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Dr Greta Sykes – The Taliban and Trans –
misogyny, new and old forms

Profile Sykes LEMag September 2021

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Live Encounters Magazine September 2021

Poet, writer and artist Greta Sykes has published her work in many anthologies. She is a member of London Voices Poetry Group and also produces art work for them. Her new volume of poetry called ‘The Shipping News and Other Poems’ came out in August 2016. The German translation of her book ‘Under charred skies’ has now been published in Germany under the title ‘Unter verbranntem Himmel’ by Eulenspiegel Verlag. She is the chair of the Socialist History Society and has organised joint poetry events for them at the Poetry Café. She is a trained child psychologist and has taught at the Institute of Education, London University, where she is now an associate researcher. Her particular focus is now on women’s emancipation and antiquity. Twitter: @g4gaia.      German Wikipedia: Greta Sykes.

An ancient epic history of love and power by Greta Sykes.
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Photo by Elin Tabitha on Unsplash

Photo by Elin Tabitha on Unsplash

The Taliban and Trans – misogyny, new and old forms

In August this year a young man shot dead five people in Plymouth, among them his own mother. Only two weeks earlier he had his gun licence and gun returned to him. He was known to use the incel site, men who claim it is women’s fault that they are not having any sex. He took revenge on innocent people to satisfy his own Ego. They had to die. Misogyny lives on in many men’s minds despite efforts towards equal rights of women. It continues in wage differences, in hate speech, within political Islam with its curtailments of women’s rights. It exists in the stories of young children. Both boys and girls tend to have a man as a main character in their writing (New Scientist, August 2021). New forms of misogyny are flowering in trends such as woke culture and the atomisation of identity politics into ever smaller splinters.

Recently we learnt in the news that the UK Green party has a new chair for women, Kathrin Bristow, and that her co-chair, Emma Bateman, was ousted for being ‘transphobic’. Kathryn has taken over, calling themselves the ‘Chair’. She has removed the rights of women to organise and discuss women’s matters claiming ‘I have to lock the ability of users to post comments due to the Equality Act.’

Meanwhile, the Taliban, freshly released from three years of the pretend Peace process by the US and its allies, giving them time to tighten up their organisation and, with the US leaving, are ready to use the left-over US equipment heading for Kabul to cut down the rights and freedom of women and others who object to their rigid Islamic control of life in their country. They promise one thing, but people tell us their slaughter and incarceration of women continues unabated.

Two different scenarios, one taking place in the rich world, the other in perhaps the poorest part of the world. What unites them both is the intrinsic attack on the self determination and freedom of women to decide their own fate, their education and their goals in life.

Two different scenarios, one taking place in the rich world, the other in perhaps the poorest part of the world. What unites them both is the intrinsic attack on the self determination and freedom of women to decide their own fate, their education and their goals in life.

While four fifth of the world’s populations are lucky when they have food and shelter and in the UK the division between rich and poor is worse than it has been for several decades, some people in the Western world are busily creating ever tinier minority campaigns vying for the attention of the media. The latter are only too happy to pick up every snippet of news to make sure discussions and rational debates about inequality don’t arise. Not surprisingly, when looking through a university library catalogue under ‘feminism’ new books appear that specify the direction the issue of women ought to move. It is taken for granted that the need for feminism and fighting for women’s rights is passe and out of date.

Men can also give birth; women can delay doing so by freezing their eggs. Sex is there to be defined according to whim, not nature. Some men’s toilets have buckets for sanitary towels. Woke and cancel culture help these new directions by engaging in moralising shitstorms which are designed to stop alternative views and calm debates. The example of the Green party is a case in point. Discussion is forbidden.

Moralising instead of formulating rational arguments is the trend of our time.

This leads to outbreaks of relabelling, renaming, removing statues, redefining music, stories, writers, as white or otherwise unacceptable. It is gesture politics. Such politics does not change the deep inequality that now fissures the UK. It has not raised the wages of NHS workers, bus and train drivers and a whole host of other low wage workers. It is a ‘feel good’ action that permits the person involved feeling on a high moral ground without actually improving anything.

The Trans in LGBT

Trans stands for people whose sex and gender differ. Some undergo chemical or surgical strategies to change their birth sex. Their publicity vastly exceeds their numbers. It is easy to see why their rise to fame is of concern. In Scotland the new schools’ directive states that children must be educated in trans matters. Laurel Hubbard is the first transgender athlete to compete in the Olympics in a different gender category to the one into which she was born.

