Over elsewhere

I get taken to task about Bangladeshi clothing factories:

Progressives are generally horrified at the notion that people are becoming wealthier and can be quite open that they want it stopped. What’s baffling is how they draw votes.

3 hours ago
Reply to TD
It’s not people getting richer that we have an issue with, it’s people getting richer at the expense of others (usually in the Global South). Fast-fashion garment workers (predominantly women) work in terrible conditions so that we can afford that £3.75 dress, so yes, we’re going to ‘whine’ about it.

Tim Worstall
Tim Worstall
3 hours ago
Reply to EAP
Fast fashion jobs are vastly better than those on offer to the same people, in the same place, but not in fast fashion. Producing what people want to buy is also the way that places get rich. Which is why fast fashion is a good idea – both reasons.

3 hours ago
Reply to Tim Worstall
Do I need to remind you of the Rana Plaza disaster or are you just blindly ignoring those kind of events? Factories still have inadequate fire safety standards, among other issues. Just because they could be treated worse in other industries, that does not make it humane to allow them to work in the current conditions. The way you are clearly separating yourself from human beings that are being treated horrendously in garment factories is very telling of the patriarchal capitalist system we currently live in.

Tim Worstall
Tim Worstall
1 hour ago
Reply to EAP
I do know of Rana Plaza. I know more than that too. The money from my weekly column in a Bangladeshi newspaper goes through the hands of one of the guys who is one of the new, since Rana, factory inspectors. Through his hands and into a charity that provides hot food to street children and the like. I’ve even checked up with economists who study the issue. The factory jobs are indeed better than the alternatives to those workers. One person in one of these jobs improves the lifestyle of the whole family, increases both the nutrition and schooling of the children. I’ve even, if you can believe it, been out there and had one on one discussions with such economists.

Those clothing factories are beneficial to the lifestyles of those who work in them. Their lives would be worse if they did not exist. As they were worse before they did.

I support industrial revolutions because it is the only way, ever, that anyone has found to increase the living standards of the average person. This is what did it for us, here, in the 1800s. It’s happening now out there in the still poor countries. It’s absolutely damn marvellous that is too. It’s why absolute poverty has fallen from 40% of all humans to under 10% in only 40 years – the biggest reduction in poverty in the history of our species.

Far from “blindly ignoring” things I actually know rather a lot about them. And you?

Actually, no, they don’t

All women have a right to have their identity and experiences respected.

As with everyone else in the absence of third party harm a liberal polity means they have a right to their identity and experiences being tolerated.

Respected means we have to do something about it, tolerated means we must do nothing about it. The demand and the right is that we don’t stop it, nothing more.

Choices in life, choices

Laura Hancock started practising yoga when she worked for a charity. It was a job that involved long hours and caused a lot of anxiety. Yoga was her counterbalance. “It saved my life, in a way,” she says.

Yoga brought her a sense of peace and started her journey of self-inquiry; eventually, she decided to bring those benefits to others by becoming a yoga teacher. She studied for more than eight years before qualifying. That was about 10 years ago; since then, she has been teaching in Oxford, her home town.

At first, the work felt like a privilege, even though she was working a lot and not earning much. “There was a sense that, if you gave it your all and you did it with integrity and love and all those things, then it would eventually work out for you.”

But recently she had a moment of realisation. “I can’t afford my rent, I have no savings, I have no partner, I have no family. I’m 38 and most of my friends have families; they’re buying houses,” she says. “There is a lot of grief around that. I feel like I’ve just landed on Earth, like a hard crash on to the ground, and am looking around and feeling quite lonely.”

Oh well, perhaps yoga teaching wasn’t quite the thing then love.

Or possibly, the sort of people who go to yoga classes – bored haute bourgeois houswives – aren’t willing to pay the servants properly. That has been a regular complaint about British life for a long time now……..

The rest of the piece seems to be about how women don’t find peace and happiness in their careers so much, but would welcome relationships and children.

Hmm, yes?

Now isn’t this a hell of a surprise?

In California, after a bill was passed in July 2020 that authorized inmates to be housed according to gender identity and not biological sex, despite their status as regards sex reassignment surgery, more than 260 inmates have requested a transfer since the beginning of the year when the law took effect.

So, you’re doing life – say, just as an example. Stick on some lippy and get into the women’s prison. Well, wouldn’t you?

