How to be a Woman on Twitter

Socialist, feminist women are being purged from twitter for expressing the ‘wrong’ opinions. Professor Alessandra Asteriti tells her story.

On 28 May 2019, I saw on my TL on Twitter an article about how Imperial College, with funding provided by the NHS, is planning to trial womb transplants on transgender women. The wombs would be sourced either from dead women donors, or from transmen wanting a hysterectomy. Amongst the proponents of the procedure, a plastic surgeon from London, who runs a clinic where surgical procedures are offered to transgender people wanting to undergo a complete sex change (which for transmen includes a complete mastectomy and hysterectomy; the trans community likes to refer to these as top and bottom operations, partially to obfuscate, partially to make them sound harmless by adopting an infantile language. But they are operations that render these females sterile and deprive them of their breasts and uterus. Any woman who has wished to be sterilised will know how difficult it is to get this operation done, as doctors will tell them that they might change their mind. Trans rights groups advocate for minors to be able to undergo these operations). The article further suggested the wombs could come from transmen, in my opinion evidencing a clear conflict of interests for these doctors, who have a financial incentive to convince transmen to undergo an hysterectomy in order to have a supply of wombs to implant into transwomen.

I had already been critical of gender theory on Twitter, which I consider a regressive and misogynist approach to rights, both of women and of trans people. Additionally, I have been particularly vocal about the gaslighting of women on social media, forced to accept that the penis can be a female organ and accused of being transphobic if they refuse to accept this piece of anti-scientific, obscurantist misogynist propaganda (I am not mincing words). This has included putting pressure on lesbians to accept male-bodied ‘lesbians’ and giving them advice on how to have sex with these transwomen. Many lesbians have complained that this practice is particularly damaging for younger lesbians who might be struggling with their sexuality and might be bullied into accepting sex with males.

I believe that women have the right of self-determination, and this right includes the absolute right to exclude males from our sex group.

I believe the definition of woman (adult female) is crucial to guarantee rights to women that are inextricably linked to our embodied experience as females. This is not biological essentialism, as faux-progressives and faux-feminists will say: the oppression of women as a class is intimately grounded in our biology, and to deny biology is to deny and erase our oppression, and allow males to colonise the very idea of female.

I believe gender is a collection of stereotypes, and I refuse to be reduced to my ‘gender’ (this yes a form of essentialism).

I believe sex is a biological fact and gender a social construct, and not the other way around.

I believe the penis is a male organ and the claim that transwomen are born in the wrong body and at the same time that the penis is female is the height of absurdity, and that this sort of illogical gibberish would get you kicked out of any university department, were it not that it has to do with gender theory.

I believe gender theory is the rancid by-product of neo-liberal academia and unsurprisingly it is funded by big Pharma.

I believe that the millions donated to academics and NGOs by right wing Republican Jennifer Pritzker, a man until the age of 63, have corrupted academic and public discourse.

I believe that women are women, and do not need a prefix to define themselves. I believe the people who ask us not to call ourselves women, lest we offend trans people, are engaging in a form of cultural genocide.

I believe asking women to refer to sex offenders as women is a form of group libel and to force victims to do so a further, extreme violence. Women do not rape. Women engage in sexual offences, especially against children, in extremely small numbers. Sexual violence is male violence, and 35% of women around the world are victims of it (and this is probably a conservative number) and have the absolute right to call it out for what it is.

I believe women have an absolute right to female-only spaces, and males have no right to try to invade those spaces on the basis of feelings. Woman is something you are, not something you feel. More girls died of female infanticide than people died in World War II (UN data) and they died because being female is something you do not choose.

For my beliefs, and for the following tweet:

I was suspended from Twitter indefinitely. It is clear that I am concerned here with ideology, not the community of transgender individuals. The doctors to whom the criticism is directed are probably not transgender, or not necessarily transgender.

I know many academics, especially females, agree with me but are afraid to say so. I know many women decide to be anonymous on Twitter because they are afraid of losing their jobs, or of the threats of violence and rape that accompany expressing feminist opinions (I have received them. The people who wished me dead or raped are still on Twitter, because apparently wishing a woman dead or raped is not hateful. Twitter does not protect sex as a category, only gender, but it seems that if you reject gender stereotypes, you also forfeit any protection as a woman).

I also know academics and students that believe in gender theory and I would like to engage with them, but many either ignored me, or blocked me, or accused me of being transphobic, or ignorant or incapable of understanding nuance (because obviously the cultish mantra that trans women are women is imbued with nuance).

To the ones who think I am wrong, I would like to ask if this is the model of academia and society they want, where a socialist feminist woman scholar is silenced for defending the rights of women.

Since June 2015 Alessandra Asteriti is Junior-Professor for International Economic Law at the Leuphana University Lüneburg. She is also a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Glasgow, School of Law. She taught at the University of Strathclyde, the Lucerne Academy for Human Rights Implementation at the University of Lucerne. Alessandra has an LL.M. (distinction) and Ph.D. in International Law from the University of Glasgow, an MA in the Theory and Practice of Human Rights from the University of Essexa and an MA (summa cum laude) in Ancient History from the University of Rome. She has worked as an archaeologist in Syria (Tell Mozan) and in Rome (Temple of the Magna Mater). In July 2017 Alessandra Asteriti became Programme Director for the Master in Governance and Human Rights at Leuphana Professional School. She is a member of the European Society of International Law and of the American Society of International Law