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Posts Tagged ‘gender’

Violent death is not just about sex

More women are killed by men than are killed by women. Also, more men are killed by men than are killed by women. The Guardian interprets the facts and declares: “‘Shocking’ toll of women killed by men renews call for safe spaces.”

Are prisons safe spaces; don’t they make society a safer place? The paper relays research by Women’s Aid, telling readers:

Of the 113 women killed by men in England, Wales and Northern Ireland last year, 85 died in their homes, according to the Femicide Census, an annual analysis by the charity Women’s Aid.

How many men died in their homes, victims of violence is not stated. But we are told that nine in 10 women killed during 2016 died at the hands of someone they knew – 78 by a man they’d been intimate with; three by their sons; five by another man in the family; nine by a stranger. Domestic violence is horrendous. And getting a clear picture of it is no easy thing. Killing is the indelible and baldest proof it happened. But what about other crimes behind closed doors? Questions need to be asked about the police’s early response to claims of domestic violence. Are police able to intervene when actual violence has occurred, or are they expected to spend time and resources wondering if it might, policing the trials and tribulations of domestic life?

“More needs to be done to address men’s fatal violence against women, as once again the Femicide Census reveals fatalities not as isolated incidents but as part of a repeated pattern of male violence against women,” says Katie Ghose, chief executive of Women’s Aid.

“Without a safe space to escape to, more women will be killed by men that they know,” Ghose adds. “The government must act now. Refuges are a vital lifeline, not an optional extra; they are not just a bed for a night but essential for women and their children to safely escape domestic abuse and rebuild their lives away from the perpetrator.”

But this goes beyond domestic violence. We are being asked to look at men as innately violent, to see different inherent characteristics of men and women. Sex, they say, determines your character and personality. Men present a risk to women.

According to the NHS:

Home Office figures reveal that on average, 100 women a year and around 30 men a year are killed within a domestic abuse context. Women are almost exclusively killed by men whereas in contrast approximately one third of the men are killed by other men and a little under a third are killed by women against whom they have a documented history of abuse.

Karen Ingala Smith, chief executive of the charity, nia, which campaigns to end violence against women and children,  is quoted in the paper. “Men’s fatal violence against women extends beyond their partners and families,” she says. And you could say, ‘Men’s violence against men extends beyond their partners and families.’

The problem is that if it’s all about sex – women seen as weak and men as suspects, each one of them a criminal-in-waiting – we are reduced. Refuges for victims of domestic crime can be vital, but let’s not treat all human relationships with suspicion.

Posted: 11th, December 2017 | In: Broadsheets, News | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Lily Madigan: Labour, women and a terf war

Lily Madigan was once Liam Madigan. Lily is now the women’s officer for the Labour Party branch in Rochester and Strood in Kent. She’s been in the news before. In October 2016, “Brave Lily” (Kent Online)  received an apology from St Simon Stock Catholic School, Maidstone, for sending her home for “wearing the wrong uniform” and “preventing her from using the girls’ toilets and changing rooms”.

Said Lily, who threatened to sue the school: “I decided to come in dressed in the girls’ dress code, which basically meant I was wearing a top instead of a shirt. It made me feel so happy, until I was sent home.”

Lily, 19, was born male but identifies as a woman. The Times explains how her new job works:

Labour Party rules state that “the women’s officer must be a woman”.

Why? Can only women understand and represent women? Do you need to have been a girl to know womanhood?

Ms Madigan said it was “misguided” to suggest she could not fulfil the duties of the role, simply because she was born male.

That part at least sounds right.

Teresa Murray, Medway councillor and vice-chairwoman of the executive committee of Rochester and Strood CLP, says “Lily will have to work very hard to convince other people that her very presence there is not going to undermine them”. Adding: “Someone who is an accountant would probably make a better treasurer initially, but that doesn’t mean we should only give the role to an accountant.”

Accountants are born for the job, of course. It’s not something you can learn. It’s something in you. It defines you. You’re just built that way. Accounting is in the genes. But that’s not to say others don’t think accountancy more representative of their true selves. If they want to dress in grey suits, part their hair to the side and carry a briefcase, then that is their right.

Ella Whelan has more background:

Madigan hit the headlines after arguing that Anne Ruzylo, a Labour Party women’s officer in a different constituency, should be sacked for being ‘transphobic’. Ruzylo, a lesbian, feminist and trade unionist, had criticised the sanctification of the trans movement. For this, she was labelled a ‘terf’ (trans exclusionary radical feminist) and was harassed by transgender activists online. Eventually, the executive committee of Ruzylo’s local Labour branch resigned in protest at her mistreatment.

