An early advocate of ‘gender theory’ now says he was wrong, and admits that for crucial aspects of his work, he “basically just made it up”.
Christopher Dummitt said he was “so angry and assertive” about his views because he was trying to hide that he “didn’t have proof” for much of what he was pushing.
In an about-turn published on the Quillette academic website, he said he was disappointed his ‘baseless arguments’ were now being adopted by governments as well as activists .
‘Made it up’
Dummitt explained that 20 years ago he was pioneering bizarre gender theories, insisting “that there was no such thing as sex”.
“There’s nothing so certain as a graduate student armed with precious little life experience and a big idea.”
He admitted: “The problem is: I was wrong. Or, to be a bit more accurate, I got things partly right. But then, for the rest, I basically just made it up.”
“In my defence, I wasn’t alone. Everyone was (and is) making it up. That’s how the gender-studies field works. But it’s not much of a defence. I should have known better.”
Dummitt said the theories were not intellectually sound — and he finds it “so disappointing to see that the viewpoints I used to argue for so fervently — and so baselessly — have now been accepted by so many in the wider society”.
Indeed, his “flawed reasoning, and other scholarship using the same defective thinking” is now being used by “activists and governments to legislate a new moral code of conduct”.
Dummitt still believes gender roles can be socially constructed, but says critics are right to raise concerns at the “so-called proof presented by alleged experts”.
“Until we have seriously critical and ideologically divergent scholarship on sex and gender” and peer reviewing is more thorough, “then we ought to be very skeptical indeed about much of what counts as ‘expertise’ on the social construction of sex and gender”.