Feminism

Is this a rathole we want to try and go down?

Understanding gender identities and personal pronouns?

The musician and poet formerly named Kate Tempest has changed their name to Kae Tempest, and announced they are non-binary.

No, me neither. But let us progress:

In an interview with Notion in August 2019, they discussed their queer identity: “It took me a long time to be able to stand with my own queerness and where I sit on the gender spectrum.

Hmm.

So, queerness – where it doesn’t mean odd – means same sex attraction. If you’ve just declared that you are non-binary you cannot have same sex attraction. Well, presumably. For to do so would require identifying as the sex one is attracted to, no? Or would this mean that one is only attracted to other non-binaries?

So, can you be both non-binary and queer? And if so are peeps being logically serious or just playing around with words?

A slightly unkind thought

In their collective resignation, submitted last month, the seven signatorieswrote: “Nobel Women’s Initiative, in our view, requires profound organisational reforms – based on transparency, equity, inclusivity and a commitment to uproot embedded patriarchal practices – in order to fully uphold its values.”

They said the decision to resign followed several attempts to raise their concerns. “Failure to prioritise and address our concerns in a transparent and inclusive manner, and attempts to devalue and diminish our voices, led to our collective resignation. We speak out today to protect future staff and women activists.”

A wimmin’s organisation run by and for wimmins. And all the concerns seem to be about how the organisation is organised, not very much concerning what the organisation does.

It’s not exactly shattering the stereotype that it’s the men who get things done, actually advance society.

Not good but OK, it’s a fact we have to deal with

Female doctors going through the menopause are reducing their hours, moving to lower-paid roles or retiring early from medicine due to sexism and ageism in surgeries and hospitals, research has found.

This is going to cause problems:

The findings will concern the nine out of 10 hospital bosses in England who fear understaffing across the service has become so severe that patients’ health could be damaged: there are currently more than 30,000 female doctors aged 45-55, when menopause typically occurs. This number will rise significantly as the new cohort of medical students progress, almost 60% of whom are female.

So our all seeing, all knowing, perfect planner that is the state is increasing the numbers of doctors being trained then, is it? To take care of this known problem, just as it did with greater part time working and career breaks among the increasingly female workforce?

Like it did ‘eck.

As ever the best argument against state planning is the planning the state has donoe.

We’re surprised, right?

Sexual abuse and violence are rife within French figure skating amid a culture of secrecy that has allowed generations of coaches to prey on their protégés, a government report has concluded.

The report, published yesterday by the sports ministry, said that a government inspectorate had gathered allegations concerning 21 coaches suspected of offences ranging from sexual assaults to physical and verbal violence.

Take hugely ambitious female teenagers, mix with older men with power over them.

This is not to comment on what should happen, nor what we’d like to be happening, it is though to note what is likely to happen.

Language, language

When an interview with the woman appeared in The Times on July 27, friends of Mr Spencer told the newspaper she had not mentioned the allegations of sexual assault.
She reacted angrily to the suggestion, telling friends at the time that she had reported allegations of “sexual abuse” to him.

They’re not the same thing, are they? Assault – an heinous crime – and abuse – well, what is the definition of that?

She said: “He never suggested I should go to the police. In fact I asked him when he would withdraw the whip, he first said when he had a police report, then changed it to a charge, then he said ultimately he’d need a conviction.

Eh? She wanted the whip withdrawn – ie, end his career – of an ex-minister on her word alone and without having even reported it to police? Rather Star Chamber isn’t it?

And yet sex goes on

Police officers are killing Black people, Covid-19 is killing all people, and poverty and unemployment are reaching giddy heights around the world. Communities and victims’ families are asking us to amplify photos of Black people who’ve died in custody such as Tanya Day, David Dungay and George Floyd. And a local campaign to raise the age of criminal responsibility from 10 to 14 is encouraging people to post childhood pics of themselves and sign a petition so Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander kids stop being sent to prison at alarming rates.

Terrible things are happening out there. We get you.

So it was with incredulity that this Tuesday past I watched as a rapidly increasing number of women on my Instagram feed posted beautiful photos of themselves. Of course, hot selfies are the bricks upon which the house of Instagram is built, so this alone wouldn’t have piqued my interest.