“I feel quite violated,” Ms Ruzylo told The Times. “I’ve worked as a trade unionist for 30 years and I’ve never been shut down in this way. It’s disgusting… Debate is not hate. If we can’t talk about gender laws and get shut down on that, what’s next? What else are we not allowed to talk about? We’re going back to the days of McCarthyism. It is disgraceful.”

“I don’t care if I get called a transphobe, says Whelan adds, “Lily Madigan is not a woman. At 19, he is barely even a man.”


One thing is certain: if you cannot express yourself, we are all the worse off for it.

PS:  The Times, which is on the Madigan beat, reports

The transgender teenager at the centre of a Labour Party row has applied for the Jo Cox Women in Leadership programme, angering and dismaying party members…

The leadership programme was started last year in memory of the murdered MP Jo Cox, with the specific aim of encouraging more women into politics.

Critics say that it defies the whole point of the scheme, which attracted more than 1,000 applications for 57 places in its first year, to include people who are biologically male or who have lived part of their lives as men.

What price equality?

“Women in the party are fuming,” said one Momentum activist who accused the leadership of quietly redefining the meaning of “woman” without consulting the membership.

Good grief.

Posted: 25th, November 2017 | In: Broadsheets, News, Politicians | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

The pay gap for women and trans is about parenthood not gender

Trans issues are to the fore. The Government is looking at altering the Gender Recognition Act 2004 (GRA), which would permit trans people to change their legal gender without a medical process. Right now the rules are that a diagnosis of gender dysphoria is needed to begin the process. People seeking to change gender have to submit evidence that they have been in transition for at least two years.

It’s not about society, manhood and womanhood. It’s about the individual and individual wellbeing. The BBC’s Jenni Murray got into bother by saying that trans women were not “real women”. Feeling yourself to be women is not the same as being one, she opined. Countering that is Shon Fay, who writes beneath the Guardian headline: “Trans women need access to rape and domestic violence services. Here’s why –  All women face similar dangers, whether trans or not, and it’s distressing that some people seek to drive a wedge between our rights.”

Growing up being perceived by others as a feminine gay boy certainly wasn’t easy, but once I transitioned, in my 20s, things radically changed. The flashes of misogyny I witnessed when I was younger are now, as they are for most women, a daily reality. Some of this is banal – like the men on dating websites who call me a “stuck-up bitch” or a “desperate slag” when I turn them down. Some is more structural: when I get into my 30s, the gender pay gap will widen and I will find myself on the “wrong” side of it.

Maybe not.

Vox reported:

The data tells us that this can’t be the entire story. It can’t explain why the wage gap is so much bigger for those with kids than those without. One 2015 study found that childless, unmarried women earn 96 cents for every dollar a man earns.

Which man? Because dad get more:

One of the worst career moves a woman can make is to have children. Mothers are less likely to be hired for jobs, to be perceived as competent at work or to be paid as much as their male colleagues with the same qualifications.

For men, meanwhile, having a child is good for their careers. They are more likely to be hired than childless men, and tend to be paid more after they have children.

These differences persist even after controlling for factors like the hours people work, the types of jobs they choose and the salaries of their spouses. So the disparity is not because mothers actually become less productive employees and fathers work harder when they become parents — but because employers expect them to.

Economist Claudia Goldin suggests more:

Many companies still richly reward people who are available and work long, continuous hours, Goldin says. They give premium pay to certain key players – mostly men who don’t take time off for children or aging relatives. So women or men who need flexible schedules obtain them “at a high price, particularly in the corporate, finance and legal worlds,” Goldin writes in her paper. Technology and science fields are better off in pay equity, as are certain health care careers. … “It isn’t, quote, a women’s issue,” says Goldin in an interview with Quartz. The pay disparity shows up equally when male MBAs need reduced schedules or time off for personal or family needs.

And then we can talk about class…

Posted: 22nd, November 2017 | In: Broadsheets, Money | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

A rapist locked in a prison with women: what can go wrong?

On the heels of Jessica Winfield, the rapist born Martin Ponting who was moved to a women’s prison after undergoing a sex change, and who, allegedly, was isolated from female lags after making unwelcome sexual advances, we meet Davina Ayrton, formerly David. Davina Ayrton is starting an eight year prison term for taping a 15-year-old schoolgirl in a Portsmouth garage.  Davina is still in possession of her male genitalia.

