Categories
activism Book reviews book shops Politics women

Does gender-identity = misogyny?

Criticisms of Helen Joyce’s book 1. Is it antisemitic? and 2. She didn’t say who dun it!

Conspiracy hunters have had a bad attack of not seeing the wood for the trees. It’s like this…

I was told in college that if you see an exam question that asks what caused something, it’s a trick question. When significant events change the world, there is rarely one single cause. There will be a series of potential causes, that flow together and can become a trend that seems like an unstoppable force. We know that, when we think about it but there are always many voices raised demanding to know who or what ‘did it’.

Helen Joyce, in her most excellent book demystifying the global struggle over ‘the sex and gender issue’, has demonstrated and analysed a horrific trend which has proved very difficult to halt. The book got rave reviews, and the ultimate accolade in current politics – accusations of antisemitism. The latter is supremely significant because when lazy political activists run out of arguments, cries of antisemitism are always the fall-back. (See advance disclaimer #1 at the end of this post.)

Click here to read Helen Joyce’s response to antisemitism claims

The only reality-based criticisms I have seen of Joyce’s book is that she didn’t say ‘who dun it’. Those looking for the names of the super-rich manipulators they could blame for all this were a bit disappointed. Joyce does give the names of three hugely wealthy donors to gender-identity projects, but doesn’t put all the blame on them.

That is because very few things are entirely down to one person, group or organisation. I know it’s annoying, but life just isn’t that tidy. Straightforward history A level questions generally start ‘What are the causes of…?’ or even ‘What are the main causes of…?’

And the reason for this blog post is that I think in the eager search for a huddle of billionaires to blame, many readers have actually missed Joyce’s clear demonstration of the main causes of the pernicious trend towards letting gender-identity ideology trump sex-based rights, and setting off flaming rows where ever the trend is opposed. The gender-identity mob have so far, successfully hidden behind ‘trans rights’ placards but when Joyce’s book climbed the bestsellers list, they saw she had blown their cover. That’s why they are shouting from the rooftops that Joyce is antisemitic.

‘Trans: when ideology meets reality’ currently at no 7 on the list

The main causes of the ‘sex and gender’ conflict are patriarchy and male sexuality. Here’s how it works…

Patriarchy

If you haven’t learned to see patriarchy at work, then you don’t know why feminism is needed. In a recent Labour Party meeting, I suggested including protection for women’s legal rights in a motion about trans rights. I agreed with the proposer of the motion that trans rights and women’s rights need not be mutually exclusive. Because so many people believe there is an inevitable conflict, I felt it would be wise to state support for both ideas, as laid down in the Labour Party manifesto, so we were absolutely clear that we needed to proceed according to good trade unionist, socialist practice, and find a way to frame both sets of rights that doesn’t bring them into conflict.

Angry counter-speakers told me my contribution was ‘unnecessary’ and ‘provocative’. The chair threw her neutrality in the bin and stated ‘I don’t need that protection!’ If those women ever find out why they were passionately shouting down their own legal rights, they will finally have recognised the pernicious influence of patriarchy. It makes everything that’s good for women look stroppy and unnecessary to the casual observer.

Patriarchy loves gender-identity ideology, and paints it as virtuous *because* it can be used to counter women’s rights. Going along with it gives you that warm feeling of swimming with the tide. It’s also very, very bad for women and girls.

Male sexuality

In a patriarchal society, male sexuality is closely bound up with power, self-aggrandisement and the dark side of those things, which comes out as a sort of sexy submissiveness and faux victim behaviour. Because of those traits, there has always been a theme in male sexuality of cross-dressing, presenting as ‘drag queens’ and ‘pantomime dames’ who exhibit a ‘humour’ that consists of flirtatious misogyny. We all know this. Girls and women often react with bemusement but, as it is so eternally embedded in our culture, we just go ‘oh very well’.

