The Women's Room forum is about the vital importance of women's spaces to help protect women and girls and envision a future of equality in the midst of patriarchy.
This is a quote from The Women's Room, by Marilyn French:
by Nina Paley, Feb 7, 2018
Last week I posted on fecebook “If a person has a penis he’s a man,” which led to my widespread denunciation as a “transphobe.” I’ve written about this before, and anyone paying attention should know better, but I nonetheless commented this:
No matter how many times I state that I have trans friends, was standing up for trans people before the current crop of MRA “transactivists” was even born, and continue to defend the human rights of trans people, people accuse me of the opposite. I tire of defending myself, and it makes no difference anyway. I hated seeing the trans movement get taken over by misogynistic men’s rights activists; I hate seeing the misogyny of the “left” growing. I am witnessing a new, deeper, “postmodern” colonization of women. I bear no ill will towards trans people and like and love several; my concern is for WOMEN, especially those who aren’t white liberal middle-or-upper class, and especially lesbians. When an aggressive white male comes here and declares “I’m a dyke!”, and other liberal men gather round to support him, I see this colonization in action.
Do stick around, it takes a while to see, but I promise you I didn’t get to this place out of ill will. It’s so easy to just say “trans women are women!” and not deal with anyone’s hate. I’m resisting for a reason.
What do I mean by colonization? I mean the literal occupation of women’s spaces – rape shelters, prisons, locker rooms, bathrooms, swimming holes, and women-only events that women have fought very hard for. By men. Physically. But a huge component of this colonization is mental, existing in the realm of ideas and “identity”. What is a woman?
A sex without a people for a people without a sex
In American Liberal thought, colonization is bad. But immigration is good. And taking in refugees is doubleplusgood. This is why Americans backed the Zionist colonization of Palestine. Israelis weren’t regarded as colonizers; they were refugees! And Palestine wasn’t even inhabited, not really. It was a land without a people for a people without a land. The only reason you could possibly object was if you were ANTISEMITIC. Even if you were Jewish yourself, you self-hating Jew!
Taking in trans “refugees from masculinity” is also doubleplusgood. This is why Liberals back the modern transactivist colonization of womanhood. “Transwomen,” who I will henceforth refer to as trans-identified males, or TiMs, aren’t regarded as colonizers; they’re refugees! And womanhood isn’t even inhabited, not really. Womanhood is a “land without a people,” because women aren’t viewed as people. We’re an open space for men to define.
What is the difference between a refugee and a colonist?
A colonist has guns and the backing of another state.
Unlike yesterday’s transsexuals – those “refugees from masculinity” – today’s TiMs have penises and the backing of Liberal Patriarchy.
My trans pals of the 90’s didn’t have today’s backing of Patriarchy. It was riskier to be trans then, even among Liberals. They more resembled refugees, and I welcomed them. They also either didn’t insist they were women, or if they did insist they were women, they ‘disarmed’, if you will, by actually going through genital surgery. Today’s TiMs proudly keep their penises and testicles and demand to have them acknowledged as “female body parts”.
Obviously, times have changed.
Men’s Rights Activists eventually figured out they could eliminate the middleman – transsexuals – and colonize women themselves. This fits nicely with regular old run-of-the-mill male dominance. Heterosexual men “identify” as lesbians, and patriarchal Liberals enforce women’s compliance. Women are not to resist or even question this program. To write, “if a person has a penis he’s a man” is an act of resistance so powerful, it will get you widely denounced and blacklisted.
You know what else would get you denounced and blacklisted in recent decades? Questioning or criticizing the State of Israel. The thought-terminating memes, the refusal to discuss, the disproportionate outrage are all familiar to my anti-Zionist activist friends.
Under the spell of American Zionism, no right-thinking Liberal believed atrocities were happening in and on behalf of Israel. No matter how much evidence activists produced, Zionist Liberals always downplayed it, or ignored it, or justified it because whatever the Palestinians were doing was surely so much worse. Likewise, no matter how much evidence feminists produce, of death threats and rape threats, of actual physical violence, of blacklisting and purging and no-platforming, we are dismissed as “transphobic.” Even when the people presenting the evidence are trans, such as Miranda Yardley and Jenn Smith.
Simultaneous marginalization and support
Of course no males would be “refugees” if they had a home in the male sex class. But it’s in Patriarchy’s interest to simultaneously marginalize and support trans people, just like it’s in Europe’s and America’s interest to simultaneously marginalize and support Jews. The marginalization drives the pressure of expansion. When people are secure in their homelands, they don’t emigrate. It’s the tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to be free that up and move to a new land. Without antisemitism, the “west” would have no colony in the Middle East. Without patriarchal gender enforcement, TiMs wouldn’t be spearheading the further colonization of women. So men simultaneously threaten TiMs, and demand the protection of TiMs as “the most oppressed.” That male-imposed marginalization is what drives the whole project.