And so to the moral maze: in court Ayrton expressed a desire to serve her time in a women’s prison. Is it right that rapist is housed in a women’s prison? Can it be right that female prisoners are housed with a convicted rapist? Whose rights are at stake here: the rapist who wants to be a woman; or women?

It can only be right and proper that the government works hard to understand the lot of transgender prisoners. Government figures suggest there are 0.8 transgender prisoners reported per 1,000 prisoners in custody. There are about 88,000 people in UK prisoners. Is it time for a trans-only prison?

In 2015, trans woman Tara Hudson was sentenced to 12 weeks in the all-male Bristol Prison. Her mother Jackie Brooklyn told the Bath Chronicle: “I want Tara to be the last victim of a system which desperately needs bringing into the modern world.” Hudson told the BBC: “I could tell that they weren’t really ready for a prisoner like myself. Because of my gender identity they felt they had to lock me up in segregation and keep me away from the main population of the prison. I felt like I was being persecuted by the state… I felt I had no rights.. I felt like an animal in a zoo.”

Add her ordeal to the fates of Vicky Thompson, 21, and Joanne Latham, 38, from Nottingham, who were both sent to male prisons and the picture for trans prisoners is bleak.

Something needs to be done, for certain. But housing convicted rapists with women is not it.

Posted: 20th, November 2017 | In: News | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

‘Pregnant Women’ are taboo and gender fluid children commonplace as the trans movement thunders on

Transgender news features on the cover of the country’s two biggest-selling red-tops. The Sun has news of “fury” at “Government drivel”, which advises calling pregnant women mums in favour of “pregnant people”. Absurd? Of course it is. But is it true? Can it be that a triumph of liberty – the right to be what gender you choose and shag whatever consenting adult you like – has distorted into a tyranny?


mum women the sun trans


The Government department being ridiculed is the Foreign Office, where civil servants have added their advice to a draft UN human rights paper, warning “the term ‘pregnant women’ could ‘exclude transgender people who have given birth’. Instead, it should be replaced with the term ‘pregnant people’, they suggested.” The Sun musters furious voices to say it’s “nonsense” (Labour MP Jess Philipps) and “drivel” (Tory MP Philip Davies). But it only gives readers a sliver of information about the proposal. It’s not until the 15th paragraph that readers are told:

The intervention came in Britain’s official submission on proposed amendments to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The FCO said: “We requested that the UN human rights committee made it clear that the same right extends to pregnant transgender people”.

That sounds fair, no?

The Times quotes Sarah Ditum, who might not have got that memo:

“This isn’t inclusion. This is making women unmentionable. Having a female body and knowing what that means for reproduction doesn’t make you ‘exclusionary’. Forcing us to decorously scrub out any reference to our sex on pain of being called bigots is an insult.”

But isn’t this just an addendum to the inclusive speech that has men saying “We are pregnant” and attending NCT classes? But, in any case, it’s not true.

In other news, the Mirror leads with the story that “50 kids a week are being sent to sex change clinics”. Is that progress?

sex clinics trans daily mirror

The lead image sets the tone that all might not be well in childhood.


sex change daily mirror


What about thses figures?

The number of children visiting ­Britain’s specialist clinic the Gender Identity Development Service, hosted by the Tavistock and Portman NHS ­Foundation Trust in London, has risen by 24% to 1,302 in the past six months.

Among them were two children aged four, four five-year-olds and 17 kids of six. In 2016/17 there were 2,016 children referred to the clinic. This is on track to rise in 2017/18 to 2,600. In 2009 there were 97.

Isn’t the key part of that fact the NHS’s involvement, the State’s overseeing role in individual sexual identity and personal liberation? The country has undergone a revolution in sexual liberty. But the movement for equality didn’t end with the decriminalisation of gay sex and the arrival of same-sex marriage; it simply moves on, seeking new things to overhaul. So now the focus is on children, and how they can be altered.

As Brendan O’Neill notes: “The government wants to scrap the current requirement of a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria before you can switch gender and allow for ‘self-identification’. So any bloke could self-identify as a woman, apply for the legal right to be recognised as a woman, and – boom – he’s a woman.” Moreover, you can go back and change your birth certificate, altering it from ‘It’s a boy!” to “It’s a girl!”.

