A right only exists if a remedy exists. Fighting for universal rights is foolish for all but virtue signalers or those who gain by gesture politics. Stipulating for specific remedies to be made available in an incentive compatible manner- i.e. such that the remedy provider gains by enforcing the right- is sensible. However, such rights don't come for free though, no doubt, some free riding might occur short to medium term.
This is commonsense. Philosophers, however, make a living by lacking any such thing. Consider Amia Srinivasan's 'Right to Sex'. It isn't really about Rights or about Sex. It is actually about Srinivasan, who hasn't studied Academic Feminism, deciding on the basis of ignorance and wishful thinking, that regurgitating nonsense of that sort is way cooler than the warmed up sick she herself imbibed and got paid to proliferate.
This is her recent interview with Guernica.
Guernica: Where did the idea for the book come from?
Srinivasan: The positive response to my essay “The Right To Sex” in the London Review of Books made me think that there was a broader appetite for
warmed up sick from the Seventies. This was because the notion of a 'rules based global order' had collapsed. The Communist Party of China turned out to be the most powerful and effective political entity on the planet. Thus, just as the supposed miracles achieved by Maoism caused Libtards to go crazy in the late Sixties and early Seventies, so too has Virulent Wokeness of a Stalinist type gained an evanescent market.
the kind of thing I was trying to do, which was speak about feminist issues in a way that was broadly accessible while taking them on in their full complexity and ambivalence.
This is foolish. Feminist issues are economic, political and legal. They aren't philosophical. This is because women actually do exist in reality. Unlike the proletariat- which won't gain at all if it gets to mismanage the means of production- women can actually run things better and more cheaply than a bunch of conceited dickheads. If women are better off and more secure and happy then everybody gains whereas simply eating the Rich worsens outcomes for all. No doubt, there is an ideographic 'mechanism design' aspect to bringing this about. However, nomothetic theories can help- provided they aint paranoid shit.
When I sat down to think about it, I realized that I had a set of particular interests in feminism that were all united by this broader theme of thinking of sex as a political phenomenon.
But sex isn't a political phenomenon. Politics supervenes on biology and sex is biology. It is foolish to think that Nature isn't the noumena and things like Economics and Politics aren't phenomena which arise from and are constrained by Nature.
One may say that politics has a sexual dimension- power is an aphrodisiac, competition for status may help you propagate your genes etc.- but these aren't particularly interesting observations.
Guernica: You argue that we need to take a more nuanced approach to consent as a means to women’s liberation. Why?
The law does take a nuanced approach to consent of any type where there is great inequality in the bargaining or other power of the parties involved. This is certainly part and parcel of any struggle for greater freedom for weaker sections of society. This is possible because the essence of the Law is defeasibility. Thus authority or immunity relinquished under an existing contract can be regained through a more 'nuanced approach to consent'.
However, the philosophical concept of consent is not about liberation. It is about relinquishing some authority in a sphere of concern in which one's sovereignty ought otherwise to be respected. Unlike the Law, Philosophy does not accept defeasibility as its own essence. Instead it regards defeasible reasoning as lacking deductive viability. Because the Law is 'buck-stopped'- i.e. there is a Supreme Court which can change the meaning of terms of art- defeasible reasoning has deductive viability. Indeed, there may be a Judge Hercules who can give a 'harmonious construction' of the entire body of the Law. It may be that Mathematics can make a priori judgments regarding constraints on its own univalency- perhaps at 'the end of time'. But Philosophy, as currently practiced, can do no such thing.
Thus, it can't take a nuanced approach to anything. It can merely talk paranoid bollocks.
Currently, some people have a remedy if they feel they were 'used' in a sexual transaction. However, since employers, or other concerned parties, may be legally or otherwise liable just in case of such a rights violation, it follows that they will try to lower their exposure in various ways- e.g. 'consent training'. However, the underlying right is not universal or freely available. On the contrary, it is limited and ideographic. It is likely that, going forward, enterprises will be reconfigured such that compliance costs related to this type of liability are driven down by competitive pressure. In other words, there is only a brief window for Philosophers and nutters of various stripes to pile on to this issue.
