X Close

Why women need to feel fear Our instincts aren't bigoted — they're essential

Lia Thomas, a transgender athlete at the University of Pennsylvania. (Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Lia Thomas, a transgender athlete at the University of Pennsylvania. (Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)


September 11, 2023   4 mins

Feminists, when I was growing up, used to encourage girls to “get loud” and rail against the social pressure to be compliant and “nice”. We were taught to push back against the idea that women need to be appealing to men because their comfort mattered more than ours.

Now, we live in a radically different world. A world in which a generation of young women is being taught to disregard the fear they might feel in a threatening situation. They are told not to trust their intuition. And they are called bigots and sent death threats if they suggest that they feel uncomfortable in their bathrooms and changing rooms — or even in shelters for survivors of sexual abuse.

As a sexual assault survivor myself, I fought back tears while watching Paula Scanlan testify before a House Judiciary subcommittee about her experience of being on the University of Pennsylvania’s women’s swimming team — with the transgender athlete Lia Thomas. “I know of women with sexual trauma who are adversely impacted by having biological males in their locker room without their consent. I know this because I am one of these women.”

I felt rage, too. How outrageous that Scanlan should have to defend her desire to be free of biological males in a female changing room. How dare her university send her to psychotherapy in an “attempt to reeducate [me] to become comfortable with the idea of undressing in front of a male”? I find it hard to believe that, five years ago, feminists’ rallying cry was #BelieveAllWomen.

Clearly, Scanlan does too. “Let us not forget the viral #MeToo movement that empowered female victims to speak up,” she said. “It trained a spotlight on the widespread prevalence of sexual assault and abuse, including in scholarly and educational institutions … many policies pushed today completely ignore my experiences and many women like me.” In the space of five years, we’ve gone from #BelieveAllWomen to: “Believe all women, especially if they are men.”

How have we regressed so rapidly? Everyone from Oprah downwards preached to my generation of women to listen to your gut; listen to your instinct; listen to that voice whispering “Get out!” Back in 1997, she interviewed Gavin de Becker, whose book The Gift of Fear — a guide to understanding how your instincts about other people can keep you safe — became a bestseller. During her show, he summed it up like this: “Someone who doesn’t hear ‘no’ is trying to control you.”

Oprah looked out at the audience. “Did y’all hear that? Gavin, you need to say it again.”

Such was the impact of the book that, in 2008, Oprah did an hour-long show to commemorate its tenth anniversary. During it, de Becker repeated a line from his book, distilled from a Margaret Atwood lecture: “At core, men are afraid women will laugh at them, while at core, women are afraid men will kill them.”

I understood this. I was taught to get out of any threatening situation as soon as possible. If you’re alone in a room and a man enters and you don’t feel safe? Leave. If you’re walking at night and feel the instinct to escape? Just run. It doesn’t matter if you’re wrong, because what if you’re right? I was told to ignore that little voice at my peril. My mother raised me and my sisters to scream and run like hell if a stranger asked us to get in their car. “Because if you end up in a trunk, you’re dead.”

As de Becker says: “Can you imagine an animal in the wilderness overtaken with fear and saying ‘Oh it’s probably nothing.’ But we do that every day.” In his 1997 Oprah appearance, he argues that the real information we should be giving women and children is: “Honour your own fear and teach them that it’s important, that their own internal voice is important.”

Where is Oprah now?

The message today’s young women are getting is that if their inner voice says it feels wrong when someone with a penis undresses in front of them, or is present when they undress, in a space designated for women, there is something wrong with them. Scanlan said in her testimony: “We, the women, were the problem, not the victims. We were expected to conform, to move over and shut up. Our feelings didn’t matter. The university was gaslighting and fearmongering women to validate the feelings and identity of a male.”

It appears that institutions, politicians and progressives are happy to sacrifice women at the altar of inclusivity. They demand we keep quiet when we feel uncomfortable or unsafe. Ironically, instead of teaching us to keep ourselves safe and fear violation, the women’s movement teaches us to fear being labelled as bigots. Paula Scanlan and collegiate swimmer Riley Gaines have been called transphobes for objecting to someone striding around with his penis on show in a locker room designated for women.

We are setting a dangerous precedent. Think about the young women watching the way that Scanlan and Gaines are being treated. They will surely conclude that they must suffer to accommodate the small handful of males that want to make everything about them. They are now being given access to female prisons, domestic abuse shelters, rape centres, locker rooms, spas and public toilets, as well as changing rooms.

It would be absurd to assume that all trans-identified male-bodied people are looking for ways to abuse girls or women; it is equally absurd — and naïve — to think that male predators won’t exploit this system. But what I find particularly alarming is that it teaches women in general not to trust themselves. It tells us to ignore the discomfort triggered at a subconscious level. It encourages us to ignore our instincts. When a woman senses danger the last thing she needs is for her judgment to be clouded by another fear: the fear of social death if she acts to protect herself.

And all of us who witness the abuse that women who speak up are being subjected to are expected to remain silent. All of us whose little voices are telling us that there’s something wrong with prioritising men’s feelings over women’s safety are told we are wrong.

But my gift of fear is telling me to resist being intimidated into submission. To teach young women and my own daughter to honour that voice, that intuition. To stand behind women like Paula Scanlan who are also resisting. And to say, “No.”


Bridget Phetasy is a comedian and writer who hosts the satirical news show Dumpster Fire and the podcast Walks-Ins Welcome

BridgetPhetasy

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

162 Comments
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Peter D
Peter D
10 months ago

Progressives fight to get rid of the hierarchy while at the same time as create their own hierarchy. The scary thing is that the more sadistic and narcissistic you are, the higher you are in the progressive hierarchy.

John Dellingby
John Dellingby
10 months ago
Reply to  Peter D

Even more so if you can express your message while sounding fanatical and an emotional wreck. That way you can spread your mad message while also making people feel sorry for you and putting off challengers. It’s rather clever really.

Richard M
Richard M
10 months ago
Reply to  John Dellingby

Its called “cry-bullying”.

Shrunken Genepool
Shrunken Genepool
9 months ago
Reply to  Richard M

Happening to me right now

Howard S.
Howard S.
10 months ago
Reply to  Peter D

Here in the States, the courts and law enforcement authorities have the names of the hundreds of the Rich and Powerful, politicians, media moguls, Wall Street movers and shakers, who regularly frequented the late Jeffrey Epstein’s Lolita Island, as the media referred to it, where they could “interact” with young, vulnerable women as young as fourteen and fifteen years of age, children in the eyes of the law. And our courts and law enforcement, with very few exceptions, still refuse to release the names of these people who have blatantly committed felonies against these young girls. The Progressive Hierarchy protects its own.

D Glover
D Glover
9 months ago
Reply to  Howard S.

