Gender – a Feminist, Environmentalist Critique

What does Gender Even Mean?

Gender has until recently been a word used to describe societal expectations of people based on their sex. Feminists and sociologists still regard this as the correct definition of the word. We are all familiar with ‘gender roles’ signifying stereotypical responsibilities of a man or woman – e.g. a woman cooks, a man is the breadwinner. Most people would recognise these stereotypes to be sexist, the idea that women are worse at maths or enjoy playing with Barbie dolls more than trains is pure misogyny. Yet a recent phenomenon has been the use of the word gender to represent some innate quality! Little boys don’t wear dresses – if they want to they must really be a girl! This is completely backward thinking, feminists have fought against these absurd stereotypes for years. I am a woman because of my chromosomes and my reproductive organs. My brain is equal to that of a man, my preferences in life are due to my personality and upbringing.

The Rights of the Child

Children have a right to learn the truth about their bodies. Ceasing to teach children the biological differences between men and women is as dishonest as scrapping evolution from the syllabus or giving credence to holocaust deniers.

Even more concerning is that after confusing children on this topic, adults are actively encouraging them to question their gender, even take medication to change it. Young children are being put on puberty blocking drugs so they can later decide whether to fully transition. Trans Rights Activists vocally proclaim that this is completely harmless and entirely reversible. However, as with any new drugs we should be incredibly sceptical, studying the long term implications. Puberty is a natural process to do with growing up, we observe the growing of hair and voices dropping but know little about the effects on about brain development and other ways in which our body matures. What we do know is that puberty blockers can permanently sterilize children in addition to posing other health risks.

Follow the Money

There are several industries making a lot of money out of pushing the myth of innate gender. Consumerist society has rocketed in the last few decades, cheap plastic toys and throwaway fashion produced cheaply by manmade materials and exploitative labour has been a capitalist dream. The rich corporations did not miss the trick of gendering items; what better idea than make sure brothers and sisters can’t share toys or clothes? Why wouldn’t they want to sell twice as many products? The gendering of toys is considered disproportionately damaging to girls.

Another major stakeholder is pharmaceutical industry. Cosmetic procedures are growing fast and wide. Facelifts and boob jobs are no longer reserved for Hollywood legends but are now becoming common among the general public. Teenage girls who probably require counselling to boost their confidence are instead considering changing their bodies. Body positivity is completely eroded by the beauty industry and is a constant battle for feminists. So called ‘gender reassignment surgery’ or ‘gender affirmation surgery’ is a new opportunity for cosmetic surgeons to experiment with new procedures and charge thousands of pounds per patient.

What about the Environment?

We must do everything in our power to combat the disastrous destruction of the environment. This is simply not feasible with the aforementioned level of consumerism. The only way to save the planet is to move to a simpler lifestyle without plastic toys and throwaway fashion, this will certainly not be achieved by increasing consumerism built on the gender myth.

Pharmaceutical drugs also have a major impact on our planet. Hormones that enter the water cycle does not get filtered out by the current water purification process. Wide use of the contraceptive pill has been known to raise estragon levels in water which can be harmful to fish (as well as human men). Introducing further hormones is bound to have an impact on fish and other animals yet little research has been carried out and this prospect seems barely to have been addressed by the pharmaceutical industry.

Climate scientists are still having to fight against those who deny man made climate change despite the overwhelming wealth of evidence to support it. We must stop encouraging anti-science lobbies such as climate change deniers and biological sex deniers.

The Gender Recognition Act

Maria Miller has proposed an amendment to the Gender Recognition Act which will allow men and women to certify their gender identity without needing backing from doctors or other experts. The implications of this amendment are vast. Feminists have fought for sex segregated spaces for a number of reasons. The recent #MeToo hashtag has shed light on just how frequently women get sexually assaulted or harassed. If we can’t feel safe in a club at least we can retreat to sex segregated toilets. If we can’t remain in our houses without fear of abusive partners or ex partners at least we can move to sex segregated domestic violence refuges. If we are unlucky enough to end up in an underfunded, unsafe prison at least there are no men there to rape us. The idea that men can self-define as women and gain access to these spaces is frightening. We are not only talking about gender non-conforming men here, any man with any motive will be able to simply identify as a woman. A rapist, a violent misogynist, a stalker could have instant access to women’s spaces. It is pure naivety to envisage that these types of criminals would not use any avenue to further their crime.

Of course I want transwomen to be safe from the bullying, harassment and sexual assault of men. The very fact that they recognise they are not safe in male spaces demonstrates why women need spaces to escape men. In an ideal world we could keep people safe from each other, especially in prisons. However this is not currently the case. We must discuss this issue and come to a conclusion that protects the safety of women and transwomen alike. We are a long way from reaching this outcome therefore to accept Maria Millers GRA bill put women in immediate danger.

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