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"Nasty Idiotic Tripe": Stand Against Julie Burchill's Years Of Transphobia
John Tatlock , January 14th, 2013 13:47

Why are we surprised at Burchill's bigotry, asks John Tatlock, after all, she's been venting poison about trans people for well over a decade

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I like to read The Observer on Sundays. This is because I wake up most Sundays feeling like I’ve been hollowed out by an amateur taxidermist and filled with cyanide. So a bit of a read about soft furnishings, pan-fried squid, and No Nasty Suprises Thank You is generally the ticket, and on this front it certainly does deliver.

So I was somewhat nonplussed to encounter the latest episode of an increasingly unpleasant assault on trans people issuing from the nation’s supposedly liberal media.

The furore sparked by a recent piece by Suzanne Moore – a writer who I previously held in some regard – and fanned into flame by a piece from Julie Burchill – a writer – blazes on.

It all started with a really rather good Moore article published in the Waterstones Red anthology and republished by the New Statesman last week. An argument blew up around Moore’s reference to transexuality in this passage:

"The cliché is that female anger is always turned inwards rather than outwards into despair. We are angry with ourselves for not being happier, not being loved properly and not having the ideal body shape – that of a Brazilian transsexual.”

As a reader, it crossed my mind that this was a clumsy choice of image, but I felt I knew what she was getting at, decided that it was probably an attempt at humour of the “laughing with” rather than “at” sort and thought little more of it.

I then later in the week came across this follow on piece from Moore, indicating that there had been something of a fracas. This one read as a bit more confused to me, and I knew I didn’t like this bit:

“In Iceland, they put bankers in prison for fraud. Here, we give them knighthoods. So to be told that I hate transgender people feels a little ... irrelevant. Other people's genital arrangements are less interesting to me than the breakdown of the social contract.”

Her unwillingness to say she doesn’t hate transgender people is not, of course, smoking gun evidence of anything in particular, but it was far from reassuring. Still, I hadn’t picked up a strong sense that the barbarians were at the gates.

Then on Sunday, Burchill weighed in in The Observer, with some characteristically nasty, idiotic, narcissistic tripe.

(Just as we were about to publish, The Observer took down the piece, two days after publication, with a retraction from Editor John Mullholland but the original piece is still available here online.)

At which point I thought to myself, “For fuck’s sake, why I am I reading this insufferable idiot snort on in such thunderous pig ignorance?” and resolved to spray a bit of online bile myself. Which, dear reader, is why we are here.

The narrative Burchill would have you believe is that Moore was “hounded off Twitter” by a “cabal” of trans bullies. Unfortunately for Burchill’s position, it’s trivially easy to discover that it’s incorrect. And indeed, one or both of Burchill and Moore must simply be lying if they claim it.

This is important, because it’s what Burchill and Moore’s claims of being provoked and harassed by trans critics online rests on, and the only argument their supporters have bothered to deploy. And even many who are horrified at the Burchill piece seem reasonably convinced of the “overreacting trans cabal” angle.

Me, I think Moore would still have something of a case to answer, and Burchill’s screed would still be beneath contempt, even if this harassment claim were true, but it isn’t. What actually happened can be seen here.

The first detail worth noting, is that the tweeter picking up Moore about her “transsexual Brazilians” zinger – one @jonanamary – is not herself trans. The second is that she approaches Moore first with a compliment about her article, but seeks to raise an issue with her use of language:

Jo@jonanamary
"@suzanne_moore I loved your piece on anger - except for the shock transphobia ("a Brazilian transsexual") - why on earth did you include it?"

"calling someone "a transsexual" is like calling someone "a gay" - really creepy. "Trans woman" would've been better but..."

"... why include it at all? It's v weird & leaves a v nasty taste. Trans women deserve solidarity, not implicit shaming."

Whatever your view on this position – and for the record, I think it’s correct, but arguably overstating the case – it could hardly be called a baying mob. Moore’s first reply is less than constructive, but equally, it’s not World War 3:

suzanne moore@suzanne_moore
"I use the word transexual. I use lots of 'offensive' words. If you want to be offended it your prerogative."

However, things then went rapidly downhill:

Jo@jonanamary
""offence" isn't the problem. Transphobia is. Transphobia kills. & intersectional feminism demands that we be in solidarity with trans* women & their cause. Pretty basic stuff. V disappointed that you delib misunderstood my point."

suzanne moore@suzanne_moore
"dont "demand" of me. Transphobia is your term. I have issues with trans anything actually."

Jo@jonanamary
"Haha now @Suzanne_Moore thinks my issue with her transphobic comment is that I'm "offended". Um, nope. Try again."

suzanne moore@suzanne_moore
"I dont prioritise this fucking lopping bits of your body over all else that is happening to women Intersectional enough for you?"

It was at this point that other people began to angrily pile in, with fairly obvious good cause. To declare out of the blue that transexuality is simply “this fucking lopping off bits of your body” is of course offensive to trans people. I’d argue that it’s reasonable to assume Moore describing it thus indicates that she does indeed “have issues with trans anything”. And then there was this:

suzanne moore@suzanne_moore
"People can just fuck off really. Cut their dicks off and be more feminist than me. Good for them."

I won’t editorialise; this really does speak for itself.

Burchill’s defence of Moore, therefore, has the line of causality in this spat entirely backwards. Moore is the aggressive party. Trans people only complain after Moore begins to use very ugly language to describe them. And as for being “hounded off”, it looks instead like Moore came to at least some of her senses and decided to stop being so utterly vile in public.

Whether Burchill is deliberately misrepresenting events, or in honest error is not something we’re likely to find out. However, those with long memories might recall that Burchill has prior form for being nasty in print about trans people. Back in 2001 she wrote in a piece for The Guardian.

“… may I say that I feel even less patience with transsexuals. Male to female transsexuals are Michael Jackson to the transvestites' Ali G; not content even to dress up temporarily as the Other, they presume that its authenticity can be theirs through a few cosmetic adjustments.”

Tellingly, she trots out the claim that trans people are as inherently offensive to non-trans people as The Black And White Minstrel Show is to black people in both that article and Sunday’s loathsome rant. With 12 years in between the two pieces for her to have pondered on that point, it seems fair to say that Burchill is doing more here than simply coming to the defence of a friend (which would be weak mitigation in any case). She seems rather to be grabbing the opportunity to air an extant prejudice once again.

As such, we need only give her nonsense the short shrift it deserves. Like a drunken grandmother who gets a bit racist after a few sherries, Burchill’s family and friends are quite free to smile indulgently at this odd, long-harboured bigotry of hers, and chuckle at how good she is at winding everyone up. And the rest of us are quite free to wrinkle our noses and ignore this tiresome, mean blowhard.

Moore’s position, however, while not apparently fuelled by the same kind of visceral loathing, is in some ways more troubling. In the days since her article was first published, my initial charitable reading of her has become harder and harder to maintain. For one thing, I initially read the criticism of the “Brazilian transsexuals” line as being almost pedantically looking for something to take offence at, and partly still do think that. But Moore’s subsequent pronouncements suggest that @jonanamary had sniffed out something I’d only caught the mildest whiff of.

But more importantly, and far less equivocally, a call for solidarity that demands that some of the group just shut up about their trivial, second-class, not-proper-people issues is just plain not a call for solidarity. It’s a call for people to align themselves in a way that serves Moore’s priorities first.

This is at very best incoherent, and not something that requires the reader to understand sophisticated political or feminist theory, for them to see the flaws. There’s a simple question of human decency here. If Moore and Burchill think that trans people and their concerns are somehow secondary to everyone else's, and that a just society can include such disregard, they have a lot of work in front of them to explain how that would work.

Being concerned for everyone’s welfare isn’t a barrier to a just society, it’s a necessity for a just society. And to call out people for saying the things Moore and Burchill have been saying isn’t trivial leftist internecine warfare. Claiming to be the most working class, or the most feminist, or the most working class feminist does not turn cruelty into kindness, nor stupidity into insight. Abuse of people simply for what they are rather than what they do has no place on any side I’ll ever be on.

Anna
Jan 14, 2013 7:04pm

Perfect encapsulation of this whole nasty affair. It's almost as if Burchill has sprung from intellectual depths to confirm for me why the credibility of feminism has taken such a hit.

Feminism is supposed to make the world a less fucked up place in which to exist because of gender and patriarchal guff. It should especially be sympathetic to those given the hardest hand to play of them all.

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John Doran
Jan 14, 2013 7:24pm

In reply to Anna:

Luckily most people don't see Burchill as a very credible feminist. She's popular amongst some of the so-called chattering classes as she's never short of fashionably outrageous views on things, but essentially she's motivated by hatred, which is hard for most people to navigate round, I think. Or at least I hope.

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Franny
Jan 14, 2013 7:42pm

What really needs pointing out is what Suzanne Moore actually wrote - the throwaway line about women feeling they should have the bodies of Brazillian transsexuals is perfectly valid. Their media images via mainly porn show figures that are far more feminine and sexually alluring than those of the average biological women. No wonder biological women feel more pressure.

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John Tatlock
Jan 14, 2013 8:01pm

That's not really what's at issue, though, which I did attempt to point out in the article. The problem is more to do with the things that Moore and Burchill have said since.

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emma
Jan 14, 2013 8:14pm

It's hard because I kind of respect Burchill as a writer and she wrote for the NME when it was still somewhat readable, but I see your point.
I also understand the whole "politically correct word to use" argument can be annoying.
But yeah, these are two movements that were never going to get along... I think I find political activists generally quite tiresome !

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Jan 14, 2013 8:22pm

Yeah politics is tiresome isn't it? Why bother with it when you can read 1978 copies of the NME instead.

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AJT
Jan 14, 2013 8:32pm

In reply to Franny:

I think you've repeated the same faux pas there, Franny.

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emma
Jan 14, 2013 8:34pm

I'm quite political, just don't belong to any particular party or rights movement (as I feel I straddle many). Political activists (for a single cause) are tiresome, not politics! But I kind of agree with your statement sometimes ! Life is hard, escapism has its purpose...

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Franny
Jan 14, 2013 8:58pm

In reply to AJT:

Not a faux pas but a point of view. At the end of the day, this whole debate means fuck all to anybody outside of the liberal chattering classes. Do you think anybody facing a reduction in housing benefit or losing their jobs is concerned about verbal semantics. Are they fuck. Get rid of capitalism first and oppression goes with it, not vice versa. And seriously, you get your knickers (or y-fronts) in a twist over what the Grauniad prints? I don't hear much complaining about their anti-union tactics at work, their lamentable efforts to get readers to provide content while laying off their staff and generally engaging in activity that goes against the supposed leftist stance they're supposed to take. They advocated the war on Iraq and endorsed the Lib Dems. Really, Bitchell (sic) and this entire album is a fucking irrelevance. Is it any wonder the Right always triumphs when the Left always gets bogged down in trivial semantics.

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John Tatlock
Jan 14, 2013 9:19pm

Yes, Stalinist Russia and North Korea, both places where oppression melted away as soon as capitalism was out of the picture. It never fails.

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Chal Ravens
Jan 14, 2013 10:35pm

It's so tiring to continually see trans issues brushed aside as marginal or meaningless outside the "liberal chattering classes", as Franny describes us/them.

First, because there is a strong whiff of anti-intellectualism seen here; a bristling at the idea of being forced to think any harder than you have to or challenge your own assumptions. The refusal to get with the programme regarding the 'verbal semantics' of trans issues suggests not only that the refuser can't be bothered to challenge their own prejudices or look deeper at what they know about feminism and gender politics, but also conveniently ignores the fact that trans people are of course ACTUAL PEOPLE, not just words or terminology. And guess what! Some of them are working class. One of Burchill's strangest and most revealing convictions is her insistence that trans people are al PhD holders (no doubt a defensive reaction given her limited qualifications).

The pig-headed refusal of writers like Moore, Bindel, even Caitlin Moran, to bone up on where feminism has been for the past 20 years (while still positioning themselves as Goodly Righteous Feminists) just reveals their utter disregard for the misery that trans people regularly experience at the hands of the majority, both in this relatively liberal country and other places less liberal.

Second, because anyone who thinks trans politics is marginal is categorically failing to understand the broader mission of feminism - that of equality for all, regardless of your gender. Maybe trans people make women like Burchill and Moore feel uncomfortable - that's hardly an uncommon reaction. But the bolder, smarter thing for them to do would be to engage with their prejudice and work through it like the educated, rational people they claim to be. Read some books, meet some trans people, have a think.

There is so much more to the trans debate than they think, and it affects them too.

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Franny
Jan 14, 2013 11:46pm

In reply to Chal Ravens:

The reason feminists might dislike trans-types - certainly the ones that hurled abuse at Suzanne Moore like braying donkeys - is that it's still men telling women what to do. Dickless men but men nonetheless.

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Jan 15, 2013 12:08am

Did you actually read John's piece, Franny?

It was a non trans-woman who pulled SM up initially.

You aren't doing yourself any favours here. Unless talking loud and saying nowt trolling is all you are and all you ever will be.

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Les
Jan 15, 2013 12:09am

In reply to Franny:

Some radical feminists talk about how men see women as the sex class. Everything women do is ultimately reduce-able to porn, according to some sexists. It is true that some women work in porn, for various reasons, including sometimes poverty and desperation.

Trans women are just as diverse as non-trans women (aka: cis women). Some trans women do work in porn, but the majority don't. And as trans women face all the economic discrimination and violence that cis women do PLUS all the discrimination and violence of transphobia, they don't always take the job they most want.

Brazilian trans women are women - they are not an alien other. However, they face extreme prejudice in Brazil. Trans women are murdered there in hate crimes more often than once every three days. Over a third of hate crime murders of trans women last year were in Brazil. The stereotypes of their lives could not be more removed from the reality.

I think it's important to be able to talk about standards of female beauty without othering women in the discussion. Righteous female anger should be for all women.

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Sam C
Jan 15, 2013 12:10am

Thank you very much for this article, Quietus. As a trans-identified person, it's good to know we have allies. Top work.

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John Tatlock
Jan 15, 2013 12:13am

In reply to :

I don't think he can have read it, no.

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John Tatlock
Jan 15, 2013 12:16am

That tactic of trying to convince us that it's silly to argue about, while carrying on arguing the other side is entertaining though.

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Chal Ravens
Jan 15, 2013 12:19am

In reply to Franny:

I can't even begin to tell you how wrong and outdated you sound right now.

You're not even caught up with the second wave, by the sounds of it, let alone anything that suggests there might be more to sexuality and gender than a crude binary division squeezing us unwillingly into biological straitjackets.

You think we're getting women confused with trans women; but actually you're getting trans women confused with Jonny Woo.

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John Tatlock
Jan 15, 2013 12:42am

In reply to Chal Ravens:

The sad thing is, it's not even all hat necessary to catch up with anything. Just resolving not to be a mean, nasty bastard would get people there.

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suzanne moore
Jan 15, 2013 8:28am

I have left twitter and said mostly what I wanted to say and its all quite boring. I did not know it was the law to have to accept the trans/cis binary? I dont . Also villain that I am - you know hater of gays and women - and you can check 30 years of writing for evidence I do feel that that while I was storified as a villain no one bothered with the abuse I got. I say this as someone who gets it weekly on CIF and am no flower. I engage on twitter , muck about , post music , swear , tell jokes . I now see that the professional creepy network thing is only way to do it and I won't,,,,Also for the record lots of support from trans people this week. Humans are compacted . Their sexuality is often the least interesting thing about them. If you want to cast me as the enemy I cant stop you so join in ? Heres a taster: Also I have had a week of abuse . I see that what I have said have been storifed so I am the bad guy but here is taster of some of what I had and again anyone who wants to put this on twitter feel free cos I am gone

. @dotcormunism.@suzanne_moore cut you're head off 6 DAYS AGO·
. fistamendment@fistamendment.@suzanne_moore you are a disgusting human being.6 DAYS AGO·

. sophie@dotcormunism.@suzanne_moore so not only are you a creepy transphobe but a disgusting white supremacist too. cool??6 DAYS AGO·

. fluxus autist@Scatterfold@suzanne_moore you're an idiot. & aesthetically unappealing. & have a weird dank odour. if you want to be offended; reminder: prerogative.6 DAYS AGo

. Jennifer C Krase@krasejc@suzanne_moore gross. gross. gross. please get swallowed by a large sea creature with a powerful digestive system. you are vile.6 DAYS AGO·
. Lilly@catpuns@suzanne_moore I will cut your face off and feed it to wolves6 DAYS AGO·

Aryan Shitheap
@AKvltGhost
@suzanne_moore eat trash in a grave

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elizabeth Veldon
Jan 15, 2013 9:38am

In reply to Franny:

do you get the point of this debate? the term was offensive and still is if nothing for the number of transwomen who are murdered in brazil.

my body is not something to be used against me as you seem to wish to do, my body is mine - feminism 101.

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zahid fayyaz
Jan 15, 2013 9:47am

In reply to suzanne moore:

Is this really you?

'I did not know it was the law to have to accept the trans/cis binary? I dont'

Well stop whingeing then. You have the freedom to say that, and we have the freedom to have a go at you for saying that.

You defending Burchill's article in your defence btw?

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emma
Jan 15, 2013 9:47am

In reply to suzanne moore:

Again, I get the point of this article but I can also totally see where suzanne is coming from and well done for replying here. The initial problem was using the phrase "A transexual" in her article (cf Twitter), and as much as I understand it when speaking abt someone in particular, a person, SM was talking about a general figure, so quite unfair to conclude she is a homophobe from that...

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elizabeth veldon
Jan 15, 2013 9:47am

In reply to suzanne moore:

suzanne: i accepted your apology and hope you can move forward as an ally of gender variant people but the apology is starting to look thin and insincere

can you not accept that you bullied people? that you wrote distasteful, hurtful things? this seems to escape you and you wish to claim victimhood - unlike the women i have known who where beaten, raped, nearly killed and even driven into psychiatric care because of their treatment.

gender varient people have been marginalised and excluded for a long time, we are the repressed bubbling up to the surface. do you expect us to all be full of love and compassion when many of us barely cling onto a life on the margins of society and see our friends go down? do you expect people facing daily violence and discrimination to be moderate when they read someone saying they're men having their dicks chopped off? if so you know nothing about repression and it's effects.

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elizabeth veldon
Jan 15, 2013 9:47am

In reply to suzanne moore:

suzanne: i accepted your apology and hope you can move forward as an ally of gender variant people but the apology is starting to look thin and insincere

can you not accept that you bullied people? that you wrote distasteful, hurtful things? this seems to escape you and you wish to claim victimhood - unlike the women i have known who where beaten, raped, nearly killed and even driven into psychiatric care because of their treatment.

gender varient people have been marginalised and excluded for a long time, we are the repressed bubbling up to the surface. do you expect us to all be full of love and compassion when many of us barely cling onto a life on the margins of society and see our friends go down? do you expect people facing daily violence and discrimination to be moderate when they read someone saying they're men having their dicks chopped off? if so you know nothing about repression and it's effects.

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emma
Jan 15, 2013 9:47am

In reply to suzanne moore:

Again, I get the point of this article but I can also totally see where suzanne is coming from and well done for replying here. The initial problem was using the phrase "A transexual" in her article (cf Twitter), and as much as I understand it when speaking abt someone in particular, a person, SM was talking about a general figure, so quite unfair to conclude she is a homophobe from that... I understand she got quite pissed off after that !

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elizabeth veldon
Jan 15, 2013 9:50am

In reply to emma:

a homophobe? see i and other gender variant people are disappearing again, melting into the background.

this isn't about homophobia, it's about transphobia and that's not semantic niceties, it's a vital difference.

would you support someone saying 'a black' or 'a gay' because saying 'a transexual' is exactly the same.

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Jan 15, 2013 9:58am

In reply to emma:

I am not a victim or claim to be. I fail still to understand that I condoned murder of anyone at all. I despair at the divide and rule going on here nor do I think the term transsexual is itself offensive. We disagree thats fine, Thats allowed. I have left Twitter, No one has to read a single word I write again. You won. Yes I did know JB was going to write something. No I did not see it before it was published. Actually the censors won. Thats a sad day I think. Free speech is often offensive. Especially when women speak up. Bye all.

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Jan 15, 2013 10:01am

In reply to elizabeth veldon:

Sorry, not quite awake ! Tansphobe of course... But yes, as a person I would not like it, " a gay", "a trans", "a woman", "a black", "an untouchable" but how could she have put her point across differently in her article? She makes a point in the initial article and I find the simile she uses very vivid... Sorry !

