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Why I had to leave The Guardian If you were bullied by 338 colleagues, what would you do?


November 25, 2020   25 mins

It is March 2020. For several months now I have been trying to write something — anything — about the so-called “trans debate” in my Guardian column. But if I ever slip a line in about female experience belonging to people with female bodies, and the significance of this, it is always subbed out. It is disappeared. Somehow, this very idea is being blocked, not explicitly, but it certainly isn’t being published. My editors say things like: “It didn’t really add to the argument”, or it is a “distraction” from the argument.

Distraction has always been a triggering word for me. In a good way. My PhD supervisor told me I was “a woman of too many distractions”. This was because I was venturing into journalism, frustrated by the dead language of academia. She also asked me whether having a grant made any difference. It turns out that my distractions were paying the rent, as they have been ever since.

Even though I’d been writing for them for decades, editors consistently try to steer me towards “lifestyle” subjects for my column. One even suggests that I shouldn’t touch politics at all. And yet I won the Orwell Prize for political journalism the year before. This was for articles on Brexit and war remembrance, among other things.

Maybe they were steering me away from certain subjects because they thought they were dealing with some mad old bint, or maybe they were scared and had been indoctrinated into the cult of righteousness that the Guardian embodies. At its best, the paper deserves to see itself as a beacon of the Left, but lately it has been hard to define what the Left consists of beyond smug affirmation. During the Corbyn years the paper had a difficult job to do: support Labour but to be honest about Corbyn and his cronies’ monstrous failings.

Of course, not every editor is nervous; but the anxiety around certain issues remains tangible. It has often been this way and none of this is new to me. Bad columns don’t come from bad opinions, they come from a lack of conviction. Readers know that instinctively, so to steer writers away from what they want to write about is a strange thing for an editor to do.

But, then, journalism has been in a strange place lately, unsure of itself and what it should be doing and giving itself away for free. A case of low self-esteem one might say, but not in my paper which makes journalists redundant even as it pays moderators to delete comments calling me a cunt under one of my columns about Scottish independence. Have I got issues? More than enough to go round.

My relationship with the paper has always been slightly odd, I guess.

So, I finally get to write a piece on trans issues. And 338 “colleagues” write a letter of complaint to the editor, alluding to that column.


Strung out to cry

Now, six months on, I have resigned. And I am still trying to work out why I have been treated so appallingly.

My hurt is obviously minuscule compared to so much of what has happened in the world. It’s a flesh wound and I shouldn’t make a fuss. But, do I look like a doormat with Welcome written on it?

There were no such upset letters organised regarding the various hot Tory takes about difficult subjects that we sometimes publish. Seumas Milne even reprinted a sermon by Osama Bin Laden. What about that? Not a word. So what did I do that was so terrible? I stepped outside the orthodoxy.

Perhaps I need to put my denunciation into a larger context. At the end of the year one reflects, right?

When I was first at the paper, in the 1990s, there were no women on the Comment pages. My column featured in the “Women’s pages”, which was seen as Features. The editor at the time, Peter Preston, took me out for an awkward lunch after I won Columnist of the Year at the British Press Awards and said: “It must be nice to be a lady columnist. You can write about painting your toenails.”

I had been meaning to raise the idea of an actual pay rise, but I had no idea how to do it. I don’t understand middle-class people and money (not that Preston was middle class but certainly his environment was totally bourgeois). So when he asked if there was anything he could do to make me happier, I just blurted out: “Give me more money.”

Preston’s power lay in silence. He had, after all, spent time in an iron lung. His ability to not speak was quite something, and I admired his refusal to make others comfortable. In one way. But I may as well have just farted loudly. I had made some awful faux pas: asking to be paid the same as men who were not as good as me. That was the end of the meal.

The thing is, I had found out I was being paid less than half what my male counterparts were earning. So I got an agent. She wore very short skirts and had a way of rattling her BMW keys that seemed to unnerve men. The one and only time Preston ever called me was to frantically beg — no uncomfortable silences — that he would never have to see her again. Result.

Another part of not knowing my place was that I also asked to be moved from the Women’s pages to the Comment pages. They offered a Monday slot which would mean I had to work on Sundays. As the only woman in the section, and single parent to boot, I asked them if they had ever heard of equal opportunities. Again I was not only unclubbable but unspeakable. No movement was possible. Madly, I suggested that Hugo Young be moved. I didn’t even realise he was Jesus in the hierarchy, floating above us all.


Watch Suzanne Moore’s interview with UnHerd’s LockdownTV:
 

The truth was, and remains that I never fitted in at the Guardian. The personal becomes political at the moment you never feel clean enough. I was always somehow inappropriate. As the anthropologist Mary Douglas said, dirt is “matter out of place”. Matter out of place. I know this feeling. I would describe it as an essential part of my political formation, this knowledge that I could scrub myself raw and it would never be enough.

Back then, I was in the office a bit, but was never given my own desk and grew bored hearing conversations about cricket and having various guys yell the names of Oxbridge colleges that I hadn’t been to at me. Telling them that I had been to a polytechnic was information some of them basically couldn’t compute.

The only people who were nice to me were Will Hutton and Richard Gott, who I was very fond of, although it turned out he had taken “red gold” from the KGB and he had to resign. A shame really, but not unfamiliar to me as I had worked at Marxism Today, which it turns out had similar “funding issues”. Let’s not go there now. I liked Richard because he would tell me fabulous stories about finding Che Guevara’s body one day and the next talk about a great Spanish fashion designer. The politics guys were dull, living on Planet Westminster. Plus ça change.


Listen to Suzanne Moore’s interview with UnHerd’s LockdownTV:


Leaving home

Fickle power-crazed harpie that I was, though, I got poached. I love that word. Off I went to The Independent, enticed by Andrew Marr’s exciting vision of having no news on the front page. Also there was no question that I wouldn’t be on the Comment page. It was great working there, I loved it, though it was all to go tits up.

The relevance of this? This was my original sin. No one leaves The Guardian. I had left the cult.

It was to get worse, as when I left the Independent, I went to The Mail on Sunday. The Indy was collapsing and The Mail on Sunday offered me a bit more money and many more readers. I thought it would be interesting to talk to the people who would decide the future of the country and I was bored with preaching to the converted.

Plus, there was the challenge of doing a tabloid column. This is much harder than long rambling pieces: The Times’s Matthew Parris told me so, bless him. The great and the good told me again that I was making a terrible mistake and I would lose my voice. This was another denunciation of sorts. Once again I was in the headmistress’ office chewing gum and telling my teachers I didn’t need them. I left school at 16 because rules did not interest me. Reading did.

This new idea, though, of talking to floating voters appealed. Politically. The very idea! And yet they were the ones deciding who was in power. They are now the ones the Left still despises while needing to win over. The Left could not and still cannot represent those whose “false consciousness” stops them from seeing the true and rightful path.

I cannot say how much I despise this way of thinking, having grown up in a Tory-voting working-class household. Don’t ask me to hate those I love in the name of socialism.

Mind you, clearly at one point I did think just like this. I wanted them all executed and joined the Workers Revolutionary Party in this hope.

Then I grew up. Not much, it must be said.

Now I was at The Mail on Sunday I was no longer pure. The dark side had claimed me. This was utter bollocks but it’s the way so much of the Left thinks, in binary terms. Electoral politics, which could be about persuasion, instead becomes a series of war games.

The Marxist philosopher Eric Hobsbawm, of all people, thought it a good idea for me to talk to “Middle England”. Middle England is a fantasy in my book. An imagined community. Still, my contract said I could write what I liked and that was honored. Anyway, I presumed it was a temporary job, like all jobs in journalism. I didn’t even start hackery till I was 30. I had a life before that. Thank god.

I lasted for several years at the Mail on Sunday, although I hankered to write longer pieces, which I did elsewhere. The lesson I learned was that I could get through to the paper’s readers on almost every social issue except immigration, where I could make no headway. This was to become key to so much of what has followed since. Facts are not feelings.

As I live in North London, when I moved to the Mail on Sunday, most people I knew who had read me regularly in the Guardian or the Indy thought I had just died. Actually I had gone from a readership of 300,000 to two million. Some of us didn’t need the arrival of social media to know about bubbles. Some of us couldn’t see a bubble without wanting to burst it. It’s a class thing.

At one point I was writing columns for both the Mail on Sunday and the Guardian (somehow, neither audience noticed) and eventually a new editor arrived at the former and wanted changes. That was fair enough, so I recommitted to the Guardian.


Back to the nest

Back among the righteous. Now, in the North London playground, other parents would talk to me — I became a “Guardian Writer” again. Resurrected somehow, absolved, I was more and more aware of the conservatism that was rising, politically and culturally.

We were being enveloped in beigeness. Especially women. When I had taken my older children to school in the late 1980s and 1990s, we had all just dropped them off and hurried to work. By 2010, mothers hung around the playground: “Lattes or pilates?” They didn’t have jobs, and made cushions. They had husbands, dogs and camper vans. Violin lessons were a thing and no one seemed to notice that the school had been ethnically cleansed. This was the work of property prices. They thought David Cameron seemed nice. This is, it’s true, a class issue, and something that’s particularly noticeable in my corner of North London. But there was definitely a wider move in modern conservatism to push women back into the home.

The electoral coalition that had brought Labour to power was collapsing. I didn’t find this out from Planet Westminster — for all my sins, I met and lunched Cameron — but from the playground. He will be prime minister I told the pol guys at the Mail. They put this down revoltingly to me fancying him. How could a woman know such things otherwise?

During my time at the Mail on Sunday there was no politician to whom we did not have access. They knew they needed that paper’s support. I have dined with every Right-wing bogeyman and every Labour bore you can imagine.

Going back to The Guardian brought another challenge. What should I be doing? I would describe my approach as: lobbing in some Molotov cocktails, some cultural analysis and some jokes. Not to buy into groupthink and in the end . . . entertainment. People should want to read what you write. I know this is verboten: actual pleasure. I chose not to go into the office. I still did not belong, having strayed from the true and rightful path.

Some debates had remained the same, some had changed. The Labour Party seemed to be imploding. Again. So I returned to my real passion: cultural politics and good old-fashioned feminism.

“I have even less fucks to give than I did before.”

Seeing Red

In 2012, I contributed to an anthology of essays edited by the great poet and journalist Cathy Galvin. The theme was red. My piece was about the need for female anger and it was called “Seeing Red”. Feminism had become way too polite and we were going backwards. Fast.

