You WILL agree that men are women

Sian Cain at the Guardian writes:

The Women’s prize for fiction has issued a strongly worded statement saying that it “deplores any attempts to malign or bully” authors nominated for the prize, after trans novelist Torrey Peters was targeted in an open letter.

In other words the Women’s prize for fiction has issued a statement maligning and bullying women who say the Women’s prize for fiction should be for women as opposed to men who claim to be women. So I guess the Women’s prize for fiction isn’t for women any more.

The US writer, who is nominated for the £30,000 award for her debut novel Detransition, Baby, was the subject of a letter published online on Tuesday by the Wild Women Writing Club. The letter, which is signed by several dead women writers including Emily Dickinson and Daphne du Maurier, claims that some signatories were using pseudonyms “because of the threat of harassment by trans extremists and/or cancellation by the book industry”.

Says Sian Cain in the paragraph after the one where she reports that the Women’s prize for fiction has shouted at women for saying the Women’s prize for fiction should be for women. Gee I wonder why any woman would think there’s a threat of harassment and/or cancellation if she dares to say that women are women and men are not women.

The signatories argue that the decision to longlist Peters for the Women’s prize, founded 25 years ago in the aftermath of an all-male Booker shortlist, “communicates powerfully that women authors are unworthy of our own prize, and that it is fine to allow male people to appropriate our honours … the moment you decided that a male author was eligible, the award ceased to be the Women’s prize and became simply the Fiction prize.”

Obviously. If you make male authors eligible, obviously it’s not a women’s prize any more.

The letter was condemned by numerous authors around the world, including previous nominee Elif Shafak, who congratulated Peters on her nomination and said: “After seeing yesterday’s unacceptable, unethical open letter, we need to say, again and again, #TransWomenareWomen. Trans women writers are my sisters.”

But they’re not. They’re not women, and they’re not anybody’s sisters.

In their statement, published on Wednesday, the Women’s prize organisers said they were “immensely proud of the exceptional and varied longlist””.

“Varied” is good, but if it’s “varied” in the sense of including men, then by definition it’s not a women’s prize any more.

“The prize is firmly opposed to any form of discrimination on the basis of race, age, sexuality, gender identity and all other protected characteristics, and deplores any attempts to malign or bully the judges or the authors.”

Well that’s just fucking stupid. If we’re not allowed to “discriminate” i.e. see the difference between women and men any more, then we can’t organize politically, we can’t talk about misogyny and sexism, we can’t campaign against rape, we can’t press the police and the courts to take rape seriously and not assume women are always lying, we can’t sue employers for paying women less, we basically can’t have anything.

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