A test that Julie Bindel rather fails

Julie Bindel tells us that feminists have a great sense of humour. Because they have to have a great sense of humour.

The problem here is that when you loudly declaim that you have a great sense of humour your jokes should in fact be humourous, not repeats of the Great Slavic Joke where the punchline is \”the concrete cow went laughing down the street\”.

Ms. Bindel\’s jokes:

I told him that if he was a prime example of heterosexuality then every woman would choose lesbianism.

I told him that being \”hung like a Tic Tac\” should not make him bitter.

I replied: \”I\’ll bet you couldn\’t count your balls and get the same answer twice.\”

Her response? \”If you want to control someone, dickhead, sleep with your remote control.\”

\”What do men and sperm have in common? They both have a one-in-a-million chance of becoming a human being.\”

They\’re not, umm, well, they\’re not great jokes, are they? Or if they are what passes for great jokes in feminist circles then we\’d rather have to conclude that no, feminists don\’t have great senses of humour.

At which point, I\’m sure there are some very good \”feminist\” jokes even if they\’re not the ones told by feminists. Your recollections of them in the comments please.

118 thoughts on “A test that Julie Bindel rather fails”

  1. What do you tell a woman with two black eyes?

    Nothing, she’s already been told twice.

    Tim adds: Ah, no, I rather meant good jokes that feminists could tell.

  2. So Much For Subtlety

    Well her comments on transsexuals were rather funny but I guess she did not mean them as a joke.

    It is an oft debated issue on the internet why the English speaking world has so few good female comedians. Or sometimes if it is true that etc etc.

    Personally I think most British humour is driven by an inability to get laid. As soon as someone starts to get laid, they cease to be funny. Given that virtually all women can get laid, why would they need to be funny?

    From which perhaps we can conclude lesbians get a lot more sex than I, for one, would have assumed they did.

  3. So Much For Subtlety

    I replied: [I-ll bet you couldn-t count your balls and get the same answer twice.]

    Is it just me or is this humour not merely unfunny but deeply sexist? Is there some rule that says jokes about men’s testicles are fine but jokes about women’s Bulgarian airbags are not? If not, what is wrong with this woman? I mean, besides the obvious.

    [What do men and sperm have in common? They both have a one in a million chance of becoming a human being.]

    So I can tell blonde jokes now? If misandry is not a real word, it ought to be.

  4. Ok, not a feminist joke, and perhaps few feminists will get it, but here’s my joke of the week..

    3 logicians go into a bar. The barman says ‘Would you all like a drink?’. The first says ‘I’m not sure’, the second says ‘I’m not sure’, and the third says ‘Yes’.

  5. She’s just a professional controversialist, who makes a living out of spouting bollocks.

    The idea that any bloke would go up to her “in a bar”and make a move on her – especially the kinds of blokes who make moves on women in bars – is laughable.

    We should play her at her own meme. So about 20 men in the UK are “human beings”? Surely that’s some sort of hate crime? It must at least be worthy of a twitter hashtag.

    @SMFS No one ever said it was going to be fair. Or make sense. Or be funny.

  6. So Much For Subtlety

    Interested – “No one ever said it was going to be fair. Or make sense. Or be funny.”

    True. And on the plus side, tomorrow morning I am going to wake up. And I am still not going to be Julie Bindel.

  7. There’s no such thing as a good feminist joke, because it’s a bigoted hate movement. As such, it’s like asking for a good Nazi joke. All you’ll get is varying degrees of nastiness about Jews. Any feminist “joke” will just be some degree of nastiness about men, which is what we get in Bindel’s rib-ticklers.

  8. So Much For Subtlety

    Ian B – “As such, it-s like asking for a good Nazi joke. All you-ll get is varying degrees of nastiness about Jews.”

    But varying degrees of nastiness towards other people can be funny. After all, most humour is just varying degrees of nastiness towards weaker people. There is no reason to think being mean to Jews cannot be funny. Bernard Manning did tell at least one funny Jewish (even Nazi given it was about his grandfather who died in Auschwitz) joke.

    So there is no reason why jokes based on a hatred of men cannot be funny. Jokes based on mild dislike of women often are.

  9. SMFS,

    “As soon as someone starts to get laid, they cease to be funny. ”

    I’m not at all sure about that. Mel Brooks was married to Anne Bancroft for many years before Blazing Saddles or The Producers. It didn’t seem to stop him.

    Lenny Henry said he did it to stop kids beating him up. If you could make them laugh, they wouldn’t beat you up. And if you look at the physique of Woody Allen, Emo Phillips or Patton Oswalt, you can imagine they might have been in the same situation.

  10. All right, I’ll give this a go. None of these are mine, all found elsewhere:

    The first toilet bowl was invented by Thomas Crapper, but credit for inventing the first toilet brush goes to his wife.

    Having left a skidmark on her husband’s invention, she looked into the bowl and thought; ‘What I need is a long-handled brush, to remove the offending stain hygienically’.

    Mr Crapper would have beaten her to the idea, but an hour earlier he had looked down at his own skidmark and thought; ‘I bet I could blast that off by pissing on it.’

    How people weren’t suspicious about Jimmy Savile’s true intentions is beyond me. If any man ever volunteers to do something, it’s for sex.

    Like most men, I have two personalities…

    the guy before the orgasm and the one after.

  11. SMFS-

    Ah, but that’s the problem. People who actually feel hate aren’t funny telling those jokes. They’re only funny if told for the purposes of comedy, rather than hatred. Bernard Manning didn’t hate Jews, or blacks, or anyone else. That’s why he could be funny slagging them off.

    There are lots of “men” jokes, and they’re funny. They cease to be funny when feminists tell them, because of the hate context. Hence, the are no feminist jokes.

  12. And finally, found on reddit:

    What did the black queen chess piece say to the white king piece when she moved in front of him?

    CHECK. YOUR PRIVILEGE.

