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Forums - Politics Discussion - J.K. Rowling Writes about Her Reasons for Speaking out on Sex and Gender Issues

Immersiveunreality said:
RolStoppable said:

Finally got around to read Rowling's essay in its entirety and I didn't come across anything that is objectionable.

She is like the grandma that is a do gooder but does not understand the rhetoric of modern times.

Give me some time to read the open letter to her too. I am about halfway through and it's an interesting response.



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KLAMarine said:
sundin13 said:

You asked why I used quotations around "biological" and I explained it. You seem to have no qualms with the content of that explanation. I am not suggesting we "bust out the blood tests" to assess someone's sex, so I'm not sure where that came from. I am just saying that we should acknowledge that biology goes beyond phenotype. That seems utterly and completely uncontroversial to me. What exactly are you taking umbrage with?

And is "assessing someone's sex" something that you do often? Seems weird...

Apologies. I was afraid you were going to tell me biology is make-believe. So far, nothing terribly controversial...

As for assessing sex, yes. Every day. I see someone who looks like a man or a woman, I assess their sex superficially. Of course there's chance I am wrong about my assessment but that's okay: I'm not putting money down on people's sex.

Quite the opposite. Biology is very much real, and as a Biologist, I should hope so. It is those who assert biology ends at the genitals who are doing a disservice to Biology and that is what I was calling out.

And I find your statement about assessing sex interesting. If genitals at birth are the convenient way to determine sex, why don't you use this information when making these assessments? And if you are making assessments about sex in the absence of this information, is it truly sex that you are making an assessment about, or is it gender expression?



The open letter to Rowling provided some good counter-arguments, more often than not making a better case. Actually, almost always.

Still, Rowling's essay isn't what I would call offensive, but rather sprinkled with some outdated views that aren't meant to be hateful. Both writings complement each other pretty good, so they were worth the read. The biggest takeaway is that stepping away from social media is a huge upgrade for everything, because it allows for nuance and civility. This approach has a much better chance to change someone's mind on individual points than the immediate mudslinging on social media and comment sections that puts all sides into defense mode and results in stalemates.



Legend11 correctly predicted that GTA IV (360+PS3) would outsell SSBB. I was wrong.

A Biased Review Reloaded / Open Your Eyes / Switch Shipments

sundin13 said:
KLAMarine said:

Apologies. I was afraid you were going to tell me biology is make-believe. So far, nothing terribly controversial...

As for assessing sex, yes. Every day. I see someone who looks like a man or a woman, I assess their sex superficially. Of course there's chance I am wrong about my assessment but that's okay: I'm not putting money down on people's sex.

Quite the opposite. Biology is very much real, and as a Biologist, I should hope so. It is those who assert biology ends at the genitals who are doing a disservice to Biology and that is what I was calling out.

And I find your statement about assessing sex interesting. If genitals at birth are the convenient way to determine sex, why don't you use this information when making these assessments? And if you are making assessments about sex in the absence of this information, is it truly sex that you are making an assessment about, or is it gender expression?

I'm using gender expression which is usually very much aligned with sex. Someone born a woman is most likely gonna have long hair or will be missing facial hair when they're older. They're going to have rounder hips and breasts too during/after puberty. Someone born a man is likely going to have broader shoulders and likely have facial hair too during/after puberty along with more muscle development.

Of course looks can be deceiving but the sex of strangers walking about in public is of little concern to me so I will assess sex superficially and not really care if I'm right or wrong.



RolStoppable said:

The open letter to Rowling provided some good counter-arguments, more often than not making a better case. Actually, almost always.

Still, Rowling's essay isn't what I would call offensive, but rather sprinkled with some outdated views that aren't meant to be hateful. Both writings complement each other pretty good, so they were worth the read. The biggest takeaway is that stepping away from social media is a huge upgrade for everything, because it allows for nuance and civility. This approach has a much better chance to change someone's mind on individual points than the immediate mudslinging on social media and comment sections that puts all sides into defense mode and results in stalemates.