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elizabeth veldon
Jan 15, 2013 10:03am

In reply to :

i think when mill was formulating ideas of free speech he wasn't thinking about throwing insults at marginalised groups

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elizabeth veldon
Jan 15, 2013 10:05am

In reply to :

the use of transexual as a noun is the semantic equivalent of 'a gay' or 'a black' - it takes the 'person' out of it, makes them less than human.

here's an idea: if her idea only worked by dehumanising other perhaps she should have used another idea?

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John Tatlock
Jan 15, 2013 10:15am

Well, I'm sorry, Suzzanne, that we're boring you. That should of course be the top of the list of everyone's concerns. While I'm here though, can I make a suggestion? Instead of saying "poor me, I got a couple of nasty tweets too", how about taking some adult responsibility for what you *instigated*? Of course you got a handful of nasty tweets. What you've also had is a number of quite detailed responses. Whatever you think of mine, there's also Roz Kaveney's, Lindy West's, a number of open letters doing the rounds that you'd do well to answer. You're not "engaging", you're shoutily refusing to engage. It's poor. Either have the courage of your convictions, and make a coherent case for the things you've been saying, or start to learn something from what people are saying and consider where you might be wrong. Expecting to declare an odious position and not have to deal with a response is just not how things are.

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Robin
Jan 15, 2013 10:21am

In reply to Franny:

Sorry Franny, it's not on at all. Have you even considered that "Brazilian transsexuals" might *gasp* have beards and pecs? There's a nasty assumption that all transsexuals are Mtf - Moore and her ilk generally have this assumption, and show it by using "transsexuals" to mean "hyper-feminine", when actually transsexual people are as diverse as people - because we are people. And "transsexuals" includes men - FtM men.

It also ignores the racism inherent in using "Brazilian transsexuals" as the stereotype for unattainable hyperfemininity. So no, it's not simply looking for offence, it's noticing something that shows people are making prejudiced assumptions, & then asking them to address those assumptions. Which when someone is calling themselves "on the side of good" isn't an unfair request.

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emma
Jan 15, 2013 10:28am

In reply to Robin:

she used a cliché ! Simple to see, no? Clichés are never good things, agreed, they don't convey complexity but they are here for a reason and don't be fooled in thinking you don't use any... We all do, all the time...

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elizabeth veldon
Jan 15, 2013 10:33am

In reply to emma:

a cliche? like black drug dealers? lazy polish? like that?

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John Tatlock
Jan 15, 2013 10:36am

Indeed, Elizabeth. One would have hoped that people who have no doubt been beaten with the "shrill feminist" stick in the past would know better.

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elizabeth veldon
Jan 15, 2013 10:43am

In reply to John Tatlock:

you would wouldn't you?

i've been labelled a woman hater several times recently.

yes and i, unlike many of the brave commentators, have received death threats for taking a feminist stance in public.

i must really hate other women when i face such hate defending them

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Jan 15, 2013 10:47am

In reply to John Tatlock:

Thanks for telling me what to do and how to behave. That works. I have read most of the stuff., Known Roz for years actually but what does that matter? I am not replying in detail as amazingly I have a job, 3 kids and a funeral to go to. What I 'instigated" was a debate about female anger and where it could go. What I got was lots of people very angry and telling me to be quiet. As I said I do not find the word transphobic a good one. The concept yes but I think its way more complicated as do shock! many trans people who have written to support me or who are my friends Many dont want to pass or identify as a trans woman or a trans man. Where is the engagement with poverty , with austerity, with is happening to all of us? Where? I hope at some point I can engage more fully but sorry now is not the time. I am a fan of The Quietus which is why I am here at all. I thank you for the discussion and will take my leave now. Suzanne

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Jan 15, 2013 10:48am

In reply to John Tatlock:

it wasn't a judgmental cliché, contrary to the examples you give.

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John Tatlock
Jan 15, 2013 10:49am

In reply to :

Just more evasion. Unimpressive.

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elizabeth veldon
Jan 15, 2013 10:55am

In reply to :

' As I said I do not find the word transphobic a good one. The concept yes but I think its way more complicated as do shock! many trans people who have written to support me or who are my friends Many dont want to pass or identify as a trans woman or a trans man. '

oh well that makes everything ok doesn't it? i don't identify as male or female but i still support my brothers and sisters who do.

oh and please stop playing the 'some of my friends are tranies' argument, it's a bad sign

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John Tatlock
Jan 15, 2013 10:56am

In reply to John Tatlock:

And you know, I really can#'t let this pass, the outright lie I refer to in the article. You got lots of people very angry *after* you started dismissing trans people as just people who mutilate themselves, using absolutely horrible language. You behaved appallingly. THEN people got angry. And you keep claiming that there was a baying mob after you about the "Transsexuals" thing. The transsexuals thing was a tiny tiny matter, that was actually raised with you rather politely. It's the talk of people "cutting their cocks off" that got you in hot water. At least have the basic decency to acknowledge this.

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elizabeth veldon
Jan 15, 2013 10:58am

In reply to John Tatlock:

i don't think she ever really will john

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Sam C
Jan 15, 2013 11:00am

In reply to :

"The censors won"? Fucking hell, that's pathetic. Burchill's article was a repulsive, hateful pub rant; any competent newspaper editor would have sent it back. Where did this idea that free speech consists in allowing bigots to express their hate in national newspapers unchallenged come from?

Your original article was good, aside from one careless phrase. But the whole you've since dug yourself is deep indeed.

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Jan 15, 2013 11:03am

In reply to John Tatlock:

Genitoplasty Penectomy Orchidectomy Vaginoplasty would have made it all so much better. Really guys if I am the biggest enemy out there we are all up shit creek.

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Sam C
Jan 15, 2013 11:04am

"Many dont want to pass or identify as a trans woman or a trans man."

Correct. Neither do I, as it happens. But I will fight with all my breath for those who do. It's basic human decency.

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John Tatlock
Jan 15, 2013 11:06am

In reply to :

No, Suzanne, what would have been better would have been not to reduce people to simply parts of their bodies.

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Jenny Roberts
Jan 15, 2013 11:06am

Thank you for that, an excellent piece of writing that puts the situation in perspective.

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Jan 15, 2013 11:06am

In reply to Sam C:

A minister calls for the sacking of a journalist and thats OK? Dont you dare talk to me about freedom....

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John Tatlock
Jan 15, 2013 11:07am

In reply to :

Anyway, I thought you didn't have time for this. Since you appear to be sticking around, why not talk about it a bit more seriously?

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John Tatlock
Jan 15, 2013 11:09am

In reply to :

Behave. You *know* nothing is going to come of that, and I expect you also know that as soon as Burchill's crap came down from the Observer it went up on the Telegraph. There's zero threat to freedom of speech here. The more you misdirect, the more it becomes obvious that you can't actually defend yourself on the real point.

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elizabeth veldon
Jan 15, 2013 11:12am

In reply to :

'Genitoplasty Penectomy Orchidectomy Vaginoplasty would have made it all so much better. Really guys if I am the biggest enemy out there we are all up shit creek.'

i'm sorry? have you just reduced the whole gender variant community to a pathology?

you know what would have made it better? some humanity and decency from you.

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John Tatlock
Jan 15, 2013 11:14am

In reply to elizabeth veldon:

I think I've heard enough. I actually wrote this article with the sense that Moore was possibly not beyond hope. This is no longer my view.

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Sam C
Jan 15, 2013 11:15am

In reply to :

I take it you protested when the Guardian dropped Ron Atkinson's column? If not, why not?

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Sam C
Jan 15, 2013 11:18am

In reply to :

And does this mean that I can send in any half-witted nonsense I like to the Observer and scream 'censorship' if they refuse to print it?

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elizabeth veldon
Jan 15, 2013 11:18am

In reply to John Tatlock:

alas i thought the half hearted apology was the beginning of something but no, it was as far as she was willing to go and she's retreated from even that position.

i wrote this for burchill in the hope she could change, i now offer it also to moore in the hope it allows her to understand my perspective and that of the gender variant community: https://soundcloud.com/elizabethveldon/the-ever-present-fear-of

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Scatter Fold
Jan 15, 2013 11:19am

In reply to suzanne moore:

I think one of the things which is most indicative of your astounding overreaction to this matter, especially regarding your inability to deal with receiving half of the bile you seem so keen on handing out, has been your constant reiteration of my "dank smell" and "aesthetically unappealing" comments to you.

Both insults are absolutely pitiful and would be laughed out of even the most insular prepatory school room if they were said in real life, and to anybody but yourself are both clearly a parody of "trolling" as you see it and also function as much milder insults than you dropped in your original article.

If you really are willing to dish it out, and then pull the "but I've been doing this 30 years; I'm a *real* feminist" schpiel, then you have to be able to take it too. And recognise it when it's farce.

That rumbling sound is not the twitter hordes coming to get you, it's the sound of your career falling away into an abyss of your own creation.

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John Tatlock
Jan 15, 2013 11:19am

In reply to Sam C:

Heh, well, have you read the Observer lately? It's probably worth a try.

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Jan 15, 2013 11:19am

In reply to elizabeth veldon:

Nothing I say can make it better cos these positions are so entrenched now.Humanity/decency yes please. Fail better as Sam said. Sorry John I really have stuff to do and thats not a lie.
Here is something i wrote about humanity but i dont know if its of any interest to you.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/feb/16/suzanne-moore-disgusted-by-poor

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elizabeth veldon
Jan 15, 2013 11:20am

In reply to Sam C:

yes and you'll get support from vanity fair, the new statesman and lots of other respectable journals just as moore did.

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elizabeth veldon
Jan 15, 2013 11:21am

In reply to :

please don't call me a fanatic for wanting respect moore, please don't do that.

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elizabeth veldon
Jan 15, 2013 11:23am

In reply to Scatter Fold:

perhaps the rumbling is the sound of a slow revolution which will leave people like burchill and moore behind?

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Jan 15, 2013 11:24am

In reply to elizabeth veldon:

I didnt and I wouldn't ?

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John Tatlock
Jan 15, 2013 11:25am

In reply to :

Absolute nonsense. The problem is not entrenched positions, the problem is your flat refusal to engage on the issues being raised, and your (failing) attempts as misdirection. I read that article at the time and thought it was good. What it doesn't do, though, is get you off the hook for your frankly dodgy and unpleasant attitude towards trans people.

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Scatter Fold
Jan 15, 2013 11:26am

In reply to elizabeth veldon:

That would also be a good rumble.

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John Tatlock
Jan 15, 2013 11:26am

In reply to :

Christ. If you're going, go.

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elizabeth veldon
Jan 15, 2013 11:27am

In reply to :

'Nothing I say can make it better cos these positions are so entrenched now'

that's calling me a fanatic.

i ask for respect, you call me a fanatic. who looks bad in this?

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Robin
Jan 15, 2013 11:27am

In reply to emma:

"she used a cliché ! Simple to see, no? Clichés are never good things, agreed, they don't convey complexity"

She used a cliche that means "A person" - not a person of any specific gender, to try and put a particular image in people's minds. Which was very revealing of her own assumptions.

Do you not understand "A transsexual" simply means "a person who identifies as a gender other than that they were assigned at birth" - it does not indicate WHICH gender. Male, Female, or Other. It is a genderless term, like "person",

The continual assumption that "transsexual" means "trans WOMAN" is wrong and ignorant, and shows the sexism of the person using the term. It means "transsexual PERSON" and a person can be ANY GENDER AT ALL.

Transsexual is not synonymous with woman, or man. Do you understand that?

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Joseph Bentley
Jan 15, 2013 11:28am

Your point is well made - the original article by Moore, apart from the strange and misleading line about Brazilian transsexuals, wasn't actually that bad on the grand scheme of things - the real insults and the trigger point was the exchange of words afterwards when she was called up on what she said (never mind the fact that Brazil has one of the worst records in the world for murders of transgender people).
And then Julie Birchill waded in with some of the nastiest diatribe against trans folk I have ever had the displeasure to read, and the assumptions she made beggar belief. It seemed as if she assumed all trans folk have surgery - wrong. And that all trans folk were born with male bodies and wish to transition to female - wrong. And that only women who were born with the right bits between their legs and who always have identified as female can be feminists - wrong. If she wants to insult the transgender community than can she at least get her facts right first!

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elizabeth veldon
Jan 15, 2013 11:28am

In reply to John Tatlock:

all anyone asked of her was an apology but instead we got attacked, blamed for our own victimhood and called fanatics and bullies.

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John Tatlock
Jan 15, 2013 11:29am

In reply to Joseph Bentley:

Burchill has never been a keen fact checker.

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Sam C
Jan 15, 2013 11:30am

In reply to :

That's not true. You have a track record that includes some excellent stuff and we should be on the same bloody side (in fact we are, most of the time). Go on, climb down.

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emma
Jan 15, 2013 11:49am

In reply to Robin:

OK, thanks for explaining the real problem with the phrase she used, I hadn't seen that aspect of it. But here the context made it self-explanatory...

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Benjamin Kidd
Jan 15, 2013 11:54am

In reply to :

Aminister calls for LGBT people to not be allowed to marry have children or be called human beings.. get a grip... walk in my shoes for a mile

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Jan 15, 2013 12:05pm

I think a lot of people get there facts mixed up, transgender people are all sorts of people, a lot are non binary they do not ascribe to one or the other (there are many races of people of that do not do this!) Then intersex people, then FTM and MTF transexual people and not all of these have surgeries. People are so often obsessed with the sexualisation of all of this that hey misss the one thing behind it all. THE PEOPLE! Yes ordinary human people with feelings and thoughts the same as anyone else. This article and everything else that has done on has hurt these people and I think it is time a bit of respect for the lives of transgendered people started, I am a trans man gay and proud, but I will fight for all people. This article is true, it was not the oriinal piece that caused the great offence but the awful nastiness that came after. The people writing these articles will not bend and see what they have caused and that is sad, but people like myself will never stop fighting our cause either... just to be ourselves.

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Rrose
Jan 15, 2013 12:19pm

Perhaps Julie and Suzanne's resentment stems from the fact that 97% of the world's MtF transgender population look more convincingly female than them...

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Lesley Stafford
Jan 15, 2013 12:23pm

In reply to Robin:

Thank you, Robin, for being one of the few who has bothered to remark on the racial stereotype inherent in Moore's nasty little side-swipe.

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elizabeth veldon
Jan 15, 2013 12:23pm

In reply to Rrose:

resorting to misogyny does no one any favours

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Lesley Stafford
Jan 15, 2013 12:29pm

In reply to :

"Where is the engagement with poverty , with austerity, with is happening to all of us?" Suzanne Moore has asked. The answer - it flew out the window when you included racist sexist slurs in your writing. You cannot expect to be taken seriously if you need to resort to abusive language about a disadvantaged minority. Get real, will you?

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elizabeth veldon
Jan 15, 2013 12:31pm

In reply to Lesley Stafford:

which just goes to show none of us are perfect.

i apologise for not discussing that aspect of the comment (I did elsewhere but should have here too.)

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John Tatlock
Jan 15, 2013 1:21pm

In reply to Lesley Stafford:

This tic of Moore's - the suggestion that being concerned with the welfare of trans people somehow precludes being concerned about the wider landscape - runs through this whole thing. It's nonsense, and moreover, it's addressed in the article above, and has been by others. If Moore wants to respond on that point, fine. But her just repeating the baseless claim doesn't really get us anywhere.

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Geraint
Jan 15, 2013 1:23pm

uh yeah, officer? yeah? i'd like to report a hate crime, that's right officer. a person on the internet said I had a dank odour. what? no that wasn't all they said - in fact they immediately explained it was a satirical inversion in the same tweet. how dare you scoff, officer. 'not credible'? but officer, one of their friends said they hoped I "got swallowed by a large sea creature". are you telling me you don't consider it a credible threat? how dare you, officer. the threat I face from twitter poster aryan shitheap is exactly as credible as the very real hate crimes faced by the trans* community and- no don't hang up! officer? hello?

next week on the guardian.

BLOGGED: Why Our Police don't do enough to protect self-appointed liberal elitists such as myself. haven't they got some poors to hassle? I had to cancel a lobster & bollinger date with Julie, Helen, James and Nick, for flying spaghetti monster's (yeah, still got that iconoclasm) sake! And I think we can all agree that's the real hate crime today.

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Peter Ellis
Jan 15, 2013 1:34pm

In reply to emma:

I don't buy this. If all she wanted was a cliché describing an unattainable female ideal, why didn't she say "Barbie doll" or similar? It's a perfectly well understood image, and is by far the most common, mainstream way of referencing the concept. Using "transsexual" in this context has no purpose other than to paint MtF post-op trans women as fakes and pretenders. It's offensive, she was rightly called out for it, and her subsequent comments make abundantly clear that it's what she actually believes.

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tc
Jan 15, 2013 1:53pm

In reply to suzanne moore:

y'know hopefully it's been pointed out several times by now but all of those tweets you put in your comment their were a response to your 'cut your dick off and be more feminist then me' ranting. all of them. you forget some of us (who like your work, but don't necessarily think that gives you a pass to use violent hateful language) actually watched the whole thing unfold in real time.

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Kenaz Filan
Jan 15, 2013 2:07pm

In reply to suzanne moore:

You made deliberately offensive statements aimed at trans women. Some trans women and trans allies responded with their own deliberately offensive statements, including some that wished you a painful death. While one might classify the behavior as regrettable on all sides, it's hardly a great example of "bullying by the trans cabal," the attempts of some radfems to nail themselves to crosses notwithstanding.

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Philipa
Jan 15, 2013 2:08pm

I'm a white woman. If I stood next to a negro, a black person, an afro-whatever-the-correct-non-offensive-term-is-nowadays, if I stood next to a black person having slathered myself in skin dye and after having paid a doctor to surgically change my features and, in the best attempt at patois I could manage, tell the black person they should be careful not to offend me when writing about the difficulties of being a black person because of the great discrimination I encounter as a black woman, how should she feel? How should that black person feel?

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emma
Jan 15, 2013 2:20pm

In reply to Philipa:

There is some truth in that !

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Robin
Jan 15, 2013 2:27pm

In reply to Philipa:

Seriously, you're saying transsexual people are play-acting at being the gender they identify as?

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Jan 15, 2013 2:51pm

In reply to Rrose:

Hmm...either you didn't read my comment properly or you don't understand what misogyny is. Impressively sanctimonious though; well done!

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Jan 15, 2013 2:52pm

In reply to elizabeth veldon:

Hmm...either you didn't read my comment properly or you don't understand what misogyny is. Impressively sanctimonious though; well done!

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Jan Lane
Jan 15, 2013 3:40pm

Excellent article.

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organic cheeseboard
Jan 15, 2013 3:44pm

In reply to :

"Really guys if I am the biggest enemy out there we are all up shit creek."

What I find so amazing is that Moore is still making this all about herself. Nobody's said you were the biggest enemy out there, they were simply noting that your language was offensive to them - language in an article on people needing to stick together, natch, which they said was an otherwise good article. Instead of noting their offence and apologising, you then spewed lots more bigotry on Twitter and are now reposting a few fairly inconsequential insults as evidence that somehow you've 'been silenced'? Remember what you told the very polite people on twitter who found your use of 'transsexual' offensive? 'cut your dick off' ring any bells? Yes, your Twitter feed was full of 'jokes' eh.

And I love that other line of defence - 'not a single trans* person has EVER opposed the govt's austerity agenda' - straight out of the Nick Cohen 'I've never noticed anyone doing this THEREFORE it has NEVER happened' playbook.

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Yvonne
Jan 15, 2013 4:01pm

Wow, how many times is Suzanne Moore going to make comments and flounce off like a teenager the moment people disagree with her?

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Chris
Jan 15, 2013 4:02pm

Anything about transsexual tourism? I wonder what the stats are for single males who holiday in Brazil.

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Yvonne
Jan 15, 2013 4:06pm

Oh and spare me. I don't care how much abuse somebody gets that's never an excuse to engage in transphobia, racism or any other example of being a terrible human being. If some black people write that I was wrong on something I said and some of those within that subset of people used poor language to do it would it then be acceptable to just hurl out a bunch of racist comments at all black people? No. This was no different and reframe it and rationalize all you want but the bottom line is that it's wrong. Hate is wrong. Always.

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Jan 15, 2013 4:12pm

In reply to Chris:

Yes I did know JB was going to write something. No I did not see it before it was published. Actually the censors won. Thats a sad day I think. Free speech is often offensive. Especially when women speak up.
Well yes, speech is often offensive, but Burchill's piece was outright bigoted and should NEVER have been published in the first place.
Are we to take from this that you approve of it? I know your personal friend Nick Cohen does - or rather did, until he realised that the position of support was unsustainable.

