by Mary Harrington
Monday, 27
September 2021
Spotted
17:06

There’s nothing inclusive about erasing women

‘Bodies with vaginas’ is a deeply creepy and dehumanising substitute
by Mary Harrington
Credit: Getty

It’s been a bumper week for disappearing women. First, the ACLU memorialised iconic feminist judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg by posting a quote, in which every mention Ginsburg made of ‘woman’ had been corrected to ‘[person]’.

Secondly, medical journal The Lancet lamented the historic neglect of the female body in medical science by stating that “Historically, the anatomy and physiology of bodies with vaginas have been neglected”.

Then, over the weekend, Keir Starmer’s effort to contain the Rosie Duffield controversy failed spectacularly. Viewers watched Starmer squirming as Andrew Marr asked him what was wrong with saying ‘only women have a cervix’. “It is something that, er, shouldn’t be said”, Starmer replied; other senior members of the Shadow Cabinet have since flailed over the same point.

Feminists are right to call out the replacement of ‘women’ with the deeply creepy and dehumanising ‘bodies with vaginas’. Doctors’ historical blind-spot in relation to female physiology and medical needs might well be connected to a tendency to regard women as less than human, and this is unlikely to be fixed by re-defining female humans based upon individual body parts.

These same feminists also routinely point out that this ‘inclusive language’ is often asymmetrical, seen through the example of when Macmillan removed all mention of ‘women’ from its cervical cancer page but continued to use ‘men’ on its prostate cancer page.

But it’s not enough to challenge this shift only when it’s applied to women. After pressure, Macmillan updated both pages; but this is an ambivalent victory, because now both pages have unmoored identity from physiology.

And it’s clear from the latest round of controversies that this detachment of identity and physiology is now the consensus position on the establishment liberal-Left. That is, a majority of the people who publish magazines, staff universities, run NGOs and form the upper strata of the Labour Party think bodies and identities have nothing to do with one another.

Pushback from the great unwashed is unlikely to dislodge this easily. And this should trouble us. In the new ‘inclusive’ worldview we’re all beings of bodiless identity, piloting a contingent meat puppet whose properties we’re entitled to remould at will to suit our personal sense of self. And while this may sound liberating at the individual level, the corollary is that there’s nothing sacred, normative or natural about human bodies and no attendant human needs that merit defending on their own merits.

The large-scale political implications of this vision are disturbing. This is a worldview in which bodies have no normative or ethological needs; where children have no normative developmental pathway; where biologically-rooted drives such as attachment have no purchase on us. From that perspective, it’s difficult to argue against (for example) forcing toddlers to wear face masks, staffing a care home with robots or growing human/monkey chimeras in a laboratory.

What looks like a liberatory drive to free us from coercive cultural norms speciously rooted in an idea of the ‘natural’ becomes, at scale, a methodical stripping-away of any defence we have against techno-medical tyranny. That this comes disguised as ‘inclusion’ should fool no one.

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Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
8 months ago

Let me get in quickly. There is no defence of this attack on women.
It is a facile argument to say that women are getting their just deserts because of the attitudes of some radical feminists some time in the past. By far the majority of women (including many ‘feminists’) are reasonable, logical people and we would like recognition for who we are and need this lunatic erosion of rights to be stopped. .

Claire D
Claire D
8 months ago

I agree with your first sentence.
However, I do not think that the argument that feminism is partly to blame is “facile”. It is a perfectly reasonable analysis of cause and effect. But there is a level of glee about it from some quarters that is just spiteful and self defeating because this dehumanising of women is an attack on all of us. If women can be treated this way so can men. It is no way to treat either.

Last edited 8 months ago by Claire D
Graham Stull
Graham Stull
8 months ago
Reply to  Claire D

I agree with both of you. Feminism is partly to blame. Most women, including many who define themselves as feminists, are not.
Nor should any of us express glee over this dehumanising, sick, trend. In fairness, outside the narrow confines of the comment-troll caves, I don’t think most people do.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
8 months ago
Reply to  Graham Stull

Graham, there is a fairly large cohort of people/men commenting on Unherd who express these views.

Graham Stull
Graham Stull
8 months ago

To them I can only say: fie!

David Morley
David Morley
8 months ago
Reply to  Claire D

I’m not sure that it’s glee, but perhaps a certain amount of Schadenfreude.
Perhaps the feeling one gets when seeing the bully get his come uppance, or the boss who sacked good people getting the sack himself.
And it tends to be directed at feminists not women in general – a feeling that they are getting a taste of their own medicine.