The essay was about how and why women should be angry. I quoted the Liberian Nobel Peace Prize winner Leymah Gbowee: “Anger is like water; the shape it takes comes from the container you put it in.” Let it flow, I said. How little I knew.

The book came and went and the following year 2013 my essay was reprinted in the New Statesman. It contained this line: “We are angry with ourselves for not being happier, not being loved properly and not having the ideal body shape — that of a Brazilian transsexual.”

That was wrong — in that it was of its time. Now it’s a different body shape: the Kardashian ribless tits and ass. But hey, let’s roll with the times.

Suddenly I was inundated with tweets about the murder rate of Brazilian transsexuals which is appallingly high. Many of them are forced into sex work (I prefer the term prostitution but the new feminism likes to pretend all jobs are equal when they clearly are not. “Phoebe got four A-stars but hopes to become a sex worker” is not something you hear often.) But it’s true I had carelessly used a certain phrase to talk about the then fashionable shape for women; slim hips and big breasts. Indeed, transsexual models did appear on catwalks.

While I was trying to emphasise the impossibility of the ideals for women, maybe I had been thoughtless. I hadn’t actually killed anyone. Yet the backlash that hit me, online and offline, was like nothing else. And you have to understand I have been threatened in the past by the fascist group Combat 18 for my columns — on multiculturalism, immigration, being pro-choice and in favour of gay rights
  My crimes, back then, were “nigger-loving”, “paki-loving”, and “whore”. Sometimes they called me a “Jew”. I had panic buttons installed in my house. I would get phone calls at home with threats saying they knew I had kids so they wouldn’t kill me, just disable me. As ever I just got on with it. What else can you do?

But this time around, after the Red piece, the abuse was from the Left. It was a taste of what would happen in Labour a few years later with anti-Semitism.

When the big row over anti-Semitism happened, it was strangely no surprise; it had all just finally risen to the surface. I had spent enough time on the far-Left to know how the righteous thought. And it’s not so different from the far-Right. In the name of rights for Palestinians, this most elemental racism was once more permissible. A giant conspiracy theory that places itself on the moral high ground was not discouraged by the Labour leadership. It disgusts me.

Yet the abuse I got over the trans issue was different, and worse than anything that had come before. Social media was beginning to flex its muscles. It was a mindfuck. Twitter was full of people telling me how they were going to rape me, decapitate me, ejaculate inside my head, burn me. This was all somehow to do with the Brazilian transsexual remark. The police came round but they didn’t really get Twitter. They said things like: “Don’t email them back, love”. The worst threats were from people who knew where I lived and said that they would give my then 11-year-old a good fisting.

The sewer was opening, a torrent of women-hatred was pouring out, no one seemed to be able to control it. (Was this helping trans people? Was it coming from them? Mostly I think not.) I made the mistake of losing my temper and insulted my antagonists back. I would not be lectured on feminism or womanhood.

There was a new word. TERF. It posed as an acronym — trans exclusionary radical feminist — but it was used as a slur. On this row went. The label “transphobe” may as well have been tattooed on my forehead. My own history and activism was irrelevant: my years with Act Up, campaigning around Section 28, my lifelong commitment to campaigning for abortion. Nada!

I watched woman after woman denounced as a TERF. Attempted suicides of young trans people were the fault of women like me. The murder of trans people by men was somehow refracted onto feminists. Masculinity is never the problem, you see. Masculinity sets the rules. Women are always the other, the outsiders. Yet suicidal ideation is a growing issue for all young people — I studied counselling and psychotherapy for two years at this time — and suicide rates for young women are rising, too.


The Right Side of History

Why did I speak up? I have no hatred or fear of trans folk. As a feminist, I would argue that gender is socially constructed, and it can be reconstructed.

Under the professions of radicalism and the vitriol and stupidity, though, I was witnessing a new conservatism, the revenge of gender stereotypes. Pink and blue. Girl toys and boy toys. The female role models, such as Sam Cameron and Kate Middleton, were mute. Nostalgia was everywhere dressed up as irony.

During the Aids crisis, I was involved in queer politics, where difference was argued over endlessly. But we were on the same side against a straight world that hated homosexuality and women who wanted equality. Then that world fragmented. The queer alliance was fragile and the theories began to be more important than the practice. When academia moves in, activism moves out.

At the same time, women were getting ahead in the workplace by imitating men and pretending that children didn’t interfere with their wage slavery, now defined as “having it all”. Some act to pull off. I tried and failed. I had three children and worked the entire time. In my entire life, I have had eight weeks’ maternity leave.

Gender roles were becoming more fixed even as gay rights campaigners won the “victory” of gay marriage. I agreed with David Cameron that this was a basically conservative move and it cost nothing, and made people feel somehow that they were a bit modern. Gay rights and feminist campaigners were no longer the natural allies they had once been.

Looking back, I see that by the late Eighties and early Nineties, I had already picked up on something that perturbed me. A denial of female biology, of our ability to name and define our experience. Some of this came from certain strands of postmodern theory where objective reality gives way only to multiple subjectivities. A kind of gender tourism became possible. Everyone could be everything. A new kind of feminism came into being, one in which flesh and blood women and our desires became somehow a bit dull. Feminism without women. Grow a child inside you and push it out of your body and tell me this is a construct. (NB: no one has to have children.)

I believe quite simply bodies exist. I have been there when babies are born. And been there when people die. I know what happens when bodies no longer work
what shall we call my view? Materialism?

As trans ideology came into being, to question this was to question trans people’s “right to exist” — how is that even possible? They obviously exist! — when really we were questioning the ways in which we think about gender and oppression and how complex this all is.

It remains so. Yet somehow morality had entered the debate. To be good — ie, modern — one didn’t interrogate the new trans orthodoxy. Sex was no longer binary, but a spectrum, and people didn’t need to change their bodies to claim a new identity. All this was none of your business, and had no effect on your life.

I disagreed. By 2018, the atmosphere was poisonous. A fellow columnist at The Guardian replied to a message I sent about being civil at the Christmas do with: “You’ve prompted the most sickening transphobia, for which you have never apologised, you called islamophobia a myth and you publicly abuse leftwingers.” This person went on to say that I felt insecure “because a new generation of younger leftists have caught the public mood”. I didn’t even understand the accusation of Islamophobia. More broadly, I understood that the possibility of a left-wing government was exciting, but unlike half the paper, I didn’t believe that Corbyn had actually won in 2017. I also didn’t like the macho, bullying culture around him propped up by writers at my place of work.

I complained to my editor about this person at the time but was told that as neither of us were on staff, nothing official could be done. Really?

So there we have it. Here comes the “new generation”: the new Left, same as the old Left. Full of misogyny, utter pricks and those with the emotional intelligence of whelks. Misogyny in the name of socialism. Again.


Ladies who Lurch

Around this time I was in Armenia covering a story on foetal sex selection. Women were aborting female fetuses as they wanted boys. The UN population fund was doing fantastic work there, knowing that as fertility rates drop, sex selection becomes ever more prevalent. This world was a long, long way from those people who think sex is just a matter of personal choice. Foetal scans at 12 weeks mean generations of girls go “missing”. In rural Armenia I visited class rooms of 27 little boys and 5 girls, while at home I was told sex is simply “assigned at birth”.

Other women were now starting to be disturbed by the idea of transwomen with working male genitalia in womens spaces. The idea of the predatory trans person is not one I am particularly invested in, really. We are talking about a tiny percentage of a tiny percentage of the population. I am not that bothered about toilets or changing rooms. My youth was spent in gay clubs and with wonderful trans people who looked after me in New Orleans. Refuges, though? Prisons? Surely that can be sorted out and it has to be.

No, what I most didn’t and don’t like is the erasing of female bodies and female voices and female experience and our ability to name it.

What I care about fundamentally is the right of women to meet in single sex spaces and assert themselves as a class, a sex class — one that is oppressed by a patriarchal system. By men, even sometimes the good ones. As for the bad ones, they are the ones who rape and kill trans folk, too.

Feminism has to be able to talk about bodies. Many of the advances women have made in my lifetime — reproductive rights, more choice over how we give birth, discussions of menstruation and menopause — depend on biology, the biology we were now told was irrelevant.

When I walked past the Woman’s Place meeting in Brighton at the Labour Party conference last year, people were banging on the windows. More TERF-hunters. It hardly affected me, I was in a blur of distress about anti-Semitism, and a friend of mine who was dying. Her lung and bone cancer was missed and she had been told to do more yoga. Bodies fail us all in the end.

What sort of people would stop other people meeting, though? What good did it do the cause of trans people, some of whom were present at the event? Why can feminists not organise?

The moral climate had shifted from “trans rights are something we need to discuss and we must support trans people in all the ways we can” to a denial that such rights may at certain points compete with women’s rights. Friends were under threat, no-platformed in schools and universities if they questioned what had become a fixed set of beliefs.

Women who said that they were subject to threats of violence were told they had to suck it up. Any discussion of trans rights had now mutated into a denial of the existence of trans people and therefore actual violence.


Debate became murder

So while I and many others were receiving vile threats, we were somehow also responsible for the awful violence that is meted out to trans people. Social media blurred the conversation: very few trans people are murdered in Britain (around one a year) but the American stats are worse, so these are the ones used. In Britain at least two women a week are killed — estimated at 3.5 during lockdown — but women are never a marginalised group. We have it all!

In the States, trans healthcare is not free, either. So when American feminists tell us we are “behind” on trans rights, it rankles somewhat. Get your own house in order. We live in a country where abortion is free and legal and where health care for trans people, though not perfect, is free; and we have maternity leave. Neither country is perfect.

Various people who had not been there for the fight around Section 28 told us this was a re-run of that era, with trans folk being described as paedophiles and predators in the place of gay men. (As ever, lesbians were somehow invisible. Except the ones who wanted to transition.) This is revisionism. No one was being asked to give up anything for Section 28 to be dropped.

Gay people have chosen how they were to be referred to. In the trans debate, however, women were not consulted about their terms of reference. They are “Cis”. And “Cis” women are higher up the privilege ladder than trans women. We had become the oppressors — a subset of men.

Then came the rise of “non-binary”. Phew! Finally! By any definition of non-binary, this is what I am. The knowledge that since I was a tiny child my inner and outer selves did not match in any way. Knowingly, I upped the signifiers of femininity to be able to use the power of my mind. This was what I got in trouble with Germaine Greer for: hair, heels, tits. To me, just my drag. Presumably it is the same for everyone.