  13. Ian: Feminists don’t hate men, they hate misogynists. The problem is that many of them can’t tell the difference.

  14. Matthew;

    They define all men as “misogynists”, in the same way as all Jews, all blacks, etc. It’s just pure bigotry driven with an ideological justification. It’s an old tactic, you justify your hate by claiming that the people you hate are, themselves, haters.

    Hence, as we see here, Bindel’s casual declaration that men are less than human. She would not see anything wrong with saying that, because she really does believe it.

  15. So Much For Subtlety

    The Stigler – “I-m not at all sure about that. Mel Brooks was married to Anne Bancroft for many years before Blazing Saddles or The Producers. It didn-t seem to stop him.”

    He married Bancroft in 1964 and TP came out in 1967 – but he had been hawking the script around for a long time. People were reluctant to fund a musical about Hitler.

    He may be an exception but I am not so sure.

    “Lenny Henry said he did it to stop kids beating him up. If you could make them laugh, they wouldn-t beat you up.”

    He went to a much nicer school than I did then. Notice he does not seem to have much success with women until recently.

    “And if you look at the physique of Woody Allen, Emo Phillips or Patton Oswalt, you can imagine they might have been in the same situation.”

    Allen ran off with his step-daughter. I do not think that success with women ever featured strongly in his life.

    Not that many people here would be all that funny I think. Mel Brooks is more shocking than anything else imo.

  16. Matthew-

    Christianity is not defined by an attitude to gays, but by a particular belief- that Jesus was the son of God, or God, or something like that.

    Feminism is defined by its attitude to men. The hatred of men is its central dogma.

    There is a difference.

  17. You must have a pretty dour sense of humour, SMFS. By the way, John Cleese had been married four years when he wrote Fawlty Towers, and Ronnie Barker was happily married through his entire radio and TV career.

  18. Ian: Hatred of men isn’t the central dogma. Hatred of sexism is. The problem is the way that many feminists define sexism and men as synonymous.

  19. Surreptitious Evil

    Not all feminists hate men. But all the ones who get columns in the Guardian do.

    The difference between misandrists and feminists is the difference between being deliberately run over and run over because the feminist was checking her makeup in the rear-view mirror.

    Yes, I know, stick to the day job 😉

  20. So Much For Subtlety

    Matthew L – “You must have a pretty dour sense of humour”

    You noticed? It is not fair to Mel Brooks although I still do not think he is as funny as people think he is. Being shocking is not the same as being funny. But the rest? I have never seen the appeal of Lenny Henry – nice guy though he obviously is.

    “By the way, John Cleese had been married four years when he wrote Fawlty Towers”

    Yeah. The Monty Python team do seem to prove the point in general – the happier their marriage the less funny they were. Michael Palin. Lovely guy. Funny? Funnier when working with others. Therapy killed Cleese’s sense of humour, but then he is still screwed up about women isn-t he? Grahame Chapman? Let-s not go to his sex life.

    “Ronnie Barker was happily married through his entire radio and TV career.”

    Well I am inclined to defend the Two Ronnies but are you sure it was happy?

    24Matthew L – “Hatred of men isn-t the central dogma. Hatred of sexism is. The problem is the way that many feminists define sexism and men as synonymous.”

    How do you know what the central dogma is? How do you know what they say is what they mean? If they persistently confuse the two, and they do, then it looks like a problem – unless of course it is not.

  21. Lenny Henry isn’t funny. Even the poor kids helped by Comic Relief give him pity laughs. That said, he is more talented than all the Marcus Brigstocks and Mark Steels on BBC radio put together.

  22. SMFS,

    Allen ran off with his step-daughter. I do not think that success with women ever featured strongly in his life.

    When he was about 80 (and she was never his step-daughter BTW – she was Farrow’s adopted daughter, and Allen never married Farrow).

    Not successful with women? Diane Keaton in her 20s, for about a decade and picking up Mia Farrow in her mid-30s isn’t “successful”? I’d hate to see your definition of failure.

  23. Matthew-

    I don’t have time to write the long answer required to justify my assertion today, and then defend it in subsequent replies, so I’ll have to bow out of this debate (for once) 🙁

    Back on comedy, it’s worth bearing in mind that Britain has a long proud heritage of funny women from the music hall tradition, but they tended to be “acts”. Stand up comedy itself was then really a rather low grade part of showbiz, with “the comic” often just filler between the “acts”.

    WHEEEEEEEERE’S ME WASHBOARD? Eh missus, ‘ave you seen it? Eh? Eh?

    And the women tended to be found in the “acts” themselves. Marie Lloyd, Elsie and Doris Waters, etc.

  24. “True. And on the plus side, tomorrow morning I am going to wake up. And I am still not going to be Julie Bindel.”

    And it’s still on the plus side, even if you don’t wake tomorrow morning, you’re still not Julie Bindel.

  25. SE,

    “Not all feminists hate men. But all the ones who get columns in the Guardian do.”

    We’re basically talking about Third Wave Feminists, the ones who filled the vacuum when all the sensible women who wanted equal rights did something with those rights. The sort that call themselves the Fawcett Society, despite the fact that Millicent Fawcett only ever campaigned for women’s equal rights under the law.

  26. not sure if this is a feminist joke but it is one that every woman I’ve told it to loves, which explains a lot.

    “If a man speaks and his wife isn’t there – is he still wrong?”

    and following on from the nazi/jewish theme – here’s a joke from “Dead Funny (Telling Jokes in Hitler’s Germany)” by Rudolph Herzog
    “How many types of Jews are there? Two: optimists and pessimists. All the pessimists are in exile, and the optimists are in concentration camps.”

    not funny I know but very perceptive

  27. Jewish humour in general is excellent. Comes from that “You have to laugh or you’ll cry” mentality, I think.

  28. But I have got time to add this little nugget that I came across in teh wiki’s Marie Lloyd article-

    “By 1895, Lloyd’s risqué songs were frequently receiving criticism from theatre reviewers and influential feminists. As a result, she often experienced resistance from strict theatre censorship which dogged the rest of her career.[87] The writer and feminist Laura Ormiston Chant, who was a member of the Social Purity Alliance, disliked the bawdiness of music hall performances, and thought that the venues were attractive to prostitutes. Her campaign persuaded the London County Council to erect large screens around the promenade at the Empire Theatre in Leicester Square, as part of the licensing conditions”.

