I follow an Iranian woman on Twitter called Masih Alinejad. She no longer lives in Iran, but takes care to broadcast the appalling ways women are treated by the men there. Quite often, her tweets are hard to take in, as they are distressing and harrowing. Nevertheless, one particular tweet caught my attention and clearly demonstrated, the true meaning of what it is to be ‘unsafe’.
Some days ago, a freeze frame of a man was circulating online. In the picture, he was smiling while holding a sword in his right hand and the severed head of his 17 year old wife in his left hand. Her name was Mona Heydari. She had fled to Turkey but was returned to Iran. She had been forced to marry at 12 and by the time of her brutal murder at 17, she had a three year old boy.
Alinejad campaigns against the treatment of women in Iran and insists that the extreme elements of the religious clerics there, is something that needs talking about. More pertinently, she documents the incredibly brave women of Iran who openly and publicly challenge the men who aggressively police them and demand they cover up alongside the hashtag #MyCameraIsMyWeapon. Some of the videos are nail-biting. As women boldly confront the men and tell them it’s ‘none of your business’.
Knowing, as we can see in the shocking image above, how volatile some of these men can be, it seems an immensely courageous thing for these women to stand up against them and it is very clear to me, that in such situations, their position is the epitome of being ‘unsafe’. They risk their lives to do what they do. In their minds, they must know that one day, it could result in their murder.
And yet…in the UK, universities up and down the country, who have blindly adhered to the Stonewall way of thinking have adopted policies to demand that staff use the ‘correct’ pronouns for students who are studying with them in order to make them feel….safe; because to fail to do so, would, supposedly make them feel ‘unsafe’. This for me, has to be the most ridiculous weaponising of the word ‘unsafe’.
Just to ensure we get some perspective on this point, let’s briefly look at a few examples of what is being framed as ‘unsafe’. First up is our old friend, Dr Adrian Harrop. He thinks that the use of the word ‘natal’, as opposed to ‘cis’, makes men feel ‘unsafe’ and makes the environment ‘hostile’ even.
Next example is gender panderer, Nancy Kelley, who goes even further to suggest that any protection of current sex-based laws and single-sex exemptions (which Stonewall explicitly announced they would be fighting against) would make her “trans siblings….feel desperately unsafe”.
Finally, this one is talking about Kathleen Stock, a professor who was awarded an OBE for services to higher education! She wrote a book about about material reality. But here she is being accused of making people feel ‘unsafe’.
The travesty of the above examples is that when we think back to Alinejad’s work and the dreadful situation for women in Iran we know on a wider, global scale, there are women whose lives are unsafe, because of who they are, because of their sex, because of their bodies and because of how men fail to see them as human. To these men, women are merely objects to dominate and control; to buy and to sell; to ‘rescue’ or discard violently and murderously. So, no! ‘Incorrect’ pronouns, or a lecturer who talks of the immutability and reality of sex, or a woman who refuses to accept that gender is the be all and end all, are not prerequisites for feeling ‘unsafe’. And, we must stop pandering to these ideas as people are losing all sense of perspective. When there are girls, being beheaded for refusing to jump and do everything they are ordered to by men - reserving the word ‘unsafe’ for those lives is essential if we are to tackle male violence effectively. Otherwise, describing situations where men have not had their demands followed as ‘unsafe’, is just plain offensive.
Excellent. Concise and the the point, thank you.
Horrified by that photo -- smiling...
Women are truly unsafe in such barbarous conditions.
But if TRAs in more liberal countries are to be challenged on fallacious appropriation of the term "unsafe", then the legitimacy of the right to "feel" safe must be questioned too: as any kind of argument against trans expropriation of women's rights not just to "feel" safe but to BE safe. Particularly in the women-only spaces now being legally invaded by all males, to prevent discrimination against trans-identified males. This offers predators easy opportunities for sexual assault.
ONS stats (England & Wales) 2019:
99% of sex offenders are male
88% of victims are female
48% of trans-identified male prisoners are convicted sex offenders
18% of all male prisoners are sex offenders
3% of all female prisoners are sex offenders.
Can women and children now forced to use desegrated toilets & changing rooms in schools (which girls refuse to use, & become dehydrated waiting to get home), leisure centres (where sexual assaults have increased), stores (where men masturbate & ejaculate on clothes taken in to try on), cafes, theatres (being boycotted by horrified patrons) etc either "feel" or actually "be" safe?
There are also photos circulating on Twitter of numerous men convicted in the US (where "gender neutral" changes happened earlier than in the UK) for using smartphone cameras under or over partitions dividing toilet cubicles, to film women undressing.
It appears to be still largely unknown to politicians and the general public how much of the trans phenomenon is based on male sexual fetishism and deviance. A range of associated paraphilias (which tend to cluster) extends to pedophilia, with pressure for its legalisation.
And even when alerted, politicians and the public do not want to know: because being branded as "transphobic" for acknowledging the reality of sex, is as much as (or more than) some are prepared to cope with. Unlike many more who have been captured and won't listen at all.