I’m certainly no supporter of Ghislaine Maxwell, but I do find it odd that that woman is the only person doing jail time in this case.
(Now that Epstein is gone, of course)

Derek Smith
Derek Smith
9 months ago
Reply to  D Glover

You can say the same about Prince Andrew. Odious maybe, and his actions were certainly not a criminal act in the UK, but both he and Ghislaine Maxwell were the perfect foreign distraction from the pursuit of Epstein’s American clients.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
9 months ago
Reply to  Derek Smith

You can’t actually say the same about Prince Andrew, because he isn’t in prison….

MJ Reid
MJ Reid
9 months ago
Reply to  D Glover

Women are easier to take to court and easier to convict. Too many people still think women are either a Madonna or a Mary Magdalene than real. Ghislaine was guilty, no excuses, but so were the men who abused the girls she procured and they should be in jail too because they are still out there abusing other young girls. How many young lives have to be destroyed before people are named?

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
7 months ago
Reply to  Howard S.

I don’t think pedophiles are progressives. Perverts come in all shapes and sizes and political persuasions. The only common denominator is that they’re men.

Peter Sawyer
Peter Sawyer
9 months ago
Reply to  Peter D

Claiming all progressives have a hidden, self-serving agenda is about as helpful as the blanket claim that trans women are women.

Jim M
Jim M
9 months ago
Reply to  Peter Sawyer

No, they really are evil. The most evil ones are those who dream of building a utopia on the ashes of Western Civilization.

Luke Piggott
Luke Piggott
9 months ago
Reply to  Jim M

Painting the world to be so black and white as “progressives are evil” and (I assume) “conservatives are good” is childish at best

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
7 months ago
Reply to  Luke Piggott

Exactly.

MJ Reid
MJ Reid
9 months ago
Reply to  Jim M

America must be a terrible place to live if the progressives are all evil… Transsexual women know they are biological men who present as women and stay out of women’s spaces put of respect for women. It is the transgender mob that has no respect for women and who only think of themselves who are the danger. They have attempted to drive transsexual folks underground for speaking the truth by bullying and harassing them too. To be transsexual and called transphobic really hurts.

Thomas Wagner
Thomas Wagner
9 months ago
Reply to  Peter Sawyer

Insofar as they try to further the aims of those with a hidden, self-serving agenda, they may as well have that agenda themselves.

Shrunken Genepool
Shrunken Genepool
9 months ago
Reply to  Peter Sawyer

How about all progressive ideology is evil. The sincerity of the people themselves is irrelevant

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
9 months ago

I’m a gay man. I benefit if you like from “progressive ideology”. I didn’t get my civil rights from reactionary right wingers certainly. (I am not bothered in fact about gay marriage, but civil partnership was a major step forward).

I think the issue is a huge overreach of this progressive way of thinking, false analogies (trans), the elevation of a largely fictitious category “gender” over that of biological sex, the re-introduction of racial categories etc.

But to say simply “progressive ideology is evil” is simplistic and, moreover, very unlikely to persuade many people which is what needs to happen to make a difference.

William Shaw
William Shaw
9 months ago
Reply to  Peter D

It’s ironic that many of the supporters and advocates for trans rights are young women and feminists. It’s largely a female versus female conflict and best that men stay out of it.

Richard M
Richard M
9 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

It’s ironic that many of the supporters and advocates for trans rights are young women and feminists. 

There is an element of truth to this. To some extent the gender wars are a mash-up of a generational conflict within feminism itself and the determination of social-justice warriors to find the next deserving minority on whose behalf to do battle.
(One interesting question is therefore what’s next? Which minority group will emerge as deserving of advocacy for their denied rights? Or is trans-rights a kind of outer limit of minority rights activism?)
Nevertheless, I think its important that men shouldn’t stay out of it. The issues at stake are too important. For a start, the right of trans-identifying people to live in dignity and safety is a legitimate cause, regardless of how ridiculous the notion that you can “change sex” is. But it shouldn’t trump the rights of women to single-sex spaces, fairness in sport and so on. That impacts our wives, partners, daughters, friends and colleagues. They deserve men’s support in protecting the rights which have taken women so long and so much hard work to secure.

Last edited 9 months ago by Richard M
William Shaw
William Shaw
9 months ago
Reply to  Richard M

Haven’t you heard the message… “Women don’t need no man?”
Do something for a woman these days and you open yourself up for a torrent of verbal abuse and attempted shaming.

Last edited 9 months ago by William Shaw
Richard M
Richard M
9 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

“Haven’t you heard the message… “Women don’t need no man?””

The vast majority of women and even feminists I have known in my life, including 10 years in academia, are not “anti-men”.

In any case, I believe in and will argue for people’s rights even if they don’t want me to.

“Do something for a woman these days and you open yourself up for a torrent of verbal abuse and attempted shaming.”

Again, not my experience. But I guess it may depend on what you try to do and for whom.

In any event, the behaviour of individuals within a group does not detract from the rights of that group.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
9 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

Really? I’ve assisted a few women in practical ways recently and haven’t experienced anything remotely like that. Just “thanks a lot” or similar! They were “normal people”, perhaps. Of course if say an elderly man needed assistance I’d help him as well.

I think we can all get too carried away in thinking we live in some sort of Uber progressive dystopia. We are a long way from that – as yet at least.

MJ Reid
MJ Reid
9 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

Really? Who do you hang about with? I am a proud feminist and have lived with a man for almost 40 years. My mother was the same and my parents were married 60 years. I have as many male friends as I have female friends. Maybe women don’t want to be friends with you because of your attitude?

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
7 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

Rubbish. Perhaps you’re a bit creepy.

Last edited 7 months ago by Clare Knight
David Morley
David Morley
9 months ago
Reply to  Richard M

Good post. If it only affected a bunch of old feminists who’d recently discovered a liking for biology, truth and free speech (and ageing male tories who are willing to rush in as white knights even now) – then I’d say: they’ve made their bed, let them lie in it.

But most women are not feminists, and this affects them too. It’s right they have a voice. Though they need to stop feminist idealogues speaking on their behalf.

Personally I find the indoctrination in schools, activist research in universities, puberty blockers and the rest far more troubling.

Phil Mac
Phil Mac
9 months ago
Reply to  Richard M

Oh they can always go further.
Minor Attracted Persons are out there, waiting to enter the club.

David Morley
David Morley
9 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

Yes – the idea that is portrayed on Unherd of this being feminists v trans activists is entirely false. Ideologically this is an issue within feminism itself. And it is largely based on age.

MJ Reid
MJ Reid
9 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

And you know this how? There is no issue among feminists about protecting women’s rights from biological men who present as women. There is no division between feminists about safeguarding children and young people from t”transing away their gay”. There may be a discord between older feminists who remember the fight for women’s rights that they, their mothers and their grandmothers had and younger feminists who accept these rights as their own, but that is natural. The thing that makes us the same is the ongoing fight for equity with men, and that is many years in the making. That is the fight that has been interrupted by this “transwomen are women” nonsense.