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Yvonne
Jan 15, 2013 4:24pm

In reply to John Tatlock:

I feel sorry that there is some weird thing going on here where a simple "I realize my wording was poor. I will do better in the future" isn't ever going to come and I think if we are really honest with ourselves we all know why. It's just that the nastiness of letting that sink in and acknowledge it's still here in the 21st century means there is still so much work to do and darn if that doesn't seem exhausting. Now I realize I don't just have to fight for women against men I have to fight against other women who fight against women who won't recognize these women over here as women who fight against otherism who engage in ageism who engage in racism to fight against men.
I think I need a nap.
You wrote a decent piece thing John. I'm sorry more didn't come of it.

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jonanamary
Jan 15, 2013 4:27pm

In reply to :

"Genitoplasty Penectomy Orchidectomy Vaginoplasty would have made it all so much better. Really guys if I am the biggest enemy out there we are all up shit creek."

Hi Suzanne! I am horrified but not surprised to see you once again reducing trans* women to a series of surgeries, as if that's all they are. It clearly shows how little you have learned from this whole sorry episode. Here's a radical idea for you: What other women do with their bodies is absolutely none of your business; and your seeming obsession with medical procedures is **really really creepy**. So stop it, yeah?

I mean, take cis women who have had mastectomies following breast cancer, and have reconstructive breast surgery. Would you mock their decision? Would you imply they are freaks for wanting medical help to look like 'women'? Would you recite the names of their surgeries as some bizarre attempt to shame them for wanting to look like (society's idea of) 'women'? I don't think so. So why do you consider it ok to do essentially exactly the same thing to trans* women?

You're ignorant, but worse, you're ignorant and in possession of a powerful voice in the media. How awful that you used it to damage others, not reach out a hand in solidarity.

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Tryphaena
Jan 15, 2013 4:28pm

In reply to Philipa:

I assume this is Ms Birchill, as no one else in the world is stupid enough to indulge in so blatant a non sequitur as to equate a trans woman with a blacked up Caucasian. I see you have used Philippa to publish your own Philippic, but Cicero you are not!

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Yvonne
Jan 15, 2013 4:30pm

The only other thing I will add here is that no matter what was said by some people this week we cannot allow ourselves to backslide into this terribleness again. I see loads of comments about Julie and Suzanne's looks and age. While I agree there is probably an age gap in all of this it doesn't make it okay to engage in ageism. Nor is it okay for some of the men and some women commenting on their looks to engage in a free for all of sexism the very thing we are fighting against. I understand everybody's backs are up but that doesn't make it okay to do these things. Trading one crap language exchange for another is not the solution.

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John Tatlock
Jan 15, 2013 4:45pm

In reply to Yvonne:

Yeah, there's mercifully little of that stuff here, but none would be preferable.

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Jan 15, 2013 5:27pm

In reply to Yvonne:

Oh do be quiet and get a sense of humour Yvonne. Burchill and Moore's comments (and attitudes) should be openly ridiculed; trying to engage them in an intellectual discussion only gives their bigotry a platform (and the oxygen of publicity on which their whole ethos/existence is predicated)

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Yvonne
Jan 15, 2013 5:31pm

In reply to :

I disagree that engaging in sexism is ever justified. I'll leave it at that. I see nothing funny about it.

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Paul Challinor
Jan 15, 2013 5:34pm

This is brilliant, well done!

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John Tatlock
Jan 15, 2013 5:38pm

In reply to :

Well, stop and think about Yvonne's point here. It's not a question of not having a sense of humour, it's a question of, indeed, ridiculing the *comments*. To get into scoring points over appearance and age and whatever else is at best irrelevant, and generally entails abandoning the higher ground. Especially when the whole problem here is that they are reducing people to no more than physical characteristics. It's kind of hard to argue against that if you're doing it yourself.

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Jan 15, 2013 5:44pm

In reply to Yvonne:

Why is it sexist to say that Julie Burchill is as aesthetically displeasing as her views are hateful?? It's got absolutely nothing to do with gender.

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Terezia Brunklaus
Jan 15, 2013 5:53pm

Great article allowing for an insight into the darkest corners of so called old school femenists.

Thankfully (hopefully!) they are few and far in between.Furthermore, her argument (if you can call it that) looses all its credibility, as she has chosen to cluster together a group of people in her attempt to de-humanise them, whilst attempting to make us sympathise with her friend by presenting her individuality and struggles. Classic oppressive tactics used against the woman Julie Burchill think she is representing, people of different ethnicities to the majority, homosexuals and in the case transgendered people.

There is also the possibility that Julie is trying to be cool, as the article is distinctively juvenile. Perhaps she, like the class clown, wants us to laugh? I am sad to say that the only one laughing is the white, upper class, middle aged man (top of the chain..hmm that will be the owners of the Observer then) who will continue to stay up there as long as the lower regions fight amongst themselves, in this case disguising as a feminist..DISGUSTING!

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John Tatlock
Jan 15, 2013 6:18pm

In reply to :

You sure? What do you reckon the ratio of dismissing people based on looks between men and women is? At any rate, I think I'd have to class this tangent as "unhelpful", myself.

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jen
Jan 15, 2013 6:29pm

In reply to Peter Ellis:

Suzanne has an long history of using negative trans stereotypes to prop up her arguments and has used the 'brazillian transsexual' line before, as well as 'ladyboys' etc. I think many people familiar with her work reading the article and liking it up to that point probably just thought 'oh no here we go again'.

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jen
Jan 15, 2013 6:39pm

In reply to Philipa:

I don't know how that hypothetical 'black person' should feel Phillipa, but the implication of your comment seems to be that you do. Care to enlighten us?

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James M
Jan 15, 2013 7:10pm

In reply to John Tatlock:

I'd call it Moore-ish, myself.

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Lauren
Jan 15, 2013 7:17pm

Good article. What has made me really sad is reading through Suzanne's comments here. I was one of those who were prepared to give the benefit of the doubt and didn't find the original article massively offensive, just clumsy in a way that we're used to, but it looks as if her simplistic and ignorant views on trans people are very entrenched.She and Birchill are dinosaurs. Bob Dylan's words seem apt:
Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won’t come again
And don’t speak too soon
For the wheel’s still in spin
And there’s no tellin’ who
That it’s namin’
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin’.

Also the fact that so many people have been ready to believe the fiction of 'a mob of trans people attacking Suzanne Moore and driving her off Twitter' (and by the way it was a 'non trans' woman, a fellow feminist who criticized her) speaks volumes about the level of entrenched prejudice in this society, the worst of which it pains me to say seems to come from the left.Coming in the week that thousands of trans people began to speak up at last about abuse and discrimination by the medical profession via #transdocfail it seems particular reprehensible that some major media figures appear quite possibly to have colluded in the deliberate disemination of a lie in order to protect 'one of their own' and score points against a section of the trans community they obviously hate.Coming in the week that thousands of trans people began to speak up at last about abuse and discrimination by the medical profession via #transdocfail it seems particular reprehensible that major media figures appear to be colluding in the demonization of that community.

So thanks John Tatlock for helping to flush out what's really going on here. The attempts of some people to defend the indefensible, rather than acknowledging that perhaps there is a blind spot and mistakes have been made, are starting to sound uncomfortably like those whose response at the time to Jimmy Savile abusing people was 'Oh, that's just Jimmy having a laugh - don't take it so seriously'.

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Sue De Nym
Jan 15, 2013 7:27pm

In reply to Philipa:

Why don't you come back and make another attempt at this later, once you've learnt how to spell your own name correctly.

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Jan 15, 2013 7:29pm

In reply to Sue De Nym:

[/I] [/i]

Please tell me one of those worked.

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Dr Foster
Jan 15, 2013 7:30pm

Somebody better call an ambulance. There's a rumour that John Tatlock suffocated when the air got too thin while he sat on his high horse.

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emma
Jan 15, 2013 7:48pm

As much as I respect anyone's anger at being too swiftly summarized, being called names & using words that negate the complexity of a situation, I think it is unfair to ignore SM & JB point of view and just call them bigots... They have been fighting for years for the world to see women as much more than their mere physical attributes (a fight that still needs to go on I believe, even in the West)... And in this sense, I see where they are coming from when they say that a sex change op cannot make you a woman, that they find this aspect slightly comical, or at least unnecessary. They are not negating the fact you can be born in a man/woman's body and feel like a woman/man (or even more complex feelings like wanting to be non-gendered). But what is the purpose of the operation (as trans people already know what they are)? Is it for society? To conform? For sexual purposes? I don't know but it is an interesting question.
The experience of being a woman is a lot more than having boobs, a vagina rather than a penis, etc. It is, amongst a lot of other things, growing up knowing nature didn't make you "perfect" (you have to shave your legs for example, not to mention make up, etc.), knowing that your biological attributes (you know, what expands and grows during puberty like your hips, and hormones, and periods etc.) are something you should spend your life fighting against, if you see what I mean.
In conclusion, what they say (and it is a bit depressing) is that sex change ops can never make you a woman/man... It's what's in your head that matters. I don't know what trans people think about that, but I wonder if some wouldn't agree??

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Yvonne
Jan 15, 2013 7:54pm

In reply to emma:

I think it's the opposite that there is a huge part of feminism and feminists that believe being a woman is nothing more than having the right chromosomes and everything else is window dressing pushed on us by society and thus the idea of gender theory in and of itself is in direct conflict with their dogma. While that would have been an interesting and much needed debate to have all that we got out of that conflict was a lot of waffle and hate aimed at people already facing the worst violence around the world.

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Jan 15, 2013 8:06pm

In reply to John Tatlock:

Go ahead and construct as many straw men as you like John; it's a hollow exercise. Also, aiming to occupy the "higher ground" is a risible, patronising comment and suggests that your motivation is more driven by ego than by a genuine concern for the plight of the transgender community.

I wasn't making a judgement based solely on physical appearance in the slightest - I was merely stating (with tongue firmly in cheek) that the ugliness of Julie Burchill's idealogical stance should dictate a suitable response; one of ridicule, rather than intellectual consternation.

Reply to this Admin

Sina
Jan 15, 2013 8:12pm

In reply to suzanne moore:

Between her comments here and her tweets, I for one would like to nominate whomever has the Herculean task of subediting Ms. Moore's columns in the Mail and Guardian for a medal. Never have so many run-on sentences died in the name of transphobia.

Reply to this Admin

emma
Jan 15, 2013 8:19pm

In reply to Yvonne:

I agree. But I didn't see hate from both journalists, I feel I saw it in the way many people here (and on twitter apparently) refused to see where this was coming from... Loved this debate though, it just shows how very decent & intelligent people on all sides can completely caricature what the other side is saying, as it often happens when there is true suffering involved...

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Jan 15, 2013 8:32pm

Spot on. Especially the bit about Suzanne Moore's twisted version of "solidarity."

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Jan 15, 2013 8:47pm

Arguing your case very well John, in the article and in the comments.

I hope tQ are planning to have a more flexible comments section soon with properly threaded replies? Just a suggestion. Would make reading much easier in articles like this.

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Trisha Dee
Jan 15, 2013 9:35pm

I'm trans. And I dont believe for a moment that trans people were in any way, shape of form, bullied by Suzanne Moore. And I'll be clear in saying that this is not just my own opinion - it's been one thats been widely echoed in the trans forums that I participate in.

The 'Brazilian Transsexual' line could easily have been replaced by 'American Beauty Queen' as an analogy for the the same form of of unachievable femininity, which was, after all, the whole point of the article in the first place. And with which, as a 60 yr old who might just, on a good day, look like Beryl Bainbridge on a bad day, I must say that I entirely relate.

Suzanne subsequently lost her rag on Twitter. It happens. She said some unfortunate stuff. That happens too. She apologised. And that's where it should have ended.

Until Julie stuck her oar in. Was I offended? Damned right I was, and I remain so. In a free society, Julie Burchill has the right to express her opinion. And anyone else has the right to kick up a stink about it. That's free speech - it's a two-way street.

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V.N
Jan 15, 2013 9:51pm

Many is the time I've heard the word "lesbian" being used pejoratively such as when straight women say to one another things like "Don't wear that jacket you don't want to look like a lesbian". Can I point out "like a lesbian" as a negative is no better than "like a transexual".
If Julie Burchill is being gagged then I can only feel limited sympathy for her because she's basically been getting away with murder for years now - employed and indulged by one quality newspaper after another seemingly to assuage nostalgic fortysomething readers who remember her in the NME and The Face. Maybe her contrarian stance was bracing at one point, but it's long since become repetitive and slovenly. She is basically letting her prejudieces hang out and if it's not trans-gender people she's verbally laying into then it's one of several other groups she appears to have a problem with. As someone who is Irish, Catholic and middle-class I can vouch that she has torn at all aspects of my background. She is quick to invoke Irish neutrality in World War 2, not so quick to acknowledge that many Irishmen joined the British army to fight or even that prior to 1939 certain figures from Englands elite class were happy to pal around with "Herr" Hitler and were no doubt secretly disappointed when he turned out to be the enemy, but hey! you can prove anything with facts! Right? It is high time she realised that making a sweeping statement with brash fervour does not convert it into a compelling arguement and if people think she's stepped over a line this time then she's brought it on herself.
With Suzanne Moore on the other hand there is a hint of scapegoating. Her use of words might seem clumsy and abrasive but surely this ties in with a general carelessness in language referring to women be they trans-gender or biologically female from birth (Not least if they are gay. Hence the first paragraph.) The critics of Moore or even Burchill should maybe check their own vocabulary. A term like "she-males" might be ugly, but then so are the words "milf" or "ho". How about Slut? Bunny-boiler? Gash? Pussy? Gold-digger? How about the recklessly flippant overuse of the word "bitch"? I would say at least once or twice a week I hear one or more of these words being used in conversation or print and all too rarely challenged. All have vile conotations and are sadly telling of how debased speech has become. Certain "complimentary" terms are no better - "Yummy Mummy" (implication - it's somehow unusual for a woman to be attractive after giving birth) or references to curvaceous "real women" (implication - only women of child-bearing shape are "real women").
The point I'm making is that maybe it's time to consider how we all speak about women and not just single out people like Suzanne Moore. Surely that is much more constructive than further online slanging matches.

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Red_Dog
Jan 15, 2013 10:13pm

Crikey, that was a reaction and a half: liked John's article, and got a lot of time for Suzanne Moore (Birchill remains an idiot), but I don't think anyone's coming off well in this...

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John Tatlock
Jan 15, 2013 10:44pm

V.N.: all those terms are appalling, I agree. But I don't accept your "we" there. I don't talk to - or about - women in that way.

I think you have to take up bad behaviour with the people actually doing the bad behaviour. Moore's said some bad thing's Burchill's said some appalling things, and they've got taken to task for it. If you want point me at some other people who are being horrible, then as I'm sure you can imagine, I will happily Duracell Bunny myself over there and have a look. But "milf" "ho" "Slut" "Bunny-boiler" "Gash" "Pussy" "Gold-digger" and "bitch" aren't cases for me to answer, because I neither talk nor think like that. Nor does anyone else I've seen involved in this particular discussion (both here and elsewhere).

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John Tatlock
Jan 15, 2013 10:48pm

There is one hero in all of this, of course, and that's whoever sorted out the italic formatting above.

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Alice Artemissian
Jan 16, 2013 11:32am

In reply to emma:

We're not discusion some theoretical issue about gender and identity without real consequences.

Suzanne Moore & friends put forward the idea that trans women are not women and should therefor be excluded from women-only spaces. For trans women this position is unacceptable because it puts us in danger. When trans women are e.g. forced to use the men's restroom we'll get abused, raped, & killed. Suzanne Moore stated many times, even in her faux-apology, that she considers our concerns to be irrelevant, it's her privilege that she doesn't have to live with the consequences of her transmisogyny? Trans women however could die because of them.

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John Tatlock
Jan 16, 2013 11:40am

It's alive!

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John Tatlock
Jan 16, 2013 12:39pm

In reply to Alice Artemissian:

We have to allow that the hypothesis be made, I suppose. As I understand the (in my view idiotic) argument, it's that the presence of trans women in women's business is undermining to so-called "real" women. So, OK, that claim has been made. I think it's reasonable to ask for evidence of this undermining. What, in reality, not theory, is the problem? The likes of Moore and Burchill seem unwilling to say. I rather suspect they don't have an answer.

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Sid Snot
Jan 16, 2013 12:45pm

For the record, I don't think that Julie Burchill genuinely hates transsexuals. Journalist makes controversial statement, big fuckin' deal, happens all the time. Get some real issues douchebags.

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John Tatlock
Jan 16, 2013 12:48pm

In reply to Sid Snot:

On what basis do you say that this isn't a real issue?

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Sid Snot
Jan 16, 2013 12:52pm

In reply to John Tatlock:

On the basis of common bloody sense and freedom of speech.

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John Tatlock
Jan 16, 2013 12:53pm

In reply to Sid Snot:

How does freedom of speech make something a non issue? That makes no sense. How does common sense make it a non issue? That's simply not an answer. I think you're out of your depth here, Mr Snot.

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Sid Snot
Jan 16, 2013 12:58pm

In reply to John Tatlock:

For a start, this was an OTT defence of a friend, it wasn't meant to be taken literally! Yes, it was meant to shock and provoke, but I very much doubt Ms Burchill genuinely harbours any violent/hateful feelings towards people of trans gender. Columnists such as Richard Littlejohn and Charlie Catchpole come out with far more offensive stuff on a weekly bais but no one cares about that beacuse, hey, they're men, so its alright.

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John Tatlock
Jan 16, 2013 1:05pm

In reply to Sid Snot:

You haven't read the article on this page, have you?

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Jan 16, 2013 1:06pm

In reply to John Tatlock:

You also haven't answered my questions: "How does freedom of speech make something a non issue? That makes no sense. How does common sense make it a non issue? That's simply not an answer."

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Sid Snot
Jan 16, 2013 1:16pm

In reply to :

Writers should be allowed to write about whatever they choose, whether we agree with them or not. It reeks of Stalinism to fire people based upon their opinions. And no, I'm not going to answer your questions because that's not the point really is it? Sorry if this argument sounds a little simplistic for your exceptionally high (ha!) journalistic credentials, but this is an issue I believe needs addressing, unlike the one you speak of in your article. The UK is facing some terrifying social/political/economic issues at the moment, an ageing journalist making a few tasteless jokes aimed at winding up liberals is certainly not one of them!

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John Tatlock
Jan 16, 2013 1:23pm

In reply to Sid Snot:

Nobody has been fired. What are you talking about? If this isn't a topic that interests you, then go and do something else. Nobody is keeping you here.

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John Tatlock
Jan 16, 2013 1:26pm

In reply to Sid Snot:

As it happens, I've just pitched an article to the editors of this site about free speech, which will be up sometime in the next week or two. Talking and thinking about what's on this page (in the article that you've plainly not read) isn't stopping anyone, including those of us who are interested in it, talking and thinking about other things.

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Sid Snot
Jan 16, 2013 1:26pm

In reply to John Tatlock:

Not yet, but a government minister has called for Burchill's dismissal.

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Sid Snot
Jan 16, 2013 1:27pm

In reply to John Tatlock:

Which part of the article haven't I read then?

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John Tatlock
Jan 16, 2013 1:30pm

In reply to Sid Snot:

Yeah, I know. That doesn't really have a lot to do with the article on this page you plainly haven't read, though, which this is the comments thread for. I don't really mind the discussion stretching out a bit, like, but do us the courtesy, eh? If you've got a bee in your bonnet about threats to free speech, you'd be better off taking that up with people who oppose free speech. I don't, I don't attack it in the article on this page you plainly haven't read, and nobody attacks it in the comments which you plainly haven't read.

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John Tatlock
Jan 16, 2013 1:33pm

In reply to Sid Snot:

I'd invite you to consider the irony of being a free speech advocate, who's only interest in joining this thread is an attempt to persuade people to stop discussing something.

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Sid Snot
Jan 16, 2013 1:44pm

"Being concerned for everyone's welfare isn't a barrier to a just society, it's a necessity for a just society." I have a feeling this quote will be remembered. I'm going to end this argument now, as you don't seem to be able to cope with opinions which differ to your own very well, I'm sure a glittering career as a writer awaits you. Bye.

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John Tatlock
Jan 16, 2013 1:49pm

In reply to Sid Snot:

I'm completely happy for people to have opinions different from mine. They can state their view, I can state mine, everyone else can state theirs. Freedom of speech. It seems odd that you on the one hand claim to like free speech, but have defaulted to "I want you to just shut up about this, but I'm not really willing to get into a discussion about it". You are, in actual fact, opposed to free speech, and don't, in actual fact, know what the value of it is.

