Interesting Eliza. You’ve hit a nail here I think. This piece clarifies what my muddier head has been working towards lately. Woman as commerce. It was ever thus of course, but never before has it been so blatant….or perverse and degrading. It has crept up on us in a way. Most of what has passed as comedy on the telly for years now has been disgustingly misogynistic. Women called ‘hole’ is apparently hilarious now. It sickens me. My opinion of Men has never been so low.

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Jan 20, 2022Liked by Eliza Mondegreen

This is such an illuminating read - thank you.

The menstruator, the breasts-have, the person with a vulva, the uterus owner, the person with ovaries - this is one living, breathing woman. Who, apparently, we cannot name or regard as more than a collection of parts.

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Jan 20, 2022Liked by Eliza Mondegreen

Bravo. Your writing is admirably direct. One of the most appalling abuses of words for me, is "conversion therapy". Until now, this has been widely understood to mean attempts (which might include real or imagined physical threat) to change a person's sexual orientation. However, Trans activists have somehow managed to include in the definition, the act of providing counselling to persons (typically children) who feel they are in the wrong body. If such counselling is banned, then all that can be done is to affirm the child's belief - and set them on a lifetime path of pain and medication, in a futile attempt to become the opposite sex.

There is absolutely no need, in the countries of the West, to ban conversion therapy of same-sex attracted people. This practice is already considered completely unacceptable and in any event, there is no longer any evidence of it. Most people (I would argue) consider the surgical alteration of bodies to be a "conversion therapy". Governments around the world have seemingly failed to notice this conflation of ideas. Canada and NZ have already passed the law banning "conversion therapy". The UK Govt is currently running a public consultation about the adoption of this law which it is committed to introduce. We must all respond to this consultation (and I have) however the consultation defines conversion therapy thus:

“Physical conversion therapy is where something physical is done to you to try and change your sexual orientation or change you from or to being transgender. Sometimes this may be violent.”

That’s badly worded (by them) but the intention is clear elsewhere in the document, wherein it states:

“We believe that conversion therapy is wrong, as everyone should be free to be themselves”.

It is plain that the Government considers dissuading a young person from say, a double mastectomy, perhaps recommending “watchful waiting” IS a conversion therapy – as abhorrent as forcing a person to change their sexual preferences.

Because the consultation questions conflate the two ideas, we are faced with the choice of either agreeing or disagreeing that we should have a law banning conversion therapy. This is no choice at all. We have to decide whether we “strongly agree” or “strongly disagree” that “the Government should ban conversion therapy”. We are dammed if we do and dammed if we don’t. Note that the current UK Government is Conservative (that’s Republican to Americans). If the current Government were Labour (Liberal in US) they wouldn’t even consult. There is nowhere to turn. What are we to do? I despair!

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Jan 20, 2022Liked by Eliza Mondegreen

Excellent, as always! Thank you for your clear thinking and writing!

I really like how you connect transgenderism with the commodification of women. It echoes a related idea that, I think, amplifies and extends your point.

The concept of "patriarchy" is undeniably vague and has been used in many different ways in feminist theory, so it's anything but well-defined. But at its most general, I think it could be fairly summarized as "historic systems of social, political, and economic power that tend to oppress women." In that sense, patriarchy is a near-universal factor throughout the world and has existed for millennia. I think that your insights in this article speak to a basic condition of patriarchy: women (as a sex-based class) are a precious resource, as the only means of producing new humans, and therefore must be controlled by the ruling forces of any society.

It's noteworthy that the rise of transgenderism in the past few decades has coincided so neatly with an increase in the numbers of women in positions of power in technologically advanced societies. Feminists in the 19th century and the first 3/4 of the 20th century laid the groundwork for women to have much more overt political, economic, and cultural influence today than ever before in human history. Needless to say, that success has threatened patriarchy. A recent striking example is the impact of the "Me Too Movement." It's a striking coincidence that, just as patriarchy has been challenged, a new and powerful expression of it has emerged and is raging like a firestorm through virtually all "developed" countries in the world.

An implication of this observation is that, unfortunately, the roots of patriarchy are very deep and, as Audre Lorde famously said, "The Master's Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master's House." This battle with gender ideology is the latest front in what is ultimately a war over the ownership of women's bodies.

Transgenderism is the current incarnation of an ancient system to enforce domination, by power systems that enable men to exert hegemonic control over women's reproductive capabilities and sexual servitude.

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Jan 20, 2022Liked by Eliza Mondegreen

This piece started out really strong, with "The New Global Empire of Disembodiment." And the intro to the piece is spot on, talking about the language of disembodiment! She gets it!, I thought, and read on with great interest, expecting a cutting edge, cohesive analysis which would further the conversation. But then -- what's this? "'Trans' people, 'trans' community, 'trans' friend"? Isn't this the very "language of disembodiment" she was referring to which is being used to sell the named societal harms? What's a "trans" person? That's where she lost me.

