“One is not born, but rather becomes, woman.” This is perhaps one of the most quoted lines from Simone de Beauvoir’s work; she is one of the first feminists to claim that gender is a social construct. Since then, the popularization of the “social construction of gender” has mushroomed. Denying that gender is a product of culture can get you branded as “sexist” or “misogynistic.”
By Ryan Lau | @agorisms
On October 17th, Fox News released a stunning headline. It read, “Hungary bans gender studies because it is ‘an ideology not a science'”. The article prompted vast social media responses, both positive and negative. Some proponents declared that the Euroskeptic nation is moving away from the liberal policies of the EU. On the other hand, others declared that this was going against the desires and interests of many Hungarian students.
In the heated discussions, there was one thing missing: the facts. The thing is, the Fox headline, as well as many other news headlines on the subject, got it all wrong: Hungary is not banning gender studies at all.
A Shaky Headline
Looking at the headline instantly brings about a fair degree of suspicion about its validity. Colleges all throughout the world teach many things besides sciences. In many cases, such courses do fall under the category of ideology. In fact, some, such as political theory, dedicate themselves solely to the study of ideology.
This calls into the question the validity of the Hungarian claim that the decree is due to ideology. At least, it proves a degree of hypocrisy on the part of the Hungarian government for only taking action towards one form of ideology. Yet, even their action against gender studies is quite limited.
Hungary’s New Gender Studies Policy
In reality, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban did sign a decree about gender studies. Effective October 13th, the government did remove federal funding and revoked approval for the master’s program. As such, students admittedly cannot currently sign up to take the program with federal funding.
However, they did not in any way address anything related to undergraduate gender studies. Moreover, the university insisted it will still teach the program to give both MA and Ph.D. degrees.
Further still, the decree did nothing to address gender studies in private schools and universities. There is a clear distinction between a ban and a removal of funding; the latter does not criminalize the act in question. Hungary, clearly, did not make it illegal for someone to practice gender studies. They furthermore will not be giving anyone a punishment for doing so. A lack of funding is not punishment; it is an inaction, not a negative action.
So, the claim, which Fox News, Independent, and many other organizations made, is false. Though the Hungarian government took away federal funding and support for gender studies, they did not do anything to prohibit its practice.
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Nate Galt | United States
Much of the current political discussion surrounds the controversial topic of privilege – many believe that the white race has more privileges than people of color do, and others believe that straight people are better off in society than homosexuals. While those categories may make one privileged at a certain place and time, there is no bigger privilege than wealth. Wealth, universally, gives someone opportunities and offers them more possibilities. If they happen to be a billionaire who is a transgender, lesbian, African-American woman, they are infinitely more privileged than a heterosexual white homeless man. The privilege of wealth trumps any other supposed notion of privilege.
“White privilege” is a term used by those who label themselves “progressive” or as a crusader for “social justice”, to say that white people have many privileges that non-whites do not have. This phrase can also be combined with “male privilege,” “straight privilege,” or “cisgender privilege.” A popular talking point in their circles is that statistically, being white reduces your risk of being shot by a police officer and being male reduces your chances of being raped. While these statistics are certainly true, minimizing those chances does not indicate privilege. Special programs that encourage gender and racial diversity in the classroom and in the workplace have been created. One such program, Affirmative Action, decreases the chances of a white man getting accepted into college. Men are approximately three times more likely to be homeless than women are, and are at a higher risk of committing suicide. One group is not more privileged than another; each group has its own hardships.