And what began as a glorious pursuit of freedom morphs into something weird, non-sensical and the opposite of truth.


Posted: 23rd, October 2017 | In: News, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Leave sex out of gender roles – it’s scaring the kids

pink blue gender sex


What are your criteria for selecting your children’s school clothes? Washability, durability, affordability, practicality and compliance to a dress code? What about if you see your children’s wardrobe as a chance to define your politics and your values.

And there’s the individuality. That dress isn’t just pretty, on-trend and like the one the pop star wears; it’s an explainer, an insight into the wearer’s anxieties, life goals and morals. The dress is useful if your six-year old boy is considering transitioning to girlhood, but terrible for girls, who should be wearing gender-neutral tracksuits and John Lewis’s non-stereotyping clothes “for boys and girls”.

Should the choice to dress as a boy or a girl be only for those children agonising over their gender? How does it further transgender rights and acceptance to present them as a special case?


Rowe family dressing as gender sex


Priory School in East Sussex, a mixed co-ed, has banned skirts, ordering girls and boys to wear grey trousers and shirt, jumper and tie. How is limiting what a girl can wear progressive?

Which brings us to the Rowes, who’ve removed their six-year-old son from a Church of England primary school on the Isle of Wight because a boy in his class was allowed to wear a dress. Last year they removed their 8-year-old from the same school when a boy in his class also started wearing dresses. Both will now be home-schooled.

Sally Rowe, 42, and Nigel, 44, plan to sue. Says Mr Rowe: “Our concerns were raised when our son came back home from school saying he was confused as to why and how a boy was now a girl. We believe it is wrong to encourage very young children to embrace transgenderism. Boys are boys and girls are girls. Gender dysphoria is something we as Christians need to address with love and compassion, but not in the sphere of a primary school environment.”

A Diocese of Portsmouth spokesman adds: “Our schools are inclusive, safe spaces where pupils learn to respect diversity of all kinds. We comply with the legal requirements of the Equality Act 2010 and believe that all should feel welcomed, valued and nurtured as part of a learning community.”



This alters gender from a fact into a problem. It recasts children not as pupils in academia, but as trainee adults conditioned to do away with today’s adult issues. Train the children to be gender neutral and gender-fluid and  – whammo! – you can eradicate sexism, misogyny and the gender pay-gap. All those life-limiting stereotypes that stopped women getting the vote and told men to suck up the pain and soldier on are gone faster than you can say “unisex toilets”. Women will no longer feel a need to stuff silicone balloons in their chests and men won’t spend years of their lives bulking up in the gym.



The problem is that the boy rather likes wearing blue, dinosaurs and playing football; and the girl likes pink and belting our songs in front of the mirror and nail polish. They don’t have to. Ballet dresses (girls) and monster trucks (boys) are not prerequisites of girlhood and boyhood, respectively. They are society’s norms against which you can rebel and test the boundaries. And doing so makes for a more – dread – diversity.

Things get messier when you link it all to sex. You can wear a dress and be a man. You can wear a business suit and be a girl. You can expand what is is to be male and female. But your biological sex cannot be ended because you prefer dresses to trousers. The boy won’t experience childbirth and menstruation because he feels better in girl’s clothes; just as the girl in trousers won’t grown testicles.

The smart move is to challenge gender roles but leave sex out of it. After all, as all adolescents know, every new generation invented sex.

Images: Artist JeongMee Yoon – Pink & Blue Project.

Posted: 12th, September 2017 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Double rapist who underwent sex change harasses inmates in his women’s prison

Here’s one to ponder. Martin Ponting, 50, a father-of-three, is serving a life sentence for raping two young girls. Jailed in 1995, Ponting became Jessica Martina Winfield after a sex change operation paid for by the NHS. In 2007, Winfield told prisoners’ newspaper Inside Time:

“Unfortunately there is a minority of staff and inmates that give me a hard time because of my sexuality, possibly through lack of understanding and empathy.

“So not only do I have the problem of dealing with serious emotional issues surrounding my gender reassignment sex change but also added pressures and issues due to comments and abuse from certain individuals… I work in the main kitchens here at Whitemoor and the majority of staff and management, along with most inmates, have been extremely supportive. The same on my wing.

“I have changed my name to that of a female to prove to the authorities and everyone concerned that I am very serious about my gender and that I do not feel right being a man. I feel like a female trapped in a male body.

