By Jonathon Van Maren
I wouldn’t have believed it a decade ago, but the past few years have brought a grudging respect between socially conservative culture warriors and a handful of feminist co-belligerents who are fighting furiously for their right to female-only spaces. Posie Parker has willingly faced angry mobs of trans activists, as has Julie Bindel; Germaine Greer angrily told the BBC that “just because you lop off your d**k and then wear a dress doesn’t make you a f*****g woman”; J.K. Rowling has defied her critics and put up with years of rape and murder threats to defend vulnerable women against the trans activists.
I tip my hat to these women and their allies. They have undeniably accomplished much, and their courage has been an inspiring thing to watch. Unfortunately, however, they appear to be a distinguished minority. Most feminist leaders — and most of those claiming the mantle of “feminism” — are on the side of the angry men in dresses, and in favor of throwing their scrappy sisters under the bus.
Judy Blume, the famous American children’s author (and vociferous donor to Planned Parenthood), was briefly feted as an ally of J.K. Rowling after a recent press interview in which she said: “I love her. I am behind her 100 per cent as I watch from afar.”
Trans activists reared their heads, and Blume scurried to correct the record. “I wholly support the trans community,” she whinged. “My point, which was taken out of context, is that I can empathize with a writer—or person—who has been harassed online. I stand with the trans community and vehemently disagree with anyone who does not fully support for LGBTQIA+ people. Anything to the contrary is total bullshit.” She went on to note that she was a huge fan of the sexually explicit memoir Gender Queer, which she found “wonderfully enlightening.”
Inspiring stuff from one of America’s most famous children’s authors, I’m sure you’ll agree. The struggle session worked, and she got the headlines she needed. From CNN: “Judy Blume makes her support for the trans community clear.” The trans “community” calmed down. Blume was back on the reservation.
Margaret Atwood is perhaps the most famous feminist fiction writer of our time, with A Handmaid’s Tale being turned into a successful TV show in which the viewer is warned that a form of fundamentalism created in Atwood’s fevered imagination is always just on the horizon. Atwood, it turns out, missed the actual plot entirely. She, like Blume, hastened to declare her allegiance to the transgender movement. In a recent video that looks remarkably like something shot by captors extorting a statement from a hostage, Atwood makes herself clear.
“Hello, my name is Margaret Atwood, I’m a writer,” she drones as her eyes dart down, obviously reading a prepared statement. “Today we are seeing an alarming rise in aggressive authoritarianism. The horrifying invasion of Ukraine is the most visible example. In many places in the world, trans people live in fear of death just for being who they are. Democracies should respect the rights of all human beings. Trans people are people. They are also your fellow citizens, your neighbors, your family members. Choose democracy. Value diversity.”
Personally, I can’t think of a more dystopian scene than Posie Parker, a woman, being mobbed by furious trans activists, some of them men posing as women. Unlike A Handmaid’s Tale, however, that scene — and the many other ugly abuses that Atwood’s fellow feminists have been forced to endure — was not fiction. A powerful novel could be written from the perspective of a lonely, gaslit feminist who watches her entire movement get hijacked by aggressive, gender-confused men (or those with weird cross-dressing fetishes) but is told by nearly all of her former comrades that she is a wicked sexist for objecting.
Or perhaps it wouldn’t need to be a novel. It could just be a memoir, written by Bindel or Parker. I appreciate their courage, and their contribution to this fight has been enormous. Unfortunately, however, most of their movement has decided to follow the men.