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Politics, Sex and Gender

The Huffington Post logo The Huffington Post 19/02/2016 Dr. Ruth Nemzoff
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Many millennials believe we are post-gender. That gender doesn't matter. Not a surprise - many in this generation believe there is no binary. That means there are not males and females. We are all on a continuum. And If there is no binary there is no need to elect a woman president to ensure sexual opportunity and equity.

While "no binary" is an interesting theory, if breaks down if you need an abortion. Or if you believe that females should be included in medical studies since different hormones manifest themselves differently in some diseases. Or if you need time off at work to deliver a baby or want to breastfeed your baby. Of course parents all along the continuum should have support for adopting, fostering, or giving birth to babies. The traditional model of a female mother, a male father, and biological children has become less and less adequate for describing parenthood. Single parents, transgendered parents, gay parents, and adoptive parents all deserve to have the same rights from society, the government, educational institutions, and employers.
The older generation thinks somewhat differently. Older folks might be willing to concede that we are still learning the extent of the differences in the behaviors and emotions of males and females. There are a lot fewer differences than we thought and many of those differences are socially constructed, not innate to males or females. However, we still believe men and women are biologically different. We just don't know how different they are. We believe there is a binary and that the needs of women are sometimes different from the needs of men and vice versa. That binary may derive from past societal practices, or current ones, or they may be the result of different bodily characteristics and needs.
The fact that young people feel there is no binary is a tribute to the success of the second wave of feminism. We told our sons and daughters they could be anything they want to be, and fair enough they took us at our word. Professions and occupations have become more hospitable to people of both traditional genders as well as to those all along the gender continuum, though there is a long way to go for all members of our society to feel accepted, respected, and accommodated. Girls, boys, gays, and transgendered people play sports together, participate in the same extracurricular activities, and go to parties together. There is less difference in their daily lives than in earlier times.
Differences don't emerge into the limelight until the reproductive years and then these young people will be in for a surprise. However, the younger generation is unlikely to encounter this difference until they are older since they are marrying later than we did, if they marry at all. Many of them do not intend to have children.
Each wave of women wanting to change the status of women (commonly called feminists) has criticized the generation that has gone before. It did not do enough or in the right way. There is rarely praise or recognition for how the older generation improved on the past and at what cost.
Hillary is the victim of the success of feminist change. "That was then, this is now," they say. Then we needed women role models. Now we have them. Sadly "then" can become "now" all too quickly . We have seen this with the eroding of reproductive rights. I hope the younger generation will think twice before biting the hand that fed them. Before disregarding Hillary, think about what she has accomplished for YOU. Like all previous leaders she did not do everything but she has shown she can do somethings to help women.
A vote for Bernie might be a vote for a Republican victor. Bernie's idealism is attractive, but can he deliver on his promises?

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