  29. Some feminists are puritans. Some feminists are porn stars. What conclusion can we draw from that about the homogeneity of feminism?

  30. There are one or two liberals (even porn stars) mistakenly identifying with the movement, but they are not welcome in it and contribute nothing to its ideology or campaign structure. Anyone can call themself a feminist, and may well do so if they mistakenly believe that to believe in equality is to be a feminist. I used to consider myself a feminist once, because I made that mistake. It’s quite common.

    The actual movement itself is single-mindedly “puritanical” and always has been. The error occurs because between the two Feminist waves there were some other women and womens’ issues writers who either used the label or have had it retrospectively applied to them.

    Organised Femiism, from the WCTU through the Social Purity Alliance and the Sufragettes, the Fawcett Society, Redstockings, NOW, and so on, is not and never has been a place where “porn stars” can find a home. Unless they’re repentant, victimised, former fallen women rejecting their immoral past, that is.

  31. Just fact, Matthew. As Catharine Mackinnon stated in her magnum opus, you can’t believe in feminism and liberalism. It’s one or the other.

  32. Ian and Matthew are rubbing up against one of the central problems with fighting any of the ‘isms’.

    Contra Ian (although I’m closer to him than to Matthew on this), there is no ‘actual movement’, and no campaign structure.

    Catharine Mackinnon can state what she likes in her magnum opus, but she doesn’t own the definition of feminism, or the movement (because there isn’t one) and she is just one of several million women worldwide who place themselves somewhere on a continuum.

    Get three feminists in a room, and you’ll get four opinions as to what is ‘correct’ and ‘appropriate’ (or eight if they’re all on the rag).

    This is the leftist way – own the language, define the terms, win the argument (facts don’t matter).

  33. @ Ian B

    You don’t get to decide who is or isn’t a feminist, or what someone should or shouldn’t believe in order to be called a feminist.

    If someone who is sexually liberal thinks that feminism can be defined widely enough to include them, then they’re free to do so. If a puritan thinks that feminism is closed and narrow and excludes wide swathes of the female population.. then they’re free to do so. Those who define themselves as feminists can squabble between themselves about whether they are allowed to do so. It’s just like any other political/philosophical school. Sure, it’s equally as tedious as all the lefties who bi

    I’ve banged my head against this particular brick wall before.. but I really don’t understand why people who frequent this blog.. where we rally against people who appoint themselves as the arbiters of all things, and then arbitrate to suit their prejudices, think that they have some deep insight into feminism that has eluded so many actual feminists.

    Richie hates neoliberals. He’s not entirely sure what neoliberal is, but he hates it.. so he’s picked a bunch of things that he doesn’t like.. and decided that people who like them are neoliberals. People who like things he likes are not neoliberals. They cannot be. Either they are lying about what they like, or they are lying about being neoliberals. So, for example, in Richieworld, a neoliberal that wants the poor to get richer *cannot* exist.

    It seems like, if you’re to be believed, the same is true of a feminist who likes indiscriminate fucking. That’s a shame, because a whole bunch of my sexiest friends have just disappeared in a puff of logic.

  34. @IanB Further to my last, Ian, re this “I used to consider myself a feminist once, because I made that mistake.”

    I’m disappointed in you (genuinely); I don’t know you other than from on here, but I’d have thought you were more robust than that.

    Some transparently mad, utterly deluded and very unpleasant people define you, and your beliefs, and you allow it?

    Bollocks, I say. I am a feminist, in the sense that I believe women are equal to men and should be treated as such (I have daughters and no sons, which helps to explain my motivation perhaps).

    Once they are, and they are close to it, feminism can close down.

    Maybe this is what worries a few of the sistas, but you should tell them where to get off.

    We should play them at their own game – own the term, define it, claim it, be proud of it – like blacks calling each other nigger to take the poison out of the word.

    Say it loud: I’m feminist and proud.

  35. Interested-

    The same is true of any movement. No two christians, etc. Nobody owns the definition of CHristainity either. In fact, Christianity is a far more diverse movement than Feminism.

    But there is still a movement, in both cases. If Feminist ideologists were a diverse as Christian ones, we’d have a big definitional problem. Luckily, they aren’t. For instance, Mackinnon is not a unique voice; she is highly representative of the shared ideology. The ideological homogeneity being largely a result of control by a rather small cabal of academics and other thinkers/writers within the movement. I’d say that the degree of orthodoxy is roughly similar to pre-Reformation Catholicism. They have little spats about specifics (transgenderism currently) but the broad belief system is coherent and well delineated, and has been since the late Victorian era.

  36. Inty, regarding your second comment-

    I don’t think equalists can capture and own the term, because it never has been an equality movement. I believe the only approach with any hope of success is to expose, denounce and isolate the Feminists, for an important reason; the Western world is full of good women and men who in some way or other desire gender equality, and naively call themselves feminists; by doing so, they act as a “human shield” around the core movement, which is ideologically opposed to equality of any kind and is, in a full analysis, a separatist movement that desires eternal war, not peace and progress, between the sexes.

    The Second Wave arose as a reaction *against* the breaking down of the sex divide in the 1960s, and has been ruthlessly struggling to put the walls back up ever since. It has to be stopped. It’s not going to be stopped if we try to be nice to these people, because they are beyond all that. You may as well self-identify as a nazi in the hope of making national socialism a campaign for racial equality. It just can’t be done.

  37. @IanB “The same is true of any movement. No two christians, etc. Nobody owns the definition of CHristainity either.”

    Venn diagrams. All Christians believe Jeses Christ was the risen son of God*, not all Christians believe the Virgin Mary ascended bodily into Heaven.

    But few Protestants dispute that Catholics are Christian, these days.

