CBB’s India and the cult of no man’s land.

It’s very difficult in these hyper-emotive times to put forward an opinion that doesn’t have woke credentials. By woke I don’t mean the past tense of wake, I mean right on. That’s not the dictionary definition, but that’s okay, because definitions are very last year, possibly even the year before last. Definitions belong in some place, in the past, when words had meaning.

Sometimes, the universe makes it easier to shine a spotlight on an opinion, in a place in time. This January, in the U.K., through the medium of reality tv, it has become easier to speak about trans ideology, and to voice rarely permissible concern. India Willoughby  is a gender critic’s dream. For those of us, trapped on the outskirts of liberal feminism, unable to embrace an ideology that has a deeply religious core, we can abbreviate all our concerns about trans ideology into one word – India – and we don’t mean the country.

India’s just one deeply unhinged human being, one could argue. A entire ideology does not rest on India’s shoulders, which is a fair point, except…

India ain’t really that special. India’s policing of people’s language and sexual boundaries can be found in A Basic Introduction to Trans – Page one. Who among us, even three years ago, could be sure what a pro-noun was, without thinking about it? Now pro-noun awareness is as necessary to social survival as dental hygiene. It is imperative that we defer to people’s internal experience of reality, rather than our own external, objective view. When someone says ‘Call me Ze!’, it is considered the height of ill manners to retort, ‘Catch a grip of yourself, you’re a girl, a teenage girl!’ Instead you must say ‘Sure Ze!’, suspending dis-belief, like you were in an audience participation fringe show, not an early evening pub quiz. It’s as if our ability to intellectually speak about this, ripe for rational dissection theory, has been swept up in a tornado of politeness, and what remains is a large number of almost redundant reasons why objective not subjective experience, must be the measure of a human being.

So, why are preferred pronouns an ethical and political minefield? Is it not just good manners, to refer to people as they would like to be perceived? In which case, refusing to do so, would be considered, at worst, rude. Only, that’s not how it plays out… A rejection of pronoun pandering leads to an all out assault on one’s character. Only ignorant bigots and religious zealots don’t comply. All those who voice opposition are framed as right wing, regressive, conservative, God fearing, gay bashers. The type of people who pathologically fear progress. Except, this doesn’t account for the number of left wing, atheist people, mainly, though not exclusively, women, who have expressed apprehension about the rise of trans dogma in mainstream culture. It also doesn’t account for the vast number of lesbians who have come out against trans ideology. It doesn’t have any space for the hundreds and thousands of average human beings, who continue to know that men have willies and Adam’s apples, and that only women bear children.

But this blog isn’t about ordinary people, it is about an extra ordinary person, India. And I’m arguing that India is undoubtedly special, when compared to your average woman, but decidedly average in terms of trans activists.

When not getting hot under the collar, every time the mask slips and some one shouts ‘I see you.’, India’s time in the house has been spent desperately seeking sexual validation. Sexual validation is a little known, but highly valued right, that trans activists seek. Riley J Dennis makes a living, analyzing the consent out of of people’s sexual boundaries. The logic goes as follows, ‘You wouldn’t reject all women with blue eyes, so how come you reject all women with penises?’ Those of us brave enough to point out the difference between reproductive organs and eyes are decried as vagina obsessives, reducing womenhood to body parts, as though one could live a life independent of one’s body. In the dark recesses of twitter, where gender critical meets trans activist, sexual boundaries are perceived as a manifestation of inner trans hostility. Everyday, on my timeline, I witness lesbians being harassed and vilified, because they don’t do dick. But, lesbians are synonymous with an embargo on penis. It is lesbianism 101, or would be if lesbians framed their sexuality around men. Lesbians love the vagina. That’s their thing.

And their-in lies the conflict with transwomen. Transwomen are women, we are told, again and again. By individual perception, not objective observation, they shall be known. In order to accommodate, we have to change the definition of woman, and once we do this, we, by inference, change the definition of lesbian. In real world terms, these concessions, because we don’t wish to appear frightfully rude, see lesbians shoved into a new box called progressive heterosexuality, and forced to get on board with ladydick. Of course, nobody will call the new box progressive heterosexuality, and even if they did, it would make no difference, ‘coz words have no meaning.

