Elimination of bipolar cultural gender paradigms as a means to human parity
All human beings carry
within themselves an ever-unfolding idea of
who they are and what they are capable of achieving.
'97 International Bill of Gender Rights
The Right to Define Gender Identity
Current "Western" cultural gender role and expression paradigms are based on a non-industrialized society largely defined within early Judeo-Christian experience and other similar patriarchal social models. The industrial revolution brought with it an exponentially advancing technology affecting the previous traditional genetic sex-based gender roles. Any physical advantages of the masculine genotype which were traditionally believed to mandate the division of social and economic roles based on genetic sex began to lose importance in the overall societal model. Likewise, advances in science and medicine make it technically feasible for a male to bear a child (zygote implantation for an ectopic pregnancy and subsequent caesarian delivery), which negates the assertion of a strictly female child bearing and rearing role. This reality obviates any further need to continue to adhere to the antiquated bipolar gender role and expression paradigms within the current world culture. The world is poised on the brink of a significant gender evolution.
In the United States, as more women moved out of the traditional home-based, masculine-subservient gender roles, particularly in the post World War II decades, the lack of parity became obvious with women being subjected to irrational discrimination resulting from the erroneous cultural stereotypes of women's technical skills and abilities. Women were and to a large degree still continue to be presumed incompetent outside the home-based gender role. Much of the prevailing social attitude resulted from traditionally male-controlled economic and political power, and lack of equal educational opportunities for women. The "birthright" of male privilege held women in an economically and politically disadvantaged position.
The women's rights and liberation movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s began the realize the opportunity of women to wield political power--a movement made historically possible through the earlier achievement of suffrage. Although significant strides were made politically, the movement still fell short of attaining all of its goals. The shortfall was brought about by a conservative backlash which included women who felt alienated by the movement.
In the zealous effort to break free from the constraints of the traditional gender role assigned to women, a new equally constrained gender model was promulgated--the new stereotype "bra burner" arose, which from the perspective of most men and a number of women became an assault on "femininity" with a perceived attempt to "masculinize" women. The sign of the times was de rigueur of traditionally masculine style fashion for women. Gender roles were still mired in the firmly demarcated bipolar genetic sex-based constraint.
The ultimate solution to achieving human parity is through deconstruction of the bipolar model of any sort of genetic sex-based cultural gender paradigm. This is not to be confused with the androgyny concepts of the 1970s which were equally constraining to the individual. It revolves around the concept of fundamental human rights of self-determination and self-definition which include self-definition of role within the social milieu. The theory aligns itself with the whole of human experience which transcends the myriad of genetic sex-based cultural models. Existent within every culture since recorded history began, significant numbers of people broke the shackles of the genetic sex-based models. It is from these examples that we can draw the more natural thesis that human self-identities, abilities, and social positions cannot be defined in terms based solely on genetic sex.
We can no longer fight on behalf of a strictly genetic sex-based rights movement per se. To do so acknowledges a continuation of a polarized cultural construct based on gender role paradigms, and foments a reactionary male counter-movement. The movement must broaden to a "gender" rights movement founded on the principles of individual right to self-definition, which leads to the right to freely express one's self-identity. None of the current goals of the movement are negated. In fact, the concept takes the freedom of choice, equal opportunity, and elimination of economic and political disadvantage to an even higher level of morality and ethics for the core cultural definition.
© 1996, San Antonio, Texas
Last revised: Sunday, March 26, 2000