Misogynists and their handmaidens

The feminist fix: Silence will not protect you from bullies

Artillery Row

“Misogynists and their handmaidens” is the seventh article in Julie Bindel’s online column for The Critic, “The feminist fix”, which explores feminism’s answer to today’s challenges. The sixth article, on eschewing euphemisms for child rapists, can be read here.

Feminists are often bullied by those we hold to account. Since the beginning of the women’s liberation movement, there has been a backlash, not just from men but also from women who are terrified to meet with male disapproval.

Kay has totally lost control of her own company

Rosie Kay is the latest in a long line of women being harassed, hounded and psychologically tortured for standing up to misogynists and their handmaidens.

Kay founded her own dance company in 2004 and made it into a massive success, thereby providing jobs and experience for dancers, many at the beginning of their careers. At a party she threw for a group of young dancers at her own home last summer, Kay had the neck to reference Virginia Woolf’s Orlando, in which a male aristocrat morphs into a woman. Kay commented, “Woolf knows anyone can change sex in their imagination but that you can’t change sex in your actual body.”

The blue-fringed brigade smelt blood and complained to her board of trustees, who subsequently wrote to the Arts Council and the Charity Commission telling them that Kay was under investigation for transphobia. Kay has totally lost control of her own company and is even locked out of its social media and bank accounts.

Like many other women targeted by trans activists, Kay is a survivor of male violence — in her case, rape and domestic abuse. It is no coincidence that so many of us who speak out about such blatant misogyny have been kicked in the face by the boot of patriarchy literally as well as figuratively. Slurs like “die in a grease fire, TERF” and “suck my dick, you transphobic cunt” are slung our way on a regular basis, usually to the resounding sound of silence from the liberal masses.

Kay has joined the ranks of witches that refuse to be burned

Kay was accused of “micro-aggression” towards the dancers that complained about her. She lost her livelihood and, momentarily, her mind, because she failed to take the knee to their  childish and nonsensical talk of “non-binary” identities. What does “micro-aggression” even mean? The Wiki definition is: “a term used for commonplace daily verbal, behavioural or environmental slights, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative attitudes toward stigmatized or culturally marginalised groups.”

In the current climate, merely asking questions is enough to provoke a pile-on. These people have no idea what actual verbal aggression is. Since coming out as a lesbian in the late 1970s, I have been “questioned” as to my sexuality, with comments such as, “Which one of you is the man?” and “What happened to you in childhood to end up like that?”

Instead of going quietly, Kay has joined the ever-growing ranks of witches that refuse to be burned. “Other women who do not have this power, cannot stand up like I have done. This is not aimed at the dancers, but at the toxic nature of a culture that will see women lose their livelihoods for believing that sex is real,” says Kay.

The behaviour of trans activists towards feminists is nothing more or less than crybullying. They twist the true motives of women, who are only concerned with protecting single sex spaces and maintaining our hard-won legal rights, and claim we are the oppressors and bigots. Framing their harassment as concern for trans people, the bullies orchestrate collective pile-ons and sadistic haranguing until the victim backs down or disappears.

Kow-towing to trans activists is akin to being in an abusive relationship

Public discourse has framed the war as generational, with trans activists as the progressives, but in fact it involves entitled posh brats practising misogyny towards mainly older feminists. They cannot bear that these older women have some moral and intellectual authority over them, for having actually done feminism, as opposed to tweeting their own faux version.

If we want to live in a world where we can lose our livelihood, reputation, and sanity for speaking the truth about the material reality of being a woman under patriarchy, then keep quiet and carry on as though our rights are not being eroded. Women are being bullied and silenced for expressing reasonable feminist views. If you claim to be a feminist and know fine well what is going on, but you have stayed silent, then have a think about what feminism is and what it is for.

By its very definition, feminism is a movement that takes on the bullies, in this case the violent and abusive men who put women down, silence us, control and demean us. We step in when authorities and institutions fail to protect us or condemn the men who cause us harm. Kow-towing to extreme trans activists, because you are scared to speak the truth and be condemned, is akin to being in an unwanted relationship with an abusive man.

“A society who can throw aside all human values that do not rigidly conform to the groupthink and makes us all wary of giving our own opinions,” says Kay, “is not a world which conforms to my idea of progress, freedom or creativity.”

Too right. The feminist fix for bullies? Stand up to them and surround yourself with an army of women who support you. There are enough of us now. Your silence will not protect you, but your resistance will.

Julie Bindel’s latest book, Feminism for Women: The Real Route to Liberation (Constable, Robinson), was published on 2 September 2021.

Enjoying The Critic online? It's even better in print

Try five issues of Britain’s newest magazine for £10

Critic magazine cover