How trans activists made ‘woman’ a dirty word

Calling women ‘cervix owners’ or ‘menstruators’ is ridiculous and insulting.

Patrick West
Columnist

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Topics Politics UK

As the genderfluid movement becomes ever more self-important and pretentious, I sometimes wonder whether it’s soon due to drown in its own fraudulent solipsism and vanity. This week, it descended to new levels of imbecility and fascistic megalomania.

First, as The Times reported on Monday, we had the case of a birth coach resigning from her professional organisation, Doula UK, after being criticised over a Facebook post that said only women were able to have babies. Lynsey McCarthy-Calvert, 45, was suspended as a spokesperson for Doula UK, and, after an inquiry, was compelled to quit the organisation.

The British Medical Association has for some time irritatingly recommended using the term ‘pregnant person’ in place of ‘pregnant woman’. Similarly, Cancer Research UK recently decided to drop the word ‘woman’ from smear-test materials, replacing it with ‘anyone with a cervix’. McCarthy-Calvert posted about this on her Facebook page: ‘I am not a “cervix owner”, I am not a “menstruator”. I am not a “feeling”. I am not defined by wearing a dress and lipstick. I am a woman: an adult human female.’ Doula UK confirmed that the post breached its code of conduct.

Less sinisterly, but just as ludicrously, the next day it was reported that the singleton actress Emma Watson had told Vogue magazine: ‘I never believed the whole “I’m happy single” spiel. It took me a long time but I’m very happy. I call it being self-partnered.’

If the first case illustrates how intolerant and authoritarian the genderfluid movement has become in its war against reality, the second case illustrates how those who subscribe to the fantasy that one can be one’s own partner have become so narcissistic. Presumably people who utter these nonsensical neologisms do so to demonstrate how they are greater, wiser and purer than you and me. For ‘self-partner’, instead read ‘singleton’, ‘spinster’ or ‘onanist’.

The genderfluid movement made a categorical error from the start: confusing gender with sex. While the former is a social construct that changes over time, differs between cultures and can be deliberately altered, sex isn’t malleable, only cosmetically. Men and women have different chromosomes, and, on average, different physiques. One sex, by definition, can give birth and the other can’t.

Sexual persuasion is also inherent. This is why Stonewall recently split. Most gays and lesbians don’t accept that their sexuality is a lifestyle choice; for them it’s who they intrinsically are.

We used to laugh at the Ancient Greeks for believing the uterus could move about the body, and Medieval types for believing that the body was composed of four humours. I suspect that future generations will look upon us with risible scorn for this absurd fad. The irony, too, is that while it’s dressed up as liberal, transgenderism, with its language of ‘choice’ of innumerable genders, embodies consumer capitalism at its most crass and vulgar.


The fall of the Berlin Wall was not a surprise

Ever since November 1989, it’s been the received wisdom that no one remotely foresaw the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the consequent collapse of Communism. This idea that it took everybody by total surprise was repeated last week by the veteran broadcaster John Simpson. Alas, it’s a myth.

Perhaps ‘no one’ saw it coming because most reporters and academics are atheists or agnostics, and don’t see or understand the significance and power of religion. But my mum, a Catholic journalist in the 1980s, certainly saw the writing on the wall, when she visited Gdansk in 1982 and saw Polish dockers in open revolt. There she witnessed the astonishing spectacle of trade unionist Lech Walesa leading a recital of the rosary at Lenin Shipyard. Others were savvy to what was going on, too. The Daily Telegraph’s cartoonist, Nick Garland, consequently drew an illustration featuring the ghost of Stalin hovering above those assembled, the dictator uttering his famous boastful words, ‘but how many divisions does the pope have?’.

My family and I went to West and East Berlin in the Easter of 1986, and even this 11-year-old noticed something amiss in East Berlin. While the West was free and people had Burger King and Lego and Coca-Cola, the East was grim and oppressive. We were told to hide our newspapers while going through Checkpoint Charlie. Scary, ghostly East German guards on trains had growling Alsatian dogs, and checked our papers with a scowl, just like in Top Secret!. Even East German cola was revolting.

