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Philosopher responds to Jane Clare Jones et al

(186 Posts)
thatdamnwoman Sun 11-Aug-19 16:20:16

I'm pretty sure that over the past week or two I've read an article by GC women philosophers pointing out the fallacious arguments that fellow philosophers use when trying to promote a pro-trans agenda. I've looked for it but can't find it. I anyone can point me to it I'd be grateful.

A contact of mine, someone who is a senior paediatrician, has posted this article which I think is a response to the original GC feminist one.

My contact – someone who is in a position to be very influential in her hospital and area – says she's read it and it makes sense to her and she wants those of us who are circulating anti-trans articles to read it. She's already getting lots of likes and people saying yes, they agree, from loads of people, some of whom I recognise as being in the NHS.

I've given the article a cursory read but it's long and tortuous and I am so infuriated by the toxic tone that I can't be analytical. This is rubbish philosophical writing.

I see that Kathleen Stock has responded but I'm so shaken that someone I mistook for an intelligent, sensible woman has swallowed this shit and that other women are agreeing with her that I can't absorb Stock's response.

Is there anyone out there capable of boiling down both his argument and her response in plain English so that I can intervene with some sanity on FB?

NotTerfNorCis Sun 11-Aug-19 16:24:34

A huge chunk of waffle by someone with a clear agenda. He could have distilled the whole thing to a paragraph, and he'd still be wrong.

thatdamnwoman Sun 11-Aug-19 16:36:18

And yet a senior and influential paediatrician is pinning this up as really making her see things differently and making her think that we should all be opening ourselves to transgender ideology.

I think this is what's doing my head in. Maria Miller, Mhairi Black, Jeremy Corbyn and all the thousands of other presumably intelligent people, people of influence, who are so easily taken in by such guff. Just responding that this is guff isn't going to work. Nor, I think, will Kathleen Stock's response, which is too philosophically clever-clever. I need to be able to pinpoint in 200 words or less how and why his article is ingeuous crap.

SpartacusAutisticus Sun 11-Aug-19 16:38:03

Kathleen Stock's Medium articles are here:*@kathleenstock*

Lumene Sun 11-Aug-19 16:41:30

What are the key points in the posted article you want to counter? If you post these someone may be able to help address them succinctly.

NotTerfNorCis Sun 11-Aug-19 16:42:08

I skimmed through this before, but it's basically unreadable.

The first 1,400 words can be boiled down to him admitting that he doesn't know much about feminism or gender ideology, but he does know that gender critical thought is completely without value and shouldn't be bothered with.

Then he tackles three points.

1) Do trans people reinforce gender stereotypes? He says not. He says trans people imitate the stereotypes associated with the sex they want to be. Fair point to an extent, but then what about trans people who say they don't have dysphoria (e.g. it's not about the body for them)? What is there left but stereotypes?

2) Are people being pressured to transition? He says not. But there are accounts out there of people, especially teenage girls, being told that their discomfort with gender norms mean they MUST transition. Workers in gender clinics have been expressing their own concerns, even resigning over it. Some people certainly are being pushed towards something that, given time, they would probably move away from.

3) Does admitting transwomen make women's spaces less safe? He says not. Two points here. Firstly, sometimes it obviously does (Jessica Yaniv for instance). Secondly, some men will abuse self ID to claim that they are trans and get into women's spaces. They won't have to make any effort to transition at all. To ignore this possibility is to dismiss all women's experiences of predatory male behaviour.

There are two big problems with that article. One, it's far, far too long as though he couldn't control his argument at all. Second, it starts out with a very obvious bias. He refers to himself as 'cis'. GC feminists do make good points, so to say that their ideas are 'valueless' because you think you've disproved three of them is arrogant and intellectually dishonest.

allmywhat Sun 11-Aug-19 16:46:28

Oh my god it's so long-winded. It just seems like someone made an attempt to bury their cognitive dissonance in a giant haystack of words.

Actually I just read the introduction to it again and by the author's own admission THAT IS PRECISELY WHAT HAPPENED.

This person's intellectual evolution, as he explains it himself:
- I can't see what's so wrong with GC feminism
- But everyone says GC feminism is wrong
- Well god forbid I go against the consensus. I had better figure out why GC feminism is so wrong.
- Voila, I have listened and paid attention and here is my extremely long rationalisation of the position I had already adopted before I looked into the matter.