Charlie Two
Charlie Two
9 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

that’s only partly true. the female trans activists are the brainwashed useful idiots that are being used by perverts like ‘Lia’ Thomas.

Carmel Shortall
Carmel Shortall
9 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

“…best that men stay out of it.”

And can you all stay out of women’s spaces/sports/changing rooms etc. while you’re at it. Thanks.

James Jenkin
James Jenkin
9 months ago
Reply to  Peter D

Look I totally agree but we’ve been saying this since Animal Farm

Richard M
Richard M
10 months ago

“But what I find particularly alarming is that it teaches women in general not to trust themselves.”

This is absolutely true but may I add that trans-ideology goes even beyond this: it demands that we all lie and conspire to silence and punish those who won’t participate in that lie.

“Trans women are women” is a lie and I think even the vast majority of those who say it know it is. They may sincerely believe it is a good lie which makes the world as they hope it should be, but they know it is a lie nonetheless.

I’m too old and uncooperative to play along, but to borrow a turn of phrase from Hadley Freeman’s Times column yesterday: a society which teaches children a lie under threat of condemnation if they challenge that lie is not a healthy one.

I support women’s sex-based rights to protected spaces for legitimate purposes such as safety, dignity, fairness and same-sex attraction.

Wilfred Davis
Wilfred Davis
10 months ago
Reply to  Richard M

‘…it demands that we all lie and conspire to silence and punish those who won’t participate in that lie.’

Forcing us to participate in the lie is what it’s all about: the shame and fear that we feel in our weakness and complicity saps our ability to resist, or the sense that we even deserve to resist.

Bring on the child who will call out to the crowd that the Empress has no clothes. But does have p***s, look!

Daniel P
Daniel P
9 months ago
Reply to  Wilfred Davis

I hate to be a conspiracy theorist but you sometimes have to wonder.

What purpose is achieved by seeing if they can compel us to all participate in a lie?

I can only think that it hast to do with training us to comply with lies we are told.

Carmel Shortall
Carmel Shortall
9 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

“The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.”
George Orwell, 1984.

Fiona English
Fiona English
9 months ago
Reply to  Wilfred Davis

Feminists have been doing that for the last 6 years – and more if you take Germaine Greer’s 1989 piece in The Independent (a newspaper that has since lost the plot). Trouble is, most people are so afraid of opprobrium that they keep their eyes closed so as not to see what they know is right in front of them.

Huw Parker
Huw Parker
9 months ago
Reply to  Richard M

“I’m too old and uncooperative to play along …”
You’re also, I’m guessing, in a position where you can elect not to play along without it having too drastic an effect on your life. For many, such as Paula Scanlon, it’s really not that easy.

Belinda Shaw
Belinda Shaw
10 months ago

A valuable article. I don’t understand why a core need for safety, privacy and dignity by providing sex-segregated services has been cast aside so easily by so many people. Where in the whole of human history have adult males been allowed to mix with unrelated women and girls in intimate situations without consent? Even those societies with a long tradition of tolerance of male transsexuals (India, Thailand) did not break this necessary taboo. There’s nothing “progressive” about forcing women to choose between danger or self-exclusion from public facilities.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
9 months ago
Reply to  Belinda Shaw

It is the virus of cultural marxism created by the Frankfurt School, further developed by Gramsci and promoted in the USA by Herbert Marcuse in the 1960s and French Post Modernist Marxists via Yale from the 1970s onwards. CM is a virus which mutates: Transgenerdism is the last mutation.
CM spreas because the immune system of the Western Middle Class Left Wing Intellectuals has been weak since the late 1930s. All people have a desire for power, charismos in men and charisma in women. As Bernard Levin the British journalist said ” The less power people have, the greater the desire to exercise it “.The LWMCI are largely devoid of the pioneer spirit: they lack the spirit of innovation, adventure, enterprise and industry but they seek status and salary. CM and it’s latest manifestation Transgenderism, aim is to break the spirit of individual and force them to join the Collective. LWMCI obtain power by developing a bureaucratic oligarchy;the latest example being administrators of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
Name one LWMCI who has the spirit and skill of those who settled the USA in th early 1600s, where death rates of some colonies were 100% or crossed the Prairies in wagons ?

Katja Sipple
Katja Sipple
9 months ago
Reply to  Belinda Shaw

“There’s nothing “progressive” about forcing women to choose between danger or self-exclusion from public facilities.”

You are correct, but perhaps that is the ultimate objective! I have maintained for some time that the masterminds of this ideology are misogynists whose goal is to take away women’s public roles. The frightening aspect is that they have managed to convince some women on the left to support their own demise. Frightening, but not surprising. Look at what happened in Iran during the infamous Islamic Revolution. Women who should have known better supported their own subjugation; and by the time they realised that they had been masterfully played, it was too late.

I see many parallels, and whilst I am frightened and saddened by these developments, they are nothing new. People can be manipulated, and those who are convinced of fighting for the oppressed ( whoever/whatever that may be) are the most dangerous and the most fanatical ones.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
9 months ago
Reply to  Katja Sipple

Very good points.

James Jenkin
James Jenkin
9 months ago
Reply to  Belinda Shaw

Sounds not too different from some guy telling their girlfriend porn is fine, just relax. It’s modernity

Thomas Hall
Thomas Hall
10 months ago

It goes further- women are forced to both pretend that all men are equally dangerous, and that specially protected classes of men pose no risk at all. Even when the evidence shows that the unprotected classes of men are largely less violent/rapey…

David Morley
David Morley
9 months ago
Reply to  Thomas Hall

Except I don’t think there is any pretence involved. The trans thing is just another chance for olde worlde feminists to beat up on men in general.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
9 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

That makes no sense at all. Joan Smith for example? Many others. You should never assume that your adversaries are all liars and insincere in any case, even if they are wrong.

The “trans” thing – the assumption that trans people are in no way different from the gender (sex actually) to which they identify – adversely affects mainly women. I suspect if men have naked unmodified “transmen” (ie women) wandering round their changing rooms, many of them would rather like it….

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
9 months ago
Reply to  Thomas Hall

Trans women are seven times more likely to have a criminal conviction for a sex crime than the general male population. And of course men are much likely than women to be sexual offenders. So when women encounter a trans woman in a change room they are encountering someone who much much much more likely to sexually assault them than a natal female.

Sarah Lane
Sarah Lane
9 months ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

Where does that statistic come from?

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
10 months ago

What’s at heart here is exactly why hideous atrocities like the grooming gangs in Rotherham were allowed, and why weekend murders in Chicago, Baltimore, and other Democrat-run cities are shrugged at: fear of being accused of thought crimes.

Last edited 10 months ago by Allison Barrows
Penny Adrian
Penny Adrian
10 months ago

Spot on! Thank You!

Howard S.
Howard S.
10 months ago

If the “female” gets an obvious erection while watching a woman undress, the “female” is a male, period. We are living in a time where endocrine imbalances and just plain old mental illness have been elevated to virtues, and not conditions that need medical attention.