Claire D
Claire D
8 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

Good point.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
8 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

The few bullies get their come uppance as about 50% of the worlds population suffer. Interesting that you are experiencing schadenfreude. Do you have no women in your life – either personal or social or working?

David Morley
David Morley
8 months ago

My Schadenfreude clearly isn’t directed at them. Nor does it determine my position on the issue.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
8 months ago
Reply to  Claire D

Claire, I carefully explained my stance i.e. that radical feminists from the past equate to a very small percentage of women.

Claire D
Claire D
8 months ago

I know you did Lesley but the fact is the radical-feminist ideology of ‘sex/gender is only a social construct’ has and is still influencing government policy, though I think the tide may be turning. It does’nt matter if the numbers are small, what matters is how much power they have in academia, the media, government and internationally through the UN.
I have heard quite ordinary women say the most foolish feminist claptrap which means the ideology has permeated down.
I have to say I think the sudden distinction between radical-feminists and your so-called “logical” feminists is a bit of a convenient coincidence at this time.

Last edited 8 months ago by Claire D
Claire D
Claire D
8 months ago
Reply to  Claire D

Must add that the ‘sex/gender is only a social construct’ theory feeds the political ‘Equality’ agenda nicely, and that is all about getting as many people working outside the home and paying taxes as possible + women are much more easy to deal with as a workforce, less aggressive, more malleable.

Last edited 8 months ago by Claire D
Jane Watson
Jane Watson
8 months ago
Reply to  Claire D

I had to have words with a friend of my niece (in my sister’s house, in front of my male cousin and a nephew) who said, quite casually, ‘all men hate women’. The same nephew told me he had stepped in when this young woman (1st class degree) spouted ‘all men are rapists’ in a Liverpool pub…

Last edited 8 months ago by Jane Watson
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
8 months ago
Reply to  Claire D

The feminist brigade have been dehumanising men for decades. I cannot recall any feminists lining up to take issue with it or to denounce the peddlers of such nonsense such as Ms Bindel, who indeed are still given a platform.

Last edited 8 months ago by Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Claire D
Claire D
8 months ago

I agree with you totally.

David Morley
David Morley
8 months ago

I’m not really sure Ms Bindel is specifically anti trans. What her writings reveal is that for her the anti trans women thing is just anti male in a new guise.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
8 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

The point is that she is psychotically anti-male but still gets a platform

MJ Reid
MJ Reid
8 months ago

This is biased thinking. My feminism does not make me hate men. I have lived with one for 36 years. My feminism makes me hate the patriarchal society I find myself living in where girls and women are far too often treated like second class citizens while we are sexualised at a very young age by men who should know better. When my world becomes more of a level playing field for the 51% of the population of which I am one, I might well spend more of my time fighting for the rights of nen. Until then, my energies have to be towards levelling that playing field for women.

Claire D
Claire D
8 months ago
Reply to  MJ Reid

You do realise that the only way you can make your dream a reality is for women to become more and more like men, which is about as anti women, or misogynist, as you can get.
I live in the same world as you but I don’t feel like a second class citizen and nor do any of the women I know. Perhaps you should consider why you feel the way you do, instead of assuming you are right and so many other women are wrong.

Last edited 8 months ago by Claire D
J Bryant
J Bryant
8 months ago

Great article, Mary Harrington, but why, in your many essays describing the latest woke outrage, do you never address the most important question: how do we push back against this kind of ideology?
Is there really nothing to be done or is it just easier to describe the phenomenon rather than try to formulate a feasible response? Isn’t the reassertion of common sense (not to mention basic science) a truly ‘unherd’ viewpoint these days?

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
8 months ago
Reply to  J Bryant

Indeed, what better place to formulate a plan of action for the appalled majority to fight back against the loony ideas than through the comment columns of Unherd. I would certainly support any workable ideas to push back against the tide of anti-female and woke racist propaganda.
As I am retired I have no worries about my livelihood being cancelled. I had been mulling over starting a charity for this purpose but one needs Trustees with both the right attitude and a decent public profile. Any suggestions?

Wilfred Davis
Wilfred Davis
8 months ago
Reply to  J Bryant

I have written directly to two other prominent journalists who frequently write on this problem ideology, asking what we can actually do.

