Extraordinary essay by Julia Long

(98 Posts)
MiladyBerserko Fri 18-Jun-21 00:22:26

A blistering critique of Kathleen Stock's book

I do agree. Being a good girl is not getting us anywhere.

4w.pub/why-feminism-matters-for-feminism/amp/?__twitter_impression=true

OP’s posts: |
womanity Fri 18-Jun-21 00:59:42

I read that a day or so ago but hadn’t realised it was by JL.

She’s not wrong.

A few years ago I’d have been on the same side as Stock’s book, but since my eyes have been opened (or I’ve been radicalised by mumsnet..,) I’m totally with JL.

lionheart Fri 18-Jun-21 01:06:08

This too:

www.spiked-online.com/2021/06/17/in-the-trans-debate-feminists-cannot-sit-on-the-fence/#.YMt6KM9Dm54.twitter

donquixotedelamancha Fri 18-Jun-21 07:11:49

I'm (broadly) with Kathleen but I completely understand why Julia and many others feel we have to take such a hard line.

What bugs me about this piece and KS's previous comments about Julia is that it's pointless to turn our fire on each other over disagreements about tactics and emphasis.

Let's secure the dismantling of stonewall et al's influence and the protection of women's sport, prisons, refuges etc before we start arguing with each other about choosing to use/not use pronouns.

Let the Genderists argue over purity, while we work together to pull them down.

somethinginoffensive Fri 18-Jun-21 07:59:38

That is an excellent article.

I do think Stock's book still has value in that lots of people will hear her interviews where she is obviously gender critical. Many more people will hear those than read it.

I completely agree about the problem of taking on the language though. I recently engaged with some feminists who are fully TWAW and I used "transwomen" for the discussion (no she/her incorrectly) and it basically made no impact.

They were not willing to concede anything. Indeed, they ended up arguing that women asking for female healthcare staff when undergoing non-emergency intimate screening tests was akin to racism.

And that wards are often mixed-sex so what's the difference.

It's actually scary how many normal things women will not support other women on in order to include men they perceive as vulnerable.

OldTurtleNewShell Fri 18-Jun-21 08:09:48

What bugs me about this piece and KS's previous comments about Julia is that it's pointless to turn our fire on each other over disagreements about tactics and emphasis.
Yes, very much so.

EmbarrassingAdmissions Fri 18-Jun-21 08:13:43

What bugs me about this piece and KS's previous comments about Julia is that it's pointless to turn our fire on each other over disagreements about tactics and emphasis.

What is the compromise that you see? If KS's views are adopted, women will still be losing jobs, being gaslighted in plain sight, and generally compelled to collaborate with things that harm them.

Even with JL's perspective, people can do what they want as long (within the bounds of legality and the voluntary co-operation of others) as they don't ask others to accept their fiction.

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Floisme Fri 18-Jun-21 08:15:59

Kathleen Stock retweeted Julia Long's book review, which I'm assuming means she believes it's better to thrash out this stuff in the open. And while I'm not sure which of the 2 women I agree with most, I'm with Kathleen on that.

donquixotedelamancha Fri 18-Jun-21 08:25:55

What is the compromise that you see? If KS's views are adopted, women will still be losing jobs, being gaslighted in plain sight, and generally compelled to collaborate with things that harm them.

I think that's what's happening now. I don't think everyone should adopt KS's views- we should defend those we don't agree perfectly with. I think, for now, we should win what battles we can together and then debate what's next after those victories.

I'm assuming means she believes it's better to thrash out this stuff in the open.

I think the fact that feminists and others who oppose Genderism can openly disagree (largely) without degenerating into purity spirals is the reason primary reason we've come do far. Both KS and JL had a big part in that and I think they are both admirable.

MarianneUnfaithful Fri 18-Jun-21 08:32:41

Interesting piece, and I will re-read it when I have read Material Girls.

I agree with donquixote. I hope this will not lead to feminist thinkers and writers chipping away at each other just as the Wall of Stone is beginning to crumble, or at least develop chinks.