Trans people themselves are a tiny fraction of the population. So why are language, laws and institutions being changed just for them? Because it’s not just for them, it’s for all men. TiMs are the “settlers” of the latest patriarchal colonization project.
Both Zionism and transactivism have a religious component. In Zionism it’s the Torah/Old Testament, which simply states that God gave the land to the Jews, His chosen people. In transactivism it’s gender identity, as summarized by Miranda Yardley:
We all have a ‘gender identity’ which is innate. This ‘gender identity’ can be at odds with the physical embodiment of our sex; This ‘gender identity’ has more weighting to our sex than the physical embodiment of our sex; and so it follows that
‘Trans women are women and trans men are men’.
…for transgender individuals, personality determines sex.
Philosophical analysis aside, the reality is that the concept of gender identity collapses into the statement ‘trans women are women’, and this is the foundation of most of their other claims to rights, spaces and validity. It is also the single most defended claim in transgender ideology, so much so that no debate is allowed.
I support freedom of religion, and everyone is free to believe whatever they want. I oppose forcing everyone else to believe what you believe. Everyone is welcome to their “gender identity.” If a male believes he is a female, that’s fine with me. If I have to believe he’s female, that crosses the line.
I oppose gaslighting. I oppose requiring others to deny the evidence of their own eyes and identify someone else as a sex they are not. Not because trans-identified males don’t “deserve” to be called women. But because they aren’t women. “Woman” is not a club or a prize or a reward. It’s a sex.
But it’s treated like a club and a prize and a reward. And like anything of value intrepid males “discover,” it is being colonized.
Women are not a land without a people. Women have always been people, even if men don’t acknowledge that. The trans colonization project is essentially misogynist, and is popular among male Liberals for this reason.
Why do I care?
Believe me, if I could not care about modern transactivism, I would. I think it’s my Muse’s doing, because my film Seder-Masochism is about the same story: the colonization of women.
God used to be female. All of Her attributes were taken over by the male God. Creation, fertility, vegetation, the bringing forth of food, life and death – all that was once the Goddess’s is now God’s. It’s like the male God put on Her clothes, and then “identified” as Her, and there’s no Goddess any more.
Our connection to ancient goddess worship is completely broken. There’s some art, and some ruins, and some echoes in myths and fairy tales, but we have no idea how these religions were really practiced. Modern western goddess-worship is re-built, re-invented, and re-imagined; it is immature, instead of building on thousands of years of tradition.
The establishment of YHWH as the One, Male God effectively erased the Goddess, and most don’t even know enough to grieve. We sense there’s something missing, but most can’t even name it.
Gods and Goddesses are fictional, of course. What’s happening now is a continuation of the erasure of the Goddess: the erasure of womanhood itself. The erasure of biological reality isn’t only of concern to biological women, but to everyone who values science and some relationship to reality beyond individual “identity.”
Woman means adult human female.
Womanhood is a biological reality. That’s it. It’s not an identity, a prize, an “exclusive club”, or a land to be conquered. The more men regard womanhood as any of those things, the more inclined they are to colonize. Patriarchy regards women as property already, with disastrous consequences.
I am a reluctant feminist. I don’t particularly enjoy being a woman. I don’t “identify as a woman.” I AM a woman. It’s not a choice, it’s biology. It’s not a special club I’m trying to keep men out of.
Biology is the beginning and end of “womanhood,” the alpha and the omega. If I wear pants, I’m a woman. If I wear a dress, I’m a woman. If my hair is long or short, I’m a woman. If I take testosterone, I’m a woman. If I cut off my breasts (don’t think I haven’t thought about it, I have fibrocystic breast disease and they can be very painful) I’m a woman. If I identify as a man, I’m a woman.
And if a person has a penis he’s a man.
If you think that’s “hate speech,” the colonist is you.
Animator. Director. Artist. Scapegoat.
Police lay first terrorism charge for Toronto case involving misogyny
by Molly Hayes, The Globe and Mail, May 19, 2020
A 17-year-old has been charged with terrorism in connection with the February slaying of a woman at an erotic massage parlour in Toronto – a killing that police now allege was motivated by the “incel” ideology, which is rooted in the hatred of women.
The charges, announced Tuesday by Toronto Police and the RCMP, mark the first time police in Canada have formally acknowledged an alleged misogynistic crime as terrorism – a positive signal for advocates who have long been calling for the recognition of violence against women as terrorism
“This is monumental in Canadian history,” said Nneka MacGregor, executive director of the Women’s Centre for Social Justice in Toronto. “I’m hopeful that it’s a wake-up call. … I’m hoping that this move will help society at large understand what those of us in in the [violence against women] sector have seen, and have been calling for, for decades.”
On a Monday afternoon in February, police were called to the Crown Spa in the north end of Toronto over reports of a stabbing. When they arrived, officers discovered a 17-year-old male youth and a 30-year-old woman outside the massage parlour, both of whom were suffering from multiple stab wounds. Inside, they found a woman – later identified as Ashley Noell Arzaga, 24 – who was pronounced dead at the scene. The 17-year-old (who cannot be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act) was arrested and charged with first-degree murder and attempted murder.