I believe the main reason there is so much aggression towards Joyce’s book is that she includes a dispassionate history of males trying to present as women for a variety of strange reasons, and demonstrates how this characteristic fed the growing ‘transgender’ trend, and also how it added the wild-fire streak of misogyny and sex-based threats that run through all the ‘gender v sex’ and ‘trans rights’ campaigns.

I also believe that it is the aggressive and misogynistic demands of men like that (yeah, yeah, not all men – I know that) and the way our legal system automatically favours the aggressive male stance over the female, that has given the would-be gender-identity revolution its power.

That is why it has to be unravelled and understood before we can find a rational solution, with clear, legal protections for all concerned. It is clear to feminists that there are many victims of gender-identity ideology – lesbian, gay, autistic and traumatised children who have been confused and misdirected into blaming the shape of their bodies for their pain, trans-sexuals trying to live an unconflicted life (See advance disclaimer #2 below), lesbian and gay people who’ve seen their culture and services aggressively taken over by ‘queer’ people who demand to be seen as homosexual because they think they ‘really are’ the opposite sex, and the many, many women who are already victims of patriarchy – women in prisons, hostels, refuges and refugee centres, who desperately need the safety-net of women’s sex-based rights.

The fact that organisations like Stonewall were so oblivious to women’s needs that they decided calling for the complete erasure of sex-based rights was the quickest way through for trans rights is both proof that gender-identity ideology is built on patriarchal misogyny and a very clear demonstration of why that movement is so aggressive, so anti-women, and so prone to sex-based threats of violence. As Jeremy Corbyn’s former policy manager, Lachlan Stuart has demonstrated, there are many things we could do for trans people under the banner of ‘trans rights’ that do not conflict with women’s basic legal rights but, for some reason, he found it impossible to get organisations such as LGBT Labour to show any interest in those things – they just wanted – primarily and forcefully – to fight against women’s sex-based rights.

That, Your Honour, is demonstration enough that gender-identity ideology is misogyny at work.

Book signing at sexmatters.org

[I have written two versions of the concluding paragraph – please pick the one that suits your politics]

For socialists

The enemies of socialism and democracy are sexism, racism and classism. Those are notoriously the most powerful weapons of division used by capitalism (or if you think we’re really in a post-capitalist world, of ‘neoliberalism’). As a socialist, you have probably gone a fair way towards understanding racism and classism. To see the picture whole, you also need to understand sexism in its new and vicious form of gender-identity ideology. If you don’t understand it yet, please read Helen Joyce’s book. It’s by far the best analysis, and a very interesting read.

For concerned people who aren’t socialist

Most people know that we live in a sexist society. Many understand that that makes life very difficult for women and girls. This isn’t an isolated situation in one or two countries, or the result of a conspiracy by one or two billionaires. Gender-identity ideology, which seeks to make gender expression more important than biological sex is the latest and possibly most pernicious incarnation of sexism. If you don’t understand it yet, please read Helen Joyce’s book. It’s the best analysis I have seen so far, and a very interesting read.

—-

Advance disclaimer #1: if someone says nasty things about Jewish people as a group, or deliberately hints at ‘Jewish conspiracies’ etc, they being are antisemitic. That’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about the weaponisation of antisemitism accusations which is so often the last resort of political activists who have no logical argument for their policies.

Advance disclaimer #2: there are, and will be for as long as patriarchy rules, people who feel so utterly, painfully at odds with the gender-based requirements of the society around them that they change their bodies, their clothes and their names. They present, and attempt to live, as the opposite sex. Generally, when speaking frankly and confidentially, they know they are not really the opposite sex – they just feel more comfortable living that way. They are in no way culpable in any of this, they are no threat to women’s rights, and they deserve support and tolerance. Most feminists, because we know how pernicious patriarchy is, understand the pressures that brought those people to that situation, and do support and tolerate such people.

11 replies on “Does gender-identity = misogyny?”

A question for you, Kay, regarding your second disclaimer:
What does “attempting to live as a woman” mean, for a man?

Thanks, in advance.

