Western colonisers and imperialists all over again

Bina Shah tweeted on September 8:

I just really need to know how Judith Butler’s definition of women applies to Afghan women who are being beaten on the streets by the Taliban. Have you ever considered that your academics really don’t fit the lives of women in the global South?

And if they don’t fit in the lives of those women (which they don’t), how well do they fit women anywhere?

She expanded on her thoughts the next day:

But it was Judith Butler’s statement that “we need to rethink the category of women” that got me going. It coalesced from quite a lot of thinking I’ve been doing about gender identity theory as it is being adopted in Western countries. And it comes at the same time as I’ve been watching Afghan women getting beaten by the Taliban as they protest for their rights, for safety and security and for inclusion in the government, and for the freedom to work and study.

The Taliban don’t beat women because the women “identify as” women. The women the Taliban beat can’t escape the beating by saying they “identify” as men. They can’t even escape it by saying they are non-binary.

Taliban: Hahaha nice try.

Bina was asked (or, probably, told) to clarify her thinking.

In Afghanistan (extreme example) but also in Pakistan, where I live, in India, in Nepal, Bangladesh, Middle Eastern countries, North Africa, women (or people with female bodies) are being abused, harassed, assaulted and killed not just because they have female bodies, but because they refuse to hand those bodies over to men to do with as they please.

Nigeria, too, also Indonesia…The list is long.

Because this possession and ownership of female bodies is absolutely tied to female biology and the production of children and sexual comfort for those men, separating sex from gender completely negates this form of oppression which is hugely insulting to all of us who are still fighting to end sex-based discrimination in our countries and regions. 

It’s insulting and it’s damaging to that fight against sex-based discrimination. It’s a lose-lose.

I’m afraid the trans rights activists are acting like Western colonisers and imperialists all over again, imposing their ideas of gender and sexuality on us the same way their Empire was imposed on us for a good part of the 20th century. I don’t really want gender colonialism in the 21st century. Do you?

Thank you for coming to my TERF Talk.

Thank you for giving it.

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