January 29, 2022

"The traditional understanding of [feminism] as a movement for women’s rights is, alas, tainted by the fact that only very embarrassing and uncool people would..."

"... use the word 'woman' in its ordinary sense these days. (In Penny’s moral universe, one of the worst criticisms you can make of something is that it’s 'embarrassing.') So Sexual Revolution cycles through ungainly formulations such as 'women and femmes,' 'women and queer people,' and 'people who can become pregnant.' Roughly translated, these mean 'women and anyone who wears make-up,' 'women and anyone who claims to be mildly kinky,' and 'the people formerly known as women.' In what sense these groupings make a plausible political class is never explained... When there is an attempt at a concrete description of what a 'woman' is, the result is inadvertently appalling: 'To traditional conservatives, everyone who has a uterus is a woman, and therefore someone whose sexuality is by definition subject to state control.' So that’s what a woman is: someone whose sexuality is by definition subject to state control. Who would want to be one of those? Not Penny, or at least not now there are more exciting labels to opt into. 'I identify as genderqueer myself,' we are informed.... Because whatever you’re doing, it’s important to remember that Penny is doing something much more exciting and avant-garde.... Penny claims not to be a woman, and claims furthermore that women have no shared qualities as a group, so why identify with feminism at all?"

From "Sexual Revolution by Laurie Penny review — feminism with the women cut out/This blogger’s book is a modish muddle, says Sarah Ditum" (London Times).

26 comments:

Lem said...

Women is the #patriarchytoo. Or something.

What's emanating from your penumbra said...

With a society so full of mentally ill influencers, is embarrassment still a useful instinct today?

John Borell said...

“To traditional conservatives, everyone who has a uterus is a woman…”

Where ‘traditional conservatives’ is defined as almost all humans who ever existed.

But hey, we get a ‘pregnant man’ emoji now, for unity’s sake. Good job everyone.

John Borell said...

Having not watched Jeopardy for years, I just saw in the news the “winningest woman” on the show just lost.

Um, that isn’t a woman.

gilbar said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gahrie said...

Seriously?

Why the Hell are women putting up with this shit?

They're calling mothers birthing people.

They're allowing men to dominate women's sports.

They're allowing men to hang out in girl's bathrooms and dressing rooms.

They're giving awards to men as "women of the year".

Now they're even trying to take feminism away from women.

Somewhere in Hell Dworkin, Freidan and Abzug are screaming in rage, while Schlafly is saying I told you so up in heaven.

rhhardin said...

Woman isn't any particular thing. She makes things, things. It works best at a distance. Up close it's all noise and chaos. Nietzsche said.

Feminism is the up close, noise and chaos.

farmgirl said...

Rh- haha
Feminism is the up close

Bender said...

They manufacture these SFB nonsense arguments in their heads about the subject and about the principles of others, and then blame those others for why they are so messed up.

Bender said...

Looks like some women are not going to stand for the erasure of women.

And the women at Penn look like they are starting to object to their teammate walking around the locker room exposing her penis.

Gerda Sprinchorn said...

In logic, if you assert that a false statement is true, you can "prove" that all statements are simultaneously true and false, so your philosophical systems ends up a hopeless muddle like we see here.

This suggests that there there is at least one false assumption somewhere in Laurie Penny's logic.

bentoak said...

So we can't even say someone is a woman or a man anymore? It feels like the world is dissolving before my eyes.

gilbar said...

hilaris said...
So we can't even say someone is a woman or a man anymore? It feels like the world is dissolving before my eyes

That's RACIST! of you to say! (i think :)

Assistant Village Idiot said...

"Muddle," the word chose by Ditum is the proper descriptor here. I'm not sure we can quite attack an idea and refute it when it is still in a state of delirium. There may indeed be a rational argument for genderqueer and redefining 'woman' but this isn't it and increasingly, some very clever people have given it their best shot and not been convincing.

Lem said...

The Woman question is the new Jewish question.

Is that embarrassing and uncool to say?

hombre said...

“'To traditional conservatives, everyone who has a uterus is a woman, and therefore someone whose sexuality is by definition subject to state control.”

Holy shit! “Every one who has a uterus.” Not that! Not biology! Not human physiology!

“Subject to state control”? That must be because conservatives are statists, right? If this is a veiled reference to the homicide that is abortion, homicide laws also protect “genderqueers.”

It is important to remember before having the, “How stupid do they think we are?” conversation, that drivel like this is intended for the leftist base, in the US the leftist Democrat base, and they are stupid.

n.n said...

Hah! Feminism and masculinism are gender chauvinistic ideologies.

That said, men and women are equal in rights and complementary in Nature/nature. Reconcile.

Dave said...

I only clicked on these comments to to see what Harding said. I was not disappointed.

Dave said...

I put a G in a spot where it doesn't belong.

Deevs said...

I'm pretty sure Laurie Penny insists on they/them pronouns. So, I find it a little annoying she then says "myself" instead of "ourselves".

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Well, brava to Sarah Ditum. She's saying only what almost everyone would have said twenty years ago, but today it's a brave statement.

Joanne Jacobs said...

A woman who has a hysterectomy remains a woman.

As a biological (and psychological) woman, correctly assigned at birth, I resent attempts to deny the reality of woman-ness. Also I'm tired of gender appropriation by biological males.

I try to be courteous to others, but find it difficult to refer to an individual as plural. I'll just use the name to avoid the pronoun.

Mikey NTH said...

Maybe it wouldn't be so uncool if instead of focusing on woman the focus is instead on "I'm a human" and "I'm a citizen"?

Greg The Class Traitor said...

Penny claims not to be a woman, and claims furthermore that women have no shared qualities as a group, so why identify with feminism at all?"

If indeed "women have no shared qualities as a group", then how can a man "identify" as a woman?

How can Penny say "I'm not a woman, I'm non-binary" if there's no particular psychological requirements that define "woman"?

The core belief of the "trans" ideology is that there's one correct way to be "male", and one correct way to be "female", that thinking differently than the "normal female" makes you "non-binary" or "trans male", or something other than "female".

Which is to say, the most sexist people on the planet are teh people afflicted with "trans" ideology

Saint Croix said...

So we can't even say someone is a woman or a man anymore? It feels like the world is dissolving before my eyes.

If you want to make a baby, you need a man and a woman. Science hasn't found any other way.

If you're not making a baby, it doesn't matter. Call it whatever the hell you want. You'll hurt your brain trying to explain why sodomy is okay from a man and not from a woman. People will say it's sex discrimination and you'll say, "well, yeah."

The last time I checked, the Supreme Court couldn't decide if sex discrimination was strict scrutiny or rational basis review. It was the middling maybe of the middle. Now all sex discrimination is illegal (apparently) and you're not allowed to call a man a man, or a woman a woman, because that is just awful. Or binary. Or some damn thing.

It's all horseshit. Biologically speaking, nature wants us to reproduce. And for that you need a man and a woman. Depending on how relevant sex is in the world (it's not everything, but it's not negligible), sex discrimination is fine. And sex division is fine. The whole point of dividing humanity into two genders is to facilitate baby-making. Liberals, who have been denying the humanity of unborn children for 40+ years, are now denying men, and women. They are falling apart intellectually. But the actual world is fine; we continue to reproduce and move forward. Just like humanity has always done.

Lurker21 said...

This is sort of thing Andrew Sullivan objects to: we wanted to subvert all those older categories and assumptions, and now it's our own categories and favorite assumptions that are being "deconstructed." It's hard not to feel at least a little Schadenfreude, even if one is appalled by what's going on. More than whether this is right or wrong though, I want to know, will this last, will it go further, and what would the world look like if it does.