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John Tatlock
Jan 16, 2013 1:54pm

In reply to John Tatlock:

And unpack it for you, since you obviously haven't thought it through, the real value of free speech, and the best reason to defend it, is because you protect your privilege to hear other viewpoints and learn from them. The right to say what you want comes neatly along with that, but it's not the most valuable part; after all, you already know what you think.

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Gus
Jan 16, 2013 2:33pm

In reply to Franny:

If you had done your homework you would have looked at what Suzanne Moore had written on twitter after she was challenged, but then you're just a ranting lefty imbecile, so i guess we should make allowances.

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John Tatlock
Jan 16, 2013 2:42pm

In reply to Gus:

Are you talking to me?

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John Tatlock
Jan 16, 2013 2:43pm

In reply to Gus:

Ah, sorry, not me. I see. I'm not sure I'd say Franny was notably lefty, from his or her comments.

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Jane Fae
Jan 16, 2013 3:20pm

In reply to emma:

we-ell. I think the best response here is: its complicated...and maybe a simple stand-in is the views of various friends of mine...mostly cis women...on what they'd do if - heaven forfend! - they suffered breast cancer and had to have a mastectomy. Some went: OK...life goes on.

Others stated flat out that losing a breast would be like losing their woman hood and they'd do whatever it took to get an implant...

Ditto trans women...there's a lot of variation. That said, if you really want to dig into this, drop me a line and i'll happily carry on off board its jane at ozimek dot co dot uk .

Don't worry: i don't bite....

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Alice Artemissian
Jan 16, 2013 3:22pm

Anyone who, like @Suzanne_Moore, has more then 29000 followers will get hit with a wall of tweets as soon they make a mistake about something their followers care about. This is not in anyway a "mob" it's the price you pay for having a huge platform to speak too on twitter. Usually most people don't care enough. But when someone starts to shout insults, a lot of people will take this personally. If you don't see the insult then think about this: Was the insult directed at you?

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John Tatlock
Jan 16, 2013 3:29pm

In reply to Alice Artemissian:

I think this is an excellent point. One of the things that has surprised me most is Moore's evident distaste for discourse. If one claims to be engaged with feminist issues (or any issues), and serious about them in anything more than a crassly self-interested fashion, surely discussion and debate is something one would both expect and welcome. There's a sort of resentful, "this is MY band" attitude at the heart of all this. Moore seems to think she should speak and everyone else should shut up and listen. However, that isn't how things are, and she's really going to have to get used to it if she wants to claw back the credibility she's rather sadly squandered over this miserable business.

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Jane Fae
Jan 16, 2013 3:50pm

In reply to John Tatlock:

hmmm...i have a few hundred followers, plus, from time to time, readership spikes when i am writing in the national press. The responses range from the brilliant and erudite to the crude and offensive.

Sometimes...just sometimes...i feel: of, for fuck's sake. because sometimes you are overwhelmed by the sheer stupidity of humanity in general. Usually, when i get that feeling i STEP AWAY FROM THE KEYBOARD!

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John Tatlock
Jan 16, 2013 3:57pm

In reply to Jane Fae:

Just incredibly sad, isn't it? Apparently Burchill was ranting on Facebook last night still that "transsexuals should get to the back of the line". Like they aren't already there. Reposting link to hopefully draw more attention to it: http://sexualitymatters.wordpress.com/2013/01/16/brazilian-transsexual-murdered/

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John Tatlock
Jan 16, 2013 3:58pm

In reply to Jane Fae:

Yeah, exactly. It's not rocket science.

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Yvonne
Jan 16, 2013 6:21pm

The weird "othering" going on is the foundation for this entire thing. While despite Suzanne's outburst and Julie's rant that ended in a veiled or not so unveiled threat against the entire trans community, I don't believe either woman hates transgender women. They are just separated from their issues and therefore feel no responsibility to have empathy. It's ironically the same thing women face around the world from men who think feminism is just women being a bunch of whiners who are overly sensitive.

It's called not acknowledging your privilege and growing up poor still means you have it if you have the luxury of ignoring it altogether and have the luxury of ignoring these issues or saying they need to be at the back.

There is a difference between playing the oppression olympics and a group that legitimately had more to lose than your own. Such as religious, racial, and gender minorities. They cannot play oppression olympics for a person could be a racial, religious, and gender minority all at the same time and face prejudice for all of those all at the same time. That is the whole basis of intersectionality.
That a person can face multiple factions of oppression for various reasons all at the same time and separating them all is impossible. If a black muslim transgender women is faced with hate speech, where does she start figuring out what that person hurling it at her hates the most. Her religion, her gender, or her race?

Which is why facing these issues together within feminism is needed and why white cis women who have privilege have an obligation not an option to care about it.

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John Tatlock
Jan 16, 2013 10:51pm

In reply to Yvonne:

What I can't work out is exactly what the likes of Moore and Burchill actually expect to get. Burchill said on her own Facebook page "transsexuals should get to the back of the line". Putting aside the obvious "what line are you talking about, you batshit crazy loon?" question for a moment, it's fairly safe to assume trans people aren't going to go "OK, Julie, fair enough, we'll get to the back of the line". If you're not arguing for anything that has any remote chance of every happening, you're kind of just blowing wind. And nobody in the history of the world ever has ever willingly said "PICK ME! I want to be second class!"

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John Tatlock
Jan 16, 2013 11:04pm

In reply to John Tatlock:

"Come on black people, be reasonable. Just get to the back of the bus."

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grit bin
Jan 17, 2013 12:07am

In reply to Robin:

well said, Robin.

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Yasmin Lee Pierce
Jan 17, 2013 12:20am

Christ almighty... is this boring thread still going? Reading through it the only conclusion I can draw is that John Tatlock has an ego the size of Jupiter. Or he spends way too much time at Candy Girls. I mean, really - who appointed you judge, jury and executioner? Do you really give this much of a fuck about transsexuals/transgendered people/call them what you will? Or are you - as I suspect - just here to flex your intellectual muscle and show how right-on and clever you are? Give it a break. This'll blow over and in a few weeks time no one will remember this non-debate who the fuck you are until the next thing that offends you. And here's the thing - offense is a by-product of free speech. Deal with it - it happens. And here's my tuppence in the name of free speech: I'll defend transsexuals right to re-align what they want and will accord them respect. Just don't expect me to think that they're women or men. They're not. You can't call yourself a woman unless you bleed once a month and then go through the change. What they are is a third gender, a third sex and this is something that you should take on board rather than looking down that long nose of yours. It takes all sorts to make this world so get over it.

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John Tatlock
Jan 17, 2013 12:45am

In reply to Yasmin Lee Pierce:

I do give that much of a fuck, yes.

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John Tatlock
Jan 17, 2013 12:47am

In reply to Yasmin Lee Pierce:

And I'll tell you something else. I and many others will remember you bigots and your terrible behaviour for a long ass time.

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Yvonne
Jan 17, 2013 1:01am

In reply to Yasmin Lee Pierce:

Yasmin, you are the wrong side of history. Same as the people who denied looking at black people are equal human beings and LGBT people. It's no different. Refusing to address trans gender women and men in the matter most of them prefer is not giving them respect as third gender you claim they are much less as people. I refuse to believe that there is so little empathy in the world and believe there are more people who choose to be inclusive rather than exclusive. Call me a hippie or a naive hopeful but I really believe people like you are embers left over burning from the 20th century after the fire of your relevancy has long been forgotten.

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John Tatlock
Jan 17, 2013 1:13am

In reply to Yvonne:

Indeed. Again, to use the crude analogy: "black people aren't like normal people, they're separate". History shows how lucky people got with that position. My position is simple; if you oppose equality for all, in any way shape or form, then I oppose you.

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Johanna-Alice Cooke
Jan 17, 2013 1:45am

Thank you so much for writing this. Saying I'm a woman who's transitioned should tell you everything you need to know about why.

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Oliver
Jan 17, 2013 4:38am

In reply to Chal Ravens:

I agree with almost everything you say although the tactics which political activists use when enforcing semantic disputes is utterly reprehensible.

I grew up in the late 70s and have African foster brothers who I love dearly. I have had more than one relationship with black women and one relationship with a black transvestite and for the past 15 years I have exclusively dated trans women. I'm currently in a LTR with an Asian trans woman.

In my life the acceptable terminology which is used to describe different minorities has changed numerous times. In the 80s half caste was the respectable terminology used to describe mixed race people.

It was so accepted that mixed race people and liberal left wing ideologues used the term themselves.

Sometime in the mid 90s there was a change in the zeitgeist and "half caste" was replaced with "mixed race" but no memo was sent. Yet anyone found still using the term "half caste" was run out of town like a representative of the KKK.

Despite being a man who cross dresses and exclusively dates trans women it was only through reading this article that I realised that the word "transsexual" had been written off the list of acceptable words.

Five years ago I would have told people that "tranny" is offensive and you should use the word "transsexual" but now I realise that the zeitgeist has shifted and I am in violation of the new laws.

Once again no memo was sent yet trans activists are patrolling the internet ready to pounce on anyone breaking the new language rules.

And when they find an offender they don't politely explain why one term has replaced another they scream BIGOT

It's crazy to call people bigots for using outdated terminology, it's hyper sensitivity and it manifests as bullying.

The way that we decide what language is acceptable or not is arbitrary and parochial yet activists feel it is ok to hound people (sometimes out of careers) over semantics. In England to use the word transsexual is bigotry and in Thailand trans women themselves refer to themselves as ladyboys.

My partner is a highly educated and accomplished person who is well aware of her rights and in no doubt about her status as a human being deserving of respect yet she identifies as either a transsexual or ladyboy. Does that make her transphobic?

The politically correct police really need to calm the feck down.

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Yvonne
Jan 17, 2013 4:54am

In reply to Oliver:

I understand your feelings but this really isn't about language so much in what was said. The fact that Felipa Tavares wasn't even referred to by her name but in vague terms and positioned as the reason women feel bad about their bodies was pinning over a century of fashion pushing women into terrible roles on a single woman and since Suzanne nor Julie see them as women the underlying issue is why. The question then becomes muddled. Do they hate trans women if they don't even consider them women or is it that because they identify them as men it becomes okay to assume they have male privilege and therefore paint them as part and parcel of the patriarchy? The issues here are complex and parsing them down simply to how language evolves seems a little too simplistic to be true. Certainly that's one aspect of it but since the tone of the initial article was rife with racial tones as well, it's certainly not the crux of the problem. In my opinion only of course.

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John Tatlock
Jan 17, 2013 10:30am

In reply to Yvonne:

Moore's back at it in the Guardian today, with another plain dishonest version of events. She's running with the "free speech" angle, thus ducking the issue entirely. Dreadful.

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Sean
Jan 17, 2013 11:08am

In reply to John Doran:

Hi John, I've always considered Burchill to be a professional troll, and this sort of nonsense is her meat and potatoes. Best ignored along with all the amateur trolls IMHO, as the controversy serves only to set up her next pay cheque in the shock-journo business. That's not to say she shouldn't be criticised, rather that it is important to deliver this criticism in a way that doesn't inflame the situation and build her reputation.

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John Tatlock
Jan 17, 2013 11:33am

In reply to Sean:

I suspect that at this point in time, Burchill's reputation is fairly fixed. Berks think she's dead good at winding up all the lefties or whatever, sensible people aren't interested in her at all. There's not going to be much movement in the size of either group, I don't think.

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Alice Denny
Jan 17, 2013 12:08pm

Nicely done. I too had thought "benefit of the doubt" about the Suzanne Moore comment and , not being a fan of Twitter, had not seen the politely reasoned argument that had "hounded" Ms Moore from Twitter. In fact she seems to have painted herself into a corner. And I agree that J.B. seems to have merely grabbed the opportunity to relieve herself of some long held bile. It is hard to express how I felt on reading the "original" article, reprinted in "Made in Brighton" This goes far further than mere "offence" J.B's article is an insult to all women everywhere. And it is heartwarming to discover our sisters and brothers expressing their solidarity.. Alice

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jonanamary
Jan 17, 2013 4:11pm

In reply to Yasmin Lee Pierce:

Fuck you, seriously, fuck you with your "bleeding = WOMAN" nonsense. I have a cis female friend who has never menstruated because she was born without a vagina. She has ovaries but no vagina. If you're saying that my dear friend isn't actually a "woman", because of some biological nonsense, I will tell you to fuck off forever, you ignorant, insulting jackass. Being a woman is about SO MUCH MORE than our reproductive organs, and to think otherwise is simplistic at best, woefully and embarrassingly narrow-minded by all other interpretations.

Biology is not destiny. Ever hear that saying? Because it seems to me that you're saying that biology IS destiny! Trans* women ARE women. So once again, kindly fuck off forever.

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Zoe Brain
Jan 17, 2013 5:33pm

In reply to John Tatlock:

Re: Free Speech Angle -- From Suzanne Moore's Twitter -- suzanne moore @ Read this piece of shit and Pink News will hear from my lawyers in the morning : http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2013/01/16/reports-brazilian-transwoman-shot-dead/ -- Source : https://twitter.com/suzanne_moore/status/291678911937515520 -- Freedom of Speech for me, but not for thee, you silly she-males.

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Yasmin Lee Pierce
Jan 17, 2013 9:08pm

In reply to jonanamary:

No, they're not women. They're transsexuals, transgendered, call it what you will. A third sex. But definitely not women. And so many women agree. And by the way, your reaction of 'fuck you' etc just goes to show what a braying collection of packdogs you really are.

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Yasmin Lee Pierce
Jan 17, 2013 9:12pm

In reply to jonanamary:

And one more thing: this whole debate is the playground of a small minority sitting around engaging in an intellectual circle jerk. This means nothing to people with real problems - unemployment, paying rent, having benefits cut off etc. This is a load of bourgeois toss and well you know it.

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Yvonne
Jan 17, 2013 9:46pm

In reply to Yasmin Lee Pierce:

Yes, you indicated in your first response how "boring" this was to you, yet here you are writing several more comments contributing to the "boring" "circle jerk" (ugh, can we not use sexist gross terms please?) If all this intellectualism is boring for you then person you can find a better use of your time. Some of us can actually be interested in intellectual exchanges and still find time to be involved in causes but by all means if you aren't that ambidextrous then you have acknowledged your limits. Don't assume, however, that everybody shares them.

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Yvonne
Jan 17, 2013 9:48pm

In reply to jonanamary:

I really don't know what hurling curse words achieves here. Emotion I understand but really saying "fuck you" isn't an argument.

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keith serle
Jan 17, 2013 11:27pm

In reply to Robin:

Can't believe I made it as far as your comment Robin but I was hoping someone would explain the "transsexual" / "trans woman" / "trans man" issue and I think you've done it well. I would contend though that in the context of Moore's article the fact that she was referring to the stereotypical image of an extremely "buff" and "attractive" trans woman was obvious. Of course what followed on Twitter raised a totally different argument which is what the above article is about but I do think the word police were wrong originally- oops that makes me into a word police officer as well!

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elizabeth Veldon
Jan 18, 2013 3:02am

if anyone's interested i've began publishing a series of works by trans, gender variant and genderqueer artists on my bandcamp.

for the foreseeable future i will publish only works like this.

this will be a chance for our voices to be heard: http://blackcirclerecords.bandcamp.com/

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elizabeth Veldon
Jan 18, 2013 3:06am

In reply to Yasmin Lee Pierce:

'You can't call yourself a woman unless you bleed once a month and then go through the change. '

what you're only a woman after 'the change'?

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Oliver
Jan 18, 2013 4:06am

I think Burchill and Moore are awful bigots but I deplore this censorious culture and semantic bullying.

I am a cross dressing man who is in a LTR with a trans woman and grew up with African foster brothers. I believe in equality for all and deplore any kind of hatred based on identity, race, gender or sexuality.

Despite that all I have to do is use the wrong kind of terminology to refer to a person of colour, woman or trans woman and I will be roundly accused of bigotry. This reflex to police our language and punish those who make semantic mistakes -or god forbid disavow political correctness altogether- is illogical and dare I say tyrannical.

When I was a child I went to a school which had about 50% ethnic minority attendance. Mixed race kids were referred to and referred to themselves as "half caste" It wasn't considered racist it was the accepted terminology for mixed race people. Sometime in the 90s there was a shift in the zeitgeist and people discontinued using the term "half caste"

I believe this to be a logical and positive step forwards but the way that anti racism activists enforced this semantic shift was to denounce and hound (sometimes out of jobs) anyone who didn't get the memo.

A teacher who used the term "half caste" in 1988 wasn't racist but a teacher who said it in 1993 could be drummed out of their job as surely as a member of the KKK.

For the past 15 years I have exclusively dated "trans women" and always been told that the polite terminology to use was "transsexual"

Now I read this article and I find that not only has there been another shift in the zeitgeist but that people who use the term "transsexual" (The preferred terminology just a few years ago) are not being politely corrected but are being enthusiastically accused of transphobia.

Not only is this wrong (because that would make my partner transphobic as she refers to herself as a transsexual) it is incredibly parochial.

Only in the West are skins so thin that mere semantics can cause such offence and egos so large that people can be vilified and silenced for the words they choose regardless of intent.

In Thailand (the most liberated country in the world for trans women) Trans women routinely and proudly refer to themselves as ladyboys and no one thinks this is a form of bigotry or oppression.

I have to say unless someone is intentionally attacking you with these words you really have no right to be bullying people for the language they use.

Just calm the feck down.

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Oliver
Jan 18, 2013 7:40am

In reply to Oliver:

Ooops computer troubles! I didn't realise my previous comment was published. Sorry for the repetition. At least part 2 was better worded :)

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Zoe Brain
Jan 18, 2013 8:17am

In reply to keith serle:

The person taking Moore to task originally wasn't Trans though. It was a fellow cis-Feminist.

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Oliver
Jan 18, 2013 8:24am

In reply to Zoe Brain:

Well it doesn't matter who is policing our words. Be it radical feminists, trans activists or anti racism activists they all regularly use vilification and bullying to enforce semantic taboos and demand censorship.

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Oliver
Jan 18, 2013 10:03am

This is the problem with turning a genuine desire to seek equality into a political ideology. For instance once the opposition to racism became ideological it became dogmatic and inquisitional. Activists sought to detect hidden racism in the words people used and created illogical dogmas about all black people being incapable of racism and all white people guilty as charged.

These dogmas and desire to rout out racism -no matter how minor- then got turned on people who would consider themselves supporters of the anti racism movement but were not ideologically pure enough.

The same has happened with feminism.

I think the vast majority of people could get behind the dictionary definition of feminism, which is the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes but feminism has become so much more. To be acceptable in the mainstream feminist movement you MUST believe in things like the patriarchy, rape culture, the strict policing of language and take a puritanical line on sex, sex work and porn.

Feminists who disagree with the dogmas and puritanical streak are routinely written of as misogynists or gender traitors regardless of whether they believe in equality or not.

I can see the same things happening with trans activism and it's not healthy. In the long run it only serves to drive people away from the cause rather than recruit.

Activists who are seeking genuine equality for a minority would do a much better job if they spent their energies fighting real inequalities and injustices instead of the minor offence caused by words most of which are not even being spoken with malicious intent.

I don't know if anyone has noticed but there is currently a rift in the atheist/skeptic movement. On one side you have radical feminists saying that the movement should be focusing on stopping men from using potentially offensive language or "objectifying" women by finding them attractive and on the other side you have people saying that these are petty concerns and we should be focusing on the genuine oppression of women in the third world.

The feminists are currently shunning and denouncing anyone who dares to disagree with them as misogynistic bastards. Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris and posthumously Christopher Hitchens have all been declared persona non grata by the feminist inquisitors within the atheist ranks.
The whole debacle has made the atheist/skeptic movement look like a shambles and the feminists look like selfish narcissistic nutters.

Lets hope trans activism can avoid being dogmatic and inquisitional in the way anti racists and feminists have become..

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John Tatlock
Jan 18, 2013 10:21am

In reply to Oliver:

Hi Oliver. I'm not sure this is really true: "Despite that all I have to do is use the wrong kind of terminology to refer to a person of colour, woman or trans woman and I will be roundly accused of bigotry." It's certainly not what happened in this case. You actually have to behave considerably badly for people to readily come to the "bigot" conclusion. I have to ask: are you speaking in the theoritical, or do you actually find yourself getting called a bigot a lot? I'm assuming the former.

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Jan 18, 2013 10:53am

In reply to John Tatlock:

Hello John. I'm speaking from experience. In the past I was accused of racism for using the term "half caste"
That's how I found out the term was no longer in use. Recently I have been accused of misogyny for pushing back against the feminist word police and disagreeing with the idea that men finding women attractive and "objectifying/sexualising" them is an act of misogyny worthy of combating.

