what the hell is wrong with JK Rowling?

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what the hell is wrong with JK Rowling?

Post by Tessa K » Sun Jun 07, 2020 12:39 pm

Yes, she has opened her mouth again and the toads of transphobia have come pouring out.

https://www.pinknews.co.uk/2020/06/07/j ... -backlash/

(Bit of trivia: Juno Dawson was on Pointless Celebrities last night)

Here's a good response https://twitter.com/NMRLPH/status/1269549656947687425

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Re: what the hell is wrong with JK Rowling?

Post by lpm » Sun Jun 07, 2020 1:20 pm

She's a woman on the internet, that's what's wrong with her. Sorry, sorry, she's a "person who menstruates" on the internet.

As such, please join the queue of men calling her "complete scum", telling her to "Shut the f.ck up you transphobic f.ck", claiming she denies the existence of trans people, calling her a TERF (obvs) and demanding book burning.

I don't know what the definition of "toads of transphobia" is but I can't see anything problematic in her twitter feed? What has she said that's transphobic? She's proclaimed love for trans people, says she's been empathetic to trans people for decades, feels kinship because they’re vulnerable in the same way as women i.e. to male violence, says she respects every trans person’s right to live any way that feels authentic and comfortable to them, says she'll march with them against discrimination.

It's got to the state where calling for special healthcare and other services for trans people is deemed transphobic. Completely bizarre world.
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Re: what the hell is wrong with JK Rowling?

Post by JQH » Sun Jun 07, 2020 1:49 pm

lpm wrote:
Sun Jun 07, 2020 1:20 pm
She's a woman on the internet, that's what's wrong with her. Sorry, sorry, she's a "person who menstruates" on the internet.
Yes, I had a double take at that one too. Do post-menopausal women no longer count?
It's got to the state where calling for special healthcare and other services for trans people is deemed transphobic. Completely bizarre world.
Well, at least that's an easy one. Obviously speaking out against services for trans people will make you transphilic ...

Oh. Hang on ...
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Re: what the hell is wrong with JK Rowling?

Post by Martin Y » Sun Jun 07, 2020 2:12 pm

She appears to disagree that sex isn't real. I don't know what the original claim was.

Then it turned into "here's what she's really saying..." and honestly I'm done. If anyone can explain here concisely what the deal is, I'll happily read that.

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Re: what the hell is wrong with JK Rowling?

Post by Fishnut » Sun Jun 07, 2020 2:29 pm

This is the tweet that started this latest round. Rowling was responding to a piece titled Opinion: Creating a more equal post-COVID-19 world for people who menstruate and Rowling objected to the phrase 'people who menstruate' saying that we have a term for such people and that term is 'women'. People objected because, as the piece pointed out, not everyone who menstruates is female. Non-binary and trans men can also menstruate and by restricting the discussion just to women specific needs are being ignored.

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Re: what the hell is wrong with JK Rowling?

Post by lpm » Sun Jun 07, 2020 2:59 pm

Why not write an article "Opinion: Creating a more equal post-COVID-19 world for trans people and non-binary people"?

These groups have very particular needs and unique discrimination against them. They need extra protection, not average protection. For example, the suspension of the normal NHS services must be impacting their health requirements. A post Covid world should try to do more, surely, not less?

On the specific issue of menstruation, the needs of trans men are likewise very particular, with specific issues needing to be addressed - e.g. toilet facilities with just urinals.

Isn't it obvious that the groups should be separated out - it's discrimination against trans people to lump them in with huge cis groupings and fail to provide specific support.
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Re: what the hell is wrong with JK Rowling?

Post by Tessa K » Sun Jun 07, 2020 3:47 pm

lpm wrote:
Sun Jun 07, 2020 2:59 pm
Why not write an article "Opinion: Creating a more equal post-COVID-19 world for trans people and non-binary people"?

These groups have very particular needs and unique discrimination against them. They need extra protection, not average protection. For example, the suspension of the normal NHS services must be impacting their health requirements. A post Covid world should try to do more, surely, not less?

On the specific issue of menstruation, the needs of trans men are likewise very particular, with specific issues needing to be addressed - e.g. toilet facilities with just urinals.

Isn't it obvious that the groups should be separated out - it's discrimination against trans people to lump them in with huge cis groupings and fail to provide specific support.
It's not so much about that as her definition of sex and gender as well as defining women as those who menstruate. Which makes me not one any more. And of course, some trans men menstruate.

