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This excerpt taken from Jonah Mix’s essay on medium.com: An Open Letter to the Guy on Twitter Who Wonders if Biological Sex is Real

Lately, I’ve seen a lot of debates break out on Twitter over biological sex — what defines it, how it can be measured, whether it exists at all. The men who dominate these debates are often experts in their fields, meaning they use terms like “bimodal distribution” and “nonstandard karyotypes” to make their otherwise mundane points. I think most of these points are foolish, tired rehashings of fallacies first identified by ancient Greeks in the fourth century BCE. They confuse — or, perhaps, intentionally conflate — imprecision with invalidity, social perception with social construction, and binarism with exclusivity. In other words, they trade in the all-too-familiar illogic that festers at the intersection of science and philosophy, where ontological cowardice appears as the highest form of nuance.

But here I go again, right? It’s so easy to get sucked into this debate, to get that hot indignation in your stomach that comes when a foolish claim is so proudly asserted. And I don’t even have skin in the game — binary or not, my sex will still land me squarely in the “paid more, raped less” category. So what’s the point beyond intellectual exercise? It seems more and more obvious to me that even entertaining the debate is a concession, an assent to women’s lives being made the subject of thought experiments and counterfactuals plucked from the air by some post-grad who, coincidentally, has never once worried about pregnancy from rape.

So that’s my quarter-through-the-year resolution: I’m not going to debate with you about the reality of biological sex, for the same reason I wouldn’t stand on the train platform debating the finer points of physics while the man on the tracks is ground into bits. Not because your position is unassailable. Because even bringing it up makes you an asshole.

That might sound a little dramatic, a flourish of rhetoric to cover up a weak rebuttal. But how long have you spent reading up to this point? Five minutes? Ten? If so, the world has fifty more mutilated girls than when you started. Were the men who carried out those mutilations confused about what makes a female body? Did they ponder chromosome parings and standard deviations when they chose who to cut? Or is that kind of nuance a luxury set aside just for educated, progressive, worldly men like you?

Isn’t it odd that sex was never so complicated before? There was nothing ethereal about biology when it came to allocating the right to vote, or own property, or walk down the street at night without fear. We knew perfectly well what made someone female when that female-ness guaranteed a life of subservience and pain. Only when women began to say no did their bodies become a concept.

So many feminists have made this point, over and over again. I see them say it. I know you read it. Did you listen? If not, why? And why do you always respond when I say it? It seems you do know who has a female body, when it comes to deciding which perspective gets ignored.

Sex is such a mystery to you when women want shelters for themselves, meetings for themselves, words for themselves. Pardon me for asking, but is it equally mysterious when you log off Twitter and move over to Pornhub? The true nature of a female body is so complex when you lecture. Does it become simple again when you masturbate? Who does the laundry in your house? Were you somehow able to navigate an inchoate soup of X’s and Y’s to saddle your girlfriend with the dishes? Give yourself some credit — I think you know perfectly well what a female body is. But in case you don’t, here’s a hint:

It’s the only type of body that gets you thrown on the funeral pyre when the husband dies. It’s the only type of body that gets your feet bound and your breasts ironed. It’s the only type made pregnant through rape and burned with acid, the only type expected to sit quietly and listen while we redefine it away, the only type men have spent millennia criticizing and critiquing and buying and selling until we suddenly decided we don’t even know what the fuck we meant this whole time.

You know what a female body is, dude? It’s the only type of body that makes men like you ask such stupid questions. So please, stop. This is an emergency. This is three and a half billion human beings tied to the tracks, and you’re riding on the train. Your insistence on nuance, your fetish for accuracy, your smug deconstruction of common sense — it doesn’t make you thoughtful. It doesn’t make you wise. It doesn’t make you progressive. It makes you an asshole. It makes you worse than a bystander. A bystander does nothing. He watches from afar. You step into the fray just to prod the victim for the imprecision of their screams.

 

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