No replies.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
8 months ago
Reply to  Wilfred Davis

Shut down all the university social science and humanities departments

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
8 months ago

And the BBC

Matt M
Matt M
8 months ago
Reply to  J Bryant

I see you write this under every related article. I agree with you and applaud your tenacity.

My small and partial solution to the problem is to tie university funding to their graduates ability to repay their student loans. My hope would be that universities would reduce their offering of low-value humanities courses (whose graduates tend to earn lower salaries) and increase STEM and vocational courses. In turn this would reduce the number of undergraduates exposed to this claptrap.

I say it is only partially a solution as it would do nothing to rein in the elite humanities courses which propagate the majority of this nonsense as graduates from top unis earn big money regardless of the degree they take.

Anyway keep demanding solutions. Anyone can moan about the situation, quality thinkers can produce ideas.

Last edited 8 months ago by Matt M
J Bryant
J Bryant
8 months ago
Reply to  Matt M

Yes, I do frequently raise this issue in the comments section in the hope that Unherd management might occasionally review comments for ideas for future articles or to see how their current articles are being received. I’m pretty sure it’s a pointless exercise so, even if I can’t bring myself to stop entirely, I won’t raise this issue nearly so frequently. I’m honestly amazed at the lack of articles, on Unherd and elsewhere, that address possible solutions to our current situation.
You make an interesting suggestion about limiting funding for certain higher education courses. I believe the Australian government implemented that approach this year by offering smaller grants for arts subjects compared to stem subjects. The stated reason was to encourage ’employment ready’ graduates.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
8 months ago
Reply to  J Bryant

Why don’t you write to them. They always reply.

Matt M
Matt M
8 months ago
Reply to  J Bryant

If it is any consolation, I believe every group wanting to change things has this problem. A million do-gooders have grown frustrated and said “anyone can describe the wretched situation for children in Africa but who has got an idea of how to fix it?” Or words to that effect.

Maybe it requires us to look at how political groups (albeit probably the same ones involved in this whole lunacy) have attempted to address the problem in the past. Could there be lessons there?

On the uni funding question, the wider benefit is more employable graduates (we need a lot more electricians and electrical engineers and ideally fewer sociologists). Also it is a better use of public funds – a large percentage of student loans are repaid by the taxpayer. But helping to address the woke issue may be a fringe benefit.

Laura Pritchard
Laura Pritchard
8 months ago
Reply to  Matt M

I think it’s simpler than that. It is easy to provoke a response than engender an action. Not always done intentionally but it’s at the centre of click culture. I now find myself suspicious of anything that only offers up more problems, usually laced with some sort of fear inducing aftertaste.

Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
8 months ago
Reply to  J Bryant

The comments section is a relief outlet for we who allow ourselves an outlet among the similar. I suspect it is only among ourselves to consume.

Al M
Al M
8 months ago
Reply to  Matt M

I would broadly agree with you and probably go a lot further.
Worryingly, the attacks are now focusing on the sciences, with various attempts to discredit western science and its methods by associating its founding thinkers with colonialism.

Last edited 8 months ago by Al M
Matt M
Matt M
8 months ago
Reply to  Al M

I will look that up. Thanks

michael stanwick
michael stanwick
8 months ago
Reply to  Al M

Hmm. I agree with the attack on the sciences but not on your specific causal agent. I think the attack on founding thinkers is one means to undermine the moral weight of Western modernist/enlightement thinking as the most powerful tool we have to acquire and produce knowledge. I think it is an attack on Western epistemological methods by the fallacious guilt by association.
The other side of this pincer movement is post colonial theory and its efforts to decolonise Western knowledge and knowledge production, by using what decolonialists say were egregious power imbalances by the colonialists. Therefore white, Western methods of knowledge production must be marginalised and devalued etc so that the non rational, unscientific methods and understandings of the historically colonised can be emphasised – thus rebalancing the power imbalance.
Their only way to look at everything that happens in the world is through power – a postmodern view of power.

aaron david
aaron david
8 months ago
Reply to  J Bryant

As someone who is also worried about this from across the ocean, I would say the single most important thing that can be done to push back on this is to get involved. Vote. Become active in your political party, listen to others who are describing these issues and be willing to forward the message on. And that message should be; don’t despair, get involved.
Mz. Harrington is doing her part, she is keeping us informed, and while I would like to see more calls for direct and peaceful action, I am willing to bet that they need to fly under the radar, so to speak, and never be accused of inciting things.
But, that might be my bias from the states, as things have gotten quite bad here in these matters.

