‘Feminism failed women’

Two petitions appeared online protesting her new book even before it was published. She has been denounced as a dangerous and prejudiced activist who wants to make life impossible for transgender people, or even deny their existence.

No wonder, because in Gender critical feminism Holly Lawford-Smith tackles a hot topic without gloves: thinking about gender and transgender rights. It advocates recognition of transgender people and freedom of “gender expression,” but rejects the idea that people can “really” change gender. According to her, the fact that gender redetermination is legally possible on the basis of self-identification is contrary to the interests of the woman. Men (in her view) who identify themselves as women would then gain access to the facilities now reserved for women, from saunas to prisons.

Holly Lawford Smith (1982), born in New Zealand, is a political philosopher at the University of Melbourne. Investigate issues related to women’s rights, climate policy and Corona. In 2021, I created a site where CIS women can share their transaction experiences. The site sparked protests and Lawford Smith was condemned as anti-transgender. She doesn’t see herself that way, because her ‘toothed feminism’, as she calls it, also includes trans men – they are women in her eyes.

As if all this weren’t provocation enough, her recently published book contains a series of extreme struggles, from banning prostitution and commercial pornography, and criminalizing suffocating sex with deadly consequences, to combating the “hypersexuality” of black women in particular, as well as Points like unconditional equal pay for women and free access to abortion.

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Despite the accusation of transphobia surrounding her book, Lawford Smith doesn’t seem to be happy with the hype in an online conversation. He laughs: “I was expecting a lot of criticism, but it didn’t happen. She has remained remarkably calm.” This, you think, is due to the academic style and content of her book. But it will also be about the strategy of transgender activists not to discuss their positions. The line is: No discussion.”

You say you want to recognize the rights of transgender people, but you openly criticize the struggle of transgender activists. Isn’t it the same as the struggle for women’s rights? It’s about equality, right?

“No, it’s not the same. Because trans activists are not standing up for their rights – which I also support – but they are demanding the rights of another marginalized group, the rights of women. Women have finally occupied positions, safe spaces and spaces of their own, and trans activists want access to them. Although That they are middle-aged men have been only women since yesterday (laughs).”

This is misleading: they have always been women.

“I don’t believe any of that, it’s bullshit. There’s a small group of people with dysphoria, a sense of belonging to the opposite sex, from a young age. That group benefits from transition. But that’s different from adult men who start to feel like women, as You see in England where I worked. Being a woman has a biological basis, it determines the course of your life and has a human history for thousands of years. You can’t just fit in.”

Prefer to get rid of the concept of sex. why? Isn’t this a useful concept for feminists?

“Second-wave feminists have made a very good point: Biology is not destiny. Then gender refers to patterns of social roles and the interpretation of gender. Look at such a Victorian woman in a lace-up corset and you can see the difference between sex and gender at a glance. Sex was imposed on her from Before society You can use this term to expose gender-based oppression and discrimination.

But what has happened to the word in recent years I find terrible. People use it in all kinds of contradictory ways. Sometimes as a polite synonym for gender, sometimes to refer to gender roles such as these feminists, and increasingly as a special kind of identity. This is a mess!”

Many young people identify as trans, as opposed to old gender roles. What’s wrong with that?

Also read this interview about transgender sponsorship: Researchers: ‘Care for transgender people is important to society as a whole, not just to the gender clinic’

“Is every seventeen-year-old who struggles with her sexuality or identity a transgender person or maybe just a teen who requires the attention of her parents or her environment? Activists say the increase in the number of transgender people is due to their acceptance and visibility in society. But this does not explain The reason why this phenomenon is so prevalent among young girls. I don’t see women over 50 coming out as men. It’s completely out of control.”

How do you think this happens?

This is largely due to an activist group such as British Stonewall, which began focusing on trans-identities. This is a growth market. They include any gender non-conforming person and those who deviate from the social norm: Butch Non-binary lesbians. While they throw their original target group, gays and lesbians, under the bus. Lesbians suffer from transphobia if they reject a man who identifies himself as a woman, even without physical transmission.”

But why does identifying yourself as transgender resonate especially with baby girls?

“Undoubtedly because we still find ourselves in a misogynistic society. In my book I cite a survey from the 1950s in which American women were asked if they would rather be men. The vast majority said yes. This does not mean that they were transient. Now we are witnessing a massive exacerbation of sexism in society, with excessive femininity in advertising and fashion, the proliferation of Internet pornography and the portrayal of women as an object. I don’t think a lot of girls would like to do that. Or are they afraid of their shortcomings in “femininity”.

Has feminism failed women?

“Yes, huge. Feminism is for women and not for everyone. I find it strange that the male stereotype of femininity – that we must above all be inclusive, understanding, gentle and sensitive – has come to define feminism. We are so focused on men that we now prefer the struggle of for their rights over women.

How do you view young people who are considered nonbinary?

“I think this is the more fair alternative to thinking in terms of gender, and I respect that. Non-binary people try to create an identity that falls outside the box. This is not to the detriment of women and is in keeping with the feminist idea that we need to get rid of binary gender stereotypes at the same time. I also struggle with that, because it’s a strategic dilemma. If more people start identifying as non-binary, will it help us get rid of sex? Or does it make matters worse as it increasingly locks the rest of society into those old binary boxes?”

Your book is about so much more. Dutch readers will be surprised by your call for a ban on sex work.

With prostitution you have to separate ethical and administrative questions. I am sensitive to the argument that sometimes the best way to reduce harm to women is to have a degree of legalization. But the ethical issue is clear. Feminism does not allow men to buy sexual access to women’s bodies. Not even if the women agreed. Which usually happens under direct or indirect coercion.”

Also read this interview with transgender woman and athlete Gaelia Jada Van Gorkum:When I came out as a transgender, I lost everyone

You write: A woman should have sex with a man only if she so desires.

“That would be cool, wouldn’t it? (laughs)”

What, then, should the men who no one want?

“And what about ugly or lonely men? With widows? The whole thing is viewed this way with the man at the center of the world, who would have some kind of right to sex. I would like to see men start thinking: sex is a luxury and I should be happy if I get it (laughs). There are so many other joys to think about in life. Prepare a delicious meal, listen to a nice opera or find something else you can do (laughs).”

You have a lot of unwanted allies. Trump, Urban, fundamentalist Christians, far-right groups. They all see “transgender ideology” as a product of Western decline.

“I don’t care much about that. Nor is it true, they are not allies. Putin, Trump and Orban are not really feminists! They would be terrified of anything I advocate in my book. They want to protect patriarchy, I want to tear it down.”

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