She tweeted this and I'm not sure I even understand what she means.
If sex isn’t real, there’s no same-sex attraction. If sex isn’t real, the lived reality of women globally is erased. I know and love trans people, but erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives. It isn’t hate to speak the truth.

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Re: what the hell is wrong with JK Rowling?

Post by lpm » Sun Jun 07, 2020 4:27 pm

Tessa K wrote:
Sun Jun 07, 2020 3:47 pm

It's not so much about that as her definition of sex and gender as well as defining women as those who menstruate.
She did not define women as those who menstruate.
She tweeted this and I'm not sure I even understand what she means.
If sex isn’t real, there’s no same-sex attraction. If sex isn’t real, the lived reality of women globally is erased. I know and love trans people, but erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives. It isn’t hate to speak the truth.
Seems clear? Some men are only attracted to people of the male sex, being turned on by the male body shape and physique, the sight of an erect penis or the smell of a man. What's the problem with this? Why claim sex does not exist and men should be equally attracted to someone identifying as the male gender?

There's an Ursula Le Guin novel where the protagonist wishes racism doesn't exist and wakes to find every human is, and always has been, grey skinned. It's a disaster. Culture and lived experience has been erased, social identities have been lost, the world is impoverished. Sex is real and shouldn't be wished away.
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Re: what the hell is wrong with JK Rowling?

Post by Bird on a Fire » Sun Jun 07, 2020 5:07 pm

The original article Rowling was responding to talks about measures like improving access to hygienic bathrooms and sanitary products, and removing stigma surrounding menstruation. It's not clear to me why addressing those issues needs to be done completely separately for transmen who menstruate, nor why she felt the most important response to an article advocating for the well-being of nearly two billion people was to object to its use of incisive language.

Her suggestion of "women" is clearly inadequate for the focus of the article - not all women menstruate, and some people who menstruate aren't women. You'd expect a writer to have a better grasp of how language works.

It certainly sounds like she thinks transmen should be considered women, which I would strongly disagree with, but don't want to put words in her mouth.
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Re: what the hell is wrong with JK Rowling?

Post by Bird on a Fire » Sun Jun 07, 2020 5:11 pm

lpm wrote:
Sun Jun 07, 2020 4:27 pm
She tweeted this and I'm not sure I even understand what she means.
If sex isn’t real, there’s no same-sex attraction. If sex isn’t real, the lived reality of women globally is erased. I know and love trans people, but erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives. It isn’t hate to speak the truth.
Seems clear? Some men are only attracted to people of the male sex, being turned on by the male body shape and physique, the sight of an erect penis or the smell of a man. What's the problem with this? Why claim sex does not exist and men should be equally attracted to someone identifying as the male gender?

There's an Ursula Le Guin novel where the protagonist wishes racism doesn't exist and wakes to find every human is, and always has been, grey skinned. It's a disaster. Culture and lived experience has been erased, social identities have been lost, the world is impoverished. Sex is real and shouldn't be wished away.
I think it depends on what she was responding to. Who has actually said that sex isn't real?
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Re: what the hell is wrong with JK Rowling?

Post by individualmember » Sun Jun 07, 2020 5:14 pm

It looks like the ramblings of someone who is drunk to me.

A separate thought, “...the lived reality of women globally is erased...” reminds me somewhat of those opponents of gay marriage who took the view that if marriage were changed it would change the meaning of all marriages. Which seemed bonkers to me, I mean, what does the experience of anyone else’s marriage have to do with mine? Nothing at all.

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Re: what the hell is wrong with JK Rowling?

Post by bob sterman » Sun Jun 07, 2020 5:31 pm

I find it interesting that the woman criticising JK Rowling for suggesting that the term "woman" might be an appropriate term for people who menstruate once wrote a book called "Being A Boy" (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Being-Boy-Juno ... 1783420006) in which she wrote...

"If a woman is about to get her period, she may be feeling a bit crap"

And

Boys - "check your privilege - we'll never know what it's like to have a period every month, so be extra nice to girls at this time"

And

"It's harder to be a girl because they have to push enormous babies out of a very small hole..."

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Re: what the hell is wrong with JK Rowling?

Post by lpm » Sun Jun 07, 2020 5:39 pm

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Sun Jun 07, 2020 5:11 pm
Who has actually said that sex isn't real?
Some people say sex is real, but only as a social construct.