Niobe Hunter
Niobe Hunter
8 months ago

what I find impossible to understand is whether Starmer, Davey and the rest of the trans affirming twits really believe what they say. Do they really, really believe that trans women are women ( and trans men are men, though that doesnt seem to be so important)? When Penny Mordaunt ( another affirmer) looks in the mirror, does she truly see no difference in her physiology from a ‘trans woman’?
While waiting for my husband in the car on Saturday, I must have seen a hundred people walk past. In every case , the sexual identification of anyone over seven was instantaneous and involuntary. Small children might have presented a problem, except that the girls were mainly dressed in pink glitter and carrying wands, and the boys were pushing each other off the kerb.
so I am left with the conclusion that either these legislators are so deeply lacking in perception as to render them completely unsuitable to make laws for their superiors, or they don’t really believe it at all, but are lying. I don’t accept that they are telling these lies because they are terrified of hurting someone’s ‘feelings’. That only leaves some very sinister motivations indeed.

Jane Watson
Jane Watson
8 months ago
Reply to  Niobe Hunter

But of course they don’t believe it. They have got themselves into a twist because they want to be seen as ‘inclusive’. Nobody wants (and some can ill afford) to be outed as a ‘TERF’ or any sort of ‘hater’. But we really must exercise our right to clearly state ‘I don’t share your beliefs’.

As we have heard from many in the trans community, the mantra ‘trans women are women’ is not even an article of faith within the ranks. Politicians, and posturing ‘heads’ of organisations, seem to believe that appeasing activists will broaden their appeal. As Kier Starmer seems yet to comprehend, the disrespected majority vote with their feet.

Maybe people who float to senior positions in academia and public life do so by routinely ducking controversy and avoiding confrontation. They rarely say what they think but mouth apparently benign platitudes (allowing others to be thrown under the bus). Chickens come home to roost, with a bit of luck, when they inadvertently expose their shape-shifting core.

David Morley
David Morley
8 months ago
Reply to  Niobe Hunter

what I find impossible to understand is whether Starmer, Davey and the rest of the trans affirming twits really believe what they say

i think the answer to this is that they don’t really know. They don’t know what to think, and they don’t know what to say – which is why they get in such a muddle when they try.
They’re not evil – just unmoored.

Rach Smith
Rach Smith
8 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

Or they are compelled to keep saying trans women are actual women to get Stonewall gold stars and donations from the Trans-interested lobby. It was revealed after Ed Davey’s car crash interview that a big Pharma (can’t remember name right now) that produces puberty blockers had donated £1.5m to Lib Dems since 2012. Explains Jo Swinson’s insane comments regarding sex and gender. Always follow the money….

Last edited 8 months ago by Rach Smith
Rach Smith
Rach Smith
8 months ago
Reply to  Rach Smith

Total donations by @ferring since 2012 (the pharmaceutical company manufacturing Triptorelin – used as Gonapeptyl to block puberty in female children) to @LibDems £1,454,258.27

£1,454,258.27

Niobe Hunter
Niobe Hunter
8 months ago
Reply to  Rach Smith

Nailed it. Thank you

Rach Smith
Rach Smith
8 months ago
Reply to  Niobe Hunter

How rude of me. I thought you could tell who ‘like’s your comment. So, you’re welcome. Now to search for the Labour and Green donations…

Judy Englander
Judy Englander
8 months ago
Reply to  Niobe Hunter

Today’s article on Peter Thiel and mimicry may give you the answer.

Jane Watson
Jane Watson
8 months ago

I’m thinking it’s a clash of rights. We recognise everyone has basic rights, to live as they please within the law, to have beliefs we may not hold and to wear clothing and decorate their bodies in accordance with religious or cultural identities. We genuinely want to be tolerant, perhaps especially when we really don’t understand what the other person believes. We don’t want to criticise something we know little about.

There doesn’t seem to be a major problem tolerating different religious beliefs; practising Christians respect orthodox Jews and Muslims and are potentially more respectful of religious belief in general than non believers are. But, crucially, we agree to differ on what we believe (and may take very little interest in other creeds). We certainly don’t feel obliged to practise another’s faith or use their terminology.

Gender ideology (and I am very much not an expert) seems to be a belief system that most of us don’t understand (or even want to understand). However, its acolytes insist society must be reorganised and the definition of words changed to accommodate the creed.