While the East Germans weren’t in revolt as the Poles had been, the Lutheran Church had become active again in the GDR. The miserable, worn-down faces of the East Germans said so much.


The not-so-noble savage

Another group of people who have believed that human behaviour is entirely shaped by society and culture has been anthropologists, who have typically depicted people who live in jungles as peaceable and communistic. One exception was Napoleon Chagnon, an American who became embedded in the Amazon jungle in the 1960s, where he encountered the Yanomamö people. He found them to be far from peaceful.

The late Chagnon, whose obituary appeared in The Times last month, later recalled: ‘I looked up and gasped when I saw a dozen burly, naked men staring at us down the shafts of their drawn arrows.’ Upon entering their village, he realised that he had been lucky not to be killed on sight, especially considering the Yanomamö menfolk had just fought the men of a neighbouring village for the ownership of their wives.

As he began studying the tribe, Chagnon and his colleagues were disabused of one myth after another. He discovered that the villagers resolved their disputes by hitting each other over their heads with wooden clubs until one was unconscious. He discovered that violence was not just intrinsic to the Yanomamö, but celebrated. About 44 per cent of tribesmen over 25 had participated in violence, and violent tribesmen were more likely to have more wives.

While his monograph, The Yanomamö: The Fierce People, sold almost a million copies after its publication in 1968, fellow anthropologists were furious, accusing Chagnon of repeating stereotypes of brutal savages. Many were especially livid when he concluded that they had come to be this way as a result of Darwinian selection. Chagnon believed that the violence of Yanomamö societies was perfectly rational. ‘It’s an economics game’, he said. ‘Big villages tend to exploit small villages.’

One of Western society’s longest myths, that of the Noble Savage, had been shaken to the core.

Patrick West is a spiked columnist. His latest book, Get Over Yourself: Nietzsche For Our Times, is published by Societas.

Picture by: Getty

To enquire about republishing spiked’s content, a right to reply or to request a correction, please contact the managing editor, Viv Regan.

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10th November 2019 at 2:01 am

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ZENOBIA PALMYRA

9th November 2019 at 8:41 pm

So-called ‘trans activists’ do not speak for all ‘trans’ people any more than feminist activists speak for all women.

Jim Lawrie

8th November 2019 at 6:13 pm

“The genderfluid movement made a categorical error from the start: confusing gender with sex.. ”
The mistake goes back to when the women’s movement, desperate for intellectual gravitas, started to theorise about sex, gender, identity, sexuality etc …. they invited today’s situation. They have to acknowledge the mistake, jettison all that guff, state their case as women, and refuse to accommodate those who are not.

They also have to take up the cudgels against those who have women fired for being women – physically, emotionally and intellectually.
They will have to sharpen their arguments and their axes.

Winston Stanley

8th November 2019 at 7:39 pm

“jettison all that guff”

Pat gave the key distinction between gender and s/x, the one is socially fluid while the other is not so much. In our society gender is especially fluid, perhaps more so on the level of the masses than ever before. No doubt rich women were always freer to do their own thing. Women have entered the workplace, and arguably that is traceable as an historical development to the ongoing crisis of productivity growth, which arguably is related to the Oil Embargo of the 1970s. Maybe a bit, and maybe it is more complicated than that and correlation is not causality? Just as SA never recovered from AA sanctions, the “developed” world never recovered from the OE? If you interrupt the development of a developmental system then there may be long-term consequences to that. Even so, and this is really what I am getting at, you should not conflate feminism with dogmatic gender fluidity otherwise you are making the same mistake at root as those that conflate s/x with gender. Gender is socially fluid in ways that s/x is not. They are not the same concept and it would be a mistake to conflate feminism with s/x fluidity (which is what the idea really is.) At some point you have to accept that gender is fluid, in terms of the roles assigned by society to the s/xes and that changes have been driven by developments in the economic base. The change does not originate in the realm of social ideas, it is not “subversive” of the mainstream developmental tendencies, rather it is a consequence of them. We both know that you are a reactionary “Tory” at heart and you like to “blame” the other party (subversives) for all social “ills” but no one is giving up hope that you will one day put down your state flag and get real. In a gender sense, tr ans may be “women” while in a biological sense of s/x they are simply not. At the end of the day ppl are arguing about the meaning of words, and trying to “own” them. Whatever. I would not try to tie any flag to any mast on that basis. Ppl tend to get dogmatic and self-righteous, so what, that is nothing new.