The Bad Column

Which brings us to March 2020. Eventually, I was allowed by a great editor to write about how gender critical women wanted to assert their basic rights. A professor of working-class history at Oxford, Selina Todd, was disinvited from an event. I noted, referring to this incident, that it is women again, never men, who were losing jobs, incomes and public platforms if they spoke up. Many of them were emailing me: not on one side or another, but generally worried. I wrote that I believed biological sex to be real and that it’s not transphobic to understand basic science. To my mind the column was fairly mild.

It was published. The next thing I know there are loads of people on social media thanking me for saying what needed to be said. And then another lot: the “die in a ditch terf” lot, amazingly telling me to die in a ditch. Again.

Seven years of this sort of abuse now, and no one from the Guardian had ever spoken to me about it. I just carried on. Do they care? Why should they? They should care, if they truly want more “diversity” in journalism, but that’s a lie which liberals tell themselves. How can you bring on working-class writers if you damn them for not knowing the codes upon which the media runs? If you won’t tolerate the heresies of outsiders? If — gasp — they haven’t been to Oxbridge?

In the new orthodoxy, where do I fit in? What is my place in the tickbox set of Left beliefs? I was Brexity, though I voted Remain. I want independence for Scotland and a united Ireland. I want England to be England. I don’t believe in the monarchy or the UK. I think biological sex is real
 I have never hidden any of these views.

My experience is that I have been censored more by the Left than the Right and it gives me no pleasure to say that. Laziness of thought is my big fear, this unthinking adherence to some simplistic orthodoxy. There are values and there is experience and there are people. Complicated fuckers, all of us. The Guardian. Labour-supporting except for its Lib Dem blip in 2010. Endlessly “good”. Yeah; right.

I was discussed at “conference”, the newspaper morning meeting open to all: editorial, digital, advertising, everyone. (It looks like equality, but some people sit on the floor and others get seats, let’s put it that way.) I never go in to the office, or attend conference, but it was reported that a trans woman developer, who had already resigned some weeks earlier, resigned again that morning, because my words, my column, had made her feel unsafe. According to the news story: “the column was ‘the straw that broke the camel’s back,’ the trans employee said, following a series of pieces that pitted trans people against women and against women’s rights.”

Apparently, my fellow columnist Hadley Freeman defended me and I am grateful for that. It appeared to be an extremely upsetting incident for all concerned. I am sorry that it happened. No one will believe that, but I am.


The Letter

Then came the letter to the editor, expressing dismay about the Guardian being a publication “hostile to trans rights and trans employees”, since three trans people had apparently resigned in the last year. This was news to me. Although I wasn’t named in the letter, it was very clearly a response to my column. Three hundred and thirty-eight people signed it.

The letter to the editor. Credit: Buzzfeed

Not one of them had the decency to pick up the phone to me. Should The Guardian be a welcoming place for trans people to work in? Yes of course it bloody well should. Should it be a place where we discuss complicated issues? Again yes.

The letter made it clear to me that it wasn’t just social media activists who wanted me out of the paper. My fellow staff were gunning for me: time to hand over my job to the young Corbyn crew who spend their lives slagging off the mainstream media but cannot wait to be part of it. Could they write a good sentence? Say something from the heart? Does that matter? Apparently not, they simply think the right things.

The letter was then leaked to Buzzfeed and then the names were made public. I was devastated to find people who I like and had worked with had done this. In 30 years of journalism I have often disagreed with people and had stand-up rows with them but no one has ever done something so underhand as to try and get someone fired because of one column.

I listed the names of my denouncers on Twitter. I read one of them saying I doxxed them, not the case as the names were already in the public domain. I wrote a distraught and emotional letter to the people who I knew, asking how could they do this? What kind of victory had they achieved?

I felt fucking awful. Well, how would you feel if 338 colleagues basically bullied you? But off I went to Amsterdam to do a mushroom retreat because life goes on.

Mistakenly, I thought my editors would stand up for me because that was my experience at other papers; or they might issue a public statement. They didn’t. There was some internal email, and I hear it was discussed at the Scott Trust, which governs the paper. What this means I genuinely have no idea. Nor do I understand what editorial independence means any more. Do they? Not in my book.

This to me was utter cowardice. Shouldn’t you stand by your writers? But on this issue the Guardian has run scared. I suspect this is partly because of Guardian US sensitivities and, partly because the paper receives sponsorship from the Open Society foundation, which promotes trans rights.

This also might explain some of the utter gender gobbledegook we run about how HRT has taught someone to cry and all categories are porous. Whatever.

As a feminist, I have limited interest in all this, in the holes in which other people do or do not wish to put their bits. Sorry it’s rather dull. I am with Foucault in that I don’t believe sexuality is the essential soul or truth of an individual. My concern with this issue is only to do with the rights of women and the welfare of children.

So much of the discussion is about trans women, but the unhappiness of teenage girls must concern us. We have known since 2017 — earlier in fact — that there has been a huge uptick in female teenagers wanting to transition. Presenting to the Tavistock with self harm, eating disorders or suicidal ideation, these girls may end up on puberty-blocking hormones and then go on to have surgery. And for some of them that indeed may be the right thing to do. For others though, it clearly isn’t and to question that is not anything phobic, it is to care.

Why, as feminists, can we not talk about this epidemic of young women who cannot bear their bodies and the thought of what is happening to them: breasts, periods, unwanted sexual attention, the works? Why can you not be a young butch lesbian these days?

In an ideal world, feelings of masculinity or femininity could be achieved without surgery or hormones that may cause infertility. We are far from such a world and I respect the decisions of adults who go through this long, difficult process in often impossible circumstances. Brave, brave people.

My argument to my newspaper, though, has always been if we don’t have this discussion then the Right will, and indeed that has been the case. The Spectator and the Times have covered stories we haven’t, and I have had to write what I wanted to in the Telegraph. Investigative journalism means going into no-go areas. Why can’t we? The liberal Left looks not virtuous but naïve.

Less sexy subjects such as the appalling low rate for rape convictions, the Covid pandemic causing women to lose jobs and be forced back into the home, the complete lack of childcare
 all of these things fall by the wayside when the main discussions of feminism appear to be by men telling us men can just say they’re women and if we say otherwise we deserve all the rape threats we get.

There is no actual interrogation of gender and I say this as someone who has written about and studied this subject for decades. There is a simply a belief system.


The Witches They Cannot Burn

For such thoughts, I have been denounced, alongside bigger and better people such as JK Rowling. The words “compassion” and “kindness” are often used by trans activists. Can we all just not be kinder? Well, yes 
 I never have and never would be unkind to someone because of their gender identity. I reserve the right not to kowtow to certain blokes, though. What I would like is some kindness towards women, some empathy towards our fears and our concerns, but I don’t see much of that. What have you done for us lately?

Since my denouncement, I have received nothing but support from all sorts of people in private, including many at the paper who are now afraid for their jobs. I didn’t stop writing, I carried on. “Don’t mention the war, Suzanne.” It felt quite schizophrenic, the split between the groundswell of women who are thinking along the same lines as me and the lack of support from the institution I work for.

The censorship continues and I cannot abide it. Every day another woman loses her job and a witch-burning occurs on Twitter. My fear is not about trans people but an ideology that means the erasure of women — not just the word, but of our ability to name and describe our experience. We are now cervix-havers, birthing parents, people who menstruate. On Amnesty’s latest posters to support the women’s strike in Poland, the literal translation from Polish for the thousands of women who were protesting the awful tightening of abortion laws was: “I stand with people in Poland”. Which people? Women forced to give birth on a plastic sheet to a dead baby with foetal defects? Say it.

Nor do I buy the idea that all of this is a purely generational issue. In part it is, sure, but it can at times be an issue of unfettered misogyny and a failure to understand that many women’s rights are fairly recent and always contested.

The Left — well, I guess I mean the Labour Party with its mad insistence on conformity — just stopped listening. As the Corbyn project collapsed, the cultural battle around trans issues became a proxy war of insane proportions. The Labour leadership contenders were ordered to sign a pledge which called Woman’s Place a “hate group”. With the exception of Keir Starmer, they did. “Transphobe” was now a slur to throw at anyone who didn’t keep the faith. You lose the electorate so what happens. Do you reflect?

No, apparently armed with misread Gramsci and a smidgeon of Chomsky you decide you will redefine common sense without persuading people to your side. Calling everyone unconvinced by your politics racist homophobes as an electoral strategy never sat well with me. Call me precious. The utter failure of the People’s Vote told us that, surely? The haute Remain position consisted mostly of telling Leave voters they were idiots.

Likewise, alienating women who are lifelong Labour supporters, because of their refusal to sign away what they feel to be their hard-won rights, is a performative gesture that I am unconvinced provides any actual “wins” for anyone.

Yet this one tiny issue has somehow come to dominate every debate now on feminism. It’s boring. Something has got terribly skewed here. Something has been lost and I am lost in it.

There is obviously bigger and more important stuff to deal with than the issue of the liberation of women. There always is. My hurt at being ejected from cults I never belonged in anyway is not self-pity. That dissolves the moment I have the freedom to speak my truth.

The things I want to talk about — the deep unhappiness of women, the suffocating girdle of masculinity, the ever growing and bleak inequalities, the falling fertility rates which will mean girls don’t get to be born, rape as a war crime, FGM — these things are hard enough to do anyway. To understand that women’s bodies are used and abused however we might feel about them is not a comfortable place to be. Our relationship with our bodies is not straightforward. I am sure it’s the same for many men.

Now that I have personally transitioned — my uterus no longer works, my estrogen has dropped — I have even less fucks to give than I did before. You can denounce me as much as you like but you cannot deny my life’s work of living somehow inside this female body. You cannot tell me it’s not real. It’s as real as it gets.

This, then, is a story about a woman journalist who “made it”, who never thought it would be easy.

This is a story about a feminist who started to see things going backwards and wanted to tell the world. This is not a story about trans people at all. Really it isn’t. It’s a story about not belonging. Not knowing my place.

Sure I understand the clichéd trajectory that as one grows older, one moves from Left to Right. Actually, I would say in my case this is not so: class politics becomes ever more pertinent to me, not less. In these fearful reactionary times, I will not be fearful and I will not be reactionary, but I will centre women and children and the possibility of freedom, as I always have, at the heart of my work.

The consequences of this have been tough in a tough year. The support both within and without the paper for which I write has been huge and I am grateful for it. I remain flame-retardant.

