The Zhoosh gender controversy is a longstanding public debate between members of the political action committee for LGBT-rights of the CPL.nm, Zhoosh. It was sparked when Yuri Medvedev published an article on his controversial gender-directing theory in the May 2011 issue of the Lovian Academic Journal. The supporters of Medvedev's theory argue that the fixed genders ought to make place for what they name 'gender-plurality'. It was their intent to make Zhoosh advocate this stance and thus, in their view, make sex-altering surgery unnecessary. Most of the Zhoosh members opposed this and enforced a more moderate interpretation of gender-plurality. The controversy is in essence a conflict between the followers of marxist theory and the more pragmatic wing of the CPL.nm.
The controversy Edit
The controversy is in essence a conflict between the followers of marxist theory and the more pragmatic wing of the CPL.nm, a schism which exists since the founding of the party back in April 2010. Based on his gender-directing theory, Medvedev argues that people with a deviating sexuality are oppressed by the genders society imposes upon them. In his reasoning Medvedev implies that sex-altering surgery is a way to escape this oppression and flee towards an expression of one's individual gender in a way accepted by society - or at least more accepted than the natural stance. Medvedev himself actually said he 'regrets' sex-altering surgery because the in his eyes more correct alternative of deconstructing society's genders is not pursued. He however also made clear he understands the pressure to which people succumb for the easy way out and that he does not intend to limit sex-altering surgery in any way.
The idea Medvedev proposed is dubbed 'gender-plurality', a spectrum of all different gender expressions. The majority of Zhoosh refused to accept the hard stance which clearly attacks the established gender patterns. Most members don't want to go as far as Medvedev and his fellow neo-marxists go. The the general idea behind gender-plurality was taken up into the Rainbow manifest but it was reformulated as 'people should be allowed to express themselves outside the classical genders put up by society'. All hardline reasoning and its consequences have been edited out at the Zhoosh founding assembly.
A new chapter in the controversy might begin as the supporters of gender-directing theory are taking under fire what they deem to be 'queer gender'. Medvedev and others claim that a queer- or gay-gender is being constructed and popularized by the media as an alternative to the existing two classical genders, male and female. Though this could be a first step towards gender-plurality, Medvedev expressed his fears of simply getting another gender constructed instead of an actual deconstruction of them all.
Gender-directing theory Edit
Gender-directing model Edit
Gender-directing theory postulates a rough mathematical model to predict how an individual will adapt his or her behavior to meet an ideal image of how a sex should behave, the so-called gender. The base premises of the theory is that the natural compliance to a gender (as found within the person itself) can be set out on an axis opposing a female and male extreme. When figures from this data set are set out against their proportion in their respective female and male populations, one gets the figure shown to the right. The 'natural gender' attribute (valued on the horizontal axis) is divided as nearly all human characteristics: along a Gaussian curve. The figure also takes into account that the female mean is more 'naturally female' than the male mean and vice versa. This is evident from the relative positions of both curves' their top to the extremes of the horizontal axis. A second important premise this theory holds, but does not fully depend on, is that the ideal behavior for a sex (the gender in point Gi) is located more towards the extreme than the mean of its corresponding curve. This premise is taken from the idea that in a media-dominated society the ideal image of a male/female does not correspond with the average male/female but rather incorporates elements from an extremely idealized view on beauty, though it is not located in the extreme itself. The latter is due to the lack of a support base which can attain critical mass - the proportion of people near the extreme is too low to make it the ideal.