Srinivasan: I think consent has an important role to play in any conversation about sexual injustice,
No. Where there is an injustice, consent is irrelevant. It is a different matter that the Law may not currently provide remedies for any given type of injustice- e.g the fact that I'm as ugly as shit whereas my tennis partner, who is my age, still has a full head of hair and a hot young g.f.
and consent training is all to the good. But consent is also a very blunt tool.
But it is a tool which lawyers believe will reduce the Enterprise's exposure to a certain type of risk. The thing is costly and is rationed by the market. It is likely to disappear altogether as competitive pressure increases.
Sexual consent involves a ritual performance of either verbal or nonverbal agreement;
No. It would be sufficient to be able to show that the parties involved had been given this type of training. The only justiciable matter would be its adequacy. On the other hand, no 'ritual' can create consent if the thing is per se illegal- e.g. sex with minors.
it pictures sex as a form of transaction or negotiation.
No. It pictures it as an interaction of a type which could give rise to a tort or even a crime.
The contractual model points to something pathological about how we sexually relate to each other.
Only if there is an actual contract for sexual services. However, it is likely that such contracts are null in law- at least in England or America.
Think about any kind of standard contract: one person wants something that the other person might not want to give, and so that’s why you need this formal agreement.
Nonsense! We get and give all sorts of things, with or without consideration, without any sort of formal agreement. Moreover, a court may find that a contract existed even if neither party considered they were entering into any such thing at that time.
Each party comes to the negotiation trying to max out the satisfaction of their own preferences.
No. That may be an assumption of an Arrow-Debreu contract but because Knightian Uncertainty exists, agents are likely to enter contracts for regret minimizing or other prudential reasons.
But what if young men weren’t socialized to want sex
This is a matter of biology, not 'socialization'. No doubt, you could torture and brainwash a kid to not want sex but he might stab you or beat you to death.
with women and girls who don’t want to have sex — what if that weren’t a turn-on?
This is equally true of men. I play hard to get all the time. True, it hasn't been a hugely successful strategy but the only times I've got laid it was because the woman concerned thought I was very shy and scared of sexual intimacy.
Mathematically, it must be the case that if there are risks associated with sexual promiscuity then a percentage of the population gains by displaying high aversion to fucking anything with a pulse.
So, it’s not that I think we should drop consent entirely.
But consent gets dropped when the remedy becomes unprofitable to apply.
But we can learn from other ways we relate to each other where we don’t have consent practices. For example, think about the way you relate to your best friend when they are grieving. You don’t ask for consent before comforting them, and it doesn’t mean you have permission to do whatever you want.
Sadly, this is untrue. Take my best friend- Beyonce. She has a restraining order against me even though I just wanted to support her emotionally when she was grieving over the fact that it was my milkshake, not hers, which brought all the boys to the yard.
On the other hand, my handsome tennis-partner friend is much in demand to comfort grieving widows with his dick.
Constitutive of real friendship is a kind of sensitivity to the needs and wants and identity of the other person.
Nonsense! It often turns out that your real friend is the insensitive jerk while the touchy feely guy turns out to be a virtue signaling tosser.
Now what would it be like to cultivate a similar kind of ethics in sex?
I may be pretty sub-par in bed but even I know that you have to be sensitive to the needs and wants of the other person. Also you should be sensitive to their identity- or at least not call out their sister's name when climaxing.
Still, if Amia feels that she needs to 'cultivate' an ethic which enables her to distinguish a sex-partner from a household appliance, then good luck to her.
That said, I think we should be very cautious of pathologizing forms of sex that don’t conform to the bourgeois ideal of loving, mutual, monogamous sex.
The bourgeoise had mistresses. Even Karl Marx got his kitchen maid preggers.
It’s not only unrealistic, but problematic to think that all sexual interaction must be analogous to what you do with your friends,
friends? Okay Monica did get it on with Chandler but Rachel and Phoebe were not invited.
because there’s got to be room for anonymous sex, promiscuous sex and regretted drunk hookups.
Why stop there? What about necrophilia?
I don’t think everyone has to engage in that, but we certainly want a world in which people are permitted to engage in that. I think there’s a kind of difficult balance to be found here between not being puritanical and allowing a range of sexual expression, but also acknowledging there’s a lot that’s quite pathological about the way that we sexually interact with each other, especially across gender lines.