I would say the suggestion that transgender peers are going to make other kids transgender, based on incredibly specious evidence, is problematic.  Rowling even recognizes just how problematic it is since she goes out of her way to clarify that being gay is an innate trait, although I'm fairly certain we could find the same kind of "evidence" to support the idea that peer groups can transmit the gay (I would imagine gay people are more likely to befriend other gay people, are more likely to come out if their friends do, and that we can find parents who blame their child coming out on gay peers). 

Whether it's hateful or not, I don't know. I don't like to ascribe intentions to people, although Rowling's post definitely indicates she was researching with an eye towards her conclusion.  Regardless of any intention though, spreading misinformation is harmful and should be called out, especially when it comes from a prominent source who (although she shouldn't) will be taken seriously by a lot of people. 



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JWeinCom said:
RolStoppable said:

The open letter to Rowling provided some good counter-arguments, more often than not making a better case. Actually, almost always.

Still, Rowling's essay isn't what I would call offensive, but rather sprinkled with some outdated views that aren't meant to be hateful. Both writings complement each other pretty good, so they were worth the read. The biggest takeaway is that stepping away from social media is a huge upgrade for everything, because it allows for nuance and civility. This approach has a much better chance to change someone's mind on individual points than the immediate mudslinging on social media and comment sections that puts all sides into defense mode and results in stalemates.

I would say the suggestion that transgender peers are going to make other kids transgender, based on incredibly specious evidence, is problematic.  Rowling even recognizes just how problematic it is since she goes out of her way to clarify that being gay is an innate trait, although I'm fairly certain we could find the same kind of "evidence" to support the idea that peer groups can transmit the gay (I would imagine gay people are more likely to befriend other gay people, are more likely to come out if their friends do, and that we can find parents who blame their child coming out on gay peers). 

Whether it's hateful or not, I don't know. I don't like to ascribe intentions to people, although Rowling's post definitely indicates she was researching with an eye towards her conclusion.  Regardless of any intention though, spreading misinformation is harmful and should be called out, especially when it comes from a prominent source who (although she shouldn't) will be taken seriously by a lot of people. 

Certainly, it should be called out. That's what the open letter to her did and it did it in the way it should be done. An avalanche of reponses on social media filled with blatant hatred isn't going to accomplish anything. Actually, less than nothing because it encourages people with prejudice, such as myself, to sympathize with Rowling and look past potential holes and leaps of logic in her argumentation.



Legend11 correctly predicted that GTA IV (360+PS3) would outsell SSBB. I was wrong.

A Biased Review Reloaded / Open Your Eyes / Switch Shipments

Chaimo said:

Hello all :)

My english isn't the best and I fear that my points won't come across I'd like to but I'd still like to address those who agree with Rowlings view on the subject or those who don't differentiate between gender and sex.

Contrapoints made a video about TERFs and I think it also holds alot of arguments against Rowlings Statements. Please watch it if you want to learn more about this issue. It's well made and quite entertaining too :)

Spoiler!

Since we're hearing these criticisms of gender critical feminists, I thought it might be useful to also include a short speech by a noted gender critical feminist (a more principled and weathered one than J.K. Rowling I mean) as well so that we might actually get a perspective from a veteran of this movement on their own terms. To that end, below you will find a speech by Meghan Murphy, who owns the Feminist Current web site you may have noticed I link to sometimes. It was given at the Toronto Public Library late last year amidst large demonstrations outside, mostly by trans activists disingenuously associating her with, of all things, the Trump border wall and "fascism" and "genocide" and other assorted hysterical claims. The trans activists had called upon the library to cancel the event because of who the speaker was. (It's a movement that I think you'll find struggles to tolerate concepts like free speech, dissenting views, and dialogue.) Every ticket sold. The video includes only the speech itself (not the Q&A that followed and such), which keeps it just under half an hour. I picked this one because I've found it to be Murphy's best and most succinct talk on the subject of gender identity. Without further adieu:

Last edited by Jaicee - on 22 June 2020

Hiku said:
Mnementh said:

I would argue against it. In my opinion stories were always out of the control of the author once released. If you and the author disagree on what can be seen in the stories, then the author hasn't the higher authority anymore. The author can make opinions clear from the outright, but probably many intentions are more hidden and everyone is free to interpret them. To bring it a bit away from Harry Potter, I would bring up Shakespeare. A modern reader of Shakespeare (or visitor to a play) for sure interprets things differently from what Shakespeare thought about it. That doesn't mean the modern reader is wrong. It just means there is no 'right' interpretation of a workand more importantly nobody owns the right interpretation.