All this is then just a little story about being given a warning to shut up. And refusing to. I have had a lifetime of such warnings. Class will out. This is just something I wanted to tell you about a woman saying no. And the ways we say no.

That’s all it is. That’s the rub.

That’s all it takes sometimes.


Listen to Suzanne Moore’s interview with UnHerd’s LockdownTV:



Suzanne Moore is an award-winning columnist and journalist. She won the Orwell Prize in 2019.

suzanne_moore

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gunhilde_1
gunhilde_1
3 years ago

It doesn’t matter if you are left or right wing or if you have no wing at all. If we believe in freedom of speech and thought we must fight the cancell culture wherever we find it.

3 million female children face the possibility of F.G.M. annually because of the biological reality of being female. It is more than their feelings that are hurt.

Bravo Suzanne Moore.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
3 years ago
Reply to  gunhilde_1

Who is standing up for the mutilated males ?One thing is certain is that it won’t be a feminist.Most appear to only care only for their own gender, as this article seems to aptly demonstrate.

Maria Pilar Cambra Brown
Maria Pilar Cambra Brown
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

Whine on.

Toni Hargis
Toni Hargis
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

Women (feminists) stand up for other women and girls because for too long, no one else (ie. men) has done that.
Men have “only cared for their own gender” for eons. That’s why it’s called a patriarchy. It’s funny how that’s conveniently ignored when women take action to support each other.

polidoris ghost
polidoris ghost
3 years ago
Reply to  Toni Hargis

Guardian writers only stand up for other middle class women and girls.
They typically employ cleaners, to scrub the floors with a worn out toothbrush at £1 a day.
When they stand up for the truly downtrodden, I will revise my opinion of The Guardian and its readers.

Vivek Rajkhowa
Vivek Rajkhowa
3 years ago
Reply to  Toni Hargis

Except men haven’t cared about other men, hence why men continue to constantly die in droves.

Jane R
Jane R
3 years ago
Reply to  Vivek Rajkhowa

And that’s women’s problem because?
The fact that the vast majority of wars are caused by men against men (though realistically, women always suffer too from war, even if they haven’t always done the fighting) doesn’t negate the fact that for centuries men as a class have only ever put their own interests first.

Vivek Rajkhowa
Vivek Rajkhowa
3 years ago
Reply to  Jane R

Have we? Really? Men aren’t a class though, we’re a gender/sex just as women are. Upper class women benefitted from the privileges afforded to them just as upper class men did.

Jane R
Jane R
3 years ago
Reply to  Vivek Rajkhowa

Males are a sex class. I’m talking biology, not sociology here.

Jane R
Jane R
3 years ago
Reply to  Vivek Rajkhowa

Men are a sex class, not a social class.

Jane R
Jane R
3 years ago
Reply to  Vivek Rajkhowa

Men as a biological class.
And of COURSE men haven’t historically put themselves first, that’s why men and women got the vote at the same time isn’t it? And even before regular people were allowed the vote, upper class women could vote alongside upper class men couldn’t they?
She said sarcastically.

Benjamin Jones
Benjamin Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  Jane R

Yes, because working class men had the vote hundreds of years before working class women, didn’t they, he says, sarcastically.

Jane R
Jane R
3 years ago
Reply to  Benjamin Jones

They had it decades before working class women, or any woman, come to that.

David Morley
David Morley
3 years ago
Reply to  Jane R

Some of them, but not all. It’s been estimated that the majority of men fighting in the First World War did not have the vote.

Alex Delszsen
Alex Delszsen
3 years ago
Reply to  David Morley

Blah, blah, blah WAR. What about deaths on city streets?

Benjamin Jones
Benjamin Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  Jane R

Millions of men, mainly the ones who were putting their lives on the line got the vote, along with women who fitted a certain criteria, not long after WW1 ended. It was less than 10 years that all women were given the vote.

Patrick White
Patrick White
3 years ago
Reply to  Jane R

And? How and why would that bother you now, unless you are reflexively neurotic?

Claire D
Claire D
3 years ago
Reply to  Jane R

There’s no such thing as a “biological class”.

David Morley
David Morley
3 years ago
Reply to  Jane R

Actually I believe property owning women did at one point have the vote. They were written out of it sometime in the 19th century. And universal male suffrage in the U.K. was achieved by men and women at the same time – with a voting age difference rectified shortly after. Prior to that, some, but not all, men could vote. The achievement of universal suffrage was a drawn out process, and initially the emphasis was on giving ordinary working people a voice.

Only later did the emphasis shift to female suffrage, and this was strongly linked to temperance and social purity movements. Based on a Victorian belief in female moral superiority it was felt that the female vote would allow male behaviour to be curbed.

young_joanna
young_joanna
3 years ago
Reply to  Vivek Rajkhowa

Are you really that niaive? Upper class women also suffered for their husband’s and fathers’ privilege. They were effectively sold off like prize heifers to consolidate fortunes, bring privilege and keep hold of assets. Upper class women are also at risk from male violence and even today do not share in all of their male equivalent’s privilege.

Marx recognised that women constituted an oppressed sex class in their own right. Until recently, women couldn’t vote, own property or even sign credit agreements. In civilised England, they could be raped by their husbands until 1991 and, as Suzanne Moore correctly states, the number of rapists who are brought to justice is at an all time low. Women also earn less, do not have equal representation in any area apart from as victims of sexual and domestic abuse where they are greatly over represented.

Good article Suzanne

Vivek Rajkhowa
Vivek Rajkhowa
3 years ago
Reply to  young_joanna

Men were also sold off like cattle to wed women, they were expected to go off and fight and die in wars, they were also expected to shoulder the burden of carrying the household. And now men are still expected to fight in distant wars, protect people and all for nothing. Furthermore, a man who is raped by a woman cannot even see his assailant brought to justice because of the law.

Vivek Rajkhowa
Vivek Rajkhowa
3 years ago
Reply to  Jane R

Also, by the same token why should women’s issues bother men?

Jane R
Jane R
3 years ago
Reply to  Vivek Rajkhowa

I never said women aren’t bothered by men’s issues. It’s disingenuous to think that feminists don’t care about child abuse concerning boys, domestic abuse against men, and so forth. My point about war was that men cause wars. Men cause wars against men. It’s not the women doing it. So you can’t say it’s a problem caused by women. Women are allowed to be angry about injustices imposed on us by men as a biological sex class without the cries of ‘but what about men????’

Robert Forde
Robert Forde
3 years ago
Reply to  Jane R

“Men cause wars”? In a statistical sense that’s true, but only because most heads of government have been male. I see no evidence that female leaders haven’t caused wars too: Catherine the Great fought several, as did Isabella of Spain. Indeed, between about 1500 and 1918 women leaders were 27% MORE likely to wage wars than male ones. In modern times, Mrs Ghandi and Mrs Thatcher both fought wars. Female leaders are not all like Jacinda Ardern. More’s the pity, some might say.

Vivek Rajkhowa
Vivek Rajkhowa
3 years ago
Reply to  Jane R

Wasn’t talking about the war issue. I was referring to your previous comment re why women may not like International Men’s Day. And I don’t think it’s disingenuous to think feminists don’t care about abuse issues that face boys and men, I’ve seen women dismiss these concerns. I’ve seen female writers say. ‘Why should we care that men are killing themselves at ever increasing rates? Women try to commit suicide more.” I agree women should be able to be angry about the injustices imposed on them without some bloke coming in and going. ‘what about men.’ But I also think then that men should be able to have spaces where they can discuss their issues, without a woman saying. ‘but every day is men’s day.’ when that is not the case. As a man I can tell you that with a straight face.

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
3 years ago
Reply to  Jane R

You wouldn’t dare generalise about black people the way you do about men. The sexism and racism of the Left is always a joy to behold.

Jane R
Jane R
3 years ago
Reply to  Vivek Rajkhowa

Women are very much concerned about issues that bother men. We do care about the plight of male victims. It’s disingenuous to say that we are not. But, at the same time, women should be allowed to talk about injustices we face from men without being told ‘think about the men too!’

Vivek Rajkhowa
Vivek Rajkhowa
3 years ago
Reply to  Jane R

Of course you should be able to talk about the injustices you face without some moron coming out and wanting to think about men too. It would be nice if that was reciprocated when men wished to talk about our issues. And I’d say some women do care, not all, but some.

Jane R
Jane R
3 years ago
Reply to  Vivek Rajkhowa

You’ve literally just made it about men with your ‘it would be nice if women did that too’ comment. I don’t know what articles you’re reading, but I personally don’t read a whole lot of articles about male suicides or male cancers with a bunch of women in the comments whining about how they’re not being centred.

Vivek Rajkhowa
Vivek Rajkhowa
3 years ago
Reply to  Jane R

My apologies. And, it’s not articles, it’s more on social media, such as during International Men’s Day, it’s in conversations that one has on said social media on any issue. Indeed, on International Men’s Day I did have a rather aggravating conversation in this regard. But you’re right, this a article about women’s issues. So, I’ll butt out.

Jane R
Jane R
3 years ago
Reply to  Vivek Rajkhowa

I think, to be honest, the principle reason you might have had women expressing their consternation to you about International Men’s Day is because to many women, especially those of us paid less for working the same job at the same hours, and being worried about access to abortion and not getting attacked just for leaving our front doors, every day feels like International Men’s Day.

This is not to say men do not suffer. They do. And they deserve to be heard. But understand that the oppressor’s cries can sound different to the ears of the oppressed.

Vivek Rajkhowa
Vivek Rajkhowa
3 years ago
Reply to  Jane R

Fair enough, I will be sure to remember this the next time I start thinking my life isn’t that great. Puts it into perspective.

Susan Gilchrist
Susan Gilchrist
3 years ago
Reply to  Vivek Rajkhowa

You are an intelligent guy Vivek!

Vivek Rajkhowa
Vivek Rajkhowa
3 years ago
Reply to  Jane R

Fair enough.

John Jones
John Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  Jane R

Men are not oppressors. Nor do women get paid less than men for the same work. Women earn less than men because they work fewer hours. This has been studied to death. I recommend you read the Harvard study on this issue.

John Jones
John Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  Jane R

And how many such articles about issues affecting men are there compared to ones about women?
The only time men get a hearing is when they respond to articles about women, who then complain about men having their say.

Julia Royce
Julia Royce
3 years ago
Reply to  Jane R

Hypothetical – there’s an archery sub/reddit. It’s been put together because there”s a disparate group of people who are into archery and they want to talk about archery, bows, arrows, fletching etc. It’s a public group and someone new joins. They’re not an archer, they’re into rugger and want to talk about rugger. The archers say “but this group was made to talk about archery, we don’t want to talk about rugger or goalposts or what makes the best balls, we want to talk about archery, not rugger”. The rugger player says “that’s not very inclusive, rugger’s a sport too, you really ought to take rugger into account and include it in your discussions about archery, rugger’s important too”.

Jane R
Jane R
3 years ago
Reply to  Julia Royce

This is honestly a good analogy for how it feels to be a woman on the internet commenting on something about women. Every. Single. Time. There will always be at least one man inserting himself into discussions of FGM or abortion or how many women are killed each year by their male partners and asking why we selfish women don’t care about men. It’s exhausting.

Robin Banks
Robin Banks
3 years ago
Reply to  Jane R

I have heard that one should never argue with a Roman Catholic or a feminist because they will never let go. It’s a fanatical thing. Remember that the vast majority of women are pleasant and reasonable. Feminists are generally unpleasant, unreasonable obsessives.

Micheal Lucken
Micheal Lucken
3 years ago
Reply to  Jane R

So are you suggesting men are not as concerned about the plight of female victims? Where does the notion of women and children first in dire situations come from. Why is it socially unacceptable for a man to hit a woman but not the other way round? Women get all manner of concessions unavailable to men. Women not allowed to talk about injustices they face from men? That subject fills half the pages of women’s magazines and half their comedy routines. The occasional what about men too comment is because by comparison it barely gets a look in. I suspect a ratio of 10 to 1 would be an underestimate in the ratio of women’s issues to men’s issues, largely because men who raise them are looked down on from both sides.

Jane R
Jane R
3 years ago
Reply to  Micheal Lucken

Nobody should be hitting anybody, regardless of gender. Men should not hit women and women shouldn’t hit men. If men hitting women is taken more seriously by society as a whole it’s because, in general, a man’s physical strength advantage is likely to pose more of a danger to the woman. Women and children first comes from a similar place, ie an acknowledgement that the physical advantages men generally have over women enables men to have more of a fighting chance at surviving dangerous situations.

Micheal Lucken
Micheal Lucken
3 years ago
Reply to  Jane R

So demonstrating that men are especially concerned about the plight of female victims for good reasons.

Aaron Kevali
Aaron Kevali
3 years ago
Reply to  Vivek Rajkhowa

Women’s “issues” are not always but often:a) frivolous (as in, by any historical standard ludicrously petty)b) highly selective (rape by some shades of men are ok)c) imaginary (college rape cases claimed as higher than wartime Republic of the Congo) d) incoherent (treat me the same but it’s sexist if you don’t make it easier for me) e) evil (“family” courts, abortion for convenience)That, is just a small selection of why some women’s issue BOTHER men – and women of good will and sanity.

Robert Forde
Robert Forde
3 years ago
Reply to  Jane R

But that has to be true, simply because most national leaders have been men. Women leaders have actually been MORE prone to starting wars, and substantially so. It might not pan out like that if 50% of national leaders were women, but it might.

The fact that men have historically started more wars than women is true; the implication that this is because they are inherently more LIKELY to cause them, given leadership, goes well beyond the facts. Men have started more social programmes, such as universal education, free healthcare, etc, than women, but that doesn’t mean they are in any sense more compassionate or socially-minded than women. It just means they had the power.

Jane R
Jane R
3 years ago
Reply to  Robert Forde

The point about men starting more wars is that it is men that men should look to to blame for that particular cause of their suffering. So instead of men coming into comments sections and crying ‘what about the men? We suffer too’ about topics related to women and our oppression, perhaps they should direct that question towards their fellow men.

Also, I’m just not convinced that, given an equal playing field, women would be shown to be equally as warmongering as men, and certainly not more so. The ease with which many men resort to physical violence when they don’t get their own way attests to that.

Rob Nock
Rob Nock
3 years ago
Reply to  Jane R

“The ease with which many men resort to physical violence when they don’t get their own way attests to that.”

That is not because men are worse or more mean but is because men can make more of an impact that way than a woman can, typically. Woman instead, and teens are famous for this, more commonly are bitchy, mean etc while men just thump and then get on with their lives.

Both sexes have their good and bad points but the modern feminist agenda is based around 2 points “Women are just like men” and ‘All men are bastards’. Most feminists can’t decide which is the one they believe; both are probably true in their way but rather a negative way to look at humanity.

partyoffire
partyoffire
3 years ago
Reply to  Robert Forde

Well then, since men commit disproportionally more crimes and especially rape, why are they allowed to be literally anywhere?

David George
David George
3 years ago
Reply to  Jane R

Ever heard of “women and children first” Jane.

Jane R
Jane R
3 years ago
Reply to  David George

Yes I have. Ever heard of women having to fight for our right to vote, our right to bodily autonomy, the right not to be asked what we were wearing when we are attacked?

Rob Nock
Rob Nock
3 years ago
Reply to  Jane R

Do try to grow up and see people as people. We are ALL individuals with a range of opinions, beliefs, strengths and weaknesses. Don’t just live in your own silo and hate the other silo.

Jane R
Jane R
3 years ago
Reply to  Rob Nock

This is such an unhelpful argument. Feminists don’t hate men, and of course we recognise that most men are good people. But even good people can benefit from a system (in this case patriarchy) that works for them at the expense of others.

Johan Grönwall
Johan Grönwall
3 years ago
Reply to  Jane R

“Women always suffer too from war”? Men DIE from war. In their millions. Cheered on by women.

Jane R
Jane R
3 years ago

Women also die. I don’t personally know of any women who cheer at the prospect of war.

Aaron Kevali
Aaron Kevali
3 years ago
Reply to  Jane R

I thought we were in this together…. Apparently men dying isn’t women’s problem. Bizarre. You married Jane or is it just you and the cats?

Jane R
Jane R
3 years ago
Reply to  Aaron Kevali

Wow, a woman with an opinion must be an unhappy spinster with a thousand cats. What a wit you are Aaron! How original! Men dying is very much something that feminists find sad and tragic. But by and large, men die at the hands of other men, not women. It is generally not women attacking and killing men.

Claire D
Claire D
3 years ago
Reply to  Jane R

46 women convicted of killing men year ending 2018 – most recent figures available from the ONS.

Robin Banks
Robin Banks
3 years ago
Reply to  Jane R

And that’s women’s problem because?
Because reasonable women love their sons and spouses.
most wars were brought about by men because it was mainly women in charge. Where women are in charge, they are just the same. Look at Hilary Clinton and Margaret Thatcher.

Z
Z
3 years ago
Reply to  Jane R

“And that’s women’s problem because?”

No women’s right cause has succeeded or won democratic rights without enrolling support from the other half of the species. That is, there were enough men who did care, who took on many of the problems facing women as “their” problem as well – they did not just manifest caring about their own “tribe” of males.

Now your view is that the problems that males face in our society are none of your interest, you care only about women and men should care only about men? Or did I misinterpret?

From my first encounter with (2nd wave) feminism, I got that there were two threads: one with aims of true equal partnership with men versus the confining and damaging sex roles oppressing both, and one with a female vs male energy, primarily about moving women’s power and benefits upward, period (not aiming for equality per se, just to maximize power). I’ve been a lifelong supporter of the former. That side – moving towards real equaliy and parternship in a win/win vision of future relations – seems to be losing influence in current feminism.

There’s less of the reciprocal partnership (“thanks for supporting our battle, we will also support yours”), and more of a “you owe us because we are bigger victims, so there’s not need for reciprocality and alliance, this is now an adversarial relationship and you have to let us win or we will call you names”. That is, it’s an attempt to invert the win/lose dynamics, not a movement towards a truly more equally empowered society with payoffs for both (ie: a win/win which benefits both sides).

Why do I prefer social contracts empowered by mutual benefits? Because I think they can be more stable and harmonious, and foster more empathetic connections – than those based on seeking to win by shaming opponents, which will explode in your faces someday.

Joe Blow
Joe Blow
3 years ago
Reply to  Toni Hargis

Use of the term “patriarchy” is almost always a signifier of an emptiness of argument. Yours is not in the category of comments where the term adds something.

Jane R
Jane R
3 years ago
Reply to  Joe Blow

Oh good. A man has arrived to tell us ladies about the reality of our oppression. How did we ever cope before you?

Claire D
Claire D
3 years ago
Reply to  Jane R

Women cannot cope without men for very long. I’d be interested to see you cope if your roof fell in, or your car breaks down, or you need an operation, or there’s a power cut, or an invasion by a hostile nation etc etc.
Just take a look around you and you will see that your home and almost everything in it, the road you live on, shops you get your food from, the food itself, almost all your material world was made, grown and delivered to you by MEN.
A bit of gratitude would not go amiss.

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
3 years ago
Reply to  Claire D

or if there’s a spider in the house.

Claire D
Claire D
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

That can work both ways.

Jane R
Jane R
3 years ago
Reply to  Claire D

I never said that men deserve no gratitude for what they do.
Women also do those jobs you mention, but that’s by the by. We should still be able to criticise injustice that we face, without being told to be ‘grateful’. Have you never criticised the government? There’s much you should be thankful for with the government too, it doesn’t mean you can’t criticise aspects of it you feel are unjust.

Claire D
Claire D
3 years ago
Reply to  Jane R

This was in moderation for 4 days.

No longer relevant, so scrapped.

Jack Henry
Jack Henry
3 years ago
Reply to  Jane R

You’ve several times in this thread said that men as a whole class never ever put women’s needs first. As Claire D points out, that ignores the fact you are absolutely surrounded at every moment by the products of generations of men’s labouring to provide for their wives, sisters, mothers, aunts and daughters. Additionally, in the aeons-long view of the “Patriarchy” conception, does a few decades difference between the majority of men getting the vote, and women getting the vote mean all that much? In other words, from a slightly more elongated perspective, the majority of men were politically disenfranchised just as much as women. Of course those decades of difference are still an insult to women, especially given how hard their struggle for enfranchisment was, but I feel a bit of perspective wouldn’t go amiss.

Jane R
Jane R
3 years ago
Reply to  Jack Henry

If you were a woman, maybe you would feel differently. When fighting for the right to be counted as people,citizens, human beings, then yes, decades do count. If you were denied the vote tomorrow but reassured that it won’t be forever, only a few decades, but that the other 50% of the human population can still vote, I suspect you’d be feeling unhappy about that.
Women are entitled to talk about oppression from men, such as FGM, trafficking, domestic abuse and so on. That does not mean we aren’t aware of everything men have done and do to make our lives comfortable! Have you honestly never complained about the government? The government does a lot for you too but you have every right to criticise its negative aspects. That doesn’t mean you’re not grateful for free education, healthcare, or the right to vote, does it?

