• Scott

"Do men have women heroes?"

A few weeks ago, my 11-year-old daughter asked me the question, "why is Pluto no longer a planet?"

I could only vaguely recall the story from some time ago, so I guessed "I presume its because at some point, the definition of a planet was revised or altered in some way, and Pluto no longer met the criteria or parameters."

She's 11, and didn't totally get that. So, when we got home, we looked it up. And sure enough, my basic thought was correct. The definition of planet had changed because astronomers had discovered that Pluto is just one of many similar objects in the Kuiper Belt forcing the astronomers to define, clearly what a "planet" is: They came up with:

  1. The object must be in orbit around the Sun.

  2. The object must be massive enough to be rounded by its own gravity. More specifically, its own gravity should pull it into a shape defined by hydrostatic equilibrium.

  3. It must have cleared the neighborhood around its orbit.

That last one kicked Pluto out of the planet club.

Let's return to that in a moment.

Sometimes the truth about a thing is complicated, and sometimes it is simple. The trick is to know the difference. An example:

Lets say I have never been to Earth, and I am dropped into the middle of a wheat field in Kansas. Someone then asks me to determine, is the Earth flat or is it spherical? I look around and in every direction from which I am standing, the Earth appears to be flat so I decide that this is the truth.

In order to make the opposite case, I must be presented with more complex data (like pictures from outer space, or the fact that you can sail around the world and back to the same place). But, I might say "I have never seen pictures from outer space (or I think they are doctored) nor have I ever personally sailed around the world, therefore my immediate experience of standing in this wheat field in Kansas presents itself as the truth about the flat Earth."

I would be making a particular type of observation error but it is rational within its own context. It would be one based on the lack of information, or the rejection of new information because of some type of bias I have. Or it is built upon previously held beliefs that have never been properly re-evaluated. In certain clinical situations, we can call these delusions.

When I was teaching at the Army's medical training academy (AMEDD C&S COE), one of my jobs was to take newly minted PhDs in psychology --fresh out of graduate school -- and give them the entry level familiarization training they needed to at least function as officers in their active duty internships. Their capstone assignment was to research a topic that they felt was going to be a challenging issue for them in their practice of military psychology. Almost every one of them picked a "gender" related topic to present at the end of the 10 week course. About half of them had this inforgraphic somewhere in their slide show:

By the time I was subjected to this image for the tenth time, it was all could do to keep the students from seeing me roll my eyes. You see, in 2015, this was considered state of the art science on the psychology of "gender." And every new army psychologist wanted to be the one to show how compassionate they were going to be with the tiny minutia of soldiers who might wander into their offices with these kinds of problems. The Obama administration had just forced down the throats of the entire DOD its bizarrely unworkable and expensive "transgender policy" and damn it if we were not going to be the ones to fit these people into a war fighter mold! Transgender suicide rate? Not hearing it. Only about 10-15 servicemembers a year will be affected by this policy? No matter. We are on the right side of history.

But beyond that, it should be noted that believing the presuppositions behind this graphic is exactly like being the guy standing in the wheat field in Kansas. People who buy this are willingly disregarding the data from hard, and simpler scientific (biological) sources. In other words, "sex" is much easier to understand than "the gender bread person" and in this case, the simpler explanation is true. They have made the mistake of conflating complexity for correct. "I know someone who says they are one gender psychologically, but express something else outwardly and are even a third gender biologically, therefore, this phenomenon is an accurately depicted construct in the picture."

Today, I saw this question posted to Twitter, (and have included my retweet/response):

I would start here by pointing out that there is almost no chance this question was asked in good faith. The person asking it has a Twitter page devoted to listing women and their accomplishments. So the question, in practice got the desired effect. This was to flush out of the bushes any cavemen who might say "no" to the question, and to give the guys out there (conservative and liberal) the opportunity to virtue signal about how many women heroes they have. And of course, to crap on the cavemen. This is exactly what happened. So, that's fine.

But to anyone who might be interested in the rational response, here is what I see going on. "Hero" is now just another word that suffers from great ambiguity in the age of subjectivity that we currently must endure. Whereas, at one point a "hero" was properly understood to be someone who is in the position to do immense service to humanity (or some individuals) at great personal risk to themselves. Now, "hero" is applied to pretty much anyone who shows up to work and meets their obligations. This includes the phenomenon of labeling every cop, every firefighter and every soldier as a "hero." A "hero" now is a single mom. Just for being a single mom. Or a father who dresses up like a princess for his daughters birthday party. That's fine, but it has become a useless term because of it.

Next, "heroes" are something boys need while travelling along the perilous developmental trajectory toward manhood in ways that girls don't. Therefore, I posit that a boy who made a woman his hero is missing the differentiation that archetypal heroism in the form of courageous, self-sacrificing risk taking from a man requires. Especially when there are plenty of male heroes to attach yourself to. This is not to say that woman are not capable of this kind of behavior, but that is a different situation.

In my longer Tweet thread, I have an example of such an exception. From the Rwandan genocide, imagine if you were a man on vacation with your family at the hotel. Now imagine, Paul Russesabegena was a woman. In that situation, your obligation would be to protect your wife and kids at all costs. This would probably require you to lie low, not rock the boat until the danger was over. And if the female Paul behaved exactly as the real one did, you, the vacationing dad could see her as a hero. But that circumstance would be very rare, and a woman who behaved like that would be quite the exception indeed.

However, the current air we breathe--the entire presuppositional framework for how the world works is feminist/egalitarianism which states, "equality, except when it doesn't benefit women." Everyone believes this --especially "conservative" men, which is why they talk about how tough women are right up until some guy in a security video doesn't protect a shrinking violet. "What a coward to not protect her!" they will cry. Maybe so, but this means that all men, at all times, are required to place themselves in harms way for all women, at all times, without any reciprocating unless a particular woman feels up to it. If you point this out, you are "insecure in your masculinity" or "you can't handle a strong woman."

What is the cause of this? There is not one single cause, but subjectivity is a big culprit. If Pluto were a conscious being he/she/planet would be furious that the definition of "planet" had been revised to exclude him/her. We would make exceptions so that Pluto could feel like a planet again. Our efforts to create a world where everyone can "live their own truth" is rapidly approaching a scenario where no one can. Because all of the other objects in the Kuiper Belt want to be called "planets" too.

Do men have women heroes? Probably, but in a rational and sane society, this question would be truly strange to even hear being asked. The response would be "why would they?"

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