Jim Lawrie

9th November 2019 at 11:01 pm

Women entered the workplace en masse during WWI, and have stayed ever since. Thomas Sowell wrote a good account of this.

Sex is not fluid in the slightest. It is fixed at birth, even for hermaphroidtes.

Men behaving like women is just a behavioural variant. Nothing special. All that stuff about gender fluidity has confused youngsters into thinking that a change of behaviour means the underlying person has changed. They have not. It is a load of baloney latched onto by people who think it will make them sound informed and clever. A replay of what Engels lampooned in his essay on authority “These gentlemen think that when they have changed the names of things they have changed the things themselves. This is how these profound thinkers mock at the whole world.”
https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1872/10/authority.htm

Jim Lawrie

9th November 2019 at 11:51 pm

‘ We both know that you are a reactionary “Tory” at heart and you like to “blame” the other party (subversives) for all social “ills” but no one is giving up hope that you will one day put down your state flag and get real.’
People like you slip in little invectives in the hope that a sympathetic audience will accept it as a substitute for substance. Not one item of your little tirade is contained in the post of mine to which you are replying.

Winston Stanley

11th November 2019 at 3:47 am

“Women entered the workplace en masse during WWI, and have stayed ever since.”

That is not entirely true, the increase was gradual in the 20th century and it accelerated in the second half. It is driven by the need for an increased workforce, which is certainly affected by the decline in productivity growth. Immigration likewise. It is a radical change in gender, in the roles assigned to the s/xes since Victorian times.

The percentage of women in work in UK: 1955 – 45.9, 1965 – 51, 1975 -55.1, 1985 – 60.5, 1995 – 66.6

And today, about 75%.

> At the end of the war women started to leave the labour force, but their participation rates still remained higher than pre-war levels… In Britain there were 974,000 more women employed in July 1945 than there had been in July 1939 (an increase of 22 per cent), and in July 1946 there were still 581,000 (13 per cent) more women working than there had been before the war.

Throughout the twentieth century, women’s participation in the labour force continued to grow. The war confirmed and highlighted this trend, but the female participation rate and numbers of women workers accelerated sharply in the second half of the century. By the end of the twentieth century, women were largely expected to work. ‘Womanpower’ increasingly came to mean that women would make a major and permanent contribution to national economies…

In both economies there was also growing emphasis, from at least 1980, on securing greater ‘labour flexibility’…

Explaining changes in the post-war labour market

An important factor in the expansion in female employment after 1945 was the general state of the labour market. Between 1945 and 1973 – the ‘golden age’ of the international economy – there was unusually high aggregate demand for labour, with worker shortages more often a problem than unemployment. A 1965 government survey noted, ‘It has been apparent for some years that the only major source of potential recruits to the labour force in Great Britain consists of married women’ [12]. In the harsher economic and political climates which prevailed in the UK and the USA during the 1980s and 1990s, employers demanded a ‘flexible labour force’ and women were much more likely than men to supply this flexibility by agreeing to work part-time and for lower pay [7, 13].

https://www.ehs.org.uk/dotAsset/4e68f7d2-4ddb-4d34-889d-30c831beb6b1.pdf

L Strange

8th November 2019 at 3:34 pm

“McCarthy-Calvert posted about this on her Facebook page: ‘I am not a “cervix owner”, I am not a “menstruator”. I am not a “feeling”. I am not defined by wearing a dress and lipstick. I am a woman: an adult human female.’ Doula UK confirmed that the post breached its code of conduct.”