But actions still do. And the action that provided the most reasons for India’s nomination was bed-gate. Bed-gate saw India refuse to relinquish to Anne Widdecombe the bed reserved for Anne by Big Brother, until forced by Big Brother to do so. India’s rational, ‘I got here first!’ held no sway with a room full of womb bearers, who had been socialized into respecting their elders and accommodating others. For me, I saw India’s colonization of a single bed, and subsequent rejection of the nurturing part of  womanhood, as the perfect metaphor for trans ideology.

‘I am a woman.’, the transwoman says. ‘Define woman, without using the word woman?’ the trans skeptic might ask. It cannot be done. Unless we refer to the dictionary definition, which is an adult human female. Instead, what we get is a set of badly drawn stereotypes, as a man, defines his understanding of a woman, through his biology and socialization as a man, and the limitations placed on him by a gendered world, and an abysmal absence of imagination.

See, acting like a woman is easy, if you are a drag queen, and you know you’re acting. Being a woman, that’s actually a lot more complex. It’s navigating the world as other. Not primary. Less important. Less safe. It’s learning survival skills from an early age, that include, but are not limited to, playing nice, acting dumb, laughing at jokes that are not at all funny. It’s not being believed. It’s being blamed. It’s being left, holding the babies. It’s having those same babies snatched from you, if he wants to hold them. It’s being object in a world where subject is male. You can’t become a woman, any more than you become a hairdryer. We are born this way.

So, when a woman tells a transwoman, ‘Of-course, you are a woman’, what she means is, ‘Of-course you are not a woman, but I have been trained from an early age to accommodate your emotions, and to lie to protect the fragility of your ego.’

My debut novel Nailing Jess was published by Cranachan in June 2017.

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TRIGGER WARNING HAPPY Trigger Warning: This blog contains no trigger warnings

The ‘Trigger Warning’ is having a moment. Much like after the bankers f***ed up the economy and ‘austerity’ went from being a word mostly found in Dickensian era literature to common usage overnight. In fact, it’s only very recently that ‘austerity’ has fallen out of favour as the blanket explanation for all the profit focused policies that have post dated it.

I could be wrong, but I don’t think ‘Trigger Warning’ is even a decade old. It is certainly very new to find it everywhere, all the time. Perhaps, it’s just the circles I frequent. The feminist ones, especially. They are just wall to ceiling ‘Trigger Warning’. Many make you agree to adding a ‘Trigger Warning’ to everything you post. Think about that, for a moment. Feminists sites that ask you to designate your feminist content potentially harmful to other feminists.

Perhaps I sound flippant? Like, I have missed the point. Trigger warnings are there to protect people, who may be experiencing P.T.S.D. (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) from being triggered by other people’s stories or even opinions. So far, so sensitive. But, ultimately, not sensitive enough, because here’s the type of content that might make a traumatised individual feel unsafe. F***ing anything!

Such is the nature of unresolved trauma that a smell, a sound, a taste, or a picture may resonate with some part of our deep sub conscious – where all the bad s*** lurks – and make us feel vulnerable, alone, sad. Such is the real dark stuff that happens to people in a patriarchy, that many spent their entire life’s a bit or a lot broken. Trigger Warnings won’t resolve their conflict. Truth and affirmative action is much more plausible.

When did feminists become so f***ing sensitive to the needs of everyone, all the time, whilst so simultaneously desensitised to the needs of women? Seriously, what is that about?

It’s all part of a wider conspiracy to make feminism so dull that only suburban house-wife’s and aspirational career types need apply. All the thinkers, all the truth seekers, all the herstorians – nope, it’s not a typo – will be either dead, or living in some underground compound in UTAH waiting for a post apocalyptic future with a less bleak outlook.

Can we stop censoring women? Can we stop patronising women? Can we recognise that talking about trauma is not inherently traumatic? It is not even as traumatic as not talking about it. Can we stop boring each other’s pants off with long, convoluted explanations of what feminism is? Can we narrow down the definition of feminism to more realistic aims? Can we make sure the draft includes stuff about women and their oppression under a patriarchy?

So, in summary, feminism is not an ideological version of a health spa. If you want to feel good about yourself, you need to see a life coach, or an emotional freedom therapist, or even a good old fashioned shrink. If you want to fight for the rights of women you need to find yourself some like minded women who call themselves feminists, but are also interested in such matters. And that, in this current climate of schizophrenic women;s rights, is a pretty hard find.

