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Rather balanced article in the Guardian

(28 Posts)
Michelleoftheresistance Tue 14-Jan-20 09:30:58

www.theguardian.com/education/2020/jan/14/sacked-silenced-academics-say-they-are-blocked-from-exploring-trans-issues

Actually using the words 'gender critical feminists' although adding 'so called' to try and soften the blow a bit.

However anyone reading this not soaked in the debate is going to think:

Why is it only one side creating enough hoo hah that events are considered too risky to go ahead?

Why does anyone have the right to not be offended? What's the 'unsafe' bit about?

And connect the dots that really what is being regarded as appalling, requiring protests so threatening that sites daren't host, is actually... women's rights.

LassoOfTruth Tue 14-Jan-20 09:40:56

I was pleased to see this (at last, Guardian!), but some explanation of the core issues and actual concerns, e.g. safeguarding of women in prisons etc, would have been better.
The 'feeling unsafe' at a lecture nonsense continues to give me the rage. No, you are not unsafe if someone giving an academic talk has different views than you. You might be unsafe though if a male-bodied violent criminal was allowed into your (prison) bathroom/bedroom no questions asked, because he 'feels he is a woman'.

justcly Tue 14-Jan-20 09:43:13

If a conference on women's sex-based rights needs that much security, then we are talking about terrorism. Who is driving this? Because I am fairly confident that your average transman/transwoman isn't a terrorist.

RoyalCorgi Tue 14-Jan-20 09:55:01

It's good to see something in there, but what it doesn't acknowledge is that this isn't a balanced issue of two sides claiming to feel unsafe, but a relentless campaign by trans activists to close down free speech. They're not just asking feminists academics not to talk about this stuff - they're carrying out vicious campaigns of bullying, for example, trying to get Professor Selina Todd sacked by Oxford University.

NotBadConsidering Tue 14-Jan-20 10:05:02

Viner must be on holiday.

HorseWithNoTimeForThis Tue 14-Jan-20 10:07:27

Comments on?

Can't be arsed to look.

Bet not.

shedquarters Tue 14-Jan-20 14:57:28

Yes but they also have an article in today - a handy guide to etiquette when your friend comes out as non-binary. Helpful hints and tips, with troubleshooting for difficult or awkward moments.
So one fairly neutral article, balanced against the overwhelming wall of bat-shit is not much to get excited about.
Still, tackling bullying and censorship in acedemia is gaining momentum slowly.

Michelleoftheresistance Tue 14-Jan-20 15:43:57

Oh well. The fact the Guardian are capable of a fairly neutral article - and one that many people will read between the lines of because the holes are fairly gaping - is progress!

stumbledin Tue 14-Jan-20 18:57:09

I saw this mentioned on facebook and someone suggested it might be the Guardian responding to the replies they got to their survey on what issues they should cover in 2020. And they had to admit they had got a number of responses saying they should cover the issue of gender critical women being silenced.

The article is fairly bland, and makes it sound like there is a few occassions when someone has an event cancelled. If they did proper reporting (which of course the Guardian doesn't) they could easily have listed which events have been cancelled / speakers non platformed to show how it is mainly feminists.

I dont think the article is open to comments as the Guardian took a decisions some years ago to close comments on articles about women / feminists as they themselves had allowed them to become an open area for MRAs (long before the trans issue become overt).

However there are some comments on the Guardian twitter feed which are a bit either way, but on the Guardian facebook link to this article it is all, oh no the Guardian has been taken over by terfs.

So if it is as the poster on facebook said a toe in the water test to see the response they get from even being slightly open to reporting gender critical views then those who can need to get on to twitter and / or facebook and tell them good that they have started to report the silencing of women and looking forward to more reporting of the fact that this is happening across universities. smile

Hulo Tue 14-Jan-20 19:41:08

I think that one of the most useful sentences perhaps was this: So-called gender-critical feminists, who believe that gender is a social construct rather than innate,

I suspect that many many people who know little about the debate take this as an assumption. Gender is a social construct. Suddenly they find that this is the idea that is being taken to be transphobic, the concept that is so objectionable. For many I hope it'll start some questioning

Qcng Tue 14-Jan-20 20:21:01

I don't know about that, Hulo, it's only people versed in feminism who understand the difference between sex and gender.

Most (normal? Ordinary?) people use gender as a synonym for sex.

Anyone reading is as "gender critical feminists see sex as a social construct" are going to think it's batshit.

Sometimes you need to really go into the basics to get a message across. The Guardian are not going to make that effort.

Having said that, the article did actually put across the problems of silencing GC views in academia very well.
What a change!

Goosefoot Tue 14-Jan-20 20:48:51

I noticed that there were a lot of people who commented on their Twitter about the pronouns, very negatively.

The idea that they stopped comments on their articles about women because of MRAs is interesting because it's what I expect they would say, but far from what I remember. Many of their feminism articles were really bad, poorly researched with dodgy numbers and often real problems with the arguments.
But their moderation of comments was very heavy handed, there were constant complaints from people that their comments that were on topic and substantial were deleted simply because they disagreed, or even when they were pointing out factual or technical issues. That was my observation as well. Pretty much the equivalent of you can't make a comment that makes someone feel unsafe, no matter how well founded.