But these were different. These stood out. They were all black and white, they were all aggressively artful and they almost universally opened with #ChallengeAccepted. Each woman acknowledged having been “challenged” by another woman and subsequently nominated 10 more. Most praised “strong women”, exalted empowerment and ended with #WomenSupportingWomen.

These weren’t just random selfies. This was a movement. But for what?

While the intention seems pure and intellectually feminist-lite, there was, at first at least, no groundbreaking or even mildly new point being made. The overarching message seemed simply to be that women are beautiful and wonderful and we should help each other out. But as an awareness campaign, it seemed futile at best. We’re already aware.

Hmm. Our lassie seems not to have met many actual humans. Nor quite understood what drives them. Which is, as with all other animals, to have grandchildren. Which means making the most of whatever assets one has to gain and keep a mate to have them with and to aid in raising them. That’s actually the base game of the species.

This, often enough, going into hyperdrive the worse the surrounding environment is.

‘E was right you know, eppur si muove but it’s sex that makes the world go ’round.

Amazing

Working mothers in particular are bearing the brunt. Centuries of structural social convention have ensured the tasks of childcare and homeschooling are more likely to fall on their shoulders,

The genetics of a sexually dimorphic, mammalian, species having nothing to do with it then?

Welcome to the marketplace luv

‘I cannot be silent’: exposing the racial pay gap among influencers
The disparity between the fees paid to black influencers and their white counterparts has come under scrutiny after a group of campaigners spoke out

Different people are worth different amounts of money. I get paid less than Victoria Coren. I’d get paid less than her even if we wrote at the same length for the same newspaper on the same day.

That’s just how it works. Possibly more alarmingly I get paid than Julie Bindel (at least I think I do) or Afua Hirsch and that’s also just how it works. I get paid what editors value me at just like everyone else in the same game.

OK, so I’m guessing here

In the weeks running up to my wedding, three years ago, I often found myself asking: what is the secret to a successful marriage? I did this, perhaps impertinently, even with strangers; and it was a stranger, on the Northern line, who gave me the answer that has stayed with me the longest: “Tolerance.” The friend I was with confessed afterwards that she had found this rather unromantic, but what the much older gentleman and his wife (who looked to be in their late 80s or early 90s) had said resonated with me. To tolerate is not to be a doormat, but to accept that the other person may not have the same outlook that you do, and that your behaviour and opinions may diverge. It is to be magnanimous, rather than seek to punish independence of thought.

I’d say that Rhiannon’s had a bit of a tiff. Possibly even – as the old phrase goes – that she’s farted in front of him for the first time and the honeymoon’s over.

Err, yes?

Stories abound of HR departments working much harder to protect companies than the well-being of employees,

The power skirts work for the company. So, who should they be protecting? You know, they’re not a labour union being paid for by the workers, are they?

Journalist doesn’t understand what “editorial line” means

And I care very much that multiple national newspapers won’t run stories about trans people if those stories conflict with the “narrative” they push in their pages.

Other stories we won’t find:

“This capitalism is a bit of all right” – The Guardian.

“Marx, the prophet of our age” – The Telegraph

“Immigrants push up house prices and cure cancer” – Daily Mail.

“Look at the flat chest on this!” – The Sun

I do find it astonishing that someone can be a successful – and career – journalist and not grasp the idea of “editorial line” in a newspaper.

What screaming gobshite is this?

The equivalent for me is “What rights don’t trans people have?” The text seems like a perfectly reasonable question but online, it is very rarely asked in good faith.

In this case, the context is that in almost every case the questioner knows exactly which rights trans people don’t have (the right to healthcare, the right to family life, the right to a private life, the right to protection from discrimination and violence, etc) but doesn’t care.

The NHS won’t treat a broken leg if there’s a ballsack underneath the dress? Anyone – other than perhaps his ex-wife – taken away Gary’s kids because summat? Punching Jack Monroe carries – righteously – the same punishment as punching someone as obviously cis and het as Teresa May. And as for the private life bit we’re all rather hoping for a bit more of it from xes.

Indeed and quite so

Freshly single, I started identifying as solo poly. Solo polyamorous people have no boyfriends, no wives or open marriages; no primary or secondary partners. Instead of using labels, the needs, rules and responsibilities of the relationship are agreed with each partner you have.

To sum that up, basically, my relationship status is almost always: I’m seeing people, but I’m also single. The people I’m seeing know this. I’m also bisexual and date people across the gender spectrum. Alternative relationships have been around for forever.