William Perry
William Perry
9 months ago
Reply to  Howard S.

Arousal is not, and should not be, the criterion. If the “female” even possesses the necessary equipment potentially, theoretically, to have an erection – whether “she” actually has one or not – then “she” is a male.

William Cameron
William Cameron
10 months ago

It’s always men wanting to get into women’s sports and changing rooms.
How many girls have you seen wanting access to mens changing rooms ?
They are abusers dressed up as trans no less.

David Hewett
David Hewett
9 months ago

Fiona Richmond for one. (She wrote articles in “Cosmopolitan” describing road testing men, and also a bath with a rugby team. Of course though, it was a long time ago, and she wasn’t in any way representative of women in general)

Paul Nathanson
Paul Nathanson
9 months ago
Reply to  David Hewett

For the record, many female reporters, especially, sports reporters, did indeed demand access to the changing rooms of male athletes for “professional reasons.” They won the battle thirty years ago despite protests. At issue wasn’t danger but privacy and equality (although male reporters didn’t demand access to the changing rooms of female athletes).

Last edited 9 months ago by Paul Nathanson
David Morley
David Morley
9 months ago
Reply to  David Hewett

Hmmm sounds like a vicars daughter to me.

David Morley
David Morley
9 months ago

Female friends of mine are happy to ogle men getting changed at the local wild swimming spot. Unashamedly, and with an obviousness that would be rare (or sleazy) in a man. Women are not so pure.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
9 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

It’s not just ‘the gaze’ that is worrying but that men tend to act out after gazing; Women rarely do.

CF Hankinson
CF Hankinson
9 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

Of course not, are you mad? What they don’t have though is the ability, or desire to overpower the men, rape and impregnate them. C’est la difference . They may ogle them from a safe distance and maybe dream a little, even erotically. That doesn’t make them worthy of attack. Would you prefer women to have no consensual sexual pleasure?

Ray Andrews
Ray Andrews
9 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

But at the wild spot, all agree that this will happen, no?

MJ Reid
MJ Reid
9 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

Do you know how insulting it is to have “women” and “pure” in the same sentence. That goes back to women can only be “Madonna” or “Mary magdelenes”. A very catholic viee of women that took centuries to throw off. If men can look, so can women. The difference is that women look but far too many men act.

Ian Folkins
Ian Folkins
10 months ago

Before civilization, one of the most important threat assessments a woman could do was quickly distinguish whether a stranger was male or female. We are finely tuned to use indirect information on gait, body shape, size, facial structure to quickly distinguish male from female. It is gaslighting women to tell them that this still useful discernment ability is useless or transphobic.

Caty Gonzales
Caty Gonzales
9 months ago

I recently had this book recommended to me. By the end it gets a little repetitive, but it is very interesting and useful. The book isn’t solely aimed at women protecting themselves from predatory men, and has chapters on various situations where a person has to deal with someone who is potentially dangerous. It is worth a read.
By and large the argument of the book is, as expressed above, that when you get that little niggling feeling that something isn’t right about someone, listen to it. Your subconscious is processing information about the scenario that you are in faster than your conscious self can keep up with. Many people do override their gut instinct out of a desire to be polite and this can put them in a worse situation.
The trans-debate is decent societal example of this. As a society we are being asked to override our instincts to say ‘no, men cannot access this space’, ‘no, a child shouldn’t be placed on these drugs’, ‘my pronouns should be obvious’ and so on, out of a desire to be inclusive of or polite towards a group of people who either need help or are actively dangerous.

David Morley
David Morley
9 months ago
Reply to  Caty Gonzales

Within living memory, many people had similar gut feelings in relation to homosexuals, blacks and Jews. Some elderly people still have those feelings. These feelings would have appeared just as genuine as yours do. The aryans in the Rig Veda seem to have had similar feelings about their enemies, so this sort of feeling (societal, even political, but taken as natural and instinctive) goes back a long way. The Athenian Greeks had similar feelings about married women in the public space. And so on.

There is no easy way for us to distinguish natural instincts from feelings born of social conditioning, and the two are often confused. The idea that women were equal to men was instinctively false to most of our recent ancestors.

The way towards truth is through critical thinking, not through relying on your brain on autopilot.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
9 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

David, this is a category error. Firstly there is thinking fast and slow, which are different modes, both probably necessary. “Critical thinking” is absolutely to be extolled, but it actually takes time and hardly has much to do with the situation of a woman walking down a dark street at night with someone seemingly following her

No, this woman is probably not better off trying to undertake a quasi-statistical analysis of the situation. In any case, whether the person she has a niggling concern about is a threat or not, she is perfectly entitled, if she can, to move away into a different situation, such as a brightly lit shop, where she feels safer.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
9 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

LOL – you do you.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
9 months ago
Reply to  Caty Gonzales

So the phrase, “go with your gut” still works, no matter the reprogramming attempts.

Last edited 9 months ago by Cathy Carron
Steven Carr
Steven Carr
10 months ago

If there is a person in the changing-room who lives partly ‘in girl-mode’ and partly ‘in boy-mode’, how is a woman supposed to know that that person might not (perhaps involuntarily) switch to ‘boy-mode’ right there in the middle of the changing-room?
‘Boy-mode’ ‘Girl-mode’ – that’s how these people talk. I am not making that up.

Huw Parker
Huw Parker
9 months ago
Reply to  Steven Carr

It’s certainly how Eddie Izzard talks. And I notice it is his extreme good fortune that his mode appears to change in accordance with the opportunities made available to him. Offered a male role in a movie? Oh, I appear to be in boy-mode, how convenient. The Labour Party seeks to improve female representation in parliament? Hey, I’m in girl-mode, who would have thought it?

Emmanuel MARTIN
Emmanuel MARTIN
9 months ago

Trans ideology is about submission and humiliation
Mandating you to parrot an obvious lie, and self-humiliat eyou doing so. Prog ideology should be rejected in the dustbin of history

Madas A. Hatter
Madas A. Hatter
10 months ago

As someone coming of age in the 60s we rejoiced in our achievement. We had introduced joy in diversity into a monochromatic world of patriarchy, racism and conformity. It breaks my heart that this diversity has become an oppressive orthodoxy that breaks women on its crushing social media millstone.

Jake Dee
Jake Dee
10 months ago

Like Saturn the revolution devours its’ own children

Jacques Mallet du Pan (and Georges Danton shortly before he got his head cut off)

Worth noting that in the 60s the world was run by men who had lived and fought through WWII. Now the world is being run by men and women who came of age in the 60s. The baby boomers cooked up this mess, but everyone (in the West) has to eat it.

Thomas Wagner
Thomas Wagner
9 months ago
Reply to  Jake Dee

As a protoboomer (1944) I don’t think boomers thought up this idiocy, nor do they generally believe in it (members of academia excepted.) It seems to be the unholy creation of those born between what? 1985 – 2000?