There’s a – terrible – amusement at how conservative the trans crowd are

Despite a complex history of trauma, she claims not one clinician or youth worker sought to challenge her self-perception as male. Thanks to the woke posturing of children’s charities, it seems today that young people like Bell are increasingly caught in the cross-fire of the culture wars.

She explains: “There was nowhere to find support that didn’t affirm the delusion of being in the ‘wrong body’. No-one told me it was okay to be a girl who didn’t like stereotypically ‘girly’ things or that I was no less female because I am same-sex attracted.”

After beginning puberty-blocking treatment at 16, continuing onto cross-sex hormones at 17 and undergoing the removal of her healthy breasts at 20, Bell began to question her decision.

Today, she feels bitterly let down by the professionals that should have been there to support her. Now in a loving relationship with another woman, Bell believes she effectively went through a form of state-sanctioned gay conversion therapy.

The argument – at times perhaps – really does seem to be come that if you prefer Action Man and titties then you must be a man. Instead of being simply part of that rich, liberal, variance of life that makes the world so interesting.

When Iran says that gays must be hanged but gays with their cocks cut off can screw as many men as they want (well, possibly only inside marriage but still) we call them hopelessly conservative.

Why is it that Mermaids are considered liberal?

A spam amusement

A recent spam attempt was to get a link to a sildenafil site onto a post about feminist economics.

Which does have a whiff of good economics to it. After all, who is the consumer and who benefits from the production or use of something? Interesting economic questions…..

The smallest new housing in Europe

One effect of us building the smallest new housing in Europe is that there are no rooms that enable privacy.

Me and my ‘she shed’: women on the joys of their garden retreats

Now wrong with that. It’s just that we used to have another phrase to describe that private space.

Sewing rooms.

Now that the haute bourgeois have insisted that the proles live in rabbit hutches there’s no room in the house for them any more. Thus sheds.

Well, no, not really

Rachael Blackmore’s victory ends any debate about relevance of a jockey’s gender
Thanks to Blackmore, whether male or female, from now on riders will surely be referred to simply as jockeys

The package of weight versus strength does still vary between men and women. For any given weight we’d expect – expect, human variation can be rather large – a man to have greater strength. Depending upon how important that weight versus strength is in a jockey we might even find women becoming pre-eminent in the sport. Or this might remain as an example of that interesting variation across the population.

We don’t know as yet. It’s going to be interesting finding out, isn’t it?

Gender affirming treatment

Arkansas has become the first state to ban gender-affirming treatments and surgery for transgender youth, after lawmakers overrode the governor’s objections to enact the ban on Tuesday.

The state’s governor, Asa Hutchinson, had vetoed the bill on Monday following pleas from pediatricians, social workers and the parents of trans youth who said the measure would harm a community already at risk for depression and suicide. The ban was opposed by several medical and child welfare groups, including the American Academy of Pediatrics.

However the Republican-controlled house and senate voted to override Hutchinson’s veto.

The ban prohibits doctors from providing gender-affirming hormone treatment, puberty blockers or surgery to anyone under 18 years old, or from referring them to other providers for the treatment. The treatments are part of a gradual process that can vastly improve young people’s mental health, and can be life-saving, experts say.

Opponents of the measure have vowed to sue to block the ban before it takes effect this summer.

“This legislation perpetuates the very things we know are harmful to trans youth,” said Dr Robert Garofalo, the division head of adolescent and young adult medicine at Lurie Children’s hospital in Chicago, speaking on a press conference call held by the Human Rights Campaign. “They’re not just anti-trans. They’re anti-science. They’re anti-public health.”

So the law bans cutting the knockers off children. There are people opposing this idea.

What consenting adults get up to, absent third party harm, is up to consenting adults. A child is, by definition, not a consenting adult.

For example, in Arkansas, a 17 year old may not rent out their genitals for the sexual pleasure of another. But the argument is that they should be allowed to surgically modify them?

Don’t see it myself…..

Priyamvada, Dr. Gopal, really is the one, isn’t she?

This is the same Dr. Gopal who:

A Cambridge University academic has claimed she was subject to racist treatment from King’s College porters.

Priyamvada Gopal said she would stop tutoring students at the institution in protest of being subject to “consistently racist profiling and aggression by porters” at the college over the years.

“Hundreds of stories abound over the years … If you can’t be polite to me at the gate, I can’t do any work for you,” the 50-year-old tweeted.