    And even if they do, your point would seem to indicate logically that Catholics should reply, ‘You’re right, we’re not.’

    *This is all actually a more interesting argument than a blog comments thread allows. Definitionally, we’re probably not far away from someone claiming he’s a Christian who also worships Satan, and defying anyone to prove him wrong.

  38. @IanB “You may as well self-identify as a nazi in the hope of making national socialism a campaign for racial equality. It just cant be done.”

    This is a very bad analogy for one obvious reason: the guns.

    If you can shoot people you don’t like, or hang them with piano wire, you tend to win every single argument.

    But absent violence, if you had infested the Nazi party with peacenik Jews then over a period of time you would certainly have changed it.

    This is, in fact, a classic leftist tactic. Militant? New Labour?

  39. @IanB

    I forgot to add, in fact the ONLY way to win this argument is from within, even if you’re a cuckoo inside a Trojan horse wrapped in an engima.

    Who wins the undecideds over in a Radio 5 debate?

    Feminist A saying she wants to be equal to men and no more, or Feminist B saying she wants a separate state for woman?

    You fight on their ground, and expose them for the hooning great loons they are.

  40. @ Interested

    “Definitionally, we’re probably not far away from someone claiming he’s a Christian who also worships Satan, and defying anyone to prove him wrong.”

    That’s a good comment. And my personal take is that nobody *could* prove him wrong. But whilst that might seem absurd, who actually cares? As long as people who identify as Christians are not afforded any privelages beyond the right to indentify as whatever they choose (and I think it should be thus) then I’m struggling for a reason to give a crap.

  41. @TTG “But whilst that might seem absurd, who actually cares? As long as people who identify as Christians are not afforded any privelages beyond the right to indentify as whatever they choose and I think it should be thus then Im struggling for a reason to give a crap.”

    Me, too, in the case of Christians (or any religious – I’m a Catholic, as it happens).

    I think the whole business of definition should be up to you. We’re long past the point of consensus on so many things that we might as well give everything up.

    IanB would argue – I suspect, and correctly so – that in the case of the Feminists the real nutjobs *do* want privileges, of course.

    I think the ‘trans community’ are interesting in this area, too. And – in Manchester – ‘Goths’.

  42. “This crap” matters because this movement has a great deal of influence, gets laws passed, has members in the bureaucracy, government, judiciary, etc.

  43. Interested: I agree with you on this one. I think the only point I’d quibble with is the number of real nutjobs in the feminist movement. Personally, I think it’s very small and mostly confined to the wild-haired loons in academic department.

    One question I do have to ask – what special privileges do you think the trans community is asking for that aren’t necessary.

  44. Matthew L – what special privileges are they asking for, out of interest? Free vouchers for Claire’s Accessories on the NHS? Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert, to be on the national curriculum?

  45. Sounds like a plan to me. As an articulated lorry he’d probably have an excellent transport policy.

  46. Matthew L – Excellent. OTOH, while I disagree with Megatron’s kill-all-humans policy, he would contribute to the national defence by turning into a ruddy big gun.

  47. I was lucky enough to get one of the Megatron toys back when it did convert into a pistol. Nicest feeling toy pistol I ever had, beautifully balanced in the hand. Even had plastic stock, barrel extension and sights to turn it into a sniper thingy. Of course they banned it soon afterwards, far too much fun for children.

  48. @Matthew L said : One question I do have to ask what special privileges do you think the trans community is asking for that arent necessary.

    First I hope you’ll accept that I’m arguing in good faith, in that I believe in equality before the law for all and no more and no less.

    Then I have to assume your phrase “that arent necessary” is a slip of the keyboard, because without a definition of what is necessary we can get nowhere (as I say, for me it’s legal equality and that’s it).

    So I regard – for instance – the call for ‘transphobia’ to be a ‘hate crime’ as a special privilege* (along with all hate crime), as I do gender reassignment ops on the NHS (at least until all curable illness that we all suffer from equally is dealt with), and any tax funding for lobby groups. There’ll be more – trans toilet facilities in public buildings, trans jails etc – in time, I’m sure.

    *I take it as read that no decent adult will abuse a transsexual for his or her transexualism, but laws exist to deal with those who do.

  49. Followng Interested, the point for me is that enforced equality effectively becomes a privilege in certain situations; there are many situations in which people wish to discriminate.

    So we have this interesting example in which the core (radical) feminists are being pressured (and may be forced by law) to admit transexuals to their “womens spaces”. And of course this is horrifying to the core feminists, because to them a man surgically altered to appear female is still a male, and carries the original sin of maleness, the avoidance of which is central to their beliefs.

    So the privilege in that case is a State-backed right for a man (in a frock) to enter a space whose owners specifically do not desire him to enter.

  50. Matthew L – My favourite was the one that turned into a cassette player. I’m not sure now if sentient robots from another planet would bother with magnetic tape, but at the time it seemed magical.

  51. Interested: You’ve always struck me as a decent sort, like everyone else who comments on here (with maybe one or two exceptions), so this is one place I always assume good faith.

    I think IF you’re going to have hate crime (which I don’t necessarily agree with) then it should include transsexuals as a protected group.

    I disagree with you on the gender reassignment. Gender dysphoria is a real illness, and it should be funded in the same way as other illnesses. Sex reassignment surgery is cheaper and considerably more effective than therapy at curing it. If you’re going to fund things like breast reductions for backache, and extra digit removal, and that kind of thing then you ought to fund SRS as well.

    Transsexual people don’t want special facilities except for their own protection (jail is the only one I can think of off-hand). They just want to be allowed to use the facilities of their actual gender. This isn’t usually a problem until some bigot makes it one, so if everyone’s civilised about the whole thing then no fuss is made. The trans people I know are aghast at the thought of making a fuss about their status, they’d much rather everyone just ignore it and treat them as a human being.

  52. Interested – If transphobia becomes a hate crime, does that mean everybody who was creeped out by Tim Curry’s turn in The Rocky Horror Picture Show will be rounded up by plod?

