Books

Beyond parody

I have been de-platformed by Titania types and accused of every single phobia listed here

This article is taken from the December 2020 issue of The Critic. To get the full magazine why not subscribe? Right now we’re offering three issue for just £5.


As someone who loves nothing better than chuckling at the likes of Wimmin in Private Eye and Millie Tant in Viz, I am always on the lookout for new feminist parody. Which is why I love Titania McGrath so much. The parody Twitter account devised by the comedian and columnist Andrew Doyle has well over half a million followers, and Titania’s previous book, Woke: A Guide to Social Justice (2019), was described as hilarious by pretty much every reviewer — except for a woke-ite with she/her pronouns on her Twitter account who deemed the book to be “tired and unfunny”.

My First Little Book of Intersectional Activism By Titania McGrath Constable, £14.99

In My First Little Book of Intersectional Activism, “for aspiring activists between the age of six months and six years”, Titania explains to kids how to tell the difference between right and wrong. It’s fairly straightforward: anything Titania and her heroes say is right.

As funny as it is, the book is both a warning and a prophesy. With Woke, Titania was reflecting what was already well established among privileged youth and their capitulators, such as “trans women are women”, “yoga is cultural appropriation” and “Brexiteers are Nazis”. But now our heroine makes it clear that a whole generation is being indoctrinated to the cult. From birth.

“Once upon a time there was a beautiful and brave trans woman called Jessica who lobbied with every fibre of her being to fight for equal rights. She did this principally by taking female beauticians to court if they refused to wax her balls,” opens the piece on Canadian trans activist Jessica Yaniv. “Jessica was a leading activist in the LGBTQ2SIA movement,” explains Titania and, again, this would be hilarious except that it is true.

The book is organised into four sections: an introduction in which key characters, such as Emmeline Pankhurst, Hillary Clinton and Joseph Stalin, are showcased. Titania then gives us her tips on how to win an argument, followed by an exploration of what your parents would tell you about sex and, of course, advice on how to save the world.

Peppered throughout are choice viewpoints that are only just parody. In explaining how everyone is a bigot unless they are oppressed multiple times, Titania writes: “A trans-black trans-lesbian … is part of an oppressed group and is therefore almost always correct about absolutely everything.”

She also explains why she refers to so many seemingly reasonable people as Nazis: “The fact that people act so defensively when you compare them to Hitler only goes to show that the analogy is sound.”

Feminism gets a good kicking, and Doyle is not always as on the money about this as he is about other issues. For example, Titania would never describe herself as a “radical feminist”: she is a liberal one obsessed with identity politics. Her crew hate real feminism because our politics and view of the world are rooted in material reality, rather than some Orwellian nightmare.

Then we get on to the various phobias she accuses the unwoke of possessing; this section, although very funny indeed, is beyond parody. “Needless to say, it is impossible to debate an irrational person,” says Titania. “So when I decide that someone is homophobic, biphobic, transphobic, queerphobic, whorephobic, fat phobic, Islamophobic, xenophobic or veganphobic, this means that I am not obliged to debate them.” I have been de-platformed by Titania types and accused of every single phobia listed above.

What would a Titania McGrath book be without a few of her poems? “Pandemic Blues” is perfectly timely, and “Self Portrait of a Genius” (“The manbaby from his high-chair cries / As Titania discharges righteous darts of wokeish ire”) allows the writer to reassert her place as queen of the blue-fringe brigade.

I did not expect to be upset or angry reading this book but at times I was both. One of the characters showcased is the cyclist Veronica Ivy, aka Rachel McKinnon, aka Rhys McKinnon, who celebrated the death from cancer of Magdalen Berns because she was considered to be a Terf.

Ivy, who has a penchant for telling feminists to “die in a grease fire” unless we accept that “the penis is a female body part”, is pictured with a speech bubble above their head that reads: “It’s OK to be happy, even celebrate, when bad people die.” But this is not parody. Ivy actually said it following Berns’s tragic death aged 36.

Titania says in the introduction, “If truth bombs were eggs, I’d be a chicken, so if you’re unsure about which opinions to have, this is the book for you.”

Take her words as a warning, children. Titania is alive and well, as seen in real, non-parody accounts all over social media.

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