Staff Editorial: Scientific understanding of sex and gender has evolved, and Mills needs to catch up

Our understanding of sex and gender has come a long way in recent decades, as well as our understanding of the power that teaching about it carries. Teaching outdated ideas of sex and gender is a tool in the pedagogy of oppression. This is in part why the fight for LGBTQ rights and acceptance has come for academia, a place often thought of as a liberal echo chamber but which can, in reality, become a breeding ground for outdated, essentialist sentiment, particularly in the sciences. Fortunately, institutions of higher education continually concede to pressure from activists to acknowledge that the idea of teaching hard, unbiased truth in the sciences is unattainable as long as the ruling class gets to dictate what is truth and what is fiction. 

We live in what has been referred to as a “post-truth era,” but the nature of the truth has long bent to the will of white, male capitalists. To teach honestly about sociological topics of race, class, gender and sexuality “is a political act because, depending on the perspective from which one teaches, sociology can either reaffirm or critique so it is only recently that such a framing of academia has become mainstream.” This assertion comes from Catherine White Berheide and Marcia Texler Segal in their 1985 journal article, “Teaching Sex and Gender: A Decade of Experience.” 

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