Other people say sex is real as a biological fact, and gender is real as a social construct.
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Re: what the hell is wrong with JK Rowling?

Post by lpm » Sun Jun 07, 2020 5:53 pm

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Sun Jun 07, 2020 5:07 pm
The original article Rowling was responding to talks about measures like improving access to hygienic bathrooms and sanitary products, and removing stigma surrounding menstruation. It's not clear to me why addressing those issues needs to be done completely separately for transmen who menstruate, nor why she felt the most important response to an article advocating for the well-being of nearly two billion people was to object to its use of incisive language.

Her suggestion of "women" is clearly inadequate for the focus of the article - not all women menstruate, and some people who menstruate aren't women. You'd expect a writer to have a better grasp of how language works.
What's infuriating about that article is it has wonderful inclusive language while simultaneously doing nothing for trans men or non binary people.

Read it. Count how many times it addresses special issues for "non-women menstruators".

Zero.

It's about the needs of 2 billion cis women and girls. It's inevitable that swamps all chance of discussing the different needs of a far smaller group. There's such an obsession with language that practical real world issues get shoved aside. Far better to be upfront that this article only discusses cis women and then readers will demand an additional article for narrower groups.

If you wanted a debate about homeless women during a pandemic, would you be satisfied with an article entitled "The needs of homed and unhomed women during a pandemic" that completely ignores any issues of homelessness?
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Re: what the hell is wrong with JK Rowling?

Post by Tessa K » Sun Jun 07, 2020 6:18 pm

individualmember wrote:
Sun Jun 07, 2020 5:14 pm
It looks like the ramblings of someone who is drunk to me.

A separate thought, “...the lived reality of women globally is erased...” reminds me somewhat of those opponents of gay marriage who took the view that if marriage were changed it would change the meaning of all marriages. Which seemed bonkers to me, I mean, what does the experience of anyone else’s marriage have to do with mine? Nothing at all.
I had that same thought. It's as if giving rights to one group of people diminishes or destroys the rights of others. Her Womanhood (for want of a better word) is in no way affected by the rights of trans women. She says that growing up female is part of who she is as if Womanhood is a monolith and there is only one way of being a woman/female whatever word you want to use, only one Female Ideal that we all belong to.
Why claim sex does not exist and men should be equally attracted to someone identifying as the male gender?
Those two statements don't go together. Sex may or may not exist depending on how it is defined - and that is part of the problem here.

Even if the concept 'sex' doesn't exist people will continue to be attracted to whoever they're attracted to. Gay men are not mistaken about who they want to be with just because terminology changes. No one is saying they are. That's just a straw man.

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Re: what the hell is wrong with JK Rowling?

Post by Bird on a Fire » Sun Jun 07, 2020 6:22 pm

lpm wrote:
Sun Jun 07, 2020 5:53 pm
Bird on a Fire wrote:
Sun Jun 07, 2020 5:07 pm
The original article Rowling was responding to talks about measures like improving access to hygienic bathrooms and sanitary products, and removing stigma surrounding menstruation. It's not clear to me why addressing those issues needs to be done completely separately for transmen who menstruate, nor why she felt the most important response to an article advocating for the well-being of nearly two billion people was to object to its use of incisive language.

Her suggestion of "women" is clearly inadequate for the focus of the article - not all women menstruate, and some people who menstruate aren't women. You'd expect a writer to have a better grasp of how language works.
What's infuriating about that article is it has wonderful inclusive language while simultaneously doing nothing for trans men or non binary people.

Read it. Count how many times it addresses special issues for "non-women menstruators".

Zero.

It's about the needs of 2 billion cis women and girls. It's inevitable that swamps all chance of discussing the different needs of a far smaller group. There's such an obsession with language that practical real world issues get shoved aside. Far better to be upfront that this article only discusses cis women and then readers will demand an additional article for narrower groups.

If you wanted a debate about homeless women during a pandemic, would you be satisfied with an article entitled "The needs of homed and unhomed women during a pandemic" that completely ignores any issues of homelessness?
As far as I can tell, the trans-specific issues would be additional to rather than instead of things that help cis women.