David Morley
David Morley
9 months ago
Reply to  Thomas Wagner

In its modern forms perhaps. But we really are in the shadow of the 60s still.

Poet Tissot
Poet Tissot
10 months ago

Postmodernism always sought to destabilise definitions / language in order to undermine Truth itself. Perhaps this was not realised – until woke activism made it blatantly obvious.

Jim M
Jim M
9 months ago

A monochromatic society is a more cohesive society. Why introduce race into the mix unless you want to destroy any community? No, we can’t all get along in the same country and give each other hugs and sing “Kumbaya.” I’m glad the hippies are dying.

Last edited 9 months ago by Jim M
Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
9 months ago
Reply to  Jim M

I don’t think race as such has much to do with it. Culture probably does, as dies behaviour. I live in a very racially diverse area of London and most people get along pretty well.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
9 months ago

You did nothing compared to the women who served in combat in WW2: from those who served as nurses on the front line, Women’s Royal Auxiliary Airforce on airfields being bombed or Special Operation Executive in occupied countries.
Odette Hallowes interview | World war Two | intelligence officer | Afternoon plus | 1980 – YouTube

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
9 months ago

Doesn’t break my heart at all. It is what it is and should be treated with contempt. It’s time for women to realize that they’re being manipulated time and time again by social fads and movements, when they should be building an inner core of values and strengths based on their intelligence and understanding of what it means to be a moral human being. A touch of Christianity or Judaism wouldn’t hurt.

Susan Grabston
Susan Grabston
10 months ago

That Attwood quote hit hard. Beautifully expressed rticle that gets under the skin of female experience. Ultimately we know we are physically weaker.

Albert McGloan
Albert McGloan
9 months ago
Reply to  Susan Grabston

Are you sure women still understand the strength differences? That’s not my experience. If you tell people lies for long enough they will believe them, sadly. People have been told, for decades, that many things are social constructs, including the differences between the sexes.

Katja Sipple
Katja Sipple
9 months ago
Reply to  Albert McGloan

They may believe the lies until they are put to the test! As a woman, even one who is taller and fitter than most, and despite having practised Krav Maga, I know that I am ultimately not in a position to defend myself for long against a group of men. I might be able to take one and run, but I don’t stand a chance against a group.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
9 months ago
Reply to  Katja Sipple

Perhaps thirty years ago three men mugged a lady in her sixties. She defeated all three. Knife hand to throat, another kick to groin and third thrown down steps. When asked whether she ha pracatised martials she said no. She had been taught un-armed combat by W E Fairbairn W E when she was in SOE. The teaching was so effective it came back in a split second after fourty years.
Why not put all girls and young women through the same physical and un-armed combat training of women in the SOE? Nancy Wake GM ex SOE was asked if she had any regrets ” Yes, I did not kill enough Nazis “.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
9 months ago
Reply to  Albert McGloan

People purport to “believe” things. (Actually did people “purport” to believe the Virgin Birth, or the Trinity?). Or maybe “purport” makes it sound too conscious and devious. The word “believe”, I believe (!), does not have a single meaning. Sometimes it means something much more akin to a religious or political faith. As opposed to I believe if I drop this cup it will fall to the floor and likely smash.

We know our physical bodies pretty well; I’d say women are well aware of their average physical strength compared with men’s. (Sexual attraction is also very “non progressive” as even the most progressive Hollywood films routinely exemplify, but that is another story).

Albert McGloan
Albert McGloan
9 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

It’s been my experience that women (not always young) are shocked at how easy it is for me to pick up heavy objects. The first time it happened I confess to having felt somewhat offended. I’m not a beanpole, so those women simply didn’t understand physical sex differences.

Charlie Two
Charlie Two
9 months ago

Trans activists are nothing more than the Paedophile & Fetish Front. the thin and horrific end of a quite dreadful wedge.

Albert McGloan
Albert McGloan
9 months ago
Reply to  Charlie Two

It all comes down to this …

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
10 months ago

Absolutely right.

Philip Gallo
Philip Gallo
9 months ago

Trans bullying is real! I can hardly believe it but the alphabet people to whom I in theory belonged have become insufferable and really not much fun anymore, so I’m joining a different cult.

Wilfred Davis
Wilfred Davis
10 months ago

I have just had my comment marked ‘awaiting for approval’, because it includes an ordinary dictionary word that is used in the original article and is pretty much essential to the question under discussion.

Daniel P
Daniel P
9 months ago

Trans women are not men. They are not women….but they are not men either. Whole unique creature.

So, please do not lump “men” in with them.

Other than that, I totally agree with this article.

Everyone should listen to that little inner voice about danger. Not just women. Men have it too. We just use it differently.

And, she is absolutely right about trans women invading women’s spaces and the risks it poses to women and girls.

But, its not straight, white, old guys like me that are the issue. Its the progressive left and I am sorry, but there are more women in that space than men. Its not me and men like you you have to convince. It is the hyper liberal college professors and social activists. Its not republicans you have to convince it is the democrats and the democratic socialists.

Really, so long as women keep showing up to vote for democrats despite this, it will continue. Why? Because there is only political upside for the democrats in pushing the trans ideology. If they know that women, particularly young women are never gonna vote republican, they have those votes banked. Pushing the trans rights thing gets them fundraising dollars and solidifies votes that might go to a green party. There is no penalty to be paid.

I am gonna be blunt. The fact is that a lot of this BS started on college campuses in gender studies departments. Not exactly conservative bastions. I am convinced of two things. First, that there are a boat load of perverts in faculty rooms who are happy to be able to push a perverted agenda under the guise of compassion. Second, that in those same faculty rooms, and in the women’s studies departments, are a lot of people who want to see the entire culture torn down, the end of the normal nuclear family, the source of the patriarchy, and trans rights is one more shot in the war. Any women who get hurt or made to feel humiliated are just collateral damage, a price they are willing to pay for their greater good.

Alison Wren
Alison Wren
9 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

In what way are “transwomen “ not adult human males?? Even if they “have the operation “ ( a tiny minority less than 5% get rid of their tackle) they’re still male in every cell. I honestly want to know how people can believe that TWAW.

Paul Devlin
Paul Devlin
9 months ago

If men harass and assault women so much, why did feminists spend decades campaigning for the end of men only spaces?

