Gender Studies Scholar Tells Women To Stay Home If They Don’t Want To Encounter A Penis In Female-Only Spaces

Natasha Biase

An influential gender studies scholar is facing backlash for telling a lesbian activist to stay in her house if she has concerns about trans-identified males in female spaces. At an event in San Francisco, California, on Thursday, Judith Butler told Amanda Kovattana that “the penis is not a dangerous instrument” after she asked why lesbians can’t have a “dick-free space.”

According to the Daily Mail, Butler, who believes gender is a social construct, was questioned by Kovattan at a lecture hosted at the Sydney Goldstein Theatre. Butler had been invited to speak on her philosophies and promote her latest book “Who’s Afraid of Gender?” which discusses the “attacks on gender” that have become “central to right-wing movements” in recent years.

“If gender is to liberate us, why can’t I, as a lesbian, have a dick-free space? A space that is for women only, without penises?” Kovatanna asked Butler. “A space that is for women only, without penises.”

Pausing for several seconds, Butler, who began identifying as non-binary in 2020, responded: “I think you can do that in your home.”

Waiting for the applause to stop, Butler continued: “I hope and trust that you don’t have a son with a penis. I think you are free to say that. You are free to say it here, and you are free to say it out loud.”

Continuing, she said: “I do wonder, maybe you wonder, about what is the danger of the penis,” adding that “the penis is not a dangerous instrument.”

While she acknowledged the reality of rape, Butler, a self-proclaimed feminist, went on to state that she “doesn’t reduce people to their anatomical parts.

Butler’s statements sparked immense pushback on X from many who were appalled by her attempts to minimize the dangers of allowing males into female-only spaces.

“Kind of blown away by how stupid Judith Butler is. I mean, clearly she’s a hack. She evangelizes, mashes all the right buzzwords together to say absolutely nothing. And the brain-dead audience claps like a colony of seals,” wrote journalist Ben Appel.

“Judith Butler is basically shaming female prisoners who want men to be housed in men’s prisons, lest they be raped in those men’s prisons. Don’t be so selfish, ladies! Surely you can take a sexual assault so he doesn’t have to?” added gender-critical activist Meghan Murphy.

According to many gender-critical activists, Judith Butler’s theories have played a key role in disrupting women’s rights, with many accusing her 1990 book “Gender Trouble” of paving the way for the inclusion of trans-identified males in female spaces.

Speaking with The Guardian in 2021, 31 years after the book’s release, Butler explained that “the category of woman can and does change.”

Continuing, she expressed that the only way to secure more liberties for women is to “rethink the category of ‘women’ to include those new possibilities” and that women should not oppose expanding the category of women to include trans women.

“So we should not be surprised or opposed when the category of women expands to include trans women. And since we are also in the business of imagining alternate futures of masculinity, we should be prepared and even joyous to see what trans men are doing with the category of ‘men.’”

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