Tag Archives: liberalism

Liberal = incontinent


(access to) pornography has changed the landscape of adolescence beyond all recognition

I don’t quite buy that. The (intellectual) stumbling block I’ve always found with critics – mainstream critics, that is – of porn is the notion that it depraves and corrupts. I’ve read/viewed enough porn over my (near) 42 years to realise that it fairly represents my sexuality. Nonetheless, I’ve never felt license to violate human bodies to the extent that the GP in the above article describes. And what is this thing with anal sex anyway…

‘…in-vaginal ejaculation is so novel it occupies its own, minority-interest ‘kink’ category (‘creampie‘, if you’re interested): the converse ubiquity of ejaculation on faces and/or breasts (as far as possible from the vagina, note) and anal sex‘.

Male sexuality is a very simple thing. We find an opening; we insert; we thrust unto orgasm. That’s pretty much the definition of male. Which is not to say we’re not capable of more, or different, simply that this underlies more and different: fires it, motivates it. We simply have to choose better: to choose ways of expressing our sexuality that are less damaging; or not damaging at all.We need to reject the – currently trending – mode of liberalism that promotes ‘anything goes’; that damages both our bodies and our partners’ bodies; our minds and theirs.

Please share this post, or the above article. When we’re hurting others, and diminishing ourselves just to feel/be ‘normal something’s gone badly awry.

We need to choose better, because we can…

Ali Bee: “New World’s Dawning”


Ha ha! Oh no that’s awful – kill her!! Ha ha!!! Damn, am I allowed to laugh at this? Kaveney, please give me a sign…

Bllleurrrghthhmmmthgrrtg. My brain just melted, please find me a soft cell (with others who share my gender identity, of course)…

Gender role model


‘This is not about gender…’

No? Legler‘s opening statements ‘I am a woman. I model men’s clothes’ immediately beg the question, ‘but are they men’s clothes, when a woman wears them?’ She’s a woman, and they’re her clothes, at least whilst she models them. Legler might not wish gender to be the focus of critical discussion around her position in the fashion world, much as Eminem might not have wished race to be the focus of critical discussion around his position (at least initially) in the hip hop world; but the reality of those worlds, and the world at large creates a certain inevitability that it will be so. The suggest otherwise seems disingenuous, as does her offense at ‘…the notion of being so removed from reality as to require a school for trends, and repulsed at the blatant attempt to co-opt and commodify culture for business profit over participation and engagement with it.’ Really? In the fashion industry?

‘To limit this conversation to the red herring of gender is dangerous, careless and nothing short of ignorant – it takes for granted the intelligence and wellbeing of our communities … It shames those who are gender-conformative and perpetuates a construct of homogeneity and belonging that is nothing short of destructive for our youth. It offers a false sense of privilege and ignorance to those who “fit” the norm (or trend) while potentially destroying those who don’t and ignoring those who are able to survive outside of it…’

There’s nothing false about the ignorance of those who ‘fit in’, nor the privilege they accrue; and there’s little to suggest they feel much in the way of shame about it. In any case, there’s a valid distinction to be made, I think, between ‘fitting in’ out of a desperation born of ignorance, and making an informed choice to live the same way. It’s not discussion around gender which is destroying anyone, so much as the fact of its existence and that too many people are too busy, lazy, scared or exploiting its opportunities to question it. No one is suggesting the conversation ought to be ‘limited’ to gender; indeed, the inclusion of gender in any conversation seems guaranteed to open up and delimit discourse, if taken in earnest.

‘…There is a historical tradition you should know about and it is certainly not about gender. It is about being fierce… [t]he cultural context further supports this wider angled discourse on the acceptance of difference (or lack thereof) beyond the specifics of female-masculinity and masculine-feminity and posits the isolated focus on gender as incorrect.’

