ESSENTIALISING BULLSHIT

I suppose the story of Tara Hudson is old news now that she is serving her sentence in a women’s prison.  I am not going to say anything on what she did or about whether a brief custodial sentence was appropriate although some might think that prisons are overcrowded enough and that sentences like this are ultimately pointless. Neither will I say anything about the idiotic decision to send her to a male prison simply because she hasn’t gone through the hassle and expense  of obtaining a gender recognition certificate when prison regulations already allow transgender prisoners without certificates to be considered on a case by case basis, and particularly where prisoners have already embarked on the process of physical transition.

No, I want to talk about something else. You see, I took it as read that people, or thinking people at any rate, would consider the decision to transfer Tara to a women’s prison to be the correct one. Then I stumbled across a discussion on Twitter. I should perhaps have realised that some radical feminists would have a problem with this, as they seem to believe that   trans women are men pretending to be women to access women only spaces. The argument was that violent men who transition remain violent and by their continuing to commit acts of violence prove that they are still really men. Which, in effect is saying that committing violence is a man thing.

Men are perpetrators, women, if they are involved at all, are victims.  On this analysis men and women are essentially and fundamentally different ab ovo .  This assigning of behavioural characteristics on the basis of biological sex seems however strangely at odds with the usual radical feminist  claim that transgenderism is damaging precisely because the aim of feminism is the abolition of gender roles which transgender people reaffirm by their very transition. It is not clear how you can consistently argue that gender is a social construct at the same time as holding that certain types of behaviour are inherently linked to the genitals you were born with.  Not for the first time radical feminism appears mired in contradiction.

This all reminds me of a discussion I had in the bar during my student days. One student, a self proclaimed anti-feminist Marxist expressed forcefully his view that much contemporary feminism was “essentialising bullshit.” Reading some of these rad fem tweets about Tara Hudson it was hard not to agree.

Stuffed Pheasant with Swede and Ginger Mash

SERVES FOUR

INGREDIENTS 

One hen pheasant with giblets(preferable to cocks as the meat is more tender)

One medium onion

Chopped walnuts

For the Sauce

100 ml single cream

One small glass brandy

A little flour

For the Swede Mash

One large swede

Root Ginger

Honey

Butter

Method

Remove any remaining feathers from the pheasant taking care not to tear the skin.Season and smear with oil.

Chop the onion and walnuts and use to stuff the bird.

Roast (Gas Mark Five) or an hour or until the juices run clear. Be careful not to overcook the bird otherwise the meat will become too dry.

While the bird is in the oven fry the giblets with a a couple of tablespoonfuls of flour. Add 400 ml of water and bring to the boil. Simmer for an hour then strain, season, and stir in the cream and brandy.

When the pheasant is cooked, cut into four pieces sing poultry shears and place in an oven proof dish. Pour over the sauce, cover  and place in the oven on a low hear for 20 minutes or so.

Chop the swede into small pieces and boil until soft. Drain, add butter and chopped root ginger and a little honey. Mash, place in a small oven proof dish and bake for half an hour.

Serve with roast potatoes and another vegetable of choice. (Sprouts go well).

As for wine the Montepulciano d’Abruzzo from Aldi goes well (and it’s only £3.49 abottle!)

A Soup for Christmas

Food too is a temptation and good food a sensual delight that goes hand in hand with the pleasures of the flesh. Try this soup as a starter before the turkey.

SOUTH TYROLEAN CHESTNUT SOUP (serves four)

Ingredients:

Two carrots peeled and finely chopped

One leek finely chopped

400g chestnuts (preferably the ones you get vacuum packed) finely chopped

Icing sugar (sprinkling)

50 g butter

150 ml white wine

500 ml beef stock (or vegetable if you need to)

250ml single cream

One grated nutmeg

One teaspoon  cinnamon

Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Melt the butter in a pan and add the chestnuts. Sprinkle with the icing sugar and cook until glazed.

Add the carrots and leek and fry until soft.

Add the nutmeg and cinnamon and pur in the wine.

Bring to the boil and add the stock.

Add the cream and simmer on a low heat for 20 minutes or until everything is nicely soft.

Blend in a liquidiser and serve immediately.

And as they say in the South Tyrol

Guten Appetit/Buon Appetito!!