Is gender science a real science

Are gender studies science?

For a number of years, so-called gender studies have achieved extraordinary importance at universities: in the cultural and human sciences, many calls for tenders also require “gender” - “competencies”. This usually means a pro-feminist orientation. And those who are otherwise unable to think independently can still score points in a discussion by asking the question of the "gender" relevance of any topic.

Many authors of today signal that they belong to the “mainstream” through their uncritical, enthusiastic or even merely opportunistic adoption of “gendering”; they participate in the messing up of the language through allegedly gender-equitable spellings, such as the interior I or gender asterisk. In politics, the effects of gender studies are now even reaching into areas such as the Bundeswehr, in which, under Ursula von der Leyen, gender policy finally became more important than operational readiness.

But what are the bases of these developments? And how valid are they? There is now a volume that is extremely well worth reading, which Harald Schulze-Eisentraut and Alexander Ulfig have published and which serves as an introduction to the necessary preoccupation with this topic. The spectrum of topics into which gender thinking penetrates is broad, and this is also reflected in this volume, which ranges from biology and medicine to philosophical and social science approaches to pedagogy, linguistics and literary studies. Some contributions - such as Axel Meyer's on the biology of the sexes - are rather short and concise, while other studies delve deeper into the matter. The doctor Adorjan Kovács explains that in the field of medicine gender-specific approaches are very well justified. But there is a risk of the politicization of medicine through the term “gender”, which also happens through a one-sided focus on women. Or Wolfgang Tischner presents in detail the findings that have so far been available on gender equality in boys' education

Gender Studies: On the Ideology of "Social Construction"

Because it is one of the standard claims of gender studies that gender is solely or essentially “socially constructed”, the philosopher Alexander Ulfig takes the basic concept of “social construction” and contrasts it with that of the “product”. This can namely also be the result of unintended influences, while a “construction” gives the impression that it can also be “constructed” in a completely different way. However, this construction ideology is not simply a scientific hypothesis. Rather, it serves as an instrument for the implementation of gender policy with its excessive clientele policy.

The criticism of gender studies is particularly sharp from the point of view of the social scientist Heike Diefenbach. She advocates the thesis that these “studies” are not science, and certainly not social science. Gender Studies does not need this because the social category of gender has always been part of sociology. But gender is not always somehow important across the board, says Diefenbach, but only if this can be empirically confirmed. However, gender studies do not scientifically test whether “gender” is relevant in a particular case, but always assume it as an explanatory variable. And they have no problems making themselves the political and ideological service provider of feminism. Because gender studies are thus a political, not a scientific project, they have no place in scientific institutions.

For those who are annoyed by the use of all possible "gender-equitable" spellings even in official or quasi-official texts, Heinz-Dieter Pohl offers a very helpful analysis of this "rewrite", as he says, referring to Orwell's "Neusprech": It shows in detail why the supposedly gender-sensitive spelling contradicts the elementary rules of grammar and spelling in German. The propagandists of gender language ignore the fundamental difference between grammatical and natural gender, which leads to all sorts of other errors.

State protection for gender networks

The final analysis of the structures and networks of gender studies by Schulze-Eisentraut is of exemplary importance, who uses a conference report and the spread of gender at the universities to show how the “gender mainstreaming cartel” continues to expand its influence. Why, one wonders, is there virtually no open criticism of the ideological system of gender studies at German universities? It makes sense here to think of the state protection of gender networks, because "through the omnipresent women, equality and diversity officers, they are present at all levels of university operations". And anyone who uses the term gender uncritically at every opportunity ultimately promotes the cultural hegemony of these networks.

The very readable book represents a first attempt to make critical voices heard in an area that is characterized by an astonishing conformism. In this respect, the authors bring a breath of fresh air into a musty world that is increasingly characterized by narrow corridors of opinion. However, this is not enough for a sustainable delegitimization of gender studies. If the state ended special financial support for gender studies, that would not interfere with academic freedom, but only switch off an ideologically motivated control program that was not scientifically motivated from the outset. It would therefore be very much to be hoped that decision-makers of both sexes in politics and science in particular studied the analyzes of this important book thoroughly - and draw conclusions from it.

Harald Schulze-Eisentraut / Alexander Ulfig:
Gender Studies - Science or Ideology?
Deutscher Wissenschafts-Verlag, Baden-Baden 2019, 249 pages, EUR 24.95

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