Shortly after the incident occurred, investigators say they uncovered evidence that the case had been allegedly inspired by the “incel” movement – an online women-hating collective of “involuntarily celibate” men who are frustrated by their lack of success sexually attracting women.
The ultimate targets of the incels’ anger are known as “Chads” and “Staceys,” sexually active men and women who the incels believe have been rewarded by unfair social standards. The incels feel that they – the “beta males” – have been punished by those same societal standards.
The deadly Toronto van attack in 2018 brought the incel movement into the public eye in Canada.
Because federal authorities lay the majority of terrorism charges in Canada, Toronto Police detectives contacted the RCMP-led Integrated National Security Enforcement Team, which worked with federal and provincial prosecutors to add the terrorism charges.
The 17-year-old appeared in court Tuesday morning, where his charges were upgraded to first-degree murder with terrorist activity and attempted murder with terrorist activity.
Michael Nesbitt, a criminal law professor at the University of Calgary, said the case will be a legal watershed for the Anti-Terrorism Act that Canada passed in 2001.
Over the past two decades, Canada has seen roughly 60 terrorism charges laid. Almost all of those have been against extremists inspired by al-Qaeda or the Islamic State.
The Crown’s decision to lay terrorism against an alleged follower of the incel movement is highly significant, Prof. Nesbitt said – and may be a signal that Canadian prosecutors are gearing up to pursue a wider array of suspects as criminal terrorists.
“It’s a really big deal,” he said.
Amarnath Amarasingam, an assistant professor in the School of Religion at Queen’s University and one of Canada’s leading scholars on terrorism, agreed that the new charges are a legal landmark.
Police and prosecutors in Canada “are more and more realizing that seeing the full-threat picture is important,” he said
In the past, he said, the argument against laying terrorism charges in murder cases has been that they are not worth the extra burden in court when the road to conviction is simpler on murder charges alone.
"The challenge still exists, in terms of courts. But maybe one of the shifts that has happened is that politically speaking they want to make a more consistent argument to the public about what they consider to be terrorism."
As far as Prof. Amarasingam knows, this is the first criminal case globally to have brought terrorism charges in an alleged incel case.
“I think there have only been ... maybe seven attacks total globally from the incel community," he said. "I don’t think any of them other than this one has been charged with terrorism.”
Barbara Perry, director of the Centre on Hate, Bias and Extremism at Ontario Tech University, said she was surprised by the news given how little attention this particular case seemed to have gotten, but she called it a “welcome development.”
“I think it’s a response to public pressure and stakeholder pressure to expand the understanding or the interpretation of what constitutes terrorism in this country specifically,” Prof. Perry said.
Legal scholar Amanda Dale, who is a member of an expert advisory panel with the Canadian Femicide Observatory for Justice and Accountability, said that while she appreciates the rhetorical value of recognizing misogyny as terrorism, she is uncomfortable with the nature of terrorism charges to begin with.
“The whole concept of terrorism is itself problematic in my view, because it's legally subject to a great deal of interpretation,” Dr. Dale said. “[It’s a charge that] was never legally airtight, and was really politically defined.”
She is also concerned that by classifying a particular form of public violence against women as terrorism, it suggests there is a “supreme” form of violence, “and all the other forms of violence that are connected to it start to look like they're just garden variety, so not worth our attention.”
“I think it is important to understand all forms of violence against women in a continuum,” she said.
Prof. Perry, on the other hand, said she believes this case “raises the bar in terms of acknowledging violence against women as this serious. And I don’t think that means all other cases need to rise to the same level in order to be taken seriously.”
University of Ottawa law professor Elizabeth Sheehy agrees.
“I think that it’s a positive signal. I think it is a recognition that virulent misogyny is a form of terrorism,” she said. “I think it is important for us to call it terrorism and to find the mechanisms to respond to it appropriately. … It requires strong denunciation, it requires action.”
Radical Girlsss Statement in Support of JK Rowling: Migrant Perspectives
by Radical Girlsss, Jun 12, 2020 · Medium
As the Young Women Movement of the European Network of Migrant Women, Radical Girlsss unequivocally supports and stands behind JK Rowling’s position on sex and gender. Since she first began researching and speaking out on this complex issue, Rowling has received a torrent of misogynist abuse and harassment which we condemn in the strongest way possible.
Why We Are Making This Statement
We make this statement against the backdrop of an increasingly hostile world for women. The sharp decline of global feminist cultural production in the 1990s ushered in a new world, a neoliberal world, promising possibilities in the new millenium to liberate entrepreneurial and individual freedoms. The gradual build-up of postmodern theory capitalised on the radical heart of previous mass social movements, creating new careers and policy around American academic-born terminology such as ‘gender identity’ and ‘hybridity,’ instead of the more definitive notions of ‘sexism’ and ‘misogyny.’
