Culture

Dave Chappelle Is Right. Gender Is A Fact

By Erica Jimenez··  8 min read
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Netflix

In his last, at least “for a minute,” special with Netflix, comedian Dave Chappelle took on racism and the gender war.

Critics were quick to label Chappelle’s comments as transphobic, a label he’s been dealing with for the last 16 years. He addressed the accusation head-on during his show, explaining that “16 years ago, and this was the first time that the trans community ever got mad at me that I knew about,” a transgender woman who was attending his show took offense at a few transgender jokes. 

Chapelle explains, “And then she went to the press. The next day, one of the gay papers wrote all of the same things she had said to me, about me in the paper. Misquoted the jokes, and was calling me transphobic, you know, these words, I had never heard them before but every time that I talked with anybody from the community since they always repeat the talking points from that article.”

Ever since then the accusation of transphobia has followed Chappelle, who definitely isn’t afraid to hit on touchy subjects during his incredibly popular standup routines. Critics may have panned his last Netflix special, Sticks and Stones, but audiences rated it 99% on Rotten Tomatoes. Obviously, his comedy has found a pulse point.

Perhaps it’s because, under the guise of comedy, Chappelle can say the things we’re all thinking, but are too afraid to say out loud. After all, isn’t that the point of comedy? To release the tension we all keep in by turning something painful or embarrassing into a hilarious skit? Humor has a way of blunting the blow and allowing the performer to say things that would be unbearably offensive in any other context.

In fact, great comedy almost always rides the line between hysterical and cringeworthy. We’re pretty sure we should be embarrassed for laughing, or at least feel guilty. But we don’t, and the room fills with laughter as the comedian reveals one harsh truth after another. There’s a catharsis in good comedy, and that is what Chappelle is here for.

“I’m Team TERF”

Chappelle wasn’t afraid to bring trans issues to the forefront in this special. Tired of having the label “transphobic” lobbed at him, Chappelle was ready to set the record straight. And in his defense, the term transphobic is now thrown around so loosely that it basically translates to “anyone who says something that could be interpreted as mean to (or about) a person who happens to be trans.”

Chappelle’s issue isn’t with trans people, but with the mob culture that activists have used to enforce their agenda. Probably the most famous victim of this mob is J.K. Rowling, who was canceled for defending the rights of biological women. She’s been labeled transphobic (obviously), and a TERF, an acronym for “trans-exclusionary radical feminist.” Strangely, you don’t actually need to be a radical feminist to be labeled a TERF.

Chappelle’s issue isn’t with trans people, but with the mob culture activists have used to enforce their agenda.

Trans activists consider these women traitors to the cause. Their entire worldview is predicated on the idea of power, and white, heterosexual, Christian men sit at the top of the power pyramid. Intersectional feminism demands that anyone who isn’t a straight, white male should be united against their common enemy. Any woman who doesn’t automatically unite against the power structures of patriarchy and gender norms is therefore a threat to the movement as a whole, and must be ostracized immediately.

Even fame and influence aren’t sufficient to save you from the mob. “They have canceled people, more powerful than me. They canceled J.K. Rowling, my God. J.K. Rowling wrote all the Harry Potter books by herself. She sold so many books, the Bible worries about her,” Chappelle joked.

Chappelle then goes on to explain that although he isn’t a woman, or trans, he still identifies as feminist, which means he has a dog in this fight. “I’m team TERF,” he declares. “Gender is a fact.”

His interpretation of why certain feminists reject the trans agenda is this: “They don’t hate transgender women, but they look at trans women the way we blacks might look at blackface. It offends them like, ‘Oh, this b*tch is doing an impression of me’.” He points out how Caitlyn Jenner won Woman of the Year, having been a “woman” for less than a year at the time. 

We may not go so far as to compare trans women to white people in blackface, but there’s no denying that the trans movement has superseded women’s issues to the point of practically eliminating them. There’s virtually no sphere in which the rights of biological women are protected without having to accommodate transgender women as well. 

There has been a steady and concerted effort to replace any language around women’s issues with “gender inclusive” language. To some, this would seem like a natural transition to a more tolerant society. Unfortunately, that isn’t the reality. Instead, trans activists have used this as an excuse to slowly erase biological women entirely as a group, to be eaten up into an ill-defined new category of people.

The War on Words Is Here

Our society is embroiled in a culture war right now, whether or not the majority of people want to admit it. There’s a concerted effort to redefine or eliminate words and concepts that have existed for thousands of years and across cultures. 

Perhaps the most obvious, and egregious, is the ongoing attempt to erase the word “woman” from all forms of dialogue. Instead of mothers, we’re parents. Instead of breastfeeding, we have “chestfeeding.” Instead of women, we’re “vagina owners,” “menstruators,” or “people with cervixes.” 

Any woman unwilling to have her identity erased by these new fad terms is instantly labeled transphobic and a TERF.

Any woman unwilling to have her identity erased by these new fad terms is instantly labeled transphobic and a TERF, as J.K. Rowling learned. Her own fan base turned on her rapidly, although they have yet to successfully remove her from involvement in the ongoing Fantastic Beasts series. Her crime? Daring to say that being a biological woman is a reality, that it affects women’s lives in unique ways, and that biological women deserve their own legal, and social, status. 

Being a Woman Is Unique

The real reason that activists have attacked J.K. Rowling so rabidly is that she’s right. Despite what the intersectional feminists may say now, women throughout history were not persecuted for “identifying” as a woman. We were persecuted for our biology, our weaker stature, and our vulnerability in pregnancy and childbirth. 

Gender activists’ desire to separate biological women from their identity as women is “misogynistic and regressive,” as Rowling points out. “It’s also clear that one of the objectives of denying the importance of sex is to erode what some seem to see as the cruelly segregationist idea of women having their own biological realities or – just as threatening – unifying realities that make them a cohesive political class.”

Women in the Middle East today are victimized not because they “feel like” they’re a woman, they’re victimized because of their biological reality. Human rights abuses like female genital mutilation affect only biological women and girls, and no one is asking how they identify before butchering their bodies.

Women were persecuted for our biology, our weaker stature, and our vulnerability in pregnancy and childbirth. 

Western women may pretend that our gender is nothing more than a performance we put on to attract our patriarchal male partners, but wisdom and science say otherwise. Women’s brains work differently than men’s. Our bodies, run by a complex cycle of hormones, are capable of creating life. That is a physical experience that no person who wasn’t born female will ever get to experience. 

For most women, being seen and treated as a woman is not something they get to choose. It is just a fact of life. Even women who transition often still face the unforgiving biological reminders of womanhood – periods, pregnancy, and a female brain. We can’t just erase the experience of billions of women to accommodate the few. 

We Need People Who Aren’t Afraid of Being Canceled

Dave Chappelle and J.K. Rowling may pay the price for standing up for women, but it’s a battle that needs to be fought. Chappelle’s main issue with the gender activists isn’t even the existence of trans people, it’s the existence of a “protected class” against whom no one may argue, joke, or even criticize without fear of their life and livelihood being destroyed. 

Almost all of this cancellation madness results from mobs on social media platforms like Twitter, but Chappelle isn’t worried. After all, he says, “Twitter is not a real place.” That may be true, but the victims of Twitter mobs are real, as Chappelle’s friend Daphne Dorman is proof. Dorman, a transgender woman, defended Chappelle on Twitter after his last special was released. The Twitter mob descended, attacking one of their own for daring to defend her friend. And six days later, Dorman killed herself.

The rabid activists on Twitter will never be held accountable for their reprehensible behavior. And they’ll continue to get away with bullying and destroying lives as long as people tolerate Twitter mob “justice.” 

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