Amia may belong to a section of society whose sexual behavior is pathological. However, for purely biological reasons, this is likely to be a minority. Pathology is a biological term. Biology itself restricts its range otherwise the species goes extinct.
More mundanely, there are lots of cases familiar to us where people, usually women, consent to sex, but where that sex nonetheless seems problematic on its face.
The same thing happens to older men with younger partners. Why can't an invitation to Netflix and chill just mean Netflix, pizza and chilled beer? I blame Sex and the City.
To offer one example: I think many (though certainly not all) sexual relationships between professors and students are consensual, even according to a stronger, “affirmative consent” standard.
That may or may not be the case. However so long as the University has a legal or other liability, then it is entitled to impose any rule it likes on its employees.
And yet they are intuitively — and, in my view, actually — problematic. But the reason, I think, isn’t because women students don’t or can’t consent.
Because they are too stupid- more especially if they are studying worthless subjects like Philosophy.
Guernica: I found your essay “On Not Sleeping With Your Students,” fascinating. Your discussion of its overall wrongness doesn’t hinge on a failure of the student to consent to sex with their professor (though in some cases, you acknowledge that this is the case), or on a critique of the professor’s sexual desire to sleep with a student. Rather, you write that the problem lies here: “When the teacher takes the student’s longing for epistemic power, and transposes it into a sexual key, allowing himself to be, or worse, making himself the object of her desire, he has failed her as a teacher.” When I read that, I wondered why more people aren’t talking about the issue from this angle?
Because most people think 'teachers' have shit for brains. They don't have epistemic power because they are as stupid as shit. If their credentials conferred any useful knowledge they would be billionaires. There may be girls who have an irresistible urge to give beejays to homeless dudes. But that does not mean hobos have 'epistemic powers'.
Srinivasan: There’s partly a historical reason for this. Most of the regulation on teacher-student sex in the university context has happened in the US.
Because of Title IX. But this raises compliance costs for Universities which take Federal money. What students really want is debt forgiveness and lower fees. This means that the present model will collapse. But this also means that worthless subjects like Philosophy get canned or relegated to Community College.
There, sex on campus is generally treated under the heading of sexual harassment, which has been legally tied to the notion of either nonconsensualness or unwantedness.
Unless the College had made it a firing offense for employees to have sex with clients.
Those working within the consent paradigm who sense a problem with teacher-student sex understandably reach for a consent-based explanation: the difference in power between professor and student, they say, makes it impossible for a student to consent.
This is foolish. It is obvious that a student may be very much more wealthy and influential then some elderly pedant. It is a good idea to ban employees from having sex with clients- even if we are just speaking of Pizza Delivery guys or Plumbers.
The 'consent paradigm' is cool only if you are a lawyer hoping to make a lot of money. But the market will find ways to get around this type of parasitic interessement.
I think this notion is problematic. It infantilizes women students,
while steadfastly refusing to change their nappies
which a lot of feminists said when these regulations first started appearing in like the 1980s and 1990s in the US.
Some women have indeed traded sex for career advancement. Thus a substantial number of women may want 'wriggle room' in this matter rather than a blanket ban on employees having sex with clients or colleagues or the guy who came in to fix the photocopier not to mention the horse he rode in on.
It’s also just descriptively implausible. Sure, there are cases where professors use their coercive powers to get sex from their women students.
And cases where students seduce their teachers so as to get a better grade.
But there are lots of cases — I mean, academia is full of professors married to their former students — of young women who love and consent to relationships with their professors. I don’t think anything is gained by denying consent here.
Why does Amia mention marriage? Either there is consent or there isn't. It is repugnant to suggest that consent is conditional on subsequent marriage.
Once we acknowledge that you can consent to sex and that there still might be something problematic at work, then you can see the actual phenomenon clearly: in cases of genuinely consensual professor-student sex, there is still a pedagogical failure.
No there isn't unless the Professor is a celibate Priest teaching trainee celibate priests. If a lady teaching you air-conditioner maintenance has her wicked way with you, it is not the case that she has failed as a pedagogue. On the other hand, if every air-conditioner you service subsequently blows up, she is indeed a shitty teacher.
There is an implicit agreement as part of the practice of what it is to teach, and what it is to learn, and to be in a university setting, that is being undermined when a professor sleeps with his student.
