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As a young straight woman who mistakenly thought I should ‘transition’ to live as a gay man, I’ve taken it upon myself to research what it actually means to be a woman, through psychology and philosophy.
Thanks in part to the lectures and teachings of Dr. Jordan B. Peterson, I’ve come to understand much more about masculine and feminine archetypes and the ancient dualities of human nature. My studies have also given me a better understanding of my past desire to transition and more insight into the contemporary trans and nonbinary movements in particular.
Here are my takeaways.
The Taoist symbol of the Yin/Yang encapsulates all energies of life; The Feminine, and The Masculine.
The Feminine essence, energy, and corresponding mammalian role, represents Chaos — the mysterious, unknown, fluctuating, fluid, changing, potential. We usually view Chaos as primarily negative, with unwanted changes, abrupt shifts, things we’re unprepared for, a never-ending supply of disasters and unforeseen consequences. This response is logical, as we fear the unknown, we fear our own potential, and we fear change. Even though it might be just what we need, we’re usually too comfortable or complacent to welcome change.
Controversially, this energy is feminine, and although it’s usually not favorable to label women as “unstable”, in a natural and biological way, this is true. Women are typically more unstable, emotionally and physically. Their bodies are designed to be fluid to accommodate all the complexities and needs of childbirth. For women, puberty, menstruation, and menopause reflect these major shifts. The hormonal fluctuations each month for most of their lives means women are constantly cycling and adapting, affecting moods and states of consciousness. They are the nature of Chaos in the universe, the potential for change.
In equal opposition, there is Man. The Masculine energy is one of Order — stability, rule, law, the strict father figure we call “the patriarchy.” Masculinity signifies strength in the predictable, in discipline, in tradition. It is the stabilizing force to Chaos. We know Masculine Order will be structured. This energy is sturdy, reliable, and we can build so much in our lives off and around it. Men are built for stability.
Controversially, Man exists to contain the chaos of Woman. Not in a manner of force, violence, or aggression, but through benevolence, reliability, logic, and discipline. A concept we used to commonly call chivalry. A man’s body stays relatively the same throughout his life, not fragile, and has the potential to be strong and protective on behalf of women and children. Woman’s potential for childbirth must be contained in a helpful, orderly manner by man so that woman can gestate, produce, and raise a child in close to ideal circumstances. Woman is designed for adaptability and often intense patience and care to fulfill her biological capacity. To fulfill his biological capacity, man must be protective, stable and consistent for her. Women and men must help each other.
Knowing these basic concepts of how men and women tend to behave seems like common sense, but humans have trouble balancing the concepts of Chaos and Order.
The never-ending dance of Chaos and Order leaves us with three options for coping with gender-based issues:
Traditional gender roles offer more structure, stability, order, and routine. Society runs more smoothly because expectations for each sex are rigid and tightly socially monitored and controlled. Men act “like men should” and women act “like women should.” Ideally, men and women both respect their biological strengths and weaknesses, and work together to help each other create a healthy and successful partnership in domestic life, and in broader society.
Men and women stick to their assigned functions determined in part by biological attributes and sex-differentiated personalities, and are discouraged or forbidden to engage in opposite-sex or oppositely-gendered roles. Here’s where we encounter the classic “boys shouldn’t play with dolls, girls shouldn’t play rough” situations, with limitations so strict upon the sexes that issues of freedom, equality, and expression arise in numerous areas. It can be summarized like this; The more Order you maintain, the less room there is for Chaos to fluctuate. As we’ve discussed, we need both to operate as our ideal human selves and make the most of the world.
In this sort of culture, we may experience the reality of the Toxic Patriarchal Male, the man who uses his masculine purpose and potential ineffectively through domination, subjugation, rape, and true misogyny. This is an extreme of man’s function, and it doesn’t work well, especially for women and children, who become second-class citizens, and who live in fear and genuine suppression. Throughout history we have seen many examples of that unruly male nature, which has pushed some to become obsessed with the feminization of culture.
Western culture has attempted to shift from patriarchal to matriarchal in many regards, with an emphasis on femininity, women’s equality, and prioritizing female over male. As with Chaos and Order, it’s always one step forward, two steps back, the constant readjustment. Unfortunately, our well-intentioned and in many ways, successful efforts to compensate for Toxic Masculine Forces have resulted in Toxic Feminine Forces — not good for women, men, or children. A toxic feminine culture means too much Chaos, not enough Order. With toxic masculinity, there is either too much Order and conservatism, or violent authority.
