Selected writing and talks

Gender bending

I recorded an interview with ABC Radio in Australia for their Philosopher’s Zone programme, on the topic of gender identity. We discussed the radical feminist analysis of gender, how this is in tension with the view that gender is innate and essential, and the resulting conflict between feminists and gender identity activists.

You can listen to it here.



Critically examining the doctrine of gender identity

A lecture I have given several times on the subject of gender identity, and on the problems of moving towards a model of self-declaration of one’s legal gender.


Here is audio of one version of the lecture:

Here is an earlier version, with slides (and quite poor quality video)

Sex and Gender: A Beginner’s Guide

My introductory guide to contemporary debates about sex and gender, and the implications of the notion of gender identity

Gender is not a spectrum 

The idea that ‘gender is a spectrum’ is supposed to set us free. But it is both illogical and politically troubling

Aeon 28 June 2016

Why self identification shouldn’t be the only thing that defines our gender

Making gender entirely a matter of self-definition effectively eradicates current legislation designed to protect women from discrimination and invasion of privacy

The Conversation 13 May 2016

Equality for trans people must not come at the expense of women’s safety

When the distinction between men and women becomes one of how you identify, then sex-based protections for women will disappear 26 January 2016

Comment: The attack on Germaine Greer shows identity politics has become a cult

The no-platforming of Germaine Greer shows any views outside the accepted mantras of identity politics are to be banished 28 October 2015

Rebecca Reilly-Cooper on Naomi Wolf: How the beautiful are damned

Naomi Wolf’s anger is animated by the question: how much more could talented, ambitious women achieve, if they could only free themselves from the chains of beauty?

New Statesman 16 May 2014

Sympathy for a wife-murderer: a feminist killjoy review of Fargo

The television adaptation of the Coen Brothers’ film exhibits an uncomfortable attitude to violence against women.

New Statesman 22 April 2014

The disheartening inevitability of a woman being shamed for eating in public

When a woman eats in public it violates all kinds of unwritten assumptions about how women “should” act, and gives licence to those who wish to shame them.

New Statesman 3 April 2014

Why is no one challenging the misogyny on Celebrity Big Brother?

The revelation that Jim Davidson, Evander Holyfield and Dappy from N-Dubz are acting like misogynists is hardly shocking. The depressing and dispiriting thing is how ordinary and everyday their attitudes are, and how little their behaviour was challenged.

New Statesman 13 January 2014