Ms McCarthy-Calvert made no reference to how others may describe themselves, just how she describes herself. But whilst a trans person’s self-identification must be accepted and ‘validated’, Ms McCarthy-Calvert’s self-identity is up to the approval of certain other people?

Ven Oods

9th November 2019 at 2:37 pm

Your last sentence encapsulates exactly what I took from that item.
Different rules for some.

Jasmine Wolfe

8th November 2019 at 2:35 pm

I’m genderfluid… trans in denial? If I could I would live 24/7 in my preferred gender expression as feminine female. I would (do, when dressed) use Ms, she/her. My sex is male, I have the bits. I am a gynephile. I do not, nor ever will refer to women in such terms described in the article.
I despair at times at the politics whether LGBTQ or Feminist where so much anger is directed at other groups or dissenters and debate is as intense as to how many angels can dance on a pin head.
I’ll probably get flamed by NonBinary and trans groups for this but my belief is that: Sex = what bits you have. Sexuality = what you like to do with those bits. Gender = a construct/expression which may or may not have anything to do with the above.
I do recognise that dysphoria felt by some is such HRT and ‘top and bottom’ surgery is undertaken and if the dysphoria is that strong I am happy to call them men and women but I will go down the road of sub-division.

Winston Stanley

8th November 2019 at 8:25 pm

“I’ll probably get flamed by NonBinary and trans groups for this but my belief is that: Sex = what bits you have. Sexuality = what you like to do with those bits. Gender = a construct/expression which may or may not have anything to do with the above.”

I totally agree with that trichotomy and like you I am not getting involved in some massive bun fight in the name of “moral truth”. Much of the conflict is likely due to a refusal on all parts to make the necessary real distinctions that our intellectual culture has provided us with. We all know that s/x and gender, and s/xuality, are distinct concepts. There really is no need for this fight. Tr ans are free to call themselves “gender women” just as others are free to call them “s/x men”. They are also free to try to approximate to s/x identity if that is what they feel that they personally want. But not to imprison other ppl over the meaning of words. The focus is that the single word “woman” is used as simple category. The dispute is largely manufactured and it needs to end. Clarity and honesty is the solution and not bun chucking.

Tim Hare

8th November 2019 at 10:30 pm

“Sexuality = what you like to do with those bits.”

What do you like to do with those bits that no one else with those bits likes to do? Surely it is about what you do with other people with those bits. Sexuality is also just another construct and like all constructs it could be quite wrong.

How do you know that your attraction to people has nothing to do with sex or those bits at all and is entirely about emotional need.

Eric Praline

8th November 2019 at 1:23 pm

I don’t see what religious belief has to do with foreseeing the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Re the noble savage bollocks, amazing when you think about it how non-violent our society is.

eli Bastenbury

8th November 2019 at 1:53 pm

Religion can speak of hope in bleak times, a redemption.

Eric Praline

8th November 2019 at 2:42 pm

But that doesn’t give you any special insights.

Winston Stanley

8th November 2019 at 2:41 pm

Some RCC faithful promote the idea that a recent pope, JPII was responsible for the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the USSR. I suppose it gives their religion some tangible meaning and purpose, rather than just being purely about invisible things that likely do not exist. They also promote the message of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima, according to whom Russia will return to the RCC when a pope consecrates Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Those sorts of ideas give some illusory connection of the supernatural with the flow of actual history. I was surprised to see Pat blurt out that stuff but maybe he is having a pious moment.

Btw. a poll released this week suggests that only 18% of Britons consider the Bible to be in any way “relevant” to them. It seems that we are a lot more irreliigious than Soviet Russia ever was. Most of northern Europe now is, and the rest is not too far behind. Europe is far more atheist and agnostic since the fall of the Berlin Wall. Maybe Mary is going to put in a appearance and set us all right but I would not hold my breath.

From an ideological perspective, which is empirically verifiable, it is material, economic (and then social) development that drives our ideas away from the supernatural, and capitalism has done that. Ppl who feel that they have some control over their lives do not feel any need to pray to some deity for redemption. So, ironically capitalist development is responsible for the rise of atheism and agnosticism, not communism. (Communism and communist development is supposed to come at the end of capitalist development according to historical materialism.) If anything, the less rapid material development of USSR was holding back ideational development.

