A report on gender identity from one of Britain’s leading counselling bodies has sparked anger on Twitter
Activists have hit out at a report from one of Britain’s leading counselling bodies that defines women as “emotional” and “concerned with appearance”.
Guidelines from The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) also notes that northern women have a tendency towards “strength and aggression”.
Men, meanwhile, are described as being “rational”, “confident” and “sexual”.
The document was meant to give its counsellor members guidance on modern-day gender identity but instead provoked anger online.
It was shared by activist Karen Smith, who works for an organisation that employs BACP-accredited counsellors. She branded the excerpt “sexist bullshit”:
I’m further bloody angry (there goes my northern working-class assignation, you see) because the organisation I work for uses @BACP accreditation as an indication of skill and experience in the counsellors - and yet they are fed this sexist bullshit?! pic.twitter.com/6TX63kFv3h— Karen Ingala Smith (@K_IngalaSmith) August 30, 2018
“Being a woman in a British cultural context often means adhering to social norms of femininity, such as being nurturing, caring, social, emotional, vulnerable, and concerned with appearance,” the document reads.
However, it notes, “not all women adhere to all these things” and gives the example that “in some northern working-class contexts, femininity is associated with strength and aggression”.
Meanwhile “being a man”, says the document, is associated with a raft of attributes such as “being competitive, ambitious, independent, rational, tough”.
BACP’s definition of gender identity was also criticised by Sophie Walker, leader of the Women’s Equality Party.
Walker’s daughter is autistic and she slammed the outlines as “ludicrous and dangerous”.
This is ludicrous and dangerous. Particularly citing autistic women as a first example of what’s not a typical ‘empathetic/concerned with appearance’ woman which further entrenches ‘difference’. This is the damage that leaves so many needing counselling! Do better. Much better. https://t.co/lNytKPmhLA— Sophie Walker (@SophieRunning) August 30, 2018
BACP said it was currently amending the document.
“We, of course, apologise if anyone is offended by the content in this guide,” a spokesman told the Daily Mail.
“We are currently in the process of revising this guidance and are in contact with a range of different specialists, who are looking to add their expertise.”