Toxic femininity means a culture with no boundaries, emotionally dysregulated, overly sensitive, and without room for positive masculine energy or order. To summarize, the more Chaos you allow, the less room there is for Order to maintain structure. Again, we need a balance of both. Feminism has helped women succeed in many ways, but we also need to appraise how changes to gender and culture have negatively affected women, men, and children, with a post-modernist loosening of boundaries and structures, and an influx of Chaos.
“Too Much Chaos” is how I would describe the transgender and nonbinary movements. Although people turn to transition for a multitude of reasons, a universal factor for transition is the desire to change oneself. “Trans” means “to cross over” so “transgender” means “to cross over genders.” In the more traditional gender role past, this meant socially and medically altering oneself so that an androgynous woman or man could adhere to the opposite sexes’ gender roles. This was typically reserved for men and women so androgynous in personality that they felt it would be easier to move closer to one side or the other, even through medical interventions. This is a result of the limitations that Overly-Orderly cultures create when girls and boys are not allowed a fuller range of experiences and personality types.
We now see transgenderism and non-binarism as an enormous pop culture movement determined to allow for that range of experiences and behaviors for sex-atypical boys and girls, but it’s making a lot of foolish and detrimental mistakes in its methods due to the nihilism infused in post-modernist queer theory.
In an obsession with change and fluidity (Chaos), many have forgotten about the necessity of structure and grounding (Order.) Therefore, some have forgotten about the necessity for healthy masculine expression and behavior, as well as healthy feminine expression and behavior.
In an attempt to curb toxic male behavior, we have demonized all masculinity, unfortunately punished prosocial masculine strengths, like men acting as primary providers, and failing to have awareness of actual male predators. The same goes for femininity, as in our attempts to normalize women in wider society, and promoting female strengths, we have punished many prosocial female strengths, like being a stay-at-home mother, for example, and failed to have awareness of actual female predators. We have confused men and women both by foolishly telling everyone that they can be any way they like, and devaluing natural characteristics of men and women which have allowed them to flourish in particular roles for thousands of years.
So, what do men and women need to do to live in harmony within their sexed bodies and the gendered norms of culture?
We need both men and women to do a few things:
What helped me in practicing all the things on this list was to start accepting the reality of my body and female structures, and the general traits that came with it. Although my personality is not hyper feminine, I was still markedly feminine, I was still female, and somehow, I still received the message that I couldn’t find a place in society or be at peace with myself being an androgynous female. I also received the extremely toxic message that if I wasn’t adhering to gender norms or stereotypes enough, I was not a woman, or should be a man.
Along with that, the post-modernist concept that I could in fact be, anything I wanted to be, that biological sex didn’t matter, that all gender norms, stereotypes, and any traditional femininity or masculinity were not only wrong and stupid, but that I could choose to opt out of them entirely by being non-binary, not having any gender or sex, or being “just human”(what seems profound, but can also be a lazy way to pretend sexed realities and functions don’t exist because they are too difficult to manage) conditioned me to reject traditional wisdoms that I have now integrated into my life as both an individual, but also existential being. Lumping all traditional sex and gender roles into an outdated box of “patriarchal oppression” did me no favors, and neither did popular culture telling me — and countless other young women and men — that if dealing with biological sex and gender roles are difficult, we can just opt out or play pretend, and that everyone needs to go along with it.
Perhaps so many of us are going along with it because we too feel ragged with the burdens of our bodies, sexualities, and societal expectations that can never fully reach equilibrium. But as with existence itself, all we can do is make our best efforts to balance what we can, to carefully explore both Chaos and Order, both feminine and masculine, and truly, all dualities, and the spectrums they lie on for our contemplation. Like the Taoist symbol of the Yin/Yang, life is not black and white, there is a little white within black, and a little black within white, and Western cultural approaches to traditional vs. progressive gender norms should reflect this too.
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I want to thank Dr. Jordan B. Peterson for imparting many of these concepts through his lectures and books so that I could digest and apply them to my experiences as a de-transitioned woman and observer of widespread cultural disillusionment around sex and gender roles in post modern society.
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Laura Becker is an American writer, artist, and speaker known for her international de-trans advocacy and activism. She is featured in the documentary “No Way Back: The Reality Of Gender-Affirming Care.” Becker shares her experiences as a post-woke independent while creating under her philosophical brand ‘Funk God.’ You can connect with her here.
The views expressed in this piece are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.