In the figure, the curves show the natural situation, or the gender position as it is included in a person's genetic and psychological structures. Gender-directing theory claims that people can and often will adapt their behavior towards the ideal imposed by society. This 'directing towards a gender' can be expressed mathematically by the following formula:
- adaptation = α.[D²(GP,GiR)-1]
The adaptation behavior is expressed as a quadratic function of the distance of a person's gender position to the sex-related socialized ideal (from GP to GiR). This implies that the closer one is to the idealized position, the bigger the incentive to adapting is. The α is a weighting variable with a value between 0 and 1, representing the societal conformity of a person. The bigger α is, the more one tends to adapt to towards the idealized gender. If someone's conformity equals zero, the impact of the idealized gender on his or her behavior becomes zero as well. The above formula can be used as a rough indicator for all cases left of the gender equilibrium for females and the ones on the right in male cases, henceforward referred to as 'above' the equilibrium. The gender equilibrium is the point where one's distance to both gender ideals is equal, located at the intersection of the two curves. From the equilibrium point onwards, the formula can be expanded to incorporate the influence of the gender ideal of the opposite sex (GiO):
- adaptation = α.[D²(GP,GiR)-1 - [D²(GP,GiO)/-β]-1]
One could argue that the former method can be applied with substituting the opposite-sex ideal for the related-sex ideal. This would however negate the asymmetry in the effect of both ideals: people are compelled stronger towards the ideal of the corresponding sex. Therefor an extended formula is chosen which adds both a positive effect towards the related-sex ideal and a negative effect towards the opposite sex-ideal (this is for males with the extremum at the right end of the spectrum, for females the positive and negative are to be inverted!). The definite shift is determined by subtracting the negative effect from the positive one. This method can be used to calculate cases above the equilibrium too, though the negative effect would be negligible. In the extended formula, the β allows for the phenomenon of hypercorrection where the attractiveness of the opposite-sex ideal is added to the positive effect instead of subtracted. This conformity preference can be either 1 (for same-sex preference) or -1 (for opposite-sex preference).
Application to sexuality Edit
If the gender-directing model is a correct portrayal of the phenomenon it claims to describe it has far-going consequences regarding homosexuals and transsexuals, the field of occupation for Zhoosh. Sex-altering surgery for instance can by this model be explained as an 'escape' from one curve to the other. A male in point P would be normally compelled towards the female ideal. If such a person would have a high social conformity he will feel the need to express himself along female-gender lines. Society wont tolerate this so he can either (1) be untrue to his natural gender GP and resort to hypercorrection or (2) change his sex. The latter would bring him to point P' where it is acceptable to society for him (now a her) to persue the female ideal. Here lies Medvedev's critic on sex-altering surgery: the only way to free people of the oppressing gender constructions is to break them down. In the mathematical model this comes down to adopting a societal conformity of zero, annihilating all impact of the beauty ideals. As a side argument Medvedev pointed out the various costs of both escape routes, often invoking considerable drama to people involved.
Another application of gender-directing theory can be found in studying what can be described as 'manly gays'. If you do not presume a relation between a person's sexuality and that person's natural gender position, one must conclude it is hard for conform homosexuals to express themselves with a gender position close to the related ideal. They will be strongly compelled towards the ideal even though that implies denying their own sexuality. The only way out would be to combine a sex-change with hypercorrection. All escape strategies are considered masking one's true nature according to Medvedev, denying people involved the biggest amount of satisfaction with the lowest cost.
Criticism and expansion Edit
The gender-directing model has been criticized from many sides. Especially conservative thinkers have attacked it for its lack of a normative framework. The directing of behavior towards established genders tighten social cohesion, something conservatives and moralists deem to be a good thing. A view strongly opposing Medvedev's call to tear down the established gender constructs. Evolutionary psychologists also commented on the model. Most notably is their focus on the evolutionary use of gender-directing: the conformity towards a gender enhances one's chances at reproduction. Neo-marxists have responded that this conformity does not imply a conform gene-pool since in most cases an adaptation is needed to get near the ideal. They also proved that the ideal has moved away from the mean under non-biological influences such as popular culture and mass media.
It has been suggested that the model is to be expanded to incorporate a 'queer gender' supposedly constructed by today's society as a third escape route. This queer gender is to represent the phenomenon of the fag-like behavior some males treat as their ideal gender position. The queer gender is often associated with homosexuality, though this is not necessarily the case. It is yet undecided whether such a model would work best in the existing two-dimensional space or an additional dimension is to be created.