As Susan Hawthorne notes, “Postmodernism took theorising out of the activist meetings into the ivory towers. Political energy was buried in some attic and left to gather dust.”¹ Meanwhile, the culmination of neoliberal individual-oriented capitalist freedoms, the proliferation of postmodernity and “post-feminism”, alongside the new digital market, culminated into a world ripe for the sexual exploitation industries of pornography, prostitution, surrogacy and human trafficking. The increased commodification of women’s bodies introduced a new era of ideological “choice-feminism”: a proposition that negates historical class inequalities between men and women and instead offers a brave new world in which women and girls can chose their way out of their own subjugation through the offerings of exploitation-based industries.
While centres of feminist activism disappeared, many feminists were re-directed to “non-governmental organisations (NGOs) which were dependent on funding from governments or corporations and therefore were often too compromised in their objectives.”² It is no coincidence that feminism as a political movement was swiftly replaced with feminism as an opportunistic market, one which conveniently asserted that women in the “Global South” need only to participate in this market to gain the supposed freedoms which the women in the Western capitalist economies claimed to enjoy. This new, more liberal and more intersectional feminism is grounded, not in the historical violation of the female sex, but in the individual feelings of how each woman identifies with socially constructed gender roles. Not only does this make it impossible for women to name their own subjugation as being structural and historical, it invisibilises the lives of migrant, black and global ethnic majority women all over the world.
The Global Situation: A Migrant Perspective
Today we find ourselves in a global pandemic which has exposed the deep-seated structural inequalities, already having existed longitudinally throughout history, between men and women. In Europe, terrifyingly familiar stories still occupy media headlines, such as in Wales when a 69-year old man strangled his 44-year old wife Ruth Williams after an argument during coronavirus lockdown. A mother and daughter were stabbed to death in a murder-suicide committed by the father in Hertfortshire, while police rattle off the same old line that “we are treating this as an isolated incident,” without mentioning the systemic proliferation of murder suicides and its origins in male entitlement over their families. 14 women and two children have been killed by men in the UK since the beginning of Coronavirus lockdown measures. The effects of pandemics are not gender-neutral.
Taking a global perspective, then, highlights the insidiousness of male violence even further. Beginning with Venezuela, where over 5 million citizens have left their country for Colombia, Brazil, Ecuador and the Caribbean since 2014, of which 50% are women migrants. While Brazil and Colombia have now closed their borders to Venezuelan migrants, this creates catastrophic conditions for migrant and refugee women and girls’ access to “contraceptives, medicines and personal hygiene products, increases the unwanted pregnancies, lack of access to safe abortions, increased risk of maternal and infant morbidity and mortality, undermining every principle of autonomy, equality and dignity of women and girls.” The uncertainty of migration provides a feeding-ground for the male exploitation of women, in a situation where women and girls are at their most vulnerable. Pandemics such as SARS and Ebola have historically proven to increase the trafficking of women and girls, and so, predictably, Tatiana Kotlyarenko — an advisor on anti-trafficking issues — says about the increase of human trafficking during Coronavirus that “[she is] already hearing that victims are being forced to participate in even riskier activities to earn money for traffickers, that they’re facing higher levels of violence, and also that they’re in more debt [to their traffickers] every day.” To make sense of this, it is crucial that liberal feminists emerge out of their “freedom of choice” cocoon and expand their individualistic world views to contend with the systemic exploitation of migrant women and girls.
In Mexico, almost one thousand women were murdered in the first three months of 2020. Martha Tagle, from the opposition Citizens’ Movement party, says that “the deadliest pandemic for women in our country, more than the coronavirus, is feminicidal violence.” The prevalence of femicide, or the killing of girls and women, cannot be made sense of if the basis of femaleness is based on individual choice. Did the thousands of women and girls in Mexico identify themselves as women, and were killed because of this identity? Or were they killed because male supremacy has othered the female body and sees it as nothing more than a resource for their own sexual and reproductive gains?
Most recently in Canada, a 26-year old Indigenous woman Chantel Moore was shot and killed by police in New Brunswick during a “welfare check” in which the police were called to ensure Chantel’s wellbeing. In Canada, Indigenous women and girls are murdered and sexually assaulted at rates as high as 10 times the average of white women, despite making up only 4% of the total population. These killings are most likely to happen in areas surrounding oil and gas development projects when transient male workers are housed in so-called “man camps” that often encroach on traditional Indigenous territories and communities. Kanahus Freedom — a Secwepemc woman, land defender and traditional birth keeper — says about man camps that “We say that the first man camps were the Hudson’s Bay camps and the highway camps, railway camps, that are still bringing violence against Indigenous women. We say Indigenous women were the most vulnerable in our society, the most over-policed and the most under-protected, and then we have the highest rates of unsolved murders and missing women in the world — tens of thousands of indigenous women and girls in databases across the country that have disappeared.”
