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The Good Fight

(34 Posts)
ThePawtriarchy Mon 25-May-20 16:16:18

Does anyone watch The Good Fight? The most recent episode had a story line about a female athlete that had lost her place on the Olympic swim team to a FTM transgender person. She lost her case against them but then won against an intersex person on the same team. I think they were trying to show a balanced view but the women in the practice were siding with the transgender woman which was probably realistic but felt like a moral judgement. The ending seemed to feel negative towards the female athlete - a bit ‘well if this is the only way you can get onto the team’.

I don’t know, looking to see if anybody else saw it anyway, to chat about it.

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NotTerfNorCis Mon 25-May-20 16:20:51

FTM? A female person taking testosterone?

ThePawtriarchy Mon 25-May-20 16:24:05

Argh MTF - sorry. 🤦‍♀️

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ThePawtriarchy Mon 25-May-20 16:25:08

I should add as well, that the woman lawyer was disgusted by having to be ‘transphobic’ and so refused to continue questioning so not balanced from that point of view!

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Dozer Mon 25-May-20 16:28:12

Not seen this episode, but as a fan of Good Wife and (less so) Good Fight I think that IRL Diane and the lawyer played by Audra McDonald for example, would definitely be on the side of the biological woman!

ThePawtriarchy Mon 25-May-20 16:32:14

I’m a massive fan too - Diane wasn’t involved but Liz (Audra) was the lawyer that found it transphobic.

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ThePawtriarchy Mon 25-May-20 16:32:43

Sorry I see you said IRL.

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TreestumpsAndTrampolines Mon 25-May-20 16:50:14

Sigh, I have this queued to watch. Might skip it then, I just don't want the lecturing. There's a few series now I've had to drop after they've done shallow, un-thinking coverage of this issue (and surrogacy - another popular one at the moment).

Dozer Mon 25-May-20 17:13:33


ThePawtriarchy Mon 25-May-20 17:19:38

I don’t know @TreestumpsAndTrampolines - see what you think, to start with I was impressed that they didn’t just mention testosterone but also talked about the male puberty advantage (probably a better way to put that) etc. so it wasn’t totally cut and dried. It seemed to swing the other way towards the end though.

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WTFSeriously Mon 25-May-20 18:25:53

What is it on? I can't find it on all4?

PaleBlueMoonlight Mon 25-May-20 18:34:41

Is this the last series. I really like the Good Fight (and loved the Good Wife), but it does have a progressive (for want of a better word) agenda. It airs issues quite well, but the main characters tend to adopt the Democratic Party positions.

Notthefutureyet Mon 25-May-20 18:47:56


Started off really well and covered a fair few things, then swung the other way, then completely copped out by disqualifying someone else from the team.

ThePawtriarchy Mon 25-May-20 18:58:23

I should have added spoiler sorry... I’m watching in another country too but I think there’s ways to view at the same time in the UK. I think that’s one of the things that got me actually, I usually agree with the political views in it (not hard, it’s anti-Trump), but this was, I don’t know, not what I’d hoped for - although they did cover some relevant points to start with!

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ThePawtriarchy Mon 25-May-20 19:00:40

Yes @Notthefutureyet and somehow made the woman the bad character for fighting for her rightful place.

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Notthefutureyet Mon 25-May-20 19:43:25

@ThePawtriarchy Exactly, so many "Yes!" moments to start with, then gradually turned into a let down, only to finish with her being the bad guy. Disappointing to say the least.

ThePawtriarchy Mon 25-May-20 19:46:57

Yes, I’m fact for a writing team that have often seemed fearless, it’s like they copped out on this one.

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ThePawtriarchy Mon 25-May-20 19:47:44

* in fact

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BillieEilish Mon 25-May-20 19:56:21

I watched it and was so let down by the outcome of this. It was interesting the point about muscle memory. I felt the whole thing unjust, but I also felt everyone felt it was unjust.

TBH I wasn't listening properly enough to give a true opinion.

I love The Good Fight and adored The Good Wife!

miri1985 Mon 25-May-20 20:06:47

* I think they were trying to show a balanced view but the women in the practice were siding with the transgender woman which was probably realistic but felt like a moral judgement*

I took it the other way, I thought it showed the absurdity that we've seen Reddick Boseman defend absolute monsters and we've never seen another petition by the staff members. I thought it showed the enormity that women are having to fight against. I thought the contrast of the last few episodes was good as well that we know how the associates still feel that race is such a major issue in the US but were still fighting against a black woman and supporting a white trans woman for her place on the team while declaring them to be the most oppressed.

Its probably the first programme I've seen that has actually spelled out the difference between sex and gender and that most TW still have a penis.

I think the motivations of the trans character was made very evident by the script and I think the unfairness as well

I agree I would have liked for them to have gone farther and I agree it was a bit of a cop out that there happened to be an intersex woman on the team who could be shoved out

ThePawtriarchy Mon 25-May-20 20:25:12

@miri1985 - this is why I posted here, you’ve unpicked it a lot better than I have. I agree with the fact they referred to the TW still having a penis and the suspect timing of the test etc. I think that was why the intersex character at the last minute felt shoehorned in and that somehow it was the woman’s fault that they somehow didn’t know what condition she had.

Also that the TW said that she was able to train so much harder now that she felt ‘happier’. Hmmm. The character was actually played by a trans woman though, I wonder what their thoughts are.

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contactusdeletus Tue 26-May-20 14:58:49

I went into this episode prepared to hate it, but was actually pleasantly surprised by how gender critical it ended up being. It's clear the Kings (the show runners) weren't prepared to risk the maelstrom of shit that would have come from taking an overtly gender critical stance. But they went much, much further than I was expecting.

