Ep: 152 - Trapped in a Language Cul-De-Sac with Kathleen Stock

The Fine Line Between Politeness and Truth Telling

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Join Sasha and Stella as they welcome Dr. Kathleen Stock for a captivating conversation navigating the complexities of identity, language, and authenticity. Kathleen has a compelling way of sharing her perspectives, personal experiences, and expertise in exploring the nuances surrounding gender identity, sexuality, and societal expectations.

Dr. Kathleen Stock is a contributing writer at UnHerd and the author of "Material Girls: Why Reality Matters for Feminism" (Little Brown 2021). Until October 2021, she held the position of Professor of Philosophy at the University of Sussex in the UK. Her earlier academic research focused on philosophical questions about sexual orientation, objectification, fiction, imagination, and pretense. She regularly discusses gender, gender identity, and sex, along with their effects on women and girls, in public writing and speaking engagements. She was awarded an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to higher education in 2020 and is a Founding Faculty Fellow at the University of Austin (UATX). Additionally, she is actively involved with The Lesbian Project — an organization dedicated to providing political representation to lesbians feeling marginalized within the broader LGBTQ+ community. The organization aims to conduct research that accurately reflects the experiences of lesbians and advocates for their visibility and recognition in policy discussions.

This conversation explores the concept of inclusive language and the complexities of navigating pronouns and gender identity in today's society. It delves into the language-based nature of the trans movement, its impact on women and girls, and the importance of understanding subjective reality. The discussion highlights the delicate balance between participating in someone's fiction and upholding the truth, especially in therapeutic and interpersonal relationships.

This episode delves into the idea of inclusion and exclusion and how these terms can have both emotional and practical implications. It emphasizes the importance of accurately categorizing and describing things in order to effectively communicate and navigate the world around us. A critical consideration is explored, warning against assigning implicit fragility to individuals by assuming that accurate language or descriptions of reality are inherently dangerous or harmful.

“It’s psychologically disastrous to send out the general message to people that language should be accommodated to their desires and their neuroses and their weaknesses and their vulnerability.”

As a nod to Dr. Stock’s academic expertise, in the context of gender studies and transgender issues, they discuss the detrimental effects of cherry-picking data, using dodgy methodology, and spreading misinformation to push a particular narrative. The discussion makes a case for the importance of practicing rigorous and unbiased research methods to gather and analyze data, leading to reliable and valid results. By upholding rigorous research standards, contributions are optimized to provide a better understanding of complex issues and promote empathy and understanding towards individuals with diverse identities and experiences. 

So much ground is covered, and intriguing questions are raised. But ultimately, a key theme emerges: the implicit importance of acknowledging and embracing the complexities of identity development. By recognizing the diverse ways in which individuals navigate their identities, we can create a more inclusive and understanding society. It is essential to approach discussions about identity with honesty, empathy, and openness, in order to support individuals in their journey of self-discovery and self-acceptance. And doing so simply cannot be achieved in the absence of the use of truthful, reality based language.

Resources & Links

@docstockk on X(Twitter)

"Material Girls: Why Reality Matters for Feminism" (Little Brown 2021)

Kathleen Stock at UnHerd

The Lesbian Project

Changing the concept of “woman” will cause unintended harms There are more things to consider than some trans activists would have you believe, argues Kathleen Stock, an academic

Kathleen Stock - Hounded Out for Trans Views, TRIGGERnometry

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