They eventually had a special discussion page to hash out what readers wanted in terms of dealing with what they said were so many negative comments, and it was a litany of people complaining about the moderation on such articles being akin to censorship.

xxyzz Tue 14-Jan-20 20:56:03

Just read that article on pronouns on the tube on the way home and literally got people staring at me, I was audibly WTAFing so loudly.

The whole world has gone insane.

It's completely batshit. The idea that the way you show the rest of the world that you don't care about gender is by forcing everyone else into playing complicated memory games...why?? Why not just wear what you like and stop making such a big deal out of it?

Why assume that everyone else believes in gender (as opposed to sex) binaries, and sees themselves as walking stereotypes??

ScrimshawTheSecond Tue 14-Jan-20 21:56:35

Well. That is a refreshing surprise from the Graun, flawed or not. Interesting start to the year ...

stumbledin Tue 14-Jan-20 23:42:25

Goosefoot - you are right. The gave the reason for stopping comments because of MRAs - they had a big thing about hate speech and appeared so sympathetic to women. But in reality the way they had moderated comments on articles about women / feminism was to on every occasion that men said women were using hate speech they agreed. But if women pointed out casual sexism and mysogyny in comments from men they were ignored. This was pre the current editors obsession with queer politics and the trans agenda. This was a total backlash against women's liberation politics. And they went out of their way to promote the then new "third wave feminism" which was primarily an attack on older women with their out dated politics. Which of course the Guardian and the MRAs loved.

I think at the time I went through different email sign ups that all got banned for saying nothing more than feminism is the fightback against men as a class and / or portraying socialist feminists or their very favourite feminist bloc Wages for Housework, who had been exposed in other papers as being highly dubious not just in their politics but in the way they intereacted with women who volunteered or went to them for servicies. (WfH now known as Global Women's Strike which includes the English Collective of Prostitutes and various other groups but are primarily the same 4 or 5 women)

They were also very big in promoting some women journalists as the voice of feminism, helping them get book deals and speaking engagements. Many of whom now have sucessful careers as career feminists, which continues as it emphasises that women only get a voice when it is under male patronage.

Goosefoot Wed 15-Jan-20 03:29:57

That's interesting stumbledin - it suggests to me that they were just moderating really immoderately all round.

The kinds of things I noticed being deleted were from another direction entirely. I remember when Laura Bates column was there, quite a few of her columns received a lot of pushback because her method was really poor. Very much making generalised conclusions based on responses to herTwitter inquiries. Which is possibly an acceptable place to start but any journalist worth her salt is them going to have to go farther and really crunch the numbers and do some research, and she rarely did. As a result she often made errors with them, or assumed facts, or just jumped to conclusions. The comments used to be really harsh about this but largely were deleted.

A lot of their supposedly feminist columnists were mediocre thinkers, only passable writers, and poor journalists. But this always seemed to be something you couldn't notice or you were anti-woman.

PreseaCombatir Wed 15-Jan-20 08:38:10

I don’t really understand and this desperation for the guardian to reinforce peoples views. They’ve told you what they think of you loud and clear, and yet people are still desperate for their crumbs. Fuck that rag

GlitterToast Wed 15-Jan-20 10:22:40

I agree @PreseaCombatir

I feel the same way about how everyone is trying to change Labour/ Lib Dems/ Greens. They have told us, very directly, that they don’t want us. There is no way I’m going to celebrate every crumb they throw our way. angry

shedquarters Wed 15-Jan-20 11:14:42

Glitter Toast. So right. Labour/Lib Dems/Greens have been as clear as day about this. No messing about. Those who disagree are not welcome and politically disenfranchised.
I am a natural Labour voter, but look at shower of cowards and dispair.

Goosefoot Wed 15-Jan-20 11:16:05

I think it ma just be that there is really a whole sector of people who are not receiving good balanced journalism. And may of these people are not that willing to look at other sources, they don't feel the need, and they think they are really getting the full view of this, and other, issues.

Some would still resist, but there are those who just need to see concerns expressed by a paper they see as good and fair to begin to dig a bit. Particularly I think on the medical issues. They are making the assumption that because they don't see reporting on it, it can't be a real concern.

ScrimshawTheSecond Wed 15-Jan-20 12:17:23

Desperate for crumbs? I don't give a damn about the Guardian; I am interested in watching the barometer of public opinion and seeing how it is swaying. It's interesting to see that there are now tiny cracks appearing in the trans nodebate.

boatyardblues Wed 15-Jan-20 13:11:30

I remember when the Guardian had long articles and insightful investigation and analysis. I read it from cover to cover daily in my teens and regularly well into my late twenties. It’s so sad to see what it has become.

Goosefoot Wed 15-Jan-20 14:26:48

I notice I haven't seen a long read article there is a while. I wonder if they weren't getting read much.

ScrimshawTheSecond Wed 15-Jan-20 14:37:38

Or they're expensive to commission.

Michelleoftheresistance Wed 15-Jan-20 20:25:00

I nearly posted a 'sorry it's a Guardian link' as people do DM links, however I have major issues with purity politics grin

The article popped up in my news feed and my response was bloody hell, an article by the Graun that isn't a totally biased anti-woman one. Which, as Glitter says, is straws in the wind that weren't there I think even six months to a year ago.

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