The murder of Indigenous women in Canada is most effectively understood as a systemic and historical domination by the means of European settlers believing in their right to access and control Indigenous female bodies. Instead, the national enquiry into Canada’s missing and murdered Indigenous women completely misses any mention of male violence. Hilla Kerner, a collective member of Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter, says about the national inquiry that “In the 10 page document, there is not one mention of men. Men are the ones who commit the violence against women, men are the ones who created and maintain oppressive and sexist laws and policies and men are the ones heading the institutions and agencies who are responsible for the plight of Indigenous women.” Again, this should signal to all feminists concerned with femicide that it is becoming increasingly impossible to name the root cause of the global killing and abuse of women.
Meanwhile in Afghanistan, armed gunmen stormed a Kabul maternity hospital and killed 24 children, babies and women — three of whom were in the middle of giving birth. Frederic Bonnot, Head of Programmes for Médicins Sans Frontières (MSF) in Afghanistan, said “They came to kill the mothers.” While the Taliban has denied it was involved, as feminists we know that the cause is a particular kind of terrorism: male violence.
In the Ukraine, the shockingly under-regulated surrogacy industry is dealing with an excess of babies due to Coronavirus. BioTexCom, a Ukranian agency specialising in “human reproduction”, are unable to sell the babies while travel restrictions are in place: “The women who gestated and gave birth to them, besides all the risks they faced to have them, are now facing two different fates: either they will not receive the money promised for this ‘service’ and will have to choose to leave the child in foster care, or they will be raising a child who was not planned for themselves. Either way, it’s a grim outcome for women who largely turned to the industry out of financial desperation.” Commercial surrogacy, or “womb rental”, is a devastatingly exploitative market which most governments overlook or dismiss as a non-issue.
As Dr. Sheela Saravanan has found in her research on the “rent-a-womb” industry in India that trafficking and abuse is inherently linked to the surrogacy market. She highlights how after embryo transfer, women are forced to sleep with their legs crossed for 3 months, they are not allowed to laugh loudly, urinate forcefully, or to move at all. If they refuse, they carry the guilt of miscarriage and don’t get paid. In addition, the surrogacy industry takes advantage of sex trafficking networks to access vulnerable women: poor, uneducated and unemployed women are promised a way out of poverty to provide for their children. In the 45 interviews Sheela Saravanan did with surrogate women in India, a majority of them had to have their uteri removed as a result. Again, as feminists, we ask: is this use of women’s bodies as profit-generating gestation machines an identity which women chose, or is it a continuation of the exploitation of the female body for male capitalists?
Taina Bien-Aimé, executive director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women, says that “Both commercial surrogacy and prostitution are industry-driven — one by gestational surrogacy companies, and the other by a multi billion-dollar sex trade and its lobby. Both thrive on the vulnerabilities of disenfranchised people, especially women of colour. Both turn their profits on growing demand for women’s bodies as commodities, and both kick open a wide door for sex and reproductive trafficking.”
The industry of prostitution is under particular scrutiny during the Coronavirus pandemic, with the largest European sex industry markets — such as Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland — shutting down brothels, proving what feminists have argued all along: that sexual access to women is not an “essential service.” However, for migrant women, who make up the majority of the EU prostitution market due to either deliberate force or lack of economic choices, the closure of brothels means that these women have everything to lose unless governments step in and ensure that migrant women are not forced to make the “choice” of entering the sex trade.
During the Coronavirus pandemic, the online sex industry is thriving. PornHub, which is owned by MindGeek — a multi-million dollar search engine optimising, IT and web design company — has offered free upgrades to its premium service in a philanthropic gesture to men during the lockdown. What this means for women is that while they continue to do domestic work, rearing and educating children — their husbands or partners are consuming image-based sexual violence at rates much higher than before the pandemic. The European Network for Migrant Women has pointed out that “as the sex buyers locked at home are unlikely to change their behaviour — if anything, the psychological impact of isolation risks to worsen it — a double supply of women will be needed to meet the demand. Those women will come from the most disadvantaged backgrounds — they will be single mothers, unemployed, students without income, migrant and refugee women.”
How to grapple with this unprecedented global exploitation of women and girls necessitates a clear analysis of its roots and origins: an age-old violence which is located in male domination and control over the female body. If we fail to come to terms with the structural underpinnings of how and why 48% of the world’s population has managed to subdue 52% of the world’s population — then any uproar over male violence will be futile. Increased domestic violence, femicide and sexual exploitation should force all women to recognise the ever-occurring and historically-prevalent pandemic: male violence against women.
In reporting on the 10-year peak of femicide in Argentina, reporters use language such as “twelve women are killed every day in Latin America because of their gender,” when they really mean sex. This distinction is important, as outlined above, because of the way in which gender — when used as to define the category “woman” — distorts the power imbalances between men and women and leaves us with a shaky foundation on which to make sense of male violence and femicide.
Most recently in Nigeria, a 22-year old woman Vera Uwalia was raped and murdered while she was praying at the Redeemed Christian Church of God in Benin City. During the current uprising of the Black Lives Matter movement in the United States and across Europe, as feminists we should wonder why Vera’s name and face is not being painted on murals, or why her death does not warrant an internationally-broadcast and celebrity-attended funeral service. The rape, torture and murder of migrant, black and global ethnic majority women and girls is accepted — even expected — as isolated incidents that “belong” in the “Global South.”