So if you see Harry Potter books in a way and feel now Rownling maybe sees things differently, than your interpretation is still right - for you.

DonFerrari said:

I can certainly understand being displeased by what an author says, but that doesn't really change the story. Be it people that became pissed when she revealed that Dumbledore was gay (certainly there is plenty of hints in the book), or people that get sad that she isn't an advocate for trans people that doesn't change the book.

Actually the interpretation of the book will change each time you read because you have changed as well. But there is a reason to not take opinion of others and even more of celebrities in account, because the only opinion that matters is yourself and at most the ones close that love you.

Same reply to you and Mnementh.

I agree that people can view works of fictional art that way. But not everyone sees it that way.
Some people love ambiguous open ended endings like in Inception, where it seems like it's left up to interpretation.
I personally loved that. But then there are people who want to know what 'actually' happened. Because they value the creators vision a lot more than their own, even in situations where the creator wants them to draw their own conclusions.

When an anime studio starts making filler episodes, a portion of the fanbase don't even consider them worth watching, as they are non-canon, etc.

You know there are a lot of people who are passionate about things way more than you and I may be, and for different reasons.
And I don't think there's one 'right' way to look at it. It depends on the work and/or the person.

In some situations I appreciate that it was left for me to decide and I wouldn't ask the author to elaborate.
But there are some situations where I would rather get their answer. (Code Geass for example. And 11 years later, we got it.)

Hey not talking about open ended things. I`m more talking about the story is truly finished but the author keeps talking about how he interpret things in the work he wrote instead of putting that into the story itself.



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Jaicee said:

Since we're hearing these criticisms of gender critical feminists, I thought it might be useful to also include a short speech by a noted gender critical feminist (a more principled and weathered one than J.K. Rowling I mean) as well so that we might actually get a perspective from a veteran of this movement on their own terms. To that end, below you will find a speech by Meghan Murphy, who owns the Feminist Current web site you may have noticed I link to sometimes. It was given at the Toronto Public Library late last year amidst large demonstrations outside, mostly by trans activists disingenuously associating her with, of all things, the Trump border wall and "fascism" and "genocide" and other assorted hysterical claims. The trans activists had called upon the library to cancel the event because of who the speaker was. (It's a movement that I think you'll find struggles to tolerate concepts like free speech, dissenting views, and dialogue.) Every ticket sold. The video includes only the speech itself (not the Q&A that followed and such), which keeps it just under half an hour. I picked this one because I've found it to be Murphy's best and most succinct talk on the subject of gender identity. Without further adieu

"According to the trans movement, we are not women, we are cis-women, which apparently means we identify as the gender assigned to us at birth. This is insulting. I am not a 'woman' because I identity with femininity." *hold for applause*

This seems to be a pretty core part of the thesis of "gender critical" feminism, and it feels to me like a huge misunderstanding of what that statement actually means. I understand the perspective of this from an "abolish gender" perspective, however, I think we come to an issue when we talk about identifying and what that means. To "identify" as a woman, is not to embrace femininity but simply to speak about how you think about and name yourself. If you see yourself as a male and you prefer male pronouns, that generally means you identify as male. It does not say anything about your relationship with masculinity.

That is because gender identity and gender expression are not interlocked. We can identify as a female while expressing as masculine, and that is entirely valid.

It seems like the "gender critical" philosophy completely misses this point and fails to see how this philosophy largely aligns with the feminist critiques of the concept of "gender". It is allowing a full, independent range of expression, no matter how you identify. It is a means of stating that your identity as a "woman" does not define who you can be.

