I once knew a woman called Kaylee who had a permanently rueful expression, kind of like a nun would look if she had just found out there is no God. Kaylee sometimes smiled or laughed but there was always great dissatisfaction visible in the skull behind. It was as though her life were already over and she was floating through the second half of it like a forgotten ghost.
Kaylee did her dissertation in the gender roles of infants. You see, very young boys tend to gravitate towards toy trucks while girls are more likely to go for dolls, even before they can speak, because of socialization. Their parents and others give them subtle, non-verbal feedback that reinforces these harmful stereotypes. Perhaps if babies were properly raised in a gender-sterile environment they would go for the trucks and dolls on the correct 50/50 basis. If the stereotypes were reversed that would also be acceptable. While she didn’t specifically propose it, one wonders if she thought it might be best for babies to be raised by robots. Perhaps ones programmed by fellow gender studies majors. But then, they wouldn’t know how.
A probable fascist piped up with, but I saw that even baby monkeys do the same thing. The male infants are much more active. The gender major explained: but isn’t that also just socialization? I wondered if the strictly gendered behaviour of lions might also be cleverly explained by the catch-all ‘socialization’. Or stag beetles. Raised in a gender-neutral environment, it might be the females pushing each other off branches as they establish territories, and they might even grow the grappling horns to do it with. Everything is sexist, everything is misogynist and you have. to. point. it. all. out.
Kaylee went into NGOs. She worked in various African countries and grins with damp excitement when she talks about rape insurance, working with corrupt US military commanders who smuggle drugs and women on the side, and how traumatized she was when they had to be evacuated from the Congo one panicked night. It’s such an amazing place.
She had a relationship with a French security consultant but was devastated when she found out he’d been shagging several local birds the whole while. A French security consultant – is nobody pure anymore?
And now she looks as described. Lofty theory crashed headlong into the hard wall of reality and the former has come off second best.
Kaylee realized she’s had enough of the Third World and went back to New Jersey. She hoped to get a job working with newly-arrived refugees.