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Women are being censored because they wish to discuss the politics of gender. I say NO. Who wants to join me?

(1000 Posts)
Beachcomber Sun 20-Jan-13 19:48:45

Ok, I'm guessing that many here have heard about Julie Burchill's explosive article defending her friend Suzanne Moore against trans activists.

I'm also guessing that there are a lot of women who don't know that trans activists have been becoming increasingly influential in many areas that affect Women's Rights since the 1980s and 90s. These areas include feminist websites and blogs (such as the F word), feminist meetings and conferences, women's music festivals, in feminist literature and in academia teaching gender studies (a subject that used to be taught as women's studies) and in post-modernist and queer theory circles.

Transactivists call any resistance to their increasing influence and presence in these areas of female interest "transphobic". Discussion of gender identity as an oppressive social construct and as a threat to feminism and women's rights is also considered transphobic. Consequently, discussion of women as being a political class of people oppressed due to our sex and our reproductive capacity is becoming harder and harder for feminists to have without being accused of transphobia and bigotry. This is very very concerning.

Numerous women have been threatened or silenced by these people (for example they have been no platformed and/or picketed at feminist events or attacked and threatened after writing articles or essays discussing gender identity).

Let me be very clear that this discussion is about transactivists and people who threaten others into silence. It is not about transpeople in general (some of whom have stated that they are afraid to get involved in the controversy).

In my opinion, no matter which side of the gender identity debate one stands on, surely we can all agree that debate should be allowed to take place. One side cannot be allowed to shout down, threaten and silence the other.

The recent events are not just about differing opinions on gender identity though (or I wouldn't be bothering to post this), they are about women's right to talk about and identify sex based oppression and male supremacy, and therefore to fight against sex based oppression and male supremacy. And that is why this is an important if not vital issue for women's rights.

I think women's rights politics are reaching a pivotal moment - a moment in which we must stand up for our right to discuss our status as second class citizens as a result of the biological fact that we are female. If we can't discuss it, we don't have much hope of fighting it.

To summarise the link - a well known and influential feminist blogger has been censored for discussing the issues outlined above. She is not the first woman to be silenced by these people. I think it is about time we stood up to them.

Thanks for reading.

Beachcomber Sun 20-Jan-13 19:57:57

This thread discusses the events that have set things off and is worth a read (it is very very long though!)

CrunchyFrog Sun 20-Jan-13 20:38:41

I'm in.

According to all the threads and blogs I've seen, I'm defined as transphobic, but I want to talk about it.

I do not want to be "cis" woman. I do not choose to define my gender in the very narrow way that people seem to want to (I would fail any of the criteria used to define womanhood, apart from the whole being a mother and mensturating thing - but talking about those is "cis privilege?"

Yeah, let's talk.

kim147 Sun 20-Jan-13 20:44:18

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Beachcomber Sun 20-Jan-13 21:25:17

Good stuff CrunchyFrog. I agree with you.

Kim - if you are referring to what I think you are, I believe the copyrighted photo (of a public figure) was taken down and replaced with a noncopyrighted photo once the copyright had been brought to the blogger's attention.

I took action when I became aware of Mock’s campaign, specifically his charge that the public news-site photo I had used was off limits. To placate his male rage I replaced that pic with an alternate screen cap from another (NBC) appearance, and I kindly tweeted him that I had resolved his photo issue.

(I think we both know that the issue here is not the posting of a copyrighted photo of a public figure. There are photos of Janet Mock all over the internet - something which is pretty standard for a public figure.)

AnyFucker Sun 20-Jan-13 21:30:57

I am aware some of my views on the transgender issue would be classed by some as "transphobic"

I don't accept that

I don't accept that women who were born men have any right to use feminist spaces to forward their own agenda

I believe they should have their own spaces, and I would support them in that

I object to a group of people who are not biologically female hitching their wagon to female causes, and using "political correctness" to silence women who pull them up on it

lemonmuffin Sun 20-Jan-13 21:44:03

Not me. Sorry. I'm glad that transphobia is being exposed and shown up for what it is.

kim147 Sun 20-Jan-13 21:47:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Beachcomber Sun 20-Jan-13 21:50:07

In total agreement with you AF.

You have basically summarised Sheila Jeffreys' submission to the Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Bill

The right to ‘gender identity’: a clash with the rights of women. This submission addresses the addition of a new ‘protected attribute’ in the Human Rights Bill, that of ‘gender identity’. The protected attribute of ‘sex’, under which women are protected from discrimination, is still in the list, but adding the new category of ‘gender identity’, could potentially create a clash of rights between male-bodied transgenders on the one hand, and those disadvantaged on the grounds of sex, women. In other jurisdictions, such legislation has seen the emergence of successful legal challenges in which malebodied transgenders have sought access to spaces previously reserved for women, including women’s services such as sheltered housing, women’s toilets and women’s prisons.

edam Sun 20-Jan-13 21:52:43

I'm opposed to anyone trying to silence women. Whether they are transactivists or MRAs or whoever.

Extremely depressing if people who want to be treated as women are bullying women who were born with vaginas. If you want to join our gender, best not carry on like old-fashioned male chauvinists, surely?

WidowWadman Sun 20-Jan-13 21:53:31

I'm with lemonmuffin. I liked The f-word's take on it and am glad that those feminists who want to exclude and marginalise trans women are in the minority.

