In Sweden there is a current debate regarding the invented pronoun hen which is gender neutral. The hope is that it will replace or at least be a substitute to hon (she) and han (he). It is being taught in some preschools so that children learn to think gender free. The gender ideology behind this is of course grounded in the linguistic turn and social constructionism. From these perspectives hon and han are social constructions and they may not exist everywhere (such as in Bahasa Indonesia which has a gender neutral pronoun). From a “bipolar” gender categorization of man/woman there are obviously some people that fall outside, such as transsexuals. There is also a built in structure of power in these categories where the male dominates and where the female is a negation of the male, etc. The concept of hen is supposed to loosen up these relations of power. That part I have no problems with.
There is, however, a difference between century old concepts whose origin we cannot clearly know in detail and those current institutional concepts created by academics who wishes to “overcode” existing ones. It is simply another form of domination and since it lacks substantial support among grass roots it will not succeed. Social constructionists ignore entities that are micro and macro in relation to the individual human. Genes and chromosomes have no impact on gender categories and although institutions, states, and religions have some effect on gender categories, they are of less importance than the fuzzy structures they deal with in “society as a whole” (the traditional and simplified agent-structure relation).
Such debates quickly turn into political and ideological battles of the “either you are with me or not” kind. If you are against the concept of hen you are labeled conservative and a believer in gender essences. Well, I am neither. I am all for change and differences. The opposite sides in the debate tend to be both part of the linguistic and anthropocentric turn. They are simply negations of each other. Instead, take a flat ontology and erase the hierarchy of concepts inherent here because there are differences between people on several scales and from different perspectives. By focusing on hen, the gender issue will only be intensified and opposite poles will emerge and arguments regarding who is right or wrong will only escalate. If you are a social constructionist, take a look into what biology has to say, and vice versa. In order to combine them you may, however, need to change your very foundations. You’ll need to skip epistemology and focus on ontology instead.