The recommendations from the article are:
Provision and on-going maintenance of water, sanitation, and hygiene services and supplies is essential.
Schools are closed, health centers are disrupted, and community-based programming is shut down or deprioritized. These realities in turn negatively impact the provision of essential information, with potentially harmful long-term consequences for women and girls. Alternative channels need to be utilized and services reinstated as soon as possible.
Tackling menstrual stigma to change social norms around keeping periods secret and the restrictions in daily activities experienced beyond personal choice, can be addressed.

Communication messaging aimed at households and families, including men and boys, may emphasize the support needed to manage menstruation during a pandemic, potentially contributing to lasting positive societal change.
To get back on track, addressing the fundamental gendered inequalities of the most vulnerable among us is essential. Investing in a new normal for menstrual health and hygiene, addressing menstrual stigma, the provision of water and sanitation systems, and supporting sexual and reproductive health and rights, is a good place to start.
(Note that they apparently slipped up on the second one and wrote women and girls)

Addressing many of those issues would help all people who menstruate equally. It doesn't also include trans-specific issues, or homeless-specific issues, or race-related issues, but there would be no need to make the article overly exclusive by specifying "women" or "people who live indoors" or "white people" or whatever.

The headline uses the broadest appropriate word, which is clearly the correct thing to do.
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Re: what the hell is wrong with JK Rowling?

Post by Bird on a Fire » Sun Jun 07, 2020 6:25 pm

lpm wrote:
Sun Jun 07, 2020 5:39 pm
Bird on a Fire wrote:
Sun Jun 07, 2020 5:11 pm
Who has actually said that sex isn't real?
Some people say sex is real, but only as a social construct.

Other people say sex is real as a biological fact, and gender is real as a social construct.
Interesting. I've never seen anyone call sex a social construct. Has anyone got a link to such a thing?

I have seen people trying to conflate sex and gender as part of a wider attack on transgender identities, which I think is what people are assuming Rowling's doing here.
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Re: what the hell is wrong with JK Rowling?

Post by lpm » Sun Jun 07, 2020 6:32 pm

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Sun Jun 07, 2020 6:22 pm

Addressing many of those issues would help all people who menstruate equally. It doesn't also include trans-specific issues, or homeless-specific issues, or race-related issues, but there would be no need to make the article overly exclusive by specifying "women" or "people who live indoors" or "white people" or whatever.

The headline uses the broadest appropriate word, which is clearly the correct thing to do.
I disagree. Fishnut argues non-binary and trans men specific needs are ignored if you fail to include them with inclusive language. I think their needs are ignored if they are lumped in as a hidden tiny number within a huge mass grouping.

For example, a common solution to the problem is to put sanitary products in the female toilets. That a good answer for a group of 2 billion. But it's no good for a specific subset.
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Re: what the hell is wrong with JK Rowling?

Post by lpm » Sun Jun 07, 2020 6:34 pm

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Sun Jun 07, 2020 6:25 pm
lpm wrote:
Sun Jun 07, 2020 5:39 pm
Bird on a Fire wrote:
Sun Jun 07, 2020 5:11 pm
Who has actually said that sex isn't real?
Some people say sex is real, but only as a social construct.

Other people say sex is real as a biological fact, and gender is real as a social construct.
Interesting. I've never seen anyone call sex a social construct. Has anyone got a link to such a thing?
See the two links in the opening post.
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Re: what the hell is wrong with JK Rowling?

Post by tom p » Sun Jun 07, 2020 6:36 pm

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Sun Jun 07, 2020 6:25 pm
lpm wrote:
Sun Jun 07, 2020 5:39 pm
Bird on a Fire wrote:
Sun Jun 07, 2020 5:11 pm
Who has actually said that sex isn't real?
Some people say sex is real, but only as a social construct.

Other people say sex is real as a biological fact, and gender is real as a social construct.
Interesting. I've never seen anyone call sex a social construct. Has anyone got a link to such a thing?
Here's a link.
I'm pretty sure there was even a thread called "sex is a social construct" on the old bad science forum

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Re: what the hell is wrong with JK Rowling?

Post by Gfamily » Sun Jun 07, 2020 6:40 pm

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Sun Jun 07, 2020 6:25 pm
lpm wrote:
Sun Jun 07, 2020 5:39 pm
Bird on a Fire wrote:
Sun Jun 07, 2020 5:11 pm
Who has actually said that sex isn't real?
Some people say sex is real, but only as a social construct.