Saying "I am not cis" because you don't align with all of the stereotypes of femininity is an embrace of this ignorance, and it seems to play into those same masculine/feminine stereotypes that you are criticizing, but this time attaching them to trans individuals. A masculine trans woman is just as valid as a feminine trans woman. It isn't how you express your gender that defines your identity. This shouldn't be a difficult concept for those familiar with feminist theory, so I don't understand the roadblocks. A lot of trans individuals express as agender.

So much of "gender critical" theory is based on not understanding trans theory and trans individuals and this video made that abundantly clear.

And so much of her video isn't devoted to "gender critical" ideas, but instead to complaining about mistreatment. Those complaints may very well be valid. I'm sure that she was treated poorly by some people and that is obviously abhorrent, but it does not speak to the strength of your philosophy to point that out. Others being rude to you and mistreating you, doesn't make you more right.

EDIT: By the way, there's more that I want to say about the feeling of safety, but I'm not sure when I am going to get around to it.

Last edited by sundin13 - on 22 June 2020

sundin13 said:
Jaicee said:

Since we're hearing these criticisms of gender critical feminists, I thought it might be useful to also include a short speech by a noted gender critical feminist (a more principled and weathered one than J.K. Rowling I mean) as well so that we might actually get a perspective from a veteran of this movement on their own terms. To that end, below you will find a speech by Meghan Murphy, who owns the Feminist Current web site you may have noticed I link to sometimes. It was given at the Toronto Public Library late last year amidst large demonstrations outside, mostly by trans activists disingenuously associating her with, of all things, the Trump border wall and "fascism" and "genocide" and other assorted hysterical claims. The trans activists had called upon the library to cancel the event because of who the speaker was. (It's a movement that I think you'll find struggles to tolerate concepts like free speech, dissenting views, and dialogue.) Every ticket sold. The video includes only the speech itself (not the Q&A that followed and such), which keeps it just under half an hour. I picked this one because I've found it to be Murphy's best and most succinct talk on the subject of gender identity. Without further adieu

"According to the trans movement, we are not women, we are cis-women, which apparently means we identify as the gender assigned to us at birth. This is insulting. I am not a 'woman' because I identity with femininity." *hold for applause*

This seems to be a pretty core part of the thesis of "gender critical" feminism, and it feels to me like a huge misunderstanding of what that statement actually means. I understand the perspective of this from an "abolish gender" perspective, however, I think we come to an issue when we talk about identifying and what that means. To "identify" as a woman, is not to embrace femininity but simply to speak about how you think about and name yourself. If you see yourself as a male and you prefer male pronouns, that generally means you identify as male. It does not say anything about your relationship with masculinity.

That is because gender identity and gender expression are not interlocked. We can identify as a female while expressing as masculine, and that is entirely valid.

....

(I left it at that because I think your core case was made here and this is what I aim to reply to tonight.)

That, to my mind, only shows gender identity to be even more arbitrary and disingenuous concept than I'd previously believed. If a guy can just claim for all legal and social purposes that he's a woman without even being expected to change anything about himself to indicate as much -- if he can just continue comporting himself in a socially masculine way and everything -- and I'm seriously expected to just buy that he, with his full Taliban beard and all, is really a woman on nothing more than his personal say so, then that only shows how capricious and intellectually dishonest this whole phenom is.

The essence of what gender critical feminists believe about womanhood is that it's something that exists objectively, materially, and has real-world consequence. Womanhood is not just a feeling that anyone can claim. You cannot just identify your way out of patriarchal repression. Phenom like the polls showing the vast majority of people prefer male babies and societies where fetuses are commonly aborted if it's discovered that they're female go to show that social misogyny begins to affect one before they're even born, let alone able to conceive of a gender identity for themselves. Patriarchal oppression doesn't care about your gender identity, it cares about your physical chemistry and defines your worth accordingly. That, in fact, is why trans-men face discrimination and under-representation even within the transgender movement: because they are biologically female! It's no coincidence that they have the higher rates of depression and anxiety are more likely to try taking their lives.

Sexism is called that for a reason: because it based on your sex! To the extent that that simple fact is ignored, it becomes impossible to recognize sexism when one sees it, and thus to resist and defeat it.