Paul Nathanson
Paul Nathanson
9 months ago
Reply to  Paul Devlin

Their goal, an economic one (with political connotations), was enabling women to network professionally in places–mainly clubs–that had been confined to men. In those far-off days, it didn’t occur to many women that the men would have any legitimate reason for being resentful over the loss of their own space (which would presumably have amounted to “patriarchal misogyny”), let alone that they might be dangerous. Nonetheless, there was no feminist agitation for the sexual desegregation of women’s spaces–such as women’s colleges. On the contrary, those administrators who proposed sexual desegregation there (primarily for financial reasons) faced stiff opposition from female students, who argued that they could not learn well if distracted (not threatened) by male students.
That was then. Transgender ideology has added a new factor: an ideological excuse for predatory men to enter women’s spaces. I see no reason for women to hide their anxiety about “transwomen” in spaces reserved with good reason for women.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
9 months ago
Reply to  Paul Nathanson

Today, the few remaining women’s colleges like Smith, Mount Holyoke etc are already admitting transgenders… because women are proving that what they do best is ‘feel’ and virtue signal. No one ever accused the fairer sex, the more neurotic of the two genders, to think logically.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
9 months ago
Reply to  Cathy Carron

One can equally say that women are the calm and rational ones leading the fight to protect women and children.
Generalisations about women or men are unhelpful to a productive discussion.

Alison Wren
Alison Wren
9 months ago
Reply to  Paul Nathanson

No woman has ever campaigned for access to men’s toilets or men’s sports or changing rooms though.

Paul Nathanson
Paul Nathanson
9 months ago
Reply to  Alison Wren

Not so, Alison. During the 1970s and 1980s, female journalists demanded access to the changing rooms of male athletic teams so that they could get early reports out. And they won.

William Shaw
William Shaw
9 months ago
Reply to  Paul Devlin

You make a good point.
Male only schools and clubs have almost been entirely eliminated by feminists while they demand their own segregated spaces.

Last edited 9 months ago by William Shaw
Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
9 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

Having attended a woman’s college, I have always pondered this hypocritical stance by women, but then again, few or even no men stood up to the more insane aspects of feminism and the so-called women’s movement. So what does that say about men?

Paul Nathanson
Paul Nathanson
9 months ago
Reply to  Cathy Carron

It says exactly what you think, Cathy: that most people are cowards. Men are not only cowards (defying conventional wisdom is risky) but also opportunists (expecting their girlfriends or wives to pin medals on them for saying what they believe is what women want to hear). I say this as a man who began thirty years ago to campaign for inter-sexual dialogue (not debate, in which one side wins and the other loses but dialogue in which each side learns about the other). And even that was too radical for many women and men, who refused to acknowledge that men could have any legitimate reason for challenging feminist doctrines. The irony is that I was bullied as a child, by both girls and boys, for being a “sissy.”

Stevie K
Stevie K
9 months ago
Reply to  Cathy Carron

A lot of men did stand up to the more insane aspects of the women’s movement for decades, but they were shouted down, shamed and dismissed, year in, year out.

Females may be physically weaker than men, but in compensation, they have on average far superior skills in verbal agression, which is mostly used against each other. Feminism turned that skill into a potent force to eleminate male reaistance.

We are now able to fully see the chaos the contrived war of the sexes finally leads to. Sadly, the insanity of the trans issue was the inevitable outcome of sixty odd years of deliberately deconstructing stable sex roles.

Men and women are fully capable of constructively building stable and supportive societies together. There does not need to be a war between the sexes, we are interdependent and have complimentary needs.

MJ Reid
MJ Reid
9 months ago
Reply to  Paul Devlin

Except that want the goal… The goal was equity with men and the downfall of the men’s clubs which had no business deciding laws and business due to a lack of transparency. Carry on having your boys get together but leave big business and political decisions out of it.

Katha Pollitt
Katha Pollitt
10 months ago

The expression was never “believe all women.” It was “Believe women. The “all” was added by rightwing propagandists as a “gotcha” to feminists.
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/18/opinion/tara-reade-believe-all-women.html

Jeff Butcher
Jeff Butcher
9 months ago
Reply to  Katha Pollitt

What is the difference? Surely ‘all’ is implicit in the word ‘women’?

Paul Nathanson
Paul Nathanson
9 months ago
Reply to  Katha Pollitt

That “addition” was itself politically motivated. “Believe women” clearly meant (and still means) “women in general” or “women per se” or “women before considering any evidence in court.” Not precisely “all women,” to be sure, but close enough to throw the distinction into question as ideological propaganda.

Robert Detlefsen
Robert Detlefsen
9 months ago
Reply to  Katha Pollitt

So were we to infer that “Believe Women” really meant “Believe Some Women”? IOW, we should only believe the women who aren’t lying? Thanks — that’s helpful.

Derek Smith
Derek Smith
9 months ago
Reply to  Katha Pollitt

That’s a distinction without much of a difference. Maybe, just maybe, the ‘right wing propagandists’ have a good point.

Richard M
Richard M
9 months ago
Reply to  Katha Pollitt

The expression was never “believe all women.” It was “Believe women. The “all” was added by rightwing propagandists as a “gotcha” to feminists.

Semantics aside, “Believe Women” was always a well-meaning but impractical exhortation. You can’t run any kind of legitimate system of criminal justice on the assumption that one particular demographic group always tells the truth about one particular class of crime.
Don’t get me wrong, my ideal world is one in which there is no sexual crime and if there were, perpetrators would face swift and severe justice. Hashtag-Believe-Women just doesn’t get us there.

Chris Amies
Chris Amies
9 months ago
Reply to  Richard M

Hashtag Listen-to-the-evidence-and-believe-this-person-might-be-telling-the-truth isn’t as snappy.

Chipoko
Chipoko
9 months ago

We were taught to push back against the idea that women need to be appealing to men because their comfort mattered more than ours.
Decades of anti-man propaganda is beginning to have unforeseen consequences!

CF Hankinson
CF Hankinson
9 months ago

I do agree and is the aspect that is always overlooked. Rarely in my experience as a young woman in clubs etc did I go to the loo to pee. Rather to escape the gaze. Relax.

Ardath Blauvelt
Ardath Blauvelt
9 months ago

I disagree that this trans mania is about giving in to male demands again, setting women’s safety back, because this crazed movement is primarily backed by women! This mess is not enhancing male power; it actually trivializes it as merely a matter of identification not authenticity. It seems to have much more to do with general social disruption leading to social chaos which can then lead to central control.

Recall, it was a woman Supreme Court nominee, now sitting, who refused to define a woman. Therein, surely, is female vulnerability, embodied and enshrined!

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
9 months ago

I agree that the progressive ideology appears to particularly (but not overwhelmingly) appeal to women, and some if its theoreticians are women (Judith Butler). Perhaps because this can be seen as “being kind” or something.

Not all women are feminists or prioritise “women’s” rights or even safety at every turn (Margaret Thatcher?). But all women deserve nonetheless to be as safe as reasonably achievable in society. (As should men’s of course, but men’s safety is not being undermined in the same way by “trans” ideology. It is beyond any reasonable doubt that most violence is committed by men, both against women and other men.

Anyway bad ideas should be combatted, whoever is promulgating them.

Last edited 9 months ago by Andrew Fisher
James Jenkin
James Jenkin
9 months ago

Wow fantastic article

Don Lightband
Don Lightband
9 months ago

This comedian speaks like BelieveAllWomen wasn’t the biggest abomination to be inflicted on the court system in modern British history, resulting in more false accusations and ruined innocents than it seems the goodly Unherd flock can even pause to think about..