The academic, who teaches in the Faculty of English at Cambridge, said she had repeatedly asked the porters to address her as “Dr Gopal” instead of “madam” in an incident which took place on Monday.

I believe Dr. Goebbels was a stroppy little shit too.

Umm, yes

Others who don’t particularly care about trans lives include many right-wing pundits, smugly making easy, hacky jokes about trans women looking like big, scary men in dresses.

That’s from Emily van der Werff.

The logic does come out as a bit of a stretch too:

The Arkansas bill specifically ties “gender” to reproductive organs. That move effectively defines “womanhood” as an ability to bear children, which is so self-evidently a hop, skip, and jump away from an attack on abortion rights that it should give anyone in support of those rights serious pause.


But even more egregious is the bill’s privileging of reproductive capacity

Not cutting your knockers/knockers off is a privileging of reproductive capacity?

Much of the opposition to trans people — or even the unstated icky feelings that many cis people have about us — originates in the feelings of cis parents who are trying to halt their trans kids’ transitions or the idea that a trans person might someday regret their transition and wish they could take it back.

It is worth exploring the sadness of cis parents and especially the depth of feeling some detransitioners have. But the humans whose lives will be most affected should be the priority here….

These humans whose feelings must be prioritised here being Emily. Rather than parents, or those who end up desiring to detransition and so on.

But I am a relatively affluent white woman who transitioned as an adult, and I have a media platform, and I’m not going to stop talking about it.

It’s possible to wonder how long that platform is going to last of course – also, to ponder why Matt Yglesias decided to leave that very same platform.

Well, yes, obviously

Sex and gender are not synonymous, the authors wrote. While sex relates to biology: the chromosomes, hormones, and reproductive organs, gender relates to societal roles, behaviours and expectations.

When you’re doing medicine this is rather important, to note and record the difference.

Depending upon how radical the chopping the trans female may need prostate exams as the trans male does not. So too the cervix and the trans male but not the trans female.

As the doctors go on to point out, gender also matters because gendered behaviour does indeed extend to things like going to the doctors and also doing what they tell you to.

The way we know society has gone mad is that any of this is in the slightest bit controversial.

The Royal College of GPs already recommends that sex and gender are recorded separately in medical records, but standard NHS systems do not allow for this, the authors argued.


Trans kids are not new apparently

We have proof!

I found handwritten letters from trans kids to a famous endocrinologist, Harry Benjamin, who was known for providing trans healthcare. In the 60s and 70s, they would say, ‘I’m X years old. I’m a transsexual. I read about that in the news’ or ‘I looked up your work at a library, and it describes who I am’. They were from all over the country and they would ask if Dr Benjamin could see them, send them hormones, give them a permit to wear the clothes they wanted, talk to their family or teacher. It was young kids knowing really clearly that they were trans and going toe-to-toe with medical professionals. Suddenly, I had not only proof that kids were trans, but that they contacted doctors and tried to transition the best they could. It speaks to the remarkable ingenuity and resilience that trans young people have had for a really long time. And it’s pretty unimpeachable evidence that this is not a new social phenomenon. It’s not some trendy thing that kids are picking up now.

Fallacy of composition.

That there were some is not proof that all now are.

But then what logical standards would we expect from this source?

Jules Gill-Peterson is Associate Professor of English and Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies at the University of Pittsburgh.

Umm, yes, well…..

The male officer also had a relationship and moved in with Kate, who over three years claims that she was also raped and assaulted, including being “beaten up in my car” while it was parked on police premises.

“He started abusing me after four months of being together,” she said. “It progressed and progressed… he tried to kill me. He threw me against a chest of drawers in the bedroom.”

What the hell were you doing with him for 2 years and 8 months then?

Exit, as we say about countries, tax systems and the rest, is one of the great freedoms……

You might want to rethink this

One of the reasons I write so much here is because I wish someone had written for me when I didn’t know who I was. Today I learned the phrase “possibility model”: it’s somebody whose visibility tells you that there are other people like you, that being like you is perfectly normal.

That’s treading desperately close to the – widely opposed – idea that teenagers wanting to be trans is a result of fashion, seeing other people doing it…….”peer contagion” anyone?