So, if JPII really did play a pivotal role in bringing down Sovietism then he thereby opened up the East to a genuine, bottom down transition to non-religious mentality. And indeed, the East is becoming more irreligious on a generational basis. Which would make a nonsense of the idea that popes, rosaries, Bibles played some “supernatural” role in ending Sovietism. Why would god usher in an age of irreligion? As pope Francis recently said about the eco-evils of consumerism, “blessed are the poor for theirs is the kingdom of god.” It seems that god has not got the message if he brought down Sovietism. Maybe Francis should buzz him on Prayer-Time, or whatever the invisible app is called these days, and let him know. “Oi, god, what do you think you are doing?”

Eric Praline

8th November 2019 at 2:57 pm

I couldn’t even see how he was making the argument in the piece. Seemed incongruously lax.

I think science has done its bit too. You wonder if immigrants and immigrant populations are solely keeping the religious flame alight. Let’s face it you never had to be very religious to be CofE in the first place. It does seem that the decline in religious belief has accelerated in the last 10-20 years so something more than capitalism must be at play. Perhaps people have found new “religions” such as transgender, gay rights etc.

Winston Stanley

8th November 2019 at 5:05 pm

“I think science has done its bit too.”

Absolutely. Material develop relies on scientific progress, two sides of the same coin. If anything material development acts as a funnel, property relations in the broader sense of the economic system facilitates but also limits our ability as a society to implement technology through investment in the implementation of R&d. It provides motives to do so but only within the context of a functional/ disfunctional economy, re: the zombie economy, stagnant productivity growth etc. It is all involved in ideational development.

“You wonder if immigrants and immigrant populations are solely keeping the religious flame alight.”

Indeed, the only growing religious sections are among immigrants, Islam, Hinduism etc. and Pentecostalism within Christianity, immigrant churches. The rest is in decline. Also with RCC, Poles and other Eastern Europeans gave congregations a temporary boost, or at least a slowing of decline. Only 1/7 Poles have applied for residency and RCC is collapsing in Poland anyway on a generational basis, more than anywhere else in Europe. Perhaps we played some role in that? Christianity is basically finished in UK, COE and other traditional Protestant churches have done a tail spin and RCC is not far behind.

I have no problem with any of that, it is what it is. The tendencies exist in the real world with its own complex development.

Ven Oods

9th November 2019 at 2:48 pm

“Some RCC faithful promote the idea that a recent pope, JPII was responsible for the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the USSR.”

Then again, they wanted to declare him a saint, and for that, you need a ‘miracle’.

Lord Anubis

8th November 2019 at 6:46 pm

Developed-world urbanised societies have been evolving over dozens if not hundreds of generations. The propensity for individualistic violence has been gradually largely bred out of us, in the main, via application of laws (A capability for collective violence, less so) Not completely by any means. But yes, the surprising thing is that the actual incidence of violence in large modern developed-world cities is really surprisingly low compared to what would have been routine in pre-urban societies

The “Red Fox” ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domesticated_red_fox )study provides powerful evidence that temperament is a proven inherited characteristic,

The idea that a similar selective process has effectively “Domesticated” humans living in complex urban societies over many generations does not seem to me to be an unreasonable one

500 years ago, my forbears would have lived a life which apart from a few differences in technology, really would not have been so different from The one I lead today.

By contrast, some of the more recent arrivals from parts of the world that do not have this cultural (And genetic) history may well have had forbears as little as 3 generations ago who were still living as nomadic hunter gatherers.

It does not surprise me at all that it turns out that these recent arrivals are massively over represented in the statistics relating to violent crime.

Forlorn Dream

8th November 2019 at 1:09 pm

For ‘self partner’ I read ‘cat lady so crazy that other people can’t stand to be in the same room’.

Emma Watson is an attractive multi millionaire so how crazy must she be for sane men to not be interested?

