people really don’t get gender.
but before children are ‘programmed’ by our systems of education and cultural paradigm, they seem not to be so confused about it.
the problem is that this conditioning happens so soon and through so many venues. television gets to them of course, but even before this, the ‘sins of the fathers are visited on the children,’ as it were.
parents mean no harm. they are merely acting the way they were taught, by their parents. who were also acting out the patterns imposed upon them. and so on and so forth.
culture carries with it a number of benefits. but equally it passes on things of detriment; stereotypes about race and gender, classism, xenophobia and a host of other peculiar items that run counter to an equitable and peaceful society.
my daughter asked me the other day, why people of this present age are so ashamed of their bodies. i thought this would be another of our talks about her body and how it doesn’t line up with who she is, i worried she was ashamed.
so i asked her what she meant.
‘well’ she said ‘native people used to not always wear clothing. unless it was cold or something’
after breathing a sigh of relief, i began to explain to her a concept i had learned about in a course in cultural anthropology when i was at university.
it was ‘the super-organic nature of culture’. it is concerned with the fact that cultural mores are so powerful as to cause humans to act in ways contrary to their organic needs.
like wearing a three-piece suit in the middle of summer, when as far as our bodies are concerned, we’d be better off with no clothes on.
her simple question opened up a conversation on how cultures differ and how they can clash, a subject we had already broached somewhat in our history lessons as we explore the tragedy that resulted from the clash between the european cultures and the indigenous peoples of the western hemisphere.
it would be nice to think we have learned our lessons from all of this history. but truly, and obivously we haven’t. especially when it comes to tolerance of differences as regards gender and sexual orientation.
readers of this blog will have no need of examples to prove this point, of course.
but a most interesting thing happened the other day. someone insinuated that perhaps the fact of my bi-sexuality made me inordinantly accepting of zeeona’s being transgender, which otherwise ignored or at least not supported, might have turned out to be only a phase.
it seemed one of the more ignorant things i’d ever heard.
as a parent, in this day and age when even being ‘just gay’ is still a source of ostracism and bullying for our children, causing them much pain even to the point of suicide, it is ridiculous to think that we would try to ‘make’ our kids gay, much less urge them to be transgender!
as a member of the gay community, and one who has felt the sting of societal rejection, oppression and cruelty, it is absolutely ludicrus to think that i would attempt to force my child into being something she’s not knowing full well what sort of discrimination and pain she would have to learn to endure.
but such is the mindset of those whose cultural conditioning has restricted their ability to reason. this is the result of the programming to which they were subjected.
i think that these sorts of mindsets, this sort of programming is also an example of the ‘super-organic nature of culture.’ because it causes humans to behave in ways contrary to not the individual’s organic needs but to the organic needs of society.
the family of humankind on this fragile planet is an organic thing, with needs to ensure it’s health and future. it seems to me that evolution of this particular organic entity is going to require a quantum shift in the arena of cultural mores.
if this doesn’t happen, what hope of a world without wars is there? what hope of a world of not just peaceful co-existence but of joyous appreciation of the variety within it’s being?
so we must begin the process of creating a new paradigm. and we must quit contaminating our children with failed cultural values. perhaps take their example more often
it’s simpler to say it this way: ‘unless ye become as children, ye shall in no wise enter the kingdom of heaven’