Author: Emma C Williams

On Privilege and Being Human

Thinking itself is the privilege of being human. Our intellectual ascendency defined us as a species and is inextricably linked to our success and our ability to connect with one another. Everything that nature can bestow upon us in our human lifespan is also a privilege: intelligence, youth, a healthy mind in a healthy body. The most basic human rights that we take for granted are, in reality, privileges afforded to the most fortunate members of our species: adequate shelter, a clean water supply, an education and freedom. As Aristotle acknowledged, it’s impossible to avoid the fact that a basic level of comfort is usually necessary to facilitate any real freedom of thought. If every scrap of our energy is spent upon basic survival or averting imminent disaster, there is precious little time for navel-gazing. Genius though he was, Aristotle’s world was culturally narrow in comparison to ours; yet he realised that the times he spent frequenting the shady colonnades of the gymnasium were opportunities afforded to him as a result of his privileged lifestyle …

When Safe Spaces Collide with Germaine Greer

Twitter has spoken. Germaine Greer is both hateful and an irrelevance, a washed up old has-been with nothing more to offer us but some poisonous views on her narrowing world. Strident, inflammatory, provocative, opinionated – in numerous ways, Greer is difficult to like. She annihilates men and belittles other women, shooting down feminist allies from Friedan to Weldon. She wrote off Susanne Moore as nothing more than “fuck-me shoes and three fat inches of cleavage.” In short, she is terrifying – to all of us, not just to trans women, about whom she can be so breathtakingly offensive. But when people are putting their names to an online petition accusing her of “misogynistic views” it’s hard not to feel that the world has gone mad. This is not the first time that Greer’s unpleasant stance on trans women has led to controversy. Recent events at Cardiff University reflect a similar row some months ago when the Cambridge Union was petitioned to withdraw Greer’s invitation to speak. Greer has long refused to acknowledge the identity of …