No. The College may have explicit provisions in this respect. However, if it is obvious that they are not enforced then no such 'implicit agreement' exists.
Guernica: It was interesting how you turned to Freud to underscore the ethical obligations a professor has to their students.
It is indeed interesting that students are on a level with neurotics who enjoy handing over their cash to obvious charlatans.
Srinivasan: Many people who want to defend professors sleeping with their students will invoke the Freudian notion of transference, which is the tendency of the analysand to develop intense feelings of love and infatuation for the therapist.
This is mad. Freud was against fucking patients. Jones may have had different ideas- but he was a randy bugger.
It is obvious that it is wrong to fuck people who have transferred feelings of trust and veneration on to you because they need help in improving their lives.
But this is to crucially miss Freud’s own warning to the analyst, which is you’ve got to actively manage transference. If you’re any good as a therapist, transference will happen. You’ve got to anticipate it and use it as a tool in the psychoanalytic setting, Freud says.
Freud realized that it paid better to treat healthy people. But the disease he claimed to cure is no longer accepted as a genuine malady.
Similarly, nobody now believes that studying Philosophy makes you smarter or more a better human being.
I think there’s something analogous in teaching. If you’re a good teacher, and you have the right kinds of connections with your students, you’re going to arouse strong feelings in them.
That strong feeling should be to get the fuck out of the Academy and start making one's way in the real world.
A good teacher expects this and turns it into something that becomes ultimately productive for the activity they’re engaging in, rather than siphoning it off and diverting it for their own ends.
Quite true. It is wrong for teachers to get students to aim to themselves get into teaching- unless they are teaching at a Teacher Training College.
Guernica: If we assume our unconscious is shaped in the psychosocial world of patriarchy, as you say, then
we are as stupid as shit.
I wonder what you think about the moral regulation of sexual desire. For example, can subordinate sex ever be morally permissible for a feminist, let alone be a feminist ideal?
No. On the other hand, Feminists are welcome to hold that women should be decapitated during sex. Anything else would be horribly immoral.
Srinivasan: The phrase “feminist ideal” is interesting here. Are you asking, would such sex take place in the feminist utopia where we have dissolved not just patriarchy, but gender? Would people still want to be subordinated or act out fantasies of subordination? Maybe. I think they wouldn’t want to be subordinated under the sign of gender. In the feminist utopia, you wouldn’t have one gender that’s coded as dominant, and the other one that’s coded as submissive, but you still might have some playing out of complex psychosexual dynamics.
Women should build guillotines into their headboards so that they can decapitate themselves during sex. Obviously, this would be easier if they were in a 'bottoms' rather than 'tops'.
When we’re thinking about the non-ideal world, the world in which we live, I think it’s extraordinarily dangerous to ethically legislate against people having the kind of sex that they say that they want to have so long as it is with consenting partners.
Rubbish! We should legislate against any type of sex which leads to horrific injury or death. Also you shouldn't be allowed to interfere with me when I'm asleep or in a coma.
There’s a long history of that notion being mobilized against LGBTQ people.
There is a longer history of that LGBTQ having a good time despite anything the prudes say or do.
I also think that the human psyche is extraordinarily complex, and we don’t necessarily know what it’s doing for any particular woman or any particular man to act out a certain kind of fantasy. And there is an important distinction between fantasy and reality. For example, some rape survivors find it salutary to fantastically participate or reenact their own subordination — what is sometimes called “consensual non-consensual sex.”
There is nothing unethical about any successful therapeutic practice. It is a different matter that some might find the thing distasteful.
Of course, people’s rights to participate in such sex (or sexual kink more generally) shouldn’t and needn’t rest on the fact that some people find it a useful way of addressing trauma. I think you need a sexual ethics that’s both feminist and also open to the complexity and the weirdness of the human unconscious.
Thankfully, the thing can be bought from Amazon with free delivery for Prime Members.
Guernica: You discuss the Me Too movement and its limits, and how white feminism has used it to privilege white voices.
Whereas Amia is privileging her own voice- which however is not that of brown women back in India.
Can you say more about this?
If it helps sell my shitty book- sure!
Srinivasan: Me Too was this incredibly powerful rallying cry that took its power from the fact that just about every woman has experienced some form of sexual harassment.
