The failures of left-wing men have radicalized women |  Victoria Smith
8 mins read

The failures of left-wing men have radicalized women | Victoria Smith

LLast week, Minister for Women and Equalities, Kemi Badenoch announced that the Conservatives would clarify the law regarding the protected characteristic of sex. As Sonia Sodha later reportedthis provoked an “unbalanced reaction” in some quarters, as “left-wingers, apparently without any understanding of the implications of this legal ambiguity, jumped on the bandwagon to call (the proposal) ‘horrible’ and “transphobic crusade”.

Regarding these men, no details were necessary. After all, why hadn’t anyone asked this before? If there was a conflict between women’s rights and trans rights – and these men very much doubted it – wouldn’t it have to do with the issue of gender self-identification? All this fuss around biological sex surely proves that the critical gender lobby is becoming more and more radical. Give them an inch, and they’ll take a mile.

For many women watching, the spectacle was both infuriating and distressing. Men with little interest or empathy for women – or whatever they call vagina people – were foaming at the mouth at the very idea of ​​female prisoners or rape victims being granted any space away from men. What was particularly annoying was that there was a tiny grain of truth to what these men were saying. Yes, a few years ago many of us who support Badenoch wouldn’t have bothered to clarify the meaning of gender. Yes, many of us are taking a much tougher stance on these issues than ever before.

But here’s the thing: It’s not because we’ve been “radicalized” by dark forces who stuff our passive brains with far-right propaganda. That’s because before, we didn’t think we needed to clarify anything. Before, we trusted trans-identified men not to abuse our goodwill. We trusted “progressive” men not to start pretend not to know the basics of biology. We were convinced that women mattered enough not to neglect our own interests to this extent. It turns out we were wrong to be so confident, and that’s why many of us don’t anymore.

It’s sad to admit, but it seems that left-wingers can’t be trusted with anything. I write as one of those tired ex-liberal feminists, who once lived in a fantasy land where the interests of “progressive” men generally aligned with my own. They hated gender norms? Me too! They found masculinity stupefying and oppressive? Good for them! They were all for “my body, my choice”? Bright!

Of course, there were some areas where I was a little unsure (their “respect” for people working in the sex industry seemed somewhat suspect) and they never really seemed interested in the more mundane aspects of feminism , such as care work or pension inequalities. I never thought these men were full-fledged feminists, but I thought they had compassion for women, didn’t view us as walking stereotypes, and wouldn’t twist arguments feminists for their own interests. I don’t think about all that anymore.

men on the left have had so many opportunities to demonstrate their real commitment to rejecting gender norms

While these men may think of the last few years as a time when “bigoted” women were being “radicalized,” I began to think of it as a time when men on the left were being tested. Many radical feminists thought this was not a test that should have been run – and God knows they were right – but it happened anyway. In the wake of the third wave of sex-positive, queer theory-inspired feminism, men on the left have had ample opportunities to demonstrate their real commitment to rejecting gender norms and renouncing the rights assigned to them at birth. They all failed. Whenever there was an opportunity to exploit a loophole, to misunderstand a feminist slogan, or to prioritize male sexuality in the name of “breaking the binary,” they took it. This isn’t just about the “trans issue.” It’s in relation to everything.

Take bodily autonomy, for example. “Your body, your choice,” they said. We agree. How nice, we thought, to find men so committed to abortion rights. We didn’t think they would expand the slogan to apply to anything the most vulnerable women might be forced to do for them. Her body, her choice! We also didn’t expect that in the years to come, every time we disagree with them on an issue relating to women’s bodies and choices, they will tell us that we were siding with anti-abortionists. Men’s support for abortion rights could be given freely, without self-interest – but in the case of so many men on the left, this is not the case. It’s a calculation, a way to see if he can reframe his right to exploit female bodies in a way that seems more progressive.

We didn’t expect them to decide that this meant that the mother’s body was completely unimportant.

Or let’s look at childcare. “Men can also be caregivers,” they said. We agree. How nice, we thought, to find men willing to take over. How wonderful that they don’t assume that our typically female ability to give birth means we’re naturally better at changing diapers and cleaning up the sick. We didn’t anticipate that they would decide that this meant that the mother’s body was completely unimportant, that it had to be accepted. hired to produce a baby on demand, purchased legally before the cord was even cut. Nor did we expect them to tell us, if we objected, that we were conservative, traditionalist, biologically essentialist. We thought they had more basic human empathy than that.

With the trans issue, there’s no need to say it, but to be frank: we didn’t think men would care, no in prisonsnot in sportsnot in rape crisis centers. And if some men didn’t care, we at least thought the average left-winger would speak up. By and large, they didn’t. This is what has brought us to the point where gender needs to be clarified in the law. We all know what a feminine person is, but we all also know that if you tell a certain type of man that you value women’s spaces, he’ll start gossiping about genital inspections, clown fish , toxic debates, intersex people, the police. the femininity of people and various other stratagems that we sense he really likes to deploy (the birds get so angry!).

Personally, I’m really sad that so many men – some of whom are former friends – can’t be trusted like I once thought. It’s as if their respect for women was based not on a shared sense of humanity, but solely on social norms within the group, and once it became socially acceptable for them to turn against us, they did it. Obviously, #notallleftymen – but enough to demonstrate why so many safeguards need to be put in place.

We shouldn’t be here, but we are. If some of the “radicalized” are partly to blame – and I admit we are – it is only because we have had a better opinion of the men who are now attacking us. We thought you were good people and you’re not. This is what changed us. Everything depends on you.