I think it is quite easy to get yourself denounced by activists as their zeal tends to eclipse logic. All you have to do is disagree with them or use language they deem is offensive.

Here is an example of this zealotry and willingness to accuse even the most sympathetic of people of bigotry. Have a read and tell me what you make of this.

http://uberfeminist.blogspot.com/2012/12/dont-talk-about-sexism.html

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Oliver
Jan 18, 2013 11:09am

In reply to :

Another fine example of hyper sensitivity and inquisitorial reflex.

http://www.freezepage.com/1358071293IXDYVBIMGT

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elizabeth Veldon
Jan 18, 2013 11:30am

In reply to Oliver:

'To be acceptable in the mainstream feminist movement you MUST believe in things like the patriarchy, rape culture, the strict policing of language and take a puritanical line on sex, sex work and porn.'

um no you don't - i am not anti-pon or anti-sex worker but i do believe in patriarchal oppression, rape culture and the need to examine language

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John Tatlock
Jan 18, 2013 11:54am

In reply to :

I dunno, Oliver, I don't mean to be flippant, but that just sounds to me like you need to find some less uptight friends to hang out with.

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John Tatlock
Jan 18, 2013 11:57am

I think the last time I fell foul of "accidentally using a term that I hadn't realised was offensive" was about five or six years ago. People told me it was offensive, which is handy to know, because, you know, I don't particularly want to offend people. I struggle to see these things being pointed out as some kind of oppression.

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Yvonne
Jan 18, 2013 12:10pm

In reply to John Tatlock:

Agreed. Language always has evolved and if it didn't we here across the pond would probably still be using the n word and referring to native americans as indians. Both terms of course were given to people from outside of their culture. That's why language evolves. It's not okay to have the terms of a people defined by people who are not in that culture. That by textbook definition is oppression and I fail to see how breaking that cycle, that has been the reason for cultural, racial, and civil wars, as a bad thing.

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Yvonne
Jan 18, 2013 12:12pm

In reply to John Tatlock:

Forgive me if that is worded poorly. I've been up all night with an ill pet.

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Jan 18, 2013 1:18pm

In reply to elizabeth Veldon:

Ok so sexual puritanism isn't a must but not believing in the patriarchy, semantic bullying, rape culture and many other dogmas is enough to get one roundly denounced by most feminists.

The point isn't that there are different schools of feminism it's that for many feminists (anti racism activists, trans activists etc) being for equality isn't enough.
You have to believe that even in Western nations women are oppressed, if you think skeptically about this claim you are accused of being a denialist, an enabler of rape culture and a misogynist.

It's cult like behavior.

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Oliver
Jan 18, 2013 1:34pm

In reply to John Tatlock:

That's the point John it's not ones friends who accuse you of bigotry over a semantic dispute it's radical feminists, anti racism campaigners etc who work in government, education and are active online policing speech and thought.
You are denying this is an issue yet I gave you two links with perfect examples of how in one instance a feminist running a survey on misogyny in the skeptic community was accused of transphobia for soliciting genetic female responses only and another where this limerick

There was a young lady called Buckle
Who lived life with calmness and chill
Until she dealt with a banker
who was a real wanker
and she ended up feeling quite ill.

Was strangely enough to get someone banned from a forum for "sexual harassment"

To deny that this stuff happens is just silly.

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John Tatlock
Jan 18, 2013 1:39pm

In reply to Oliver:

I'm not denying it happens at all. I suppose I'm asking whether it's a real pressing problem, or something a bit minor going on at the fringes. Genuine question, I honestly don't know. It's not the kind of thing I personally encounter much of, but that doesn't mean much, I'll grant.

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John Tatlock
Jan 18, 2013 1:55pm

In reply to John Tatlock:

Thinking about it some more, I'll throw this in. I'm all for discourse and debate and discussion. So if someone is to say to me "hey, those terms you're using are nasty", for example, I take that at face value to be their point of view. If I don't agree, I'd explain why I don't agree. And around we'd go. And maybe they'd convince me, or I'd convince them, or whatever other outcome. I think somebody would actually have to taping up my mouth before I got all "you're shutting down debate" about it. I'd rather err on the side of assuming that what people say is what they actually mean, rather than a tactic, at least as a starting point.

Now, I know this isn't necessarily a confidence everyone has, and I'm not unsympathetic to that. But I'm not quite sure how else debate could work. If someone calls you a bigot, and you're certain you're not, you can thrash it out with them, and explain why you're not. Sure, it's not the nicest thing to be accused of, but everyone standing around HOW DARE YOU-ing is not any kind of useful conversation.

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elizabeth Veldon
Jan 18, 2013 1:59pm

In reply to :

so you say you're a feminist but deny the oppression of the patriarchy?

well that's not feminism

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Oliver
Jan 18, 2013 2:07pm

In reply to elizabeth Veldon:

I didn't say I was a feminist. I said I was for equality for all of humanity. I'm a humanist so no I don't believe that Western women are labouring under the yolk of patriarchal oppression.

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John Tatlock
Jan 18, 2013 2:22pm

In reply to Oliver:

I think that's a non sequitur. I'd describe myself as a humanist, and I think western women *are* dealing with patriarchal oppression. There's a discussion to be had about the forms and extent of that, if you like, but it seems rather hasty to dismiss it out of hand.

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Oliver
Jan 18, 2013 2:25pm

In reply to John Tatlock:

Well it is all about perspective I suppose. I'm coming at this as someone who grew up in a highly politicized environment where my teachers and youth workers and parents were involved in any number of causes from Greenham Common to the ANC. Also I consider myself part of the atheist/skeptic community which is ironically suffering from one of the most militant, inquisitous, irrational and dogmatic strains of feminism I have ever encountered.

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John Tatlock
Jan 18, 2013 2:34pm

In reply to Oliver:

Hmm. I think you might be overstating the case there. I would define those camps in skeptisim - like the loopier end of the Atheism Plus lot - as definitely fringe. I'm friends with the people who run Greater Manchester Skeptics society and the QED conference, and I've not seen *any* of that stuff there.
You can find a lunatic fringe to anything. That's not a reason to dismiss the mainstream of a thing along with it.

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elizabeth Veldon
Jan 18, 2013 2:43pm

In reply to Oliver:

funny, i thought the atheist community where suffering from a number of members who thought threatening feminists with rape was ok but, as john says, this isn't a problem for most.

sorry but you really are not doing your arguments much good and are sounding rather dogmatic

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John Tatlock
Jan 18, 2013 3:35pm

In reply to elizabeth Veldon:

In other news, Moore has finally blocked me on Twitter. I'm being silenced! Censorship! Or something.

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Philip
Jan 18, 2013 7:59pm

This:

"[A] call for solidarity that demands that some of the group just shut up about their trivial, second-class, not-proper-people issues is just plain not a call for solidarity. It’s a call for people to align themselves in a way that serves Moore’s priorities first."

Thank you. In this case, I'd suggest it's also a call for those people to be silenced and intimidated if they won't collude in their own abuse, but I guess 'nasty idiotic tripe' probably catches that.

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elizabeth Veldon
Jan 18, 2013 9:02pm

In reply to John Tatlock:

she blocked me days ago.

i think she finally took offence when she said everyone should forgot about this and go out dancing.

i said no clubs round here will let transpeople in and anyway if i'm around drunk people someone normally takes a swing at me.

perhaps she wasn't interested in my lived experience?

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John Tatlock
Jan 18, 2013 9:11pm

In reply to elizabeth Veldon:

Well, I guess we already knew that.
You know, I'm straight, white, male, and I'm not all *that* well read on gender theory. I'm just trying to get through life without being a horrible cruel asshole. I dunno why some people are struggling so much with that; it's really not difficult.

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elizabeth Veldon
Jan 18, 2013 9:13pm

In reply to John Tatlock:

trying not to be an arshhole is 3/4 of the battle.

i didn't thank you before for not thinking you knew what would and would not offend transpeople like so many commentators on this have, it was refreshing.

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keith serle
Jan 18, 2013 9:55pm

In reply to Zoe Brain:

Yeah, but that wasn't the point I was making.

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elizabeth Veldon
Jan 18, 2013 10:02pm

In reply to keith serle:

what was your point?

moore abused people on a public forum for daring to challenge her and did just the same thing here

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Yvonne
Jan 18, 2013 10:14pm

In reply to elizabeth Veldon:

I'm sorry somebody wouldn't listen to your first hand experience. That's why I've wanted to hear more directly from trans women and men about this because while trans women where their target they at the same time completely erased the existence of trans men (another problematic aspect of this whole ordeal) and I wanted to hear directly from people who live it. I went to my feminist message board and realized that several trans women I know were so extremely upset by the later comments made by Moore and completely horrified by Burchill's comments a couple of them were triggered by it.

I felt like I should apologize on behalf of all cis women that any of us could make them feel that way. It's not right. It's just not right. Nothing could ever make it okay. It's not okay for Moore, Burchill, or any other journalists and writers sitting high aloft their comfortable lives to be throwing down verbal spears at people who already struggle just navigating spaces everyday that cis people tell them they aren't welcome in.

I am not perfect but I hope to hell I have never made anybody feel that way and I hope if I have they correct my ass real fast about it. We were not put on this Earth to dehumanize and victimize each other.

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elizabeth Veldon
Jan 18, 2013 10:25pm

In reply to Yvonne:

there is no need to apologise :-)

yea - moore and jb completely erased transmen. still, everyone does so hardly anything new.

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keith serle
Jan 18, 2013 11:21pm

In reply to elizabeth Veldon:

My point was the point I made earlier in the thread. That, even if Moore hates trans women, the original usage of the term transsexual Brazilian was probably successful for the majority of readers to create the idea of an idealised body image of a "beautiful" woman. Subsequent to my post someone else (hey it might even have been you elizabeth - but I suspect it might have been Robin (again)) has explained for the likes of me - who don't often come across articles or debates about transgender issues - why the comment about brazilian transsexuals could be seen as a barbed comment about the authenticity of a transsexuals' gender status and that was why Moore chose to use it rather than say 'Barbie-girl'.

I get that you feel someone who is supposedly nuanced in the issues and semantics of gender-politics should come under greater scrutiny and criticism. However, I find it sad and counterproductive that often people who are genuinely so far removed from the issues, but want to care and find out more, are barracked for making a comment that merely reveals their lack of knowledge or proximity to the issue. I think that's maybe what Oliver was trying to say as well but to be honest I haven't read every single comment because I only have so much time in a day and if I'm honest I'm more focused on listening to the new Moon Duo album when I'm not changing nappies or feeding my toddlers - and to be honest therein probably lies a large part of the problem of getting gender issues properly considered by 99% of the population.

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John Tatlock
Jan 19, 2013 12:02am

In reply to elizabeth Veldon:

Elizabeth: thanks for that. I'm no expert in these things, and I'm aware I could easily come across as what someone above accused me of: not giving a shit really, and just flattering my own ego. I really don't want to do that, and if you and others had told me I was not getting this right, I'd have left it alone.

My interest in this is a fairly simple humanitarian one. I can't see any reason at all why trans people should be treated with any less respect than any other human being. I will readily confess to not being all that up on the finer points of gender discussion. But if anyone's being needlessly abused, then in whatever small way I can help fight that, I'll do it. Ain't no thing, and I don't want a medal for it or anything.

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John Tatlock
Jan 19, 2013 12:07am

In reply to keith serle:

Keith Keith Keith... look, I don;t want to be rude, but there's a "keep up" aspect to this. Almost nobody thinks the "brazillian transsexuals" thing is the real problem. Indeed, the article at the top of this page goes over that very point in some detail. I'm not claiming to be the authority on this subject or anything, but come on, man, do us the courtesy of informing yourself about this. We're a week in, there's a LOT of information out there.

In fact, don't read my article, read Lindy West's. She makes the same point, but she's cleverer and funnier than me:

http://jezebel.com/5975828/transphobia-is-a-goddamn-embarrassment-to-us-all

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Oliver
Jan 19, 2013 1:26am

In reply to elizabeth Veldon:

That is a perfect example of what I have been talking about Elizabeth. There are Western feminists telling us the atheist community in the West is a dangerously misogynistic culture. We sceptically ask; they bristle then cite the fact that some blokes make clumsy propositions and they receive a lot of internet nasty trolling.
We say that doesn't equate to persecution as being chatted up at an inappropriate time is not misogyny and we all have to deal with wanky comments on the internet.
What do you do Elizabeth?
You accuse us of thinking making rape threats are A OK. That is a perfect example of the hysterical vilification of which I speak.

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elizabeth Veldon
Jan 19, 2013 1:32am

In reply to Oliver:

ah elevatorgate...

have you looked at they youtube video? have you seen the rape threat after rape threat? i'm not making this shit up.

or, in my own experience, try here: https://soundcloud.com/doodshoofd/stirner-take-your-pretentious and here: https://soundcloud.com/doodshoofd/stirner-too-ugly-to-fvck-too

there was another exchange, now deleted from twitter, where an artist i agrued over language with had a two day long conversation about wither i was fuckable and if i still had a dick then there where the death threats...if a woman opens her mouth your told to shut it or else.

you can seal yourself off from that if you want but it's real, to deny it is to take part in it.

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John Tatlock
Jan 19, 2013 1:35am

In reply to Oliver:

Hang on there, Elizabeth hasn't accused YOU of anything. She's factually correct that there's been a lot of fuss in SkepticWorld about this stuff. You're plainly engaged with it, so you *know* that's true. But that's all she's saying. There's no accusation.

You're indulging in the very definition of a strawman argument. You're not debating what people are actually saying. You're debating a fictional weakest possible version of our position. If you can just let go of that for a minute, you'll see there's not that large a disagreement between us. You don't like unreasonable people? Cool, neither do I, and neither does Elizabeth, or any of the other people who've stuck with this conversation for the last few days.

Come on, have a go at meeting us half way and see what happens. You might like it.

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Oliver
Jan 19, 2013 1:49am

In reply to keith serle:

Elizabeth makes a damn fine point about the exclusion of trans men. They never seem to factor into any debates. Perhaps that is because they tend to blend into the general population in a way that many trans women don't. Many of the trans women I know enjoy playing up their femininity and sexuality. They love to put on a show and be proudly provocative and masculinity just doesn't lend itself to that. So I assume the fact that trans men don't get a mention is because trans men just don't feature on peoples radar. After 15 years of actively seeking out trans women I can safely say I have met thousands but I have never knowingly met a trans man. So I don't think the fact that trans men are absent from the debate is any sign of bigotry it's just that there seem to be far fewer trans men than trans women and they tend to be far less noticeable.

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elizabeth Veldon
Jan 19, 2013 1:52am

In reply to keith serle:

a potter version: moore made a throw away comment in an otherwise good article.

an admirer on twitter said they enjoyed the article but that the throw away comment could be seen as racist and transphobic. moore responded by exploding, calling all transpeople names and telling everyone to 'fuck off.'

she then published an article in the guardian claiming she was a victim of a vicious mob, that trans activists didn't care about government cuts, that we all aped outdated versions of femininity and so on.

she got further and further into a slagging match on twitter and then stormed off claiming she had received endless death threats (really about five from what i understand which is pretty good going for twitter in my experience)

jb then published this...thing in the observer and here we are.

ironically just as moore stormed off twitter news came in that another brazilian transwoman had been killed - the 'body' became a hideous, bloody pun - and still moore claimed victimhood even threatening pink news with censure for printing the story about the brazilian transwoman and mentioning the controversy.

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elizabeth Veldon
Jan 19, 2013 1:55am

In reply to Oliver:

i've always argued it's because they where born female therefore are of lesser importance as a result but i often get looked at like i'm mad for saying so.

i assure you i and most of my trans friends are not sexualised, not showy, not provocative. we just want a quiet life.

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elizabeth Veldon
Jan 19, 2013 1:58am

In reply to elizabeth Veldon:

i should clarify: i'm not condoning what some people did on twitter and the later tweeting of moore's location was completely unforgivable.

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Oliver
Jan 19, 2013 2:19am

In reply to John Tatlock:

Elizabeth hasn't accused me of anything? "to deny it is to take part in it."

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Oliver
Jan 19, 2013 2:38am

Nice work Elizabeth.
"a potter version: Watson made a throw away comment in an otherwise good video.
People on youtube said they enjoyed the video but that the throw away comment could be seen as hysterical misandry. Watson responded by exploding and saying that she was oppressed and anyone who disagreed was a sexist pig. Because she was being deliberately confrontational and hysterical people started criticising her on the internet and she received some really nasty trolling.
She then took the genuine criticism and the the internet trolls comments on the road as evidence of our dangerously misogynistic culture.
People continued to criticise her pointing out that internet trolls didn't represent our community or the wider population for whom rape threats were anathema and that we all had to deal with internet trolls and as an educated Western woman she really was one of the least oppressed classes of human beings in the history of mankind.
Then her and her supporters accused her critics of being sexism denialists, rape culture enablers and misogynists and sought to get people sacked from jobs and ostracised from polite society. The witch hunt had begun and from then on anyone who disagreed with the radical feminists in our midst were written of as supporters of rape culture" :)

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John Tatlock
Jan 19, 2013 2:54am

In reply to Oliver:

Oliver, you seem to me to bending over backwards to find to things to fall out with us about. I dunno why. None of the things that you' re telling us you don't like are things we're doing. I think it's fair to go suggest you take these issues up with the people actually raising them.
In the meantime, and I honestly don't mean to be in any way confrontational, but what are you looking for here, from the actual people you're in this conversation with? I'm really puzzled. What are we doing that's displeasing you, and what should we be doing instead that would please you?
Please forgive me if I'm wrong, but it feels like you're determined to have an argument with people who don't have any beef with you. What are you driving at? Honest question.

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Jan 19, 2013 2:57am

In reply to John Tatlock:

Also; that paraphrasing thing you've done there is a bit rude, really, isn't it? Come on, have a conversation.

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Oliver
Jan 19, 2013 3:03am

In reply to elizabeth Veldon:

Elizabeth said
"i've always argued it's because they where born female therefore are of lesser importance as a result but i often get looked at like i'm mad for saying so"
I think this is totally wrong you are doing what most activists tend to do which is to search for the underlying subconscious misogyny. It is this reflex to hunt down subconscious misogyny which makes Feminism so toxic because even people who want gender equality can fall foul of the feminist thought police.
Elizabeth also said
"i assure you i and most of my trans friends are not sexualised, not showy, not provocative. we just want a quiet life"
I agree most of us want a quiet life. I didn't say all trans women were overtly sexual exhibitionists but to deny that many trans women are is to deny the obvious. My partner is one of the least sexualised people I know. She prefers sensible clothing and flat shoes to short skirts, g-strings and ultra high heels but my ex partner was a 6ft+ trans woman who wore tantalisingly provocative clothes and loved to be the centre of attention. Be it good or bad she was all about being proudly trans and proudly sexual. In my experience there are many trans women like this and obviously it attracts attention. Masculinity just doesn't lend itself to such exhibitionism therefore trans men are as a result less noticeable. This has nothing to do with any subconscious misogyny, it has everything to do with biology making human femininity more showy. Female homo-sapiens are the peacocks with the beautiful plumage and male homo-sapiens are the birds with the dull grey pigeon like plumage. It's not sexism or transphobia it's biology.

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Oliver
Jan 19, 2013 3:15am

In reply to John Tatlock:

I apologise if I'm being confrontational John. I don't mean to be. I made my point about semantic bullying, thought policing and the inquisitional nature of many a left wing activist and you denied there was an issue. Then Elizabeth chimed in by confirming many of the points I made. I have just been pointing out the obvious. Movements for equality tend to become political ideologies then form unscientific dogmas and attack other equality seekers as ideologically impure.

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Oliver
Jan 19, 2013 3:19am

In reply to John Tatlock:

PS: I would also like to say I loved your article. Good work John :)

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Oliver
Jan 19, 2013 3:24am

PPS: I don't agree with censorship but Somegreybloke has been arguing that it's the self censorship of the editorial process which should have weeded out Burchill's piece as surely as a Nick Griffin screed on Muslims would have been plucked from the Observer editorial meeting. I have a lot of respect for his view. Check his funny and thoughtful piece and video.
http://somegreybloke.blogspot.com.es/2013/01/an-open-letter-to-toby-young.html
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6X6gQzDl1Q4

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John Tatlock
Jan 19, 2013 3:35am

In reply to Oliver:

I'm not upset or anything. I just can't work out what your point is, or what you're looking for here.

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Oliver
Jan 19, 2013 3:37am

In reply to John Tatlock:

I'm just someone with a differing POV who is part of the debate old bean :) Are my views not welcome here?