Like

Hard to say, Shonagh, because I’m not a man but I think what you need to do, as a woman, is look at the things you know you do/don’t do that make conventional society suspect you’re “not quite right” – in my case, that includes behaviour, appearance, clothes, political attitudes. If I was being bullied, and trying to conform to dodge those bullies *as a woman* it would involve a lot of make-up and acting.

Like

So you’re saying you don’t know? Or don’t care to say it straight out?

I’d say it can only consist of performing sex stereotypes, and/or breaching women’s boundaries (using women’s sex-based services and spaces).

If any other readers have a better answer, I’d love to hear it.

Like

No, the stereotypes bit is fair enough. The boundaries/services thing not necessarily. I like the phrase ‘gender refugees’. Compare it to other sorts of refugees – some may take advantage, most are trying to seek shelter without causing trouble. Also, the analogy extends to numbers, and to whether they would exist at all, if we got the world running right. Put an end to gender, defend where you need to, but don’t lose sight of who the victims are in all this. It ain’t *just* women.

Like

So womanhood is a refugee camp for (some) men?
Women’s spaces should provide comfort and succour to (some) men?
I may be misunderstanding you.

Can you explain what you mean “like I’m five”, as they say on t’internet, please?
With concrete examples if possible

Like

Like you’re five? …. Okay. Socialism must work for everyone. I hate cars, but I get it that until we sort transport out, some people need cars. That being the case, we need to do a lot more to protect pedestrians and the environment from cars. Just yelling “I hate cars whizzing past me!” is satisfying but does not solve the problem that we live in a horrible, dangerous world, where some people need cars. Shouting at the emergency midwife helps no-one. Nor does ignoring the problem.

Translate that to women’s spaces/services, and the vast majority of the time, I think we can say females only and do no harm. I think that, as females, we should always have that right but as socialists, we should also be looking at how to solve the problems of those who are struggling, whether we consider them ‘our’ people or not. I don’t know the answers to all the specifics – I merely persist in saying that we must have a full, public conversation, women must be protected. We must persist above all in talking about vulnerable women – in prisons and so on, because they are the ones that tend to be overlooked – but we must *find* an answer that works for all.

Liked by 1 person

Well I wouldn’t call that an “explain like I’m five” answer (the point of that being that if a person really understands a position, they’ll be able to explain it in very simple language, to a complete layperson, who has little to no education at all. It’s often abbreviated to ELI5: if you see that elsewhere online, you’ll know what it means now.)

Feels like you’re dodging the question, but okay, I’ll leave it.

Like

I completely agree with Kay’s second disclaimer, and I think it’s very well explained in the original article, and elaborated in her comments. Because extreme gender ideologists are not interested in solutions that would suit everyone, and are focussed solely on gaining access to women and girls spaces, doesn’t mean that we should ignore the concerns of those who do ‘identify as’ women. That doesn’t mean that we, or anyone, actually thinks they ARE women. Nor that we should we prioritise those concerns over our own. But to dismiss them is I beleive inhumane. And that doesn’t fit at all with my interpretation of socialism.

Liked by 1 person

Yes, of course there is an element of give-and-take in socialism. Of course there is. From each according to their ability, to each, according to their needs. On the women’s spaces/services, we need a nationwide conversation to figure out how that can work in the face of the burgeoning numbers of people who say they are women. It’s going to take a long time because first, we have to persuade the public at large to understand why women’s spaces/services etc are necessary. It’s not just about VAWG – there are loads of reasons. So – you are both right, and so am I. We need to defend our spaces, we need to be better understood but also (if you’re a socialist) we need to contribute to finding solutions for everyone. I’m not being evasive – I simply don’t KNOW the best answers, until the knowledge, and the full conversation, are out there. A good starting point would be to get society at large to start trying to understand why there is a general assumption that women’s spaces are the obvious refuge for everyone, including trans women and trans men. Who is the enemy, folks? Answers on a postcard!

Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: