An Undergraduate ‘Karen’ Speaks

Below is my response to someone who posted an argument against JK Rowling’s essay on their Instagram story – a place where teens have been going lately to show solidarity. Thanks to my passion for this subject, something essay-like was accidentally born. I remain anonymous because my university does not accept any opinion which lies outside of their leftist “safe” space and has a strict “respecting pronouns” rule in many of its departments and societies. As for my friends, they already know my stance but, to my knowledge, have so far remained silent after I posted a short version of this essay to my private social media page.

JK Rowling is bigoted, then. Certainly an interesting take. If being bigoted means being intolerant of those with opinions which differ from your own, who are the real bigots in this situation?

It appears that you have adopted the lexicon which has taken social media echo chambers and modern leftist crowds by storm, with little regard for material reality and everyday struggles of women. What discrimination do you speak of? Are you talking about questioning the ethics and scientific legitimacy of this emerging gender ideology? I would not count that as discrimination – I would say that that is disagreement and perhaps a clashing of basic principles.

If disagreeing means I am transphobic, paint my name all over that, although it carries no real weight and misrepresents my views and behaviour. For good measure, call me a TERF, a witch, a bitch, a biology absolutist until the cows come home. Don’t tiptoe around the feelings of women.

“Woman” doesn’t even mean anything any more, so why should we even regard them as a separate class, right? Lump them in with anyone who demands to be called “she” because, apparently, this does not mean anything either. The watering down of words which you seem to advocate for can work both ways. Everything is fluid, right? (No pun intended) Live and let live, share spaces and dismantle all the rules and rights that protect us. Is this where your ideology is going?

I’m not arguing this because it’s a fun pastime – I am deeply scared about where the loud minority in this culture is taking us, and afraid that the result of it will be suffering far greater than the discomfort of being “misgendered”.

“Transphobia” does not compare to homophobia or misogyny because, ironically, we are actually given reason by trans activists themselves to fear trans people. We receive threats, lose our voices and have our boundaries annihilated. I think this is cause for fear, so go on and call us transphobic.

You say I am contributing to trans marginalisation, discrimination etc. Okay, you can believe that. I’ll believe it when I see it. From what I’ve seen, trans activists seem pretty bloody happy with themselves, having people bow to their every request.

Well, I would say that you, consciously or not, are contributing to the erasure of females, their achievements as a sex, their incomparable experiences, the experiences of women in countries and cultures where they do not have basic rights due to their sex and are dominated by men. Males – the stronger sex. The sex that can forcibly impregnate a woman and kill her with one hand. The sex that domestically abuses physically weaker women every day because they can. (Needless to say, not all men. But that is beside the point)

This female erasure is of an intensity we have not seen since the 19th century. How is this progressive? When will it end? What is your ultimate goal with this? And at the very least, is it worth the side effects?

This new gender ideology is the epitome of a first-world problem. Women in the developing world would be sick to their stomach at the definition of discrimination and gender inequality in the developed world. We are privileged to be even having this conversation. So many women are still silenced. Again, because of their sex, not because they identify with their gender “assigned at birth”, but because they are female. Where is the “cis privilege” in that?

They could try to identify out of it and say they are a man – if they even knew about this ideology, that is – but they would still be female and viewed as such. The challenge in this situation would not be that they are “misgendered”, the challenge would be that they face terrible consequences for having been born female. You couldn’t begin to compare the two.

What a blessing to be born in a society where “microaggressions” and not calling someone by their preferred pronoun are even remotely near the top of your hierarchy of human needs. This is the definition of closed-minded. I can only hope – although at the moment it does not appear to be the case – that this pandemic has, and will have, somewhat shifted peoples priorities into a more coherent order.

To imply that predatory behaviour and sexual abuse has no particular biological or evolutionary basis in terms of the sexes is worrying. No sexual abuse is less or more wrong or damaging to an individual, regardless of what or who they are, however the consequences of being a biological woman being abused by a biological man are unique and require separate consideration. This sex-based abuse is regular and universal. Women are abused and killed in their homes every day – even more since lockdown. As females, they are less likely to be able to defend themselves, and stand little chance against their male counterpart in many instances (not just physical but coercive control also).

It is not the same dynamic with transwomen.

No matter how women identify, they are female. Knowing someone’s sex is crucial for gathering statistics and combatting the sex-based abuse of women, which is why it is so important for females to exclusively own the word ‘woman’. It is what has the ability to protect half of the population. If we don’t have the word ‘woman’, we can’t name our rights as a class of people. There can be no confusion when it comes to man-on-woman violence. For instance, in law, we must say that if a transwoman abuses a transman, it is male violence against a woman. Because it is.

This intentional blurring of the differences between the sexes makes it so that when a girl is out somewhere – a club for example, and she feels like she needs a place of refuge, and automatically heads towards the female bathroom space (perhaps because she has experienced some sort of harassment, which is still all too common in these environments) this is taken away from her. She has no right to female-only spaces now.

I have experienced this before, namely when a man who clearly presented in a traditionally male fashion, strode into the women’s toilets in a club. He and I were alone. He strode up to me, pointed at my chest and complimented my shirt. I told him “this is the women’s toilets,” and he just said “Don’t worry darling – I’m trans” and went into a cubicle. Does this not make your skin crawl even just a bit? It should. Surely my comfort and safety, especially in a setting like that, should have been put above his claimed trans identity. This and much worse is more common than you think, and even if it were to only happen once, that is one time too many.

Maybe your definition of “infringing on women’s rights” is different to mine. Completely separating transwomen from men is extremely naïve. To say they are not men… Well, yes they are, and don’t they know it! Otherwise they wouldn’t have felt the need to transition. You cannot tell me what I “must acknowledge” regarding someone’s identity. This very notion is dogmatic, and I don’t indulge entitlement if I can help it. I will accept people as humans, which may not necessarily match how they see and accept themselves. Decency is one thing – respect is another. Respect is earned, in the same way that trust is earned. That is natural.

In line with this, it generally takes time for a woman to trust a man in certain situations, because it is in her interest to assess the risk.

In response to the statistics you have provided me with, I am afraid I am not persuaded to trust Stonewall or Mermaids with statistics, science or anything else for that matter. I certainly do not think that they have young people’s interest at heart. 99% satisfaction rate after transition? How bold of them to slap that lie on there. If that is the case, perhaps the transitioner is satisfied for a day or two until the weight of reality hits them. This fabricated statistic contradicts the huge increase of people who are now detransitioning (even though, unfortunately, most of the damage has already been done), and the number of vulnerable, impressionable children who have been indoctrinated into thinking that they were “born in the wrong body,” instead of letting them live their lives as people navigating their way in the world with an outward-looking view.

Longitudinal and peer-reviewed studies on gender identity have not adequately taken place yet; they have been rushed under pressure from an ideologically-motivated political lobby. They do not represent sound scientific, medical, or psychological evidence. Time, and an objective approach, have been denied due to external vested interests.

Organisations such as Stonewall and Mermaids are morally objectionable organisations, funded by opaque American philanthropic foundations, and promoted by the likes of Munroe Bergdorf and Emma Watson who have too much money, and sadly not enough sense, when it comes to the protection of women and children. Those who are part of, and patrons of, these organisations appear to have warped and confused ideas about liberty, rights and gender.

If you look at what Stonewall are actually teaching in classrooms (which is inappropriate in itself), they are showing children a jellybaby rainbow gender spectrum, one side with Barbie and the other with GI Joe, and asking them where they lie on this spectrum, effectively telling children that if they veer towards more traditionally masculine or feminine things then that means that they are less or more of a girl or boy. Wait a minute. Aren’t we supposed to be teaching boys and girls that the sky’s the limit? That no matter their ‘gender’, they can achieve and be interested in anything they want without their ‘gender’ limiting them in any way? That their ‘gender’ is not who they are, but simply what they are?

