What’s Current: London receptionist sent home for refusing to wear high heels

Pain From High Heels

London receptionist sent home without pay for not wearing high heels. She states:

“I was expected to do a nine-hour shift on my feet… I said I just won’t be able to do that in heels…

… Twenty years ago women weren’t allowed to wear trousers in the same role that I’m doing now. And it’s only because some women spoke up about it and said: we feel like we have a right to wear trousers that that’s changed.”

French teen broadcasts her suicide online after naming her rapist. “I’m not doing it for the hype, I am doing it to send a message.”

Number of gender-noncompliant female children being referred to UK gender clinic nearly doubles number of male children, in the last year. The increase is in the 14+ age range of girls who are distressed by the onset of puberty and that they are treated differently. Psychologist Bernadette Wren explains: “We have young people here whose eating dips because they’re trying to delay puberty. Self-starvation is self-inflicted puberty suspension — a dangerous one.”

The foul reign of the biological clock:

“The story of the biological clock is a story about science and sexism. It illustrates the ways that assumptions about gender can shape the priorities for scientific research, and scientific discoveries can be deployed to serve sexist ends.”

Sheryl Sandberg admits she got it wrong with Lean In.

Susan Cox
Susan Cox

Susan Cox is a feminist writer and academic living in the United States. She teaches in Philosophy.

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  • Zuzanna Smith

    Self starvation to prevent the onset of puberty is bad and dangerous but puberty blockers are ok? What the hell is wrong with people?

  • michael

    Dang auto-correct. I meant to type “as a path to communism”.

  • NeuralNet

    That will teach the woman in question to wear high heels when expected.

  • Meghan Murphy

    It should be illegal to require people to wear attire that is proven to physically injure them! I mean, come on!

  • lk

    “At around 12, children may be given hormone blockers to postpone puberty….At around the age of 16, many will progress to hormone treatments”

    Why do perfectly healthy children need hormone blockers or hormone treatments?! Why do adults need to have their healthy genitalia removed or altered through expensive, unnecessary and risky surgery?

    Mental health counselors have the power to do so much good in the world + I know therapy helps millions of people (myself included), so I’m really disappointed when I see psychologists encouraging children and adults to buy into transgenderism. It’s really strange to me that mental health professionals are encouraging children to drastically alter their bodies instead of helping kids understand that they are not in the wrong body.

    “The service’s approach is multi-disciplinary, with psychologists, social workers, psychiatrists and psychotherapists.”

    You know what I’d really like to see these psychologists do at this gender identity clinic? Explain to vulnerable children (and their parents) who are trying to figure things out that 99% of the human race is male or female; that you can’t change your biological sex. Explain to these kids that boys and girls like all different kinds of things; that what you like does not determine if you are a boy or a girl; that really, really wanting to be a boy (or girl) doesn’t make you one.

    • fragglerock

      It’s ironic that we have one article about a woman fighting to be comfortable by not wearing heels and another article about teens and children practically killing themselves and mutilating their bodies to fit into some narrow gender stereotype. Is this a generational thing? What is going on?

  • Xodima

    The fucking comments in the second article are so disgusting. “Selfish”? what the everloving fuck. Even when a girl is driven to suicide, people want to blame her for making it an issue. This attitude is exactly why it happens in the first place. People just don’t care even when it costs the victim’s life. What kind of dystopian world are we living in when rape and the lives of victims are so ignored that people are only sad for a train being late?

  • will

    The stated position of the physician in the UK gender clinic story is incoherent.

    She notes that “society has become more binary in how we treat children. You see it with the proliferation of boys’ toys and girls’ toys. […] At a time when women are more able to exercise autonomy over their lives, their presentation is more gendered: with fashion and celebrities [it’s all] sexy and tight-fitting. The more women have a presence in society, the more they seem to have to tell people a different story by how they dress, and maybe even reassure men that ‘boys will be boys’ and ‘girls will be girls’”.

    She clearly acknowledges tighter and more oppressive socially-constructed gender roles for men and women and even puts them in the context of a backlash against women’s emancipation. She notes that one mother of a daughter supposedly in need of transition says “As a child I was a tomboy, climbing trees and playing football, and it wasn’t an issue. Now it seems to be.” She notes, “We have young people here whose eating dips because they’re trying to delay puberty. Self-starvation is self-inflicted puberty suspension — a dangerous one.”

    And yet she concludes that putting children on hormone regimes and permanently altering their sex organs is a healthy response to what she herself has identified as a clearly sick culture. How can intervening in a child’s healthy body so that child can “look in the mirror and feel like a bloke” be consistent with “do no harm”? This makes no more sense than skin whitening for people of colour as a response to white supremacy.

    Maybe instead of cutting up children and altering their endocrine systems, Dr. Wren and her colleagues could challenge the binary by supporting perfectly healthy children who are hurt by the enforcement of gender binary. Instead, they brutally reinforce that very binary by altering healthy young bodies to fit within it.

    I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but honestly – how can a person who is clearly not dumb and whom I believe means well, be so harmful?

  • Tangelo

    Good post.
    Why are so many doctors prescribing Ritalin to overactive boys? Why are so many doctors prescribing anti depressants to children? Why were women given drugs to induce a “twilight sleep” and then tied to their beds to labor and deliver, not so long ago? Why was my grandmother, who lived with epilepsy until her death, in danger of being sterilized, yup, in North America? As my gramps says, always follow the money, determine who is “marketing” the treatment, and look to who benefits. Who is benefiting most from these treatment protocols being mainstreamed?

    • will

      Not to contradict you, and certainly the destructive medical trends of any historic moment are thoughtlessly prescribed by otherwise intelligent physicians, but I think in this case it’s not as simple as material greed. Wren and Co work for the NHS gender clinic in London. It’s not a private clinic. Doctors in the UK, especially under NHS, do not make the exorbitant salaries that US doctors pull in, as far as I know. Perhaps a UK reader could clarify or correct me if I’m wrong.

      It seems there’s a disconnect of logic in her presentation of the current context – and she seems to be genuinely concerned with young people’s suffering. I just don’t see how she gets to the conclusion that she does.

      • Tangelo

        Nod, I don’t think all of the doctors working in “gender’ clinics are necessarily the main drivers of “born in the wrong body” informed treatment. Medical schools in the UK are now teaching this approach as “treatment” for confused children who think their preferences for toys and clothes typically used/worn by the opposite sex mean that they ARE the opposite sex.

        Some doctors are more invested in advancing the “born in the wrong body” narrative than others, Dr Johanna Olson for one.

        However, some group or groups are driving the political and media campaigns to have “gender dysphoria” accepted as a valid medical diagnostic category, and to have the “best treatment’ be one that includes attempts to make the child appear like the opposite sex, via hormones, puberty blockers and surgery. Who would that be?

  • Lucia Lola

    I had been very athletic as a young girl and to an extent, used that as a link to my much older father and closest in age sibling who was a male. Once puberty hit, they both, whether they want to acknowledge it or not, recoiled from me. Working through that and coming out of it with my love of sport and my love of self is still a work in progress for me. I think there are many of us out there, with variations of the same story, sadly.