Tendance Coatesy

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Should Germaine Greer Be Banned at Cardiff? No: Sign the Counter-Petition.

with 12 comments


Germaine Greer’s Libertarian Zest at its Best.

The furore about banning Germain Greer from speaking at Cardiff University shows no signs of dying down.

Germaine Greer: Transgender women are ‘not women’

This is the gist of what Greer said yesterday on Newsnight.

Australian-born academic and writer Germaine Greer has said that in her opinion, transgender women are “not women”.

She also claims that “a great many women” who are not transgender think transgender women – who she refers to as “male to female transgender people” – do not “look like, sound like or behave like women”.

Greer did say that she would be prepared to use female pronouns when referring to someone, if that was their preference, “as a courtesy”.

Germaine Greer may be barred from giving a lecture on women’s rights at a leading British university after hundreds of its students signed a petition accusing her of holding “misogynistic views” about transgender people.

The petition calls on Cardiff University to cancel the event featuring the 76-year-old feminist author and academic, who has been invited to give a lecture entitled “Women & Power: The Lessons of the 20th Century” next month.

By late on 23 October almost 300 people had signed the petition, which was started by Cardiff Student’s Union Women’s Officer Rachael Melhuish. It claims hosting Greer would be “dangerous” due to her previously stated views on transgender people.

In a column written in 2009, the author of The Female Eunuch said the idea of being trans was a “delusion” and described trans women as “ghastly parodies”. Asked about the idea of transphobia at an event at Cambridge University earlier this year, she said she “didn’t know there was such a thing”, adding: “Arachnaphobia, yes. Transphobia, no.”

The petition 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.”

The Independent.

Many young women during the 1970s  were strongly influenced by Germain Greer’s book, the Female Eunuch (1970).

This summarises its message:

The main thesis of the book is that the “traditional” suburban, consumerist, nuclear family, represses women sexually, and that this devitalises them, rendering them eunuchs.

The Female Eunuch was a cry for freedom, and, whatever else you may think about it, helped instil a libertarian, joyful,  strain into feminism.

Some of my close comrades,  socialist feminist students at Westminster Further Education College in the mid-1970s spoke of how the book had given them the confidence to find their own voices.

Greer also wrote about the way men monopolise attention, their (our) desire for reassurance, right down to perceptive comments about how men who did the pleasanter domestic tasks, like preparing meals, always expected praise for their efforts.

I had a relationship with a woman who had been a member of Greer’s young women’s group in Leamington Spa.

I can vouch that I was reminded of the truth of these observations.

On Newsnight Greer stated that she felt that some transgender women seemed to also want to be centre of attention, even to “speak for” woman. She is known to have said that without a uterus you are not a “woman”.

But whatever anybody thinks about her views – and there’s a lot to dislike on her political ones she has, like her old mucker Tariq Ali, been a Liberal Democrat supporter to start with – the idea of banning her for being a contrarian feminist is absurd.

If not downright evil.

When the chips are down Greer is on the right side – as the evidence I have given indicates.

Counterpetitioning Cardiff University’s Hosting of Germaine Greer

 There is a petition to Cardiff to cancel Germaine Greer’s talk. I find it abhorrent that I must make a counterpetition so a second wave feminist isn’t silenced by those who could just as easily not go to the lecture yet instead have decided to try and no platform her, to silence her. They’ve given no evidence in the petition either, just slurs.

This reactionary tactic of calling a woman a ‘transphobe’ is no different than calling someone a ‘commie’ in 1960’s America during the cold war. It’s a slur that contains no analysis, just an emotional response that is primarily used against women who talk about women’s biological realities, not gender identities.

Greer centers females/women in her work. I fail to see how anyone who centers women is encouraging violence against anyone.

Her position on gender doesn’t make anyone unsafe. The very marginalized group that Greer talks to and about is women. We are a protected class. Silencing her is silencing us.

Enough is enough.  Stop  no platforming women who only want to talk about women’s rights and women’s lives.

Sign here.



Written by Andrew Coates

October 24, 2015 at 10:40 am

12 Responses

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  1. Grammar Police Alert: ‘Greer did say that she would be prepared to use female pronouns when referring to someone, if that was their preference, “as a courtesy”.’ (My emphasis)

    Her‘ preference, surely — unless, of course, you’re not too sure how to address such a person.

    Dr Paul

    October 24, 2015 at 12:03 pm

  2. I don’t think that Germaine Greer’s valid feminist views (not the transphobic ones) justify her having a platform from which to disseminate transphobia. And anti-trans discrimination is deadly for transgender people. It dehumanizes them. There are plenty of other great feminist theorists who say the same valuable things about women in our society, but that aren’t also against transgender people.