A notable “progressive” description of white privilege appeared as a musical skit on the A.B.C. channel on Australian television. The segment depicts two people trying to cross a stream. One person, who is said to be a straight white man who speaks English and was born in a peaceful nation, waits with a woman who the writers say cannot speak English, has dark skin, and is a refugee. The segment shows the methods that each person uses to cross the rapid. The writers say that since the white man is inherently privileged because of the color of his skin, he uses teleportation to get across. The skit then shows the woman swimming across the stream and then getting sick. The lyrics of the segment say that because she is female, cannot speak English in an English-speaking country, and has brown skin, she has to swim across the stream. As a result, she catches a cold. This description of privilege could be no further from the truth. The justification for the man using teleportation is that he has certain privilege that the woman does not. Not all heterosexual white men have privileges that darker-skinned refugee women do not. The deciding factor of who has or does not have privilege is wealth and/or material possessions. LeBron James, a multimillionaire African-American legendary basketball player, has many more doors open for him than an impoverished white man. Even if James were to become transgender and subsequently come out as a homosexual, he would still have privilege that the aforementioned poor white man would not.
Phrases such as “white privilege” are extremely divisive rhetoric. Implying that someone is privileged because of their sex, sexual orientation, or the color of their skin will divide people into several distinct groups at odds with each other. Instead of uniting one another and saying that no matter who we are, we are fellow Americans, some keep pushing identity politics. Our country is already divided into two distinct camps as a result of the congressional duopoly of Democrats and Republicans. Dividing the United States of America any further could cause an inseparable rift.
Political discourse must move away from “white privilege” or any other category which is not based on wealth. The wealthy, no matter their skin color or their gender, are incredibly more privileged than a poor person of any race. Every group has their hardships that society should work to fix. We, as a community, should combat these struggles together. Preaching identity politics in the name of fighting nonexistent “white privilege” will only drive us farther apart.
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By Mason Mohon | @mohonofficial
America’s run-of-the-mill slightly progressive feminist will bring up the same ailment of industrial society regardless of whether or not he or she is an actual radical leftist. This ailment is the wage gap. It is the feminist exhibit A of why the patriarchy is in full force and working day and night to oppress women.
By Jason Patterson | USA
The gender pay gap is by young female adults who choose jobs that pay less, a major study has found.
Even though teenage girls have a higher chance of attending a university, their male counterparts tend to major in professions with higher paying salaries, as the University College London (UCL)’s Institute for Education has shown in their latest study.
“Importance of recognizing the role of both boys’ and girls’ choices in perpetuating labor market inequalities” Professor Lucinda Platt, reported.
Shortly after she added that teenagers should be “encouraged and supported to think beyond gender roles and consider a range of future career options.”
Research has proven that girls thought they had a 71 percent chance of going to university, and 14 percent of girls were certain they would attend one.
On the other hand, with boys, the average expectation was 63 percent, and just under 10 percent were certain they would attend university.
They then asked what career aspirations the young people may have, and the average hourly wage for the occupations that girls aspired to was 27 percent lower than the boys.
Over 7,700 teenagers in the UK who are all part of the Millennium Cohort Study, a study which has followed their lives since they were born at the turn of the century.
When they were asked these questions at 14, the most popular jobs for both boys and girls included some highly-paid careers. However, the pay among the jobs girls aspired to was on average much lower.
In this study, they did not include the option of becoming a professional sports player due to the overwhelming majority wanting to play in the NFL and the NBA and according to the NCAA, only 1.7 percent of college football players and 0.08 percent of high school players play at any professional level. Only 1.3 percent of college hockey players and 0.1 percent of high school players play professionally. In basketball, only 1.2 percent of male and 0.9 percent of female college players play pro ball; for both, only 0.03 percent of high school players make it. And only 1 percent of college soccer players and 0.04 percent of high school players go pro.
Girls wanted to be either a medical profession, a secondary school teacher, a singer, the legal profession, a vet, a nurse or a midwife. For the boys, it was a professional sportsman, a software developer, an engineer, the army, or an architect.
Males and Females both favored jobs where the workforce was dominated by their own sex. Boys chose occupations with an average workforce that is 74 percent male, while girls chose jobs where women make up 59 percent of the workforce.
The final statements were by Dr. Sam Parsons, a co-author, saying he was surprised to find such “gendered differences” in young people’s aspirations. He said that “Despite aiming high academically and professionally, girls still appear to be aiming for less well-paid jobs.”