My debut novel Nailing Jess is available now from amazon and all good bookstores.

 

Everyday Feminism – I’ll take mine to go…

So, now that I’ve launched my book, I need to get back to blogging regularly. Blogging’s hard. You have to think up stuff to write about and then write about it. You have to have an opinion and be sure where you stand on something and the older I get, the less certain I become about where I stand on anything. Take feminism, for example. I used to be so sure of what feminism was. Then I discovered twitter. Some time later, I came to realise that my own understanding of what feminism was, which had come largely from the academic writings of the second wave feminists, was no longer relevant. Feminism had morphed into something entirely different. It had been re branded so that it might appeal to a broader section of society. And in theory, that’s a good thing, surely?

Everybody knows you’ve got to de-radicalise to maintain viewing figures. Remember New Labour? But, at what point, do you lose all credibility? At what point are you looking from the misogynist to the feminist, and then from the feminist to the misogynist and scratching your head? ‘Course it could be simply that the movement has evolved too fast for me, and I’m stuck in the rigid thinking of a by-gone era when feminism was all about fighting for women’s rights. Most especially, their right to control of their womb. Their right to live free from male perpetrated sexual and physical violence. Their right to protect their children from male perpetrated sexual and physical violence. Their right to an education. Their right to be self defined autonomous individuals, with control of their own destinies. Their right to live free of oppression and fear. It was a very rights based time.

And these sisters got shit done! Between all the toking and the dancing around naked and hairy in the gardens, coz body hair is a very political thing, they achieved practical, massive stuff. They got us divorce and abortion and contraception and women’s refuges. They got us better pay and working conditions and opportunities. They radically changed our lives. Then, as far as I can tell, they packed up and moved back to suburbia, in time for rush hour at the fertility clinic. There endeth the second wave. Now, we’re in the third wave, I think, it’s hard to keep up. Some even talk of a fourth, so it could be like a tsunami soon. Only, that’s not the feeling I get. This third wave seems very sketchy to me. I’m not even convinced it’s a wave, more of a series of ripples. Okay, enough with the ocean metaphor! But you get my point. Feminism is having a moment.

Everybody’s feminist right now. It’s not just Emma Watson. Teresa May is a feminist, she literally bought the t-shirt and that Canadian prime minister bloke, and of course Obama and also Ryan Gosling, though that could be an irony thing. There’s even talk that Kim Kardashian is a feminist. They are f**king everywhere! So, here’s the thing? How is it that the patriarchy can withstand the force of their numbers? ‘Coz latest update on the patriarchy is, it’s still standing strong, holding its own, making gains in many areas. Globally and locally it continues to win a war many feminists on the ground will tell you no longer exists. So, what’s up with that?

If I was a conspiracy theorist, which I’m not, I’d say that patriarchal thinking had infiltrated the feminist movement to such an effective degree as to render it neutral. The movement is now so lacking in threat that it is allowed to grow, wild and without nurture, in the corners of the most feeble brains.

Feminism is an ever evolving concept, we are told. There is no need to know its history before you sign up. Only, there is, and it’s there in those very words. His Story. And he owned the words. And as long as he didn’t educate her, she might always believe he was smarter than her. ‘Course these days she’s educated, in some countries, and in many she can get her hands on the internet. And how must he play her now?

It calls to mind a recent article published in the Gaurdian about a feminist that attacked a life size statue of Trump during its unveiling ceremony in Madrid.  She was one of that femen crowd, so she was topless. Femen, you may remember, was the topless women’s rights movement, set up by a bloke. And yes, origins matter, as anyone who is familiar with the tale of Adam and Eve, can validate. What I want to know is why?

I know that makes me a philistine, ‘coz art, especially performance protest art speaks for itself. And also, to be fair to her, she was very clear. She wrapped her fist around Trumps plastic, clothed crotch and painted ‘grab patriarchy by the balls’ on her naked back. I still want to know why? To what effect? For what purpose has she stripped and risked arrest? Greater purpose that is, than five minutes of twitter notoriety and a story to bore her dinner guests with in a decades time. And, when you break it down, what was her real, exposed body, groping a plasic effigy actually saying? Her slogan echos very hallow against the stark portrayal of her powerlessness. And, I don’t think that was the look she was going for.