M Blando

8th November 2019 at 1:36 pm

Um. You’ve said outloud what I suspected… as if only ugly women remain single. When a woman is attractive but single, I’ve suspected that to be the assessment… and fellas steer clear reinforcing it. Loose-loose for her really isn’t it. It might be her doing the escaping… from crazy men? You do not *know* which it is.

Jim Lawrie

8th November 2019 at 1:58 pm

She comes across as someone who has learned her belief system in the same way she might do a script. But without the dramatic direction and setting, it is not convincing.
She is compensating for the missed experience of her childhood and youth by retreating into the only thing she knows – acting.
She repeats what she thinks are clever lines in the belief that this will mask the emptiness and loneliness.

M Blando

8th November 2019 at 2:17 pm

You sound like you know her personally, Jim. Are you one of the crazy men she’s escaped from?

Tim Hare

8th November 2019 at 9:44 pm

Wonder why she has to tell us she’s ‘self-partnered’. What is wrong with simply being single? She obviously thinks you need a partner for fulfillment or she would be content to be alone.

Lord Anubis

9th November 2019 at 9:31 am

It is one of life’s mysteries that Ugly people exist. If attractiveness is a sexually selected inheritable characteristic. How does the Fugly gene survive?? (Actually, I can think of various mechanisms and not necessarily only ones involving Beer!)

M Blando

9th November 2019 at 7:06 pm

You know, I was a bit timid about joining Spiked and commenting. The level of intelligence expressed in well crafted comments is a joy to read – and daunting. I have to stop myself adding “Bravo”, “Well said”, to so many. I’ll feel like a spammer if I succumb, howver.

Jim Lawrie

9th November 2019 at 10:37 pm

No Blando. She is too young for me. Or I am too old for her.
Also, I am not crazy.

jessica christon

8th November 2019 at 2:32 pm

Maybe men are intimidated by her, thinking she’s out of their league or some such.

Ven Oods

9th November 2019 at 2:42 pm

Indeed. I’d like to date Charlize Theron, but haven’t the nerve (or opportunity) to ask.

A Game

8th November 2019 at 3:23 pm

F Dream:
Yeah, not into that old chestnut of singledom for women means having been “‘left on the shelf”. Its a tired trope.
I think Watson’s biggest issue, as is for women in her position, is to avoid the gold diggers and users and seducers. Perhaps she has learnt the hard way that single is better than a relationship for the sake of it. She’s in a field where one would be swimming with sharks.
And I intensely dislike the notion that women in relationships or married must be “better people”. In this day and age, any marriage or de facto relationship exists only because it hasn’t hit the rocks yet.

Jim Lawrie

10th November 2019 at 12:21 am

So marriage is a necessary step on the way to the final destination, divorce?

The article is not about Emma Watson’s relationship per se. It is about her use of semantics to say that being single is her in a relationship with oneself, and is the same as being partnered with another. The stigma of being single is not obviated by rewording it. The reaction of other women to her being around their partners will not change because she has redesignated herself. Nor will the behaviour of men towards her.

A Marshal

8th November 2019 at 12:04 pm

You are correct. I heard a sermon from ‘Brother Andrew ‘ in 1981. He smuggled bibles to E.Europe for a living. He said that the Iron Curtain would fall – stunner. then said maybe next year , maybe in hundred years – and I thought, ‘worthless’; Then , he nailed his colours to the mast and said ‘ his money would be on ‘within 10 years’; I KNEW he must be wrong – but guess what? His reason – IN the Party – elite for life, OUT the Party – absolute misery, And way too many were outside the Party – and they were organised, by their common Christian Churches and Faith. Astonishing.

Warren Alexander

8th November 2019 at 11:52 am

I’m not sure if a person of the female persuasion can commit the sin of Onan, nevertheless, the comment certainly made me laugh.

Eric Praline

8th November 2019 at 1:39 pm

Perhaps not literally, but there are plenty of female wankers around.

Ven Oods

9th November 2019 at 2:39 pm

Females can surely drop eggs, which is akin to ‘spilling seed’.

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