Jack Henry
Jack Henry
3 years ago
Reply to  Jane R

I’m sure I would feel differently yes. But the same goes if you were a man. Of course you’re entitled to talk about oppression from men (I hope you’ve noticed that such talk has been a consistent and ever growing part of Western culture for well over 150+ years now). But it’s the one-sidedness of some of the arguments that’s bothersome to many men (and many women, I’m increasingly aware). For example: I feel sure any non-superficial investigation of practices like FGM will likely show that they are insisted upon and carried out as much and often more by the women of those societies. Another example is the enormous taboo around the subject of women who are domestically violent: yes I know about the women-being-killed statistics and they are shocking, but this doesn’t make battered and humiliated men an ok thing. Trafficking of women: no argument there however, a terrible and I suppose I agree essentially Patriarchal crime.

Jack Henry
Jack Henry
3 years ago
Reply to  Jane R

I replied to this earlier but it seems to have vanished for some reason. A quick summary of my reply! Yes, I would feel differently as a woman I reckon, but the same goes for yourself if you were a man.

And of course you’re entitled to complain about oppression from men; are you forgetting that such commentary has been an ever growing part of Western culture for 150+ years! But it’s the one-sidedness of a lotof the arguments that is bothersome to men (and to an increasing number of women too, it seems). For example: I feel sure that a non-superficial investigation of FGM and similar practices will often show they are promulgated and defended as much or more by the women
of those societies.

Domestic violence is another one sided argument as there’s a huge taboo (in society and in journalism: the subject
is always relegated to niche websites and support groups) on talking about women who are violent to their partners. Yes, I’m aware of the shocking statistics on femicide, but that doesn’t make battered and humiliated men an ok or negligible thing.

On sex trafficking of women there is of course no arguing however: a horrendous and, I agree, essentially Patriarchal crime.

Patrick White
Patrick White
3 years ago
Reply to  Jane R

The government is transitory and composed of a mix of people.

That you feel so unjustly treated by men specifically suggests that you are neurotic.

Graeme Cant
Graeme Cant
3 years ago
Reply to  Jane R

FGM is rarely opression by men. Mostly it is opression by other women.

Claire D
Claire D
3 years ago
Reply to  Jane R

You can criticise whatever you like, we live in one of the safest, most free countries in the world, you might as well make the most of it.
But, you owe it to yourself to make sure that what you are criticising is worth the time and effort, and is it reasonable ?
Does it not strike you as odd that where you see oppression and injustice the majority of British women, particularly aged 30+, do not ?
Does that fact not make you wonder if perhaps you are mistaken and overeacting, brainwashed by feminist propaganda ?

Patrick White
Patrick White
3 years ago
Reply to  Jane R

You don’t face any injustice. You have a downer on life, and have sought out ‘literature’ that confirms your worldview.

R Button
R Button
3 years ago
Reply to  Claire D

Are you stuck in 1952? Here, I’ll try to pull you back to this time period…Claire? Grab my hand! Come on now!

Jane R
Jane R
3 years ago
Reply to  Jane R

Two women a week are killed by men in the UK. Many women around the world have no access to abortion, even in cases of rape. More women attempt suicide than men, but men are more ‘successful’ in their attempts because they statistically choose more lethal, violent methods more likely to result in death.

Jane R
Jane R
3 years ago
Reply to  Jane R

It is also not feminism’s fault if men who don’t want to listen to the realities of patriarchy switch off when the word is mentioned. A lot of climate change deniers switch off when global warming is mentioned too. It doesn’t mean it isn’t real.

Alex Delszsen
Alex Delszsen
3 years ago
Reply to  Jane R

Stop the appeal to patriarchy and shift to the elite and people with power. Patriarchy makes one’s mind numb for the first three seconds before one can listen again, at the very mildest of responses.

Joe Blow
Joe Blow
3 years ago
Reply to  Jane R

The fact that 2 women a week are killed by men is utterly irrelevant to the argument. Women are only a third as likely to be the victim of murder, or and half as likely to be a victim of other violent crime. And, when women are the perpetrators, they get lighter sentences.

Do try to keep up.

Jane R
Jane R
3 years ago
Reply to  Joe Blow

It really isn’t irrelevant. The fact is very simple: men kill men. Men kill women. Women are generally not at risk from other women. Nor are men generally at risk from women. Men are the perpetrators of the vast majority of violence in this world. How about you go after other men for this rather than try to shame women who speak up about feeling unsafe? Could it possibly be because you find it easier to shout down women?

Patrick White
Patrick White
3 years ago
Reply to  Jane R

You’re not being shouted down when someone presents you with a counter-argument.

Jane R
Jane R
3 years ago
Reply to  Jane R

Women who have opinions have faced this exact sexist criticism for decades now. It isn’t original in the least, other than possibly that spelling of ‘expensive’.

R Button
R Button
3 years ago
Reply to  Jane R

Did you have an oppressive or smothering mother? I’ve never read such vitriol against women in all my life…I can’t believe that you actually believe women have it better than men, or that surface statistics mean anything in effect. You clearly see every woman as some “stock” figure, likely an authority figure from childhood, and this kind of simplistic thinking prevents you from considering the nuance of lived experience. You sound exactly like Keith Rainere, and look where he ended up…consider what you might be projecting based on the actions of one of two people in your life.

Joe Blow
Joe Blow
3 years ago
Reply to  R Button

That you have failed to respond to my points (which were specific data items), and instead engaged in an ad hominem ‘argument’ speaks volumes…

R Button
R Button
3 years ago
Reply to  Joe Blow

My, my…2 replies *and* a reply to one of my unrelated comments for a different article? My “amateurish” babble seems to have struck a nerve.

Joe Blow
Joe Blow
3 years ago
Reply to  R Button

Haven’t got the hang of this “grown up discussion” thing, have you?

John Jones
John Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  Toni Hargis

Complete nonsense. Men have been sacrificing themselves for centuries to provide for women and children. 97% of all industrial acidents happen to men, because men are the expendable gender.

Laura Martini
Laura Martini
3 years ago
Reply to  Toni Hargis

How about all the dead soldiers, miners, workers in highly dangerous places suporting their families in the past? Is it really plausible that goodness and altruism are only found among women? I doubt it.

Jane R
Jane R
3 years ago
Reply to  Laura Martini

That isn’t what she is saying.

Aaron Kevali
Aaron Kevali
3 years ago
Reply to  Toni Hargis

False. Men often stand up for women even when they need not or even should not. There’s even a term for it: white knighting.

David Morley
David Morley
3 years ago
Reply to  Toni Hargis

Men have “only cared for their own gender” for eons.

Is that really true though? And saying that’s why it’s called patriarchy is begging the question.

I think it differs a great deal between cultures. I think in the past it was completely trumped by social class (upper class men cared far more for upper class women than they did for working class men), and in the U.K. I think it is fair to say that more care has always been directed at women – hence the legislation post industrial revolution aimed at protecting women and the greater sense of horror if something happens to women.

Heather W
Heather W
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

You’re surely not saying that feminism should centre men, are you? Really? Nothing at all is stopping men from organising against circumcision if they wish to. Fill your boots. ðƾℱ„ But the trans issue – which is what SM’s piece springs from – is not about that. And do check the difference between ‘sex’ and ‘gender’ – it’s a useful distinction.

Jane R
Jane R
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

Why does every discussion of female-related issues have to result in some whiny man crying ‘but…but…what about the MEN?!’
You don’t see women bombarding discussions of testicular cancer with demands that breast cancer be discussed too.

Mark Shelly
Mark Shelly
3 years ago
Reply to  Jane R

Yes they do. We had Jess Phillips laughing at male suicide and at the thought of a minister for men.

Adrian
Adrian
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Shelly

Yes but she’s not a nice person.

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
3 years ago
Reply to  Jane R

Because of the unconscious sexism of Suzanne’s article, probably. It’s not just hetersexual women who’ve been relabelled as “cis”, nor is it just women who’ve lost jobs (Jordan Petersen).

Also, did you not notice how, throughout the article, Suzanne is constantly comparing and equating the Left’s hate with masculinity – still the go-to benchmark for oppression on planet Guardian? If you write from the premise that gender bullies are as bad as and part of the same general evil as men, you should expect to get pulled up on it.

Jane R
Jane R
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

Why should women always have to talk about how a problem that affects us also adversely affects men? If men are also angry about how this is affecting them, then nobody is stopping them from writing an article of their own.

David Morley
David Morley
3 years ago
Reply to  Jane R

That’s true. But what is interesting is the low societal interest in issues which negatively affect men – in marked contrast to those that affect women. No one really wants to hear about male workplace deaths, for example. I think some men feel that feminism has contributed to this by suggesting that women’s lives are hard, while men have the life of Reilly.

Aaron Kevali
Aaron Kevali
3 years ago
Reply to  Jane R

Women moan about their problems a heck of alot more than men do. (Come on, we all know it to be so.) And yes, on some ‘men’s issues’, there is usually a feminist poster bitching that that this isn’t worth discussing becuase women are so much worse off in general. Case in point: Julie Bindell of our very own unherd.com

Ted Ditchburn
Ted Ditchburn
3 years ago
Reply to  Jane R

Yes you do….

David Morley
David Morley
3 years ago
Reply to  Jane R

Because they are trying to right the balance and show that there are societal practices which harm men but which are rarely spoken of or made little of. They are challenging a female victim, male perpetrator narrative. And just why is it that FGM has such a high profile and MGM not?

Jane R
Jane R
3 years ago
Reply to  David Morley

Both FGM and MGM are vile and wrong, of course they are. I think to be honest the main reason FGM receives more attention is because not only does it, in most forms it takes, essentially scar the woman for life and leave her with excruciating pain in a way that male circumcision does not, but also because male circumcision is often for religious purposes, (which can be an untouchable area for many) whereas FGM is usually because the woman is considered an object which must be kept pure so that she can be sold off to the highest bidder when she is older. Feminists consider both bad, but it’s surely understandable that they focus more so on FGM.

David Morley
David Morley
3 years ago
Reply to  Jane R

Thanks for such a reasonable reply. It’s always hard to untangle the real reasons behind religious and cultural practices, and of course many of them carry on simply because they are traditional, custom or relate to a sense of identity – whatever their origins.

