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Sunday, 8 November 2015

Sorry Hugo Rifkind but students aren't the idiots




I'm a cisgender white person, I'm not going to even try and argue that I know what real oppression feels like, however I do not agree with Hugo Rifkind's article on Germaine Greer. I personally completely agree with the petition to cancel her talk on feminism at Cardiff University due to her transphobic comments. Not only does it completely contradict the concept of feminism it also perpetuates further the exclusion and marginalisation of a very vulnerable group in society.


" 'Feminists' who exclude trans women basically admit to seeing women as walking vaginas. You know, like misogynists."

Whilst society is progressing there are still miles to go for so many issues, in particular trans rights and representation. Poor representation and integration into society only alienates individuals more and it can result in detrimental consequences. An article by the guardian in late 2014 documented that ''48% of trans people under 26... had attempted suicide'' and ''59% said they had at least considered doing so.'' With over half the young transgender community in the UK having considered suicide, the fact that Cardiff University are ignoring the pleas of thousands of petitioners is seriously problematic. 

Only in recent years have we started to see more positive representation of trans people in film and TV but there are still so many examples of 'casual' transphobia in the media that gets brushed under the rug. As shown below, the January 2015 issue of inTouch magazine photoshopped Bruce Jenner's image to make him appear as a woman many months before he announced his transition into a woman. This kind of 'light hearted' ridicule of someone in the public eye who was suspected as transitioning is so harmful for an individual that is trying to come to terms with their sex. It will likely silence and isolate individuals struggling with this issue further from their loved ones and peers if trans issues are poorly represented in mainstream media. 


So therefore inviting  a 'feminist' to speak at a Russell Group university in 2015 that has made transphobic remarks completely undermines the progress that's been made. It may seem excessive to say it permits and supports transphobia as an acceptable ideology but by ignoring the cries of so many transgender students and individuals worldwide, it does. There are plenty of examples of Greer using offensive slurs and rejecting the trans identity that Cardiff University should know better to invite her as an esteemed guest.

Feminism apparently excludes all transgendered folk according to Germaine Greer

If an Islamophobe was to speak on behalf of the #BlackLivesMatter campaign it would seem completely void because how can you be against one kind of racism but not another? How can you be taken seriously? How can your points retain their substance when they are contradicted by your very own views?

So how can you be against one type of prejudice towards women and then discriminate against trans women? Every women's rights matter regardless of whether they have been born biologically a woman or if they have transitioned. 

I understand the argument that if you don't like or agree with her then you don't have to attend her talk but it still alienates trans students at Cardiff University who have felt marginalised by the organisation of the event in the first place.

Even without the transphobic comments why would fourth/fifth wave feminists want to hear a talk from a second wave feminist? We already know what it consists of and if it was relevant we'd still be in the second wave, but we're not. It's like Apple promoting the iPhone 3G when they've brought out the 6+. 

And quite frankly I'm fed up of the older generations behaving so righteously when it comes to us being the generation in power. Yeah because your's did such a great job with you know ruining the economy, starting an illegal war for oil and ignoring environmental issues. If our generation's problem is that we're 'too' inclusive then I think we're doing alright. 




Sources
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/nov/19/young-transgender-suicide-attempts-survey
http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/opinion/columnists/article4596927.ece
http://queerlife.co.za/ql/international/340-when-feminism-gets-transphobic.html
http://www.examiner.com/article/lgbt-groups-slam-bruce-jenner-sex-change-transition-tabloid-cover-as-cruel