  53. Matthew-

    The problem with gender dysphoria is that we do not really know what it is. It is currently popular to assign it an essentialist status like gender preference in sexuality, and to at least imply a physical cause, but nobody actually knows.

    If a man says he is Napoleon trapped in the body of a bricklayer from Huddersfield, nobody would believe him. We would assume mental illness. We do not actually know whether somebody claiming to be a woman trapped in a bricklayer’s body is any less of a delusion, except that it is a little more plausible, in that “maybe he has a physically female brain”.

    My own view is that we should be immensely cautious about assuming that a female essence can inhabit a male body (or vice versa).

  54. Ian: I recoil in horror at the thought of having my bits chopped off. The idea of going through years of hormone therapy and tremendously invasive surgery is horrifying. And yet transgender people are willing to go through with it because they come out happier at the other end. Isn’t that a pretty good bit of evidence that the problem is real and the treatment works?

    I agree that gender dysphoria is arguably a mental illness, but fortunately it has a physical treatment. I say fortunately because mental illnesses without physical treatments are nigh impossible to cure. I know, I have one (crippling depression with anxiety and compulsion, as poor Tim found out when my compulsive side latched on to the idea of sending him links to interesting webpages and his inbox just about collapsed). If I could get surgery to cure that, you’d need an infantry squad to keep me away from the hospital. But there isn’t, so I manage it, at great cost to the taxpayer in pills and sundries.

    I don’t understand what the problem is with believing transgender people. There’s no gain in it for them and plenty of physical and emotional cost. It’s not a sexual kink – crossdressers never go for sexual reassignment, they just get off on dressing up in women’s clothes. Transgender people want to be the opposite sex, not just play-act at it.

    You could argue that wanting it isn’t enough, but untreated transgender people have an appallingly high rate of self harm and suicide. Think of the surgery again – how unhappy in your body would you have to be to even consider going through that? That’s not just a desire, it’s a genuine medical need and it should be treated like any other condition.

  55. If anyone is having trouble imagining what sexual reassignment surgery looks like, here’s a video of the procedure:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y1vKT4JEcDc

    If you think there’s something a bit dodgy about transsexuals, I think you ought to at least watch that and see what they’re willing to put themselves through to become what they see as their real self.

  56. Matthew-

    The extremity of gender dysphoria is I think one of the indicators that it is a mental illness, similar to body dysmorphic disorder.

    I agree that if all you’ve got for a cure is reassignment surgery, then it makes sense to do it. But it bothers me that if we insist on a dogma that this is due to a real “woman’s essence in a man’s body” we’re going to close down study into non-surgical cures. Because surely the best treatment would be one that enabled the person to be happy in the body they have.

    And I guess a point here would be to say, if it is just a mental disorder, the Feminists have a right to argue that transgenders are not really women and they shouldn’t have to pretend they are. As would other women not wishing to share bathrooms, showers, etc.

    Which is why you have a problem if you pass a law forcing people to agree (on pain of imprisonment) that transgenders are the sex they say they are. You may well be forcing people to say that they believe something that simply is not true.

  57. The trap you’re falling into there is binary gender, which is a social construct and not a physical one. Research shows that gender lies along a continuum, like sexuality. Sexual organs are one part of our physical gender, but they’re not the only part and the mind makes up a lot of it. Don’t forget, we all start out as girls until the sex hormones kick in. This isn’t “woman’s essence in a man’s body” (which I agree is a silly idea) but that gender is more complicated than “Do you have a penis or not”.

  58. Matthew L – Don’t we start out as male or female based on what chromosomes we inherit? I think studies on boys raised as girls (due to surgical accidents at birth) have shown that gender isn’t a social construct.

    BTW, I agree with you that nobody should be beastly to trannies, and if they want their bits lopped off on the NHS, good luck to them I say.

  59. No Matthew, you’re falling into the trap of ideology. There isn’t a gender continuum. There are two sexes, and various error conditions (“intersex”) which are a difficult matter but do not act as evidence for gender not being binary.

    Sex is a simple binary matter of whether you have a cock or a cunt. As said above, sometimes the mechanics goes wrong and you get a mash-up.

    Additionally, there is no evidence that children are born with an innate gender identity, and good logical reason to think they are not. In the same way as they do not have an innate “race identity” and learn of the “black”, “white” etc categories as they learn about the world.

  60. @Matthew L

    Thanks – I actually think I’ve overstepped the mark a few times, abuse-wise, usually while in drink. But I appreciate your comments.

    I don’t agree with any crime being defined as a hate crime. I don’t accept that (for instance) the murderer of a working father of two young children should receive 15 years in jail while the murderer of a gay barman receives 30 years, purely because as well as killing the barman he also didn’t like that he was gay. It seems literally mad to me. I’d give them both life in jail, but the greater harm is arguably done to the father of two (having children).

    I don’t deny that gender dysphoria is a real condition, though it is merely oneof a range of psychological conditions which are real but may not be amenable to NHS treatment (on the thin end of the very big financial wedge argument).

    I dont deny, either, that some bigots and idiots are unpleasant about it, or that we could and should be civilised towards people with the condition.

    My point was that you asked for examples of privilege, and in the hierarchy of need, given finite funding, it seems to me to be a special privilege to ask for gender reassignment when the man next door is dying of cancer because the local trust won’t fund a given treatment on grounds of cost.

    Breast reductions should, of course, be banned as an outrage against God and man.

  61. Steve: No, we start out as female and then the Y chromosome causes hormones to be expressed that cause the male sexual characteristics to emerge. The structures are the same, they just grow differently depending on those hormones. The penis and the clitoris are the same thing, the labia and the scrotum are the same thing – you can even see the seam where the vulva would open if you look at your balls (a thin hairless line down the middle that gets wider where the vaginal opening would be). Fascinating thing, human sexual development, and not at all as simple and black and white as people would like it to be.

