SARAH VINE: Vilified by the armies of woke… for being a woman
Last week, the Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust proudly announced that, as part of a new policy designed to address ‘health inequalities’ for ‘marginalised and disadvantaged groups’, use of the word ‘mother’ is to be replaced by more ‘inclusive’ terminology.
Thus its maternity services will henceforth be known as ‘perinatal’, pregnant women are to be referred to as ‘birthing parents’, breast-feeding is now ‘chest-feeding’ and breast milk is either ‘chestmilk’ or ‘milk from the feeding parent’.
Of course, the ability to bear children is not what defines a woman. There are plenty of childless women who are proof of that. But the biology itself is unique to the female of the species.
Pregnancy and childbirth are women’s experiences. Breastfeeding is a woman’s experience. So is menstruation. Like it or not, these are biological characteristics which are non-transferrable.
Last week, the Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust proudly announced that, as part of a new policy designed to address ‘health inequalities’ for ‘marginalised and disadvantaged groups’, use of the word ‘mother’ is to be replaced by more ‘inclusive’ terminology. Pictured: Stock image
To acknowledge this is not an act of bigotry, it is simply a fact, like observing that snow is cold.
It also does not mean that someone is hostile to the existence of trans people or to their right to be treated fairly.
And yet in the lexicon of modern trans terminology, even to think such thoughts, let alone say them out loud or in print, is considered a hate crime.
Any woman who dares question the new orthodoxy is instantly demonised as a Terf – Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist – and set in the metaphorical stocks.
Shutting down dissent in this way is – as the experiences of women like JK Rowling (left) (cancelled for objecting to the term ‘people who menstruate’) and Suzanne Moore (right)
Shutting down dissent in this way is – as the experiences of women like JK Rowling (cancelled for objecting to the term ‘people who menstruate’) and Suzanne Moore (pushed out of her job at the Guardian by colleagues scared of being tarred with the same brush) prove – a very effective way of neutralising opposition to dogma.
Who’s real in a world of fraudsters?
I had a phone call from HMRC yesterday morning.
It was a recorded message telling me my account had been subject to fraud, and could I confirm a few details so they could help.
I was about to comply when I noticed the Cambridge dialling code. A scam.
Much like the one that pops into my inbox regularly purporting to be from Royal Mail and asking me to fill in a form to release a package stuck at customs.
These wretched online fraudsters are a plague, and very much on the increase during lockdown.
They also make life impossible for genuine callers.
Take the man who rang me a week ago claiming to be from NatWest, with whom I used to bank many years ago.
They had found a small sum of money left in my old account, and wanted new details in order to forward the balance.
Do I trust him? Or was I right, as I did, to send him away with a flea in his ear?
Bullies and rigid ideologues understand that most people are easily scared, and when handed a pitchfork will generally run with it if it means they themselves won’t end up on a spike.
It’s a tactic used not just by radical trans activists, but also by BLM and the environment lobby. Bend the knee if you know what’s good for you, or suffer the consequences.
As George Orwell so skilfully expressed, once you can persuade people, through fear, to believe things that are patently not true, you have won.
As Winston says in Nineteen Eighty-Four: ‘In the end the Party would announce that two and two made five, and you would have to believe it.
‘It was inevitable that they should make that claim sooner or later: the logic of their position demanded it.’
I fear this is the situation millions of women face. Unless we agree that we no longer exist, that our biology no longer belongs to us, unless we willingly deny the physical reality of what it means to be female, we face being vilified by the armies of the woke who will accept no other truth save that which they have themselves devised.
This is wrong. Of course trans people should be made to feel welcome in the context of maternity services (indeed, all services). But not to the point where their rights begin to eclipse all others.
And this is the key. In trying to accommodate the needs of a small group of complex individuals we run the risk of obliterating those of the majority.
Women haven’t traditionally owned much in this world. Like the trans community itself, we’ve had to fight hard for our rights, and too many still are denied them. But pregnancy and childbirth, that’s always been uniquely ours, our one superpower no one can take away.
So, you see, you can’t just park your tanks in our maternity hospitals and expect us to surrender. You can’t tell us we’re not mothers, or tell us we can’t breastfeed. If that makes me a Terf so be it.
Rather that than a liar and a coward.
I have become obsessed with the fact that my neighbour a few doors down still has his Christmas wreath on his front door.
Every time I walk past I am gripped by an irrational desire to tear it down. It’s made even worse by the fact that it’s clearly one his kids made, all sweet and wonky.
Still, I don’t care. It’s February. Shouldn’t there be some sort of law against this?
Put your coat on please, Amanda!
Why is it that certain female celebrities feel obliged to brave the elements practically naked simply to prove how much better looking they are than the rest of us?
Here’s Amanda Holden toasting her soon-to-be 50th birthday in Arctic conditions, wearing a dress that struggles to meet the definition and a pair of strappy open-toed sandals.
It’s all right, dear. We get the message. Now for God’s sake put a coat on.
Here’s Amanda Holden toasting her soon-to-be 50th birthday in Arctic conditions, wearing a dress that struggles to meet the definition and a pair of strappy open-toed sandals
I had my Covid jab on Monday, and even I was impressed by the efficiency of the operation. The whole process took no more than 15 minutes.
What I hadn’t anticipated was how rotten it would make me feel. I woke up feeling like I had been run over by a bus, and even now my muscles and joints ache, my head hurts, there’s a ringing in my ears and the spot where the needle went in is sore.
Apparently this is quite common with the AstraZeneca jab – the one I received.
Nothing to worry about but a reminder that if what I had is effectively mini-Covid, you really don’t want the real thing.
Anthea’s been savaged… for telling the truth
Anthea Turner has been savaged after she tweeted a cartoon of a large woman in a wheelchair eating McDonald’s berating a slimmer woman for not wearing a mask.
She later apologised, but too late: the entire internet had already accused her of fat-shaming.
It wasn’t the kindest of sentiments. But there is an uncomfortable truth here that should not be swept aside.
The NHS does not exist to pick up the pieces of our poor lifestyle choices. And just as wearing a mask helps protect others against catching Covid, and so lessens the burden on the NHS, doing whatever we can to stay fit and healthy also helps free-up resources.
Britain has a serious obesity epidemic; we need open, honest and measured debate about how to tackle it.
I have no problem with a black actress – Jodie Turner-Smith – taking on the role of Anne Boleyn, writes SARAH VINE
I have no problem with a black actress – Jodie Turner-Smith – taking on the role of Anne Boleyn.
The job of an actor is to pretend to be someone else. They don’t necessarily need to look like them, or share the same sexual orientation or political views.
But let’s remember this cuts both ways. If Turner-Smith can play a milk-white medieval queen, I see no reason why a white actress couldn’t take on the role of, say, civil rights activist Rosa Parks. Equality is equality.
And now for the moment you’ve all been waiting for: an update on last week’s item about lemon drizzle cake.
Turns out that there IS a recipe for lemon cake in Mrs Beeton’s. It contains no fewer than ten eggs and a fiendishly complicated method – but sadly no drizzle.
She does however recommend enhancing the flavour with the addition of her lemon brandy, pouring it over the cake while it is still warm. That’ll do for me.
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