1) The structure of the case itself. A young black girl from a lower income background trained her whole life to make it to the Olympics, and then lost her spot to a privileged white male who had only transitioned in the last two years.

2) As a male, the swimmer had repeatedly failed to place in the top twenty. He had made it nowhere near the Olympics. As a female, suddenly "Sadie" secured a top five spot. The show makes this clear to us. Not only that, but it's suggested the Olympic committee deliberately delayed testing "Sadie" until they could be sure of testosterone levels just low enough to meet the regulations. Basically, the committee wanted a winner so bad they were happy to manipulate events and put a biological male on the women's team. They gave Sadie an unfair advantage.

3) Not only that. The show goes into explicit detail about the many unfair physical advantages "Sadie" already has. "Sadie's" testosterone levels may be lower than the average man's, but they're still stratospherically higher than that of any biological woman.

They even put a graph on the screen, with the average woman's level of testosterone as a slim bar at the bottom of the page, and the average man's level as a bar of similar size at the top of the chart - and in between the great chasm of space where transgender testing falls. The show doesn't dwell on it overmuch, but it's brightly coloured and serves as a fairly striking visual aid all the same, even if all you do is glance at it.

They also discuss the increased muscle mass and lung capacity of anyone who has gone through male puberty, and the unfair advantage this presents in women's sports.

4) The judge.

The judge comes off as a reasonable everyman. He's not a bigot, and he's doing his best, but he's struggling to wrap his head around some of the arguments put in front of him. He asks what the difference between sex and gender is - and the show accepts that there is a difference, which feels like a minor victory in the current climate. At one point, when he discovers that "Sadie" still has male genitalia, he's visibly shocked. He also pushes for the truth, even when it risks making him look bad. When "Sadie" becomes emotional on the stand, he isn't perturbed. He just firmly and politely asks his questions.

Yes, his ultimate ruling keeps "Sadie" on the team at the expense of an innocent intersex girl, but you get the sense he doesn't take any pleasure in that. He's just bound to follow a stupid law that clearly isn't fit for purpose.

5) Weak arguments on the transgender side.

The show was quite subtle here, and it shows in reviews of the episode - not one of which seems to have picked up on the gender critical elements. Mostly reviewers framed this episode as Adrian selling out his morals to win a case.

But I'm not sure that's what the episode itself presents. Adrian himself is firm on his decision. And he's allowed to be, because, of course, he's a man. His arguments are solid and fact based. And the client, as mentioned, is a young, inner city black girl. She's not privileged at all, so I don't see how anyone could argue Adrian is selling out his morals for wealth and power. The reviewers who attempt to argue this seem to be taking three disparate plot threads - Adrian's Presidential bid, Adrian's willingness to turn a blind eye to the potential corruption of his lover, and Adrian's "transphobic" arguments in this case - and merging them into one. But the show itself doesn't connect this thread to the other two at all.

In fact, it does a pretty good job of making Adrian look right, if you're prepared to see it that way. The girl he's defending is underprivileged and the arguments he's fighting against are frankly weak.

"Anyone who has gone through male puberty and still has such astronomically high testosterone levels compared to a woman has an unfair advantage in women's sports." That's Adrian's argument, and what is it countered with? Nonsense false equivalancies like "Simone Biles has an unfair advantage because she's short" and "I can train so much harder now that I'm happy".

These arguments are weak, and all through the episode there is this reliance on an appeal to emotion to support the transgender side. The arguments are basically: "swimming alleviates my dysphoria so I should be allowed to take this girls spot" and "going to the Olympics would make me happy" and "my happiness matters more than anyone else's (because I'm trans)" with a side of "I don't want to have to acknowledge my unfair advantages (and I shouldn't have to, because I'm trans)"

These are all piss poor legal arguments, obviously, and they don't carry the day for Sadie or the Olympic board.

Breaking here, though I have more. Sorry this is so long, but I'm a fan of the show and am fascinated by what they've done here. I really can't think of another mainstream, feminist show that has handled this issue in a similar way. I'm curious as to what that says about their perception of their audience, and how the tide might be changing

miri1985 Tue 26-May-20 16:05:52

Excellent post @contactusdeletus

I really can't think of another mainstream, feminist show that has handled this issue in a similar way.

Every other programme I can think of that has handled this like SVU or Greys Anatomy hasn't spelled out the reality of the situation for viewers who perhaps are uninformed about the issues, they've just gone with the oppressed/ lets be kind angle.

The Good Fight I thought presented both sides which I thought showed up the weakness of the other side. I think it was almost subversive in that you couldn't say that they didn't present all the TRA arguments but also showed the pressure they put on people directly or indirectly

I think they also represented the "no debate" element when Liz was questioning Sadie and was tanking her case just so that she wouldn't make Sadie feel uncomfortable by daring to question the fact when that when competing as a male was nowhere near olympic level. I think its really well juxtaposed with the people we've seen them cross examine before and how no other question would be seen as too touchy

I wonder if they'll continue the storyline and if Adrian is put forward by the DNC as a candidate if his participation in this trial will cause him to be "cancelled".

Goosefoot Tue 26-May-20 16:25:44

I haven't watched this, but something I find in general is that if a show takes a particular stance to o obviously, it often undermines the story and even makes the argument less convincing.

It may not be a bad thing that it's not obviously pushing a GC agenda.

TreestumpsAndTrampolines Tue 26-May-20 16:33:24

I've watched it now - yes, actually I think that was pretty good - I think it's actually a bit telling that they explained many of the issues, but when it came to the petition, it was pure emotion, no reason at all - I think that was probably carefully done on purpose.

The only thing was the intersex ending - in the US, a what - 17 year old girl wouldn't find out in court that she had CAIS - it would have been noticed and investigated by then - but still, even that was handled in a way to make people think I think.

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