Perhaps we are in a position where the majority who do not adhere to the new belief system (but didn’t want to be intolerant) find their rights are being trampled by a minority cult.

I know some people find the ‘religion’ analogy to be lazy, but I can’t make sense of it otherwise.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
8 months ago
Reply to  Jane Watson

Yes bottom line is that the rights of a tiny part of the population seem to be superseding the rights of half of humanity. This is being enabled not by the tiny part of the population, but by a chunk of the population who are (um, let me be kind), not very bright, have not thought it through and love a cause.

Claire D
Claire D
8 months ago
Reply to  Jane Watson

Excellent analysis thank you.

David Morley
David Morley
8 months ago
Reply to  Jane Watson

I’m thinking it’s a clash of rights.

I think that is certainly right. But it is also because we see these issues in terms of rights rather than tolerance. It’s easy to be tolerant of people who disagree amongst themselves on both values and how the world works. It’s impossible to actively assert all of their world views at the same time.
If trans women hold the belief that they really are women that can easily be accommodated. If they expect everyone else to accept it as fact and act accordingly then we have a problem.

Judy Englander
Judy Englander
8 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

Spot on.

Andrew Roman
Andrew Roman
8 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

The reason why we have the statement that trans women are women is to eliminate the almost universal earlier view that they are not. It is intended not so much as a statement of fact but as a statement or claim of a right, namely, the right to have society accept that view. That’s how rights are created and reinforced. If you assert and demand recognition of a new right and people acquiesce, whether sincerely or for any other reason then you have achieved that right.

michael stanwick
michael stanwick
8 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Roman

An insightful comment in the 1st two sentences. The statement is also a linguistic means of repositioning themselves into a distinct class so as to access the privileges of that class.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
8 months ago
Reply to  Jane Watson

but it is not really about rights it is about exercising power over other people

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
8 months ago

What looks like a liberatory drive to free us from coercive cultural norms speciously rooted in an idea of the ‘natural’ becomes, at scale, a methodical stripping-away of any defence we have against techno-medical tyranny. That this comes disguised as ‘inclusion’ should fool no one.

Freeing us of cultural norms in not the end-game here. It’s, as the author states, about giving up control of our bodies to the experts and allowing them to dictate cultural norms. I suspect that much of the anti-man rhetoric we’ve been exposed to over the last decade has much to do with the state’s desire to fill the power vacuum from which men are being rapidly ejected. This leaves women exposed to state overreach, which perhaps works when the state is acting benignly, but not when it becomes corrosive.
Historically men have taken it upon themselves to be protectors of women, but this tendency has been much-maligned by mainstream pop-culture and certain academic departments as a form of benevolent sexism. In conjunction with this and the idea of gender equality, men have been taught to negate that aspect of themselves.
However, if the male inclination to protect women continues to be stamped out who will be left to defend women if the state turns toxic? I think the rise of transgender ideology is a very apt example of this. It attacks the very concept of womanhood, yet very few men are arguing against it, particularly those in positions of power. Even now the US government is pushing forward an infrastructure bill, part of which aims to erase gender in its official documentation.

Judy Englander
Judy Englander
8 months ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

I feel men don’t get as exercised over the issue as women because transmen (ie woman to man trans) don’t appear to be making aggressive demands on men. There’s less scope, of course, because there are fewer male only spaces. But still, it’s interesting that biological women are bearing the brunt of biological male invasion of their spaces and erosion of their identity, whilst biological men are not on the receiving end from transmen (biological women).
A few weeks ago The Lancet had an article about prostate issues that referenced men several times. Yet this week its article on women refers to ‘bodies with vaginas’. I can only conclude that one of the factors here is – probably unconsciously – old-fashioned misogyny.

Last edited 8 months ago by Judy Englander
Niobe Hunter
Niobe Hunter
8 months ago
Reply to  Judy Englander

Soi disant ‘trans men’ don’t of course present much of a physical threat to most men. They are smaller and weaker ( and weakened even more by the artificial hormones, which cause brittle bones and other physical problems). If a man found a trans man in the guys changing room, and took offence, it would not probably be him in danger.
Many ‘trans women’ however, seem to be quite large examples of male physique, with superior strength possibly enhanced by rage at the impossibility of being mistaken for the ‘real thing’. When you consider that only a tiny minority of trans women have had genital surgery, they pose a real threat to women in the spaces where they are most vulnerable : not just changing rooms, spas, loos etc , but hospital wards, prison cells, examination rooms…even if you discount rape, physical aggression seems to be a fairly common manifestation of their psychological discomfort.
and before the lobby start to say that not all trans women are like this, let me say ‘ I don’t see why we are obliged to take the avoidable risk’.

