by Joan Smith
Tuesday, 27
December 2022
Spotted
11:30

New York Times claims Louisa May Alcott was trans

Is no historical figure safe from gender ideology?
by Joan Smith
NYT screengrab

Too many women have been written out of history, their work forgotten or attributed to men. One of the triumphs of 1970s feminism was to rediscover neglected female authors and artists, restoring the reputations of everyone from the painter Artemisia Gentileschi — subject of a recent exhibition at the National Gallery in London — to the novelist Antonia White. So it’s infuriating to see the process going into reverse, thanks to a campaign by trans activists to claim famous women as transgender.

The latest target is Louisa May Alcott, author of Little Women. ‘Did the Mother of Young Adult Literature Identify As a Man?’ asks an opinion piece in the New York Times. I’m not sure that ‘young adult literature’ was a thing in the 1860s and I doubt whether any human being ‘identified’ as anything — man, woman, St. Bernard — until the last decade. But the paper is evidently back on message, showcasing trans ideology after a recent article dared to question the use of puberty blockers in gender non-conforming children.


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The most popular character in Little Women, Jo March, is exactly that. She has been adored by girls ever since the novel was published, with a climactic scene in which Jo refuses the marriage proposal that was supposed to be the cherished prize of every Victorian woman. She expressed Alcott’s own frustration about the limitations imposed on women at a time when separate sex roles were believed to be immutable.

For gender warriors, however, such feminist stirrings must mean something else. The real purpose of the NYT article is to ask a much more explosive question, which doesn’t appear until the fourth paragraph: ‘Is Alcott best understood as a trans man?’ The answer is obviously ‘no’ but the paper is coy about the identity of the author, Peyton Thomas. He says he is writing a novel described as ‘a contemporary interpretation of Little Women’, but the NYT doesn’t mention the fact that Thomas is a trans man.

‘I haven’t yet seen an adaptation that gives Jo the gift of transition she’s spent 154 years begging for,’ Thomas wrote in an earlier article for the Oprah Daily website. ‘So I’m writing my own.’ (There may, I think, be quite a bit of projection going on here.)

Alcott was known as Lou to her family, talked about having ‘a boy’s spirit’ and said she longed to be a man. She might have felt very differently if she had been born in another century, when many more occupations were open to women, but that doesn’t suit the trans agenda. ‘Why not take Lou at his word?’ Thomas demands in the NYT.

I assume that the use of a male pronoun for a celebrated female author is intended to be daring and clever, but it’s actually erasure. No historical figure is safe from an ideology so invested in traditional sex roles that it insists successful women from the past must have been…something else. Joan of Arc got the treatment earlier this year, in a production at the Globe Theatre in London that presented her as non-binary and used they/them pronouns.

This practice of trans-ing famous women from the past exposes the suffocating orthodoxy at the heart of gender ideology. It presents history as a dressing-up box, full of female figures just waiting to be stripped and dressed as men. Famous women are disappearing before our eyes — and it’s misogyny in its purest form.

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Arkadian X
Arkadian X
1 month ago

Lizzie Bennet is another one.
Indeed Jane Austen is clearly trans, why else would she not have married?
Probably going down 1500+ years, nuns can be safely assumed to be trans. Why else would they refuse their traditional role?

And George Eliot, George Sands and so on. The list is endless.

Ah, and the Brontë brothers. Why else would they choose such asexual pseudonyms?

Clearly no woman can accomplish anything, except wearing a burqa.

Last edited 1 month ago by Andrea X
Michael Cavanaugh
Michael Cavanaugh
1 month ago
Reply to  Arkadian X

But isn’t putting on a burqa just becoming who she TRULY is?

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 month ago
Reply to  Arkadian X

Or wearing enormous prosthetic breasts and gaudy clothes as they groom children with woke fairy stories about identity.

Margaret TC
Margaret TC
1 month ago

Next up perhaps Elizabeth 1 who famously announced: “I know I have the body but of a weak and feeble woman; but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a king of England too”.

Arkadian X
Arkadian X
1 month ago
Reply to  Margaret TC

She has already been given the treatment.

Terry M
Terry M
1 month ago
Reply to  Margaret TC

John of Arc.

Carol Staines
Carol Staines
1 month ago

Great article. Particularly like the last paragraph as misogyny isn’t limited by gender.

Terry M
Terry M
1 month ago

The NYT identifies as a NEWSpaper.

Anyone surprised?

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
1 month ago
Reply to  Terry M

Check out the front page of the NYTIMES any given day – it’s hardly ‘news’ and it’s very ‘soft’ especially when compared to the WSJ. We dropped the Times, three years ago after a 40 year read. It’s literally not worth the paper it’s written on today. They are pandering to a badly educated, youthful audience who are ripe for ‘woke reshaping’.

Last edited 1 month ago by Cathy Carron
Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
1 month ago
Reply to  Terry M

Media in America is terrible. The most trusted news station for several years here has been….the BBC.

Lindsay S
Lindsay S
1 month ago

for goodness sake! There were many female authors who were published under male pseudonyms, not because they were trans but because it was deemed uncomely in some circles during the Victorian period. Also non binary is just a fancy way of saying normal because gender stereotypes are, by and large, b*****ks.

Last edited 1 month ago by Lindsay Snoman
Morgan Evans
Morgan Evans
1 month ago
Reply to  Lindsay S

I think the older word for non-binary was “androgenous”. It was much more elegant, with an aesthetic touch.

Janet G
Janet G
1 month ago
Reply to  Lindsay S

And it still happens. JK Rowling.Robert Glbraith comes to mind.There are lots of research articles about how essays/articles/books are accepted or not depending on the assumed sex of the author. Male names win out every time.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 month ago

It’s shocking that activists fail to see their own misogyny. Peel back even single layer and it’s there for all to see.

Gillian Johnson
Gillian Johnson
1 month ago

Every achievement made by a woman shows that they were actually trans! FWIW I don’t believe trans is real. I think it is a bunch of perverted old men seeking to push the ideology as a cover for their own sexual gratification.

Katja Sipple
Katja Sipple
1 month ago

“I think it is a bunch of perverted old men seeking to push the ideology as a cover for their own sexual gratification.”
Yes, I am certain that sexual gratification and fetishes play a role, but there is, in my opinion, an even more sinister angle to this. It’s misogyny, plain and simple. These men not only want to be better than women, they want to be the better women! I share your belief that trans isn’t real. It’s a mental illness similar to Body Integrity Identity Disorder.

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
1 month ago

There will always be weirdos peddling odd theories and narratives. The fact that they get published in the NYT suggests it is not a serious organ of news.

Katja Sipple
Katja Sipple
1 month ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

The NYT hasn’t been a serious and objective publication devoted to reporting actual news in a long time.

Douglas H
Douglas H
1 month ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

It was an opinion piece by a guest writer, not a news story. Newspapers should publish odd theories in their opinion sections, should they not?

Anna Bramwell
Anna Bramwell
1 month ago
Reply to  Douglas H

Only very left wing ones, otherwise I for one get very offended and upset.

Aidan Trimble
Aidan Trimble
1 month ago
Reply to  Douglas H

Of course, and they should be open to evisceration.

Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
1 month ago

A major problem with the “trans” movement (along with their many others) is their insistence in adhering to a rigid and outmoded idea of what being a man or a woman consists in – a woman must like embroidery and pink, a man must enjoy football and beer. If either dare to step outside their prescribed sphere then they need to transition. There was a similar movement a few decades ago of claiming every unmarried man in the past as gay; they may have been, or they may not have been, and with no evidence we should not speculate. It’s also noticable that when they what to claim someone as their own they only ever choose “heroes”, no-one wants to claim some mass killer.

Last edited 1 month ago by Linda Hutchinson
MJ Reid
MJ Reid
1 month ago

At some point, the trans activists will start on the bible… Maybe then, the general population will get the “whole picture” and take the fight back straight to the eejits eho are re-writing not just history as they see it, but society in general. Awaiting that day…

miss pink
miss pink
1 month ago
Reply to  MJ Reid

This is already happening. I read recently about Jesus being described as transgender in a sermon.

A A
A A
1 month ago

My concern is that this “erasure of women “ will ultimately be blamed on men. Not liberals in general. Many will be quick to forget that, in the US at least, women identify more as liberals than men. But, blaming white men for all sorts of things is already a part of the narrative and it will simply persist.

