Flat White

Make choking women bad again

15 September 2021

6:06 PM

15 September 2021

6:06 PM

I am going to comment on a fight I didn’t watch — I’m not sorry, can’t bear to watch. I hate fighting; I know nothing about MMA and I don’t have any interest in it. What has taken my interest, is the spectacle of blokes beating up women to cultural acclaim. I am referring to 38-year-old transgender identified male Alana McLaughlin winning in their remarkable MMA debut with a “rear-naked choke” on more experienced female Celine Provost.   


Usually, I go on about how the blurring of sex and gender has brought us to this crazy town. But today the glaring issue I can’t see past is the way western cultural institutions have so rudely assumed complete authority over defining gender meanings in culture, culture that naturally belongs to the people. By gender I mean the cultural meanings that we give to sex.  I do not mean “gender identity” here, which is a modern term for the individually owned “feels” that we are supposed to have about what sex stereotypes we relate to, and what toys we liked as children.   

Unlike “gender identity”, “gender” is publicly owned; it is the way specific cultures understand the two sexes. It is the way we engender boys and girls with ways of understanding what our societies expect of them. It varies with religious and cultural groups, but there are some broad understandings and agreements that change over time. Gender is the cultural agreement we have among ourselves of positive and safe role models and archetypes that we encourage boys and girls to cling to.  

Gender is regularly dismissed as evil by gender critics, but in abandoning gender, we are handing our children to the mad scientists. Gender is a part of the human condition, there are ways we can offer children gender as a suggestion rather than a rule, and encourage fact-based, safe, empowering and useful gender meanings in our culture.  

Currently, we have gender being mandated and locked into rigid identity frameworks that legally protect it as a type of soul that lives in differently sexed bodies. Unfortunately for women, the female gender is only legally protected in males, and they are completely restructuring the meanings we need to hand our daughters to keep their female bodies safe.  

Alana McLaughlin is not the first trans-identified male to gain fame for publicly beating up a woman.  Fallon Fox had the first honour, and in doing so left Tamikka Brents with a concussion, an orbital bone fracture, and seven staples in her head.  Then, as now, we faced the jarring reality our eyes see over the gender meanings that are being mandated from on high.  

We are told by our government and media masters that female gender comes from within and over-rides male sex completely when present.  We are led to believe that a feminine gender identity totally abates male pattern risk to women in all areas. Our eyes and ears, however, see a completely different reality, and our instincts recoil with the gender meanings handed to us from generations passing, that a man should under no circumstances hit a woman.  

From both McLaughlin and Fox we have made comments following their fights, echoing the narrative of progressive media and institutions, but tinged with a remarkably aggressive tone. When fighter Jessica Eye stated that she didn’t’ think it was fair that Fallon Fox was fighting with women, Fox tweeted “@jessicaevileye Unless you wanna fight me in the cage. Shut your damn mouth.” Fox went on to say that the thought of using Jessica as a punching bag was sexually arousing, and that Fox loved the idea of busting Jessica’s “mouth wide the f**k open in the cage. Because she frigging deserves it”.  

McLaughlin has given the same kind of response to women’s concerned about the images of a grown man choking a woman in a cage and having it packaged as “progress”.   McLaughlin TweetedTransphobes are just making my block hand stronger”.  In other words, the punch will be harder next time with these women in mind.  It all sounds like bog-standard posturing that women would generally consider a red flag for a violent, abusive male.  

You know, I am not even that angry with these guys, because they are behaving in the way violent males have always behaved.  Domestic violence statistics couldn’t possibly be the level that they are without the existence of violent controlling males that enjoy hitting, threatening, and controlling women. It’s not “all men”, but it is definitely these guys.   

What I am angry about, is that this is legal and culturally sanction behaviour.  Our institutions are deliberately lying to girls about risks to their personal safety from males.  I am angry that this is a purposed enshrining of gender norms in populations that are harmful to women and girls.   

The Guardian has done a very sympathetic portrayal of McLaughlin as a vulnerable feminine, weak child who was denied the opportunity to medicalise his gender variance. Sadly, McLaughlin was sexually abused, and later traumatised as a soldier in Afghanistan.   

As a child, McLaughlin should never have been abused or shamed for his gender nonconformity, neither should any boy. But allowing men to punch and choke women for sport, will not heal the wounds of gender non-conforming males, and I will not tell girls that it will.  The Guardian quoted Mclaughlin saying “I really want to help normalize trans people in sports. This [fight] will start my contribution.” I have no objection to trans people in sport, I would be surprised if anyone does.  But men need to make room for trans-identified males in their own sport.  

The biggest risk to violence and murder a woman will ever face is from a male, and more specifically from a male intimate partner.  Without the ability to define sexual boundaries and the cultural consensus to have her instincts about danger in males validated, women and girls are at greater risk.  A society that indulges this gender nonsense to the level that it encourages the mass gaslighting of girls and women out of factual understandings and natural instincts, is in serious trouble.  But I don’t believe we are okay with this.   

I believe most people know that trans women are men and are perfectly comfortable with men and women living openly with trans identity and in gender nonconformity.  I also believe that most citizens in western nations do not believe there is a natural or legal right to have our legal and cultural institutions lie to girls and boys about the way sex works, and what risk looks like.  This is a top-down movement, and it needs grassroots resistance.  

Ever the progressives, The Guardian have this week reported with justifiable outrage that men in Britian are getting shockingly low sentences for killing women by providing such mitigating circumstances as the use of choking during sex. They asked, without a hint of irony, “Are any judges even a tiny bit sorry for the way their colleagues have indulged male violence against women?” Well may they ask. 

Edie Wyatt has a BA Hons from the Institute of Cultural Policy Studies and writes on culture, politics and feminism. She tweets at @MsEdieWyatt and blogs at ediewyatt.com.

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