  62. Steve, there’s a reason men have nipples, and it’s not because we need them to suckle babies.

  63. My point was that you asked for examples of privilege, and in the hierarchy of need, given finite funding, it seems to me to be a special privilege to ask for gender reassignment when the man next door is dying of cancer because the local trust won’t fund a given treatment on grounds of cost.

    OK, you’ve got a point there, but I don’t think it’s actually an issue. Firstly the numbers are low – I found this, not sure how accurate it is but I suspect within an order of magnitude:

    In 2000, 54 surgeries were carried out, compared with 143 in 2009, the Daily Telegraph reports. Since 2000, a total of 853 trans women and 12 trans men had state-funded surgery to change sex.

    Secondly health funding decisions are made on quality of life convolved with life expectancy. Which is better, to give someone with cancer an extra year or to give someone who’s going to live for another 50 years a cure for their misery? At this point we run into the standard problem of public health funding.

    My answer to your example is that we shouldn’t treat SRS any differently to the treatment for any other condition. That means it should be evaluated for funding with the same criteria, and I believe that is indeed the case.

    With regard to hate crimes, personally I don’t think a separate offence is warranted but hatred should be taken into account in sentencing. The barman’s murderer is probably more likely to reoffend, for example, so he should get a longer sentence. He’s a danger to an identifiable sector of the community. Of course, this would also apply to the father’s if he was murdered by a radical feminist misandrist who wanted to exterminate men. That’s a hate crime too, not that it happens all that much.

  64. Matthew L – When I was a boy, I thought that line was there because I was made out of the spare parts of two different people.

    Interested – Is it so fat guys can paint a smiley face on their bellies?

  65. Interested: Did you know that the only two mammals not to have nipples in the male are horses and rats? My partner breeds rats, and when the babies meet the adult males for the first time they dart under them and go hunting for nipples. This usually causes the adults to flee in panic because the babies have very sharp teeth and will nip anything that doesn’t produce milk right away.

  66. Nonetheless, it *is* black and white; evolution intends black and white. The “greys” are errors in the mechanism. They’re fascinating, but tell us nothing about gender, least of all that it is a continuum.

    It really is one of the most black and white things in nature. Two sexes, to enable reproduction. That’s it.

  67. Steve: No, but we have a brown and white one called Archimedes and two black eyed white girls called Camembert and Brie.

  68. Some things are just errors. That doesn’t mean the people should be made to suffer, but trying to pretend they aren’t errors is silly. If a child is born with no legs, I would not make them suffer. I would do everything I can reasonably do to help them. But I would not pretend that the legless state is part of a “limb continuum”; I would recognise that they have a disability, an error. People are supposed to be born with legs, two of them. That’s our species pattern.

    The problem is whether the government has the right to have a public policy requiring people to believe that other people are something that they are not and to live accordingly.

    Here’s the question: is there any point to gender segregated spaces at all (bathrooms, changing rooms etc) if a person can enter the other’s by declaring him/herself to be the other gender. Would you forcibly abolish gender segregated facilities? Because effectively that is what enabling transgenders to use their belief-gender’s facilities is doing, isn’t it?

  69. Not really, Ian. Before you can go into the girls toilets, you have to demonstrate a commitment to living as the other sex, and you have to go through a considerable amount of therapy and be diagnosed by a psychiatrist with gender dysphoria. That’s an awful lot of work when you could just go to watchingwomenpee.com

  70. In the spirit of the original post, I offer the following joke:

    What’s the best thing about beating up a transsexual? You get all the satisfaction of beating a woman with none of the guilt.

  71. Yes, but a diagnosis doesn’t actually solve our sex issue. A psychiatrist can confirm that a person has this medical condition, gender dysphoria. That doesn’t actually certify that he *is* a woman or that she *is* a man, merely that she or he believes that she or he is.

    Let’s consider a species dysphoria. A man may believe he is a wolf (I’ve seen some people claim this on furry message boards). A psychiatrist may confirm that this man really believes that he is a wolf. The man may even demonstrate a commitment by living in the woods like a wolf. He still wouldn’t actually be a wolf though, so it is hard to justify forcing everyone else to consider him an actual wolf. If somebody shot him, would it be murder, or merely be breaking the laws on hunting endangered species?

  72. Ian B – Is this a serious problem? I don’t think I’ve ever even met a tranny. They must be rarer than dogs that were mistakenly issued major credit cards. If the guy standing next to me at the urinals used to be called Susan, why would I care?

    I say we clamp down on the scrounging pooches who are ruining our economy with their free spending ways before we tackle the non-existent problem of deep-voiced women with huge hands dropping in for a pee in the ladies at their local ASDA.

  73. Or especially for Ms Bindel: I came out as a transsexual three months ago. Unfortunately nobody’s noticed yet, as I dress like a lesbian.

  74. Steve: Exactly.

    Ian: Presumably if he wanted to abandon his human rights and only accept lupine rights, that would be up to him. Again, gender is not binary. Sexual reproduction might be but when we talk about how people treat each other we’re not talking about that, we’re talking about socially constructed gender. Where you’re arguing from is that the gender role you follow is solely determined by the size of the gamete you produce. That’s simply not the case.

  75. Man walks into a…

    …’bookshop, and asks the woman behind the counter for the humour section.

    The woman looks him up and down with contempt, and replies “This is a Feminist bookshop; there is no humour section”.

    (Told to me by a laugh a minute feminist)

    However… Matthew L @ 4:27 wins! 🙂

  76. Along the same lines as Rev. Spooner’s comment, I seem to recall that Christina Hoff Sommers included a ‘joke’ in her book ‘Who Stole Feminism?’:

    Question: How many feminists does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
    Feminist answer: That’s not funny.

    🙂

  77. Matthew, again, gender is binary and not “socially constructed”. The way we act in gender roles is to some degree socially constructed, but that’s a different thing.

    The point here is not whether a person has the right to consider themself the sex other than the one they are. The question is whether *other people* (such as feminists with single gender spaces, or people sharing changing rooms) should be obligated to treat the person as the gender they consider themself to be.

