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Feminism: Sex & gender discussions

The Kathleen Stock case is about much more than trans rights: Tortoise Media

13 replies

ItsAllGoingToBeFine · 17/10/2021 16:11

Second attempt at thread, this time on computer so I don't mess up the quoting Blush

//www.tortoisemedia.com/2021/10/11/the-kathleen-stock-case-is-about-much-more-than-trans-rights/

It's paywalled, but I think you just need an email address to read. IMO it's a pretty good long read, excerpts below:

"She [Stock] is one of a network of feminist scholars, writers and other professionals – Maya Forstater, Helen Joyce, Julie Bindel, Suzanne Moore, Janice Turner, Allison Bailey and others – who have collaborated in the most inhospitable of contexts to achieve a critical mass in the public space where their ideas can no longer be ignored. Predictably, retribution for their achievement has been swift and brutal."

"It is often claimed that this is, if nothing else, an even-handed controversy, with equal venom and adversity on both sides. But I invite you to pause for a moment and ask yourself what would have happened if a trans academic had been subjected to comparable intimidation on a British university campus. There would already have been a national day of reflection, a special ribbon available for purchase online, symbolic acts of solidarity on the pitch at sporting events, and supportive hashtags trending globally on Twitter. If you think this battle is being fought on a level-playing field, you haven’t been paying attention."

"The trans debate scratches at the conscience because it is part of a much broader and potentially dangerous reconfiguration of what constitutes reality. Amazingly, it has become heretical (at least in elite intellectual and political circles) to assert the reality of biological sex, on the post-modern grounds that biology is a minor matter compared to self-identified gender. On this basis, womanhood is not rooted in reproductive biology but entirely in self-perception."

"To suggest, as one might, that this [TWAW] is a purity test rather than a meaningful proposition is to identify oneself instantly as “transphobe”. To argue that a trans woman should be treated with dignity and respect, be addressed by her preferred pronouns, have access to the health care she needs, but is not literally, wholly and completely the same as a biological woman – well, that is (variously) to call for her “erasure”, to deny her “existence”, and even to encourage trans suicidality."

"Of course, all pluralist societies depend, in order to function, upon a constant process of negotiation between different groups to resolve the conflicts of rights that arise in any complex community. The warp and weft of diverse co-existence is compromise and give and take.

But not for the trans lobby: to an unprecedented extent, they insist upon total and complete compliance with their position, and the punishment and exile of anyone – such as Stock – who dares to question any of their demands. Men who do so will be called idiots and bigots, which, I suppose, comes with the territory. Women, on the other hand, who push back will be inundated with threats of death, rape and torture, viciously condemned as “Terfs” who deserve violent punishment."

"The response of trans activists to this would be: maybe, but what we say is morally correct, we are on “the right side of history,” and so the expulsion of those that transgress is demonstrably in the interests of the common good."

"And the truth is – in answer to the inquiry with which I began [why do all conversations always end up being about trans people]– that the trans debate is unavoidable because it is really a crossroads, and one that leads in all directions in our culture: to freedom, censorship, identity, truth, scientific reality, and Orwell’s “secret doctrine”. The whole nine yards, in other words."

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JustSpeculation · 17/10/2021 16:16

When you have an eminent doctor and biologist stating, with reasons, that you can not change sex, and the moderator of the discussion, also eminentish, simply replying that "many people would disagree with you" - without reasons - you can see all this in action.

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LittlePearl · 17/10/2021 16:33

@JustSpeculation

When you have an eminent doctor and biologist stating, with reasons, that you can not change sex, and the moderator of the discussion, also eminentish, simply replying that "many people would disagree with you" - without reasons - you can see all this in action.

My jaw dropped when I heard FB say that on QT.

A bit like hearing her reply 'many people would disagree with you' to someone saying that the earth isn't flat.

How on earth did we get to this?
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Babdoc · 17/10/2021 16:48

Typically, nobody produced any coherent argument or evidence to disprove Prof Winston’s statement of scientific fact. They just “disagree”, with or without threats of violence.
Because there is no evidence for the nonsensical claim that humans can change sex. And they know that. It’s what makes them so angry.

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BraveBananaBadge · 17/10/2021 16:57

From those excerpts alone, that really is brilliant from Matthew d'Ancona. He's always been very good on this obviously - but this blows it all wide open.

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ItsAllGoingToBeFine · 17/10/2021 17:15

I was quite surprised at this piece, as the last Tortoise piece I read was describing how JKR was a horrible transphobe. It's refreshing to see both views being put forward.

