You know that we have come to the end of an era when a bra-burning torchbearer for the sexual revolution is being vilified as a misogynist.
Germaine Greer, an Australian feminist whose book The Female Eunuch became an international best-seller and a textbook of sexual liberation, is being pilloried for her views on “transwomen”.
She is scheduled to give a lecture on November 18 at Cardiff University, in Wales, “Women & Power: The Lessons of the 20th Century”. But 2,000 people have signed a petition demanding that the University cancel the lecture because of her views on transexuals. It reads:
Greer has demonstrated time and time again her misogynistic views towards trans women, including continually misgendering trans women and denying the existence of transphobia altogether.
Trans-exclusionary views should have no place in feminism or society. Such attitudes contribute to the high levels of stigma, hatred and violence towards trans people – particularly trans women – both in the UK and across the world.
It’s unclear what will happen. The University says that it does not plan to cancel the lecture, but Greer says that its words are “as weak as piss”. Having been glitter-bombed in the past by trans activists, she wants robust assurance of her safety. “If the University of Cardiff cannot guarantee that I will not have things thrown at me then I won’t go there. I can’t be bothered.”
Greer’s bombastic views are colourful and clever, but not always (or even seldom) consistent. In her younger days she posed nude for university magazines and now she rages against pornography (a “huge wart” on cyberspace). She had more than one abortion and now claims that legal abortion was a plot invented by IVF clinics. But she knows what a woman is, is proud of being a woman, and can’t bear to see a “ghastly parody” of womanhood, or what she calls “pantomime dames”, to invade her turf.
In her eyes, transsexuality is an attempt by men to colonize her sex.
Even though we know that a Y chromosome is only an X that has lost a leg, we still think in terms of male = perfect, female = imperfect. In plainer terms what the academic feminists could be taken to be saying is that (a) you’re a woman if you think you are and (b) you’re a woman if other people think you are. Unfortunately (b) cannot be made to follow from (a).
This is a conviction she has held for decades. In 1996 she opposed the election of another Australian academic, transsexual Rachael Padman, to her all-women college at the University of Cambridge because “she” was really a man. Transsexual activists have had her in their crosshairs ever since.
But Greer is right. Her opinion is not “problematic and hateful”; it’s biology. Men have XY chromosomes and women have XX chromosomes. It is delusional (to borrow another of Greer’s adjectives) to assert that hormones and surgery can change a man into a woman. In fact, as Greer points out, it is an unethical procedure because doctors “remove healthy tissue and create lifelong dependence on medicine”.
Allegations of her “transphobia” are nonsense. As Greer put it, “I didn’t know there was such a thing. Arachnaphobia, yes. Transphobia, no.” She is being pilloried for uttering the plain truth, empirically verifiable with a discrete look at one’s private parts, that men cannot become women. They can only play a part.
“I just don’t think that surgery turns a man into a woman,[she says]. A perfectly permissable view. I mean, an un-man is not necessarily a woman. We don’t really know what women are and I think that a lot of women are female impersonators, because our notion of who we are is not authentic, and so I am not surprised men are better at impersonating women than women are. Not a surprise, but it’s not something I welcome.”
The bucketing Greer has endured for telling the plain truth is a window onto the dangers of the transsexual project. It cannot endure the slightest humiliation and will lash out at pinpricks of criticism. This obsessive self-centredness can’t last, of course. Society will indefinitely support people who build castles in the air and then ask for government subsidies to pay the repair bills.
With the media agog at the fantasies of Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner & Co, we’re in dire need of people who have the courage to say that the emperor has no clothes. I never could have imagined myself saying this, but thank God for Germaine Greer.
Michael Cook is editor of MercatorNet.