We didn't want to stoke more fire and fury as there has been enough written already but then having a blog that claims to be the official lens of inclusion and diversity would leave its essence. So here goes.
Rowling’s argument is that sex and gender are distinct. Sex is material reality and gender is a social construction. Because women are historically oppressed on the basis of their material sex, recognizing this distinction is important. Conflating sex and gender makes it hard to meaningfully discuss women’s rights. That is Rowling’s point. Her issue is that in recent years gender has gone from being seen as an oppressive tool of the patriarchy used to condition social behavior, to being conceptualized as an innate essence that somehow reflects somebody’s ‘authentic’ identity. In this way, the nature of patriarchal oppression is obscured.
If you can’t see race, you can’t see racism. If you can’t see sex, you can’t see sexism. Apparently, this is deeply problematic.
In short, JK Rowling is pissed that she has been called a TERF. Well, she needs to understand this specifically that by excluding large groups of women she views as less than herself is very damaging and insulting. Sure we empathize with her past ordeal of abuse. However, to use that empathy to legitimize her transphobia is another matter altogether. We don't agree with her. We value the diversity of thought and a divergent opinion. But this tirade against trans women is beyond us. Why?
Because, her fears are projected cruelly onto trans women, most of whom just want to be left in peace with some dignity. Women should lift each other up, not endlessly police/critique each other. We believe it is such a sad irony she’s doing a raging misogynist’s job - judging other women -from a place of huge wealth, a huge privilege, and relative safety.
This isn't the first time we have written about her. See our previous post:
The basis of that fear which is as confusing and confounding as the story she has weaved to justify her transphobia boils down to her apprehension that men would try and take advantage of an inclusive environment to abuse women by pretending that they are trans to gain access. It comes back to the same point that Rowling continually seems to miss. The safety she finds in female-only spaces and inclusivity towards trans women are not mutually exclusive and her view links trans-people with sinister perversions that are simply untrue and deeply unjust. She is making a rampant generalization, to say the least.
Some very personal and meaningful tweets from Twitter:
There is as much variety in the experience of women of different classes, races, abilities, and ages, that you can’t say that the only thing that unites all women is their biology.
There’s just as much difference between the lived experience of a working-class black woman and a middle-class white woman, if not *more* than there is between cis women and trans women as a whole.
We are not conflating sex and gender at all. Women have more in common than their sex organs and it’s reductive at best, misogynistic at worst, to argue that the thing that makes all women have the same experience is their uterus, vagina, and vulva.
The concept of gender hasn’t changed in and of itself, it’s just better understood, as PART of someone’s innate essence, not their only essence? By her logic, if gender is an oppressive tool of the patriarchy then surely the whole concept should be abolished and isn’t objectively real. Patriarchal oppression has of course been based on cis women’s bodies and their sex organs, but not *only* on that.
JK Rowling purposely used a masculine sounding name to sell more books. But she just won't acknowledge people wanting to use a different title to identify with how they feel as a person.