International woman’s day falls on March 8 this year, 2023. A Wednesday, smack dab in the middle of the week. An interesting coincidence given the nature of this article.
It is, of course, more than anything, a commercial holiday. One designed to induce men to spend more money or else be considered inconsiderate, insensitive cads. But as superficial as that reality is, there is an underlying verity and it’s not limited to one day. It involves the transcendental importance of the feminine in our lives, and that is true whether one is a matriarchalist-feminist (possibly a neologism) or patriarchialist-misogynist (also possibly a neologism). I wonder if rather than concentrating on the superficial requisite compliments, obeisance and, of course, gifts, one might not consider the challenges being faced by women not only from men, but now also from men who have decided to compete directly against women through gender reassignments of varying degrees. Most noticeably in athletics, but also in areas of aesthetics formerly the realm of women and, when one considers the issue seriously (as it deserves to be considered), in a number of much more important areas.
The transgender issue is highly volatile and controversial with purportedly “woke” cancel culture warriors (dedicated to ever increasing polarization and avoidance of empathy) forbidding serious discussion concerning its controversial aspects. Aspects such as how it relates to the rights of minors versus the societal duty to protect them (e.g., the concept of statutory versus assault based rape). Aspects involving quota based allocations in the area of employment, political candidacies (in Colombia for example, half of all candidacies are reserved to women), economic and employment set asides and commercial opportunities. I believe the transgendered, whether male to female of female to male, have a fundamental right to be free of official discrimination but how does that conflict with the special set asides to promote the ability of women to compete in diverse fields? Whose rights should prevail? How valid are the arguments on both sides? Is there an area for reconciliation? What date has been set aside to honor the transgendered, one might ask, and then, is one day enough, shouldn’t there be two, each based on the original biological gender? And what about the non-binary?
There is now an ideological as well as practical battle among liberals and progressives between feminine oriented feminists on one side and transgender activists on the other, a fundamental rift involving a number of critical areas, a conflict as serious in many ways as is the battle between feminists and misogynist, perhaps, in reality, even more so. This is an issue former Congresswoman and current army reserve lieutenant colonel Tulsi Gabbard has raised, firmly supporting the side of the feminine oriented feminists (Tulsi, whom I admire, very much exudes the aroma of a presidential candidate wannabe). But, of course, there’s another side to the argument. One with its own champions although their arguments appear poorly articulated, appealing more to woke ideology (if it exists) than to reasoned logic. A seemingly objective and charismatic spokesperson akin to Tulsi on that side is essential if any equitable resolution is ever to be attained.
The foregoing is easy to ridicule, but ridicule and calumny are really the toys of the purportedly woke, not of those seriously interested in fairly and equitably resolving important societal problems (rather than using them to promote personal political agendas). These issues have profoundly serious as well as superficial components and perhaps, on this day, a day dedicated to honoring women, they merit serious consideration and active, objective discussion.
Something on which to reflect in a non-judgmental fashion, one free of censorship, on this eighth day of March in 2023.
© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2023; all rights reserved. Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.
Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen). Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales. He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies). However, he is also fascinated by mythology, religion, physics, astronomy and mathematics, especially with matters related to quanta and cosmogony. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org and much of his writing is available through his blog at https://guillermocalvo.com/.