This isn’t an ad for some ingenious contraceptive device. Nor is it, God forbid, a call to sexual teetotalism. It’s not even a complaint about young people becoming too hedonistic to have children.
Admittedly, however, this title could mean any of those things. That’s the occasional ambiguity of written language for you. If one is reluctant to italicise words for emphasis, there’s the danger of being misunderstood.
Had I spoken, rather than written, that phrase, you’d know what I mean. Because the operative and therefore accented word there would be not ‘pregnancy’, but ‘women’.
For, according to HMG, it’s not women who get pregnant. It’s people.
Now any dweller of a sane world, if either such a dweller or such a world could be found, would be perplexed. Please, sir, he’d say, addressing the government official responsible for creating this conundrum.
It’s true that all women are people, but it’s also true that not all people are women. In fact, about half of the people aren’t. Yes, sir, I realise that the word ‘man’ has been outlawed, either as a stand-alone unit or especially as part of offensive composites, such as fireman, postman or mankind.
But we don’t have to concern ourselves with that injunction now, do we? We’re talking about the other, better half of personkind, aren’t we? You know, those people who are born blessed with the reproductive organs uniquely suited to pregnancy.
Traditionally such people are called women, and that word hasn’t yet been outlawed, has it? In fact, a possible shorthand definition of women is people who can get pregnant. And a possible one-word definition of people who get pregnant is women. Or am I getting something wrong?
What planet are you from, mate? replies the official in the rude idiom we’re learning to expect from our civil servants. Yeah, fine, you can say ‘woman’ in some contexts, such as ‘abused woman’, ‘beaten woman’, ‘raped woman’.
But you bloody well can’t say ‘pregnant woman’ any longer. Haven’t you heard of the latest advances in medicine? We can now turn men into women and, more to the point, women into men.
Except that in the latter case we don’t have to go all the way. We can pump a woman full of testosterone to give her a luxuriant beard, cut her breasts off and sew on a penis of her choice (please, sir, may I have more?). But at the same time, we can keep all her female reproductive organs intact.
Hence she’ll look like a man, sound like a man, possibly brawl like a man, while still being able to get pregnant like a woman. What’s there not to understand?
And please keep to yourself all those scabrous jokes about this procedure giving a physical embodiment to the previously metaphorical expression ‘go f*** yourself’. We’re being serious here. There’s no call for puerile humour.
Hence the word ‘woman’ becomes as non-inclusive as the word ‘man’, and therefore, in this context, just as offensive. It offends women who exercise their human right to become men, while retaining their human right to give birth. Now you don’t want to be done for a hate crime, do you, mate?
No, sir, I certainly don’t. However, out of idle curiosity, how many freshly minted men have so far given birth in Britain, thereby claiming the right not to be offended?
Er… in round numbers, well, two. But so what? Numbers don’t affect the principle, do they? Anyway, before long we may have three or even four, and laws must be forward-looking, providing not only for the present but also for the future – while making a mockery of the past.
This is the essence of the latest development in the British version of the degenerative mental disorder called modernity. HMG has issued a stern objection to the wording of the UN’s Covenant on Civil and Political Rights that refers to protection for “pregnant women”.
While recognising the need for protection, our Foreign and Commonwealth Office opposes the term “pregnant women” because it may “exclude transgender people who have given birth”. So you see, I wasn’t being facetious.
This is yet another gender-bender initiative making the world safe for freakishly dystopic sideshows and disgusting for everyone else. “Yet another” means not the only one, and it certainly isn’t.
Last week, our PM, formerly a woman, but now any old part of the people, announced plans for amending the Gender Recognition Act to include a provision for people to “self-certify” their gender.
And there I was, thinking that ‘gender’ was strictly a grammatical category. Moreover, I was also under the impression that a duly instituted authority certifies a person’s sex according to the combination of chromosomes the person got from their [sic!] parents and ultimately from God.
However, as a lifelong champion of progress, I welcome this amendment and everything it signifies. But, not to get it terribly wrong in the future, I’d like some clarification.
If a person can ‘self-certify’ their [sic!] sex, is this a one-off chance, or can the person exercise maximum freedom and change the self-certification back and forth?
For example – and I hope my wife realises this is purely hypothetical – can I change my self-certification just for this afternoon, when I’m playing mixed doubles at my tennis club?
This would enable me – hypothetically, Penelope! – to get into the showers with my partner Sally, who, as our new crop of civil servants would probably describe her, is well fit. Just this once? And in the evening I could re-certify myself?
No? Well, I feel that my human rights are being violated. The UN Commission on Human Rights is going to hear about this.