The NZ Herald columnist Rachel Stewart caused an uproar this week when she wrote about a push to gender self- identification, which she believes will undermine women.
The column is part of a belated but global trend for people to challenge juggernaut social change promoted by politicians and activists.
Stewart has a reputation for not suffering fools gladly, as they say.
But I thought her Herald comment piece was reasoned and calm.
Which is more than you can say for the reaction.
I agree with many of her points. I also worry about the mob mentality and emotional zealotry that is growing around self-identification, where men are women – if they say they are.
Women’s groups are suggesting that their human rights are being undermined, and they have been attacked by the Green Party.
Of course advocates are entitled to their opinion.
But Stewart’s views drew ugly attacks on her. With a few notable exceptions, media have failed to cover this fundamental story.
The trend pushes against he contagious and moral panic caused by social media – especially twitter.
Until recently Stuff treated it as a clickbait story.
One unquestioning article matter-of factedly reported a women who had transitioned with urgery to a man and was pregnant,. Critics of that journalism drew activist attacks.
Social media reaction to Stewart’s column was mixed and the criticism was sometimes bizarre.
A missive from Herald entertainment writer Siena Yates may have been the weirdest.
Let Me Just start by saying that if you and especially if you are trans I hope you are okay today,
I know for a fact some of you aren’t. Many of my queer co-workers – and myself – are distraught today forced to function in a workplace where ignorant and blatantly transphobic opinions are not only held but pubicised.
So I just wanted to tell the community that I am so sorry for what you have endured in general, but especially today.To let you know we still have voices in mainstream media. “We are as upset as you are, but we still fight on. And to let our trans whanau know that we are here for you are valid we see you and we have your back.
My giddy aunt.
She and other staff struggled to cope with a mainstream idea being discussed in the paper. They are in the wrong business. News media are not there to progect their sensibilities.
Like a lot of journalists and activists nowadays. Yates presents herself in a saviour role: There to protect the distressed and weak.
I hope and assume that the Herald will not cower to these self appointed virtuous folk or the abusers on social media.
I imagine Yates/ melodrama caused some raised eyebrows around the Herald.
If a rational opinion column was upsetting, how would they cope with a train crash?
The good news is that the uproar got an important topic into the mainstream.
Of course, there have had other zealous and censorious attacks.
The Pride march debacle – when a government MP ruling which women are allowed to attend the march next February.
The sacked Santa opined that a woman could not be Santa which is debafrable, but which is beyond the pale in the current environment.
This week RNZ music staffer Kirsten Johnstone, on Nine To Noon, was unhappy that there were too many white people producing music podcasts, She was tired of it, she said.