Last edited 8 months ago by Niobe Hunter
Judy Englander
Judy Englander
8 months ago
Reply to  Niobe Hunter

Yes, exactly.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
8 months ago
Reply to  Judy Englander

Indeed, if anything, this is the very definition of ‘toxic masculinity’.

Last edited 8 months ago by Julian Farrows
michael stanwick
michael stanwick
8 months ago
Reply to  Judy Englander

I agree with you for the most part. Although I don’t find it interesting rather than obvious, that biological women are baring the brunt from biological male invasion. But perhaps I am misinterpreting you. Do you mean biological women are baring the brunt on their own without support from biological men?
Personally, I think this issue is probably the most dangerous for both women and men, because it attacks our codified use of language and therefore our use of the means to classify and understand reality. It is also a collapsing of the profane into the religious, by attacking the use of reason and evidence with the substitution of emotion.

Andrew Horsman
Andrew Horsman
8 months ago

We’ve known for a long time that Orwell was right when he wrote that “Sooner or later, a false belief bumps up against solid reality, usually on a battlefield”.

The optimistic view is that they have got it coming and the great unwashed will revolt against this kind of nonsense: that ignoring reality will come at a terrible price. The pessimistic one is that the psychopaths behind this global techno-feudalist transhumanist revolution, succeed in changing reality to fit their beliefs through pharmacological or other high-tech methods.

As to what those of us who can see at least part of the true horrors what is happening need to do: start to find the words and the courage to talk to our families, friends, our colleagues about, suck up the incredulity and even hostility it may be met with and accept that we are going to risk our friendships and professional reputations. However, having said that, from experience I suspect that most people will quietly agree and just feel relieved that someone else had the b***s to point out the obvious and face down the nasty little wannabe autocrats with little meaning in the lives beyond signalling their fake progressive virtue who are unwittingly pushing the evil pychopaths’ agenda.

As for Starmer, I can’t work out if he’s an organ grinder or a monkey in all this but either way good luck to him persuading “bodies with cervices” and their boyfriends, husbands, fathers, and sons in the seats his hapless predecessor lost to trust a man who daren’t use the word “woman” to describe a woman. If Labour don’t jettison him ASAP, get real, figure out that we are under an ongoing attempted globalist coup and start doing something about it, not only are they finished electorally but what could oust them as the biggest party of opposition – or even government – could be something much nastier, much more regressive, and much more organised than the British far right has managed since the days of Mosley. A dawning realisation that they have been attacked and robbed of their money and their minds by their own so-called elites ain’t going to result in most ordinary people voting Lib Dem.

Kerie Receveur
Kerie Receveur
8 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Horsman

Dame Keira doesn’t know whether he’s Arthur or Martha.

Andrew D
Andrew D
8 months ago

Mary has correctly identified this as a modern manifestation of the ancient heresy of Gnosticism. If we’re talking about pushback, where is the voice of the Catholic Church? In the past it was rather successful in combatting this heresy, and while I wouldn’t necessarily countenance the methods of the Albigensian crusade, some powerful denunciations wouldn’t go amiss.

David Morley
David Morley
8 months ago
Reply to  Andrew D

Mary has correctly identified this as a modern manifestation of the ancient heresy of Gnosticism.

Hmmm – that’s that sensationalist, headline grabbing version.
What it really shows is that there is a persisting dualism in our culture, in spite of much of the metaphysics which would support it having been jettisoned. And also a persisting negativity about physicality, which manifests itself in numerous ways.
Gnosticism itself was suppressed, but the soil in which it was rooted continued, apparently to this day.

Andrew D
Andrew D
8 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

I don’t think we disagree. Dualism is always with us in some form or another (Gnosticism, Catharism, Transgenderism). As an incarnational religion, Christianity has always pushed back against it – until now, it would seem.

David Morley
David Morley
8 months ago
Reply to  Andrew D

I think we agree.
Heresies are never alien beliefs (or at least the ones anybody bothers about are not), they are always too close for comfort, which is why they have to be policed.

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
8 months ago
Reply to  Andrew D

In the past it was rather successful in combatting this heresy,

A hung-drawn-and-quartered here, a Racking there, the odd burning at the stake, that sort of thing?