The State stepped in, helping through surgery Ponting solve any self-declared incongruence between his biological sex and gender identity, what the NHS terms ‘gender dysphoria’.

In March 2017, the rapist now known as Winfield was transferred from Cambridgeshire’s male-only HMP Whitemoor to Europe’s largest female-only prison, HMP Bronzefield in Surrey.

He’s now been segregated from other prisoners for allegedly making inappropriate advances.

One of his victims told the Sun in March: “There are not enough words to describe him and the evil he has done. It is diabolical they have allowed him to have a sex change and diabolical that he could be freed this year. He may have changed physically but his brain is still the same.”

When Winfield is released, she can use women-only colleges, women-only cab services, women-only changing rooms and women-only toilets. Might it be that feeling like you imagine a woman thinks and is does not necessarily make you one?

You might also wonder under what tyranny a rapist is housed in a female prison.

Posted: 6th, September 2017 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

The ASA war on gender means mum gets the power drill and dad goes to Iceland

asa gender


The Advertising Standards Authority once complained about this site. An advert featuring Page 3 stunna Lucy Pinder was sexist, they alleged. Pinder welcomed readers to Old Mr Anorak’s throbbing organ, which for filthy lucre had been sheep-dipped in Lynx, the stuff that drives women wild with lust. It was all a lot of nonsense. Pinder was willing. No readers were damaged. And rumours abound of a whole generation of young Anoraks. Now the ASA is going for other “gender-stereotypical” commercials, seeking to censor inappropriate ads “that feature stereotypical gender roles”.

There’ll be no more Pinder presenting her primary sexual characteristics like Saint Agatha in a bikini. No more Oxo mum feeding her family. No more Ronseal man telling us it does “exactly” what it says on the tin. And no more ads for yoghurts in which a baby-voiced female celebrity talks about her “tummy”.

Such amplification of “stereotypical gender roles” can “cause harm”. These ads “reinforce assumptions that adversely limit how people see themselves and how others see them”. It turns out that Lynda Bellingham is a bigger role model than your actual mum and dad.

So mum gets the power drill for Christmas after all, and dad gets a trip to Iceland for own-brand ketchup and other tastes of regret.

How’s that for progress?

Posted: 20th, July 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, The Consumer | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Ms Sheila Michaels RIP

ms sheila michaels


Sheila Michaels has died. It’s largely thanks to her that people use the term “Ms.” for women. The term was adopted for women without a husband by the New York Times in 1971. The BBC:

“I didn’t belong to my father and I didn’t want to belong to a husband – someone who could tell me what to do.”

Born in St Louis, Missouri, Ms Michaels spent some of her childhood in New York City. She was a lifelong feminist activist, biblical scholar, and collected oral histories of the civil rights movement later in life.

In her professional life, she worked as a ghostwriter, editor, and even ran a Japanese restaurant – but her obituary in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch notes her favourite job was being a New York City taxi driver.


ms sheila michaels

Posted: 9th, July 2017 | In: Reviews, Strange But True | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Oregon offer citizens a choice of three genders

From next month Oregon drivers can select any one of three genders for their licenses and state IDs. You can opt for M, F, or X.

The first recipient of the new rule will be Portlander Jamie Shupe, a US Army veteran, who became the first non-binary person in the United States to be officially recognized.

“Imagine I had a white mother and a black father,” Shupe explains. “I would be a mixed-race child. Well, take the word ‘race’ out of there and replace it with ‘sex.’ I feel like nature just popped me out as this mixtures of sexes.”

For ages women were defined as being the opposite of men. How would we define men and women now? Is gender fluid? Is gender constructed by society? If gender is no longer fixed is public affirmation of self all important?

Oregon has moved on. But it’s got some way to go to match the virtual world – Facebook offers over 50 gender options for people to choose from.

Spotter: The Oregonaian

Posted: 19th, June 2017 | In: News | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Gender roles: Anything becomes all about the boy

Acting. Isn’t that about pretending to be someone you are not? One writer takes issue with indie movie Anything, staring Matt Bomer:

However, it is not Bomer’s incontestable conventional attractiveness that is setting off alarm bells. It is his off-screen gender and the consistent issue of cis performers playing people of trans experience in film.

Recent years have seen both Jared Leto and Eddie Redmanye win Oscars for their respective trans-woman roles in “The Dallas Buyers Club” and “The Danish Girl”. Chloë Sevigny, Felicity Huffman, Elle Fanning and other notable cis-gender actors have taken on parts that show trans people either during or mid transition. Almost all of these actors have collected praise from the mainstream press for doing so.