Discussing such changes to one’s gender on the BBC a medical professional explained that a person who has grown up for over ten years as a boy will already have a body changed by male hormones. A human metabolism is complex and just lowering the level of testosterone artificially in the body may not make you into a woman, he said. Competing in the women’s team, however, will be likely to give you the advantage you need to be victorious.

The notion of universalism, the 99% of features that we all share as human beings, such as showing emotions in the same way all over the world so one can read someone’s emotion even if they grew up in a very different culture, is out of favour. Being part of the majority is also out of favour. The pressure from the media and shitstorms leads many to join a minority for social reasons, as not to be left out. Minorities can claim to be discriminated against, appear to be victims in a majority culture. They can set up an NGO and receive funds from people like Soros who are happy to do so.

Soils become deserts

Trans have more problematic implications. Apparently, it frees humans from the binary of male female. That in most cases chemical and surgical procedures need to be endured seems to matter little. Nature is declared as deficient, an all-too-common viewpoint which leads scientists constantly working on an ever-increasing number of technical or surgical fixes to improve it, waste resources and charge fees for. It is taking place in many fields of science and human endeavour. We are constantly improving soils, vegetables, seeds, but our rate of success is diminishing.

Soils become deserts, vegetables become tasteless and seeds are turned into terminator seeds where the farmer has no rights to grow from their own harvest. It has led us to the point where we are about to wreck the planet with our manipulations.

Unlike computers and machines generally we are part of nature, and nature is complex and dynamic, not binary. Among women there exists a multitude of differences – from petite feminine to muscular male looking – as there exists among men, from slim feminine appearance to muscular macho appearance. It suggests that we don’t need to operate or take chemicals to become different we are all different. Maleness and femaleness exist in a colourful variety all by nature. Under Hinduism the Hijra celebrate their diversity of hermaphrodites, eunuchs and others as a sacred mythological aspect of nature.

Goddesses of fertility and laughter

In the ancient world of Mesopotamia, we know there existed eunuchs, men, women, people who chose not to have sex, or to have sex with men and women or women only. This is not something needing to be invented or surgically produced. It happened as part of a natural development of a civilisation that became highly complex and creative. (Greta Sykes ‘The defeat of Gilgamesh’, 2020) my second novel, portrays all these aspects existing in ancient Iraq and Syria.

Most ancient societies had fertility goddesses, such as Hera, Cybele, or Demeter going back 60,000 years. While men and women are each individually uniquely male or female, women have the capacity for fertility, something men are not born to have. All of nature was celebrated for its fertility and rituals were set up throughout a year to honour the ability of nature to reproduce and humans lived in harmony with nature.

In Ancient Greece most tribes were matriarchic. Generations grew up being named after the mother in the female line. Even today some cultures maintain female control over wealth and land. The rights of women are closely aligned with equality in a society, that is the more rights women have the more equal is the society and vice versa.

Over the last two thousand years the status of women has gone up and down. The old matriarchic customs were based on a common culture and a sense of belonging. They were full of life, laughter and enjoyment. Sexual activity was not punished whichever way it was conducted.

The laughter, however, has gone out of Woke, Trans and the Green party’s women’s forum. The belonging has gone out of it. It has all become very serious and involves strict laws to keep people from saying things easily and freely or humorously. Similarly, laughter and happiness are leaving all those places where the Taliban erect their constitution of many sins and many laws. Warrior worship conquered matriarchic societies due to the easy access to rape and pillage, goods and slaves.

Today, in India and Pakistan young women frequently refuse to dress as women and instead wear men’s clothing and act and behave as men do. The reason is obvious. Women are treated as inferior citizens, often endure domestic abuse, suffer from frequent child birth and hard labour.

During the decades of Socialism in the GDR (German Democratic Republic) women and men had a high level of equal rights. Godhsee writes in her book ‘Sex is better under socialism’ (2019)

“Socialists have long understood that creating equity between men and women despite their biological sex differences requires collective forms of support for child rearing,” she writes. In East Germany, for example, the state supported integrating women into the workforce with policies that subsidised housing, children’s clothing, groceries and childcare. This support also meant that women could more easily consider having children without waiting for marriage.

The burning planet

This year the global warming events with fires and floods has brought home to everyone that humans are destroying the very home we live in. The recent report by the IPPC called their report ‘code red’ for high alert. In order to stop the destruction, we need every person and every organisation and government to make immediate changes to how waste and fossil fuels are used. We have reached the end point of male warrior fantasies of rape and pillage.

