The spectre of the new male feminist
Meet Nigel, the new type of feminist on the block
The prevailing memory from my early days of feminist activism is trying to persuade men on the Left to join us in campaigning against misogyny and male violence. One time a group of anarchist men agreed to come along to a picket of a sex cinema when we pointed out that animals (as well as women) are often abused in the production of pornography. But as a rule, we would never manage to get the boys to join in on any of our various protests. It was always a delight to see one or two of them turn up, in their hessian sandals and ponytails, to fight the good fight alongside their sisters.
Imagine, therefore, how surprised I have been this past couple of decades to see more and more men fighting on behalf of “women”. Trans-women that is. Let’s call him Nigel — this man is a type you will recognise. White, bearded, and whether gay or straight he somehow manages to shoehorn himself onto the LGBTQQIAP+ community, and is absolutely, without question, more oppressed than females. He gets himself out of bed, dragging himself away from Insta, Twitter and Pornhub (he has donated to some bird making ethical porn, but he prefers the real stuff) and cycles down to where are the feminists are speaking about rape and domestic violence and other bourgeoise rubbish.
His pronouns intact, fluctuating between he/him and they/them, depending entirely on his mood and what he chooses to wear that day, Nigel drops his washing off at his mums, gets his girlfriend (they are a queer couple though) to clean out the hamster cage, slips on his £150 trainers and joins the baying mob shouting “TERFS out” and “bigots”, etc.
Nigel may identify as a citizen journalist, so keen is he to alert the online world to the danger lurking behind any gathering of witches banging on about single sex spaces. Or perhaps he is working for a “progressive” media outlet, and makes it his business to contact feminist event organisers asking probing, intelligent, open-ended questions such as “how many trans women have you killed today” or “when did you become a fascist/bigot?” He writes headlines such as, “Transphobes secretly campaigning to remove the right to free cervical smear tests for trans women.”
There must be some clever women involved in this cult, muses Nigel
This dude has struggled for years with his feelings about feminists, experiencing uncontrollable hatred when he hears them blame men for all kinds of things he knows he would never do: sexual harassment, rape, and actual violence towards women. But he trusts his own instincts, so when a group of women he feels an affinity with begin to protest about these pesky bitches, he jumps on board.
After all, he understands these women, most of them have a penis like him, and the vocal ones, also hate feminists. In fact, as his new friends point out, banging on about male violence and single sex spaces is merely a dog whistle for transphobia!
Nigel is pleasantly surprised that more women than men seem to believe that trans women are women but knows deep down that this is due to being terrified of facing the same treatment as those mouthy feminists. They seem to be learning their lessons, with women in universities all over choosing to be on the side of women with penises as opposed to their own tribe. These are women Nigel can get along with, because they too turn up to demonstrate against those ugly man haters.
One thing he can’t understand though, although he doesn’t think about it too much, is how these witches have managed to produce all of this fake evidence of being subject to death and rape threats, sacked from their jobs, accused of being Nazis, and even physically attacked in public places. There must be some clever women involved in this cult, muses Nigel, because they seem to be starting to persuade the general public that somehow those that valiantly fight for trans rights are something other than loving, kind, intersectional warriors fighting on behalf of the most marginalised group on the planet.
At some stage Nigel would probably have climbed on board with campaigning against male violence alongside feminists, but it turns out they are the ones responsible for horrific abuse and bigotry. They have become the oppressor. Which, as it turns out, gives him more time to spend with Pornhub.
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