The immersion in fiction is interesting. By definition not all religions can be ‘the truth’ and not all gods of every religion can exist, and we have no proof of any of it. People just ‘feel’ the presence of a god, or pose various vague ‘theories’ such as ‘intelligent design’ to explain how it fits with science.

And yet look how belief in (a) god has affected our society, laws, school curriculum, make up of the House of Lords, our very establishment and constitution.

For myself I cannot be judgemental or discriminatory about how someone wishes to present themselves, live within their own interpretation of a gender construct, or describe their sense of self.

But the boundary where that affects others - me, anyone who needs, deserves and is eligible for sex-based rights - needs to be able to be discussed. Without yelling ‘transphobe! TERF! Bad Feminist!’ and especially without ‘cancelling’ each other.

So yes to critical debate, yes to all the women who articulate and analyse much better than I can and for me to absorb, consider, learn from.

MarianneUnfaithful Fri 18-Jun-21 08:37:09

I think the fact that feminists and others who oppose Genderism can openly disagree (largely) without degenerating into purity spirals is the reason primary reason we've come do far. Both KS and JL had a big part in that and I think they are both admirable

Yes. And maybe we go further.

Why ‘blistering’ response to Material Girls? Why not ‘considered’? After all JL comments favourably in other chapters… how adversarial is our language? Do we have to ‘blister’ each other to avoid being ‘nice’ as we are socialised?

ZuttZeVootEeeVro Fri 18-Jun-21 08:39:46

I don't think Stocks view should go without criticism just so we appear more in agreement than we really are.

I think it's very important to highlight discrepancies and safeguarding fails within any opinion, especially when those opinions seem to becomming more mainstream and acceptable.

I think its irresponsible to stand by and stay silent just to appear united when women and girls may be damaged.

NonnyMouse1337 Fri 18-Jun-21 08:43:56

I haven't read Stock's book yet, but I thought Long's article was pretty good overall.
The paragraph on sexuality weirded me out a bit though. Especially in light of the current mess affecting lesbians. Then again I haven't read much literature in that area so not in a position to offer any academic critique. I'm generally not a fan of social constructivism that isn't tempered by some level of biological and evolutionary science, as I think unfettered notions of social constructivism within certain spheres of sociology has led to some very absurd ideologies that are now affecting those of us outside the academic bubble with some serious real-life consequences.

NonnyMouse1337 Fri 18-Jun-21 08:45:36

I think it's pretty cool that KS retweeted JL's article. That's how differences and disagreements and criticisms should be handled. smile

PandorasMailbox Fri 18-Jun-21 08:52:24

Put it this way. I started out as Stock and have become Long.

JoanOgden Fri 18-Jun-21 08:56:53

I'm all for stimulating discussion within feminism, but important to remember that Stock and Long (both of whom I have massive respect for) actually agree on much more than they disagree.

Would love to see a discussion between them, but probably unlikely.

JustcameoutGC Fri 18-Jun-21 09:05:30

I feel v torn in this. My GC views are rooted in my training as a scientist (biology is real, evidence matters) and my strong need for justice and fairness.
Following these traits I agree with JL. If you accept that this new behavior is rooted in the patriarchy (and it is hard to think otherwise) the logic that men cannot be women and belief should not be compelled, and it is harmful for such fantasies to be indulged on a societal leave takes you to her position pretty quickly.

But, I am also a pragmatist rather than a purist. I handle complex situations in my working life, trying to navigate paths through lots of dissenting voices. I would rather move forwards than be 100% right. Compromise is key to finding workable solutions. This side of me (combined with my 'be a nice girl' conditioning) pulls me more towards KS.

I desperately want to find a place where compromise is possible I can't see any other way out of this. But I am very scared that I just can't see a way for this to happen. Not even a glimmer.

JoanOgden Fri 18-Jun-21 09:09:32

Ha, @JustcameoutGC expressed my position, only better. We need to shift the Overton Window back on this, and Stock is better at appealing to moderates and unthinking "be nice" types than Long.

YetAnotherSpartacus Fri 18-Jun-21 09:15:12

Ultimately, I agree with Long but found that article unnecessarily adversarial and acerbic - and Kathleen's book is doing important work.

