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The Abolition of Woman

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On a warm September midnight during my sophomore year of college, I sat by my dorm-room window and listened to twenty young men sing an Irish folk song at my request. These men are known as the Birthday Singers, and they continue a decades-old campus tradition of singing for each female student on her birthday. They sing to be chivalrous. They sing to honor the ladies of the college. They sing because they're men, and we're women, and there's a beautiful difference between us that deserves to be recognized.

Radical feminists and gender theorists would probably cringe at this anecdote, and I don't blame them. After all, recognizing the differences between men and women and treating different things as different is becoming taboo in some places. Many would read that word “different” as “unequal” and cry sexism. They would complain that chivalrous actions reinforce the stereotype of women as weak, emotional beings opposite oppressive men. They might even take issue with the words “men” and “women,” and accuse me of “gendering” these people who may identify as the opposite gender or as some third thing besides male or female. But the problem with these gender-based contentions is that, although they claim to promote gender equality, and especially women's interests, they're actually erasing all the lines that allow femininity and other "genders" to exist.

What is a woman, anyway? Radical feminism argues that women are the same as men, only with a different reproductive system, and modern gender theory defines “woman” as “anyone who identifies as a woman.” Trouble is, you can't use the word you're defining in the definition, so the definition of woman becomes intrinsically meaningless. The consequence of these ideas is that nothing is actually masculine or feminine, so nothing should be limited to or marketed toward a specific gender. Radical feminism says femininity doesn't exist, and modern gender theory says genders don't exist.

So much for furthering the interests of women. I'd rather listen to the young men singing at my window.

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