Extreme Gender Ideology Comes for the American Anthropological Association

anthropology conference cancelled gender
Anna Skurat, CC BY 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Extreme gender ideology has permeated every facet of our lives, from the cartoons my four-year-old watches to medicine. We’ve all heard the stories of bathroom bills aimed at protecting – or harming – girls depending on your political flavor, and institutions of higher learning attempting to alter the words we’ve accepted as appropriate vernacular for hundreds of years.

What isn’t reported on enough is just how deep the gender ideology rot has become and the repercussions this push to erase women can and will have in the future. This week, a group of scientists primarily in anthropology were unceremoniously canceled by the American Anthropological Association.

Set to speak on the importance of sex as a binary construct in their fields later this year, they were told in a two-paragraph letter that they no longer were welcome and, worse yet, that their presence would “cause harm.”

Make no bones about it: it’s not just women in the crosshairs of gender ideologists; science itself is also a prime enemy.

It’s time to bone up

This November, a group of seven scientists was set to chair a panel at an annual conference held by the American Anthropological Association (AAA) and the Canadian Anthropology Society (CASCA) titled “Let’s Talk About Sex, Baby: Why biological sex remains a necessary analytic category in anthropology.”

Just to bring everyone up to speed, here is how the UC Davis Department of Anthropology defines this scientific discipline:

Anthropology is the systematic study of humanity, with the goal of understanding our evolutionary origins, our distinctiveness as a species, and the great diversity in our forms of social existence across the world and through time.

So, we’re talking about the stuff that makes us, well, us.

I was allowed to read through the panel summary that the scientists had provided the AAA and CASCA earlier this year that initially got them approval for their discussion.

Within the session description, they wrote:

“While it has become increasingly common in anthropology and public life to substitute ‘sex’ with ‘gender,’ there are multiple domains of research in which biological sex remains irreplaceably relevant to anthropological analysis.”

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Seems obvious. The summary went on to explain:

“This diverse international panel brings together scholars from socio-cultural anthropology, archaeology, and biological anthropology who describe why in their work gender is not helpful and only sex will do.”

Each scientist lays out, in summary, a brief rundown of why understanding sex as a binary and focusing on sex versus gender, from forensic anthropology used to identify victims of crime to the diminishment of opportunities for women in various sectors due to AI programming.

For a novice science geek, this sounds like a fascinating albeit over-my-head dialogue that anyone would benefit from, particularly those within the given field of study – who would’ve thought it’d be dangerous?

A bone to pick 

With no forewarning or questions for clarification, the panelists received a letter signed by the Presidents of the AAA and CASCA this week letting them know their panel has been canceled.

They wrote:

“This decision was based on extensive consultation and was reached in the spirit of respect for our values, the safety and dignity of our members, and the scientific integrity of the program.”

How weak we have become, particularly in the scientific community, that a panel discussion on sex as a binary construct could be a safety hazard.

They continue:

“The reason the session deserved further scrutiny was that the ideas were advanced in such a way as to cause harm to members represented by the Trans and LGBTQI of the anthropological community as well as the community at large.”

Ideas do not cause harm to anyone; the free expression of ideas and open debate of conflicting thoughts leads to progress. This is especially true, and necessary, of scientific inquiry.

But that’s not what the AAA and CASCA want, as they make clear in the following statement:

“It is our hope that we continue to work together so that we become stronger and more unified within each of our associations.”

Be wary of any ‘scientific’ organization that pushes for unity of thought. That’s merely fancy speak for Group Think – of which nothing good, and no science, has ever come. 

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The bare bones

The irony of the decision made by AAA and CASCA is that the panel itself is incredibly diverse, as illustrated in the response from the panelists:

“In addition to having three fields of anthropology presented in our panel, our panel also included anthropologists from four countries with three languages – an international panel concerned about the erasure of women.”

One member also happens to be a lesbian. Not that any of the above should matter because our gender, sexual preference, or country of origin shouldn’t be a deciding factor in whether someone is qualified enough to speak on a given subject – but that is where we are in society.

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Panel member and anthropologist Elizabeth Weiss explained in her summary:

“Anthropologists’ ability to determine whether a skeleton is male or female is not dependent on time or culture; the same traits can be used to make a sex estimate in a forensic case in Canada, or to estimate sex in a Paleoindian dated around 11,500 years ago in Brazil.”

In short, when you get down to the brass tacks or bare bones of it all, sex is binary. Our cultural proclivities and trend fetishes of any given time don’t change the nature of our bones.

I Wanna Sex You Up

The blurring of sex and gender has mucked things up, and not just in college locker rooms and doctor’s offices. I could decide today that I will solely wear men’s clothing, change my name to Karl, and even start having my body chemically and surgically altered to look like a man.

But after I’m dead and gone, and my skin and organs have melted away into the Earth, my bones will remain that of a woman. Sex matters, and it matters that it remains binary for more than just skeletons like good old Lucy.

As social anthropologist and professor Silvia Carrasco would’ve discussed during the panel, higher education has seemed to attempt to remove sex, thus removing women, stating the importance of understanding:

“…the intriguing disappearance of sex in the education against sex-based oppression, violence, and exploitation.”

Sex is real, and to deny it is to deny the real-life unique reality and trauma women currently face worldwide and have since the dawn of time. Professor Weiss said of the decision to have the panel canceled:

“It is unfortunate that anthropology has become a field in which debate and diverse viewpoints are no longer welcome.”

It chills me to my bones to think what will happen to us if sex is erased for good. 

CASCA and AAA have not responded to our request for comment as of publication time.

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