There’s something inevitably contradictory in these kind of statements. One wonders what ‘historical tradition’ Legler is referring to which is ‘certainly not about gender’. Whilst the lens of history and changing social mores have done much to rehabilitate ‘fierce’ women safely consigned to the past – e.g. Joan of Arc – fierceness is still overwhelmingly perceived/prized as a ‘masculine’ quality; i.e. appropriate to men. Tabloids and the public (male and female) revel in denouncing confident, assertive women as ‘cold’, ‘hard-nosed bitches’, ‘predatory’ and the like, whilst continuing to laud similarly-qualified men. Modes of behaviour and attire are frequently, if not always judged thru a gendered lens; twice-gendered in fact; depending on the sex of beholder and beholden. In a world free of such divisive social constructs Legler’s career as a model would be considered unremarkable, much less newsworthy. If she is taken to heart as a role model by those striving for ‘acceptance of difference’ as seems to be her aim that is all well and good; that she couches her argument using terms such as men’s/women’s clothes; masculine-femininity/feminine-masculinity and describes herself as butch demonstrates how far off we are from being able to get past gender. That such linguistic and imaginative shortcuts are probably necessary and still make any sense to us demonstrates how far off we are from getting past gender. I read a comment on another blog recently (neglected to bookmark it – doh! but will try and dig it out) from a butch lesbian expressing consternation that so few people apprehended the difference between (her) rejecting traditional feminine behaviour and attire and co-opting masculinity. To be butch, she posited was less about being masculine per-se than expressing a natural state of female-ness untrammeled by patriarchal norms of expectation. In an egalitarian world, she suggested – to approving comments from other posters – all women might be like this. Whilst Legler cautions against ‘…taking for granted the intelligence of our communities…’ her sartorial and identity choices are likely open to the same kind of misinterpretation… because gender. It’s pervasive to the extent that male and masculine, female and feminine are inextricably linked in most people’s minds, even many who consider themselves open-minded and liberal to a fault.

In a HuffPo article inspired by a dream, shortly prior to her death, Danielle Kaufman M.D. declared unequivocally Male Organ Or Not, This Really Is A Female Body. Gender sceptics might beg to differ, of course; but we’ll leave that debate for another day, and I touch on it only because Kaufman‘s florid testimony evidences strains of the same kind of confusion that arises when one attempts to confront gender on liberal terms, to redefine away the complexities of nature and nurture. The statement ‘I am a woman [and] I model men’s clothes’ makes no more sense to the gender sceptic than Kaufman‘s (above). To be fair, Legler makes no bones about entering a man’s world as a woman, though the phenomenon of butch women embracing full-on (faux) masculinity-as-survival-tactic is being increasingly reported. People in that siyuation, who have the most to lose under gender also have the most to gain by seeing the likes of Legler successfully negotiating it, maybe? (Or maybe that’s what’s making me uneasy here; she’s negotiating the diktats of gender to her advantage, kinda like men do… Does that make me perceptive or just more sexist than I care to admit: over to you prospective reader). At 6’2″ with her chiselled features, sculpted hair and fierce demeanor, feminine is not the first word one would reach for to describe Legler. I’d wager that any number of spectators on the fashion circuit wouldn’t clock her as a woman at all – a fact which perhaps brings her some amusement as well as satisfaction:

‘If images of me out there in the world make it that much easier for another kid, and the kids around them or their parents, to get on with the more important business of figuring out who they are and how they can uniquely contribute to the stream of life, then my job is done.’

How can this not be read as a statement on gender? On gender non-conformity in particular.

The main take-out for me on this subject is that our words need to reflect both our reality and our aspirations. Wishing for good (and bad) qualities to be recognized simply as universal human qualities is somewhat futile when the language we use undermines our intent. To describe a quality as feminine is axiomatically going to demean it in a world where female is valued less than male: denying that it is ‘about gender’ cannot gloss over such deep-seated connotations. One might dream of a day when ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ are simply used in jargonistic parlance when discussing the anatomy of intersex people; paralleling the way Caucasoid and Negroid are respectable terms in scientific literature, but not polite conversation. But we are not there yet.

When Legler and her peers can simply state ‘I am a woman (or just someone) modelling clothes’ we will have arrived.