Derek Smith
Derek Smith
1 month ago
Reply to  A A

Already on this site we’ve had ‘transwomen’ referred to as ‘men’s rights activists’. Not just totally wrong, but a deliberate lashing out at those who might be allies in this cause.

We social conservatives who still think that traditional sex roles count for something are totally against gender ideology. Gender-critical views aren’t just for man-hating lesbians.

A A
A A
1 month ago
Reply to  Derek Smith

I am sad to hear that there is such a label already. Losing allies indeed.

MJ Reid
MJ Reid
1 month ago
Reply to  Derek Smith

Lesbians don’t hate men. They just don’t want to date them or have sex with them. Which is okay because not all men are attractive or lovable!

Tom Lewis
Tom Lewis
1 month ago

“and it’s misogyny in its purest form.”
Please leave men out of this, we didn’t sign up for this rubbish. If you need someone,or something, to blame then call it what it is, Transogymy, and leave us men out of it.

S Wilkinson
S Wilkinson
1 month ago
Reply to  Tom Lewis

Misogyny is not the preserve of men. Women can be misogynists too; as Joan clearly states, the promoter of this rubbish is a ‘transman’ – otherwise known to the sane as a woman.

Katja Sipple
Katja Sipple
1 month ago
Reply to  Tom Lewis

As a woman, I am not blaming regular chaps, but there is a certain subset who actively practise misogyny. I don’t believe that most men support this vile rubbish. Sadly, there are probably more misguided women who have been led to believe that this is a worthy cause.

Erik Hildinger
Erik Hildinger
1 month ago

Perhaps the trans-woke try to recruit the dead because the dead cannot defend themselves.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 month ago

I never thought we’d roll back round to applying mindless stereotypes:
sensitive boy, might be gay but these days probably gender dysphoric – she’ll just love nail varnish and big hair!

talented girl, definitely needs to change to a man, since only men have talent!

sarah rutherford
sarah rutherford
1 month ago

Remember the recent adaption of Colette when Missy, was made a trans man instead of a lesbian.

Stephen Magee
Stephen Magee
1 month ago

Always hilarious to watch feminists getting outmaneuvered by people using the feminist playbook.

Douglas H
Douglas H
1 month ago

The NYT is not claiming anything. This is a “guest essay” by a novelist with a book to sell. It’s not written by a staffer and it’s not the view of the newspaper. It’s simply an annoying opinion piece.

Alison Wren
Alison Wren
1 month ago
Reply to  Douglas H

But the NYT published it. So it got past the gatekeepers in a way that an article decrying transideology wouldn’t.

Douglas H
Douglas H
1 month ago
Reply to  Alison Wren

That’s very true, and the NYT is almost comically biased, but it’s not the paper itself saying these things – as it would have been in a news or analysis article written by a staffer. It’s an important distinction.

Tom Scott
Tom Scott
1 month ago

In a normal world, such (NYT) authors would be ignored for their stupidity, or sacked for their incompetence.

Martin Smith
Martin Smith
1 month ago

Women are not just the equal of men; they are men.

Ruth Riddick
Ruth Riddick
1 month ago

Thank you, Joan! Calling prominent women “men” or, more recently, “trans” is nothing new. The litany is endless – I particularly remember (from my school days) just such speculation about Elizabeth I. Apparently, no woman could possibly have taken the role of “Gloriana.” She must’ve been a man.
The message is clear: “don’t you dare think that women’s accomplishments are legitimate or genuine, or that you can claim them in sisterhood.” Misogyny, as you’ve called it. Old wine in new bottles.
Meanwhile, all women know that power is located in men, and powerful women very often identify their own power as “masculine.” “I’ve felt like a man my whole life,” my partner’s barrier-breaking mother told me. This from a consequential legal eagle early in the ring on behalf of what, in pre-sanitized lingo, were known as “battered women.” (That is, female victims of gendered violence at the hands – literally – of the men who had sworn before their God to cherish them.) But that doesn’t mean that Bláth would think of herself as “trans” or that she mourned her Freudian failure to be born with a p***s. Rather, like so many women before and since, she was naming the public power she appropriated from her male peers – that of a man.
It’s all about power.
Nothing new under the sun, except mots-et-mores or, as I think of it, the costuming. Nevertheless, we (women) persist.