Poking the hornets’ nest

Glamour UK published a startling piece of garbage by Juno Dawson, who was called James Dawson until a year ago. The title, calculated to annoy (indeed, to insult) is “Call yourself a feminist?” I don’t much want newly-minted women telling me I’m not a feminist, thanks.

The subhead is equally calculated to annoy and insult:

Our transgender columnist Juno Dawson’s here to see if you really pass the test

No thank you. It’s not up to Juno Dawson to decide that.

And then the column itself is pure shite.

One of things I love about GLAMOUR Magazine is how it supports women’s choices. Indeed there is a whole section called Hey, It’s OK…because, when things are your choice, and if they’re not hurting anyone else, it is OK. Women are sometimes made to feel guilty about their choices in a way that men are not – you shouldn’t eat that, wear that, think that, do that, say that.

I’m getting beyond tired of having brand new women lecturing me about women and feminism. I also don’t like shit writing, and that is shit writing.

What I also love about GLAMOUR is that, since 2001, it has encouraged women to feel confident about their choices while rarely using the word ‘feminism’. That was because, back then, feminism was something of a dirty word. It was a word that felt militant, angry, unconstructive and, frankly, unglamorous.

A steeply downward path, here. One, feminism is not about “feeling confident about choices.” Two, avoiding the word “feminism” is not a plus, especially for a putative “women’s” magazine. Three…oh dear what a shame that feminism sounded militant and angry. It should have sounded fluffy and seductive! And as for being unglamorous – what was feminism thinking?!

It’s interesting and non-random that Dawson doesn’t seem to notice that there could possibly be reasons for the fact that the word feminism “felt militant, angry, unconstructive and, frankly, unglamorous” to one James Dawson, reasons other than a simple equation of that “feeling” with a fact about the world. Maybe James Dawson had that feeling because feminism wasn’t all about James Dawson. Lots of men do feel that way.

Fifteen years later, thanks to a rebranding – although by no means a retooling – feminism is mercifully ‘in’ again. Caitlin Moran; Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Beyoncé, Lena Dunham, Amy Schumer and many, many more stars are proudly reclaiming the label. The goals of feminism are the same as they always were: social, political and economic equality between genders.

Jesus god. No, the goal of feminism has never been “equality between genders.” It’s about ending the system that makes men as a class dominant over the subordinate class that is women. And rebranding and being “in” again is just fatuous garbage. Juno Dawson has no business instructing anyone about feminism.

When I visit high schools with my novels, I always encourage teenage girls to call themselves feminists because I believe all girls need feminism. They need it to safeguard the rights they already have and those inequalities still not fought.

Oops. Can’t write. No editor, apparently. Can’t remember the beginning of the sentence all the way to its end.

Greer is not the first, nor will she be the last, TERF: a trans-exclusionary radical feminist. A subgroup of feminists who steadfastly believe me – and other trans women – are not women.

Who believe me are not women. This is a professional writer! We can assume Glamour paid actual money for this crap.

It’s all this bad; I need to jump ahead to spare us all boredom.

It’s frustrating that trans women, including myself, constantly have to defend ourselves. I feel perpetually on the back-foot, constantly grovelling, almost apologetic for my inclusion in womanhood. I can only speak for myself, but by being a woman, I don’t feel I’m holding back cisgender (not-trans) women or taking anything away from them. I don’t think my choice to initiate a medical transition impacts on the choices of any other women.

True enough, but writing this column? That’s another story, innit.

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