A partial Observer: not so liberal with the truth…


Julie Burchill’s ‘Transphobic’ rant has been a long time coming. Actually, the liberal left and feminists have been dancing around each other – and frequently butting heads – in the moshpit of identity politics and intersectionality for some time now (check in here for a whistle-stop summary of some of the fundamentals of that dispute) and the only truly shocking thing is that it’s taken so long to become big news in the MSM. Once again, the spectre of Fleet Street and its international bretheren being eclipsed by web-based social media as the first point of contact for authentic public opinion rears it’s head…

It’s not insignificant that the most vociferous backlash – against Burchill in particular – has arisen from liberal quarters. The comments section of her article was flooded with ‘disgusted from Tunbridge Wells’ types crying transphobia! and misogyny! and both it, and the piece in question were swiftly removed from the paper’s website. and replaced with an apology and a promise to ‘investgate’ (you can still read it here). Their liberalism – prevalent today – is of the ‘I’m ok, you’re ok’ type which, in its rush to affirm the validity of all and sundry often fails to discern – as Moore does so eloquently in this piece in today’s Guardian – the difference between true liberation and a nominal equality. More damagingly still, such liberals miss, or perhaps ignore, how granting the latter to one group can impinge upon the former for another group. Thru my day job, I’ve met financially and emotionally vulnerable women who live under the omnipresent threat of deportation. They understandably feel less than liberated by the knowledge that the Abu Hamzas of this world are accorded full legal rights under equality law. Conflating the two has in the past lead – and continues to lead – to a kind of laissez-faire liberalism which perversely serves to uphold the worst tenets of patriarchal societies’ reactionary conservatism. It took ten years for Greater Manchester Police to investigate and bring charges against a mostly-Pakistani child prostitution ring in Rochdale; a delay caused in no small part by fears of being perceived racist. Similar fears continue to result in a paucity of prosecutions brought against African-Britons who continue to practice Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in contravention of British law. It’s surely not insignificant that in both the above instances, the integrity (and safety) of females is valued as subordinate to the integrity of ‘culture’. In fact, this is very much the norm and bears somewhat on the Trans subculture that feminists have long scrutinized, deconstructed and found wanting.

There’s a paradigm of woman-as-defective-man that goes right back to Genesis, has been perpetuated by modern intellectuals, notably Freud and continues to be reflected in today’s consumerist societies which offer a plethora of ‘fixes’ from clothes and make-up. thru feminine hygeine products and medicines to cosmetic surgery. None of these are inherently bad, and superficial relaxation of gender boundaries – driven more by capitalist market forces than humanitarian concerns, it must be noted – have meant that more men than ever are availing themselves of such. Nonetheless, gender is tied to the physicality of females – in addition to conventions of behaviour, the mode by which male gender is most regulated – and in practice this is embodied in notions of beauty; specifically and most insidiously in the notion that one can never be beautiful enough. To be a woman, then, is to submit to a lifelong regime of correction…

Moore’s ‘Brazilian Transsexuals’ analogy encapsulated this brilliantly, if controversially. What women are fed up with, she suggested (and this is my inference, mind) is an expectation that they conform to standards of womanhood created by men; with a beauty that connotes second-class citizenship, sexual availability and vulnerability.

It’s a pertinent point, and something that Trans-activists would do well to take note of. If, after many years of dissatisfaction with their prescribed gender roles they find their newly-appropriated female ones more unsatisfactory still then maybe it’s the confines of those roles they ought to be questioning – which is exactly what commentators such as Moore and Burchill are doing. If acceptable stereotypes of behaviour and dress oppress born women, then surely they must oppress Transwomen too? If an ideal standard of physical beauty excludes and frustrates a significant majority of born-women, then what chance do Transwomen stand? More sinisterly, the trappings of femininity that Transwomen co-opt mark them out as targets for male violence. The image of womanhood appealing to many men’s eyes is simply passive, accepting, penetrable: a ‘slut’ paradigm that popular media attatches to particular modes of physicality and dress but is in fact psychically pervasive beyond any such parameters. The cry of many detractors that Brazilian transsexuals are in fact, a marginalized group and subject to disproportionate levels of violence is well-made, but in directing their – intellectualized – ire at Moore and Burchill they somewhat miss the point: it’s not feminists – or indeed, women at all – who are doing the raping and the killing. One Twitter user apparently threatened to behead Suzanne Moore – many users of Brazilian transgendered prostitutes, and woman-haters at large, aren’t content with mere threats.