Michel Starenky
Michel Starenky
9 months ago

Most trans believe they are the anointed elites.

Christopher Chantrill
Christopher Chantrill
9 months ago

Our ruling class justifies its rule through the political formula that it fights for the “oppressed peoples.”
But who is oppressed? First it was the workers, then women, then blacks, then gays, now transgenders.
Does the ruling class really care about “oppressed peoples?” You be the judge.
But I suggest we take seriously Eric Hoffer’s notion, expressed in a 1968 article for Playboy, that “What starts out here as a mass movement ends up as a corporation or a racket.”
So what started out in the Enlightenment as a movement for reason and logic and justice has become a racket for poseurs.
I believe that “women expect to be protected.” And they are right to want protection, not just because of instinct, but because every human society should honor and protect the people that bring forth the miracle of new life.

Jenn Usher
Jenn Usher
9 months ago

There is a category of trans women, like myself, whose bodies are as close to those of women as modern medicine can achieve at this time.
We pose no threat to women and most of those like myself, with whom I am familiar, are estranged from the trans-activists who celebrate the likes of Lia Thomas; and who support those who identify themselves as women simply to access women’s spaces. In my eyes this is wrong.

Last edited 9 months ago by Jenn Usher
Ray Andrews
Ray Andrews
9 months ago

The progressive world that the feminists built has now bitten them in the ass. Daddy (the Patriarchy) will try to save them from their own nonsense, but it won’t be easy because they still want to keep most of the nonsense, it’s just this one little detail they want help with. But once we remove one card from the house of cards, it’s not possible to keep the whole thing from collapsing.

Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
9 months ago

The trans movement is absolutely horrible for women (and men and gender dysphorics). But yet again an Unherd feminist cannot see the role her own naive ideology played in getting us to this place. They spend decades railing against social customs and legal norms based on differences between the sexes… but then are shocked and full of righteous indignation when the implications of their theories went further than they foresaw. Does biological sex matter, or does it not? You cannot have it both ways.

Leandro William Capstick
Leandro William Capstick
9 months ago

I think you should get to know more trans people.

Last edited 9 months ago by Leandro William Capstick
David Morley
David Morley
10 months ago

It tells us to ignore the discomfort triggered at a subconscious level. It encourages us to ignore our instincts. 

Am I to take it that feminists have now dropped the whole blank slate, social construct thing, and that instincts have been rehabilitated? All instincts, or just those that have become ideologically convenient? Are we to simply trust our feelings, and stop suspecting they are products of society?

Ironically, the degree of privacy required between the sexes really does seem to be social to a great degree. The French are more relaxed about shared toilets, and the Scandinavians about shared changing.

Richard M
Richard M
10 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

Am I to take it that feminists have now dropped the whole blank slate, social construct thing, and that instincts have been rehabilitated?

I don’t think many feminists ever believed this consistently anyway. I have never in my life, including 10 years studying and working in UK university politics departments, met a feminist who didn’t believe (at least implicitly) that men are inherently more violent and aggressive than women.
And of course we are. We produce more testosterone and that both directly increases aggression as well as increasing male size and strength which makes the consequences of that aggression more dangerous.
So you’re not wrong but it feels to me like there are more important things at stake than calling out feminists who got carried away with the nurture side of the nature/nurture debate.

David Morley
David Morley
9 months ago
Reply to  Richard M

If pushed, I think most feminists would see “toxic masculinity” as a product of society, not as innate. Hence all the efforts to reschool men. This is well covered in Pinker, The Blank Slate.

Truth matters, and ideological lies have consequences. Some of them unintended by the original perpetrators of falsehood. The trans issue is a prime example.

The big issue is our willingness to buy into untruth when it is pushed by a political group claiming victim status.

Paul Nathanson
Paul Nathanson
9 months ago
Reply to  Richard M

The problem is not merely that feminists “got carried away with the nurture [culture] side,” but that some feminists got carried away with a double standard according to which women are innately virtuous (but undermined by “patriarchal” culture) and men innately vicious (which is why they use culture in order to oppress women).
As for testosterone, it’s an error to equate that hormone with aggression. Although testosterone does make the body fit for aggression, for instance, other hormones make the body ready for either “fight or flight” according to circumstances. Aggression itself, moreover, is not inherently evil or even violent. It can be either anti-social or pro-social. See Jean-Claude Dreher, Simon Dunn and Agnieszka Pazderska, “Testosterone Causes Both Prosocial and Antisocial Status-Enhancing Behaviors in Human Males,” PNAS [Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences], 16 September 2016; https://www.pnas.org/doi/10.1073/pnas.1608085113#:~:text=There%20is%20some%20evidence%20that,status%20theory%20predicts%20(30).

harry storm
harry storm
9 months ago
Reply to  Richard M

Your conclusion is exactly how I feel every time I read another “those feminists getting what they deserved” comment by some embittered man. You’re right, this transgender ideology is of a different kind and much more dangerous/important.

Jake Dee
Jake Dee
10 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

Just those instincts that are ideologically convenient I’m afraid. Male preference for beautiful slim young women with no kids is still misogyny. The preference for people to live around others of their same ethnicity is still racism (for whites).
Interesting to see how “sex-based rights” has snuck in through feminism’s backdoor while no one was watching. I guess the history of Equality Feminism will be ret-coned to make sure it was always there.
Remember, Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
10 months ago

Any male undressing in front of me in a women’s locker room will receive this treatment:

A long, slow look down & up, then a small smile and gentle shake of the head, before turning away, amused yet indifferent.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
10 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

You need to be much more unpleasant.

Last edited 10 months ago by Richard Craven
Bronwen Saunders
Bronwen Saunders
10 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Reporting him for exhibitionism and voyeurism would be more effective.

Richard M
Richard M
10 months ago

Reporting him for exhibitionism and voyeurism would be more effective.

Depending on which jurisdiction this happen in, you will very likely be told you have to accept trans-identifying men in womens changing rooms, denounced as a bigot, or visited by the police and recorded for a hate incident. Perhaps all of the above.

Last edited 10 months ago by Richard M
Richard M
Richard M
10 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

That might work for you but is not a practical approach for children and teenage girls, women who have experienced past sexual abuse, women who feel physically intimidated by the proximity of a physically larger and stronger male in an intimate space, women whose faith prohibits mixed changing, or women who are too worried about being labelled a trans-phobe to do anything but look away and pretend it’s not happening.

David Morley
David Morley
10 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Downvoted because it trivialises. Also not sure it would have the effect you suppose on a man that has already decided to wear women’s clothing.

Stephanie Surface
Stephanie Surface
9 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

more a kick in his balls…

Carmel Shortall
Carmel Shortall
9 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

How about a kick in the ‘nads instead?

David Morley
David Morley
9 months ago

I felt rage, too. How outrageous that Scanlan should have to defend her desire to be free of biological males in a female changing room.

