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to think Julie Burchill went too far in this article?

(1000 Posts)
kim147 Sun 13-Jan-13 16:42:26

It all started with an article by Suzanne Moore in which she mentioned Brazillian transsexuals - as a throwaway comment.This got picked on by some vocal memebers of the trans community and led to a Twitter storm. Suzanne Moore then left Twitter.

So Julie Burchill then waded in to defend her friend and launch the kind of attack on transsexuals that you wouldn't even find in the Daily Mail.

www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jan/13/julie-burchill-suzanne-moore-transsexuals

There's no way the paper would publish such an attack on other minority groups but transsexuals are ok?

kim147 Sun 13-Jan-13 17:21:23

The problem with Julie Burchill's article is the sheer hatred she comes out with, the language and the sheer vitriol in it - it's basically an attack on the transsexual community and not one you'd expect to see for another oppressed community.

Narked Sun 13-Jan-13 17:23:42

For those that can see beyond the end of their noses, a reference to Brazil might be due to the fact that it's one of the world leaders in terms of uptake of plastic surgery is synonymous with 'the body beautiful'.

Sadly, kim, having read shedloads of vitriol on both sides of this one, I think it is exactly what you'd expect. That's the problem. She knew she was just going to make things worse and she went ahead and did it anyway.

Narked Sun 13-Jan-13 17:28:16

From a NY Times article:

'Brazil has long had an international reputation as home of the body beautiful, a culture obsessed with beauty, vitality and health — and even if that standard is often more perception than reality, the country’s health and wellness industries are booming.'

LizzieVereker Sun 13-Jan-13 17:29:21

Thanks for explaining, LRD, I appreciate it.

WidowWadman Sun 13-Jan-13 17:32:04

Francis Sedgemore has reported it as a hatecrime

I'm stunned the Guardian printed it.

No worries lizzie. smile

Narked Sun 13-Jan-13 17:33:51

Beautifully selective quoting there.

kim147 Sun 13-Jan-13 17:34:25

I think I know what Suzanne Moore intended in that article - and it was a good article about body image and feminism. The reaction by the trans lobby was way OTT - that's something that happens nowadays with Twitter.

And LRD - yes, Julie knew what she was doing. I'm pleased so many people have attacked the article in the comments and the Guardian editor seems to be trying to distance the Guardian from the Observer.

It's just surprising the Observer would publish such a hate filled article when they are quite keen to censor other comments full of hate.

FellatioNels0n Sun 13-Jan-13 17:35:51

I can't be bothered to read the link but Julie Birchill is an arse and always has been. She just shouts attention-seeking contentious twaddle as far as I'm concerned, and prides herself on being obtuse.

So whatever it was she said, by default YANBU.

Lilithmoon Sun 13-Jan-13 17:35:53

Wow what an appalling article by Julie Burchill. What on earth did she think she would achieve? I am really surprised it got published. sad

Are they? I just don't read Guardian comments any more - they are full of attacks on women. An awful lot of mainstream media is just so casually misognyistic it's almost difficult to register it.

Hassled Sun 13-Jan-13 17:39:07

THis is what Suzanne Moore said on the issue - "When I say "women", I don't much care if you were born or became one. I am with RuPaul: "Honey, we are born naked, the rest is drag." " It's a good piece.

FloatyBeatie Sun 13-Jan-13 17:41:38

I like the discussion on this thread. It seems constructive. It seems intersted in hearing a range of views, empathising, and working towards answers. Unlike (from what I can gather) the Twitter exchanges, and certainly unlike the Burchill article.

There is this awful dynamic in so many internet conversations that involves first of all a principle of uncharity, whereby you interprete your opponent's words in whatever way allows maximum imputation to them of wrongfulness (of whatever sort -- ignorance, prejudice, unchecked privilege, or a million other sins). That in turn is used as a way of asserting one's own superior concern for whatever isues are under discussion, and then the whole thing comes to be about which participant is most righteous. Instead of about the issues. It is paralysing.

And then editors come along to cash in on the tension, because they believe that the best way to "provoke discussion" (for which read "get plenty of hits/readers/etc) is to re-stage what has become a setpiece conflict. So all "discussions" come to be pre-framed as a clash between two sides (sometimes involving made-up categories like yummy mummies, Burchills's alleged community of academic middle-class transexuals) -- and once some copy-short journo has made up a dichotomy we all pile in and legitimise it by joining in the discussion on those flawed dichotomous terms online. Hopeless.sad

FloatyBeatie Sun 13-Jan-13 17:43:18

(I should have put an "and" after "yummy mummies" -- I didn't mean to suggest that yummy mummies are all academic middle-class transexuals.)

Smudging Sun 13-Jan-13 17:45:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Hassled Sun 13-Jan-13 17:45:18

I wish I could say I was both a yummy mummy and an academic middle-class transexual grin.

Life would be much more fun if there were yummy mummy academic middle class transsexuals. Though tougher to type about.

I think people do throw around the word 'transphobia' to mean 'anyone who disagrees with me', though. I don't see how what Moore wrote was transphobic, especially after her clarification. Ignorant about people who died in Brazil, yes. Transphobic? Not so sure.

If Julie Burchill still counts as working class then I shall reinvent myself as working class too. hmm

I don't think sm should have apologised - she had nothing to apologise for.

Narked Sun 13-Jan-13 17:49:33

But she expressed an opinion that hadn't been vetted by them first shock

kim147 Sun 13-Jan-13 17:50:41

I think Suzanne Moore wrote a good response article. She didn't mean any offense but I did not see any of her comments on Twitter - nor the attacks on her.

Julie Burchill is Julie Burchill. Maybe she should write for the DM?

hackmum Sun 13-Jan-13 17:52:12

The thing is, Julie Burchill isn't really known for understating her case, is she? I've been reading articles by her for 30 years, and I've never once thought, "Well, that was a fair, reasonable, balanced summing up of the arguments on both sides."

She's successful precisely because she's a professional controversialist and, not only that (because any idiot can be controversial) she has a gift for the barbed phrase, the cruelly but wittily worded comment that stings. That's why she carries on getting commissioned and why people keep reading her.

I think I'd err on the side of saying she should have, if Brazil is especially associated with transsexuals being killed, then the reference is going to upset people, because some people will have lost loved ones. This sort of argument typically does get some people saying 'professionally offended', but I think you can't choose what offends or upsets you. It wasn't an integral part of her argument, so I think she was right to explain that.

I didn't read her second piece as an out-and-out breast-beating 'oh my god, I was so wrong' apology anyway: it was explaining where she was coming from and it was very well put.

After that people should have accepted her point.

Narked Sun 13-Jan-13 17:53:26

Maybe it takes someone like Julie Burchill to raise points, in her usual confrontational antagonistic manner, when other feminists are too wary of certain highly vocal groups to say what they really think.

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