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John Tatlock
Jan 19, 2013 3:40am

In reply to Oliver:

They're entirely welcome. I'm just saying you've lost me... I don't understand what you're on about, or what you're after. This might be my fault, of course. I just don't know.

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Oliver
Jan 19, 2013 4:29am

In reply to John Tatlock:

I'm not after anything and my posts are just my opinion. As someone who believes deeply in equality for all people I realise the damage which is done to that cause by partisan minority factions bullying their dogmatic ideology on to others. I think this is a legitimate concern and relates to the conversation created by your article.

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elizabeth Veldon
Jan 19, 2013 10:26am

In reply to Oliver:

and hee's whee we pat company.

thee is no such thing as misandry because women do not have th power in society to organise it in such a way as to make men's lifes hell.

i have to admit that i don't see what you're after here either.

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elizabeth Veldon
Jan 19, 2013 10:32am

In reply to Oliver:

ok olive then explain why they not only don't get attention in the wider culture but also within the community, why they don't get the same access to services, why they don't et the same treatment options.

is that masculinity? given the amount of men i see campaigning i doubt it so we have to think why this is and them being seen as women rather than men is the obvious answer.

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EmmaJane
Jan 19, 2013 12:07pm

This was a very good article, thank you John.

I'm really saddened by Suzanne Moore's inability to engage constructively in this disagreement - I can't help wishing the whole interaction had gone more like this:

1. Suzanne publishes article with statement about women being shamed for not having the "ideal" body of "a Brazilian transexual"

2. Jonanamary tweets "I liked your piece, Suzanne, but I didn't like the transphobia"

3. Suzanne tweets back "thanks, glad you enjoyed the article. Why did you consider it to be transphobic?"

4. Jonanamary: "Well, trans women are often subject to violence and abuse purely because their bodies don't "fit" into some people's ideas of what femininity should be. This is particularly the case in Brazil, where 265 trans people have been murdered in the last twelve months."

5. Suzanne tweets back "@jonanamary: that's horrific, thanks for letting me know, I am truly sorry for any offence I may have caused, that was not my intention."

6. The next day, Suzanne publishes this in a column in Guardian: "In my recent article on women's anger, I made a throwaway comment about the "ideal body" as represented by Brazilian trans women. A subsequent conversation on twitter has alerted me that this statement was insensitive, and for this I apologise. More importantly, I was alerted to the brutal cruelty that many transgender people are currently being subjected to both in Brazil and around the world... (thoughtful, informative piece follows)"

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Oliver
Jan 19, 2013 3:27pm

In reply to elizabeth Veldon:

I concede Elizabeth, you are right; the evil patriarchy is oppressing Western women and crushing trans men under their iron heel. REVOLUTION!!!!
It might look like Western women have been liberated but actually all those middle class female journalists, scientists, politicians and teachers are being crushed under the weight of the patriarchy.
It's all oppression.
Oppression I tells ya.
All those heterosexual men oppressing women with their sexual attraction and disregarding trans men merely because they were born women.
Oppression.
You are right to be angry because you are a VICTIM
Revolution...
Ahhhhhhh

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John Tatlock
Jan 19, 2013 3:48pm

In reply to Oliver:

So is your contention that equality for women is already fully achieved?

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Yvonne
Jan 19, 2013 3:53pm

In reply to Oliver:

I don't think mocking people's beliefs is constructive, do you Oliver? If you have something to say by all means share it but just mocking for the sake of mocking adds nothing and doesn't do your credibility any favors. It's obvious you don't agree with Elizabeth but maybe instead of just being sarcastic, you can actually give facts or reasons of your own about you beliefs that differ from hers and why. The mere fact some women have achieved success in business is not exactly proof the patriarchy isn't oppressive. People can achieve success even in the most oppressive of regimes. It doesn't make them any less oppressive. If it were true that oppression equals 100% poverty for everybody living under it, revolutions would happen more often. The reason oppression especially in the western world is so dangerous is that it's not in your face about it. It's like racism now. It's still there. It's just subverted, hidden, coated in nicety, and therefore harder to spot and easier to ignore. That doesn't make it less prevalent. Just better at being cloaked.

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John Tatlock
Jan 19, 2013 4:08pm

In reply to Yvonne:

You could probably argue it was less prevalent than in the past; that there's less of it about. I think that probably stands up. But what they doesn't mean is that there's any less of a problem where it does happen. Oliver seems to be batting at a sort of "come on ladies, you've got enough liberation to shut up and smile about it now". The irony.

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Oliver
Jan 19, 2013 4:33pm

In reply to John Tatlock:

No I don't believe equality is fully achieved but equally I don't believe Western women are labouring under the yolk of patriarchal oppression.

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Oliver
Jan 19, 2013 4:39pm

In reply to Yvonne:

If someones beliefs are leading to the vilification of good people yet lack any solid evidence then they are worthy of ridicule.
If someone believes they are being oppressed by an unseen and undeclared conspiracy they are just as deluded as someone who believes their race is superior or that there is a god and they know his/hers mind.
They should all be open to criticism in the same way I am.

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John Tatlock
Jan 19, 2013 4:44pm

In reply to Oliver:

There's definitely an egg joke crying out to be made here.

You're going to have to define what you mean I think. Since it's you that brought up this "yoke of oppression" thing, can you explain what you think it means?

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Oliver
Jan 19, 2013 4:46pm

In reply to John Tatlock:

So you think Western women are oppressed and we need to fight this oppression through the policing of words and thoughts? I have no problem with fighting against domestic violence and unequal pay. I fully support those causes but don't tell me that we need to police language or that educated Western women are oppressed because one is kinda tyrannical and anti free speech and the other is deeply conspiratorial, lacks evidence and is the cause of all kinds of lunatic with hunting.

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John Tatlock
Jan 19, 2013 4:46pm

In reply to Oliver:

I think your pushing at an open door there. I don't think anyone here is vilifying good people, nor would support such a thing. To put it in simple terms, why are you bugging us about it?

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John Tatlock
Jan 19, 2013 4:48pm

In reply to Oliver:

I don't support policing thoughts and words no. You're just no interested in what anyone says here are you? You're arguing against positions people don't hold.

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Steve
Jan 19, 2013 5:02pm

In reply to John Tatlock:

I've been following this thread and Oliver seems to be the only one talking any sense. He's on the inside, as it were, and from what I can understand of his argument is that terms of reference are being quibbled over. So certain phrases are offensive to some people and to others not. Life's always been like that. Seems to me that what's important is intent and what been grabbed by the zeitgeist or not. The attitude towards Oliver is worrying. Because he doesn't agree with the importance of semantics, they're appears to be the intellectual equivalent of putting your fingers in your ears going, La, la, la. The other thing that's so disappointing is reducing the whole debate to the level of who gets offended and who doesn't. The concept of offence is, ultimately, trivial. What was it that Stephen Fry said?
'It's now very common to hear people say, "I'm rather offended by that", as if that gives them certain rights. It's no more than a whine. It has no meaning, it has no purpose, it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. "I'm offended by that." Well, so fucking what?' Really, the level of discussion here is akin to the screeching that accompanies a student union meeting of the AGM of the SWP. All power to Oliver.

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John Tatlock
Jan 19, 2013 5:05pm

In reply to Steve:

Hang on a sec. I don't think semantics are especially important either. You chaps are carrying out one side of an argument, the other side of which simply isn't taking place here. To boil it down; you're acting like nutters.

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John Tatlock
Jan 19, 2013 5:08pm

In reply to John Tatlock:

Honestly, if you guys are having some problem with unreasonable people who are using a claim of offence to avoid discussion or whatever, GO AND TAKE IT UP WITH THEM. It's not my case to answer, nor that of anyone else who's been in this conversation so far.

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Oliver
Jan 19, 2013 5:29pm

In reply to John Tatlock:

Well it's right there in feminist/gender theory.
It's the unscientific idea that gender is a social construct therefore any inequality is due to men in power sidelining women out of greed, malice, conscious or subconscious misogyny.
For instance feminists tend to believe that if there are more male speakers at conference this is due to sexism. (there are more females at Justin Bieber concerts, is that the matriarchy oppressing the menz?)
They believe that cultures who routinely jail rapists (and those rapists can be sectioned for their own protection) are so misogynistic that there is a "rape culture".
That unless you sign up to radical feminist theory you are a supporter of this mythical "rape culture"
They believe that the prevalence of men in government is by design to oppress women rather than a natural quirk of our biological differences; causing men to be more competitive as we are the ones who traditionally competed for female attention and had to risk life to protect the tribe.
They believe that unequal pay is always by malicious patriarchal design (which it sometimes is but not always) rather than the fact that many women tend to need to take time out for child birth.
Many radical feminists believe that every "C" word uttered and every drunken chat up line is an act of misogynistic oppression as if me calling another man a "c" word or thinking a woman's legs are amazing were poisoned arrows instead of nothing more than a swear word used in jest or a genuine expression of desire and admiration.
Whilst women are being stoned to death in Afghanistan and Iran we have Western women telling us that we should have our language policed and be worrying about the way men are "objectifying/sexualising" (EG:having a healthy attraction) to women.
Regardless of the intent of the man who uses the incorrect language or finds himself attracted to a woman who doesn't feel the same, the feminist view is that it is reprehensible behavior and needs to be stopped.
They then work hard against freedom of speech and seek to police us for thought crime for having healthy sexual desires or making the wrong noise with our mouths.
This is not about equality it is about protecting women as delicate flowers who can be slain by politically incorrect words or an unwelcome proposition.

I happen to think more of women than most radical feminists.

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Oliver
Jan 19, 2013 5:41pm

In reply to John Tatlock:

John if we are arguing against strawmen just say you agree and we will stroll on.
It's the fact you are saying we are wrong -whilst feminists keep popping up in the thread to prove us right- that we persist.
I don't understand how you can contest a point then be so confused when people want to debate you on it.
I have already complimented you on a great article, I would have thought someone who blogs so well would not be confused by unorthodox views and persistent BTL

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John Tatlock
Jan 19, 2013 5:58pm

In reply to Oliver:

"John if we are arguing against strawmen just say you agree and we will stroll on"
Ah, ok, I get. You're mad. This is a complete waste of time.
That up there about radical feminism; yeah there are people in the world who subscribe to all that stuff, in its looniest extremes, and more besides. As already talked about, the crank fringe. If you're saying that exists, sure it exists. If you're saying that's all of feminism, and all feminists believe that stuff, or even just the majority of feminists, then you're talking absolute rubbish.
So I'll say again: if you have an argument with those people, please go and take it up with them.

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John Tatlock
Jan 19, 2013 6:01pm

In reply to John Tatlock:

It's lost it's way now, this thread, I think. I'll probably check back a couple more times to see if anyone intelligent and interesting posts anything, but I'm done with this particular bit of stupidity.

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Oliver
Jan 19, 2013 6:05pm

In reply to John Tatlock:

You hit the nail on the head John.
That is exactly what I'm saying.
It is not the radical feminist lunatic fringe it is the feminist mainstream which polices language and sees natural sexual attraction as misogyny.
This stuff is so mainstream it is right there in the Graun, the Labour Party and the education system.
To write this off as a loony fringe is to do the cause of equality a disservice.

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elizabeth Veldon
Jan 19, 2013 7:19pm

In reply to John Tatlock:

it does seem to have turned into a mens rights rant which is a shame, it was going well.

you know oliver i've been patient here, i've asked you to explain your points but you have answered with stereotypes, straw man arguments and sarcasm.

you say 'i'll fight for equal pay' so why do women get less pay for the same job if there's no gender oppression? is it because the pockets in their clothes tend to be smaller?

i think, alas, this discussion has reached it's end :-(

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EmmaJane
Jan 19, 2013 7:19pm

Sorry to wade in here, but I'd like to respond to your last long comment Oliver. I'm going to do it point by point if that's ok.

- It's the unscientific idea that gender is a social construct therefore any inequality is due to men in power sidelining women out of greed, malice, conscious or subconscious misogyny.

If you look in the OED, gender is defined as "the state of being male or female (typically used with reference to social and cultural differences rather than biological ones)" - the word "gender" as opposed to "sex" ("either of the two main categories (male and female) into which humans and most other living things are divided on the basis of their reproductive functions") is inherently about social construction - how is that unscientific?

-For instance feminists tend to believe that if there are more male speakers at conference this is due to sexism. (there are more females at Justin Bieber concerts, is that the matriarchy oppressing the menz?)

Well, no. Speakers at a conference are invited (and sometimes paid) to speak because they are considered to have something important to say. Justin Bieber fans are not paid to attend his concerts - the two are in no way analogous.

- They believe that cultures who routinely jail rapists (and those rapists can be sectioned for their own protection) are so misogynistic that there is a "rape culture".

This is because a large number of reported rapes do not end in conviction. in the UK, of the rapes that were reported from 2007 to 2008, only 6.5% resulted in a conviction on the charge of rape. The majority of convictions for rape resulted from an admission of guilt by the defendant, whereas less than one quarter of all those charged with rape were convicted following a successful trial.

- They believe that the prevalence of men in government is by design to oppress women rather than a natural quirk of our biological differences; causing men to be more competitive as we are the ones who traditionally competed for female attention and had to risk life to protect the tribe.

Women were not allowed to be directly involved in Politics until 1918, and were banned from being solicitors, barristers and magistrates until 1919. Women weren't given the vote on equal footing with men until 1928. This might seem a long time ago, but it's not when you consider our social classes are still essentially built on the model established in 1066 - and class issues are still very much a problem.

They believe that unequal pay is always by malicious patriarchal design (which it sometimes is but not always) rather than the fact that many women tend to need to take time out for child birth.

Should having a baby - you know, the necessary continuation of the race - really result in getting paid less?

Whilst women are being stoned to death in Afghanistan and Iran we have Western women telling us that we should have our language policed and be worrying about the way men are "objectifying/sexualising" (EG:having a healthy attraction) to women.

Having a "healthy attraction to" and sexualising are very different. If you have a healthy attraction to someone you maybe ask them out on a date, respectfully tell them they look nice. That's not the same as LOOK AT THE TITS ON THAT I'D LOVE TO GIVE 'ER PINKEYE NOWADIMSAYIN?

It's not about thought crime it's just about being respectful and not being rude. And you can't wish away centuries of oppression with "god, what are they so touchy about?"

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elizabeth Veldon
Jan 19, 2013 7:31pm

In reply to EmmaJane:

'And you can't wish away centuries of oppression with "god, what are they so touchy about?"'

which basically says it all.

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John Tatlock
Jan 19, 2013 7:35pm

In reply to EmmaJane:

Good stuff Emma. I'd add this to the equal pay point. If the problem was having babies, then there wouldn't also be a pay differential between childless women and men. There is, so the argument is trivially nonsensical.

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elizabeth Veldon
Jan 19, 2013 8:10pm

In reply to John Tatlock:

'it's women's bodies what do it, they're just not suited fir wirk'

how often have i heard that?

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John Tatlock
Jan 19, 2013 8:28pm

In reply to elizabeth Veldon:

Their minds too, they're always thinking about kittens and stuff.
Olver's position is high comedy, it really is. "I'm not opposed to equality, but women just *are* less capable. Why can't they accept that?"
Reminds me of that raging idiot Dave Sim, with his argument "look, you women got the silver medal! It's pretty good, be happy!"

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elizabeth Veldon
Jan 19, 2013 8:59pm

In reply to John Tatlock:

kittens and various pink things, just can't keep their minds on the job.

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Steff
Jan 19, 2013 9:21pm

In reply to Sam C:

"Where did this idea that free speech consists in allowing bigots to express their hate in national newspapers unchallenged come from?"
Um dear- that's EXACTLY What free speech means: for EVERYONE to be able to voice their views! And as for the "unchallenged" part: the only people who are acting as if their views can't be challenged are you lot!

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Steff
Jan 19, 2013 9:23pm

In reply to Sam C:

"Where did this idea that free speech consists in allowing bigots to express their hate in national newspapers unchallenged come from?"
Um dear- that's EXACTLY What free speech means: for EVERYONE to be able to voice their views! And as for the "unchallenged" part: the only people who are acting as if their views can't be challenged are you lot!

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John Tatlock
Jan 20, 2013 12:44am

In reply to Steff:

Steff - that's not remotely what free speech means. Free speech means bigots should be allowed to express their views, yes. It doesn't mean they should expect those view to go unchallenged. How would that work? Free speech only applies for bigots, not those who disagree with them?

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John Tatlock
Jan 20, 2013 12:46am

In reply to John Tatlock:

It's astonishing how much people get this basic point muddled. Freedom of speech contains an ineluctable right to reply. Surely this is obvious?

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Oliver
Jan 20, 2013 2:05am

In reply to elizabeth Veldon:

I haven't mentioned mens rights, why do feminists always accuse their critics of being MRAs then write their views off as unworthy. Not only is that wrong (as I am not an MRA and haven't mentioned mens rights issues) it is disingenuous and dare I say it sexist.
I have already said that unequal pay sometimes is sexist and I oppose it although it is way down on my list. I think unequal pay is without a shadow of a doubt wrong, if a wealthy; educated female lawyer or doctor is paid marginally less than their male counterparts that needs rectifying but we are still talking about wealthy educated professionals with more privilege than most bin men and labourers not to mention the really oppressed women of the Middle East and Africa.
Professional middle class, Western women are some of the least oppressed, freest from violence and the threat of violence and most privileged people in history; yet feminists demand we curtail our language and agree to tread on egg shells to avoid offending these delicate creatures. It is absurd and sexist. Unequal pay must end but so must this silly campaign to protect wealthy Western women from the slings and arrows of language and the terrors of natural, healthy sexual attraction.

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John Tatlock
Jan 20, 2013 2:12am

In reply to Oliver:

Firefox's search feature is showing me that the only mention on this whole page of MRA and "Men's right's" is in your post. If there's something I've missed, you're free to point it out to me, but this looks like more strawmanning, on the face of it.

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John Tatlock
Jan 20, 2013 2:17am

In reply to John Tatlock:

Also, come on man, who here is opposed to "healthy sexual attraction"? This stuff is ridiculous.

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Oliver
Jan 20, 2013 2:58am

In reply to EmmaJane:

Emma said.
"If you look in the OED, gender is defined as "the state of being male or female (typically used with reference to social and cultural differences rather than biological ones)" - the word "gender" as opposed to "sex" ("either of the two main categories (male and female) into which humans and most other living things are divided on the basis of their reproductive functions") is inherently about social construction - how is that unscientific?"
Feminists use the "gender is a social construct" meme to imply that any difference between the sexes has nothing to do with biology and everything to do with patriarchal oppression. That is unscientific nonsense as quite a few of the inequalities between the sexes are quite obviously down to our biological differences and they appear in almost ever society on the planet yet feminists stand by their dogma and insist biology has nothing to do with it. This is profoundly unscientific and dogmatic.
Emma said
"Well, no. Speakers at a conference are invited (and sometimes paid) to speak because they are considered to have something important to say. Justin Bieber fans are not paid to attend his concerts - the two are in no way analogous"
OK let me make this easy for you. Speakers at fashion conferences are predominantly female not because the organisers are sexist pigs who want to exclude men but because partly due to biology and partly due to naturally occurring social phenomena women tend to be more interested in fashion than men. Understand?
Emma said
"This is because a large number of reported rapes do not end in conviction. in the UK, of the rapes that were reported from 2007 to 2008, only 6.5% resulted in a conviction on the charge of rape. The majority of convictions for rape resulted from an admission of guilt by the defendant, whereas less than one quarter of all those charged with rape were convicted following a successful trial"
Once again this is not by design. Our police, judges and juries are not pro rapist but rape cases are by their very nature difficult to prosecute as they tend to be a case of one persons word against another's. The majority of people in the West deplore rape and our laws reflect that. Rape culture is a myth conjoured up by feminists in order to force their puritanical anti porn, anti sex work and anti male sexuality agendas on to society.
Emma said
"Women were not allowed to be directly involved in Politics until 1918, and were banned from being solicitors, barristers and magistrates until 1919. Women weren't given the vote on equal footing with men until 1928. This might seem a long time ago, but it's not when you consider our social classes are still essentially built on the model established in 1066 - and class issues are still very much a problem"
The point is women are not now barred from government or any of these professions. Women can vote and be voted for. Western women have almost total equality of opportunity today.
Emma said
"Should having a baby - you know, the necessary continuation of the race - really result in getting paid less?"
People tend to get paid to do certain jobs like cleaning, driving a taxi or shuffling paper and emailing people. Once you stop turning up to do that cleaning, drive that taxi or shuffle that paper the money usually stops. Businesses are not usually in the business of funding the creation of new life. Is that so unjust?
Emma said
"Having a "healthy attraction to" and sexualising are very different. If you have a healthy attraction to someone you maybe ask them out on a date, respectfully tell them they look nice. That's not the same as LOOK AT THE TITS ON THAT I'D LOVE TO GIVE 'ER PINKEYE NOWADIMSAYIN?"

