Identity Theft

So, it’s International Women’s Day and in its build up, our councils and universities are figuring out the unique challenges of celebrating a sex class and a culture that no longer exist. Sefton Council waded, unwittingly, into a political scandal when they flew a flag bearing the dictionary definition of the word ‘woman’. It seems they had been hoodwinked by bigots into believing the definition of the word ‘woman’ wasn’t bigoted. Leicester University Student’s Union weren’t as easily fooled. Aware that the word ‘woman’ is triggering to trans peeps, they changed it to a word that doesn’t mean ‘woman’, or indeed anything.

It’s a formidable task, to raise awareness of women’s inequality without upsetting all the individuals, groups and brands that have a vested interest in destroying women as a sex class. To this end, I think U.N. Women deserve a special mention. In a sycophantic tweet centring transwomen, they got round the dichotomy, by redefining women as an entity without form or limit.

It’s bollox, obviously, though not literally. I sit here in my female form, with my limited body, analysing the implications of being without definition or shape within a political, legal and educational system that only serves that which it can designate meaning to.

It is reminiscent of when we used to put women on pedestals, keeping much out of their reach. You can call me out of touch for refusing to disbelieve my own existence and I will call you out for your hypocrisy.

Those of us older than ten can remember a time when the word ‘woman’ needed no complex definition. When everyone who was anyone, and all of the nobodies, could tell the difference between a guy and a girl. Co-existing with this period of history spanning all of history pre 2014, was an never ending list of gendered expectations placed on the sexed body of the entity that everybody knew was a woman. Be nice. Be Pretty. Be quite. And on it went, forever, creating the most bizarre expectations of how a woman might dress and behave, how she might think, if she could indeed think, and what her inner most desires might look like.

The most important thing you need to understand about this long list of non nonsensical bollox called ‘Gender expectations for a lady’ is that, like the Bible, it was written by blokes. Blokes telling you what she wants, what she really really wants.

Feminism, since its inception, has been about liberating the female body from the expectations of the male mind. Today, literally, we cannot speak the word ‘woman’ for fear of offending all the interlopers in our ranks, who find the word ‘woman’ coupled with meaning, exclusionary, phobic, even hateful.

And, as a woman, what the fuck am I supposed to do with that? Am I supposed to pretend that that I don’t believe in the material reality and commonality of the sexed body? Am I meant to swap my understanding of these truths for the incoherent ramblings of a morally vacuous media who present woman as esoteric?

We’ve heard it all before. Woman as Virgin. Woman as Whore. The Good Enough Mother. The fragrant Mary Archer. Woman as Thing so inexplicable as to be beyond the capacity of words to describe. Woman as Nothing.

My debut novel Nailing Jess re imagines womanhood in a Matriarchy.

Some Feminist Thoughts on Policing Pronoun Piss Taking

Are you one of those women taking the piss out of Sam Smith’s pronouns?  If you are, you should know that it’s not just Sam Smith’s pro-nouns you’re taking the piss out of, but all the Sam Smiths. Sam Smith, in this context, means all the closeted and non closeted non binaries he represents, not everybody in the universe with the first name Sam and the last name Smith, which would probably cover a lot of non non binary types of both sexes, who are unlikely to take offence at satire and political commentary directed at non binary types and the identity politics their views embody.

If you are one of those women taking the piss out of Sam Smith’s pronouns – Have you asked yourself why? All Sam Smith is asking, very politely, is that you try and remember that he is now a they? How hard is that to do?

Sam Smith perceives himself as neither man nor woman, existing instead in the increasingly blurred lines between those two nouns. All Sam Smith wants is for society to acknowledge the blur, and the new nouns that have emerged from the haze. Before there were men and women. Now there are men and women, and men who think they are women, and women who think they are men, and non binary types who think they are neither men nor women.

All Sam Smith wants you to do is live and let live, and subvert your objective opinion of Sam Smith’s biological reality, in favour of Sam’s Smith’s subjective opinion of said reality. Is that such a big ask? It’s more about kindness than anything else, isn’t it? Why would you risk hurting Sam Smith’s feelings, or the feelings of any non binary type, when all that is required of you is to deny your own reality and undermine the basic framework through which you view the world?

See, Sam Smith is smashing through the gender binary by rigidly adhering to its stereotypes. He is breaking new ground by suggesting that his perceived lack of manliness is actually because he is not fully a man. He may sound like a gay basher from the eighties, but that’s pure coincidence. Where’s the harm in it? All Sam Smith seeks of you is to narrow your version of what a man and woman is, so that the Sam Smiths of this world can live in the chasm, in-between. This abyss that’s been created for the inbetweeners grows ever wider and can only continue to expand, as emotional rhetoric and name calling replaces reasoned debate and sound research.

All Sam Smith wants to do is live a life that best reflects his inner perception of himself. Where’s the cost to you,  in a world that is reshaping itself round perceptions of sex, rather than actual sex, anyway? Why wouldn’t you want to help this party along? All Sam Smith wants from you, is a broadening of your vocabulary to reflect the dissemination of your boundaries and the colonisation of your sex class.

It would be downright unladylike to refuse.