Part of the acceptance of mgm is because circumcision has been part of western tradition (especially in the US) FGM has not. In the US it was rather quaintly considered to discourage masturbation! The equivalent for girls was to put caustic soda on the c******s! And eating corn flakes apparently helped too (I’m not joking!).

And unlike some I don’t particularly see why feminists should focus on male issues. I don’t think they should deny them though, or thwart attempts to deal with them or portray society as more anti female and pro male than it actually is. Thanks again.

Peter Dunn
Peter Dunn
3 years ago
Reply to  Jane R

And FGM for the most part is organised&carried out by …women.

emma.campbell45
emma.campbell45
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

There are many groups that fight against circumcision. I often post articles on this subject. Here is one for you.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.go….

Pearl Wheeler
Pearl Wheeler
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

Ian, what do you mean by ‘mutilated males’? If you are referring to routine infant circumcision, I think you’d find that most of us are against all genital mutilation.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
3 years ago
Reply to  Pearl Wheeler

Thanks Pearl. I just wish it were mentioned as often as FGM.

My main gripe actually is that so many special interest groups seem only to outwardly care about their own members interests – while constantly seeming to forget that “equality” includes others …

fletcherkathy8
fletcherkathy8
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

However, fgm, especially type 3, is a very, very different thing from mgm. I honestly don’t understand why women campaigning against fgm are vilified for not including mgm. Why can’t men campaign?

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
3 years ago
Reply to  fletcherkathy8

….

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
3 years ago
Reply to  fletcherkathy8

Hopefully you didn’t see my comment as suggesting you are vile in any way – my brain doesn’t work that way.

Your question is a good one, and the answer to it may be the same as the reason men don’t go to doctors as frequently.

I’d like to see an informed Post addressing your question.

Maybe my post is campaigning of a sort- but just amateurish.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
3 years ago
Reply to  fletcherkathy8

Hopefully you didn’t see my comment as suggesting you are vile in any way – my brain doesn’t work that way.

Your question is a good one, and the answer to it may be the same as the reason men don’t go to doctors as frequently.

I’d like to see an informed Post addressing your question.

Maybe my post is campaigning of a sort – but just amateurish

David Morley
David Morley
3 years ago
Reply to  fletcherkathy8

Of the four generally recognised forms of FGM, I think it would be fair to say that one is less damaging than mgm, one is arguable (but in my view worse), and two are clearly worse. I believe (but don’t know) that the mildest form of FGM is the one most common in the U.K.

But it’s not a competition. We should not be mutilating children’s genitals.

rex007can
rex007can
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

Dude… read your comment again and then examine what “special interest” means.

You wanna discuss and fight men’s issues… YOU do it. You don’t get to shit on other people’s arguments because they fail to address what YOU want to talk about…

That’s just so incredibly daft.

R Button
R Button
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

I think this is a simplistic defense — I mean, no one can be everything to everyone, and if you (as in collective, human “you”, not you personally) care so much about a particular issue then it is your responsibility to create a space for it. The problem comes when another person attempts to thwart attention away from your space / hijack your space. If a person wishes that MGM were mentioned as often as FGM, then that person could do something about this without it infringing on the FGM space.

Of course a special interest group is primarily concerned with its own members’ interests…we are human beings, and we will obviously feel most passionately about issues that connect to our personal experience. But, if people separately develop platforms dedicated to subjects that they are personally passionate about, share personal stories, etc., then it becomes possible to engage in empathetic exchange and join forces.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
3 years ago
Reply to  R Button

Thanks for the thoughtful response, the vast majority of which I agree with.

I’d still like to see more groups make the additional effort to briefly demonstrate sympathy with others more often.

I’m pretty sure that would be win-win.

R Button
R Button
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

Thank you for this thoughtful reply, as well — and yes, that would be a win-win.

7882 fremic
7882 fremic
3 years ago
Reply to  Pearl Wheeler

offerderati cause. Nothing wrong with circumcision of males.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
3 years ago
Reply to  7882 fremic

Why is that 7882 ?

If I may call you that ….

jimmy.kent
jimmy.kent
3 years ago
Reply to  7882 fremic

f**k that. NTMC is a gross violation of bodily autonomy and consent, usually instigated by cultural or religious practice. It’s mutilation of a child to make the parents feel better.

gendercriticaldad
gendercriticaldad
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

Well, one things for certain, men don’t seem to give a damn until they can use it to derail women struggling for their rights. It was a man (John Money https://en.wikipedia.org/wi… who help kick start this whole shitstorm, by using a botched circumcision (done by a man, in the name of a male led religion) to play god with his surgical skills.

Susan Gilchrist
Susan Gilchrist
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

What is a mutilated male?

Jonathan Marshall
Jonathan Marshall
3 years ago

Goodness knows. I was circumcised as an infant and it has never been a problem for me – it was simply the done thing in my social class 65 years ago (I’m not Jewish). It’s a very far cry indeed from the true horrors of FGM.

Patrick White
Patrick White
3 years ago

Well so long as you don’t remember the event, that’s fine.

Shall we put FGM on the clock sooner for small girls?

rex007can
rex007can
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

Imagine that.
Feminists don’t matter and their thoughts, arguments and analysis should be discarded out of hand because, they should really be talking about men…

Your comment fails the Bechdel test… spectacularly.

elizabeth shannon
elizabeth shannon
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

Mutilated males? I think the difference here is that the mutilation of males happens because that is what they have chosen for themselves whereas little girls around the world (in Africa especially) have it forced on them.

Stephen Crossley
Stephen Crossley
3 years ago
Reply to  gunhilde_1

Hi Shona

I see from your profile that this is your first time commenting on an article on Unherd, I hope that you and the many other first timers this article has attracted will continue to add to the lively debates that take place here on a wide range of subjects. In particular there is a dearth of female voices and intelligently articulated points of view are always most welcome.

Rob Austin
Rob Austin
3 years ago

Doubt I’ll be subscribing when the time comes. Not enough diversity of views I’m afraid, especially in these BTL comments.

Adrian
Adrian
3 years ago
Reply to  Rob Austin

You never get diversity in BTL comments. Only a certain type of rage motivates anyone to move their fingers over a keyboard

7882 fremic
7882 fremic
3 years ago
Reply to  Adrian

No diversity in Guardian BTL for sure. Not because a diversity of posters does not exist, but because Banning is the instant response of any poster not shouting out the echo chamber song.

Jonathan Marshall
Jonathan Marshall
3 years ago
Reply to  7882 fremic

Yes – and they have the temerity to claim that “Comment is Free”!

Caroline Galwey
Caroline Galwey
3 years ago
Reply to  Rob Austin

Jeez, I’m sorry I’m not diverse enough for you. Better get back to the Guardian…

David George
David George
3 years ago
Reply to  Rob Austin

What’s BTL?
Beyond the limit, below the line, between the lines, buy to let.

Robin Banks
Robin Banks
3 years ago
Reply to  David George

IWTT (I wondered that too).

Dmytro Nalywajko
Dmytro Nalywajko
3 years ago
Reply to  David George

Below the line – comments made after the main article.

Peter Dunn
Peter Dunn
3 years ago
Reply to  Rob Austin

Can we stop calling it ‘diversity’ ffs..weve had enough of that word.
‘Difference of opinion’ was sufficient since literacy began..

Alex Delszsen
Alex Delszsen
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Dunn

In the US, I am getting overloaded by call outs every five seconds appealing to “Democracy.” The word is starting to lose…something…in that strange way of saying a word too often affects one’s sense of it.

Kiran Grimm
Kiran Grimm
3 years ago

Good grief, Stephen Crossley! Have you given yourself the job of UnHerd’s receptionist? What next ““ a welcome-pack of goodies for nice newcomers?

Eleanor Barlow
Eleanor Barlow
3 years ago
Reply to  Kiran Grimm

I never got a welcome when I first started commenting on UnHerd. I’m obviously not nice enough and too challenging – both of which qualities I undoubtedly possess.

I wonder what he means by ‘intelligently articulated articulated points of view’?

Maybe they are comments he agrees with. The real test is recommending a comment that you disagree with because you think it’s well argued.

As a matter of fact, I have upticked Shona’s comment along with the rest because I agree with it.

Kiran Grimm
Kiran Grimm
3 years ago
Reply to  Eleanor Barlow

“…recommending a comment you disagree with because you think it’s well argued” would require a kind of polite detachment from the full force of the discussion effectively reducing it to a genteel game where it doesn’t really matter who is wrong or right as long as the game is played well.

Discussions about politics or religion will always evoke strong emotions and it is difficult to tolerate those who emphatically oppose your beliefs. A generation of young activists have decided that tolerance of opposing views is an intellectual nicety they can do without ““ hence “cancel culture”.

By “intelligently articulated points of view” perhaps Crossley is hinting at disapproval of its opposite: the jeering, sneering and heckling behaviour of the troll.

Gerry Quinn
Gerry Quinn
3 years ago
Reply to  Kiran Grimm

For the record, I sometimes upvote comments I disagree with, because they are well-argued. The immediate battle in some comment section is an insigificant part of the whole war. And a good argument from the opposite side helps me too, even if it doesn’t change my mind. It helps me focus on the core of the opposing argument.

neilpickard72
neilpickard72
3 years ago
Reply to  Kiran Grimm

No. She reflects his opinions and so he advocates for her. Fair enough.

Ron Bo
Ron Bo
3 years ago
Reply to  Kiran Grimm

You didn’t get your welcome pack?

Andrew Thompson
Andrew Thompson
3 years ago
Reply to  Kiran Grimm

ha ha

Peter Dunn
Peter Dunn
3 years ago

Thats a 1st in chat-up lines..

matthew.smith.7319
matthew.smith.7319
3 years ago

You’re a bit creepy.

Christoff Youngman
Christoff Youngman
3 years ago
Reply to  gunhilde_1

Freedom of speech has nothing to do with cancel culture, no-one is saying people should be arrested. You’re getting confused with freedom from consequence.

Mark Shelly
Mark Shelly
3 years ago

“Freedom of speech has nothing to do with cancel culture” That must take years and years of loony indoctrination to come up with some thing as bad as that.

Adrian
Adrian
3 years ago

No they are saying they should be sacked, and the law allows for this.

In the early thirties the Nastis were only coming for the Jews’ jobs after all.