Women have begun to shape much of our Western world through fighting for equal rights and higher status and respect. It is uncanny that just at the moment when more women in parts of the world are gaining more rights small groups of men and women are demanding the right to relabel themselves as being of a different sex than how they were born.

A friend recently reported to me that in one London establishment women’s toilets has been turned into male and female toilets, while the men’s toilet remained only for men. A safe space for women to go to the toilet has been removed. Not surprisingly, people who work with children feel concerned for their wellbeing and some countries (Hungary) have drawn up laws that prevent early indoctrination into the existence of transgender strategies.

Why is this the case? Because in an already confusing and chaotic society that is unequal with a low sense of belonging, the mere consideration of having to make up one’s mind as to what gender one would like to have, as if it was a matter of going shopping, is a burden too far. Choices is a tool to keep profits and sales going up and thus is endangering the planet.

Researchers found that children prefer to write about a boy as a main character (New Scientist August 2021)? Why? It is because most stories, films and adventures have a male as the main protagonist. It means all girls learn that a man is more important than a woman. Now women’s toilets are open to men as well. Trans people may choose to become men to become more powerful. However, in the world of sport men will tend to chose to become a woman to give them the extra edge. Similar to the end of history, The Trans group come close to declare the end of women, as we know them and whose rights we fought for.

Women are now no more than accidentally gendered females in a male world still focused on rape and pillage and deeply unequal. The artificial manipulation with our human beingness is not just a trap to make money out of people, but also a contempt of nature. It is a media campaign to focus our attention on our individuality, rather than on us as a species with 99% of common characteristics who need to unite to fight erroneous and dangerous ideologies and culture/woke culture wars that mislead.

The Taliban

From the early 1980s the CIA handed over billions of dollars to warlords in Afghanistan like Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. They were notorious for throwing acid on female students’ faces in order to topple the Soviet backed government that tried to provide women with free education.

After the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Centre in New York the US decided that the perpetrators came from Afghanistan and their bombing campaign against the Taliban began. The Taliban are believers in the strictest Islamic rules, meaning no music apart from Islamic music, strict rules for conduct at home or outdoors.

Women’s rights over their own body their own sexuality, abortion, contraception is strictly forbidden. They must wear veils, burkas, not go to school or university, not work, be locked into their own home and have little outdoor life. Reinforcements of their rules no mercy and appeals to human rights are pointless. They include cutting off heads, beatings, throwing acid in women’s faces, cutting of hands, running vehicles over people, knifing citizens.

Their ideology includes an extreme form of iconoclasm. Art works, architectural buildings, all types of images are destroyed during their campaigns.

Taliban and Trans misogyny

While the Taliban and Trans focus on women takes different forms, one an ancient warrior glory fantasy, the other a product of late capitalism’s cultural flight into splinter groups, they achieve similar results, some intentional others unintentional. They both form an ideological campaign against women’s rights over their own body. Women are the subjects of outside agencies that wish to determine their life, their freedom, their sexuality. Primo Levi comments:

‘Every age has its own Fascism, and we see the warning signs wherever the concentration of power denies citizens the possibility and the means of expressing and acting on their free will. There are many ways of reaching this point, not just through the terror of police intimidation, but by denying and distorting information, by undermining systems of justice, by paralysing the education system…’

We see in both Taliban and Trans fascistoid developments. Splinter groups in the West and Taliban barbarity in poorest parts of the world are both maintained by the stranglehold of the arms industry which is maintaining inequality and poverty all over the world. People’s taxes are used to feed the weapons manufacturing. Without them the Taliban could not fight. Splinter groups who don’t have support from the media would die back. We could focus on our real enemy. The arms manufacturers and their constant drift into war. We could focus on inequality and finally get rid of it.

Carlo Levi’s in his book ‘Christ stopped at Eboli’(1941) shows us the darkness that we have entered with the class struggle deeper than ever with one percent of the people owning ninety-nine percent of the world’s riches. A world where wars are threatened upon us on a daily basis in our media and the weapons industry is flourishing as never before. A world where nature and the spiritual are being destroyed. The Fascism of our time is visible to those who are closely looking. Carlo Levi speaks to us with the language of a poet to remind us of our sense of freedom and compassion as creatures of nature.

© Greta Sykes