As we face an increasingly violent and exploitative world for women and girls, we must not bow down to watered-down liberal “feminist” theories which men, all too readily, are willing to get behind. Instead we must critically examine the roots of femicide and male violence, and feel courageous enough to state in the face of institutional backlash that it is embedded in male control of female biology. If we cannot state this simple truth, then we cannot address the global pandemic of male violence.
What JK Rowling Said
Underlying Rowling’s position is a concern for the erosion of women’s rights that rely on an understanding of oppression on the basis of sex. She highlights how the UK has experienced a 4400% increase in gender dysphoric girls being referred to for life-long medical transitioning treatment, and convincingly links this to the pressures of anxiety, dissociation, eating disorders, self-harm and self-hatred. These feelings are inherited across generations of women by the means of gendered social constructs to keep women and girls in subordinate political, social, cultural and economic positions. While Rowling acknowledges that transition may be a solution for some “gender dysphoric” people, she also argues that the body dysphoria which most girls experience throughout their lifetimes is alleviated when girls become adults and recognise these feelings as a set of socially-imposed gender roles. However, as Rowling highlights, “we’re living through the most misogynistic period I’ve experienced.” In a brave and courageous gesture, Rowling disclosed her own experiences with domestic violence and sexual assault, which has given her the “visceral sense of terror” to empathise with and advocate for the safety of trans women assaulted or killed at the hands of abusive men. She says that while she “wants trans women to be safe,” she also “refuse[s] to bow down to a movement that [she] believe[s] is doing demonstrable harm in seeking to erode ‘woman’ as a political and biological class and offering cover to predators like few before it.” Rowling asks for empathy and understanding to the many millions of women whose sole crime is wanting their concerns to be heard without receiving threats and abuse.
How People Responded
Instead of self-described feminists contending with gender identity theory as a potentially regressive and harmful theory, they have doubled-down on telling women like Rowling to shut up, calling them cunts and insisting they literally kill trans people, as well as publicly wishing the rape and death of any woman willing to challenge socially gendered categories. Rowling’s concerns were immediately met with thousands of abusive tweets and messages, such as:
“That TERF deserves a punch straight in the ovaries.”
“I’d pay to watch someone violently rip her ovaries from her abdomen.”
“Nah, no disemboweling. Just punch them til they bruise/burst, or just til all the eggs are ruined.”
“All terfs should be raped by both men and women for a year straight, chained down to a bed and fed minimum food to live, not allowed to get up to piss or shit, and be forced to bear the resulting kids, which are then sent to rational, loving families. That way you can be tortured AND possibly give me a future kid for me to love and care for if I choose not to have one biologically.”
“If I had an opportunity to beat a TERF to death with a baseball bat w/o repercussions I’d be sure to break its legs first and work my way up.”
“Would you kindly suck on my womanly dick?”
“Suspended for saying I’m cumming over the thought of a TERF being brutally murdered or smth”
“Hey TERFs — suck my fucking tranny dick.”
Unsurprisingly, these obviously violent and misogynist threats are not seen as violating social media guidelines, and such abusive responses are being completely dismissed by high-ranking, progressively-identified people in the public eye. Daniel Radcliffe — the actor who played JK Rowling’s Harry Potter character and arguably based his entire acting career on the talents of the female author — quickly took the opportunity to chastise her:
“Transgender women are women. Any statement to the contrary erases the identity and dignity of transgender people and goes against all advice given by professional health care associations who have far more expertise on this subject matter than either Jo or I.”
Radcliffe is right in signalling that he has no basis or knowledge on which to form this opinion. But to infer that Rowling, a sexual assault survivor and woman, cannot and should not write about her own experiences and research of the major overhaul of women’s hard-fought rights, is blatantly misogynist. Emma Watson — the actress who played Rowling’s character Hermione — jumped on the bandwagon and said that “Trans people are who they say they are and deserve to live their lives without being constantly questioned or told they aren’t who they say they are,” followed by an announcement that she has made significant financial contributions to Mermaids and Mamacash.
If she had taken the time and intellectual courage to actually read Rowling’s statement and research the organisations she is now spearheading, she would quickly find evidence that Mermaids’ entire approach relies on affirming young children they are in fact born in the wrong bodies and sending them on the path of life-long medical transition. As British journalist Janice Turner has pointed out:
“Mermaids pushes for the US ‘affirmation’ model in which any child who declares that they are trans must be treated as such without examining any possible underlying issues, such as frequently undiagnosed autism, depression or sexual abuse.”
