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Waterstones is criticized for ‘selectively censoring’ books on feminism

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Feminist authors, including the professor at the center of a trans-harassment row, claim they are being “selectively censored” by Waterstones bookstore.

Both Julie Bindel and Professor Kathleen Stock took a hit after reporting that their respective Feminism for Women and Material Girls were nowhere to be seen.

It came when readers who wanted to buy their work described in detail how they could not find it in the big store on the high street.

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

“But when I asked if they had it in stock, they all said ‘yes’ and got it from behind. What a shame.’

Prof Stock seemed annoyed for a moment and tweeted: ‘Is there any chance that bookstore managers can show some courage by displaying my reasonable and warmly reviewed book.. in bookstores?’

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

Professor Kathleen Stock asked if bookstores would consider displaying her beloved book

Professor Kathleen Stock asked if bookstores would consider displaying her beloved book

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

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

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

They said, ‘I’m reading the book now. A young lady at the local Waterstones showed me where it was because her colleague didn’t want to show it too prominently. It’s brilliant, easy to understand and completely to the point. Unfortunately, that’s why they don’t want to read it.

‘I’ve been sporadically in these North London Waterstones for the past few months looking for Joyce, Shrier or Stock but couldn’t find them, found I didn’t have the courage to ask, knowing of likely conversations. When I asked I got it, in the way described. Nice woman

‘Abolish culture? You decide, but the women who helped were still whispering and looking intently on a subject that really shouldn’t be controversial. I think she and her colleague would have gotten along very well otherwise, but this topic has become really difficult. The stock book is excellent by the way.’

It sparked outrage when a reader asked Waterstones online, “Is it your policy to selectively censor books?”

Waterstones told MailOnline today that the books are “treated like any other” and that availability was limited to the sales level in each store.

The company usually lets the management of each store decide on displays.

A company spokesperson added: “Julie Bindel and Kathleen Stock’s books are available in many Waterstones stores and on waterstones.com, with stocks reflecting current demand.

Waterstones has declined to say why it placed the books in such a hidden way

Waterstones has declined to say why it placed the books in such a hidden way

Signs have been placed in the pedestrian tunnel connecting Falmer train station to the university campus under the A27

Signs have been placed in the pedestrian tunnel connecting Falmer train station to the university campus under the A27

Banners that read 'Stock Out' have been held next to flaming torches and dozens of people have criticized her under the Twitter hashtag #ShameOnSussexUni

Banners that read ‘Stock Out’ have been held next to flaming torches and dozens of people have criticized 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 here in November 2020:

  • Femininity and masculinity reflect biological sex, not gender or gender identity;
  • The statement ‘trans women 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
  • Areas where women undress and sleep should really remain single-sex, to protect them;
  • Children with gender identity disorders should not be given puberty blockers as minors.

‘Some single stores will be sold out, as always with single titles. They are then reordered, with the newly arrived stock unpacked in the warehouses and then put away when booksellers get the chance.

‘Shelves and tables are assembled independently by booksellers in each of our bookstores.’

It came on the same day that Labour’s shadow equals minister got into the row over Sussex University professor Stock, siding with the transgender rights groups calling for her resignation.

Writing to a voter from her constituency, 29-year-old Taiwo Owatemi was “deeply concerned” about Stock’s involvement with the activist group LGB Alliance – which had previously been accused of “anti-trans” policies.

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

Ms Owatemi admits she is ‘unfamiliar with Professor Stock’s ‘philosophical writings’ and accuses her employer, the University of Sussex, of supporting the professor in her free speech.

In a later statement to The Guardian, she clarified: “In this letter, I was clear that I was not making any judgments about Prof Stock’s academic work, and I did not call for action against her.”

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

Their statement was in response to a poster campaign spearheaded by an anonymous pro-trans activist group that blamed the college brand Stock for her “transphobic” views after calling for safe spaces for women in her academic writings.

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

Last week signs were posted in the pedestrian tunnel connecting Falmer train station to the university campus under the A27 saying Prof Stock ‘make trans students unsafe’ and ‘we don’t pay £9,250 a year for transphobia’.

Prof Stock has since been advised to teach her students online due to fears for her safety, warning that her academic career has been “effectively ended” by the Sussex Union department.

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