That's the title of Steve Sailer's latest book review, and in a normal country "poison, mutilate, and sterilize" would seem a very odd agenda for a fashionable upper class social craze. But maybe this isn't a normal country we're talking about. The review is of Abigail Shrier's book:
and the review begins:
Nothing exemplifies the madness of our times more than the fervent push since 2013 by therapists, educators, social workers, and journalists to poison, mutilate, and sterilize girls who have self-diagnosed themselves with the novel social-media-transmitted hysteria now known as rapid-onset gender dysphoria (ROGD).
Hence, Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters by Abigail Shrier, an op-ed freelancer for The Wall Street Journal, is one of the most valuable (as well as sensible and lively) books of recent years.
If I may put Sailer's implicit thesis--and presumably Shrier's, as well, since I haven't read the book--the current craze seems to have been empowered or, in a manner of speaking, put on steroids (we are talking about powerful drugs, after all) by the internet generally and smartphones in particular. The result is that the current craze is far more contagious than similar past crazes for escaping reality. Here is how that works:
The exact manifestations of mental illnesses tend to be highly specific to their time and place. For instance, nobody has neurasthenia anymore, but 125 years ago it was fashionable. Psychiatrist Edward Shorter has articulated the plausible concept that people with psychological pain go looking for a “symptom pool” that perhaps more or less fits themselves and then adopt whatever label the current culture slaps on it.
Only a vanishingly small number of American teenage girls thought they were boys until the media started hyping transgenderism around 2013. Unhappy pubescent girls shopped online for some explanation of their discontent and found en masse that the hot new one was transgenderism.
It's a bit like hypochodriacs of old poring over Merck's Manual--but it's so much easier now with modern search engines and online forums to offer support and encouragement. Or even, as Shrier says, psychological "seduction."
Perhaps in line with this social diagnosis of mental illness is the fact that this current phenomenon follows on earlier ones and seems to affect the "upper" classes and liberals first:
In Littman’s study, 91 percent are white, 95 percent have at least some college education, and 86 percent are pro–gay marriage ... It’s the new anorexia, another mental illness that traditionally afflicts the daughters of the professional class. Perhaps it has something to do with the upper middle class’s insistence that its daughters grow up to become surgeons, litigators, and military officers?
Sailer goes through Shrier's speculation on specific triggering causes for this current epidemic. One that I found interesting is that rebellious adolescent children of ueber open-minded parents need to push the rebellion envelope ever further to get the desired response--pushback from their parents. He concludes with some signal advice that Shrier offers. Noting that Shrier describes the dire consequences--i.e., "irreversible damage"--that this craze causes, Sailer writes:
Although there is much talk of “gender fluidity,” the transgender mania pushes children toward a future of sexual rigidity and frigidity. ...
The outcome is often sterility. Transgenderism is, in effect, much like the eugenic sterilizations of a century ago, except now people at the top of society are doing it to themselves.
Many traditional cultures have means by which pubescent girls can somewhat de-emphasize their sexuality for a few years until they make their debut in society in their later teens as a lovely young woman ready to be wooed. Maybe what our adolescent girls need is less gender-bending and more gender-pending in which anxious adolescent girls get to escape the social media spotlight until they are more ready. Thus, Shrier’s first piece of advice is:
Don’t Get Your Kid a Smartphone.