There’s a line in a movie. I want to say it’s Judy Dench saying it but not sure. But that sort of stout – in character – and mature woman she plays so well.

“In my day we called that fucking around”.

Very little new about it.

An interesting complaint

The body positivity movement has taken over social media and forced the diet industry to reinvent itself.

Its mainstream success has lead to more diversity in the beauty and fashion industries, but not all feel included.

Enam, Kayela, Lyza, Nyome and Vanessa are plus-sized models and active members of the online body positivity community, who say they have experienced exclusion and unequal pay.

They feel the movement fails to represent fat, black women. The BBC’s Lorna Acquah reports.

Depends how you define equal pay I suppose. They’re certainly going to be unequal if it’s calculated by the pound of model.

Interesting

Long before becoming pregnant, Kori Doty knew exactly how they were going to raise their child.

When Doty was born in the picturesque seaside city of Victoria, British Columbia, in the 1980s, a doctor assigned them as female, but the label didn’t fit. “When I was born, a guess was made [about my gender] because nobody knew better than to do that. And that guess was incorrect,” says Doty, who now identifies as non-binary trans – meaning they are neither a man nor a woman, and that their identity does not correspond with their birth sex. “It caused some amount of complication, upset and harm in my life.”

So when Doty gave birth in November 2016, they were determined not to repeat the mistakes of the past.

Given that giving birth bit I think we can make a guess as to the sex of this individual. Their gender is whatever they wish of course.

Well, yes, I suppose so

I can understand why. As trans and gender diversity has become a regular topic of public debate and a favoured target of rightwing attacks, feminist critics have joined the fray.

That has put trans and feminist activists on a seemingly unrelenting path of mutual antagonism. Trans rights have been pitted against sex-based rights for “real” women, with conflict forever spiralling into charge and countercharge of hate speech and silencing, and into bitter social media wars.

Frustratingly, this conflict has become the dominant media story of trans and feminism, especially in a viciously divided UK.

Actually, the UK isn’t divided upon this at all. Among the 65 million the modal reaction is if you want to wear a frock laddie then that’s your right, working the other way it’s possibly a bit odd to want your tits cut off but if you really say so then no skin off my nose, is it?

The UK, in the way that life is lived on the ground, has long been an astonishingly liberal place that is. Perhaps not publicly and in pride and celebration but incidences of the tweed wearing, pipe smoking, chapess and her friend being chased by the mob are alarmingly thin on the ground.The same has been true of the LG bits too – Oscar Wilde’s problem was trying to make a libel issue of it, before that the last dobbed in for being different was when, 1840s? The street and the horses comment resonates down the century simply because it has long been the national attitude.

Not quite the current story I know but still.

The thing actually being talked about in The Guardian is the conversation in academia. Which, as we all know given that the importance is so small, is vicious. Add to that the well known female propensity for calm, rational discussion entirely free from any emotional overtones and we’ve managed to entirely describe what is happening.

The UK simply isn’t divided upon this and hasn’t been for many a generation. The little enders and the big enders, that’s another story, but who cares about them?

A fairly shocking ignorance of human beings

You cannot talk somebody into being trans any more than you can talk them into being gay.

It’s possible to talk most people into many things and some people into anything.

They managed to talk hundreds of thousands into manning the gas ovens. You think a few confused teenagers can’t be talked into something?

And then, years later, it may involve transition, a process with an exceptionally high success rate and a very low regret rate.

Citation required.

As the journalist Katelyn Burns put it, JK Rowling’s message to trans teens is simple.

Your body. My choice.

Well, yes. You’ve heard of this thing called the age of consent? That’s what that is isn’t it?

Anyway, the problem over conversion therapy isn’t as is being described. Sure, just as with the wilder excesses of exorcism, there are nutters out there doing it. But the claim is to ban all types and forms of conversion therapy. Including the folks asking “You really sure about this?” etc.

Well, yes…..

We know – and the government knows – that LGBT+ people suffer disproportionately from mental health issues

This is true.

The important thing is to work out why this is so?

due to multiple factors: discrimination, lack of family support, long waiting lists for essential treatment, social isolation and so on.

Well, yes, that’s also undoubtedly true. But possibly not the whole story. After all we do insist that some forms of body dysmorphia are mental health issues in themselves, do we not?