Beachcomber Sun 20-Jan-13 22:11:36

From your link WidowWadman,

Feminism is about a better set of values in which gender loses some of its power of oppression... (my bold)

You what??

gender loses some of its power of oppression

No. It. Isn't.

Feminism is not about gender losing some of its power of oppression.

Good Grief.

KarlosKKrinkelbeim Sun 20-Jan-13 22:12:26

"I do not want to be "cis" woman. "
No more do I - I was not aware opf this ludicrous expression until this week, the whole concept enrages me. I categorically refuse to be labelled in this manner.

inde Sun 20-Jan-13 22:13:25

To my mind radical feminists attitude to transgender people bears more than a passing similarity to the westover baptist church's attitude to gays. The Observer has now taken the Burchill article offline because it feels the offensive language used broke their editorial code.

Many correspondents pointed out that our own editorial code states "... we should not casually use words that are likely to offend" and cited clause 12 of the national Editors' Code: "The press must avoid prejudicial or pejorative reference to an individual's race, colour, religion, gender, sexual orientation or to any physical or mental illness or disability."

AnyFucker Sun 20-Jan-13 22:14:13

I replace "cis" with cif, and go clean my kitchen. It is meaningless to me.

KarlosKKrinkelbeim Sun 20-Jan-13 22:18:49

I wish I could be so insouciant, AnyFucker. I find it rather sinister. You will accept a label for what you are, which is not what you thought you were, and if you don't swallow it meekly like a good girl, you'll be fair game for any abuse or slander.
Well I won't have it. If anyone called me that to my face - and thnakfully I don;t move in circ;les where that's loikely - they'd have cause to regret it PDQ.

WidowWadman Sun 20-Jan-13 22:20:44

The right to gender identity does not clash with the rights of women. Maybe with the rights of bigots.

This obsession with what is between people's legs, the dismissing of people's realities based on one's own narrow experiences, and the active campaigning for the removal of hard fought for rights from an incredibly marginalised group whilst being totally blind to their own privilege is just sickening. And it's got f-all to do with feminism.

Mitchy1nge Sun 20-Jan-13 22:21:40

(hello beachcomber! It's lovely to 'see' you! smile)

I didn't know I was transphobic until reading about the cotton ceiling thing, yuk

Beachcomber Sun 20-Jan-13 22:22:25

Inde can we count on you to check out what Twitters policy is on calling people cunts and threatening them with violence?

Yunno, in the interests of balance.

WidowWadman Sun 20-Jan-13 22:26:11

Beachcomber, how about adding some context to those tweets? I do not agree with the aggressive tweets directed at Suzanne Moore, but that selection is rather, well, selective.

Storify of the tweets ^from^ and to SM

Suzanne Moore has used some pretty inflammatory language, and to pretend that the anger directed at her was based on the article, and not on her ignorant stance and offensive remarks afterwards is dishonest.

Beachcomber Sun 20-Jan-13 22:27:08

'Lo Mitchy, nice to see you too.

Can I suggest that people read Sheila Jeffrey's submission to the Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Bill for an explanation of why 'gender identity rights' clash with the rights of women.

kim147 Sun 20-Jan-13 22:27:22

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

KarlosKKrinkelbeim Sun 20-Jan-13 22:29:04

There is no context - other than untreated mental illness - which satisfactorily explains or excuses threats to cut the woman's face off and feed it to wolves, or some of the other demented ravings on that feed.
It's the old story of rage when women have the cheek to define themselves or claim some kind of autonomy over their own identity. Plus ca change.

inde Sun 20-Jan-13 22:31:48

I'm against it Beachcomber. There is a difference between some random person on twitter calling Suzanne Moore that word and the Observer breaking their own code by using unnecessary offensive language.
Personally I would prevent people using twitter who used inflammatory language as well but unfortunately that will never happen.

Beachcomber Sun 20-Jan-13 22:37:09

WidowWadman, I linked to the other thread to give some context.

For the sake of brevity I shall C&P here a couple of comments I made on the context from the other thread.

Here they are;

I think what has pissed me off the most about this whole thing is that there has been a growing fashion of MTF trans modelling in Brazil and being held up as the ultimate in female body beautiful/femininity.

"In some ways, the trans-models have a proverbial leg up on their female colleagues," The AP wrote. "Unlike even the thinnest of women, who often fight cellulite and stretch marks, the trans-models have long, sinewy limbs unscarred by such typically female afflictions. Once they’ve lasered away facial or body hair, they can sometimes look more feminine even than models who were born female."

I imagine that Moore's comment was a throwaway reference to this phenomenon. Now whilst one could say (as a feminist) that if MTF trans want to take on the job of being human coathangers for the notoriously misogynistic fashion industry, they are more than welcome to it; at the same time it is pretty galling for us lowly biological women to be told that this is what we should be aiming for in the old beauty shackles stakes...(AKA performing femininity AKA female oppression).

But no, we aren't going to talk about that. We are going to take huge offence at Moore's perfectly valid and factually true comment and pretend it was a callous remark thumbing her nose at the suffering of Brazilian trans who are the victims of violence (predominantly male violence). Riiiight because we all know that Suzanne Moore doesn't give a shit about male violence, oh, hang on a minute....

And if you read the tweets posted here you can see how ridiculous this whole thing is. Moore is accused of transphobia because she mentions Brazilian transmodels being held up to women as a beauty goal (they are). She is then told that transphobia kills.

Way to overreact.

Can we no longer mention transpeople in a factually true way without being accused of being transphobic and bad feminists?

Gosh. Just gosh.

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