Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: WOTY: The Kindness Scandal

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  • Thomas Beagle,

    But TERF was the word, no matter where you were on the issue.

    By switching it out you've taken one of the sides... and I think you've taken the wrong one.

    New Zealand • Since Nov 2007 • 46 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Consider it an act of kindness.

    Nah, sounds like that virtue signalling mate. :)

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19686 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Thomas Beagle,

    By switching it out you've taken one of the sides... and I think you've taken the wrong one.

    I've changed it back.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • Neil,

    I think the expression TERF had become one way of making it about taking sides or of having a side foist upon you.

    Since Nov 2016 • 353 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Neil,

    I thought what I did was a gently humorous way of dealing with the bombardment I got last night, but it clearly wasn’t received that way. Sigh. Got that one wrong.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • Carol Stewart,

    I loved your chat with Guyon this morning Russell. Don't ever stop!

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 821 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Carol Stewart,

    I loved your chat with Guyon this morning Russell. Don’t ever stop!

    Cheers. It's actually also fun just sitting on the control room couch and seeing and hearing how the sausage is made :-)

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • Neil,

    In a debate partly about challenging a binary view it’s odd people are being channeled into a binary choice of one side or the other.

    Everyone's soaked in animosity.

    Since Nov 2016 • 353 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Neil,

    Interested to hear how you think other people will respond to what you have said here.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19686 posts Report Reply

  • Worik,

    Made my day.

    Waitati • Since Jan 2017 • 8 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Surf n TERF
    Ignoring words (or even redacting them) doesn't make them go away.
    Best we know the extent of their usage to gauge where they may be heading, or leading us
    The Pedant Posse rides again -
    Damn those 'Dictionaryans',
    we'll head 'em off at the parse!

    I completely missed the voting process
    - good to see 'Virtue signalling' got into the Top Ten, though.

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7889 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    <after thought – Le video esprit d’escalier?>
    Riding through the Glen…

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7889 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason,

    So.....TERFs should stay of others turf.

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1588 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    can't get enough of that kindness :) very worthy winner - any year and every year!

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2091 posts Report Reply

  • Moz,

    'TERF', an acronym whose perceived meaning has become markedly more negative over the course of the year

    Please excuse my ignorance here, but I don't recall seeing TERF used to describe non-horrible people (but I am, admittedly, old enough that WBW means "women born women", one of the early examples of what's now called TERF activism). Maybe the word has just gone from "What does that mean" to "truly evil scum" in the popular understanding?

    Transadvocate explains it and bob help us, UrbanDictionary gives us an example of TERF activism in the definition. TigTog claims it's meant descriptively, but I don't recall TERFs themselves ever taking it as anything other than a slur. And the whole deal upsets me, because it's tied up with some really nasty shit close friends went through/go through. I'll happily line TERF up with national socialist and genocidal murder as "bad ways to describe someone".

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1198 posts Report Reply

  • TracyMac, in reply to Moz,

    So what do you call self-described radical feminists who deny that transwomen are women? That's why the term was coined.

    I agree it's not a great term, because there are plenty of radical feminists (which has a very specific meaning I'm not going to get into here) who are not trans-exclusionist, and there are plenty of other feminists of different types who are trans-exclusionist.

    In the context of social history, though, the most vehement anti-trans opinions have been expressed by radfems like Shelia Jeffreys, Jan Raymond et al. They still vehemently express those views, so I think that's why the term has stuck.

    I still think it's useful to have a term for trans-exclusionist feminism. I also think it is more than FINE that those views are robustly critiqued - frankly, I feel that these days, it's on a par with Jim Crow racism.

    Should people be automatically slapped with a label and subjected to voiciferous levels of abuse if they express a milder form of these views? Not necessarily, and my observation is that the feminist or trans-ally nature of the worst abusers is often pretty questionable. I know many people personally and well-known feminist and trans personalities who detest the views of Jeffreys etc (and one friend who has a very justified personal dislike of the woman) - yet I've not seen or heard one of those people descend to personal abuse at all, much less the kind that has been uttered by a small minority.

    We all know about Russian and right-wing astroturfing in left-leaning contexts. I truly believe some of the attempts to conflate the criticisms of trans-exclusionary feminist views with the actual harm that those views have perpetuated on transpeople could definitely be part of such a campaign. Or just trolls who are enjoying a pile-on to stir up the SJWs.

    Anyway, sorry for the derail. To sum up, I don't personally think there should be a problem criticising something as being trans-exclusionist, and I don't have much patience for people saying it's an "ugly" term when the sentiments themselves are ugly. I do agree that TERF itself is not particularly useful or accurate.

    I do vote for more of our no. 1 word, a little more #kindness.

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 701 posts Report Reply

  • Moz, in reply to TracyMac,

    Sorry, I wasn't arguing against use of the term, I was trying to question that it's being used more negatively than before. From what I know the collapse from "it's just descriptive" to "it's a horrible (but accurate) slur" happened almost as soon as it was first used. There doesn't seem to be a "proudly TERF" movement the way there's a "Proud Nazi" and "celebrate our genocide/Australian Patriot" movements.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1198 posts Report Reply

  • Worik,

    Turfs ahoy!

    I love a good fight!
    I know I should stay out of this one.
    I just can't!
    That's all I've got to say

    Waitati • Since Jan 2017 • 8 posts Report Reply

  • Neil, in reply to TracyMac,

    So what do you call self-described radical feminists who deny that transwomen are women? That’s why the term was coined.

    Objections to the term TERF appear partly to be caused by it being used to categorise a range of opinions about gender and biology as essentially anti-trans.

    My impression is that it’s often used to create enemies when there aren’t any.

    Personally I think gender is performative but I think Genet had a few observations regarding that that aren’t particularly comforting.

    I also think gender is not completely unrelated to biology. We perform to an audience on a stage build by our ancestors who communicate to us via our genes.

    Since Nov 2016 • 353 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    So are turfs exclusively female? Can radically feminist men who express rigid ideas about gender identity be labeled as turfs?

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4316 posts Report Reply

  • Neil, in reply to steven crawford,

    It could depend on how they self identify and if one thinks sex is binary.

    Since Nov 2016 • 353 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    I identify feminism as a political movement. I’m a feminist. My daughter is training to be a scientist and she flys aeroplanes. I support and fight for her rights of person hood, to be equal to anyone else. I’m a feminist. Feminism is about everyone getting a fare shake of the dice. Turfs are not feminists, they’re just ignorant people.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4316 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to steven crawford,

    Turfs are not feminists, they’re just ignorant people.

    That seems over the top to me.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19686 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    Ok Sacha, why do yo say that?

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4316 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to steven crawford,

    Turfs are not feminists

    That’s the same argument as “(cis) men can’t ever be true feminists, because of privilege and lack of lived experience”. Which is not entirely valid in all cases (it’s basically the No True Scotsman fallacy, plus it gets really circular when extended to trans individuals -- as e.g. by TERFs), but it’s also hard to argue that it doesn’t contain some truth: at the very least, it is certainly much harder to be accepted as speaking for a group when you visibly are not directly a member of it.
    If you define “feminist” as “pro-equality” then, yes, by definition, TERFs who see trans women as less than cis women aren’t that, and men can be that; but “feminist” isn’t necessarily merely “pro-equality” – and to be clear, that’s not necessarily a bad thing given the amount of institutional and cultural bias to be countered in promoting women’s rights.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1889 posts Report Reply

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