Following the debacle over the Scottish gender self-identification bill there appears to be a campaign, organised by some the of the less self critical strands of feminism, to blame the problem on men. This ignores the fact that there are more biological females transitioning to male, than males heading in the opposite direction. It also ignores the fact that the philosophical underpinnings of trans culture are feminist. Janice Fiamengo has covered this issue better than I ever could in her sub stack post Anti-trans Feminists Are Now Reaping the Whirlwind.
I think, at some level at least, feminists know they sowed the wind and that is why they are trying so hard to pin the blame on men. However, that attempt is looking less and less convincing.
Take, for example, the motion in the UK parliament to block the Scottish bill that would allow gender self-identification. When the debate became a little rowdy all attention was focused on the histrionic performance of Labour MP, Lloyd Russell Moyle. It was over the top, it didn’t seem remotely threatening to to me. Indeed, it looked both comical and pathetic.
What commentators failed to pick up on was that 6 of the 11 Labour MPs who voted against blocking the gender self-identification bill were female – Nadia Whittome, for example. Not only that, but a number of normally vocal feminists were very quiet during the debate. Jess Phillips, for example, was unusually silent. Then again, perhaps she was hoping her past record on this issue would go unnoticed. Jess has sat happily on the fence and said that trans-women aren’t actually female but should be treated as women. As point of view that encapsulates the worst aspects of the arguments proffered by both sides. That would leave a man who identifies as woman free to serve time in a women’s jail. For more on Jess’s ideological contortions, see this this article from The Spectator here.
The real political progenitors of the debacle were the Scottish National Party (SNP), led by Nicola Sturgeon. Many of the most vocal supporters of gender self-ID in the Scottish parliament debates were female (for example Maggie Chapman of the Green Party) in spite of the law change potentially allowing a convicted rapist to identify as female and serve time in a women’s prison. Notwithstanding this problem, feminist blogger Susan Dalgetty looked around for a man to blame and landed on activist Tim Hopkins see here. There are lots of activists out there, some male and some female. It was predictable that she would land on a male activist as the root cause of the problem. A more convincing root cause, to somebody less parochial than Susan Dalgetty, would be University of California philosopher and writer on gender, Judith Butler; who gets column inches in that well known Lad’s Mag, the Guardian. According to Judith Butler both sex and gender are performative and in turn that leaves people free to perform as any gender the choose regardless of biological sex. Ultimately, however, the SNP only has it self to blame, not some obscure male activist. Politicians can’t say Tim Hopkins ‘made me do it.’ The SNP, led by Nicola Sturgeon, chose to ignore public opinion and followed a philosophy with some very strange roots.
Similarly on Twitter, the target of feminist ire was Guardian columnist Owen Jones. I am not a fan of Owen’s writing, but you might have thought he had single handedly pushed the belief that trans-women are women and argued for self ID. Except that he didn’t. That was the position of the paper he writes for and that rag is edited by Katherine Viner. Shouldn’t she also have been ‘in the frame’? Furthermore, the Guardian gives column inches to Judith Butler. She is arguably the most influential of the proponents for self identification and the belief that trans-women are women. Judith has even compared resistance to her extreme views to fascism. None of this matters to former Guardian Columnist, Suzanne Moore, who egged on by other feminists such as Helen Joyce, claimed she had ‘radioactive cojones’ and Owen should debate with her. There were numerous supporting Tweets from feminists, with disparaging remarks about Owen Jones’s tackle.
Predictably, a number of twitter feminists such as EJ Rosetta even managed to blame that mythical thing, ‘the patriarchy’ – that all encompassing explanation for all bad things in society.
Sometimes, even my cynicism struggles to keep up with feminists.
- Although I am a sceptic when is comes to matters of gender self-ID, trans-men are men and trans-women are women, I do believe that those who choose not to live their lives according to their biological sex should be treated with respect and should be free from hate and violence.