Lauding cis actors for delving into trans experiences has long been a Hollywood tradition. The frequency of those plaudits has only more regular more and more films take up the trans narrative at different angles.

Can’t we recruit actors on merit? Non-binary actor Asia Kate Dillon tells the Sunday Times:

“I feel like one thing I encounter is that, particularly with cis men, when they find out I’m non-binary, they don’t know how to be in relation to someone that isn’t something that they understand,”

The paper adds:

And yet, even as more trans stories surface across all media, actual trans actors are often shut out of telling stories that are — in many senses — theirs to tell. It’s a trend that’s been a regular source of criticism and genuine concern.

When Miley Cyrus talked about being gender fluid in 2015, some dismissed it as yet another Hollywood wild-child phase. But Cyrus is hardly alone in identifying this way, joining the likes of teen activist Amandla Stenberg, the Transparent director Jill Soloway, and the model/actor Ruby Rose, who also stars in Orange Is the New Black. The number of gender nonconforming people in the UK is growing and almost half (44%) of a poll by the Fawcett Society last year said they regard gender as more fluid than simply man or woman. Taking their cues from the real-world social discourse, Facebook and Tinder now offer dozens of gender identities.

For those still confused, this is how Dillon put it on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in March: “Sex is between our legs, gender identity is between our ears.”

So what are you? And what are you dating?

Posted: 15th, June 2017 | In: Film | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Woman accused of raping a man was born a man

Hear the one about the woman accused of raping a man – twice? The Indy delivers the facts in headline and teaser: ‘Woman appears in court charged with raping man twice – Newcastle woman will face four-day trial in December.’

Rape, as defined in English law, is:


The elements of rape are:

(A) intentionally penetrates the vagina, anus or mouth of another person (B) with his penis;
(B) does not consent to the penetration, and
(A) does not reasonably believe that (B) consents
Penetration of the mouth is included.

The story of the woman accused of rape is, thus, an unusual one. The accused is named as Katie Brannen. Katie appeared at Newcastle Crown Court ‘accused of two offences of rape after allegedly attacking the man in January in South Shields’.

In all reports Katie is described as a woman, and self-identifies as such. The interesting part is that Katie has a penis. Katie is out on bail. Katie is banned from contacting the alleged victim and from all licensed premises.

Rachel Johnson tells Mail readers that Brannen was born male. Johnson says that this fact was ‘omitted in the moral panic around both privacy and misgendering, the progressive cause de nos jours. To call someone by the wrong title is considered verbal assault and even bigotry.’ This self-censorship has led to what Johnson calls a ‘fake fact – that women can and do rape men – rather than telling us the literal truth.’

It leads to all manner of questions. Is this a case of misattributed pronouns? Should we stick to gender-neutral language? Has liberation become censorship? How does this impact on the world beyond words – do we have gender-neutral prisons? To what extent can simple biological fact be altered? Is gender located not in culture, biology or society but in performance?

Transgender people should be free to identify however they choose but what about the rest of us? It’s confusing, no?

Posted: 12th, March 2017 | In: Reviews | Comment (1) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Caster Semenya is clean: the’dilemma’ of being yourself

Well done, Caster Semenya for winning Olympic gold in the women’s 800m. Much has been made of Semenya’s gender.

Presented her Olympic gold medal by the same organisation that will look to restrict her future in the sport, Caster Semenya stood on top of the podium and smiled broader than ever before.

The finest 800m runner the world has seen for almost decade, there was little doubt that she would depart these Rio Olympics with a gold medal round her neck.

There were three people in that race with what can be termed ‘intersex’ characteristics.

AP says the “result that will only stoke the complex debate over whether women with much higher levels of testosterone than normal should be allowed to compete unchecked.”


Do women who have much higher levels of natural testosterone than normal have an advantage over other women in athletics, and if so, is it unfair?

The athlete said in 2010:

“I have been subjected to unwarranted and invasive scrutiny of the most intimate and private details of my being. Some of the occurrences leading up to and immediately following the Berlin World Championships have infringed on not only my rights as an athlete but also my fundamental and human rights.”

NBC calls her competing a “dilemma”. The New Yorker called her “breathtakingly butch”.

The Atlantic:

No one is accusing Semenya of using illicit substances. Quite the opposite: Some have suggested she should be taking drugs in order to bring her hormone levels more closely in line with those of average women.

