This is not about Suzanne Moore, or her brief, incendiary reference to Brazillian transsexuals, or the inevitable Twitter rage-fest which followed. This is about Julie Burchill and her astonishingly dim view of women outside her small field of experience. This is the power of my female rage.
Julie Burchill, a self-identifying 'working-class woman', ignited the righteous fury of the internet when she wrote for the Observer in defence of Suzanne Moore. According to Burchill, Moore was 'driven' from Twitter by a 'bunch of dicks in chicks' clothing'. Ignoring the fact that bullying is perpetrated by individuals and not an entire sub-group of feminists, Burchill decries all 'trannies' for their hateful tweets, and does so by resorting to vitriolic and crude representations of the transcommunity.
Suzanne Moore, rather than being misguided in her use of transsexuals to illustrate a point about body image, is now 'brilliant' and 'picked on'. By comparison, transsexuals who only 'imagine' that they're women, apparently 'are bed-wetters in bad wigs' only 'lashing out' at poor Suze because they have a difficult relationship with their 'phantom limb'.
Her thoughts reach a guttering low when she compares 'a gaggle of transsexuals telling Suzanne Moore how to write' to 'the Black and White Minstrels telling Usain Bolt how to run.' Did Burchill fall down and smack her head on the pavement before she wrote this article? Considering her next port of call is 'wretched inner-city kids', who she vividly stereotypes as given to shooting one another in fast food chains, it would certainly seem that way.
That Burchill would sneer quite so smugly at these 'inner-city kids' is mind-boggling. Not only does she self-define as working-class, but she gladly uses this background in Moore's defence. As she says, "we have no family money [ ] and we are damned if we are going to be accused of privilege." Allow me, please, to choke briefly on my fury that 'working-class origins' can apparently be used as a weak dismissal of any criticism from minority groups. Bully for you, bitch
I grew up in council housing, I attended a state school so large that I was lost in the education system my whole damn childhood, and you won't catch me saying shit about 'chicks with dicks'.
In Julie Burchill's narrow world, transsexuals are tacky gruesome men only playing at gender identity. After all, what do they know of premenstrual syndrome or sexual harassment, defining as such experiences apparently are of the entirety of the female gender. Her discourse places 'natural-born women' above the 'imagined women' who fall outside her black-and-white category of the feminine.
What Burchill fails to realise is that gender isn't binary: never has been, never will be. She's so stuck on being a woman that she's yet to realise that she doesn't really know what that means. For many people, gender means more than a petty complaint about period pain. Gender can be fantastic, difficult, painful, and as much as anything else, uniquely constructed.
Burchill took for granted that her feelings would be representative of her fellow 'born women'. The outraged response, which has lead to a Observer inquiry into possible hate speech, has proved otherwise.
And the wigs? For the most part, they're glorious.