For her son’s 16th birthday, the Chair of Mermaids took him to Thailand to be castrated. His masculinity removed, and his body rendered an eunuch. What is that, if not abuse? This poor young teen will never have children naturally, and will be a medical patient for the rest of his life, I can only assume because his mother didn’t want a gay or effeminate son (this is prevalent in the UK, as Newsnight recently showed us). She was willing to experiment, and be this short-sighted, to fulfil her apparent homophobic agenda. He was too feminine to deserve to be called a boy, or seen as a boy in society, because boys are meant to fulfil certain roles and stereotypes within their ‘gender,’ right? Wrong! That is my point! I re-iterate, sex is not who someone is, but what they are, and beyond that, we can be and do pretty much anything we want. That is the liberty we are fighting for. Why are you trying to prevent this?

I must also challenge you on the idea that those with gender dysphoria in the UK have to go through rigorous psychological assessment and therapy before being allowed to transition. This is no longer true. In fact, someone experiencing feelings of dysphoria does not need any psychological assessment whatsoever, unless they report or indicate any other mental health issues. As you’ll find out in this PDF (standingforwomen.com – ‘First Do No Harm‘), these issues are kept separate and people wanting to transition are generally just waved through now. This is deeply concerning, as poor mental health and feelings of gender dysphoria directly correlate. Gender dysphoria is in the category of mental health issues, so why is it treated as if it’s just the way someone is, or a part of their identity?

Gender-questioning, and the conflict in the minds of those affected, is linked with distress and anxiety, and is particularly common in those who are on the autistic spectrum. It cannot be seen as a completely separate issue. That is counterintuitive. Families are torn apart every day by this, and it is partly these rules which keep everyone involved confused, frustrated and suffering even more.

I wonder if one reason behind you thinking that transwomen experience misogyny is because there is a tendency for them to embody a caricature of a woman – their perception of what it means to be, and look like, a woman. How reductive and regressive. This is truly letting women down. We are so much more than the roles and expectations imposed on us, yet here are transwomen appropriating and perpetuating them with their appearance. So, if we have no obligation to comply with gender roles, of course anyone can dress however they feel most confident, but that does not change their sex, and it is insulting to conflate the idea of self-expression and gender (sex).

Does society really need reminding that women’s bodies are functional – not ornamental? (Breasts are primarily for feeding, not for aesthetic pleasure, and so on). The emphasis on appearance nowadays is truly shocking. I can’t believe how superficial we have become. I believe it is partly due to the appropriation of femininity and womanhood for attention and monetary gain. Sex sells, I guess. It’s hardly a fair or accurate representation of women though, is it?

You offer to change your language for my comfort, and avoid calling me “cis” on this basis, but this is exactly what I object to. I don’t think language should be changed to appease people, or according to preference. We have definitions for a reason. If we step back, we can see that this is Orwellian ‘Newspeak’ and is wholly unreasonable and unproductive. Adopt this imposed “woke” lexicon if you choose, but you’d better be confident that you’re on the right side of history.

You say I have nothing to lose by changing my language in pursuit of respecting others’ identity? I lose everything it means to be a woman in society. I lose my integrity, because I would not believe what I was saying to be true, and I don’t see any virtue in being dishonest. It helps nobody in the long-run. It’s not the same as tact. Sure, you personally don’t have to “invalidate their identity”, but I don’t have to actively validate it. That would be virtue-signaling at best.

If someone gets upset that I can’t (not just won’t – can’t) see them the way they wish I would, and wants to call me transphobic (shifting the responsibility elsewhere), then I am truly sorry for them. What a cynical view of the world they must hold. Why would anyone rely on everyone else’s validation of a subjective experience? Paradoxically, this surely implies a lack of conviction in their identity, and security in themselves. If they don’t believe in themselves, why should anyone else? This is no one’s responsibility to work through but their own. This is where minding one’s own business comes in.