Semenya was raised and identifies as female. But according to a leaked medical test, Semenya’s testosterone levels are three times as high as those of most women, and she has internal testes instead of ovaries.

Is surgery the solution? The New York Times:

At the London Olympics, four female athletes, all 18 to 21 years old and from rural areas of developing countries, were flagged for high levels of natural testosterone. Each of them subsequently had surgery to remove internal testes, which produce testosterone, as well as procedures that were not required for resuming competition: feminizing vaginoplasty, estrogen replacement therapy and a reduction in the size of the clitoris.

Olga Khazan wonders:

Still, it’s not considered unsportsmanlike to simply be strange-looking. Countless Olympians are celebrated for unorthodox features that give them an edge in their sports. Much has been made of Michael Phelps’s preternatural wingspan and ultra-flexible feet that turn into “virtual flippers.” Biostaticians have said Usain Bolt’s 6-foot-5-inch height and fast-twitch muscle fibers make him perfectly suited to sprinting. Other athletes have less obvious advantages, like high levels of hemoglobin or diminutive heights tailor-made for tumbling passes.

What to do? Can you make a new division of competition: men, women and intersex?

Posted: 21st, August 2016 | In: Reviews, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Jessica Valenti says something really dumb about shopping

Jessica Valenti is writing about gender unfairness in the Guardian. The headline to her story“Women are overpriced.” Ha!

A report this month on products in the UK found something very similar: when it came to the same products marketed differently for men and women, there was a whopping 37% difference in price. Beauty products, toys, everything. It doesn’t even get better as you age: adding insult to injury, women are even charged more for adult diapers.

Beyond the profound unfairness of having to pay more for the same products (while making less money, to boot!) there’s something quite frustrating about the fact that shopping is something that has long been used to paint women as frivolous and financially irresponsible.

Got that? Women are unfairly portrayed as frivolous, says Valenti, because they didn’t realise (i.e. bother to check) they are over-paying for stuff.




Posted: 26th, January 2016 | In: Broadsheets, Reviews | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Newspapers only feature naked or hired women on front pages

A survey in January this year revealed that women do read newspapers.



But how do newspapers report on women?

These are today’s front pages:

women in news


The only women on the front pages are either advertising trinkets or / and showing lots of skin. The Scottish Daily Mail bucks the trend by showing a mother and daughter rowing.

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And the backpages:


sport newspapers


Women in sport? None.


Posted: 26th, November 2015 | In: Reviews | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

German town invites male drivers to park between a naked woman’s legs

man parking place 2 sexist germany


The “men’s parking space” invites drivers to park between “Steep mountains, moist valleys”. The “Männerparkplatz” in the Black Forest town of Triberg is just a joke, says Triberg Mayor Dr. Gallus Strobel claims.

But gender equality activists in Baden-Württemberg are not l,aughing. They say:

“This type of sexist advertising, which uses a woman’s naked body to grab attention and suggests women are a sexual commodity, is both misogynistic and inhuman.”

man parking place


Mayor Strobel responds:

“It’s a matter of artistic freedom. Art is allowed to provoke people, and should do so.”


man parking place 2 sexist germany


As we Mr Strobel browses the ‘art collection’ on the top shelf of his local newsagents and his laptop, the artist behind this piece of adolescent crud says it’s not him. Werner Oppelt, for it is he,  explains:

“I was unwilling to take part in this from the start. It’s simply not my style.”

As distracted male drivers misjudge their distances we await an artwork featuring mayor Stobel’s and artist Oppelt shunting one another in a small wood.

Posted: 19th, August 2015 | In: Reviews | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Study: Women who make more money still do more chores than men



A research paper published the journal Work, Employment and Society says men who earn less money than their female lovers do more housework than men who earn more money than their better halves.


Even in households where women made more money, though, women still did the majority of chores.

It was not a big study:

Clare Lyonette of the Warwick Institute for Employment Research interviewed 36 women and 12 men, all of whom worked full-time; all of the couples also had at least one child younger than 14. In their interviews, nearly every person expressed their belief that men and women should share the household chores equally, even if that’s not what actually happened in their own homes.

