Accidents of biology

In 1990, Dan Logan, executive director of the men’s rights group Free Men, made the following killer argument:

We always treat reproductive rights as a women’s subject and something they control. I think the fact that women carry a womb in their body is an accident of biology. It could just as easily have been men.

Can’t fault that logic, can you? Yes, there might be only one class of human beings who gestate, but there might not have been. It’s all totally arbitrary, so best not to go making legal arguments on the basis of reality. This is, after all, only one of an infinite number of possible worlds.

25 years later, and Logan’s case for pretending human reproduction is completely random is now being made by trans activist CN Lester on Newsnight. “The idea of sex as we know it now really emerged in the nineteenth century in French sexology,” they opine. “The idea of male and female is far more complicated than what we were taught in GCSE biology.” Thus it would be foolish to go claiming that, say, people with uteruses are more likely to get pregnant than people with penises. Sure, this might be what actually happens, but “proper” sex is, like, way more complex. It’s pure coincidence that me, you, Lester and everyone else on the planet had to start life in the TERFy environs of someone’s womb. It could just as well have been via the stork. Only it wasn’t.

It’s not that anyone minds the fact that only one group of people gestate, give birth and breastfeed. Just as long as they STFU about it. Sure, the female role in reproduction is hard and sometimes it might kill you, but it doesn’t do to make a big deal of it. Aristotle had the right idea, arguing that women were just the potting soil in which the active male principle could grow. That’s far more inclusive, right? Let’s all deny the existence of a reproductive class, since it’s not as though that will stop us benefiting from their labour. It just removes the need to attach any status or significance to it, while also clearing the way for some healthy free market exploitation. Continue reading