Yes, I know the day

But there’s the possibility this is being serious:

Registering a newborn’s gender/sex on the birth certificate is usually seen as a mere formality that reflects a natural state of affairs. This article, however, shows that the registration of gender/sex does something else than record naturally given sex differences in bodies; it actually produces and shapes bodies to develop in a way conformant with understandings of sexual dimorphism. Sexed bodies are therefore not pre-discursive and static objects, but they are constantly in the process of becoming, influenced by socio-legal procedures, including gender/sex registration. By analysing the effects of registering the legal gender/sex on birth certificates and the change of gender markers thereof in various jurisdictions, in particular Australian states and territories, the article aims to show how bodies of intersex as well as endosex cis and trans persons are made into what they are expected to be: sexually dimorphic. It concludes that legally assigning a gender/sex has intrinsically violent effects on bodies, something that could be avoided by eliminating the public registration of gender/sex.

No Love

Official figures tell the story: on average, about 1,060 women report a rape to the police in England and Wales each week. Only 40 of those rapes will lead to a prosecution, and about 27 will end in a conviction. More than 1,000 men a week are getting away with rape, in other words,

Not all reports of rapes are in fact rapes.

It might not be wholly and exactly as alleged

It’s Trans Day of Visibility tomorrow, a day to celebrate trans people and raise awareness of the discrimination we face.

This year’s TDOV takes place in a terrifying climate. In the US, states have banned trans healthcare for teens

Which might also be described as insisting that teenagers not be medicalised into lifetime infertility.

That’s not hyperbole. They don’t want schools to admit that trans people exist, or to protect trans kids from bullying, or to let trans kids play sports.

Which is hyperbole. No one at all has said, or even implied, that trans kids should or may not play sports. The only discussion is with whom?

Well, if you redefine violence then you can prove that anything is violent

Change the meaning of words and you can indeed prove anything you want to:

The passing of the “global gag rule” effectively launched the Trump presidency. (It was scrapped by Joe Biden soon after his inauguaration a few weeks ago.) The ruling meant an increase in deaths by illegal abortion for thousands of women throughout the developing world. Its effects have been as cruel as they are precise. No non-governmental organisation (NGO) in receipt of US funds could henceforth accept non-US support, or lobby governments across the world, on behalf of the right to abortion. A run of abortion bans followed in conservative Republican-held US states. In November 2019, Ohio introduced to the state legislature a bill which included the requirement that in cases of ectopic pregnancy, doctors must reimplant the embryo into the woman’s uterus or face a charge of “abortion murder”. (Ectopic pregnancy can be fatal to the mother and no such procedure exists in medical science.)

At a talk in London in June 2019, Kate Gilmore, the UN deputy commissioner for human rights, described US policy on abortion as a form of extremist hate that amounts to the torture of women. “We have not called it out in the same way we have other forms of extremist hate,” she stated, “but this is gender-based violence against women, no question.”

It could be all sorts of things. An advance in civil liberties in that it saves some children from being killed. A reverse in civil liberties in that it fails to enables the killing of some children. Could be a good idea, could be a bad one.

But what it’s not is violence against women.

The reason that it’s said that it is is that we’ve a long running and very deep societal response to violence against women. Probably, in fact, innate in the dimorphic nature of the species. So, call to that by invoking violence for things which are not in fact violence.

It’s good rhetoric but like so much of that it’s not in fact true.

Being anti-abortion may or may not be a good thing. Government not spending upon advancing abortion rights may be a good or a bad thing. But neither are violence.

Difficult to be a Guardian columnist these days

Progress can often be its own worst enemy. After a month in which the nation’s attention was diverted towards the inadequate understanding of the dangers women face from sexual predators, a new survey by King’s College London on perceptions of inequality reveals that the UK is exceptional among similar nations in its attitudes towards gender inequality.

In short, the British seem to have relegated gender inequality to the consigned-to-the-past category, with only 23% of those surveyed considering it a top concern.

Well, yes, perhaps because it might even be true. Britain is, as with much of Northern Europe, one of the most gender equal countries that ever existed. Might even be worth expending our efforts on some other problem as a result.

The people this poses a problem for are Guardian columnists. How to keep filling that page each week with whines?

In general, the King’s College report observed, British people were “much less likely to pick out inequality between men and women as a serious problem compared with other countries”; and countries that ranked higher than the UK in terms of gender equality still recorded higher levels of concern about gender issues. The link between Britain’s perception of itself in this regard and reality is seemingly as broken as it is in Saudi Arabia. We are much closer than we would like to think to countries where until recently women couldn’t drive. If we continue to congratulate ourselves on how far we have come, we can guarantee not only that progress will stall, but that ultimately it will be reversed.

Well, just keep whining, obviously.