Oct 28 2005

He’s Gay, Jim


First, and most importantly: Sulu comes out at last!

Second: Science Daily reports that the Netherlands is considering banning the burka on the grounds that it "could be used to conceal a terrorist." Which strikes me as completely cockamamie–since terrorists can just as easily be concealed in a pair of Dockers, or in a violin case–and and makes me yearn for that clear blue sunny day when governments decide to knock it off with the kneejerk banning of irrelevant stuff, already.

But then I read something like this, where couples in the throes of IVF in a Houston clinic are actually choosing the sex of their kids, and I want to puke a little, and kind of wish that somebody would kneejerkily ban it. I wish this because the whole idea of so-called "social sex selection" is predicated on the notion that one sex is better than another, which notion, it just so happens, is the driving force behind one of human history’s most popular perniciousnesses, the oppression of women.

It will lead to no good, I tell you whut.


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  1. Becker

    Let me be the first to commend George Takei for his integrity and bravery in admitting he is appearing in Equus. That just takes balls.

  2. Meribeth

    Move over on the barf bucket, Twisty. I need it too. People are so foolish when they do this. Not pausing to think that they are messing with the natural order of Life. Insane! India is having very serious problems with this since they have been practicing sex selection for a while. They are running out of girls in the population….and that will open a whole new can of worms.
    (no pun intended)

  3. MsKate

    Let them select precious boys over booby prize girls, even if it isn’t for the highly valid genetic reasons that my high school friend wanted to select only girls.

    Why? Too few women means competition for said women. It means women have more choices and higher status. It means THINGS CHANGE!

    Who the fuck is going to want one of these precious spoiled hand-picked male spawn as overgrown child adult husbands if they have options?

    India and China have too many people for their resources – and so does the US for that matter. Perhaps a subtle shift in demographics would do the world a bit of good.

  4. Kara

    Actually, one bioethics committee or another felt that IVF sex selection should only be offered to parents who only have one or more kids of one sex. Which makes sense. Want a fun fact? There’s a study in Nature this month claiming that, in Sao Paolo at least, pollution is skewing the gender ratio towards girls. Those wussy Y-chromosomes and male fetuses just don’t hold up as well as girls, I guess.

  5. Kyra

    “couples in the throes of IVF”

    Usually, throes happen during the *other* type of fertilization.

  6. David

    There is no misogyny in my blog.

  7. Buffalo Gal

    At least so far, the shortage of women hasn’t enhanced their status in India or China, according to things I’ve read. (I know one has to allow for non-white-american-european bias in articles about this stuff, but just sayin’) I think the status of women has to change before we are regarded as some sort of commodity, in short or plentiful supply.

  8. mythago

    Is allowing IVF sex selection any worse than letting couples keep “trying for the boy” and having girl children they don’t want and consider inferior to a son?

  9. Neil the Ethical Werewolf

    I can imagine a situation where I and my future wife, after having a son or two, would use IVF to choose a girl. Some people might just want a fuller spectrum of parenting experiences, and that doesn’t seem wrong to me.

  10. Lil

    Hmm, I do think Neil has a point, but I wonder if there is really such a thing as an ethical werewolf.

    On the parent issue, my concern is that most adults are way to screwed up to be trusted with innocent, vulnerable children, no matter which gender they get. On the matter of IVF, where adults, screwed up or not, are trying to force nature into spewing forth more human beings — I just wonder why people can’t adopt. There are so many children in need of homes. It seems so selfish to me.

    Okay, give me an earful. But I thought I’d put the point out there.

  11. The Fat Lady Sings

    Sulu gay? Cool! Let’s hope we all live long enough where this ‘news’ simply won’t be news at all. As for choosing your child’s sex – most couples do that already without even thinking about it. Older men tend to have girls – so do men who smoke a lot of marijuana. Sounds like the boomer and post-boomer generation to me!

  12. Ron Sullivan

    You’re right about the burqas, of course, but have you seen The Battle of Algiers? IIRC, you can hide a machine gun under those too. Or your beard.

    And for that “full range of parenting experiences” you could adopt a girl and have a two-fer. A girl with FAS, or some other “special need.” Siamese Siamese twins? There’s a big gene pool out there, folks.

  13. res publica

    Okay, I’m not a parent, so I’m probably speaking way out of my competence here, but then that’s pretty much my MO anyway… It seems to me that the really amazing thing about being a parent is that you make this little critter that will become a full-blown person, and although your genetics and your family life will influence that person, she or he will fundamentally be a…suprise? Unique? Unexpected? New? I have a hard time wrapping my head around people’s desire to select this or that about their kids. Doesn’t anyone just love the kid they get anymore, or does everyone have to get the kid they’re sure they’ll love?

