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The book makes a clear and humane feminist case for our collectively retaining the ability to name material reality about sex in a range of important contexts.

In the past decade, progressive organisations and many academics have made a concerted effort to reorder public language and concepts about trans people, gender, sex, womanhood, and manhood, and to present a new way of thinking about them – what Stock terms the ‘new paradigm of gender identity.’ Within this paradigm, gender identity is an innate feeling and cannot be directly perceived by others; it can only be reported by the owner or expressed through their behaviour. Indeed in order to accommodate the needs of trans people the paradigm would have us suppress talk of biological sex wherever possible. In institutions and organisations, any services and resources formerly organised around single-sex needs should now be reorganised around gender identity, including changing rooms, bathrooms, sports teams, prizes, shortlists, schools and colleges.

In Material Girls Stock explores the philosophical roots of and various harms caused by this new paradigm. Appealing to fans of feminist non-fiction such as Invisible Women by Caroline Criado- Perez, she makes an impassioned case for an alternative route, which would not conflict with the interest of women and seeks to promote the interests of all.