Men. You have been warned…


Posted: 9th, February 2015 | In: Reviews | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Liz Prince On Tomboy: ‘I’ve always thought about gender’

tomboy liz


In Tomboy, Liz Prince looks at growing up, being a girl and what gender means:

“I’ve always thought about gender, as someone who has been categorically ‘gender nonconforming’ for my entire life, I was forced to think about it, but obviously I became more conscious of it as a social issue as I’ve gotten older. And as I’ve met more folks who are genderqueer or trans, it’s been really enlightening to hear their stories, and it got me thinking about my own gender history.

“An unexpected side effect of writing Tomboy is that I have gotten a lot of letters and emails from parents of tomboys, who say that they read the book, and they feel like they understand their children so much better now. I got a really emotional letter from a woman who has a tomboy daughter, who she has in the past tried to force to conform more strictly to a gender norm, and my book made her feel really terrible for doing that, because she understands now that her daughter should be free to express herself the way that is comfortable to her.

“I was really unprepared for receiving feedback like that; letters about how my book has actually changed the way someone approaches their parenting. It’s very validating.”


tomboy liz 1



tomboy liz 2


tomboy liz 3

Posted: 13th, December 2014 | In: Books | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Police Seek ‘Socially Awkward’ Asian Male Who Chatted Up Women On Campus

TO the University of Waterloo, where being socially akward is a crime. Cambridge University students look on with fear:

“I’m sure some of them were very concerned about how this guy approached, but we still had to deal with university policies and laws, and we’re not seeing he’s breached any of those,” says Dan Anderson, director of UW Police Services.

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Posted: 15th, November 2014 | In: Reviews | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Women Are Child Abusers: Gwendolynn Lindgren Is Not A Man

IT’s not only men who attack children. But if you read the mainstream media, you wouldn’t know it.

The Guardian notes:

There is much more we don’t know, including how many paedophiles there are: 1-2% of men is a widely accepted figure…

And of women? No data is given. Not even a guess.

Amid the paedo-panic, a word:

An Albuquerque woman photographed herself engaging in sex acts with a 7-year-old boy and told police she couldn’t promise to not do it again, according to a criminal complaint filed in Metropolitan Court. Gwendolynn Lindgren, 34, was charged with criminal sexual penetration, among other things, after her husband told police he found photographs of her and the boy in emails on her cell phone.

We’ll keep track on the women who abuse children. It might makle men feel less like abusers-in-waiting…



Posted: 15th, November 2014 | In: Reviews | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

The War On White Men: Transgender Timothy Boatwright Is Too Male To Be Wellesley College’s Diversity Officer

THE war on white men continues: a caucasian female student who identifies as a man has been discouraged from becoming Wellesley College’s diversity officer because to have a white male in that position would perpetuate patriarchy.

Timothy Boatwright was born a girl, and checked off the “female” box when applying to the Massachusetts all-women’s school, according to an article in the New York Times. But when he got there, he introduced himself as a “masculine-of-center genderqueer” person named “Timothy” (the name he picked for himself) and asked them to use male pronouns when referring to him.

And, by all accounts, Boatwright felt welcome on campus — until the day he announced that he wanted to run for the school’s office of multicultural affairs coordinator, whose job is to promote a “culture of diversity” on campus.

But some students thought that allowing Boatwright to have the position would just perpetuate patriarchy. They were so opposed, in fact, that when the other three candidates (all women of color) dropped out, they started an anonymous Facebook campaign encouraging people not to vote at all to keep him from winning the position.

Oh, brave new world…

Posted: 17th, October 2014 | In: Reviews | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Against Me! singer to change gender even though America can’t handle the idea of gay marriage

WHILE half of America shouts loudly about how much it hates the gays, it is with unimaginable bravery that Against Me! singer, Tom Gabel, announces that after years of living with gender dysphoria for years, he is to become she and start living life as Laura Jane Grace.

Gender dysphoria is not a laughing matter (despite the hooting that surrounded Lady GaGa’s non-penis) and changing your sex is surely one of the most difficult decisions a human can make. Yet, you can almost hear the catcalls from those who are steadfast in their unwillingness to understand the situation.

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Posted: 10th, May 2012 | In: Celebrities | Comments (4) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

The disappearing gender pay gWE’VEap

WE’VE been screamed at for years that there was this gender pay gap thing and told how appalling it was. Thing is, the gap seems to be disappearing:

Although overall the gender pay gap remains, with women earning 9.1 per cent less than men, in part-time work the trend is reversed.

Data from the Office for National Statistics show that since 1998, median hourly earnings excluding overtime pay have been higher for female employees.

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Posted: 27th, March 2012 | In: Money | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0