Throughout the twentieth century women (we call them feminists) fought against a system (we call it gender) which sought to deny them any interior life or right to self-define. The gender hierarchy ensured that women’s space and time was seen as the property of men. Feminists argued that this was wrong. No one could think of a way to counter the feminist argument so it was agreed, in principle, that women were individuals in their own right (even if the practical implications of this were not always followed through).
In 2014 things changed. Misogynists had finally, after years of false starts (the mummy wars, neurosexism, “masculinity in crisis”), found their ultimate backlash tool: trans women (not trans women as individuals, deserving of respect. Simply the idea of trans women, as and when it came in useful to misogynists both trans and non-trans).
In 2014 it was decreed that all non-trans women – previously identified by misogynists as bitches, feminazis, harpies etc. — should agree to be defined by their assumed betters in the realm of gender knowledge. In order to demonstrate their allegiance to the higher power, non-trans women must:
- define themselves as “cis”
- confess to enjoying “cis privilege”
- never again discuss the structural oppression of women in relation to reproduction
- never question the authority of their gender superiors
- perform the role of “metaphorical mummy”, giving up space, time, personal identity and emotional resources to anyone requesting it
Failure to comply with the list of edicts will lead to the following punishments:
- one will be harassed and threatened with violence
- one will blamed for the actual violence of men
- one’s name will be added to various lists of “undesirables”
- one shall be forced to bear the name TERF and one’s fellow humans will be required shun said TERFs at all times
This is happening now.
To be clear, this is backlash. This is virulent, misogynist, anti-feminist backlash. What’s more, it is all about gender non-conformity – the gender non-conformity of women like me, and a million other so-called TERFs, women who do not perform the subservient role that has been imposed on us for millennia. I have never harassed anyone, never threatened anyone, never challenged anyone’s right to self-define. I have been told I have to bear the mark of the TERF simply because I refuse to accept that the limits of my personhood are for others to define. This is wrong.
If a TERF list comes into being, all non-trans women might as well be added to it straight away. Eventually, every single one of them will fail to comply with the rules. One day, some little sliver of individuality will be exposed and it’s onto the TERF list they go.
Perhaps one day we will look back and say “this was obscene. Why did no one say anything at the time?”
The fact is, they did. But no one listened because at the end of the day, it was just the TERFs. Just the feminazis, the harpies, the bitches. Just them.