I’d like to compare the lone wolf femen agitator for social change with the more logical, considered and ultimately liberating Irish feminists, who in 1971, took a train from Belfast, carrying contraceptives where they were restricted but legal, to Dublin where they continued to be completely illegal for another eight years. In fact, it wasn’t until 1993 that condoms became freely available. Picture that, folks! A world without johnies! This huge publicity stunt co-existed with the underground provision of contraception, thus the grassroots and the political, working together, created meaningful social change. And he quaked in his boots, ‘coz she created laws to stop him kicking her.

And that takes us the full circle back to what is feminism for? Take this Everyday Feminism, and after a quick scan of their vision, I’d rather leave it. Wtf are they selling? Seriously, it reads like a cross between a brahma kumaris leaflet and an early draft of some HR speech on political correctness for octogenarians still in the workplace. See, I like my feminism a bit more feminist, you know? I mean, its all well and good to save the dolphins and recognize the rights of indigenous people to self identify, but what are you doing about the rapists and perverts and the paedos? What’s your plan to keep the refuges open? When they close, more women have to remain living with violent men, and it’s really hard to find your zen when you’re not sure if you or your kids will make it though the night without a beating. How’s the fight for reproductive control going? ‘Coz if we lose that, on top of the refuges, and the legal aid, well then it’s going to take a lot more than a spot of yoga to redress the balance, don’t you think?

So, to summarise, yoga is great if you want to detox and re energise, but has proved singularly ineffective when used as a weapon of war, as the exiled Tibetan monks would surely testify. Feminism is a movement to agitate for the rights of women. When working properly it can change laws, create new laws, allow women autonomy over their own bodies, generate finances and power, facilitate education, free women’s minds and empower them to self realize beyond the confines of their patriarchal jailers. When defunct, it can’t do much, except spit out mindless art or intellectually warped philosophy and distract. And oh, how he laughs, but these oh so clever people, they don’t get the joke….

My debut novel Nailing Jess, published by Cranachan, is available for download for 99p on Amazon for the month of July.

Everyday Feminism? I’ll take mine to go….

So my new years resolution is to blog more regularly and so far that hasn’t exactly gone to plan. Blogging’s hard. You have to think up stuff to write about and then write about it. You have to have an opinion and be sure where you stand on something and the older I get, the less certain I become about where I stand on anything.

Take feminism, for example. I used to be so sure of what feminism was. Then I discovered twitter. Some time later, I came to realise that my own understanding of what feminism was, which had come largely from the academic writings of the second wave feminists, was no longer relevant.  Feminism had morphed into something entirely different. It had been re branded so that it might appeal to a broader section of society. And in theory, that’s a good thing, surely?

Everybody knows you’ve got to de-radicalise to maintain viewing figures. Remember New Labour? But, at what point, do you lose all credibility? At what point are you looking from the misogynist to the feminist, and then from the feminist to the misogynist and scratching your head?

‘Course it could be simply that the movement has evolved too fast for me, and I’m stuck in the rigid thinking of a by-gone era when feminism was all about fighting for women’s rights. Most especially, their right to control of their womb. Their right to live free from male perpetrated sexual and physical violence. Their right to protect their children from male perpetrated sexual and physical violence. Their right to an education. Their right to be self defined autonomous individuals, with control of their own destinies. Their right to live free of oppression and fear. It was a very rights based time. And these sisters got shit done! Between all the toking and the dancing around naked and hairy in the gardens, coz  body hair is a very political thing, they achieved practical, massive stuff. They got us divorce and abortion and contraception and women’s refuges. They got us better pay and working conditions and opportunities. They radically changed our lives. Then, as far as I can tell, they packed up and moved back to suburbia, in time for rush hour at the fertility clinic. There endeth the second wave.

Now, we’re in the third wave, I think, it’s hard to keep up. Some even talk of a fourth, so it could be like a tsunami soon. Only, that’s not the feeling I get.

This third wave seems very sketchy to me. I’m not even convinced it’s a wave, more of a series of ripples. Okay, enough with the ocean metaphor! But you get my point. Feminism is having a moment. Everybody’s feminist right now. It’s not just Emma Watson. Teresa May is a feminist, she literally bought the t-shirt and that Canadian prime minister bloke, and of course Obama and also Ryan Gosling, though that could be an irony thing. There’s even talk that Kim Kardashian is a feminist. They are f**king everywhere! So, here’s the thing? How is it that patriarchy can withstand the force of their numbers?