Other people say sex is real as a biological fact, and gender is real as a social construct.
Interesting. I've never seen anyone call sex a social construct. Has anyone got a link to such a thing?
The twitter thread mentioned in the OP puts that argument
https://twitter.com/NMRLPH/status/1269549656947687425
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Re: what the hell is wrong with JK Rowling?

Post by Bird on a Fire » Sun Jun 07, 2020 6:40 pm

lpm wrote:
Sun Jun 07, 2020 6:32 pm
Bird on a Fire wrote:
Sun Jun 07, 2020 6:22 pm

Addressing many of those issues would help all people who menstruate equally. It doesn't also include trans-specific issues, or homeless-specific issues, or race-related issues, but there would be no need to make the article overly exclusive by specifying "women" or "people who live indoors" or "white people" or whatever.

The headline uses the broadest appropriate word, which is clearly the correct thing to do.
I disagree. Fishnut argues non-binary and trans men specific needs are ignored if you fail to include them with inclusive language. I think their needs are ignored if they are lumped in as a hidden tiny number within a huge mass grouping.

For example, a common solution to the problem is to put sanitary products in the female toilets. That a good answer for a group of 2 billion. But it's no good for a specific subset.
But that solution isn't mentioned in the article Rowling was responding to. If it were, she might have a point. Instead, the recommendations are so broad (vague, even) that they clearly invite consideration of menstruating non-women by deliberately including them.
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Re: what the hell is wrong with JK Rowling?

Post by Bird on a Fire » Sun Jun 07, 2020 6:49 pm

Gfamily wrote:
Sun Jun 07, 2020 6:40 pm
Bird on a Fire wrote:
Sun Jun 07, 2020 6:25 pm
lpm wrote:
Sun Jun 07, 2020 5:39 pm

Some people say sex is real, but only as a social construct.

Other people say sex is real as a biological fact, and gender is real as a social construct.
Interesting. I've never seen anyone call sex a social construct. Has anyone got a link to such a thing?
The twitter thread mentioned in the OP puts that argument
https://twitter.com/NMRLPH/status/1269549656947687425
Yes, fair enough (and thanks lpm also).

If I've understood the argument (correct me I'm wrong), they clearly accept that there are differences in underlying biological functions, which is what most people would mean by "sex is real". They go on to say that classification into sexes is socially constructed because it's done using human language, and is therefore potentially mutable, but nevertheless has important material effects.

So both I and Rowling are wrong to conflate "socially constructed" with "not real".

Only now do I notice the deft sleight of hand in lpm's original response to my question:
lpm wrote:
Sun Jun 07, 2020 5:39 pm
Bird on a Fire wrote:
Sun Jun 07, 2020 5:11 pm
Who has actually said that sex isn't real?
Some people say sex is real, but only as a social construct.

Other people say sex is real as a biological fact, and gender is real as a social construct.
In other words, nobody has actually said that sex isn't real. Rowling is arguing with a straw person.
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Re: what the hell is wrong with JK Rowling?

Post by EACLucifer » Sun Jun 07, 2020 7:09 pm

My general thoughts on this;

Rowling's take would be very, very insensitive if taken in isolation. However, given previous form, it sounds like a dog whistle, and almost certainly was.

Pretty much all of Rowling's takes on trans issues are bad, although such takes are in general circulation due to the prevalence of transphobia. Notably, though, they are also entirely in relation to trans women. Had she been willing to say there are issues cis women and trans men face that cis men and trans women don't, that might have been different. It is also worth noting that there are a few very weird and very online trans women that do claim to experience a monthly cycle.

Despite this, the response was very much in response to a position she did not actually take, and to people not familiar to the dispute, looks unhinged.

In her short, her comments were bad and almost certainly because her attitude as bad, but it would probably be better to ignore or debunk rather than a massive tweet storm of generally incoherent abuse.

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Re: what the hell is wrong with JK Rowling?

Post by Woodchopper » Sun Jun 07, 2020 7:18 pm

Tessa K wrote:
Sun Jun 07, 2020 3:47 pm
It's not so much about that as her definition of sex and gender as well as defining women as those who menstruate. Which makes me not one any more.
I think that in the linked tweet its the other way round, that people who menstruate are called 'women' (which doesn't exclude other people from being called women as well).
Tessa K wrote:
Sun Jun 07, 2020 3:47 pm
And of course, some trans men menstruate.
Yes, the problem lies here, as it could be implied that they are women (though I didn't read that Rowling explicitly stated that).

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