  14. res publica

    Oh yeah, I forgot: gay Sulu = coolest thing EVER. I totally want to get gay married to him, so we can menace the institution of marriage together.

  15. jc.

    Unfortunately the possible banning of the burqua in holland is not just a kneejerk reaction but is part of the ongoing and historical european tradition of populist political exploitation of european cultural ignorance, fear and unwarranted sense of ethnic superiority. The european tradition of colonialismen and labour exploitation of many hundreds of years is very much a large contributing factor to 9/11, the mess in Iraq, Isreal, islamic fudentmentalism and oppressive backward Moslem governments. The european responsibility and historical guilt in the world situation has never been dealt with not even at the same level of americas incomplete struggle with its slave holding past and consenquences. Instead in nation after nation pandering pig politicians choose to ban Islamic womans wear (which like the mini skirt and high heels are sexually motivated oppressive clothing symbols) under one pretense or another, usually claiming some sort of “enlightened christian/socialist democratic equality” concern for our moslem sisters. Fake concern for the rights of woman and the to “safeguard” our secular western society have resulted in governmental interference in clothing in france and sweden has been debating a “shawl” ban for years. In one fell swoop politicians can gain the support of skinheads and communists who can find a legitamate outlet for their racism. Such bans of course polarise the situation and make the the victim the criminal. But these laws are much more popular, simpler and cheaper than dealing with european colonialism (past and present), spending money on real educational initiatives for ethnic europeans and immigrants and laws and programs which ensure that immigrants & ethnic minorities are assured a part of the european pie which they have helped make.
    The fake concern of the western world has been used time and again as a mask for our real agendas (russians and americans in afghanistan) and of course have not benifited the islamic woman but instead has resulted in patriarchal backlash. Islamic retro-retards have been able to eploit our obvious insincerity and hypocrisy to gain support for their own social ignorance.

  16. Sophie

    I recently read about two adoption child-selling stories, one in France where pregnant women from Eastern Europe countries were smuggled in just in time to deliver babies under the adoptive family names for money, and another story about the selling of Chinese babies.

    The stories in themselves, were rather unsurprising but what really got to me were the price tags (these are those of the first story but the Chinese ones had similar differences) :
    – 5000 euros for a baby girl
    – 6000 euros for a baby boy

    The society I live in certainly makes me feel I’m only worth 83% of any male.

  17. Twisty

    But you guys! Consider the deeply patriarchal origins of the idea of family balancing, or as Neil calls it, “the fuller spectrum of parenting experiences.” What is tacitly acknowledged here is the social construct of the boy-girl dichotomy that is at the root of all oppression everywhere. Why should having, say, a boy and a girl make a family any more “balanced” than having two of the same? Because one perceives that girls and boys are not equal, that’s why.

    I neglected to mention in the original post, possibly because it always pisses everybody off, that reproduction of any kind in a world where the current human population is unsustainable by what is conservatively estimated to be a factor of 1000 is, perhaps, somewhat irresponsible.

    Meanwhile, thank you JC for the Europe-sucks analysis. It is not a viewpoint often expressed in liberal American forums, where we usually content ourselves with bitching about American imperialism, and like to imagine that cooler heads are prevailing in the more enlightened countries across the pond.

  18. Grace

    Actually, many American couples who want to sex-select their children are trying for a girl. Apparently hyper American moms think girls are “easier” – cause less havoc, easier to control. I blame the patriarchy.

    Chinese classmates have also told me that in China, urban couples want girls because it’s traditional for the groom’s parents to buy the couple their first apartment, and real estate costs something like $10,000 a square foot. So you have cities full of girls and rural areas full of boys. The sociological consequences can only be imagined.

    I’ve also heard we’re only overpopulated by about a factor of 3. But it depends on your definition. In any case, yeah, the fertility industry creeps me out.

  19. Anonymous

    and let’s not forget the havoc wreaked by an excess population of unmarried young men who don’t have families to care for… you end up with more war, more violence, more terrorism, more fundamentalism, all because they don’t have anything better to do.

    okay, so that’s a bit simplistic, and having a wife/kids doesn’t solve everything, but it’s something to consider too…

  20. Lil

    But Twisty! Okay you have a good point too about the fact that girls and boys should be seen and treated as equal. And certainly no two girls are the same, nor two boys. Basically the important point to remember is that people should stop reproducing, at least for a while, so the animals and vegetation can regain some of their habitat.

