A Willful Woman…

Thoughts about books from a romance addict.

I Choo-choo-choose You

on February 20, 2014


I used to be weirdly hooked on the show “Judge Judy” — don’t judge me! I judge myself! — and one of the funniest episode I remember was one in which a man is telling a story about how his neighbor went off on him because he called her cockatiel a cockatoo. And you can tell that the judge and everyone in the audience is thinking this man is completely round the bend — until the neighbor gets up to testify and immediately starts screeching about the fact that her bird is a cockatiel, not a cockatoo.

(I’m amused to see, btw, while looking up the spelling, that the cockatiel is in fact a variety of cockatoo.)

That came into my mind today after reading this piece by Julie Burchill lambasting intersectionality. She rushes to defend a friend accused of being transphobic and in doing so reveals herself to be pretty much the definition of transphobic.

“The idea that a person can chose their gender — in a world where millions of people, especially ‘cis-gendered’ women, are not free to choose who they marry, what they eat or whether or not their genitals are cut off and sewn up with barbed wire when they are still babies — and have their major beautification operations paid for by the National Health Service seems the ultimate privilege, so don’t tell me to check mine. “

I had no idea that we have the privilege of choosing our gender. Somehow I missed that option when choosing my race and sexual orientation. And how handy to be able to choose again, if you were accidentally born into a culture which discriminates against you.  Why don’t all those tortured women just choose not to be women, for fuck’s sake?

4 responses to “I Choo-choo-choose You

  1. I am sure that I’m being dense here, but that’s not what I got out of the article at all (until the very end that is). I strongly believe in empathy and I agree with Burchill that in modern ‘feminism’ this seems to be lacking, it seems that it’s fashionable to attack rather than support – often on the basis of appearance ?
    It also appears that unless you are the subject you can’t comment, which is totally ridiculous. Of course it’s wrong to marginalize anyone – but just because I am not transgender doesn’t mean that my views aren’t valid regarding transgenerism any more than ANYONE’S views aren’t valid regarding feminism. It seems that by putting ourselves in ever decreasing boxes we loose the power to pull together – and it’s pulling together that effects change.

  2. willaful says:

    Well that’s the thing… any valid point she might potentially have been making was pretty much destroyed for me when she displayed her blatant prejudice and ignorance. And yes, I’d say her views regarding being transgender are clearly not valid, because she has no clue what she’s talking about.

  3. AJH says:

    Oh you didn’t get the memo? There are tick boxes. It’s great.

    Obviously I’m not going to get into a discussion of modern feminism because, uh, totally not my place but I kind of feel that whole thing was a trainwreck.

    As you say, while she arguably had a valuable point to make, I felt what she essentially came down to saying was: “Women need to pull together and support each more except, except those women there who need to shut up and stop whining.”

    Which is … I would say … not so helpful.

    • Again I think that if you have a view on feminism its OK, its isn’t only women who are feminists, I think that she just gets caught up in trying too hard to be what she once was – funny and provocative. Slightly sad now.

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