Again, even if I am willing to use preferred pronouns, which I am under no obligation to do, what more do they want from me? For me to lie to myself and others? If their sense of conviction in their identity is so strong – a hardware feature of their being – surely it should withstand any kind of criticism, and yet it doesn’t. If they are so sure of their identity, why not let JK Rowling’s statement stand alone? Why give trigger warnings, and takedowns of her essay, so people don’t feel they have to read it? Because the foundations of your argument are weak, and you know that JK Rowling is speaking sense – with grace and vulnerability too. She didn’t have to do that, but she felt it to be right thing to do.

I am sympathetic to those with gender dysphoria and the like, and hope that they find peace and healing with themselves and their loved ones, without relying on external validation. If they are a tiny minority, to expect everyone to understand or want to accommodate their experience is unrealistic. No one is responsible for the validation of others. This is a child-like perspective. In an ideal world, we would all be seen the way we want to be, but that’s just not the case, and at some point we have to grow up and realise that there’s a world out there, and most people are just trying to get on with it.

Women are women because they are female and have a completely distinctive experience to all male bodies. We call transwomen ‘transwomen’ because they are biologically male, even if they socially transition to the best of their ability. To put women and transwomen in the same category – “women” – completely cancels out the meaning of the word, allowing the line between male and female to be blurred. If you asked anyone on the street, they would most likely find this idea terrifying and regressive, after the rights that women have fought so hard for in times of true inequality of opportunity and lack of safety precautions for women, who, compared to men, are the more vulnerable sex.

So, all this considered, I am not willing to compromise the word “woman” to cater to those who are hijacking the trans movement by using the small minority of well-meaning people with genuine feelings of gender dysphoria as justifications for demanding something entirely sinister. I think it is important that women know if they are in the presence of a male body in any kind of enclosed space or intimate setting. That is the bottom line. I will not be dictated to by a male, especially one I do not know, to call him a woman and equate his social, biological and mental experience to mine.

When talking about this person to a woman, I would think it important to state that they are male, for the sake of her own safety and consideration for her boundaries, so that she can make informed decisions on whether, for example, she would feel safe being alone with this individual.

Transwomen and women may both experience discrimination or disrespect in their lives, depending on where they find themselves, but these are different experiences. I will not have my thoughts policed on the matter of whether these groups are both women – unfortunately I can’t trick my mind into being convinced, and I doubt the majority of people can either.

“Woman” is not a feeling. A male could never understand what it is to truly be a woman since “woman” is not an appearance, and it is not a social construct. It is not a skill, a style, nor an attitude to life. It is a physical and mental state of being that cannot be replicated or embodied by someone who is not a woman, even if it is imitated.

I am not saying this to be cruel – I truly wish that gender dysphoria didn’t exist and that people could get help for their struggles in order to be content and live their lives fully. Having said this, I think a lot of gender ideology is counterproductive to this goal, as it traps them in an echo chamber; the thought that “I am not happy because of x, but when x changes, I will be happy and things will get better for me”. I think that is extremely damaging, especially for young people who are figuring out who they are, what they like, juggling pressures and having new experiences. That is enough mental strain without telling them that, because they feel more masculine or feminine, they literally are the opposite sex, thus causing them to become a medical patient for life because they felt they had to change for society to view them differently.

I hope we can agree that this topic is complex. The topic of gender, and what it is, can be a minefield (especially if you’re consuming social media every day) but we have to remain firm with this. The fact is, the immutable definition of man and woman will stand the test of time, place and ideology. They have to. It’s in the interests of everyone. Women need to be on women’s side in this. Being divided weakens us. If you’ve read The Handmaid’s Tale, know about the women who opposed the suffragette movement, or even just know anything about the history of women’s “place” in society, you’ll know exactly what I mean.

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One thought on “An Undergraduate ‘Karen’ Speaks

  1. There seems to be zero checks and balances on transgender (and their supporters) behaviour. They get a free pass to say and do anything to any woman who expresses the slightest disagreement with any demented aspect of their ideology. They are enthralled with the thrill of being the new oppressors.

    Liked by 1 person

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