‘Coz latest update on the patriarchy is, it’s still standing strong, holding its own, making gains in many areas. Globally and locally it continues to win a war many feminists on the ground will tell you no longer exists. So, what’s up with that?

If I was a conspiracy theorist, which I’m not, I’d say that patriarchal thinking had infiltrated the feminist movement to such an effective degree as to render it neutral. The movement is now so lacking in threat that it is allowed to grow, wild and without nurture, in the corners of the most feeble brains. Feminism is an ever evolving concept, we are told. There is no need to know its history before you sign up. Only, there is, and it’s there in those very words. His Story. And he owned the words. And as long as he didn’t educate her, she might always believe he was smarter than her.

‘Course these days she’s educated, in some countries, and in many she can get her hands on the internet. And how must he play her now?

Yesterday the Gaurdian ran a story about a feminist that attacked a life size statue of Trump during its unveiling ceremony in Madrid.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jan/17/topless-feminist-protestor-femen-donald-trump-waxwork?CMP=twt_gu

She was one of that femen crowd, so she was topless. Femen, you may remember, was the topless women’s rights movement, set up by a bloke. And yes, origins matter, as anyone who is familiar with the tale of Adam and Eve, can validate. What I want to know is why?

I know that makes me a philistine, ‘coz art, especially performance protest art speaks for itself. And also, to be fair to her, she was very clear. She wrapped her fist around Trumps plastic, clothed crotch and painted ‘grab patriarchy by the balls’ on her naked back. I still want to know why? To what effect? For what purpose has she stripped and risked arrest? Greater purpose that is, than five minutes of twitter notoriety and a story to bore her dinner guests with in a decades time. And, when you break it down, what was her real, exposed body, groping a plasic effigy actually saying? Her slogan echos very hallow against the stark portrayal of her powerlessness. And, I don’t think that was the look she was going for.

I’d like to compare the lone wolf femen agitator for social change with the more logical, considered and ultimately liberating Irish feminists, who in 1971, took a train from Belfast, carrying contraceptives where they were restricted but legal, to Dublin where they continued to be completely illegal for another eight years.

http://www.rte.ie/archives/exhibitions/1666-women-and-society/370226-contraceptive-train/

In fact, it wasn’t until 1993 that condoms became freely available. Picture that, folks! A world without johniees! This huge publicity stunt co-existed with the underground provision of contraception, thus the grassroots and the political, working together, created meaningful social change. And he quaked in his boots, ‘coz she created laws to stop him kicking her.

And that takes us the full circle back to what is feminism for? Take this Everyday Feminism, and after a quick scan of their vision I’d rather leave it.

http://everydayfeminism.com/about-ef/our-vision/

Wtf are they selling? Seriously, it reads like a cross between a brahma kumaris leaflet and an early draft of some HR speech on political correctness  for octogenarians still in the workplace. See, I like my feminism a bit more feminist, you know? I mean, its all well and good to save the dolphins and recognize the rights of indigenous people to self identify, but what are you doing about the rapists and perverts and the paedos? What’s your plan to keep the refuges open? When they close, more women have to remain living with violent men, and it’s really hard to find your zen when you’re not sure if you or your kids will make it though the night without a beating. How’s the fight for reproductive control going? ‘Coz if we lose that, on top of the refuges, and the legal aid, well then it’s going to take a lot more than a spot of yoga to redress the balance, don’t you think?

https://www.verywell.com/do-these-10-yoga-poses-every-day-to-feel-great-3567179

So, to summarise, yoga is great if you want to detox and re energise, but has proved singularly ineffective when used as a weapon of war, as the exiled Tibetan monks would surely testify. Feminism is a movement to agitate for the rights of women. When working properly it can change laws, create new laws, allow women autonomy over their own bodies, generate finances and power, facilitate education, free women’s minds and empower them to self realize beyond the confines of their patriarchal jailers.  When defunct, it can’t do much, except spit out mindless art or intellectually warped philosophy and distract. And oh, how he laughs, but these oh so clever people, they don’t get the joke….