    October 24, 2015 at 12:41 pm

  3. I await with interest the first report of a hate crime against a transgender person where the perpetrator can be shown to have been inspired to commit that crime by listening to Germaine Greer.


    October 24, 2015 at 2:08 pm

  4. To the point Francis.

    There has been a lot of discussion in recent weeks on Facebook and elsewhere by feminists about, er feminists getting no-platformed.

    You could add this to the attempts to silence secularist speakers.

    It;s hard to find any justification for banning anybody on any grounds other than directly inciting violence against named targets – and that includes the far-right, European or Islamist.

    The present outrage against the – perennially annoying – Greer smacks a little too much of this:

    Andrew Coates

    October 24, 2015 at 3:54 pm

  5. Psst, you can watch that edition of South Park – the best evah! – online at southpark.cc.com if you *mask your location* (pretend to be in America).

    Here’s a review > http://www.avclub.com/tvclub/cake-metaphor-comes-back-another-solid-episode-sou-227304

  6. This is the one people have been sharing on Facebook (thanks Lesley): it’s side-splitting,

    Andrew Coates

    October 24, 2015 at 4:51 pm

  7. This banning/”safe space” business has now reached ridiculous proportions. The left needs to be clear: only people advocating violence (ie fascists and violent Islamists should ever be banned – and even then, each case needs to be looked at on its individual merits.

    Jim Denham

    October 25, 2015 at 7:32 pm

  8. “I don’t think that Germaine Greer’s valid feminist views (not the transphobic ones) justify her having a platform from which to disseminate transphobia.” – alexmoriah86

    Maybe Ms Greer’s “valid feminist views” are being used by her to validate the “transphobic ones”. They are the sheep’s clothing.

    In which case, any platform she uses should be called into question. Any credibility given to her on any subject might lead impressionable minds to believe she has a right to state views I (and others who are educated in such matters) consider transphobic.

    Stop her speaking anywhere.

    Burn all her books.

    No articles to be published by her.

    No interviews.

    By this means, she can be made a non-person and her ideas and existence can be denied.

    Anyone who has quoted her in a positive manner or defended her should be considered suspect and be treated to the same sanctions.

    This restrictions, of course, do not apply to religious scholars representing those I consider oppressed. Their views on all matters are valid (even though I might disagree with them but I won’t talk about it because it’s all relative, innit, and has to be seen in the context of imperialism, colonialism ….).

    John R

    October 26, 2015 at 1:32 am

  9. Jim, there are many “on the Left” who preach violence. Socialist revolution itself is the violent overthrow of the bourgeois order (smashing the state) to suppress the resistance of the old order (according to its advocates).

    Should those who promote this be banned?

    No, I would say.

    The same has to apply to fascists, Islamists and others I loathe.

    I used to be of a “No Platform to Nazis” view but I now believe that to be wrong.

    John R

    October 26, 2015 at 1:42 am

  10. Greer says that transgendered people aren’t women but are blokes who’ve had their todgers cut off and who parade around like drag queens. A pretty unpleasant thing for anyone, and particularly someone who sees herself as radical, to say. So: what to do?

    I really despair at the self-defeating tactics people use to oppose reactionary views, when it ends up with the banning of this silly old fool whom nobody takes seriously these days. It would be better to let her speak and for someone to point to her remarks about drag artists and say that she might wish to look in a mirror sometime. Nasty, but no nastier than what she says. But that would be a better riposte to her than trying to ban her.

    Greer is a has-been, but there are many other speakers whose views are seen as offensive and whom people wish to ban from their campuses and halls. To me, all ideas are up for discussion. Ideas that are deemed offensive should be challenged, and I’d include Holocaust Deniers in that too. Don’t ban them or shout them down, get good, knowledgeable, witty speakers to pull their nonsense apart. Of course, one would not convince, say, David Irving, but he’s not our target; it’s the youngster who feels that ‘there might be something in what he says’, the person critical of official narratives and government statements and finds himself listening to conspiracy theories and querying the accepted view from that angle.

    People with progressive ideas who wish to influence people — that’s us — should have the confidence in those ideas to be able to challenge the reactionaries with the power of our ideas. We’ll never defeat them by banning them, because that is merely evading the ideological challenge.

    Dr Paul

    October 26, 2015 at 6:40 pm

  11. I gave up being annoyed by all the stupid things Greer says a long time ago.

    It would take up too much time – that is more than five minutes.

    Andrew Coates

    October 26, 2015 at 6:47 pm

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