It was so powerful a rallying cry that a pussy-grabber got elected. He was succeeded by an even older White dude who was accused of inappropriate touching and fondling.
It was this moment of mass consciousness-raising where lots of women — across race, class, nationality, and so on — who had felt that they had had a highly individual idiosyncratic personal experience, observed that almost every other woman had experienced this as well.
But they don't want their husbands or sons to get fired for that sort of behavior. Still being able to Me Too a dude is almost as good as being able to have him Swatted.
I had to resign as Director of the Institute of Socioproctology after I was Me-Too'd for sexual self-abuse. That is why I have been demoted to Assistant Director while my accuser has got my old job.
At the same time, there is this brutal fact that for many women — even if we just concentrate on the US in particular — being sexually harassed is not the worst thing about their lives.
Having to work for a living is the pits. But this is equally true of fat ugly men whom nobody wants to sexually harass.
Consider the focus on workplace sexual harassment. For many women, the worst thing about their jobs is not that they are sexually harassed at them, but that they have to do their jobs under the table because they’re undocumented immigrants, or their work is precarious, physically unsafe, back-breaking, or doesn’t pay enough to be able to support them and their families.
Whereas men in a similar position think it great fun. Amia has just shown why sensible women don't give a fuck about Feminism.
What makes their lives the worst work lives there are in the US are not things that all working women have in common.
Indeed, non-working women don't have those issues whereas men doing similar work share the same concerns. Sadly, for 'working lives' for the unskilled to improve, lots of undocumented people have to be deported. 'Deporter-in-Chief' Obama understood.
So, when we focus on the things that all women have in common, it obscures what makes many women’s lives, and the worst-off women’s lives, truly miserable.
So poor people, or those concerned with the poor, should tell Feminist Academics to fuck off.
It’s true that sexual harassment makes poor women’s lives bad, but it’s not the only thing. That’s why any movement like Me Too, that in large part has been premised on the idea of what all women have in common, will only serve the most privileged women.
No. It won't serve the most privileged women because they don't have to work and also their body-guards can beat the fuck out of any guy who gets fresh with them. On the other hand, in as much as Me-Too reduces Corporate Profits and undermines US competitiveness, the most privileged women should let nutters like Amia run around talking bollocks because this scares the majority of American women- who are White- into voting for Trump.
Guernica: You write that many of the men implicated in the Me Too movement don’t deny their wrongdoing. What they do deny is that they deserve to be punished for what they did.
I think those guys want sympathy for their heroic struggle with an addiction for getting their dick out every other second.
What I find interesting is that you also wonder whether they should be punished,
As John Stuart Mill finally realized, 'responsibility' means 'punishability'. Where this is lacking every virtue signaler under the Sun can go around apologizing for not having lifted billions out of poverty and invented perpetual motion coz they just couldn't spare the time from counselling God on his glue sniffing problem.
and if so, what form their punishment should take. You dig into punishment as problematic for feminism.
Reading Amia would be punishment enough.
Srinivasan: The question isn’t so much whether these men deserve to be punished or not, but what forms of social sanction do we want to reflectively get behind, endorse, and put into practice?
We are already 'behind' a type of 'social sanction' implemented by Courts and Prisons. True, one could also use boycotts or other such measures. However, in a Democracy, it is the Legislature which has most authority in defining social norms and punishing transgression. On the other hand, in some jurisdictions, an activist Bench may be able to go beyond what Legislators find expedient.
Who should make those decisions, after what processes?
The guys we vote into office to spend our tax money.
Instinctively, I think they should be democratic. I’m wary of heightened state power to coerce and punish.
So, stipulate for a strong independent Judiciary even if you might not like the current composition of the Bench.
But it’s not that I think we should necessarily just take punishment off the table entirely, especially if you are thinking about punishment in this broad way.
Amia & Co have no power to take anything off the table.
I think it’s important to distinguish between different kinds of punishment. You can be skeptical, as I am, for example, that incarceration — especially of the kind that you see in the US, which disproportionately targets people of color and poor people — is a productive system of punishment.
But there are sound reasons to be skeptical of this skepticism. The fact is, many families do better, not worse, if a family member is put away for a long long time.
You can be skeptical of carceralism while still thinking that there need to be forms of punishment to have social change.
