Some restrictions apply

Dominic Lawson writes (in the Daily Mail, usual apologies apply) about not getting abuse for writing about the mismatch between trans demands and women’s rights:

As it turned out, I encountered no abuse at all, just a lot of mail from female readers of this newspaper to the effect that they were delighted I was speaking up for them. 

Yet I am sure that if I were a woman and had written such a column in the issue of April 8, 2019, I would indeed have been monstered on social media, especially Twitter.

Look at what has happened to J.K. Rowling, who has endured death threats and the foulest of personal abuse after she defended Maya Forstater.

And what happened to Maya, and what happened to Kathleen Stock, and what happened to Julie Bindel, and on and on.

Whatever the reasons, it is an observable fact that women, regardless of the issues under discussion, receive much more toxic abuse on social media, and generally, than men. We call this misogyny, and it is a real thing.

It’s a real thing, and like trans activism, and gender critical feminism, and other ideas and trends and movements, it gains fuel and momentum and recruits via social media. That doesn’t explain the discrepancy between the abuse women get and that “thanks for talking about this” that Lawson got though.

But I had another explanation, which is that women, such as Dr Stock and Maya Forstater, who say, ‘You can’t change biological sex’ are telling those who are born male but feel viscerally that they are ‘in the wrong body’: sorry, but we won’t let you into our club.

For many trans women (though by no means all), this is an appalling insult, and actively cruel. Whereas I, as a man, am entirely irrelevant to this and possess nothing that they want.

That’s not an explanation though, it’s just the same question restated. Why isn’t it every bit as much an appalling insult and actively cruel when men say it to trans men? Why is it appalling and cruel coming from women but not coming from men?

Setting that aside, this idea that it’s an appalling insult and actively cruel to say a man is not a woman is a new and silly belief that ought to fade away. (Sudden vanishing would be even better, but we have to deal with realities.) Men are by definition adults, and adults are generally expected to leave their fantasies and pretendings at home. There’s a very broad exception carved out for religion, but then that’s why workplaces generally don’t encourage proselytizing. Most of the time in most situations we’re really not expected to endorse and believe other people’s fictions. It’s too much to ask, and it’s silly. Imagine Charlie from down the block comes bouncing up to you in a Superman costume and expects you to pretend he is Superman. Come on. Life isn’t like that. So how did it suddenly become like that on this one particular brand of pretending? Here comes Charlie in a skirt and tottery shoes, so we have to pretend he’s a laydee? Give me a break.

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