EmbarrassingAdmissions Fri 18-Jun-21 09:18:40

All the quotations are from Kafka's The Trial - if you look at the cartoon drawings for this piece - you might have some recognition for the way we're being 'educated' into accepting the dystopia that's given to us:

mathwithbaddrawings.com/2021/06/01/kafka-explains-math-education/

FOJN Fri 18-Jun-21 09:20:08

I think it's pretty cool that KS retweeted JL's article. That's how differences and disagreements and criticisms should be handled.

I think it's genius. Both KS and JL know that any book on this subject which didn't toe the moderate line would not have been published. KS has written a book which not only got published but has broad appeal. There are many women who are not yet fully aware of all the issues at stake but will have their eyes opened by Material Girls. I'd like to think retweeting JL's essay says, "I'd love to have written THAT book but in the current climate I couldn't so I opted to bring the issue to as many women as possible".

Either way they are both brilliant.

Grellbunt Fri 18-Jun-21 09:24:38

somethinginoffensive

That is an excellent article.

I do think Stock's book still has value in that lots of people will hear her interviews where she is obviously gender critical. Many more people will hear those than read it.

I completely agree about the problem of taking on the language though. I recently engaged with some feminists who are fully TWAW and I used "transwomen" for the discussion (no she/her incorrectly) and it basically made no impact.

They were not willing to concede anything. Indeed, they ended up arguing that women asking for female healthcare staff when undergoing non-emergency intimate screening tests was akin to racism.

And that wards are often mixed-sex so what's the difference.

It's actually scary how many normal things women will not support other women on in order to include men they perceive as vulnerable.

This is what I find

The women I know are "lucky" not to have ever felt threatened, so they just don't agree mixed sex is an issue. Whereas in our very macho society they will have witnessed gay or effeminate men being targeted by men, so they feel more empathy for them. Some have sons that they want to protect by allowing them to join the women in female space. They just don't think of the unintended consequences of that in terms of facilitating men who are in bad faith.

ZuttZeVootEeeVro Fri 18-Jun-21 09:25:21

The problem is laws and social norms could be establish that appeal to moderates when the moderates don't understand the complexities or be the ones who are effected the most.

This quote sums it up:
Stock suggests that “having a gender identity misaligned with sex is something comprehensible, to which society should pay respectful attention” and engages in lengthy consideration of the motivations of men who claim to be women. However, once you understand the nature of who and what you are dealing with, it becomes obvious that engaging in good faith is inappropriate.

We are not indulging three year olds who want to be spiderman, Stock is suggesting that 'society' pays respectful attention to adult men who want to be women.
'Society' includes children and vulnerable women.

JoodyBlue Fri 18-Jun-21 09:30:35

I haven't read this thread yet, as I need to read and run. BUT, heard KS on the series of Cambridge Radical Feminist lectures - Replatforming, deplatformed women. She was interesting. Also very clear that she expects argument, discussion, and challenge. So I think the best approach is to side with neither or to side with both and to be able to robustly challenge each other and not fall out. In other words, we are the adults in the room. Those who want women to fail in upholding our rights, language, space etc would rub their hands with glee.

womanity Fri 18-Jun-21 09:32:05

FOJN

*I think it's pretty cool that KS retweeted JL's article. That's how differences and disagreements and criticisms should be handled.*

I think it's genius. Both KS and JL know that any book on this subject which didn't toe the moderate line would not have been published. KS has written a book which not only got published but has broad appeal. There are many women who are not yet fully aware of all the issues at stake but will have their eyes opened by Material Girls. I'd like to think retweeting JL's essay says, "I'd love to have written THAT book but in the current climate I couldn't so I opted to bring the issue to as many women as possible".

Either way they are both brilliant.

Absolutely this.

I think we can mostly agree KS’s work is going to be much more ‘useful’ at this point in time than anything written from JL’s position.

Unfortunately KS’s position here leaves the door ajar, as it was left after the introduction of the GRA, which means it’s much more easily pushed against.

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