I read on with a sense of cognitive dissonance. If one posits, as does the author, that we need to reject the "language of disembodiment," and that transgenderism is a corporate fiction, an ad campaign to sell drugs, surgeries, and more -- body dissociation for corporate profit, as the intro suggests -- why would one then use the false, made up language of the corporate profiteers that reinforces these concepts at any time, let alone in an essay specifically talking about the need to reject it?

Using the fictitious term "trans" only serves to reinforce to others the idea that there is a legitimate new category of human that we must acknowledge as "trans" because of an idea in their heads, and that "trans" is anything other than science fiction. By using these terms, the author perpetuates the propaganda which supports the industry she claims to want to dismantle. It's like saying that men can't be women and vice versa but then using opposite sex language for the LARPers who one deems the "good" ones. Perhaps if one needs to support "dear friends" who engage in this type of delusional thinking, it affects one's ability to clearly deconstruct it.

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Jan 20, 2022Liked by Eliza Mondegreen

Love reading your posts.

So much of this arises from the success of the medical establishment in establishing new norms for "female beauty". I recently started following the posts of a young beautiful transgender actress who could never been mistaken for a male. She is literally a perfect loooking woman (who's metamorphosis had to have involved loads of surgery and hormones from a very young age and will last until her death). Somewhere inside of me feels such an ache of despair - there's no way a young, normal looking girl wouldn't look at this woman and feel that all is lost. That to learn to be in one's body, as a human, unaltered, as all of us were brought up to do (in the 90s) is pointless. That there's a cheat code to bypass envy, and the grief that comes from disappointment, the work it takes to develop a personality rather than an ego - all it entails is money and willingness to undergo significant medical interventions.

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Jan 20, 2022Liked by Eliza Mondegreen

I so look forward to your posts, thank you!

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I think it's so puzzling how many trans activists, including people like Grace Lavery, actually advocate for speech moderation. They want speech to be restricted by big tech. They forget that the reason they are able to live their lives has everything to do with the free speech the US gives them as a constitutional right. They arrived where they are because of free speech, now screw everyone else.


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Some very good points, a few somewhat wide of the mark.

First off, quite agree with your point about ‘woman’ as a sex-word – denoting “adult human female” – or as a gender word – denoting any one of a myriad of combinations of personalities, behaviours, and stereotypes of, or typical of, “adult human females”. You may not know that Merriam-Webster draws something of a useful, and increasingly common, distinction distinction between sex and gender:

“Among those who study gender and sexuality, a clear delineation between sex and gender is typically prescribed, with sex as the preferred term for biological forms, and gender limited to its meanings involving behavioral, cultural, and psychological traits. In this dichotomy, the terms male and female relate only to biological forms (sex), while the terms masculine/masculinity, feminine/femininity, woman/girl, and man/boy relate only to psychological and sociocultural traits (gender).”


Unfortunately that of course conflicts with the more or less standard definitions of “man” and “woman” as “adult human male” and “adult human female”. Seems that the only way to resolve that is to qualify every use of those terms: e.g., “woman (gender)”, “woman (sex)”. If we’re going to adjudicate claims to various facilities and opportunites on the basis of membership in those categories then we’ll simply have to specify precisely the criteria for category membership.

However, somewhat despite your claim that “... ‘female’ and ‘male’ refer simply and unproblematically to sex”, the fact of the matter is that far too many are trying to make those terms into “immutable identities” based on some “mythic essence” to them, possibly because they are simply unaware of the standard biological definitions and their logical consequences. You may wish to take a gander at a recent Kellie-Jay Keen – AKA, Posie Parker – YouTube video that champions, once again, some definitions that should be seen as the bedrock, as the common point of reference, for any and all discussions at all on the topic:


Not sure which dictionary she’s using, but her definitions seem standard:

“Female: Of or denoting the sex that can bear offspring or produce eggs, distinguished biologically by the production of gametes (ova) which can be fertilized by male gametes."

"Male: Of or denoting the sex that produces small, typically motile gametes, especially spermatozoa, with which a female may be fertilized or inseminated to produce offspring."

Those biological definitions make functional gonads – of either of two and only two types – as the “necessary and sufficient conditions” to qualify as male or female. Those who have neither are thereby sexless.

Quite an illuminating essay – "Sex is Real" – at Aeon by Paul Griffiths - University of Sydney, co-author of Genetics and Philosophy – which underlines that perspective:

"Many people assume that if there are only two sexes, that means everyone must fall into one of them. But the biological definition of sex doesn’t imply that at all. As well as simultaneous hermaphrodites, which are both male and female, sequential hermaphrodites are first one sex and then the other. There are also individual organisms that are neither male nor female. ....

Nothing in the biological definition of sex requires that every organism be a member of one sex or the other. That might seem surprising, but it follows naturally from defining each sex by the ability to do one thing: to make eggs or to make sperm. Some organisms can do both, while some can’t do either. ...."


We simply cannot resolve this issue if we have contradictory and quite unscientific definitions for the relevant terms.

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