He can fuck off, I'm not going to read 35,000 words of post-hoc rationalisations for his intellectual cowardice.

thatdamnwoman Sun 11-Aug-19 16:54:46

I think Kathleen Stock's 'vegetarian' response will just go winging over the heads of the people I need to communicate to. Frankly it goes over my own head. Not helpful. In fact I'm not sure I can even understand the second part of her response either.

frazzled1 Sun 11-Aug-19 16:55:45

Geee. Dizzyingly unreadable waffle. On & on.

‘biological sex’ (however they specify that – chromosomal, surgical, hormonal, assigned at birth, whatever)

Nah mate, none of those. Sex as determined at conception. HTH.

FormerMediocreMale Sun 11-Aug-19 16:57:04

A link to Mermaids jelly beans might help! This bloke, who seems to claim hes feminist, is saying its nothing to do with stereotypes.

Cant read any more the patronising mansplaining is just too much for me.

Iminthewrongstory Sun 11-Aug-19 16:58:49

It's a pompous piece of intellectual wankery which negates the reality of women's concerns and experiences. I share your exasperation but (IMO) it's not really worth your time going through it to refute it - I doubt many people reach the end of it. Look at this sentence from early on:

'Statistically, dear philosophers, there’s a good chance that you are, like me, a cis man, and not an expert on any of this. You’re wondering how to react. '

He seems to be saying that statistically we're cis men like him - I don't think that's what he means. Or is it? Is his audience meant to be cis men? And, if so, does that give me, a woman, permission to stop reading? Yes, I think so. Why would anyone seek guidance from him since, as he says, he's not expert? And why the bloomin' heck does he keep saying 'dear philosophers'?

The best argument against this piece would just be to link to that Stanford professor's Ted talk advocating early medical intervention. I can't see how anyone could watch that and not think that it was important that some urgent, nuanced conversations began.

MockerstheFeManist Sun 11-Aug-19 17:00:20

The phrase "trans and non-trans women" is a dead giveaway.

Reagrds philosophy, it's yer bleedin Wittgenstein, innit?

The only genuine propositions that we can use to make assertions about reality are contingent (‘empirical’) propositions, which are true if they agree with reality and false otherwise. From this it follows that all other apparent propositions are pseudo-propositions of various types and that all other uses of ‘true’ and ‘truth’ deviate markedly from the truth-by-correspondence (or agreement) that contingent propositions have in relation to reality.

In plain language, a cat that barks is not a fucking dog, alright?

TheInebriati Sun 11-Aug-19 17:06:40

I think you should stick to NotTerfNorCis post point 3, and the Equality Act.
There are several articles about the risks to women in mixed sex wards and the cost to the NHS of compensation, you could post those.

Socrates11 Sun 11-Aug-19 17:09:36

"It's a pompous piece of intellectual wankery which negates the reality of women's concerns and experiences."
Perfectly expressed Iminthewrongstory.

I think this is all you probably need thatdamnwoman. Succinct and to the point. Better than my "it's a load of waffling old shite".

Ornery Sun 11-Aug-19 17:10:30

Point 1 - bollocks. The whole GRC process is based on adherence to stereotypes (aka RLT). To get a GRC you literally have to prove you adhere to stereotypes. And frankly, I would add AGP into the mix here. Middle aged men getting a boner from inhabiting stereotypes. Plus any article written about passing and how sexy it is to be a woman and great to be cat-called, plus any gross Twitter comment denigrating GC women/ lesbians for not inhabiting feminine stereotypes.
The whole article is a pile of self-important bilge. What a tosser.

OldCrone Sun 11-Aug-19 17:18:32

The best argument against this piece would just be to link to that Stanford professor's Ted talk advocating early medical intervention.

She talks about a 'baby girl with a penis'. Should deal nicely with "Part 2: Are People Being Pressured to Transition? (No)"

Thread here.

thatdamnwoman Sun 11-Aug-19 17:19:17

There are already six apparently intelligent women discussing this on FB and apparently finding lots if interesting and useful stuff in what he says. Three of them are medics. Two of them are lesbians. Someone had a thread earlier last week explaining the handmaiden phenomenon and I think I'm seeing it in action here. A man speaks and they agree with him because having to get hardline radfem on transgender issues would male them feel bad about themselves.

thatdamnwoman Sun 11-Aug-19 17:20:20

would make them feel bad about themselves. Grrr.

