A lot of marching still to do

Susan Dalgety in The Scotsman on why women have a right to call ourselves women:

For all the hard-won successes of the first and second waves of feminism, from the right to vote to the right to choose, women and girls are still second-class citizens.

From unequal pay to the US Supreme Court seriously considering whether or not to limit abortion rights, the battle for equality grinds on. Indeed, 50 years after the first Women’s Liberation event held in Oxford, it seems to be getting harder to argue against the patriarchy, especially when it is disguised in high heels and a blonde wig.

I could not have been the only woman of certain age who was aghast on Wednesday when a respected feminist, a woman who has spent her whole life fighting for equality, had to stand up in the Scottish Parliament and argue for the right to be called a woman.

MSP Elaine Smith objected to her colleague Patrick Harvie’s use of ‘cisgender’ to effectively mean a woman during, of all things, a debate to mark International Women’s Day.

What’s the problem? The problem is that there is no such thing as “cisgender women,” there are only women. Women are women, just as we always have been, and we don’t need a stupid new word to differentiate us from men who pretend to be women. Only women are women; men who pretend to be women are men. Feminism is not for men who pretend to be women, and women are not also-rans in their own category.

And as women died for the right to vote and marched for the right to have power over their own bodies, they held on to their right to call themselves, proudly, defiantly, women.

Not girls, not ladies, women. Not bitches, not cunts, not slags, not whores, not honeys, not witches – women. Just women.

But here we are on the eve of International Women’s Day 2020, and a woman’s inalienable right to be a woman is being eroded by a small – but powerful – group of activists who have persuaded naïve policy makers that biological sex does not exist.

The new truth says that being a woman is a choice and the term ‘woman’ belongs to anyone who believes they are female.

Those of us born biological females must therefore be described as cisgender, or even non-trans, so that trans women (biological males who believe they are women) can feel equal.

Even George Orwell would have rejected such doublethink as too outlandish for his dystopian fiction, but this is the reality of Scotland’s political debate today – women are no longer women. We are cisgender. Non-trans. Non-people.

There is a lot of marching still to do, sisters, and it starts this afternoon outside the Scottish Parliament at 2pm, when women from across Scotland will demonstrate for their right to be, well, women.

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