    As for JC’s analysis of European imperialism, I think the component that people tend to forget is not only Europe’s history of global colonialism, but the imperialist history and spirit of the Islamic world. It is not just one way discriminiation. Two arrogant empires butting wills against one another.

  21. Amanda Marcotte

    That a number of people getting this extremely expensive procedure are trying for a girl is pretty meaningless, since there are so few people doing it they can’t change demographics anyway. But if the procedure becomes affordable and widespread, rest assured that the majority of people who sex-select will want boys. It’s sadly a common sense choice in a male-dominated world that’s highly competitive. Wouldn’t you want your child to have as many advantages and privileges as you can give him or her?

  22. Maureen

    Well, it’s not exactly a foolproof procedure–how do you know your son won’t someday want to become your daughter? (wink)

  23. Anonymous

    Hi, i live in the Netherlands. I can confirm that Ms verdonk actually did state she is studying on the possibilities to have a ban on Burkas,but she did also state that a general ban would be impossible and unconstitutional. She said she was looking into options to ban Burka during certain occasions at certain places, remaining vague what these places and occasions would be. It was basically one of her many populist suggestions which won’t get anywhere but should give the impression that she is doing something about terrorism. The country is in the grip of fear about moslim youngsters forming radical groups, since there are a few such groups about. We’re not talking thousands,not even hundreds of individuals, but a few individuals have been caught with handgranates and machine guns and such,including a few Burka clad females.

    I assume she is talking about security
    sensitive events such as having the queen opening a new building or something. In a few months the workgroup that is studying this will probably publish a report that a ban isn’t possible and it will all be forgotten. I don’t think this government and their anti-muslim rethoric is helping to eleviate tensions, but the tensions and fear do exist from both sides. That is to say, people who are convinced that there are two sides, do fear and loath eachother, the majority doesn’t but don’t make the papers.

    I live in a neighbourhood that is predominantly muslim,and i hardly see any Burkas about so it isn’t even really an issue. My personal favorite noticeble burka that i occasionally spot is the woman who is clad from head to toe in Burberry gear, Burka,handbag, embrella,the works. I tried to engage this woman in conversation but I gathered she is a recent immigrant and doesn’t speak any of the languages I speak.

  24. Nancy

    rest assured that the majority of people who sex-select will want boys.

    But if Americans and Europeans who are currently getting the procedure prefer girls, why do you assume that as the procedure becomes widespread, the choice will flip to boys?

    It’s sadly a common sense choice in a male-dominated world that’s highly competitive. Wouldn’t you want your child to have as many advantages and privileges as you can give him or her?

    They prefer males in India and China overwhelmingly because in those societies, all economic power is transferred through males. As this changes, the preference for males will change.

    I suspect that the reason for the preference for girls in America and Europe is first, because people there don’t expect to be supported by their children in old age, and wealth is on a more individual basis, not on a familial basis. And girls in the US now have almost as good an economic future as boys.

    But even more so, if having children is not an economic advantage – and they are not in the US or Europe – then people have children exclusively to create somebody to love – and to love them back. And girls have been socialized to take much better care of those they love than boys. Women are expected to remember birthdays and give personalized gifts – men are not. Who wouldn’t prefer a girl under those circumstances?

  25. Joolya

    Problem of having too many young males and not enough females – increased aggression and fighting over mates, etc, in the young males, higher chance of war and conflict? I read that somewhere and it made sense to me.

  26. Neil the Ethical Werewolf

    Twisty, I’m guessing that you’ll agree when I say that social expectations for girls and boys are very different. Dealing with different sets of expectations out there in society, and trying to raise good children in the face of them, is what I’m talking about when I discuss a “fuller spectrum of parenting.”

    When I imagine the future, I feel more prospective pride at the thought of raising a smart and fearless daughter than raising a smart and fearless son. This is precisely because these virtues are not generally expected of women, and sometimes even seen as unfeminine. Triumphing over bad systems of norms that attach to gender should, I think, make one proud.

  27. Nancy

    Problem of having too many young males and not enough females – increased aggression and fighting over mates, etc, in the young males, higher chance of war and conflict? I read that somewhere and it made sense to me.

    Are you talking about human males and females? Cause it’s hard to tell.

    But if you are, then there’s clearly a solution to a skewed male:female ratio for humans – polyandry.

  28. Sarah Ennals

    Now, when will Takei come out about his interest in *gasp* trains?

    Seriously – he’s a transit geek. This makes it easier to lure him to SF conventions in Toronto. Or so I’m told. I’ve said too much.

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