The language is like that of an exterminator reporting that a house is now free of cockroaches. Or perhaps a child’s head is now free of headlice.

harry storm
harry storm
9 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

Or perhaps you’re without clue.

Ray Andrews
Ray Andrews
9 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

You surprise me David, you have always been a very reasonable person. So if a woman doesn’t want men in her change room it’s equivalent to comparing men to cockroaches? That’s not you.

William Edward Henry Appleby
William Edward Henry Appleby
10 months ago

I’m struggling a bit with this article. Is it because the male-to-female athlete looks like a man, or because they still have a p***s, or is it because the objector just “knows” that they’re a “man”? What if they were an XY female, for example, Caster Semenya, or they were lesbian? I attend a gym where there are quite obviously gay, effeminate men in the changing rooms, and I just have to tolerate or ignore the thought they might be eyeing me up.

Last edited 10 months ago by William Edward Henry Appleby
William Edward Henry Appleby
William Edward Henry Appleby
10 months ago

Shame about all the down votes. I’m not condoning trans women in female changing rooms. Just trying tease apart the gut instinct reaction

William Cameron
William Cameron
9 months ago

“Trans Women” . These will be males then ?

William Edward Henry Appleby
William Edward Henry Appleby
9 months ago

No. They’re men who think they’re women.

David Morley
David Morley
9 months ago

It’s frustrating, but if you do a good job of taking to pieces a poor argument, you get downvoted by those who are unthinkingly attached to the conclusion.

William Edward Henry Appleby
William Edward Henry Appleby
9 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

Indeed. I wasn’t expressing a view on gender issues per-se, just teasing apart the objection. I guess some people just don’t want to analyse anything, but just become triggered by the topic. FWIW I am opposed to the idea that gender is “fluid” and that a man can “become” a woman, whatever that means. But I recognise biology doesn’t always cleave naturally into male and female; there are outliers, albeit extremely rare.

Peter McKenna
Peter McKenna
9 months ago

Caster Semenya has 5-alpha reductase deficiency (5ARD) and ergo by definition is male. 5ARD affects male sexual development in utero, resulting in genitals that appear to be a vagina at birth, but are in fact a very-undervirilised p***s. Caster has testes that haven’t descended.

There is no comparison between the male-on-female and male-on-male sexual assault rates. Plus men are bigger and stronger than women.

David Morley
David Morley
9 months ago

I think you’ve touched on a sore point. The real reason behind segregated toilets, changing rooms etc is privacy. In particular privacy in relation to people who might potentially look on you with desire. Feminists don’t want to make this argument because of the questions it would raise about lesbians in female spaces. So they come down heavily on the safety aspects.

John Solomon
John Solomon
9 months ago

What the hell is an ‘XY female” for goodness’s sake ? Is not XY the defining characteristic of a male? Get a grip! (Iwon’t say ‘grow a pair’ because an ‘XY’ person probably already has – or had – a pair)

Richard M
Richard M
9 months ago
Reply to  John Solomon

They mean someone like Caster Semenya who is biologically a male (XY chromosones, testes etc) but suffers from a very rare in utero developmental condition in which the hormones which cause the external sex organs to grow are blocked, therefore p***s and genitals don’t develop externally.
These rare cases are often assigned female at birth (the rare cases where this concept is appropriate) and grow up as such, especially if like Semenya they are born in areas without advanced medical facilities and maternity services where there condition would be more likely to be recognised.

John Solomon
John Solomon
9 months ago
Reply to  Richard M

Thanks to you and to Peter McKenna (above) for the clarification – though as you say yourself CS is biologically a male – not an ‘XY female’. Let’s not obsure the fundamental issue on account of very rare examples which look like, but are not, exceptions.

William Edward Henry Appleby
William Edward Henry Appleby
9 months ago
Reply to  John Solomon

Caster Semenya is most definitely an exception, with XY chromosomes and external female genitalia. What sex would you be prepared to “assign at birth” without the benefit of DNA testing? And if you could test, then what? Sometimes biology can play tricks. Caster Semenya is not a example of someone confused about their gender after realising they fancy the same sex.

William Edward Henry Appleby
William Edward Henry Appleby
9 months ago
Reply to  Richard M

Ditto Maria José Martínez-Patiño, a former Spanish hurdler, and probably a few others in women’s sport. There are genuine human intersex outliers in biology, although the trans activists would have you believe there was one on every corner.

Richard M
Richard M
9 months ago

At the world championships a few years ago all 3 women’s 800 metres medals were taken by biological males with DSD.

I think if this whole debate were just about the tiny fraction of people with DSD then it might be easier to find an accommodation for such small numbers who we should not forget often suffer great confusion and distress because of their condition. At least in society in general, even if some areas would still need to be restricted in the name of fairness and safety, such as sports.

But it’s not. The vast majority of trans people do not have DSD.

William Edward Henry Appleby
William Edward Henry Appleby
9 months ago
Reply to  John Solomon

No. See Richard M’s reply and just use Google to find actual cases of XY females. Extremely rare, although I imagine it must be under-reported. The cases discovered in sports could be to do with additional testing, although having a testosterone boost in puberty would definitely give you an advantage in most sports.

Last edited 9 months ago by William Edward Henry Appleby
David Morley
David Morley
10 months ago

As de Becker says: “Can you imagine an animal in the wilderness overtaken with fear and saying ‘Oh it’s probably nothing.’ 

That’s because we are not simply animals. It is hard for a reflective human being to know whether what they are feeling is instinct, neurosis, or social conditioning. Often our “instincts” are not to be trusted (our racist “instincts” for example, our instinct that the guy chatting to our wife at length is a “bad sort”).

We need more facts and genuine analysis, and a few less articles based on “feelings”.

Arkadian X
Arkadian X
10 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

I’d say it should be the other way around.
Once there is more “genuine analysis”, etc. etc. We *might* think about changing our behaviour, but most certainly not before.

Penny Mcwilliams
Penny Mcwilliams
10 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

We could talk about UN and WHO statistics that place domestic male violence as a major cause of female mortality globally? More than a feeling…

David Morley
David Morley
9 months ago

Sure. Wouldn’t be very bright if we did though. How much domestic male violence is committed by cross dressing strangers in public changing rooms?

Jenny Caneen
Jenny Caneen
9 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

A disingenuous comment: in both instances the violence is committed by a man against a woman.

Paul Nathanson
Paul Nathanson
9 months ago

Well, the stats tell us also that the main victims of violent men are other men–presumably those men who look smaller or weaker than themselves. Has anyone done a study on the fear that most men have of other men? I’m not a psychologist, so I ask for a good reason.

Stephanie Surface
Stephanie Surface
9 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

In this instance it is a gut instinct and I very much trust my instincts.

Thomas Wagner
Thomas Wagner
9 months ago

Obey gut instincts first. Analyze afterwards. Act in haste, lest you never have the leisure to repent.