News flash: Suffering is not a competition, regardless of what Julie Burchill and her ilk would have you think. Suffering is not really something you can quantify and compare and, even if it were, what would be the point?
Burchill, Suzanne Moore, and Julie Bindel recently have gotten into an(other) argument with transgender women, who they feel are bullying what Burchill terms “natural-born women”. Burchill also seems to have an issue with people who have PhDs, and she refers to them as “[e]ducated beyond all common sense and honesty”, perhaps due to some inferiority complex, and/or an inability to recognise the importance of education.
The main concern here is that in a recent article in the Observer, Burchill suggests that transgender women don’t have the right to talk about being women or to complain or to compare themselves to other women, and in particular, to cisgender women, a term which means women whose birth sex aligns to the gender they feel themselves to be (and note to Burchill: “cis” comes from Latin and means “on this side”, rather than having anything to do with cysts, so this is a case where a little more education would be helpful and certainly not “beyond all common sense”).
In her piece, Burchill goes on to say: “We know that everything we have we got for ourselves. We have no family money, no safety net.” “We” refers to her and her friends, and also seems meant to encompass other cisgender women. In other words, she implies that transgender women don’t work for what they have and that they all must rely on family money.
While that is, of course, patently ridiculous, what is at the heart of this argument is the definition of a woman. And I’m not sure about why this is worth arguing about to the extent that some people believe it is.