Feminist and author Germaine Greer kicked up a shitstorm when she said she does not believe a transgendered woman is a real woman. She makes clear that this view is her personal view and it’s an opinion, her own opinion, which last she checked, she was still allowed to have one, even if it runs contrary to political correctness.
I am not here to debate whether her statement is correct or not. I am not a gender expert and I’ve had the privilege of being a heterosexual cisgender woman. As Ms. Greer said said, it’s an opinion, her own opinion, derived of her own mind and she’s free to have this opinion without apologizing or being abused by the public for it. Ms. Greer is an easy target. She made her name on being a radical feminist and is equally unapologetic about that as well. Her views are left of crazy at times but she is using hyperbole to illustrate the everyday misogyny a woman faces, where a woman doesn’t even know she’s being misogynized. In her view, fighting for equal rights starts with the small trifles everyday. The catcalls, the snide remarks a woman gets (from both sexes) when she’s near that time of month. The assumptions made about a woman when she’s on her period, when she’s pregnant or menopausal are all unacceptable. After all we don’t discuss men and their personalities with respect to their receding hairline, their expanding waistline, the age where certain functions south of the border loses its agility or any other physical changes. So why is it acceptable to make assumptions about women at certain transitions in their lives? Why is it acceptable to make fun of women and their physical appearance as they age, after they have children or any other naturally occurring changes?
Germaine Greer didn’t state her opinion on transgendered women out of bigotry. She made her opinion based on what she thinks makes a woman which includes her life lived from birth to adulthood as a woman. It’s her belief that one cannot be a ‘man’ for most of his life, enjoy the benefits and privileges of being a ‘man’; granted he may be tortured inside due to gender identity crisis, but as far as society is concerned he is still a man and is afforded the respect a man gets and the minute he transitions into a woman she gets to enjoy some sort of hero status for being ‘authentic’ or ‘brave’ and overshadow all the other women who were born women and lived their whole lives as women and suffered the misogyny that comes with being a woman. This is not an unreasonable point to argue. It’s not a popular view given today’s intellectually challenged and emotionally incontinent population, but it’s valid and worthy of debate.
Greer was to give a lecture at Cardiff University about women and power but due to the uproar her comments about transgendered women caused, there is a petition going around demanding her lecture be canceled. The BBC made a rather misguided attempt to interview her to get her to apologized for her comments, not only did she not apologize, she didn’t back down and no matter how the interviewer reframed the question to bait her, she never bit.
The trend these days is when people have too much to drink or is having a particularly opinionated day, they tweet, blog or say something on their mind, their truth but perhaps not totally politically correct. The other twits on Twitter or elsewhere have nothing better to do and attack the position of the ‘offensive’ tweet, comment or blog, all assumed identities hidden behind a computer screen. And the person that made the original statement goes into overdrive to backtrack, clarify and elaborate what they really meant to begin with and then followed with an apology: ‘If anyone was offended, it was not my intention, I am sorry’. It’s like a pathetic bad Hollywood script. If that’s how you feel about something, then own it. If it’s not palatable to be said out loud then don’t get loose fingers or lips and tweet, blog or say it. If you said it and you did not misspeak and that’s your truth then own it too. In other words, grow a pair, own your thoughts, own your beliefs. Since when did people become so soft spined, where they worry about the opinion of the twits that are tweeting?
Ms. Greer basically told everyone they can fuck off. She won’t be giving the lecture after all, since all everyone wants to talk about is transgendered issues (not an area she’s ever talked or written much about) and Caitlyn Jenner, which she has choice words for. Bravo to her. She told the BBC reporter, she’s 76 years old, she doesn’t need this shit, to be abused by the public for expressing her opinion. She stated clearly she’s not transphobic, nor is she encouraging or spreading transphobia by stating her opinion that a transgendered woman in her view isn’t a real woman. For those that say she’s inciting transphobic hatred and violence, she told them to get a life. She has total respect for transgender people and will always address them with the correct pronouns.
In her opinion, to be a woman, one must experience the highs and lows of being a woman from birth to adulthood. You don’t get to enjoy your status as a privileged male, getting glory, accolades awards in sports as a male (paging the former Bruce Jenner) and then you transition to a woman and you are suddenly inundated with awards for ‘being a woman’, when she’s only been a woman for ten minutes. What about all the other women who’ve been women their whole lives, doing work on behalf of other women or humanity for most of their lives. Where are her awards for bravery and authenticity? Where are her accolades?
This Caitlyn Jenner thing, it’s getting fucking old. She gets more comments about her surgically enhanced looks than anything she’s really accomplished as a woman. Besides bringing transgender awareness to the public, which is very noble and very important, but again, she’s doing it for ten minutes, her achievements as a woman still remains to be seen. It’s not so easy to become a ‘woman’ as I am sure Caitlyn Jenner is all too aware now. All those surgeries she underwent was probably the easy part.
There are scores of men and women who do the difficult work of bringing transgender awareness to the public, educating parents and family members, providing counseling and guidance to transgendered children, what are their names? Where are their awards? Where are their accolades and magazine covers?