You can be, and are, as stupid as shit if you think shite like this represents thinking of any utile sort.
For example, restorative justice programs could be thought of as non-punitive, because they’re supposed to be an alternative to prison.
But they are backed up by the threat of prison for non-compliance.
Nonetheless, the perpetrator needs to sit and listen to what he has done, and he has to acknowledge it. If it goes well, it’s extremely psychically painful. You can think of that itself as a form of sort of social punishment.
If ordered by a court, it is a legal punishment.
In one of the footnotes of the book, I talk about the Gulabi Gang in India.
Whose thuggish leader was removed from the organization after claims that she was demanding money in return for interventions by her goons. However, the salience of such vigilante groups has declined because the Chief Minister of U.P is now a Yogi who believes in shooting bad guys not bending over while muttering 'Ahimsa! Ahimsa!'. Women, as opposed to Feminists, have no difficulty with the notion that rapists should be strung up by the bollocks and then slowly beaten to death.
It started out as a group of poor, low-caste village women carrying large sticks, and acting as vigilantes, stopping men from beating their wives, going home drunk, and so on.
Anna Hazare took his first step to becoming the Mahatma Gandhi of his generation by tying up drunkards in his natal village and beating them with his Army issue belt.
Here you’ve got the threat of punishment, but it’s not a state-sponsored form of punishment.
One reason men don't want to get sent to jail is because they flatter themselves that they will be sodomized incessantly. That's not state sponsored, but it is very effective.
I’m not proposing that we generalize this particular practice, but I think it’s very interesting.
Because Amia is as stupid as shit. We don't speak of 'punishment' if the other party hits back. Then it's just a fight.
There’s also the question about whether something like being publicly shamed on Twitter is a form of social punishment. My instinct is to think of all of these, conceptually, as forms of punishment.
Where the State has much more power than any coalition of citizens, punishability arises. At the margin, however, it has to be circumspect precisely because what starts out as punishment ends up as a knockdown drag out fight. The outcome is that 'punishable' behavior is ignored in certain precincts.
Guernica: At the same time, you encouraged me to think more deeply about my wish to punish individual men for harms against women. For example, with the publication of the Shitty Media Men List and the public shaming that followed, I admit to feeling relief, as if some sort of justice was finally being served to men who normally got away with treating women so poorly. But you point out that justice in this form isn’t necessarily feminist in principle. Why not?
Because it is perfectly sensible.
Srinivasan: For centuries men, or at least a certain class of men, have been able to use the coercive apparatus of the state and their own physical might against women.
Very true. Big muscular dudes would get drunk and then come home and scream loudly till the police turned up to beat their wives for them.
I think it’s completely understandable that, when given the opportunity, women want some of the same.
Women have beating each other since time began. But this does not benefit them anymore than wife beating benefits husbands.
It’s this terrible paradox of being a member of an oppressed class that, when empowered, you have to be better than the oppressors.
How is that a paradox? Obviously, the guy doing the oppressing must have superiority of some sort. Once that superiority has been overturned, there is no more oppression. But, if the formerly oppressed go back to being shit, then they will also go back to being oppressed.
And that means setting aside some of the very real satisfactions that propped up the system of oppression originally.
Either those 'satisfactions' were economic- in which case they could pay for their own props- or they disappeared. Setting aside relevant economic considerations is a recipe for talking nonsense and getting your ass kicked in perpetuity.
There is satisfaction to be had in wielding power against people, especially people who have harmed you.
Tit for tat is so eusocial that failure to retaliate itself triggers retaliation.
I’m not saying that no power can be wielded — absolutely not. But first of all, power should be democratically dispersed and distributed.
Urm...isn't that what universal suffrage means?
And then, we need to have a critical and honest conversation about how it should be wielded.
A critical and honest conversation with Amia would consist of saying 'Why are you so fucking stupid and ignorant?' again and again.
The fact is, thanks to Wikipedia, we can all easily determine whether or not a particular question is open or closed. If it is open, then there is no sufficient reason even the lengthiest dialogue can hit upon. If it is closed, the thing is ab ovo a waste of time.
I think what’s dangerous is when members of oppressed groups deny that they actually have power.
Other people think toddlers with guns are dangerous. To each his own.
