold hands or arms or embrace or kiss—yet this simply means friendship and respect. In North America, we do not. We need to carefully define masculine and feminine traits.
I want to define something that at one level is quite simple yet at another level can be hard to grasp. I want to define sex. No, not that kind of sex. I mean male and female—sex. Gender, in our modern discourse, often refers to the accidental and sometimes wished-for properties of humans. Sex, however, points to a concrete reality on the basis of biological and metaphysical norms for males and females.
But to even speak of these things risks falling on either side of a ditch. On one side, patriarchalism embraces male-centred power for the sake of exploitation. I should note that not every patriarchal society has, as a whole, done so. But I mean specifically the newer and so admittedly fleeting definition of patriarchalism. Some will want to push back on my ahistorical definition. So be it.
On the other side lies indifference to sex. As the current story goes, sexual powers only exist as accidental properties—ones which can change and mutate. A man may become a woman or an even irrational animal. Yet such a view misunderstands the nature of sex. Gender fluidity masks, ignores, or makes one indifferent to the essential properties of what makes a male, male and a female, female.
In sum, patriarchalism (male exploitation) vitiates the natural virtues belonging to men and women; denying a difference in the sexual powers of men and women vitiates the beauty and perfection of sex according to nature.
Staying on the path—and so avoiding the hazards on either side—takes a great deal of resistance and courage. It also takes mental effort, which we sometimes overlook. Too often we try to keep on the narrow path by imposing unnatural and accidental properties of gender unto sex, as if these things alone make up sex.
Take the colour pink. After the Second World War, pink became associated with femininity. Not so in earlier eras. Should women then wear pink and men wear blue? Perhaps. But to push for such a conception runs the danger of tripping into yet another hazard: reading cultural norms into the essence of maleness and femaleness.
But do we want to play the game of ascribing certain characteristics (how someone speaks, or their mannerisms) as being masculine or feminine? In many parts of the Middle East and Africa, men hold hands or arms or embrace or kiss—yet this simply means friendship and respect. In North America, we do not. We need to carefully define masculine and feminine traits.