Up until now I’ve never been a big fan of the F word – perhaps because I know that blue hair would look ridiculous on me, perhaps because as an egalitarian I’ve been appalled by some of the misandry and victimhood that makes up much of third-wave feminism.
But here in 2020 I’m coming out as a proud feminist, and I know I’m not the only one – particularly amongst the centre and centre-right of political persuasions.
However, you won’t see me marching in a knitted pussy hat, for my feminism is about the very core of what it is to be a woman – my biology – and it has nothing to do with shouting at Donald Trump or even Scott Morrison. You see these days I find myself increasingly annoyed with a new type of misogyny that seems to have become so accepted and monetised, that seemingly every type of government agency and large corporation are spending up big to promote it.
The recent Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras was a prime example. In fact, I’m surprised it’s still even allowed to be called that – for the uppity women who happen to be lesbians are being shut out by a new powerful movement of activists who say that humans can change their sex at will. They say that gays and lesbians who only want to sleep with their same- sex partners are genital fetishists and transphobes; that a man who identifies as a woman deserves the same access to the hard-fought-after female sex-based rights and spaces; that a young girl who likes playing with trucks and having short hair is really a boy, and to deny that will cause harm, and even drive her to suicide; some even say that biological sex is on a spectrum and that boys and girls do not exist.
Recently on British breakfast television, the shadow secretary for women and equalities, Labour’s Dawn Butler, made the comment that ‘a child is born without sex’. This is the view stated by the potential deputy leader of a major British political party. The party that just suffered one of the biggest ever losses in its entire 120-year history. The party born of the trade union movement. The party of the working class is now telling what’s left of its voters that babies have no sex – plus getting their MPs to sign a 12-point plan put forward by the Labour Campaign for Trans Rights. This plan calls for sex-based rights campaigners to be expelled, it demands self-identification changes to the Gender Recognition Act, and it vows to fight against various feminist and lesbian groups. The new ‘Transgender Crisis’ seems to be engulfing the British Labour party.
But why do so many women, who also call themselves feminists, have such a different belief to my version? Well, it turns out that that ‘gender critical’ feminism is growing fast, particularly amongst women over 35. We are all the women who have had beautiful babies grow inside us, who have had debilitating monthly periods, who grew up when it was totally fine to run around outside in shorts covered in grass stains and mud like the boys, who have been raped and beaten by loved ones or strangers and we are also the women who love. We may have different backgrounds, experiences, and political views, but we are the women who believe that biological sex cannot be changed.
We are supposed to keep quiet though.
Anyone who knows me will know that I’m not very good at that – especially when I see a cashed-up ideology telling women to accept things that go against their own safety and wellbeing. This new sexism has no problem with threatening violence against those who don’t agree wholeheartedly with a biological man being accepted into a women’s rape crisis centre, or a women’s prison, or on the women’s Olympic weightlifting team. This new sexism is woke, the new misogyny is fairness, it’s even ‘stunning and brave’ – and transgressors will be punished.
A quick search online for ‘gender critical feminism’ immediately brings up countless articles about ‘TERFs’ and how awful they are. This term, used as a slur, stands for Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist, and is most often used along with various threats of bodily harm to said TERFs. No wonder so many actually do stay quiet. Online mobs can quite easily get a birth coach booted from a charity for stating that ‘only women can have babies’, as happened to Lynsey McCarthy-Calvert.
Judges can rule that to claim that there are only two biological sexes and to question self-identification laws is ‘offensive and exclusionary’ which creates ‘an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating, or offensive environment’ – and another woman is fired. This case against Maya Forstater made further headlines when the hashtag #IStandWithMaya was shared by Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling. The mobs can even get conservative trans speakers kicked out of Pride events, for having the wrong views or being the ‘wrong kind’ of trans. Just ask Sydney blogger Dana Pham – who has also been the recipient of several abusive messages for daring to share a panel with a popular lesbian YouTuber Arielle Scarcella. Arielle has spoken out against self-ID laws and believes that lesbian sexual preferences that do not include biological males is not transphobic. Even though several transpeople supported Scarcella, mob rule prevailed.
Where does it end?
Well, 12-year-old drag kid ‘Desmond is amazing’ is heading to Melbourne in August as part of the Drag Expo – it’s an all ages event sponsored by Deliveroo, plus drag queen story hour is popping up in city and regional public libraries all over the country. You can even get a scantily-clad drag queen to perform for your child’s birthday. It’s on the progressive parent’s must-do list.
Maybe, just maybe, some of us believe that although some words may be difficult to hear, they cause far less damage than a lifetime of prescription hormones and a surgeon’s knife. Maybe we just don’t like the idea of a bearded man in lingerie stating that he makes a better woman than us ‘cis women’. Maybe we don’t like gender stereotypes being enforced by woke mobs or public servants. Maybe the gender-critical feminists won’t remain silent for long.
Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.
You might disagree with half of it, but you’ll enjoy reading all of it. Try your first 10 weeks for just $10