Everything that’s been happening within the Me Too movement suggests that certain feminists have an awful lot of power.
Then Trump became President. He had actual power. If Amia goes and pulls the hair of some feminist, the Secret Service won't pump her full of lead.
We have to have difficult and fraught conversations about what it means to wield that in a way that’s genuinely consistent with feminist principles.
Especially if you are a woman living in Kabul. Since the Taliban won't let you go out to work, you may as well have a very difficult and fraught conversation with the cat.
Guernica: If woman is a being formed in patriarchal society, as I take you to suggest, do you think that woman is something to be overcome or transcended?
No! Woman must be underdone or, if they happen to be a staircase to the wine cellar, descended.
Another way to say this is, can you be a woman and be free?
As opposed to 'can you be a woman and not be as stupid as shit?'
Srinivasan: What a great question. Maybe I’ll set that as an exam question next year.
To sit such an exam, you have to be as stupid as shit. That lets out almost all women.
I don’t think any individual is free until we are all free.
Just as nobody takes a shit unless everybody takes a shit. The existence of even one constipated person anywhere on the planet means Amia is full of shit.
While I think it’s true that there are lots of women, cis and trans, who don’t experience their identity as a woman to be oppressive,
Very generous of Amia, I'm sure
I think nonetheless they exist under a system in which gender itself is structured hierarchically.
By whom? God? Shape-shifting lizards from Planet X? The Jewish Freemasons who run Hollywood?
My own instinct is that in the feminist utopia, there will be no gender, or there will be so many genders as to be fairly meaningless.
So feminism would be meaningless in the feminist utopia just as, save in a 'Law & Econ' sense, it is meaningless in the real world.
I would like a totally arbitrary relation between people’s bodies and how they perform: how they dress, how they act, with whom they partner, how they choose to have families, and so on.
Zuckerberg will make this possible in his meta-verse. Alternatively, you could just take a lot of drugs and migrate to Imagination-land. Still, the fact is, even if I call my Vacuum Cleaner Brenda and get married to it, we still won't have any baby vacuum cleaner-human hybrids whom we could send to Amia to get a Credential.
And there’s another philosophical question as well: in that system, do you still have women and men? Not recognizably. You could imagine us using those words “woman” and “man,” because they take on a new meaning. But I think it’s important to note that it can be a very important step towards liberation, and I think towards that utopian possibility, to allow people to insist that they are women or that they are men now.
Why stop there? Why not let rapists claim their true identity is that of the rape victim? Should a murderer be excluded from taking over the property and children of the woman she killed just because our concept of identity is rooted in biology not Amia type crazy fantasy?
I’m thinking most obviously of trans people. When a trans person insists on being of a gender that, by many people, they are not recognized as being, this too is a blow against the gender system, which seeks above all else the security of fixed categories.
Nonsense! A person may want to be recognized for what they are for a specific purpose. This does not overturn that purpose. When the Ayatollahs of Iran approved gender reassignment it was because they could see that the applicant wished to live in the manner Shiah Islam considered normative for that gender. This was not a blow to the gender system at all.
In Nazi Germany, some people were able to get themselves reassigned as 'Aryan' by providing spurious documents showing that an ancestor was cuckolded or adopted or something of that sort. This type of reassignment didn't weaken the Nuremberg Laws at all. Rather it showed their power and efficacy.
In the case of affirmative action programs, it is important that 'reassignment' isn't too easy or on the basis of self-certification. But this is equally true of Citizenship or voting rights or other such entitlements.
It is no surprise that, the world over, the forces that most fiercely array themselves against trans people are also those forces that seek to repress and control non-trans women and other queer people.
Fuck off! J.K Rowling isn't trying to repress anybody. She is pushing back against a stupid type of bullying.
There are various forms of gender dissidence.
But like me dressing up as Margaret Thatcher, they are simply silly- if not sad- unless the person doing it is cute or has thespian talent.
Being a non-trans woman who works for the eradication of the gender system is one.
If that is paid work- cool. If it isn't, you might as well be a Socioproctologist.
But it can also be that attachment to gender realism, paradoxically, will be an important step towards the ultimate dismantling of gender.
Gender won't be dismantled any more than Sex will be dismantled. Steps taken towards stupidity aren't important at all- unless talking nonsense is what you get paid to do.