    Because if they are, then why do we have single sex bathrooms, showers, etc? After all, presumably we have a “ladies loo” because the ladies don’t want to have men in there. But what you’re doing is demanding that those women treat a man as a woman, because he believes he is one. Do you have a right to impose that on them?

    And of course, if gender is really a socially constructed continuum, the whole of feminist theory becomes meaningless, because there is no “male” and “female” to divide into antagonistic exclusive classes. Which is rather similar to those who insist that there is no such thing as race, and then start talking about how one race oppresses the other. You can’t have it both ways; either these classes exist, or they don’t.

  78. Matthew, we’ll have to agree to disagree on the NHS funding specifically. You’re right, there are few cases, but my point is a more general one – you have to draw a line somewhere. I would draw it at “dying people are being denied funding”. I’d say the same about plastic surgery for confidence-boosting purposes, too, of course.

    No, I didn’t know that about rats and horses. Why is it?

    No, you couldn’t shoot a guy who thought he was a wolf, even if he consented to it. (Though how would you know he had?)

    Re gender/gametes, serious question: what is to stop me from claiming – as long as I walk the walk – that I am of a hitherto unknown fourth gender, moving between male, female and trans on an occasional basis, and that I require employment law, facilities and other allowances as a result?

    Steve, you’ve met trannies, you just didn’t know it.

    Rev Spooner wins!

  79. Rachel Miller – I saw another version of that one on the interwebs:

    Q: How many feminists does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

    A: How dare you? Lightbulbs are a tool of wicked patriarchal oppression of Womyn with their Gaia-raping phallocentric technology – it is no accident that the popular verb describing the installation of lightbulbs is *to screw*. Men hate the so-called darkness because it reminds them of the tenebrous life-giving embrace of the womb, and only Womyn have wombs, therefore lightbulbs are proof that men hate Womyn, you PIG!

  80. A Scotsman, and Irishman and and Englishman walk into a bar. What a classically patriarchal set-up, with all the main characters male. Are there no women in this joke? I suppose they’re all at home cleaning while the three men are out enjoying themselves.

  81. Interested – Note also the shameful lack of diversity in this situation. Why were none of them black, Welsh, ginger, and in a wheelchair? There is no mention of them checking their privilege, so was this some sort of supremacist, segregated bar 0r – even worse – a Wetherspoons?

  82. Ah Steve! You reveal yourself, you imperialist lackey! The Englishman was obviously black, the Scotsman obviously ginger and the Irishman obviously a cripply Goth.

    The Welshman was turned way for being under age, but he’s nipped home to get his driving licence.

    And it was a Cuban bar. Staffed by banging hot barmaids.

  83. So Much for Subtlety

    Matthew L – “And yet transgender people are willing to go through with it because they come out happier at the other end. Isn

  84. So Much for Subtlety

    Matthew L – “And yet transgender people are willing to go through with it because they come out happier at the other end. Isn-t that a pretty good bit of evidence that the problem is real and the treatment works?”

    No. Because they do not know how they are going to turn out until afterwards. What you mean is that they are *promised* that going through all this will make them happy.

    Now does that prove that the problem is real and the treatment works? No. It proves there is a problem that pushes some patients to an extreme. But it does not prove that we have even diagnosed it correctly or that we have found a treatment that works.

    Something like a third of transsexuals regret the operation. But there’s no going back. Nor do transsexuals turn out to be a happy bunch with or without the operation.

    So basically we are taking people with some serious issues and we are telling them that chopping off various bits will make them happy. Except all too often it does not. I think this is strong evidence that the problem may be real but we do not understand it.

    “I agree that gender dysphoria is arguably a mental illness, but fortunately it has a physical treatment. I say fortunately because mental illnesses without physical treatments are nigh impossible to cure.”

    But does it have a physical treatment that works? We have other cases where people think they were born with too many legs. The NHS will cut off the healthy but unwanted leg. But how does that actually treat the underlying condition? Whatever drives someone to hate their body is still driving them. It will just have to find some other expression.

    “I don-t understand what the problem is with believing transgender people. There’s no gain in it for them and plenty of physical and emotional cost.”

    Of course there is a gain for them – they get to project the source of their problems on to their genitals and then society as a whole rather than confront whatever it is that makes them so unhappy. Instead of seeking treatment, they can blame everyone else for the way they feel. Transphobia is just a good excuse.

    “You could argue that wanting it isn-t enough, but untreated transgender people have an appallingly high rate of self harm and suicide.”

    So do treated transgender people.

    “That-s not just a desire, it’s a genuine medical need and it should be treated like any other condition.”

    So anorexia should be treated by helping a patient starve themselves to death? When does self harm become so dangerous it is a mental health issue? Should we allow people to self harm on the NHS?

  85. 96 & 99
    Alternative version:
    Why does it take ten prementrual feminists to change a light bulb?

    BECAUSE IT JUST DOES, THAT’S WHY!

  86. Transsexualism is self-diagnosed, not diagnosed by a medical professional. Some years ago I spent a bit of face time with a clinical psychiatrist. Whilst chewing the fat on this subject (can’t recall how it came up. Honest) he opined that as many as fifty per cent of transsexuals subsequently regretted their reassignment surgery, but added that it would be career suicide more widely to disseminate this view.

    Separately, I’ve known at least one (well-known) transsexual and s/he was troubled and regretted the op sufficiently to wish to reverse it and sue the shrink who signed him up for it in the first place.

    Not sure I’d go so far as to say it’s not a condition (as distinct from mental illness), though, but suspect more are lured into it by aggressive marketing by gender ward heelers than would otherwise be the case.

  87. Transsexualism is self-diagnosed, not diagnosed by a medical professional.

    No, that’s wrong.

    but suspect more are lured into it by aggressive marketing by gender ward healers than would otherwise be the case.

    Can you point me to any of this aggressive marketing? Because that smells like total bullshit to me.

  88. So Much for Subtlety

    Matthew L – “No, that-s wrong.”

