Friday, December 5, 2014

Gender: A Word Worth Saving?

Sister Prudence Allen, obstinately redeeming gender
I have been largely skeptical about efforts to revive words or ideas that the left has either invented or eventually swamped. Take feminism, for instance. Even John Paul II talking about the New Feminism made some of us itchy. How can you make nectar out of something that was poison to begin with?

For the same reason, I have been highly critical of this word “gender.” We have fought over gender for three decades at the UN. At the Beijing women’s conference in 1995, pro-life lobbyist wore buttons that said, “Sex is Better than Gender.”

We have both won and lost on gender at the UN. Gender was defined pretty well in the document that came out of the Beijing women’s conference—“Gender is to be understood as it has traditionally been understood.” But Beijing was a resolution without any binding effect.

Gender is defined much more strongly in the hard-law Rome Statutes establishing the International Criminal Court where it is defined as “men and women in the context of society.” Of course, “in the context of society” is the left’s wiggle room. Still, it’s a pretty solid definition and ought to be the end of it. No chance.  (more...)

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