What would a gender-free world look like?

This entry by Burning Ax is so great and on point for this blog that I want to reproduce a large part of it verbatim.

Let me describe to you what kind of world gender abolitionists actually dream about:

When a child would be born it’s biological sex, being an actual physical reality, would be noticed but not a single assumption regarding the child’s personality would be made based on it.

Growing up, children would be free to chose what toys and clothes they prefer. If they want to play with toy trucks or dolls, it would be fine either way. If they want to dress comfortably or in frilly colorful dresses, it would be fine. Regardless of the child’s biological sex.

Certain personality traits would not be encouraged in members of one sex and discouraged in the other. Females would be free to be strong, brave and assertive and males would not be shamed for being shy and soft spoken.

No female child would be called a tomboy and no male child would be called a sissy. No kid would ever be bullied for what we in our gendered world call “gender expression”.

When children would reach puberty they would still be free to dress how they want. Females would not be pressured to wear clothes that reveal their bodies and males would not be shamed if they chose to. Everybody would have a free choice of accessories, which would not be categorized as “men’s” or “women’s” but people could should whichever they liked. Or chose to not wear accessories at all if that’s what they are more comfortable with.

Females would not be pressured to keep their bodies slim, soft and hairless. Males would not be pressured to be athletic and muscular. Expectations of femininity and masculinity upon the body would not exist and affect negatively people’s relationship with their own body.

Everyone could choose a career without fearing stigmatization within that particular field because of their biological sex. The most important thing would be competence and not what someone has between their legs.

Domestic work would not be considered “women’s work” and would be shared equally between the sexes.

Biological sex would only be thought about when relevant. Like for example in regards to issues surrounding sexual activity, reproduction or treatment of medical conditions related to a person’s biological sex.

And everyone would be free to be themselves without ever having to worry about gender expectations. Nobody would feel the need to repress certain parts of their personality and exaggerate others in order to fit into some gender role that is being forced on them.

This is somewhat simplified but this is what gender abolitionists fight for when we fight for a gender-free world. Not some oppressive dictatorship were diversity is forbidden.

This is the manifesto of anti-genderism right there. This is what it’s all about. Thank you Burning Ax for such a great entry.

2 thoughts on “What would a gender-free world look like?

  1. Independent Radical November 4, 2014 at 17:56

    I think this conception of gender abolition is somewhat liberal and individualistic. Ironically, though, liberals reject gender abolition in favour of the absurd notion that there is such a thing as a body that “matches” or “does not match” one’s personality (or “gender identity”, whatever that means), but this description is consistent with the liberal belief that a person’s choices should be beyond criticism and that “moralising” is bad.

    My vision of gender abolition involves abolishing the categories of “masculinity” and “femininity” (and the belief that a person’s genitals somehow determine which behaviours are morally right or appropriate for them to partake in) and replacing them with the categories of “morally good” and “morally bad”. In my view most of the characteristics that society praises as masculine (e.g. aggression, violence, selfishness, emotionlessness, etc.) are in fact negative traits that no person should have, even if they feel it is part of “who they are”, because such traits cause harm to others. Many of the characteristics that are praised as “feminine” (e.g. passivity, a desire to please others, an obsession with prettiness, etc.) are also harmful, but in a different way, since they lead to subordination.

    The article you quoted focuses on aspects of masculinity and femininity (as they are defined by the culture, I recognise that no trait is inherently masculine or feminine) that are less obviously harmful and ignores more harmful expressions of masculinity and femininity (e.g. physical violence and extreme beauty practices.) I am concerned that less harmful feminine behaviours (e.g. playing with dolls that are designed to be prettified, wearing highly sexualised clothing, etc.) may contribute to women adopting more harmful behaviours later on (e.g. starving oneself in an attempt to become skinnier, getting breast implants, etc.) Male’s desire to be muscular is not morally neutral either, it’s related to the belief that men ought to be violent and dominating.

    I do not think that putting an end to most of the behaviours, toys, clothing, etc. that are considered “masculine” or “feminine” will put an end to individuality and force everyone to be the same. I think that in a post-capitalist, post-patriarchal society we will have a whole new set of toys that do not revolve around aggression, violence or prettines. People tend to think that producing and consuming only gender neutral toys will abolish individuality because toy companies produce very few toys that are deemed gender neutral, so if we were to produce only those kinds of toys (e.g. white bouncy balls) then all toys would be the same.

    In reality, a socialist/anarchist society would not be limited to producing the same toys that are produced in our society and simplying making them available to everybody regardless of their genitals. The author of the blog you quote seems to still be working within the limits imposed by the current order. In fact this person’s vision can be acheived simply by changing the labels on toys/clothing/accessories and changing the advertisements related to them. I would not be opposed to such changes of course (nobody should face descrimination because they do not adhere to gender norms) but I do not see them as being all that radical either.

    • Francois Tremblay November 4, 2014 at 18:38

      You make a lot of good points. You’re right that the author hasn’t included the more toxic aspects of masculinity and makes it sound as if every choice is equally valid. The vision need to be amended…

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