Does Watson not care about the wave of detransitioned women bravely speaking out about their traumatic experiences of medical transition, such as Detransicion Chile? Does she not care that young girls are having their ovaries removed, their puberty development halted through medical intervention, their breasts sliced off? In short: she doesn’t — and neither do most people — because liberal “feminism” has become a catch-all fashionable term that does not in fact deal with uncomfortable structural realities, but rather it symbolises identity-confirmation, regardless of that identity serving the deep-seeded patriarchal conceptions of what a woman is.
To top it all off, on Friday morning the UK tabloid newspaper The Sun published a cover that reads “I slapped JK and I’m not sorry.” The newspaper approached Rowling’s abusive ex-husband for an exclusive interview and is monetising the wave of misogynist harassment Rowling has faced over the last few weeks.
Cover of The Sun newspaper on Friday, 12 June, 2020.
Jameela Jamil, a British actress, radio presenter and an outspoken supporter of gender identity ideology, said about The Sun’s cover that “Women who receive this abuse over their GC views, know their rhetoric is what contributes to the ostracization, actual rape and actual murder of trans women.” In other words, Jamil is arguing that radical feminist theory, rather than the historical subjugation of women through male violence, is what is responsible for the death of trans women. No mention of Rowling’s disclosure of sexual assault, or the opportunism and gaslighting of her ex-husband. In fact, she directly attributes the abuse towards Rowling as though she were asking for it.
As if this weren’t enough, Owen Jones — a well-known Guardian columnist and socialist — said in reference to Rowling’s statement that “[the] powerful opponents always portray themselves as courageous truth telling martyrs,” in this case referring to Rowling as the powerful opponent. Backtracking quickly, however, Jones said about The Sun cover that it was “An absolutely rancid front page, providing a mass platform for an abuser, which will undoubtedly cause immense distress to JK Rowling and to all women who have suffered domestic abuse from men.”
While Jones, Jamil, Watson and Radcliffe have no problem in blaming feminists for the rape and murder of trans women, goading abusive men to harass and abuse feminists online, they feel no responsibility for the anti-woman hatred that The Sun has galvanised with its front cover. Their backlash and encouraging pile-ons has directly resulted in the justifying, normalising and celebrating male violence against women. They should all hang their heads in shame.
Why We Agree With JK Rowling
Radical Girlsss agrees with and supports JK Rowling’s position, and this is why:
Gender as a Social Construct vs. Biology as the Basis for the Female Class
The radical feminist position asserts that the binary categories of masculinity and feminity are socially-imposed mechanisms to keep women and girls subordinate. Female biology is what has historically motivated men to control women and control the female reproductive system to ensure a continuity of male lineages. Women’s bodies are the sites of male violence, women’s bodies are conceived of as vessels for sex and reproduction, which has led to the use of socially imposed gender categories to passivise us. This distinction between sex and gender is essential in order to understand the root of women’s oppression.
We believe in the right for women to gather, organise and meet in women-only spaces. As Patricia McFadden says in her essay Why Women’s Spaces are Critical to Feminist Autonomy:
“The issue of male presence, in physical and ideological terms, within what should be women-only spaces is not just a matter of ideological contestation and concern within the Women’s Movement globally; it is also a serious expression of the backlash against women’s attempts to become autonomous of men in their personal/political relationships and interactions.”³
If men who identify as women are allowed in women-only spaces, the ability to develop feminist consciousness and understand women as a historical class becomes impossible.
Male Violence is the Cause of Trans Oppression, Not Feminist Theory
We agree with Dr. Jessica Taylor when she says that “Men are to blame for 100% of the actual rape of transwomen. Men are so far to blame for 100% of the actual homicides of transwomen. They didn’t read feminist theory debates before doing so. Women are not to blame for the rape and murder of transwomen. It’s male violence.” When feminists are being blamed for the stigma which transgender-identified men experience, the actual perpetrators (men) are invisibilized and let off the hook. This is detrimental both to transgender-identifying people and women, while men are alleviated of any responsibility. One has to ask oneself why men are so easily and quickly supportive of gender identity ideology — and the answer to us is obvious — that it is to shift the blame onto women, something which is what Susan Faludi has described as follows:
“The anti-feminism backlash has been set off not by women’s achievement of full equality but by the increased possibility that they might win it. It is a pre-emptive strike that stops women long before they reach the finishing line.”⁴
The Wilful Misinterpretation of the Radical Feminist Position
The radical feminist position is wilfully misinterpreted as supporting biological essentialism. This is a deliberate tactic in order to “prove” that radical feminism is outdated and belongs to the “white feminists” of the second wave. This narrative foil makes way for a third wave of feminism that is supposedly more intersectional, more progressive, and more open minded than any wave which came before it — and in doing so promises to eradicate the failures of feminist history. In fact, if those who claim that radical feminist are biological essentialists would actually engage in the history of this debate, they would find that the radical feminist position has always been clearly against biological essentialism. We believe that gender expression is not linked to biology, as we believe that nobody is inherently conforming to just masculinity or just femininity. As Julie Bindel says, “I am not gender critical. I am a gender abolitionist.” In the same vein, we believe that while female biology has been the basis on which women are oppressed and define us as a historical class, gender ideology is the mechanism by which women are held captive as passive participants in society.
