Page 8 | Zoe Williams opinion piece in The Guardian

(204 Posts)
Justhadathought Tue 10-Mar-20 19:05:04

Feminist solidarity empowers everyone. The movement must be trans-inclusive: www.theguardian.com/society/2020/mar/10/feminist-solidarity-empowers-everyone-the-movement-must-be-trans-inclusive

Needless to say, she misses every single point.......And no, feminism has always been about centring the needs of women and girls.......

OP’s posts: |
Freespeecher Wed 11-Mar-20 19:51:55

Well, I'm stretching thoughtful to include anyone who goes beyond parroting dogma but yes, standards are low right now.

ThrowingGoodAfterBad Wed 11-Mar-20 22:42:14

Has anyone asked her yet what happens if Harvey Weinstein decides (s)he wants to transition? No it is not all about toilets.

Thinkingabout1t Thu 12-Mar-20 00:08:41

As condescending middle class writers they KNOW that the only class to support is the working class.

That’s the only part of your informative post that I’d say is no longer correct, Stumbledin. The Guardian’s patronising concern for the working class became open contempt when someone realised you could call them ‘white racists’ instead, and suddenly they became the problem.

Dishonest, but you have only to read the comments (where these are allowed) to see how many of their readers despise the working class.

Goosefoot Thu 12-Mar-20 00:30:43

Yes, they really really do. It's actually quite shocking at times to see the levels of hostility.

R0wantrees Thu 12-Mar-20 11:41:53

Spectator article:

'Suzanne Moore: I was hurt that so many of my ‘colleagues’ denounced me'
(extract)
have been trying to write about a great unpleasantness for some time: the trans debate that we don’t really have. Men go to Woman’s Place meetings. So do trans women, it’s not a separatist organisation. But for some godforsaken reason the Labour leadership hopefuls thought they might endear themselves to their lost ‘red wall’ voters by signing pledges calling Woman’s Place and LGB Alliance ‘trans-exclusionist hate groups’. I was appalled to see that the signatories included Lisa Nandy, who is bright, and Rebecca Long-Bailey, who isn’t. Anyway, having been asked not to write about this subject for months (I still have the police reports from the threats I received last time), I insisted. A glance at Twitter after my Guardian column went online suggested that either I was the saviour of all ‘natal women’ or had committed some kind of transphobic hate crime. My offence was to say that biological sex is a thing. Scientists tend to think it is. Some banana slugs change sex and chew off each other’s penises after mating. I can’t say I think that’s a bad idea.

After all the online abuse, I thought someone might ring me and see if I was OK, but they didn’t. But then I never go to the Guardian office. There had been melodrama, apparently. A trans woman who had seemingly resigned some weeks earlier resigned again. My words had made her feel unsafe, she said. More than 300 employees at the paper signed a letter condemning the decision to run my article. The fabulous Hadley Freeman defended me. The emails then came pouring in from people who wished they could say what I had said. I wished people would stop calling me brave. Columnists are meant to be made of titanium; I felt more like papier-mâché. But the orthodoxy which demands that Mary Beard must refer to an ancient statue with a little penis as ‘assigned male at birth’ is powerful. The no-platforming of feminist warriors like Kathleen Stock and Julie Bindel is abhorrent. I like freaks. I like fluidity. I just don’t like one set of rules being replaced by another. I was hurt that so many of my ‘colleagues’ denounced me, but I suppose everyone needs a hobby." (continues)

Upon my return, I argued with the Guardian again about whether in my next column I should return to the subject which has caused such a fuss. They didn’t want me to, but I did. Will I be thrown out of another sacred circle? Three in one week is good, even for me (continues)

www.spectator.co.uk/article/suzanne-moore-i-was-hurt-that-so-many-of-my-colleagues-denounced-me

Clymene Thu 12-Mar-20 12:54:52

Great takedown in this thread from MarinaS on twitter: https://t.co/7veyc0pAm1?amp=1

stumbledin Thu 12-Mar-20 13:42:32

Freespeecher Thinkingabout1t

Just to say I didn't make clear but I was really referring to a time when I and other women tried to comment on articles about feminism, and would routinely get deleted and then banned. (I think I went through 4/5 user names) And this was before trans as an issue was being written about.

So there is this strand of socialist and media feminism that just doesn't acknowledge that women as a class are discriminated against. (This is why at the Oxford conference so many of the so called early Women's Liberationists were only too happy to speak at a conference at which another feminist had been disinvited. These are the supercilious feminists who just think those women who dont think like them are just an irrelevance. And this links through to the current manifestation of this Feminist Fightback.)

And I dont read the guardian let alone the comments, but it doesn't surprise me that they are now the go to site for reactionaries. Their early policy of allowing male commentors to get women commentators silenced would inevitably create that sort of acceptance of disrespecting anyone who isn't part of their self affirming political righteousness.

But thanks for reassuring me that I am not missing anything by continuing not to read the guardian.

Freespeecher Thu 12-Mar-20 18:01:34

No, yours was a great point. I just wandered around in the same general area.

I think Zoe may be a worse columnist than LOJ.
There, I said it (folds arms resolutely).

Danceswithwarthogs Thu 12-Mar-20 19:33:53

Helen Belcher is the liberal candidate in our constituency and seems to play down the trans angle in all the leafleting (blurry photo even) I’d have had her down as one of the ‘wanting to get on quietly with life, moderate sorts of transwomen’ and I had no idea she was so vocal, that TRA transcript was a surprise.

I broke cover and emailed our sitting (con) MP today asking her to lend her support to Jackie Doyle-Price on these issues. She has a good sitting majority and any gains the liberals made I suspect either related to brexit or Corbyn being pants - not Belcher’s talent. Her predecessor was a very nice man and did get elected before Cameron got his majority.

R0wantrees Thu 12-Mar-20 20:50:45

Helen Belcher is the liberal candidate in our constituency and seems to play down the trans angle in all the leafleting (blurry photo even) I’d have had her down as one of the ‘wanting to get on quietly with life, moderate sorts of transwomen’ and I had no idea she was so vocal, that TRA transcript was a surprise.

2018 Home Affairs Select Committee on Hate Crime:

Written evidence submitted by Trans Media Watch (OHC0019)
INTRODUCTION
1. We are pleased to make this submission to the Committee’s Inquiry into hate speech.
2. Trans Media Watchis a charity registered in 2010 with the express aim of encouraging the British media to report on trans and intersex
issues with accuracy, dignity and respect – three cornerstones we would expect every media organisation to uphold. A representative from the charity (Helen Belcher) gave oral evidence to the Leveson
Inquiry in 2012, and also to the Women and Equalities Select committee’s Inquiry into trans issues in 2015.
3. We have been monitoring the British media’s reporting of trans and intersex issues since 2010, and can observe the trends in terms of topics covered and tone used.
4. We are aware the Inquiry’s remit is to look at hate crime and the violent consequences of that rather than specifically media coverage of issues. However, we are also aware that the Committee has heard oral evidence from editors of national newspapers and also IPSO, so is obviously covering media coverage. We are concerned that the
Committee should recognise that many marginalised groups in our society suffer from hate crime that is exaggerated by media coverage. (continues)

17. The following section will talk about the redress that trans people have, but the lack of ready redress on these social media platforms frequently means that trans people feel powerless to stop the hate.
18. Of particular current concern is Mumsnet. Originally set up to be a support group for mothers, the website has expanded to have a variety of “boards”. The feminist activism board seems to have become an area for those opposed to trans rights to organise. 18 out of the latest 26 threads are conversations on trans rights, with a large number of posts alleging variations of “trans women are men”. The feminist chat board also has a number of threads on the “trans agenda”, containing posts such as “I have no hatred for transwomen, I just don't want to be anywhere near humans who were born with a penis”
While concern is current, this does not seem to be a new phenomenon, as a piece published in Vice17 in 2016 reports:
“Are you saying it shouldn't affect us if a man walks in with cock and balls and expects us to just go about our business?" asked one user. "Where are these studies that prove trans women are more vulnerable to suicide and murder and all the rest of it? I've never seen anything convincing compared to the stark statistics on the female victims of male violence," wrote another.
19. This is despite Justine Roberts (the owner of Mumsnet) saying “Transphobia is against our guidelines and we delete and ban users who are repeat offenders”
. On 15 April,
Justine was quoted in the Sunday Times alleging that trans activists are pressurising advertisers to remove their adverts from Mumsnet, saying “What’s worrying to me is the thought-police action around speech and the shutting down of the right to be able to disagree and immediately labelling it as transphobic.” (continues)

27. Many of the hostile posts on social media could be interpreted as hate speech. The use of terms such as “trans identified male” or even “man” rather than “trans woman” aim to tie trans women to an identity that is psychologically harmful in many cases.
Drawing attention to this usually brings the same response as complaints to the press – that one is attempting to suppress free speech.(continues)

32. The current media landscape does nothing to reduce and probably enhances hate expressed to trans and intersex people. This then enables people to feel entitled to use social media for hateful speech, and when challenged claim that their freedom of speech is unfairly being curtailed.
33. Far from being an attempt to garner sympathy, as claimed by some of those opposed to trans rights, suicide is a ghastly, costly and inhumane end result for too many trans people."
Helen Belcher
Trans Media Watch
April 2018

data.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/committeeevidence.svc/evidencedocument/home-affairs-committee/hate-crime-and-its-violent-consequences/written/82105.pdf

Thinkingabout1t Thu 12-Mar-20 23:01:50

Stumbledin: I was really referring to a time when I and other women tried to comment on articles about feminism, and would routinely get deleted and then banned.

I gave up commenting on the Guardian when my comments kept getting deleted. But I never actually got banned. Obviously I wasn't trying hard enough -- well done you!

Annoyingly the censors used to leave the commenter's name with a line saying the comment had been deleted because it contravened the Guardian's (very reasonable-looking guidelines). But mine never had! They were never racist or insulting, and often added relevant information. I presume it was the same with many other commenters who stepped outside the tiny space of allowable thought.

It doesn't surprise me that they are now the go to site for reactionaries

Yet they wouldn't consider themselves reactionary. They see themselves as the bastion of progressive liberal correctness. It's the contemptible white working class who are knuckle-dragging reactionaries.

I just gave up in the end. What a joy to discover Mumsnet.

Thinkingabout1t Fri 13-Mar-20 10:02:15

*Great takedown in this thread from MarinaS on twitter: t.co/7veyc0pAm1?amp=1*

Thanks for this, Clymene. I’ve just read it and was stunned. One of the best and clearest analyses I’ve ever read on the subject. She neatly skewers every fuzzy, jumbled notion churned out by ZW and other apologists.

Worth printing out and handing to anyone who Still Doesn’t Get It.

Floisme Fri 13-Mar-20 10:10:33

Wasn't it Helen Belcher who tried reporting Janice Turner to IPSO and had it thrown out?

R0wantrees Fri 13-Mar-20 10:27:38

Wasn't it Helen Belcher who tried reporting Janice Turner to IPSO and had it thrown out?

Yes
25/4/2019 Janice Turner Twitter thread:
"Last year, the trans activist Helen Belcher claimed that that my journalism for The Times on gender issues had precipitated a wave of suicides of teenagers.

Belcher said: “Since The Times started printing such pieces, starting with one by Turner in September 2017, I have heard of more trans suicides than at any point since 2012. These have mainly been of trans teenagers."

I replied in a Times column . In particular, I said that I was alarmed by Belcher – and the trans movement at large – irresponsibly weaponising suicide for political purposes, in direct contravention of the Samaritans reporting code.

'Suicides should never be a political weapon
For some trans activists to accuse me of causing the deaths of troubled teens shows how toxic this debate has become'
www.thetimes.co.uk/article/suicides-should-never-be-a-political-weapon-w0jlhn5v0

Helen Belcher complained to IPSO about that column, claiming inaccuracy and discrimination. I am delighted to report that IPSO, after careful deliberation, has not upheld a single one of Belcher's allegations against me. The full ruling is here.
ipso.co.uk/rulings-and-resolution-statements/ruling/?id=07454-18

This was a deeply upsetting episode, a grave slur against my career and character. I am glad it is over. I am still awaiting an apology from Helen Belcher. ends"
twitter.com/VictoriaPeckham/status/1121392136312717312

extract from Times article referred to above:
"Last weekend the trans activist Helen Belcher resigned as a judge of a journalism prize because, against her wishes, I reached the shortlist. She announced that: “Since The Times started printing such [transphobic] pieces, starting with one by Turner in September 2017, I have heard of more trans suicides than at any point since 2012. These have mainly been of trans teenagers.”

When probed on Twitter she said: “I have heard reports of four trans suicides in the past few months, two in the past month. The media reporting was referenced in three of them.” Later, trans activist Paris Lees added that she held “individual journalists who stigmatise trans people personally responsible for the suicides of young trans people in this country”. No further detail was given.

That my work has caused the deaths of children is the most upsetting accusation I’ve faced in 30 years. It provokes many serious questions. Most importantly, is it true?

But first consider The Samaritans’ guidelines for reporting suicide which warn it is dangerous to attribute a death to a single cause: “speculation about the ‘trigger’ . . . should be avoided” as “young people are especially vulnerable to negative suicide coverage”. Yet some trans activists casually breach this code. This week Professor Stephen Whittle of Press for Change, a transgender lobby group, said that any delay to changing the Gender Recognition Act (GRA) would “lead to a flurry of suicides”. Retaining a 14-year-old law to permit further debate, he believes, will literally kill people.

Suicide is a dark trope in the trans movement. Parents who hesitate over medical intervention are told by some activists: “Better a living daughter than a dead son.” The ITV drama Butterfly, an infomercial for the trans support group Mermaids, is based upon the story of its CEO Susie Green, who took her child to Thailand for genital surgery at 16 (which was illegal in Britain and is now illegal in Thailand) and features a graphic suicide attempt. Mermaids cites high suicide rates in trans youth to push for faster, younger access to hormones and surgery. Ms Green told MPs that Gids (the NHS’s youth gender identity development service) has a suicide attempt rate of 48 per cent. This was based upon a self-selecting sample of 27 trans people aged under 26 analysed by the LGBT charity Pace.

The sane, compassionate response is more research. Let’s pull out the serious case reviews of every teen suicide to examine all possible causes, including newspaper reporting. Surely Mermaids would welcome proper, independent, methodologically-sound scientific inquiry. In the meantime, the most reliable source is Gids which says of 5,000 young patients referred between 2016 and August this year, there were three suicides and four attempts. Each death is the deepest tragedy, yet this makes a suicide rate of less than 1 per cent. Moreover, Gids director Dr Polly Carmichael has warned that suicidal discourse is “quite unhelpful”, creating a narrative around gender-diverse children “imbued with negativity and lack of resilience.” (continues)

threads:
www.mumsnet.com/Talk/womens_rights/3397127-Stephen-Whittle-Press-for-Change-irresponsible-use-of-likely-suicides-follows-Helen-Belchers-Trans-Media-Watch

Stephen Whittle acknowledged that Samaritan's guidance hadnt occur ed to him:
www.mumsnet.com/Talk/womens_rights/a3397010-Guardian-article-on-MPs-concern-with-GRA?msgid=81891984#81891984

HorseWithNoLang Fri 13-Mar-20 10:31:49

I am so glad that ROwantrees is back.

R0wantrees Fri 13-Mar-20 10:42:59

smile

I'd always intended to return Horse
LangCleg being targetted by reports & then banned made this happen sooner.

We have to be able to talk about Safeguarding.

LangCleg wrote Thu 21-Feb-19

"How did the scandal of TV entertainers grooming and exploiting children get so bad before anything was done?

How did the scandal of Catholic priests grooming and exploiting children get so bad before anything was done?

How did the scandal of on-street gangs grooming and exploiting children get so bad before anything was done?

Because if you create a sacred caste of any group and silence anyone asking questions about individuals on behalf of the sacred caste, abusers will see, infiltrate, and groom and exploit children. That''s how."

www.mumsnet.com/Talk/womens_rights/3512177-Julia-Long-asking-Munro-Bergdorf-about-child-exploitation?pg=12

Clymene Fri 13-Mar-20 11:07:17

It's really excellent isn't it ThinkingAbout1t? I want everyone to read it!

Also re Belcher - the suicide rates are a lie.

Never hurts to remind people that threatening suicide is a well known tactic of abusers: breakthesilencedv.org/suicide-as-emotional-abuse-threats-suicide-control/

RoyalCorgi Fri 13-Mar-20 11:14:27

She neatly skewers every fuzzy, jumbled notion churned out by ZW and other apologists.

Without wanting to detract from Marina's work, a bright 10-year old could have taken apart Zoe's piece. It is full of logical fallacies, jumping to erroneous conclusions based on flawed premises and specious reasoning.

R0wantrees Fri 13-Mar-20 11:15:09

Never hurts to remind people that threatening suicide is a well known tactic of abusers:

Indeed, nor other tactics & patterns of coercive control/narcissitic abuse:
www.mumsnet.com/Talk/womens_rights/3452784-Coercive-Control-a-need-for-better-awareness

Clymene Fri 13-Mar-20 11:16:29

And yet it's been quoted repeatedly RoyalCorgi - not just by Billy Bragg, but by some people I know to be smart and thoughtful people. Some can't see beyond the 'be kind' rhetoric it seems.

R0wantrees Fri 13-Mar-20 11:34:24

ON “OUR RAISON D’ÊTRE” by Flow
(extract)

"Zoe Williams, writing in The Guardian, has found her courage to chip into the growing debate on the fairness and wisdom of giving women’s sex-based rights away to men who say the magic words “I identify as a woman.” She writes well on other issues. Just not on this.

She writes of her assumption that gender critical women would have gotten over themselves by now, and re-trained our focus onto

“what I thought was obviously the more fundamental question of the movement: who has it worse? Feminism, in my life’s experience of it, takes the side of the oppressed. That is our raison d’etre.”

This is news to me, as someone who understands the history of feminist movements as an extended effort to liberate women from male domination, including instituting legal rights and protections specific to our reproductive role.

It would be news, too, to the woman incarcerated with Karen White et al, and the women fleeing domestic violence forced to share refuge bedrooms with males like the ones they had to run from, that those men have it worse than them. They might feel tempted to tell Williams what to do with her “life experience” if she will deploy it to render theirs invisible.

Williams speaks of “our raison d’etre,” as a mainstream/liberal quasi-feminish woman gazing pityingly at the truculent gender critics who refuse to stop fighting for women’s interests in the ongoing conflict of rights. Our reason for being in this fight is that we acknowledge the harm trans claims have already wreaked on women’s safety, privacy and dignity, and on children’s health and security. We refuse to let the process of erosion continue, because we care about our mothers, our daughters, ourselves, and all the women at the sharp end whose plights we learn about via grassroots networks and the media.

Women are oppressed on the basis of our biological potential to make babies. It was ever thus, at least for the last 6,000 years. Transwomen, in contrast, cannot be oppressed on the same basis as they lack that gestational potential. They are different to us. Yes, they may be discriminated against in housing or employment, because of their unconventional appearance and mental health. There is legislation which makes that unlawful. Nobody should have to go without a roof over their heads or the means to earn a living (although many do who are not trans).

Those issues aside, which “rights” do trans women need which they do not currently have? Nobody on the other side ever seems to have a sensible answer to this straightforward question, from which we can only hazard that the “right” transwomen want is more correctly defined as a sense of entitlement to have women validate their gender identity as indistinguishable from females’ sexed reality. Women are entitled to say an unequivocal ‘no’ to this. If we are not entitled to our ‘no,’ can libfems please explain how this squares with the importance they place on consent in other aspects of male-female relations?" (continues)

wildwomanwritingclub.wordpress.com/2020/03/12/on-our-raison-detre/

Clymene Fri 13-Mar-20 13:17:23

Sorry that came across as terse RoyalCorgi - I entirely agree with you! I'm quite upset that this has been posted by one of my oldest friends on Facebook

stumbledin Fri 13-Mar-20 13:23:07

re getting banned from the Guardian - I think they think the worst sin is to criticise the Guardian editotial stance.

So even saying in a mild way "why doesn't the Guardian commission feminists who have a different politics than the Guardian's editorial position" will get you sent to the naught step.

They were far more tolerant of rude personal comments.

But some years later they had to admit this had lead to the position where they began to routinely not have comments on any article about women / feminism because it had become known as an open invitation to MRAs and misogynists.

A total own goal that they have never accepted has contributed to the idea that virtual commenting is a bear pit.

Twitter trolls etc., are just expanding on the tone of red top journalism (which loves pilloring women) and the disdain of so called quality papers who have specialised in demonising "women's libbers".

It is the most terrible legacy of the pioneering work of Mary Stott who first encouraged isolated women to write in and talk about their lives.

My goodness was going to give a link to Mary Stott on wikipedia and she just has a sketch entry! Talk about male bias. She was one of the most influential women journalists.

Can only find this link to some who worked with her - www.theguardian.com/media/2002/sep/18/pressandpublishing.genderissues

RoyalCorgi Fri 13-Mar-20 15:14:07

Sorry that came across as terse RoyalCorgi - I entirely agree with you!

It's OK - I knew what you meant! I am always surprised to see how many people I'd previously assumed to be reasonably intelligent taken in by the obviously flawed logic of trans zealots. And it's really hard to argue with them because as soon as you start using reason, they usually get incredibly defensive and accuse you of being aggressive and hostile - see Alice Roberts, for example. I assume it's because they know they haven't got a leg to stand on.

Justhadathought Fri 13-Mar-20 19:10:08

It's OK - I knew what you meant! I am always surprised to see how many people I'd previously assumed to be reasonably intelligent taken in by the obviously flawed logic of trans zealots

I'm not sure it's got anything to do with logic, myself, so much as feelings of identity and of tribal belonging. Both quite powerful motivators. If you are on the left these days, and very much identified with that as a key element of your personality.....then you are far more likely to go along with anything...for the sake of community consensus. I can see no other reason for it. in for a penny, in for a pound.

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