Germaine has a bad hair day. But she has a point.

(if that video doesn’t work for you, here is an audio only version.)
Germaine Greer is surprisingly negative about certain transgender personalities. To the point that the twitterati can almost be forgiven for assuming that she is “Transphobic”. For example, she speculates, entirely, I suspect, without credible evidence, that Caitlyn (nee Bruce) Jenner has put hirself through the elaborate and somewhat risky procedures of gender reassignment primarily for the vanity advantages of stealing the limelight from hir other famous Kardashian family members.

That assessment of Jenner’s motives is cynical bordering on bitchy. Germaine must be having a bad hair day. Nevertheless, I think we can show that Germaine has a better case than she has chosen to make in public.

The argument she opposes can be summarised thus: “anyone who decides to have themselves surgically rebuilt as a woman, IS a woman”. The case for that position is that gender doesn’t entirely map to biological sex and is, at least in part, a sociocultural concept. As such gender can be seen as a matter of choice rather than biological determinism.

The main problem with that argument is an unintended consequence. It undermines opposition to the related homophobic argument that homosexuality is also a matter of choice; thus providing succour to the religious and authoritarian bigots who have a visceral opposition to homosexuality.

But I don’t think that is the basis for Greer’s objections. I think her objection is political. What she doesn’t want to see is biological males, restructuring themselves as females and then usurping the roles, recognition and benefits she has been struggling, for decades, to obtain for females. Her description of the rumoured decision by “Glamour” magazine to nominate Jenner as “woman of the year” is that “misogyny played a big part in that”. Frankly that is a bizarre assessment. My own – equally cynical – assessment is that, if that decision holds, it’ll be more driven by marketing analysis (how many more magazines will it sell) than anything else. But it illustrates her concern that reassigned men might be stepping onto the territory of Women.

And that’s not a wholly irrational objection. For example, if we’re setting up a workplace committee to review the problem of sexual harassment , and we want representatives of both men and women, to reflect the experiences of both genders, then it would be reasonable to demand that the representative of the women shared the full experience of women in that context. And unless the trans woman was reassigned before she even began to work for a living, she cannot make that claim. What she may be able to bring to the party, however, is the experience of sexual harassment for transgender individuals, so it might be a good idea to have her on the committee anyway, but not as a representative of her elective gender.

That’s not a black and white example as, over and above any gender considerations are the democratic ones. The people on that committee should, first and foremost, be those whom the rest of the community believe most capable of representing their interests and if the females in the workplace are fully aware of the previous male history of a now elective female but still freely choose her as their representative, their informed democratic consent overrides any other constraint.

But the more general case is that a strong argument can be made for social restitution to repair the damage done by thousands of years of gender based discrimination and oppression. Women could make a strong case for a “class action” against Men. Greer’s fundamental objection would be to any elective woman joining or benefitting from such a class action.

That’s a reasonable political objection and not, as her enemies seem to think, an ethical prejudice.

About the Indian Rape Epidemic? Take a look in the Mirror

If you haven’t seen India’s Daughter yet, put it in your diary, or (until they take it down anyway) watch it right here right now.

Meanwhile scroll down to the second paragraph under the second picture in that story. Read the first 3 sentences.

Oh Bollocks. I’ll save you the trouble. You can read the whole thing later.

Each country has its own appalling bloody tally. India has a population of 1.2 billion. A rape occurs every 20 minutes. In England and Wales, 85,000 women are raped every year.

Now, ask yourself, why have they written it like that? 1 rape every 20 minutes in India. 85000 a year in England and Wales. I asked my wife that. She responded immediately: “They’re trying to conceal something”. Quite so. Obviously we’re supposed to be horrified at the extent of the Rape epidemic in India. Every 20 Minutes.

Do the math. 85000 a year is 9.7 every HOUR. That’s just short of one rape every 6 minutes in England and Wales. Makes India look almost restrained…

And England and Wales Population is less than a twentieth of the Population of India. Which makes our Rape Rate 74 times – ie 7,400 percent – worse than the Indian Rape Rate.

Now, actually, I don’t believe that. Even though, as the article goes on to explain, Jyoti’s story dramatically increased the Rape REPORTING Rate in India, I suspect it’s still way behind the Reporting Rate in the UK. And I’m sure if the reporting rates were the same, it would definitely close the gap. But it certainly doesn’t suggest we have any reason whatsoever to believe that women in our country are any LESS likely to be raped than their sisters in India.