    It is not entirely wrong. Admittedly standards have got tougher over the years, more or less, with would-be transsexuals having to prove that they can and do live as the opposite gender for a while before they go under the knife, but that was not true in the early days.

    However, either way, we only have what the patient reports to go on when it comes to judging the patient-s state of mind.

    “Can you point me to any of this aggressive marketing? Because that smells like total bullshit to me.”

    Go to any medical clinic in the country. They have become a little bit Crusading. There is now virtually no other medical option for feeling bad about homosexual thoughts or feelings of body dysphoria except telling the patient to embrace the “real” him. Anything else is homophobia or transphobia.

    So you have people who may not be Gay and/or classed as transsexuals, who do not want to be Gay and/or classed as transsexuals, and the only medical option available today – to all intents and purposes – is to tell them to get over it and to embrace their new identity.

    Which clearly does not even try to grapple with their problems.

  89. Matthew, ‘Interested’ and ‘So Much For Subtlety’ asked you two fair questions : what about a fourth gender and what about anorexia? Any answers?

  90. Matthew L, that the condition is self-diagnosed is courtesy of the aforementioned clinical psychologist, whose authority I rely on. It’s not a point I’d considered before. He said it’s one of very few such conditions. I suppose it depends on your definition of ‘diagnosis’, though. Is it going to the quack, telling him you’re a woman trapped inside a man’s body and persisting in it for a year or two, or is it the point at which he agrees with you?

    As to the aggressive marketing, it’s just a sense I have. But the sheer numbers of Thai men falling into this category, by comparison with elsewhere, tends to suggest either very significant self-repression in other countries or that the phenomenon is unduly coaxed out of Thai men.

    I have no strong feelings on the subject either way. These are merely observations and impressions.

  91. James: I’d missed those, I’ll have a go. Just to clarify, my interest and knowledge of this subject is due to some very close friends who are transsexual, and thoroughly sick of ignorant bigots making their lives miserable.

    Re gender/gametes, serious question: what is to stop me from claiming – as long as I walk the walk – that I am of a hitherto unknown fourth gender, moving between male, female and trans on an occasional basis, and that I require employment law, facilities and other allowances as a result?

    Reasonable question, but the “hitherto unknown” bit would probably be the first hurdle. People who feel they have a physical gender which doesn’t match their “internal” gender have been documented through recorded history, so it’s not just a fad that’s popped up in the last 50 years or so.

    The main difference though is that your fourth gender doesn’t have an endpoint. Transsexuals have a defined goal – Bob were born with a penis but he has always felt like a woman, so his goal is to become Roberta. Once that’s achieved the condition is cured (or managed, depending on your perspective). Your gender would be like waking up every day and choosing whether to be male or female, correct? Transsexualism doesn’t work that way.

    Interestingly there are actually people who almost match your description, the intersexed. They don’t decide on a daily basis what gender to be though, they tend to stick to one or the other with a large degree of androgyny. If you see a very feminine looking man or a masculine woman, they may be intersexed and just “rounding up” to whatever gender they’re slightly closer to. Usually they’ll dress in gender neutral clothes and keep their genitals (which may be rather ambiguous) out of the public eye. Always using toilet stalls instead of urinals, that kind of thing.

    So anorexia should be treated by helping a patient starve themselves to death? When does self harm become so dangerous it is a mental health issue? Should we allow people to self harm on the NHS?

    That’s a far more ridiculous question. The end goal of an anorexic is always “thinner than I am today”. The end point of that is death and so it’s treated like any other suicidal ideation.

  92. So Much For Subtlety

    Matthew L – “and thoroughly sick of ignorant bigots making their lives miserable.”

    You are falling for the emotionally manipulative myth-making of the trans lobby. How do you know that it is the ignorant bigots making their lives miserable and not, you know, the fact that they are miserable? It looks to me that people who are deeply unhappy for a variety of internal reasons would get a lot of satisfaction out of blaming somethinf exterior like their genitals or everyone else. Does not make it true.

    “People who feel they have a physical gender which doesn-t match their [internal] gender have been documented through recorded history, so it-s not just a fad that-s popped up in the last 50 years or so.”

    I am not entirely convinced that is true. I think that a lot of trans-lobbyists are claiming other people-s experience as a trans experience when it may or may not be.

    “Once that’s achieved the condition is cured (or managed, depending on your perspective).”

    But are they cured? A lot of trans are deeply unhappy and have some serious problems. Which they, of course, blame everyone else for. But take someone like David Burgess – one of Britain-s best human rights lawyers who had the operation and took up prostitution before being pushed in front of a train. In what sense was he cured of anything?

    “That-s a far more ridiculous question. The end goal of an anorexic is always [thinner than I am today]. The end point of that is death and so it-s treated like any other suicidal ideation.”

    No it is not. You are simply avoiding the issue. The end point for the annie is not death. That is a likely consequence of what they are doing, but it is not what they are doing it for. The end point is control presumaby. Bearing in mind that something like half of all Gay people will get and die of AIDS despite all the health warnings, I am not sure that is a road you want to go down.

    They see themselves as fat no matter how thin they are. How is it right or justified to treat that state of mind – not that we can all that well – rather than embracing them for what they are?

  93. Regarding the issue of ‘trans’ people – it’s not something that I personally understand, since I can’t imagine being anything other than female.

    But I do know three people who have had sex-change operations, and in each case they are clearly much happier and more at peace in their own lives. I’m sure that if you asked any of them, they wouldn’t say that it had solved all their problems, but it certainly helped them.

  94. SMFS: I guess we can add AIDS statistics and anorexia to the list of things you are willfully ignorant about.

  95. Something like a third of transsexuals regret the operation.

    Nothing like a third. Maybe one in twenty.

    something like half of all Gay people will get and die of AIDS despite all the health warnings

    Nothing like half. About 500 HIV-positive people die each year in the UK: about 200 of them are male homosexuals. There are various estimates of the number of gay men in Britain, but 1 million would be plausible.

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