Sunday, 13 January 2013

for whom the belle trolls

Good old Julie Burchill has weighed in on the Suzanne Moore shitstorm, I see.

If you're out of the loop, this all started when the New Statesman published Suzanne's article Seeing red: the power of female anger. Quite a good piece, but containing the problematic line

we are angry with ourselves for not being happier, not being loved properly and not having the ideal body shape – that of a Brazilian transsexual. 

I winced slightly but saw her point. Others were less forgiving, and pointed out that it was an unfortunate comparison. Rather than engage with this idea, Suzanne got angry on Twitterfinally saying

People can just fuck off really. Cut their dicks off and be more feminist than me. Good for them.

....before quitting Twitter.

Julie Bindel tweeted  Can those of us who hate bullying PLEASE do something about the trans cabal running a witch hunt everytime they get offended? 

-which misses the point of how Twitter works, and how cabals work

Anyway, Julie Burchill's piece in today's Observer is little more than a potty-mouthed litany of 'tranny' jibes, and is presumably intended to provoke a reaction. Though when she says

I must say that my only experience of the trans lobby thus far was hearing about the vile way they have persecuted another of my friends, the veteran women's rights and anti-domestic violence activist Julie Bindel 
...she reminds me of the time that Beatrix Campbell also lectured us on the need to give Julie a respectful hearing. "Transgender activists who seek to ban her from speaking are wrong – we need to hear Julie Bindel on gender politics", she said.

Presumably Beatrix and Julie Burchill were unaware that Julie had already been given respectful hearings, both at the BBC and at Manchester Metropolitan University, in which her woeful lack of knowledge on transsexuality was made painfully apparent (description of the MMU debate from Sarah Brown here, and Christina here . My take on it here) . Which didn't stop her from continuing to air her opinions on the subject, and characterising the increasingly exasperated response from trans people as victimisation.

What the Julies, Beatrix and Suzanne share, apart from an admirable sense of solidarity, is an apparent disdain for trans identities; it's a shame, because I'd like to think we have more in common than they apparently believe. I also think that the new wave of feminism is far more embracing; intersectionality, slightingly referred to by Suzanne, is hopefully the way forward.

No doubt there'll be another shitstorm today in the wake of Julie Burchill's inflammatory piece. That's what it's there to provoke, after all.

I won't be joining in.