What are you talking about? When did I say any of that? That came from your mind not mine. The fact is feminists find respectful propositions -asking out on a date or saying they look nice or even sexy- as an act of "objectification" if the feelings are not mutual. It's as if a man finding them attractive and seeking a relationship -or god forbid casual sex- was denying them the respect of a fully rounded human being with and intellect and reducing them to nothing but a piece of meat. Believe it or not most men tend to be attracted to people with brains and personalities, even if they are only interested in casual sex it doesn't mean they don't value your humanity. It just means they enjoy sex and that is healthy. Women who want men to stop feeling like that will be waiting a long time. So much of feminism is about blaming biological realities on men then seeking to socially engineer human nature by bullying and cajoling. Sex and sexual attraction are not the same as oppression.
Western women are not oppressed, equality is there for the taking so rather than wasting all of that energy moaning about men finding you attractive or using "offensive" language get into politics or become a barrister. No one is stopping you.

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Oliver
Jan 20, 2013 3:06am

In reply to John Tatlock:

I agree John it is quite ridiculous. I could show you plenty of examples where feminists have accused men who find them attractive -and politely express their attraction- of "Objectifying" or "sexualising" women.

If that is not demonising natural healthy human sexuality I don't know what is. I could show you videos and articles right now with examples of feminists berating men for their sexual desire but it seems you don't open any of the links I post showing that this stuff is not a figment of my imagination.
It seems you are being intentionally obtuse.

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Jan 20, 2013 3:09am

In reply to John Tatlock:

John Elizabeth said "it does seem to have turned into a mens rights rant which is a shame"
She mentioned mens rights before me. Will you apologise for accusing me of strawmanning please. Thank you

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Alice Artemissian
Jan 20, 2013 9:48am

I'm still kind of amazed that this whole thing started because Suzanne Moore (maybe unintentionally) degendered, objectified and sexualised trans women bodies.

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John Tatlock
Jan 20, 2013 11:51am

In reply to :

Apologise? Are you police what can be said there Oliver? Dear me.
Look, your angle here is that western feminism is both unnecessary and dangerous. That's quite a claim, and the odds of you persuading me or anyone else here of it are about nil. Go and get a hobby or something.

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elizabeth Veldon
Jan 20, 2013 11:51am

In reply to Alice Artemissian:

for the tenth or eleventh time...

this has been debunked here and several places online but still persists.

this is not over the article in question but over moore's reaction to receiving mild criticism of it for that one phrase on twitter.

when someone questioned the phrase more began screaming abuse at anyone who tried to contact her, telling them all to 'fuck off' and telling them to 'get their dicks chopped off and become abetter feminist than me'

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elizabeth Veldon
Jan 20, 2013 11:55am

In reply to John Tatlock:

i did indeed say it had gone a bit 'men's rights' and frankly a denial or rape culture, a claim that feminism is dangerous and represses men, that rape and objectification is somehow 'healthy', that nay form of sexual show from men is a-ok and woman criticising them is a radical feminist bitch is completely and utterly mens rights.

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elizabeth Veldon
Jan 20, 2013 11:57am

In reply to Alice Artemissian:

sorry alice i didn't mean to sound short there but the prevalence of this mythology is overwhelming.

i even had to point out it's falsehood to someone involved in the media only last night

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John Tatlock
Jan 20, 2013 12:08pm

In reply to elizabeth Veldon:

It is all tediously over-familiar stuff, yeah.
They're strange, people like Oliver. It's got a whiff of the sociopathic to it; this assumption that he'll be able to persuade people to say "You're right, Oliver, I agree to willingly accept second class status". Never has happened, never will happen. He's wasting his own time even more than ours.

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elizabeth Veldon
Jan 20, 2013 12:14pm

In reply to John Tatlock:

it's reminiscent of butler's rant on facebook that transpeople should 'get back in line' but with oliver it's a;; women.

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John Tatlock
Jan 20, 2013 12:28pm

In reply to elizabeth Veldon:

Yeah. You can see he's a veteran of that kind of argument. So much so that - as I've already pointed out to him a few times - he's conducting one side of an argument that nobody else is having.
I bet he's ace in the flesh; talking over people, saying "I think you'll find" a lot, that kind of stuff. Certainly listening is not a skill he possesses. Dreadful individual.

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Alice Artemissian
Jan 20, 2013 12:32pm

In reply to elizabeth Veldon:

I know that. I'm a trans woman myself. I've seen this disaster unfold in near-real time. I wasn't clear I think. It did start with that objectifying line about trans women model's bodies from Suzanne Moore? If she had acknowledged that faux pas then instead of becoming insulting nothing would have happend.

My question: How does it happen that a respected cis women feminist even considers to objectify the bodies of trans women models?

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elizabeth Veldon
Jan 20, 2013 12:40pm

In reply to Alice Artemissian:

yes an apology and nothing more would have come of it, we would have all moved on (including moore) into a glittering future of inclusion and mutual respect but alas...

a respected feminist journalist can argue this because she belongs to a strand of feminism which gets everything else spot on but utterly drops the ball on trans issues - thankfully this is fast becoming a minority.

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Oliver
Jan 20, 2013 12:44pm

In reply to John Tatlock:

God you are a bunch of clowns, you are writing me off as a rape supporting MRA who thinks women should accept second class status when I have already said many times that I deplore rape and am for equality between all people regardless of race or gender. My only crime is to disagree with radical feminist ideology and the idea that privileged Western women are being oppressed.
John you have been denying that such inquisitional shit goes on -whilst Elizabeth does exactly what you are saying doesn't happen- then you turn around and partake in the same behaviour you are denying happens. As for the idea that I am some kind of sad and lonely person and and in a minority of one in my disagreements with feminism, nothing could be further from the truth. There are plenty of respectable educated people -many of them women- who disagree with Western feminism and it's dogmas. Trying to make out I am some kind of sad social outcast is nothing more than an ad hominen attack on someone you know nothing about. Grow the feck up and stop being so disingenuous.
PS:John it is quite obvious that you agree with radical feminist ideology and partake in the smearing of people who disagree. Your earlier attempts to say that no such things happen were quite obviously a tactic to dismiss my points. Once you realised I wasn't going away you made out I was arguing in favour of gender inequality. You are a deeply dishonest person which is to be expected of people who believe without a doubt that they are on the side of the oppressed and therefore morally superior and that, logically people who disagree are immoral. Nothing could be further from the truth.

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elizabeth Veldon
Jan 20, 2013 12:52pm

In reply to Oliver:

'John it is quite obvious that you agree with radical feminist ideology and partake in the smearing of people who disagree. Your earlier attempts to say that no such things happen were quite obviously a tactic to dismiss my points. Once you realised I wasn't going away you made out I was arguing in favour of gender inequality.'

and therein lies the problem with you oliver

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John Tatlock
Jan 20, 2013 12:54pm

In reply to Oliver:

Smearing? What was that about policing language again, Oliver? What an unsurprisingly thin skin you have.
To be clear, I don't think you're a sad social outcast. I do think you're an unpleasant asshole though. But for all I know, you may be a really popular one.

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John Tatlock
Jan 20, 2013 12:57pm

In reply to elizabeth Veldon:

It's *just about* possible that he actually believes he's not arguing for gender inequality, I suppose. I don't buy it myself, he's to slippery and evasive and disingenuous for me to think he's shooting straight on this. But I guess we can allow the possibility.
Unfortunately, it doesn't really help, because if he does think that, after this discussion and the many more he's plainly had, he's a wilful idiot who is far beyond help.

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elizabeth Veldon
Jan 20, 2013 12:58pm

In reply to John Tatlock:

harsh but, alas, true

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John Tatlock
Jan 20, 2013 1:18pm

In reply to elizabeth Veldon:

I many ways, the most telling thing is his belief that feminists don't like being fancied, or chatted up, or told they look good or whatever. It's a bit telling vis-a-vis lived experience.
What seems more real to me, is to say that women - whether they consider themselves feminist or not - tend to react negatively to being sleazed up to by creeps. If you're a guy, out in the world, getting a consistent negative reaction to the way you talk to women, it's got to worth considering that maybe your patter is abysmal.

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Oliver
Jan 20, 2013 1:20pm

In reply to John Tatlock:

You are a bunch of dishonest, dogmatic, inquisitorial radfems who are an embarrassment to wmonakind and humanity as a whole. Sitting around in your safe middle class homes, with your Macintosh computers and university degrees fantasising about being victims of oppression.
If you can't function in Western society you are feeble. No one is oppressing you. 90% of any inequalities you are experiencing are too minor for words and most likely due to your inadequacy rather than some kind of conspiracy of oppression. PS: Do you know how bad you wealthy educated Western feminists seem to feminists in the 3rd world. They look at you moaning about the pain you experience from words or the discomfort you experience from polite sexual advances and laugh at your inability to function in such a liberated society. You people are an embarrassment. Your are a walking talking insult to logic, reason and all of those women suffering from real oppression in the 3rd world. You should be ashamed of yourselves.

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Oliver
Jan 20, 2013 1:21pm

In reply to John Tatlock:

John you dipshit I am gay

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elizabeth Veldon
Jan 20, 2013 1:22pm

In reply to John Tatlock:

that's the problem isn't it? look at 'elevatorgate'

Rebecca Watson pointed out that propositioning a woman at 2am in a lift where she could not escape should things turn sour wasn't a smart move as it was creepy and freaked women out.

well 'how dare you!' 'you feminist cvnt! i'll fvcking rape you for telling me how to speak to women!'

that oliver defends men saying this tells us allot about oliver.

if need be i'll voice what i said privately to you regarding him.

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elizabeth Veldon
Jan 20, 2013 1:24pm

In reply to Oliver:

you know oliver that's fvcking offensive - did you bother to read what was said here regarding trans oppression? no? well try doing that and speaking about privilege as a while, middle class cis male you insensitive prick.

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elizabeth Veldon
Jan 20, 2013 1:25pm

In reply to Oliver:

you are not gay, you have married at least two transwoman, you said so

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elizabeth Veldon
Jan 20, 2013 1:31pm

sorry, i shouldn't have sworn.

you loose the debate when you do that

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Jan 20, 2013 1:52pm

In reply to Oliver:

I know you are, but you also said you date trans women, who I basically think of as women. If I'm being too unsophisticated about this then I genuinely do apologise for that.

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John Tatlock
Jan 20, 2013 1:57pm

In reply to elizabeth Veldon:

Well, Elizabeth, I'll give him this, the self-control held up a bit longer than these prats usually manage. But I saw that rich-rad-feminazis-on-their-apple-macs meltdown coming about two days ago, and I imagine you did too.

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Oliver
Jan 20, 2013 1:59pm

I have never married anyone and only date non op trans women so I like cock not vaginas. Depending on where you stand that qualifies me as gay although that could be debated. Most straight people consider me gay and most gay people consider me straight but the point is I have no interest in genetic women or fully transitioned trans women so my opposition to feminist dogma is in now way because women don't find me attractive. Swearing is just words and doesn't change the fact that you are wrong. If I offended you I reckon you deserved it for trying to dishonestly accuse me of being a rape supporting MRA who believes in inequality.

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John Tatlock
Jan 20, 2013 1:59pm

In reply to elizabeth Veldon:

The (ongoing) reaction to Rebecca Watson is really weird. Her original point is more about basic manners and sensitivity than anything. Anyone who can read that and get "hardline lunatic feminist man-hater" is just seeing what they want to see.

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John Tatlock
Jan 20, 2013 2:01pm

In reply to John Tatlock:

Re: apple macs; I'm amused by the idea that people with broadband access and non-apple computers are somehow keeping it real. My computer isn't branded at all, built it myself. SO I WIN EVERY ARGUMENT EVER.

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Oliver
Jan 20, 2013 2:04pm

In reply to Oliver:

John despite you pretending not to know of the underhand tactics used by feminists I saw that you would use those very same tactics to try and shut me up days ago. So touche.
Nothing wrong with pointing out that most feminists who are angry about being oppressed have degrees, Apple Macs and live nice safe middle class lifestyles. It is a tad inconvenient for your ideas about Western women living under the yolk of oppressive patriarchy but it's the truth and you know it.

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elizabeth Veldon
Jan 20, 2013 2:07pm

In reply to Oliver:

well there you go 'transwomen are men'

i think you just lost the argument and need to go away.

i do have an apple - i saved up for a macbook pro as i am a musician and it became harder and harder to manage digital processing live using a pc as the processors where dieing on me and the speakers exploding. somehow this means i can't comment on privilege.

i am indeed middle class in that i am university educated, i have a good job and disposable income. i also face daily threats of violence, name calling, denials of service. when i try to use my disposable income six times out of ten (a rough estimate. obviously) the people in the shops call me names, refuse to serve me, ignore my presence, accuse me of carrying out fraud, claim i am not who it says on my card and often enough threaten to get the police on me.

privilege and oppression are not simple things oliver.

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John Tatlock
Jan 20, 2013 2:08pm

In reply to Oliver:

I haven't tried to shut you up at all. Quite the opposite. I've asked you many questions to try to figure out what you're on about, most of which you've simply ignored. How can you converse with people for several consecutive days, and have them respond and carry on the discussion, despite the fact that you're clearly getting on everyone's tits, and complain that we're trying to shut you up? It's impossible to take seriously.

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John Tatlock
Jan 20, 2013 2:10pm

In reply to Oliver:

"Nothing wrong with pointing out that most feminists who are angry about being oppressed have degrees, Apple Macs and live nice safe middle class lifestyles."
Nothing wrong in the sense that you're certainly entitled to your view. But "wrong" meaning "incorrect", yes. For starters, how do you claim to know this?

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John Tatlock
Jan 20, 2013 2:11pm

In reply to John Tatlock:

Anyone used to watch Father Ted? I think "most feminists have apple macs" is up there with "bishops love sci-fi".

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elizabeth Veldon
Jan 20, 2013 2:15pm

In reply to John Tatlock:

i once knew a feminist activist who had a portable printer back long before they became common - her work bought it for her so she could print out results of diagnostic tests she ran on the x-ray machines she serviced.

obviously one of oliver's privileged feminists

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John Tatlock
Jan 20, 2013 2:15pm

In reply to Oliver:

I'd still like you to define what you mean by the "yolk of patriarchy". I think you'd do well to define it (and perhaps to start spelling it right, so I'm sure you're not on about fried eggs made by men or something).

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John Tatlock
Jan 20, 2013 2:18pm

In reply to elizabeth Veldon:

Outrageous privilege. You know, I hear some feminists aren't even starving.

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elizabeth Veldon
Jan 20, 2013 2:39pm

In reply to John Tatlock:

i should point out that i don't have a good job, i and my partner run a company we borrowed the money to start up.

i was thrown out of three jobs in quick succession after people decided they didn't want to work with a tranny and was unemployed for over a year before we started our business so yea, privileged - we started a business because no one will employ me.

does not going out after dark count as privilege? i don't do that because i'm scared to (well not in the city anyway).

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John Tatlock
Jan 20, 2013 2:43pm

In reply to elizabeth Veldon:

About five or six years ago, we were interviewing for programmers at a place I was working at. Mostly this would involve an initial chat with the technical lead, and then a bit of discussion with people from other groups. I was leading a small design team at the time, so I met all the coders coming in for interviews. Except one. I enquired after this, and was told, as if it were all the explanation required, that the person had come cross-dressed to the interview. And that was that. Absolutely shocking stuff.

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Oliver
Jan 20, 2013 2:47pm

In reply to elizabeth Veldon:

My point was that on the whole Western women are not suffering from oppression. Trans women do suffer genuine discrimination, as someone who has been in relationships with trans women for over a decade I am only too aware of this. But that is a problem of transphobia rather than misogyny.

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Oliver
Jan 20, 2013 2:49pm

In reply to elizabeth Veldon:

I never said trans women were men but I said I was attracted to male genetalia and only dated non op trans women. Non op trans women are a fact of life you know. I assume from your reaction you think me mentioning that is offensive?

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elizabeth Veldon
Jan 20, 2013 2:52pm

In reply to John Tatlock:

once i was put forward for a £20,000 job in a call centre (i could only get that regardless of qualifications or experience) which involved a few weeks of training in optics and some basic medical training (it was high end stuff with an optician, very small team) through an agency.

i got a message from the woman that i had got the job but when i called back 30 minutes later she had 'left' the company and the job offer had been rescinded.

privilege eh?

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John Tatlock
Jan 20, 2013 2:52pm

In reply to Oliver:

Look, you've obviously got some working definition of "oppression" that differs from other peoples'. That's fine, as far as it goes. Women aren't suffering from what *you view* as oppression. You'll have to forgive the rest of us for not being particularly interested in the Oliver Scale Of Oppression.

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elizabeth Veldon
Jan 20, 2013 2:54pm

In reply to Oliver:

you sure they're not men? after all, you are gay.

let's be honest here: you're a fetishist who has a problem with feminism because it limits the gender rolls you find so sexually exciting.

that is no excuse for being on the side of oppression and shows the most disgusting, ingrained privilege imaginable.

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elizabeth Veldon
Jan 20, 2013 2:55pm

In reply to elizabeth Veldon:

'roles' rather - i'm dyslexic (more privilege there.)

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John Tatlock
Jan 20, 2013 3:00pm

In reply to elizabeth Veldon:

Does feminism even limit gender roles? I'm not sure it does. I do think you've put your finger on something, mind you. Yer man here seems awfully keen for women - or at least some notion he has of femininity - to be a certain way. And if that's not troubling enough, a big part of it seems to be about shutting up and stopping complaining.

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elizabeth Veldon
Jan 20, 2013 3:02pm

In reply to John Tatlock:

i ment traditional ideas of gender such as the silent, graceful, sexually alluring woman who lives for men.

right enough, i doubt that ever existed in reality.

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elizabeth Veldon
Jan 20, 2013 3:05pm

In reply to John Tatlock:

oliver's 'femininity' is a sexualised passivity which few women would ever conform to.

perhaps he thinks that this can be found in transwomen who have less privilege (I'm guessing here) and so (he thinks) will cling onto him even when he tells them they're worthless and not even real women.

notably they haven't.

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John Tatlock
Jan 20, 2013 3:21pm

In reply to elizabeth Veldon:

I wouldn't want to overreach; his private life is his own business, and I don't know anything about it. But yes, "sexualised passivity" is right there in the whole "stop complaining about stuff, and start accepting men's natural healthy urges". I mean, ugh.

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Phil Ramsden
Jan 20, 2013 3:57pm

In reply to John Tatlock:

I think all Oliver's saying is that most feminists don't use Windows. Have I got that right?

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elizabeth Veldon
Jan 20, 2013 3:59pm

In reply to John Tatlock:

yes i think i decidedly overreached.

i offer my apologies to oliver.

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John Tatlock
Jan 20, 2013 4:04pm

In reply to Phil Ramsden:

I don't think it's that inclusionary. He entirely disregards feminists who prefer Linux.

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John Tatlock
Jan 20, 2013 4:06pm

In reply to elizabeth Veldon:

Yeah, you say "I offer my apologies". What you mean is "I want to beat him around the head with my iPad 3".

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elizabeth Veldon
Jan 20, 2013 4:11pm

In reply to John Tatlock:

it never entered my head...

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elizabeth Veldon
Jan 20, 2013 4:13pm

In reply to John Tatlock:

windows only then?

does he work for microsoft? i know things got a bit tough when people said they didn't like the new windows but that's going a little too far.

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John Tatlock
Jan 20, 2013 4:22pm

In reply to elizabeth Veldon:

Typical. Completely out of touch with the concerns of ordinary Microsoft Surface owners.

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scott mclelland
Jan 20, 2013 4:53pm

In reply to :

your apology was about as valid sounding as those who prefix a blatantly racist rant with " im not racist but " . I didn't see a problem with the Brazilian transsexual comment , but your twitter bile, you know the lopping dicks off make them more feminist than me ( you seem to lack the basic understanding that feminisim , esp the radical solanis esque drivel you seem to adhere to is an ideology and not a gender ) shows that you are long since past your sell by date in the relevant print world. You have some serious issues and im saying that as a hetro cis male, but of course as im male my views must be irrelevant .

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Oliver
Jan 20, 2013 4:56pm

In reply to elizabeth Veldon:

Does it upset you that some trans women choose to be non op. Is it offensive to mention the reality that some trans women have male genitalia? What is the difference between you saying I'm a fetishist because I'm only attracted to non op trans women and any other form of transphobia. I can't believe that I'm talking to a trans woman who is transphobic! Mind blowing.