I’m sure both of my readers will recognise that I’ve made this same argument before, back in January 2013, but I seem to be the only one pointing out the nakedness of our Empirical patronage. If you follow that link, it has the sources which also reveal that the USA rape rate is about the same as the UK and that Sweden, of all places, reports the highest levels.

I don’t believe that either.

I suspect the Rape Rate in Sweden is amongst the lowest on the planet, so if they’re reporting the highest rates, it almost certainly means that women in Sweden are probably the most likely to report their abusers. Probably as close to 100% as we’re likely to get and that suggests the UK/USA rates are at least double what those sources suggest. Definitely no room for complacent finger wagging.

And why is the Guardian, of all outlets, aiding and abetting this distorted view of our cultural superiority?

Motes, Beams, Rape n stuff…

This may be the first time I’ve quoted something from the bible in support of one of my own arguments but it is particularly apt:

And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? (Matthew 7:3)

The author of this strange Alternet piece tries to argue that the current Indian “rage against women” – as evidenced by the sudden rash of rape stories – is a result of their social evolution gradually changing the gender roles and balance of power, to the benefit of women, which, consequently represents a threat to the male ego and their sense of god given authority.

Their argument would be somewhat more plausible if the actual rate of rape in India was spectacularly above the global norm. In fact, as anyone can find out for themselves just by googling “rape rates statistics” , the Indian rape rate (1.8 per 10,000 population) is considerably lower (one fourteenth ish) of the USA or UK rape rates (27.3 and 28.8 respectively)

The statistic I found most surprising, however, was the rate for that bastion of gender equality, Sweden, where, apparently women are raped at more that twice the rate of either the UK or USA, which means something over 30 (three zero) times as often as their oppressed sisters in India.

Of course, the Swedish statistics might be somewhat skewed by the fact that they treat failure to use a condom as rape, even if the sex was consensual (hence Julian Assange’s present difficulties). Clearly the rape story is somewhat more complex than the author’s kneejerk analysis. But the real scandal is that the vastly greater prevalence of rape in our “civilised” countries attracts far less attention than we are seeing over a couple of gory stories and politically incorrect comments from India…

Black Male Religious Bigot Blames It All On Women…

tempting to assume that he doesn’t realise he’s speaking out loud, but with a lectern holding his notes and a tv camera right in front of him, that defence is not possible. One can only hope that his opening remarks are correct: HIS America has gone. It’s over..

Male-Dominated-Culture

The link between Muscle and Authority

No surprise here for students of Authoritarianism (which includes the philosophical position that “Might Is Right”) but note the highlighted sentence in this passage:

Multiple studies conducted from the US, East India, Bolivia and the Central African Republic show that physically strong men have a greater sense of entitlement, a shorter fuse on anger, and are more likely to turn aggressive when angry. The effects are quite substantial, often two to four times larger than the known effect of testosterone on aggression.

What this tells us is that Bullying (the basis of most Authoritarian politics, not just “right-wing”) cannot be blamed on hormones. It is clearly more influenced by culture and THAT we can do something about…

What IS missing from all reports of this research I’ve seen to date (the online source of the actual paper is behind a pay wall) is any reference to the inverse relationship between Authoritarianism (including, of course, the physical aggression the paper has studied) and intellect. Which is a shame because most bullies and authoritarians quite like the idea of being painted as physically strong (as evidenced by headlines we’re already seeing like “Now I know Why Labour Supporters are nancies“) but are less keen on trumpeting their intellectual inferiority…

Jon Stewart Explains Ultrasound Law To GOP: ‘A TSA Pat-Down In Your Vagina’ | Mediaite

Damn! I mentioned the “Handmaids Tale” (read the comments on that review, written a few years ago) only a couple of days ago and this political crime is right in its crosshairs…

As the medics have pointed out there is no medical requirement or justification for this proposed vaginal penetration and it is clearly not going to involve the informed consent of most women, such an invasion very clearly qualifies as State Rape.

I think you could easily make a sound ethical argument for assassinating any politician who mandates any one of a number of extreme sociopathic policies. Cannibalism and genocide are obvious examples, Then there are a bunch of lesser but still significant evils that the Totalitarian mind can dream up, like, for example, a proposal to recriminalise homosexuality; or to make religion (or atheism) compulsory. State Rape is about on a par with those for ethical value.

My proposal is for a constitutional amendment which would impose a lifetime prohibition on participation in the political process for anyone making a serious attempt to enact such a policy as law.

Discuss!

Jon Stewart Explains Ultrasound Law To GOP: ‘A TSA Pat-Down In Your Vagina’ | Mediaite.