Imnobody4 Sun 11-Aug-19 17:20:53

Good grief -couldn't get past the first paragraph. Apparently he's into panpsychism so not really a big surprise he swallows trans ideology.

'A lot of my work has been about panpsychism, the idea that (roughly) everything is conscious. More carefully put, modern panpsychism is the idea that some incredibly simple version of our own conscious experience is one of the fundamental properties of our universe’s matter, just like mass, charge, and spin, and that human beings inherit our complex consciousness from the intricately-related consciousness of our many material parts.'
I should ask your contact what they found so persuasive.

thatdamnwoman Sun 11-Aug-19 17:24:54

Oh, and apologies to Kathleen Stock for muddling her with Jane Claire Jones in my title.

This is actually totally typical of how TRAs work, now I come to think of it. We ask 'Would you please supply us with a definition of woman?' and get 5,000 words which send us off in every direction except defining 'woman'. We make reasoned arguments and they waffle on pompously throwing up garbage responses. It's like trying to catch the wind. There's nothing solid there, nothing to grapple with.

spinninghag Sun 11-Aug-19 17:26:16

This blogpost is absolutely nonsense.
I think the key issue here is the cognitive dissonance. People, especially "academic" ones, just don't want to admit they have been taken in by a completely nonsensical ideology... And they really want the social props of being seen to be "inclusive."

Just linking directly to a useful article about common arguments by Kathleen Stock, Jane Clare Jones, Sophie Allen, Holly Lawford-Smith, Mary Leng, and Rebecca Reilly-Cooper*@kathleenstock*/doing-better-in-arguments-about-sex-and-gender-3bec3fc4bdb6

FermatsTheorem Sun 11-Aug-19 17:47:29

My goodness that's verbose, isn't it?

As far as I can see, it boils down to three points.

1) It's not about stereotypes or "born in the wrong body" - these are just metaphors to explain as best one can to the "cis" [sic] world what it is to be trans.

OK mate, you're the philosopher. If these are not what "being trans" is, tell me what it is. In a way that isn't circular and doesn't resort to stereotypes.

2) No-one is pushed into being trans because they're gender non-conforming.

Straightforwardly false. We have clinicians resigning from the Tavistock, the UK's leading gender clinic, over this issue.

3) Trans people in women's spaces don't make women less safe.

J Yaniv, Karen White, Davina Ayrton, the Sheffield rapist on the run described to the public as a "woman who may be wearing men's clothes" (i.e. a man who likes cross dressing, who's gone back to wearing stereotypically male clothes so as not to draw attention to himself).

Oh, and that good old appeal to female socialisation: we must accept TWAW because not to do so would have terrible, awful consequences (and fuck the terrible awful consequences for women in prison, women's sports, women who want freedom of association, women who want a female HCP to perform intimate exams, women who want to know that when they go into an open-plan, single sex changing room, it actually is single sex...)

FormerMediocreMale Sun 11-Aug-19 17:53:56

A good link re stereotypes might be DT in the Telegraph. The prepubescent breasts article is vomit inducing and the funeral one is all about him and his clothes dilema.

AGP so clear with his fantasies.

Kristen the ex Leeds GIDS employee wrote a great piece about treatment.

Also Michael Biggs article re blockers.

OldCrone Sun 11-Aug-19 17:59:39

I've just read "Part 1: Do Trans People Reinforce Gender Stereotypes?" in the hope he would explain what 'being trans' is. He doesn't answer it, just says:

"most cis people are all too ready to dismiss a motivation for transition that they can’t relate to, and substitute something more familiar or more satisfying (like ‘they want to conform to stereotypes’, or ‘they’re deluded’ or ‘it’s a sexual thing’ or something even worse)."

So what is the motivation if it's not one of these things?

He says "One way to ask ‘what is gender identity’ is as a question about the nature of something whose existence is clear and uncontroversial."
If it's really that 'clear and uncontroversial', you'd think he'd be able to explain what it is.

So both "gender identity" and what it means to "be trans" are totally undefinable, but their existence is 'clear and uncontroversial'. He can explain what they're not, but not what they are.

spinninghag Sun 11-Aug-19 18:04:55

I also just want to point out that it's a philosophical fallacy to appeal to consensus.

As is his appeal to motive (saying women are hateful)

Really, this is pretty embarrassing for a philosopher.

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