We strongly support all women’s right to speak their minds. We support JK Rowling’s right to speak about her own research, sexual assault, and worries of gender identity ideology. We support those who speak out in a climate of fear, who have managed not to get sucked into the mob mentality of hounding women who go against the grain. We support the detransitioned women who have vocalised their experiences despite the threat of backlash from medical transition clinics and their proponents. We support all women who have a vested interest in the history of feminism, the articulation of gender and sex, and the overhaul of legislation which eradicates this distinction in law. We support the resistance against neoliberal conception of “the individual” as the sole indication of a progressive society, and instead we advocate for a class-based analysis that will benefit women as a whole, even those we disagree with. We support migrant, black and global ethnic majority women and girls to make sense of their subjugation through a historical understanding of how the female body has been the site of violence, motivated by male control over reproduction and sexuality. We support critical thought of the disclosure of the “true self” being divorced from the physical body, in fact, we believe that the body is indivisible from our sociopolitical positioning within society. We support JK Rowling, and we support all women’s right to speak their minds.
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¹ ² Susan Hawthorne. Bibliodiversity: A Manifesto for Independent Publishing. Spinifex Press, 2014.
³ Patricia McFadden. “Why Women’s Spaces Are Critical To Feminist Autonomy.” ed. Ruth Barrett. Female Erasure: What You Need To Know About Gender Politics’ War On Women, The Female Sex and Human Rights. Tidal Time Publishing: 2016. 309.
⁴ Faludi, S. Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women. Crown Publishing. 1991.
Trans people agree with JK Rowling while 'woke allies' perform their outrage
by Blaire White Los Angeles, 19th June 2020
From the outside looking in, it may appear that a mutiny is arising amongst the transgender population against beloved Harry Potter author JK Rowling, amidst her tweets about biological sex which have been deemed by many as “transphobic” and “hateful.” She took to Twitter a few weeks ago to state that while she loves and supports trans people, she believes in the existence of biological sex and how it may shape the lives of biological women in ways that trans women do not experience.
However, as a trans woman myself, it has been interesting to see that most trans people actually agree with her. The outrage you are seeing is almost exclusively from white liberal allies who are determined to speak on our behalf, often launching extremely hateful and misogynistic attacks on Rowling for her opinion. Celebrities like Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Halsey, Ben O’Keefe and more have all had choice words for Rowling. Below are some of their reactions, and then we’re going to juxtapose them with the reactions from the *actual* trans community rather than rich, virtue-signalling celebrities.
This woman is complete scum. Shut the fuck up you transphobic fuck. You don’t know or love any trans people if you won’t even acknowledge their existence. Thanks for ruining the books of my childhood. Just stop talking. We know you’re a TERF. You don’t need to keep doing this. https://twitter.com/jk_rowling/status/1269389298664701952 …
If sex isn’t real, there’s no same-sex attraction. If sex isn’t real, the lived reality of women globally is erased. I know and love trans people, but erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives. It isn’t hate to speak the truth.
4:15 PM - Jun 6, 2020
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Imagine writing a generation defining series about a youth uprisal that defeats a tyrannical monster motivated by the preservation of “pure blood” and looking at THIS time in the world and going “hmm...yep. I’m gonna invalidate trans people.”
6:09 PM - Jun 6, 2020
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According to the media and those who seek to destroy Rowling, the above opinions are the ones that matter. Now, let’s hear from the actual trans community, who largely agree with Rowling.
· Jun 10, 2020
When you defend so-called “biological sex,” you sound scientifically ignorant and you elevate transphobia.
I disagree with you! I am a transsexual man. Transitioned from a woman to man 25 years ago. I am and will forever be a biological female. How is this so hard to understand. If I was not a biological female them I would not be transsexual. Its dangerous to discount biology.
Kathleen Stock @Docstockk
My timeline is full of a) trans people happily discussing their biology; b) non-trans people furiously saying we shouldn't discuss anyone's biology in case it upsets trans people. https://twitter.com/BuckAngel/status/1271265104382681093 …
Replying to @GeorgeTakei
I disagree with you! I am a transsexual man. Transitioned from a woman to man 25 years ago. I am and will forever be a biological female. How is this so hard to understand. If I was not a biological female them I would not be transsexual. Its dangerous to discount biology.
5:37 AM - Jun 12, 2020
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· Jun 10, 2020
When you defend so-called “biological sex,” you sound scientifically ignorant and you elevate transphobia.
〽️ars ⚓️ @_Mars_F
Do us transsexuals a favor and sit this one out. You’re embarrassing not only yourself but us, too.
If the assertion is that acknowledging the existence of biological sex is indeed transphobic, there is clearly not a consensus within the trans community about it. How can trans allies who often have much larger platforms than the trans people they defend take it upon themselves to decide what is transphobic, while ignoring the outcry of trans people who are defending Rowling?
You can watch my recent video about this entire fiasco below: