Artillery Row

A libel against women

There is no sudden outbreak of female flashers

Even in these times of unprecedented equality between the sexes, women lag far behind men in the flashing stakes. Perhaps exposing one’s flaps is just a bit of a faff, or maybe women feel the cold more. Ultimately, whatever the reasons, indecent exposure is a resolutely male crime. Yet too often those with a duty to inform the public and bring criminals to justice coyly skirt around this bare fact. 

The Daily Mail avoids language which might offend child abusers

Earlier this week readers of the Nottingham Post were warned about a flasher who stood in a branch of House of Fraser and pulled up “their skirt”, “exposing their private parts in public”. Revealingly, both the statement from the store and the coverage in the local paper were scant on details. Nowhere in the reporting was it made clear that the be-skirted kinkster was in fact a man, and that the “private parts” referred to the categorically male penis and testicles. An unobservant reader would’ve been left either confused, or perhaps made the lazy but not unreasonable assumption that the clothing choice indicated the “person” was a woman. 

Just a few months previously, British Transport Police (BTP) refused to confirm that a suspected flasher dressed in a wig and skirt was male, or indeed what type of genitals he had exposed to two teenage girls. A police spokesperson somewhat sniffily told Mail Online that the paper “did not need further descriptions” after issuing the appeal. More concerningly still, at around the same time Home Secretary Suella Braverman was forced to intervene when Sussex Constabulary reprimanded Twitter users who dared to point out that convicted serial child abuser John Stephen Dixon, now known as “Sally Ann”, was in fact a man. The force did eventually apologise. 

Even when frothing with righteous fury, the Daily Mail still panders to preferred pronouns and avoids language which might offend child abusers like Dixon — words like “he”, “his” and “man”. Presumably staff at the paper are mindful of IPSO trans guidance which asks editors “have you used the pronouns the individual uses to describe themselves in your story?” and perhaps of their own policy. It is not unreasonable to question how such decisions fit with the first clause in the Editors’ Code, which demands accuracy.

Clearly, an idea has caught hold that it is discriminatory to mention differences between male and female behaviour, and that stereotypes must be shunned. This mindset can be read into the grisly awareness-raising posters from police forces which make such fatuous claims as “anyone can be a victim or perpetrator of domestic abuse”. Technically this is of course correct, just as in principle a woman with the requisite flexibility, specialist clothing and the desire to do so could flash her labia to a stranger. But the coy “gender neutral” approach obscures the truth that it is overwhelmingly women who are forced to flee from male partners in fear of their lives — and that regardless of their clothing choices, it is men who flash their penises in public.

Another observation deemed impolite to mention is that there’s a correlation between adopting a trans identity and being imprisoned for crimes of sexual violence. Mar Vickers chewed the recently released Census data for Wings Over Scotland and found: transwomen are five times more likely than other men, and 566 times more likely than women, to commit sexual offences”. Of course, it would be unfair to smear individual men who identify as trans as sex offenders, but it would equally be naïve to ignore the pattern. 

In a democracy, such decisions ought not be theirs to make

This new taboo on mentioning sex extends far beyond the mainstream media and police — it has penetrated every sector of society. There is an irony that talking about having sex is considered acceptable even in Primary School classrooms, but mentioning differences in behaviour between the sexes risks being sent to Stonewall for re-education. Swipe on any dating app and you’re as likely to read “DDLG” (daddy dom/little girl) as you are “GSOH” (good sense of humour). Yet from Hinge to Tinder, if you dare to specify the biological sex of a prospective partner, your account is likely to be suspended. 

Not mentioning sex is the preferred method for those who don’t want to do the heavy lifting of acknowledging and perhaps challenging sexism. As ever, it’s tempting to ask “who benefits?”

Perhaps the editors, police chiefs and assorted thickos in positions of authority believe that by spreading lies and obscuring the truth, they are doing a public service — taking the decisions out of the grubby and bigoted hands of the hoi polloi. They slowly and repeatedly tell us that men are women because they have been flattered into the belief that they know best, and that the sacrifice is necessary to build a more tolerant society. In a democracy, such decisions ought not be theirs to make. 

The truth belongs to all of us; it is too important to be held hostage by a tiny minority who insist that facts are harmful. Those who identify as trans of course ought to be able to live free from discrimination. But the price for that cannot be the truth. It must not be given away.

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