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John Tatlock
Jan 20, 2013 5:03pm

In reply to Oliver:

That's really not why she thinks you're a fetishist. Come on, you know it's not. She thinks you fetishise some specific particular of femininity. You may or may not do, but there's nothing to be gained from mischaracterising other people's positions. Though it appears that this is all you know how to do. You're a terribly dishonest person.

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Matt
Jan 20, 2013 5:56pm

In reply to John Tatlock:

It's difficult to decipher what's he's saying to be honest. He seems to be conflating the (pretty simple really) idea that people can be both equal and different with class issues. And he's got proper confused as a result. I admit I haven't read everything he's written as a lot of it just reads like noise really. It started giving me a headache.

Oliver, I wouldn't confuse the two. Being respectful to people should be the way most people choose to live. And listening and learning too obviously. The class thing is a much longer game obviously. The ruling class I susect don't give a shit about this kind of thing, they'll use and exploit anybody.

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John Tatlock
Jan 20, 2013 6:16pm

In reply to Matt:

I don't think he knows what he's saying, really. Or rather, he's got this notion he wants to sell that feminism is some combination of unnecessary and harmful, but no particular underpinning to the idea. He just thinks we should treat it as self-evident, as far as I can work out.

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Jan 20, 2013 7:23pm

In reply to John Tatlock:

As far as I can tell, his basic argument is a sort of spin on 'You Western feminists yak on about oppression with your highfalutin semantic quibbles, but you have NO IDEA how nasty it is elsewhere.' IE: There are far worthier battles to be fought elsewhere in terms of sexism, misogyny, oppression and so forth.

Which sort of misses the point, really: in fact, the idea that Moore and Burchill's rot isn't worth fighting against because there are despicable things happening elsewhere, too, isn't just short sighted, it's pretty dangerous. You're either for equality or you're not, is my school of thought, and you can't just cherry pick which battles you're going to get drawn into - or decide to duck out of some of them because someone, somewhere else, is arguably being discriminated against more viscerally. ALL of this stuff is important.

In some ways, in fact - and we're coming full circle! - it's almost an extension of what Moore and Burchill have been arguing themselves; this risible idea that, as John said, "being concerned with the welfare of trans people somehow precludes being concerned about the wider landscape."

And it's just as risible as this idea that, according to Oliver, the fact that there are women who are "journalists, scientists, politicians and teachers" automatically means that there is absolutely no patriarchal oppression in Western society. Which is utter tripe.

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John Tatlock
Jan 20, 2013 8:12pm

In reply to :

I'd accept somebody saying "Sorry, I can't personally get involved with that, and it doesn't seem as pressing as this other thing I'm doing, because I actually AM fighting oppression in the third world right now". That would be fair enough. Though I suspect such dedicated people would be more inclined to tip a nod to anyone trying be progressive anywhere, than to roll their eyes about it.

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elizabeth Veldon
Jan 20, 2013 8:42pm

In reply to Oliver:

no, why should it.

i am upset that a gay man would be going out with them though because you're basically taking this piss out of them, treating them as feminine men.

now that's offensive.

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elizabeth Veldon
Jan 20, 2013 8:46pm

In reply to John Tatlock:

it's just mirroring the argument richard dawkins made 'worse things are happening elsewhere so what right to you have to expect ownership of your body'

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keith serle
Jan 20, 2013 8:56pm

In reply to John Tatlock:

John. You don't sound rude. You just sound to me like you either have missed my original post amongst the 207 comments or you didn't understand what I meant in it or in the subsequent posts I made. elizabeth's Potter version is good - but I had actually worked all that out and if you read my original post I allude to that and say something along the lines of 'the twitter comments of Moore took the issue way beyond the use of the word transsexual AND the John Tatlock article above made that clear.

So I am fairly up to date considering I live in suburban California and haven't seen The Observer in years either in print or online and until I read your article the only Suzanne Moore I had heard of was in a Tim Hardin song from 30 plus years ago. In fact I hadn't even thought of transsexuals (trans men or trans women) in 2013 until Friday when I read your article. That's kinda my main point - this debate you are having, is important, but I think like many activists in all causes you are so deep in your activism you don't see that you aren't really reaching out to the wider community whose support and the education of issues you need. By that I mean the thugs that rape and kill trans women or the office workers who laugh and make the life of a trans colleague unbearable don't ever hear of this issues cos the format and location of the debate is too alien for most. Destroying "the old media" is something I have seen linked and championed in reports on the SM/JB comments (yes I have been trying hard to keep informed). But what I fear is if free speech / thoughtful debate becomes confined to twitter and other "new media" formats then those very people I think need to become aware of the issues facing oppressed groups will be even more unlikely to ever hear or care about the issues.

Anyways, well done on writing an article that has generated more comments than most (even if 90% of the comments are from 3 people). At least I feel more aware of some of the issues and I think I would act / think differently (in what I think you would say was a positive way) from how I would have last Thursday. Isn't that in some way what you would have hoped to achieve by your article?

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John Tatlock
Jan 20, 2013 9:22pm

In reply to keith serle:

Absolutely.

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elizabeth Veldon
Jan 20, 2013 10:05pm

In reply to keith serle:

sounds about right to me.

i see moore has left twitter again.

you know she's managed this whole thing so well, kept herself firmly in the 'victim' corner even when she was throwing abuse at people, even when a brazilian transwoman was murdered while she was telling people to fvck off for daring to suggest that perhaps she should reconsider that one remark.

the threats she got on twitter where indeed beyond the pale but i somehow think but i somehow suspect she'll get more sympathy for them than the hundreds perhaps thousands of trans woman and trans men who's lifes will now be that little bit harder thanks to her and burchill, that her complaints to the police will be treated more seriously than those transwomen and men will report.

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John Tatlock
Jan 20, 2013 10:39pm

In reply to elizabeth Veldon:

No, she's back! For 24 hours only, apparently. What a drama queen.

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elizabeth Veldon
Jan 20, 2013 10:41pm

In reply to John Tatlock:

how honoured i feel

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John Tatlock
Jan 20, 2013 10:44pm

In reply to John Tatlock:

As to how she's managed it, I honestly think she's not got that much support at all. Some people are fooled, but not a lot.

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elizabeth Veldon
Jan 20, 2013 10:50pm

In reply to John Tatlock:

did you see the list of the worst tweets she got including 'how dare you call yourself a feminist' - i wish i had that much privilege.

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John Tatlock
Jan 20, 2013 11:20pm

In reply to elizabeth Veldon:

There are a few nasty tweets she got, but honestly, it looked like something like four or five from what I saw. A load of them were as bland as the one you mention. And hilariously, on one of the one's she put forward, someone replied to say, er, that was my tweet, and I was talking to someone else.

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elizabeth Veldon
Jan 20, 2013 11:38pm

In reply to John Tatlock:

i've saw a few people saying 'that's my tweet an it's not abusive' (possibly one of the 'how can you call yourself a feminist' ones.)

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Oliver
Jan 21, 2013 1:02am

In reply to elizabeth Veldon:

Please show me where I have taken the piss out of trans women. I only date non op trans women because I find femininity attractive and masculinity a turn off yet require that my partner has male genitalia because that is how my sexuality is wired. I can tell that my existence and that of proudly non op trans women unsettles you profoundly because you feel it shakes trans campaigners activism to have trans women or men accepted fully as either women or men. It shouldn't and your reaction reveals you to be a deeply trans phobic person.

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elizabeth Veldon
Jan 21, 2013 1:14am

In reply to Oliver:

you know nothing of me or of trans activists.

i reject the categories of man and woman as symptomatic of a discourse of power and you know what - i'm not the only one, allot of trans campaigners think the same and allot more campaign for people to be able to live without surgery.

what i do not do, however, is see a non-op transwomam as a man which you, being gay, do.

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Oliver
Jan 21, 2013 1:37am

Ok I concede. Western women are truly oppressed and men must stop thinking it's ok to find them attractive and proposition them without first learning all about their personalities, likes and loves then waiting for an appropriate time when she is in a safe space with lots of witnesses around before asking her out. Anything less would be threatening, creepy and disrespectful to her person-hood. Men who think any women might be interested in casual sex are disgusting, creepy, irresponsible, arrogant, entitled misogynists and deserve all the scorn society can muster to correct their threatening bigoted ways and ensure women can live lives free from unwanted attention. If some women quite like casual sex and don't find spontaneous propositions a bad thing must be educated to understand the underlying misogyny of being devalued by creepy, slimy men who feel entitled to womens bodies.
We must also put and end to misogynistic words which reinforce rape culture. Words like slut, whore and the "c" word must become like the "n" word. Whereas the "n" word has a deep history dating back to the genocidal Atlantic Slave Trade, misogynistic words are deeply tied to the patriarchy which even wealthy white women are oppressed by to this day. Anyone who uses any words which reinforce the patriarchy and rape culture are reprehensible and must be educated, if they insist on being politically incorrect we should seek to have them ostracised through boycotts or campaigns for them to lose their jobs.
Another thing I have just been re-educated on is that it is offensive and contributes to the oppression of trans women to mention non op trans women or find them attractive. One must either find women or men attractive but to think it's ok to date only non op trans women is to devalue their womanhood and reduce them to nothing more than a sexual fetish. Thank you for re-educating me comrades. Let us fight the oppression of men who seek casual sex or are clumsy in their approach, let us eradicate language which reinforces rape culture and patriarchy and let us ensure no one ever mentions non op trans women as this sexualises, trivialises and ultimately devalues trans woman-hood. We have a long way to go comrades. Equality is not good enough we must transform society word by word, transform it by it's roots. REVOLUTION!!!!!

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elizabeth Veldon
Jan 21, 2013 1:47am

In reply to Oliver:

wow, so many straw men in one post...

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Oliver
Jan 21, 2013 2:08am

In reply to elizabeth Veldon:

PS: The inconvenient truth about my sexuality is it is somewhere in between. Whilst I consider the trans women I date and love to be female I realize that they have male genitalia and my choice of partner tends to have a very active and masculine -even dominant- sex drives. This is just reality. An inconvenient truth for those of you who deem it bigotry to mention the fact that some trans woman have a penis and like to use it. As I said before when I explain this most straight people consider me gay because I am passive and like male genitalia, most gay people consider me straight because I find femininity attractive. I would consider myself somewhere in between but with strong gay leanings because whilst finding femininity attractive and masculinity a turn off I have no interest in female sexuality or genitalia and occasionally find feminine or androgynous men attractive but could never have sex with a fully transitioned trans woman or cis woman. The fact is gender and sexuality are non binary and can fluctuate and swing throughout our life times. Some of us can be a bit of both and somewhere in-between. Trans activists and people schooled in gender studies should be aware of this. The None of the trans women I date are touchy about dealing with the reality that they have a penis, masculine sex drives, are not fully transitioned and have no desire to be. I don't see why they or I should have to pretend otherwise to protect the feelings of the hyper-sensitive. We exist, get over it.

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Oliver
Jan 21, 2013 2:11am

In reply to elizabeth Veldon:

Coming from the woman who has been punching a strawman of an MRA for days. smh

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John Tatlock
Jan 21, 2013 2:27am

In reply to Oliver:

Dude, you're just making a fool of yourself now. Absolutely nobody here thinks finding people attractive is bad. Life is simply too short for this babble.

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elizabeth Veldon
Jan 21, 2013 2:30am

In reply to Oliver:

if that is who you choose the sleep with then fine but can i ask why active sex drives are masculine?

in addition this hardly lets you off the hook for your other claims

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elizabeth Veldon
Jan 21, 2013 2:32am

In reply to John Tatlock:

he needs to prove that feminism does though

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elizabeth Veldon
Jan 21, 2013 2:39am

In reply to Oliver:

actually let me rephrase...

as with moore an explanation of your sexuality and choice of partners would have cleared that issue up a long time ago but, like moore, you chose to use it as a way to continue an argument and play the part of a victim.

this is disingenuous to say the least but fits in with the rest of your posts which do roughly the same thing.

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Oliver
Jan 21, 2013 2:54am

In reply to elizabeth Veldon:

Try penetrating someone with a vagina. Kind of difficult you know. Also in many years of experimentation in the BDSM scene I can safely say that whilst there are dominant women, sexual dominance in women is a rarity. The vast majority of women including women who consider themselves dominant want a man to take control in bed and anatomically end up in the passive role even if they are on top, they are getting penetrated not penetrating. Therefore active sexuality is a more masculine trait and passive sexuality a more female trait. Once again that pesky thing called biology/reality is getting in the way :(

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Oliver
Jan 21, 2013 3:03am

In reply to John Tatlock:

If no one thinks sexual attraction or seeking casual sex is bad why on earth were people arguing that it was "objectification"/"sexualisation" to find a woman attractive and tell her so, without getting to know her first and ensuring the attraction was mutual? Once again there are plenty of examples of this all over the place and a couple in the thread but you, Comrade are just towing the party line regardless of the facts

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elizabeth Veldon
Jan 21, 2013 3:10am

In reply to Oliver:

this really is getting pointless.

straw man after straw man...

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Oliver
Jan 21, 2013 3:23am

PS: By the way, just because radical feminism is the majority consensus doesn't mean you are right.

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Oliver
Jan 21, 2013 3:28am

In reply to elizabeth Veldon:

You questioned why I would say active sexuality is a masculine trait. I gave you a very exact response pointing out that women are sexually passive by a fact of anatomy. You had no response so you cried strawman for the umpteenth time.

smh

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John Doran
Jan 21, 2013 10:00am

In reply to Oliver:

Oliver. I'm giving you fair warning that if you keep up this tireless trolling, offensive off-topic posting and non-stop attempts to derail an otherwise fruitful conversation, I'm going to take action, such as to delete your comments.

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John Tatlock
Jan 21, 2013 10:07am

In reply to John Doran:

I think the thread's basically over now, anyway.

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elizabeth Veldon
Jan 21, 2013 10:33am

In reply to John Tatlock:

i think so alas

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Emma Jane
Jan 22, 2013 5:53pm

oh wow, I'm glad I've been away from this joy-fest for the last day or two. I have a feeling that if this conversation were going on in a pub, we wouldn't all be arguing past one another so much. I just wanted to respond to the point Oliver makes below:

"Once again this is not by design. Our police, judges and juries are not pro rapist but rape cases are by their very nature difficult to prosecute as they tend to be a case of one persons word against another's. The majority of people in the West deplore rape and our laws reflect that. Rape culture is a myth conjoured up by feminists in order to force their puritanical anti porn, anti sex work and anti male sexuality agendas on to society."

Two words: Jimmy Saville, It's not about people being "pro-rape" its about inherent structures and attitudes that enable rape, or act to prevent its eradication.

The reason that your arguments keep getting called "Straw man" is because you assume there's this cohesive feminist cabal that is, among other things, "puritanically anti porn, anti sex work and anti-male sexuality".

This is not all feminists! Yes, some feminists may feel this way, but that doesn't mean John Tatlock or Elizabeth Veldon or me or a million other feminists do. Porn stars can be feminists! Sex workers can be feminists! People enjoying active sexual relationships with a man can be feminists! Do all their feminist beliefs comply with your narrow definition of feminism?

Can't you accept that just as there are shades of sexuality, there are shades of feminism? Saying "this is what feminists think" and then following it with a hyper-specific list is like saying "this is what Americans think" and doing the same - ironic that this point is made under the above article, which is about disagreements between different people who self identify as feminist.

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John Tatlock
Jan 23, 2013 12:07pm

In reply to Emma Jane:

Well, you would say that, wouldn't you? I bet you awn *two Apple Macs.

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Jan 23, 2013 12:08pm

In reply to John Tatlock:

Awn? Damn this lack of an edit feature.

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elizabeth Veldon
Jan 23, 2013 12:12pm

In reply to Emma Jane:

hi emma, i didn't want your positive post to go unanswered as i thought it was rude to do so.

indeed there is no unified 'feminist viewpoint' as the debate over this article has shown.

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elizabeth Veldon
Jan 23, 2013 12:17pm

In reply to John Tatlock:

two? my god!

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Andrew
Jan 24, 2013 12:43pm

In reply to Oliver:

In sober response to your point, long after the fact: Try engulfing someone with a penis. What you identify as passivity by definition is in fact a reflection only of your limited vocabulary. Other people have already pointed out that your examples are ridiculous, but I thought it would be useful to add this active verb to your vocabulary.

Unless you think the only engulfment is from - yuck! - docking...

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Mikeymo
Jan 24, 2013 6:16pm

In reply to Chal Ravens:

Yes. The general attitude of Burchill etc. looks, to me, like - 'who is this little irrelevant minority and why should we be bothered about their so called rights'.

I am old enough to remember when the idea of 'Gay rights' was talked about the same way. Just a tiny number of people who didn't count.

I actually can't really be bothered to read that much of the Guardian 'cabal' of feminist writers any more. But I get the feeling that they really don't like somebody else encroaching on their turf. Especially if they're not 'really' women.

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John Tatlock
Jan 25, 2013 1:38pm

In reply to Mikeymo:

It does all appear to come from a fairly small personally-acquainted clique with an extreme hostility to new ideas.

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Andrew
Jan 30, 2013 7:22pm

"Where is the engagement with poverty , with austerity, with is happening to all of us? Where?"

Dear Suzanne, Please come and visit me in NYC's West Village one evening and have a natter with some of the poor black trans hookers working the piers. That'll put some fucking perspective in your idiot head.

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Nigel de Vere
Feb 4, 2013 4:59pm

Comparing Moore with Burchill is a bit unfair on Moore. The first is obviously a very intelligent person and can be forgiven for putting her foot in it. What I cannot understand is how The Observer can employ people like Burchill. In my opinion she's a typical mercenary 'journalist'sending her rubbish everywhere. As a token I invite readers to go on thejc.com. Every Friday I read The Jewish Chronicle and sometimes she sends this embarrassing articles which I can describe also as tripe.

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Edward Butterworth
Feb 7, 2013 12:58pm

Once again I think you're missing the wood for the trees here John. Surely she is complimenting Brazilian transsexuals for their nice figures? I have to say I agree with the dear girl after my last trip to Rio! Bravo Ms. Moore and Burchill! National treasures!

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MC Profit Skimma
Feb 7, 2013 1:24pm

In reply to Geraint:

Well said, sire

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Feb 15, 2013 11:03pm

What has really happened here is that Moore was attempting to show, quite simply that gender-spectrum narratives that narrow their focus on idealised perfection, predicated on patriarchal frameworks, are inherently unhelpful to human beings. That she decided to do so in her trade mark style was simply to reinforce her need to earn a living. In simplifying the issue for her readers she ran the gauntlet of The Equality Act (2010) in stereotyping transgender people, whether she intended to cause offence, offence was caused and the law is clear, indirect discrimination as a result of a 'protected characteristc' is also unlawful. For example, if I am not transgender but my freidn or colleague is and you offend me by association, etc..

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edward butterworth
Feb 16, 2013 12:10am

In reply to :

I agree, and I have to say that I think John Tatlock is as gorgeous as a Brazilian transsexual! Love you John you big man god!

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ryan
May 20, 2013 11:00am

In reply to John Tatlock:

I honestly feel like this is just a lot of vitriol over using a throwaway metaphor, which is why she got so short on twitter. I've always been a supporter of all lgbtq issues (please don't rip me for referring to it that way) but I honestly think the whole community is ripping itself apart over all of these factions instead of putting the situations in context before consistently vilifying people. And I know these two things are different, but when someone uses a throwaway metaphor from ten years ago(that seems relatively humorous considering the ridiculousness of the statement) and gets ripped apart over it I feel like close to vilifying someone like Nick Cave for writing descriptive lines like "a fag in a whalebone corset draping his dick across my cheek" from 20 years ago. I'm not comparing their talent but I honestly don't see how people have sort of lost the ability to acknowledge something that's clearly written as a ridiculous line for the sake of being ridiculous, and something that actually is hate speech. And I honestly think if we look at the timeline a little more logically than judgmentally it makes a lot of sense that in response to ridiculous accusations she said a ridiculous thing back. I swear it's like no one's ever been in a shouting match with anyone before.

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John Tatlock
May 22, 2013 11:24pm

In reply to ryan:

You've clearly neither read this article nor the thread beneath it.

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sports psychology degrees
Jun 7, 2013 9:51am

Yes. The general attitude of Burchill etc. looks, to me, like - 'who is this little irrelevant minority and why should we be bothered about their so called rights'.

I am old enough to remember when the idea of 'Gay rights' was talked about the same way. Just a tiny number of people who didn't count.sports psychology degrees

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