Andrew D
Andrew D
8 months ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

Those methods of execution were adopted by the Crown or state, not the Church, and were punishments for treason, not for heresy. Nobody outside the Islamic world would defend these barbarous methods today. The battle I’m talking about is a theological and intellectual one.

Niobe Hunter
Niobe Hunter
8 months ago
Reply to  Andrew D

Don’t look to the CoE. They have just appointed an outstanding example of a trans woman to be a vicar.

Oliver Elphick
Oliver Elphick
8 months ago

The whole issue is one of promoting individualism above society to the extent that it becomes absurd. There are no such thing as trans-men and -women. There are just people who are so damaged that they cannot live with the bodies that they have got. We need to stop trying to go along with a blatant lie for the sake of people who are, frankly, mentally ill.The solution is not to pander to their unrealism but to give them appropriate mental treatment.
A man has XY sex chromosomes and a woman has XX. There are a tiny number of people with chromosomal abnormalities but there is no occasion to make laws for them. Hard cases make bad law.
All this began with the desire to legitimise homosexuality. It seemed merciful to end prosecutions of homosexuals, but the lobby was not content with that. They wanted not merely to be tolerated but to be affirmed and approved. They cannot bear anyone who does not approve of their unnatural activity, and from that comes all the nonsense about equality that we have seen over the past 30 years. It is destructive of family and society.

Judy Englander
Judy Englander
8 months ago

C S Lewis had something to say about techo-medical tyrannies in his prescient That Hideous Strength. Ironically (for us Brits) the acronym for the evil organisation pushing gnostic, bodyless techno-tyranny in the novel is NICE.

Last edited 8 months ago by Judy Englander
michael stanwick
michael stanwick
8 months ago

This is a worldview in which bodies have no normative or ethological needs; where children have no normative developmental pathway; where biologically-rooted drives such as attachment have no purchase on us.
And yet Chris Whitty answered a journo, in a Downing Street Covid news conference, that we (the policy) practice evidence-based medicine. Evidenced based as in the background knowledge has a correspondence to reality.
What is noticeable by its sheer absence, is any joint, officially authoritative statement from across the biological science disciplines, stating unequivocally the non ideological nature of biological reality and its statistically significant medical, ethological and psychological effects. IMO, only government intervention is the relevant answer to instigating such a statement.

David Morley
David Morley
8 months ago

“Historically, the anatomy and physiology of bodies with vaginas have been neglected”.
While the effect of this phrase is clearly dehumanising, I don’t think that is it’s intent.
For reasons I don’t understand, it is quite common in woke circles to talk of “bodies” rather than “people” as in “the violence inflicted on black and brown bodies”. In this context it is certainly not being used to dehumanise these people. Quite the reverse – it is used in this way by self proclaimed anti racists.
What it perhaps does show is an underlying atavistic dualism in our thinking – and a widening gap between elite ideology and the rest of us.

Jon Hawksley
Jon Hawksley
8 months ago

This has in passing revealed Kier Starmer’s weakness – a desire not to offend. I was impressed by his grasp of Brexit in a speech at Bloomberg in 2016 but then he sat on the sidelines. He has the intellect but not the courage that is needed to lead.

Alan Hawkes
Alan Hawkes
8 months ago

I suppose the rationale behind the “bodies with a vagina” idea is that it it tries to eliminate the response of “not without a vagina, they’re not,” to those who chorus, “a trans-woman is a woman,” as if vaginas and penises are the ONLY things distinguishing women from men.

Brooke Walford
Brooke Walford
8 months ago

It certainly troubles me— and I live in Australia.

robert stowells
robert stowells
8 months ago

Great article!? Yeh! I wonder what is next. 
Have absolutely no idea what Mary actually believes, however following Mary’s article……..
Will those “auto-cannibalists”, or even “radical auto-cannibalists”, out there be worried and looking to the likes of Nick Ferrari on LBC to question MP’s or Ministers to extract that inquisitorial YES/NO answer on the matter of the rights of “auto-cannibalists” of all degrees to cook and eat what are, after all, non-essential parts of their own anatomy within the privacy of their own homes?
On the other hand, even on the statement of “I am not this body”.  There is a question as to whether if being boiled alive in a vat, might such a statement as “I am not this body” be a useful sentiment to hang on to?
One Geordie who hopefully remembers at least some of his lessons of ABC.

Last edited 8 months ago by robert stowells