Another excerpt:

Once again, what Orwell called in Nineteen Eighty-Four “the secret doctrine that two plus two makes four” is under attack. For what if the answer “four” upsets people, or makes them feel “unsafe”? What then? Surely the “kind” thing to do is to recognise that the answer might well be five, or three, or eleven? Or all of the above? Whatever makes people feel comfortable.

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cocoapopfan · 18/10/2021 10:54

Sorry behind a paywall but interesting to see Financial Times have also commented re Kathleen Stock in an editorial on academic freedom.

www.ft.com/content/15186395-16e0-4a7f-a216-9a1504b9dda3

They say Uni of Sussex are right to support Stock and comment that UCU have failed to do so. However I find it surprising that they seem to buy into an identity politics framework in discussing the underlying issue itself: "this argument goes to the core of self-identity".

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NecessaryScene · 18/10/2021 10:55

How on earth did we get to this?

The Kathleen Stock case is about much more than trans rights: Tortoise Media
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RoyalCorgi · 18/10/2021 16:13

The FT piece is feeble and pathetic in my view. It neglects to mention the two most pertinent facts. One is that Kathleen Stock's view is in line with science, and is held by all sensible people. All she's said is that there are two sexes, and that biological sex matters.

The problem is that it's painting her view as outrageous and unreasonable, when in fact it's her opponents' view, in this case, which is outrageous and unreasonable. The statement "But for trans people the arguments of certain gender-critical feminists amount to a negation of identity" is nonsensical.

The second is that the real issue here isn't about whether academics should be able to hold views that others disagree with. It's about the absolutely vicious bullying to which Stock has been subjected. I very much doubt that David Miller has been subjected to anything like this.

To put it more plainly, the FT article is making the issue about Stock and her views, when it should be about the behaviour of the people attacking her.

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NecessaryScene · 18/10/2021 16:19

The statement "But for trans people the arguments of certain gender-critical feminists amount to a negation of identity" is nonsensical.

It at least makes no more sense than "But for women the arguments of certain trans activists amount to a negation of identity".

I don't think we'd phrase it like that, but if we thought in their sort of identitarian terms, we could.

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cocoapopfan · 18/10/2021 16:54

@RoyalCorgi

The FT piece is feeble and pathetic in my view. It neglects to mention the two most pertinent facts. One is that Kathleen Stock's view is in line with science, and is held by all sensible people. All she's said is that there are two sexes, and that biological sex matters.

The problem is that it's painting her view as outrageous and unreasonable, when in fact it's her opponents' view, in this case, which is outrageous and unreasonable. The statement "But for trans people the arguments of certain gender-critical feminists amount to a negation of identity" is nonsensical.

The second is that the real issue here isn't about whether academics should be able to hold views that others disagree with. It's about the absolutely vicious bullying to which Stock has been subjected. I very much doubt that David Miller has been subjected to anything like this.

To put it more plainly, the FT article is making the issue about Stock and her views, when it should be about the behaviour of the people attacking her.

@RoyalCorgi I don't think it's going so far as saying that her view is "outrageous" and it does add that some "see attempts at inclusive language as an eradication of women". But I agree it feels slanted, and like it's missing some of the main issues.

I think it's implicitly accepting a certain narrative when it says "this [trans rights] campaign, like other civil rights arguments, will be won with cool reason and an appeal to common humanity and decency". Of course maybe they are thinking more internationally, but this is not a good framing of what is going on in the UK.

@NecessaryScene The FT has very much ignored the whole trans debate, so far as I'm aware, and I'm a bit surprised it takes this identitarian line now. Especially as the Economist, which I'd assume had a similar philosophy/readership, doesn't. I wouldn't have thought the FT would be such fertile ground for anything remotely postmodern. Maybe it all comes down to the individual journalists. Or maybe it's just a reflex response that reflects that the corporate world is still stonewalled?

Anyway I think it is interesting that they are now covering the issue.
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Abitofalark · 18/10/2021 20:46

Who wrote the piece in tortoise?

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ItsAllGoingToBeFine · 18/10/2021 20:54

@Abitofalark

Who wrote the piece in tortoise?

Matthew d’Ancona
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Abitofalark · 18/10/2021 21:15

Thank you for that, ItsAllGoing.... He's very intelligent and a good writer. I mostly know him from a column he did in the Evening Standard.

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