Waterstones is blasted for 'selectively censoring' books on feminism

Waterstones is blasted for ‘selectively censoring’ books about feminism after author Julie Bindel and trans row professor both hit out at store for not prominently displaying their work

  • Julie Bindel and Professor Kathleen Stock said their books were out of view
  • One reader said the decision by Waterstones was akin to ‘selective censoring’
  • Waterstones has refused to comment on why it has positioned the books 

Feminist authors including the professor at the centre of a trans harassment row claim they are being ‘selectively censored’ by bookshop Waterstones.

Both Julie Bindel and Professor Kathleen Stock hit out after reports their respective Feminism for Women and Material Girls were nowhere to be seen.

It came as readers looking to buy their work detailed how they were unable to find them in the big name high street store.

Waterstones refused to answer requests for a comment on what was happening in their shops. 

Ms Bindel said: ‘I’ve checked in 5 separate Waterstones around London if my book is where it should be, in alphabetical order/new hardback section, etc, and it is literally nowhere in sight.

‘But when I asked if they have it in stock, they all said “yes”, and got it from the back. What a disgrace.’

Prof Stock seemed equally exasperated and tweeted: ‘Any chance that bookshop managers could start showing some mettle by putting my reasonable and warmly-reviewed book .. on display in bookshops?’

Julie Bindel said she had checked branches for her book but says that they were all hidden 

Professor Kathleen Stock asked if bookshops would consider displaying her well-liked book

Prof Stock and Miss Bindel urged booksellers to stop hiding their work out of display

It came after Twitter user Benyamin12001 revealed their experience of looking for her publication in his north London branch of Waterstones.

They said: ‘Reading the book now. A young lady at the local Waterstones showed me where it was as her colleague didn’t want it too prominently displayed. It’s brilliant, easy to understand and comprehensively to the point. Which, sadly, is why they don’t want to read it.

‘Have been into this North London Waterstones sporadically over the last couple of months looking for either Joyce, Shrier or Stock, not finding them, I found I didn’t have the courage to ask, knowing of likely conversations. When I asked I got, in the manner described. Nice lady

‘Cancel culture? You decide, but the women who helped, still whispered and looked tense about a subject that really, shouldn’t be controversial. I would guess her and her colleague got on well otherwise, but this topic has become really difficult. Stock’s book is excellent btw.’

It prompted outrage with one reader asking Waterstones online ‘Is it your policy to selectively censor books?’ 

It came on the same day Labour’s shadow equalities minister has waded into the row over Sussex University prof Stock and sided with the transgender rights groups calling for her resignation. 

Waterstones has refused to say why it has positioned the books in such a hidden way

Signs have been put up in the pedestrian tunnel connecting Falmer train station to the university’s campus under the A27

Banners saying ‘Stock Out’ have been held alongside burning flares and scores of people have been criticising her under the Twitter hashtag #ShameOnSussexUni

In her own words: What does Kathleen Stock believe about gender and trans issues? 

Kathleen Stock explained her views on trans issues in written evidence to Parliament in November 2020 here:

  • Womanhood and manhood reflect biological sex, not gender or gender identity;
  • The claim ‘transwomen are women’ is a fiction, not literally true
  • Sexual orientation (being gay, being lesbian) is determined by same-sex attraction, not attraction to gender identity
  • Spaces where women undress and sleep should remain genuinely single-sex, in order to protect them;
  • Children with gender identity disorders should not be given puberty blockers as minors.

Labour’s Taiwo Owatemi, 29, wrote to a constituent explaining she was ‘greatly concerned’ by Stock’s involvement in the activist group LGB Alliance – who have previously been accused of ‘anti-trans’ policies. 

In her letter, the MP for Coventry North West, slams the ‘gender critical’ charity’s stance on LGBQT+ inclusive education, the non-binary community and teenagers being banned from using puberty blockers – and called for the group to be ‘rejected by all those who believe in equality’. 

Ms Owatemi admits she is ‘not familiar with Professor Stock’s ‘philosophical writings’ and blasts her employer, the University of Sussex, for backing the professor in her free speech row. 

In a later statement to The Guardian, she clarified: ‘I was clear in this letter that I was not passing judgment on Prof Stock’s academic work, and did not call for action to be taken against her.’ 

This week, Stock’s former union – the Sussex UCU – demanded university bosses take a ‘clear and strong stance against transphobia’, resulting in the professor warning they had ‘effectively ended her career’.

Their statement was in response to a poster campaign led by an anonymous pro-trans activist group demanding the university fire Stock for her ‘transphobic’ views after she called for safe spaces for women in her academic writing.  

Prof Stock was branded a ‘transphobe’ by outraged students, who erected posters denouncing her and called for her to be fired.

Signs put up last week in the pedestrian tunnel connecting Falmer train station to the university’s campus under the A27 said Prof Stock ‘makes trans students unsafe’ and ‘we’re not paying £9,250 a year for transphobia’.

Prof Stock has since been advised to teach her students online over fears for her security, and warned that her academic career has been ‘effectively ended’ by Sussex Union branch. 

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