Martin Tuite
Martin Tuite
3 years ago

“In vain the gods battle against stupidity.” Goethe.

jimmy.kent
jimmy.kent
3 years ago

Are you American, by any chance? I often find the First Amendment drastically limits the way US citizens understand freedom of speech, which is not at all limited to state action…

Aaron Kevali
Aaron Kevali
3 years ago

“Step right up ladies and gentleman, see the amazing troll!”

Mark Shelly
Mark Shelly
3 years ago
Reply to  gunhilde_1

Ms Moore supported ‘cancel culture’ until it came for her.

Paul Wright
Paul Wright
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Shelly

quite.

Adrian
Adrian
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Shelly

They came for the Gentleman’s clubs first. The rot started there.

David Johnson
David Johnson
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Shelly

Hoisted on her own virtue-signalling wokeist petard.
Such exquisite irony.

fletcherkathy8
fletcherkathy8
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Shelly

Evidence? I’m unaware of her doing any such thing. I’ve never seen her try to get people deprived of livelihood or subjected to assaults.

David Morley
David Morley
3 years ago
Reply to  fletcherkathy8

There is a kind of poetical truth in what Mark says – and SM is perhaps just as dogmatic as the people now going for her. But like you I would like to know if she has actually herself been involved in cancelling anybody or closing down debate. I suspect probably not.

Hard not to feel that many trans movement tactics were taken from the feminist handbook – and clearly used to pretty deadly effect.

Gudrun Melinski
Gudrun Melinski
3 years ago
Reply to  fletcherkathy8

hahaha! It really isn’t worth the retort. Evidence my arse. Just pick a column, daft lass, any column.

davidjacksmith3
davidjacksmith3
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Shelly

Did she?

I fault her for working at the Guardian — a me hive of scum and villainy — but I’m going to need attribution that she actively worked to get people fired for espousing mere views with which she disagreed.

Aaron Kevali
Aaron Kevali
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Shelly

Indeed, otherwise she couldn’t have worked for the Guardian at all in the first place. No sympathy for her.

Chinese Bear
Chinese Bear
3 years ago
Reply to  gunhilde_1

‘Brava’ is grammatically correct – and presumably more in tune with ‘biology’ as well.

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago
Reply to  Chinese Bear

Brav# is the appropriate gender-neutral term.

(that I’ve just invented)

Chinese Bear
Chinese Bear
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

LOL.
Most Latinos reject ‘Latin#’, needless to say.

John Jones
John Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  gunhilde_1

Sorry, but is this the same Suzanne Moore who wrote an article for the Guardian on why hating men as a group was morally acceptable, published by a paper that positions itself as fighting sexism?

Oh, and double standards. They’re definitely against those. So is Moore, apparently, telling us here that she “never has, or ever will, be unkind to anyone because of their gender identity”.

I guess someone else wrote that piece on why it’s ethical to hate men.

Or consider Suzanne claim that women ought to be able to enjoy “single sex spaces”. Where were you when men’s single sex spaces were claimed to be sexist and exclusionary?
As usual, it’s one rule for feminists, another for men.

This kind of self-contradictory self-righteousness is evident in much of Moore’s journalism. In this very article, for example, informs us that “as a feminist, I argue that gender is a social construct”, but then later claims “a kind of gender tourism became possible. Anyone could be anything” in disputing the notion that gender is a choice.

But you can’t have it both ways Suzanne: if gender is a “social construct” rather than, say, an evolutionary one, then indeed anyone can be anything.

But they can’t, because gender is not a social construct. The psychological differences between men and women, like the physical ones, are the result of different evolutionary pressures governing reproductive success.

But if that is true, then much of modern feminism complaining about the “patriarchy” is simply misdirected misunderstanding of the role biology has played, and continues to play, in how human affairs are regulated. The “patriarchy” is shorthand for innate differences. Men no more oppress women than women oppress men. We are synmbiotically wired into each other through 250,000 years of differential mate selection.

As for your road to Damascus conversion in finally grasping that cancel culture is at root anti-democratic, this is the culture that feminism created. And in spite of your protestations to the contrary, it is men more than women who suffers from its effects.

So sorry, Suzanne, for not being more sympathetic, but your complaints remind me of Robspierre in the back of the tumbrel on the way to the chop whining about the tragic consequences of radical fervor, while remaining blind to your own role in that predictable end.

You and your feminist ilk brought this on yourselves.

J Wilde
J Wilde
3 years ago
Reply to  gunhilde_1

I don’t think this writer is being ‘cancelled’ whatever that really means. Otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to read this.

Peter Dunn
Peter Dunn
3 years ago
Reply to  gunhilde_1

Bravo?She tried to shield the ethnicity of the perpetrators in Rotherham by laying the blame on ALL men..more or less.

Mike Bates
Mike Bates
3 years ago

A regular Guardian reader through the 80’s & 90’s I now see it not as a newspaper but just an activist mag. It’s full of ill thought through one sided “latest fashion” left propaganda. Gone are the days of some balance & some logical analysis. It’s just something you’d read now to affirm an ideological & dogmatic view. It’s not journalism at all.

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Bates

I don’t disagree, the Guardian has lost it. But tell me where I don’t find simplistic dogma. It’s all over this site too, just a different flavour. Repeat after me : Everybody on the left hates democracy. Our culture is being destroyed. It was better in the olden days.

polidoris ghost
polidoris ghost
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

11

Ursa Mare
Ursa Mare
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

Make no mistake! “everybody on the left hates democracy. our culture is being destroyed. it was better in the old days” may be dogmas, but they may very well be just …observations! Just taking note of the (perceived) reality.

Ben
Ben
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Bates

Rather like the BBC, it’s go-to broadcasting sister (brother? self-identifying sibling??)

bootsyjam
bootsyjam
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Bates

Have commented elsewhere that I bought the print version quite recently. Rather than just choosing specific articles online, you obviously have to go through it page by page. And what amazed me was how achingly posh and patrician it was. Has the Guardian always been like this? and if not, when did it change?

LUKE LOZE
LUKE LOZE
3 years ago
Reply to  bootsyjam

I used to read it years ago, it was always achingly posh and patrician. In fairness to the Guardian this is somethin in common with all Broadsheets. I suppose a lot of writers come from that background.

Ted Ditchburn
Ted Ditchburn
3 years ago
Reply to  LUKE LOZE

I used to work for it and it had that feel, but in the actual workforce were a lot of more ordinary down to Earth types…these days (I don’t work it so have no special insight) more and ,ore of the media has succumbed to the idea that impartiality is impossible so partiality is the way to go and nowhere has gone down that route more than the Guardian and now it is where it is.

The NYT may kill it off one day, or CNN, because the one thing the internet has made clear it is the monopolist’s friend and can’t abide multiple provision of a service…and it’s headed to video…the future’s grim, the future’s snapchat……?

gilstra
gilstra
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Bates

My exact same sentiments. They lock themselves up in an ivory tower, guarded by moderators who remove comments that may displease those who’ve suddenly turned pro-monarchy because they probably got an invitation to a C-listed royal wedding.

Ed Cameron
Ed Cameron
3 years ago

Brilliant! Power, rage, intelligence and a rollicking good read. Thank god for Suzanne and UnHerd.

polidoris ghost
polidoris ghost
3 years ago
Reply to  Ed Cameron

Moore is a metropolitan liberal who received a dose of her own medicine.
Like Robespierre, she dies on her own guillotine.

ellenjmoorenb
ellenjmoorenb
3 years ago

You just validated her entire essay.

polidoris ghost
polidoris ghost
3 years ago
Reply to  ellenjmoorenb

I didn’t bother to read it.

c.m.dickson
c.m.dickson
3 years ago

You’re like the right wing evangelical who said he didn’t need to read a certain book or article to know it was Satan’s work. I like to know who or what I’m against. There’s no excuse or moral high ground in ignorance.

polidoris ghost
polidoris ghost
3 years ago
Reply to  c.m.dickson

Pompous ass.
I’m old left as it happens – You know, the real thing.

polidoris ghost
polidoris ghost
3 years ago
Reply to  c.m.dickson

How wonderfully pompous.I’m old left as it happens – You know, the real thing.

simon says
simon says
3 years ago

“I didn’t bother to read it”. All I need to know about you is in that sentence. In another country you’d be a Trump redneck

polidoris ghost
polidoris ghost
3 years ago
Reply to  simon says

“Because in another country you’d be a Trump redneck”
Because I wouldn’t bother to read an article from a Guardian hack?
You need to calibrate your insults to suit your target, Simon.

polidoris ghost
polidoris ghost
3 years ago
Reply to  simon says

“In another country you’d be a Trump redneck”
Would I?
Because I ignore an article by a Guardian hack?
You need to refine your insults to match your target, Simon.

David Lawler
David Lawler
3 years ago
Reply to  simon says

That remark says a lot more about you than it does about him.

Aaron Kevali
Aaron Kevali
3 years ago
Reply to  simon says

Ouch, you go man! Calling people trump supporters is an instant win! Redneck – hilarious! Really put polidoris in his place.

David Stuckey
David Stuckey
3 years ago

Pot calling the kettle black?? Whatever “old” left means, or does it just mean old (like I am!)

polidoris ghost
polidoris ghost
3 years ago
Reply to  David Stuckey

It doesn’t mean self-serving, metropolitan, middle class, fake left.
Hopes that helps, David

Robert Forde
Robert Forde
3 years ago

As one cleric said of The Satanic Verses (which he hadn’t read) “I don’t need to wade into a sewer to know that it is dirty” (I may have paraphrased).

polidoris ghost
polidoris ghost
3 years ago
Reply to  Robert Forde

Poor comparison.
I have read enough of the Guardian over the years to know that is indeed, a sewer.

Judy Englander
Judy Englander
3 years ago

I’ve ploughed through it but, lordy, it’s self-indulgent.

polidoris ghost
polidoris ghost
3 years ago
Reply to  Judy Englander

Tell me if I was unfair.
I will take it from you!

Mike Boosh
Mike Boosh
3 years ago

I read to the end, but christ it was hard work. You didn’t miss much.

Eugene Norman
Eugene Norman
3 years ago
Reply to  Judy Englander

It was over long. 25 mins according to the estimates. I get that she’s angry though.

Adrian
Adrian
3 years ago
Reply to  Judy Englander

No it’s not. It’s angry.

peter lucey
peter lucey
3 years ago
Reply to  Judy Englander

If it’s an example of her journalism, one sympathises with her poor sub-editors

polidoris ghost
polidoris ghost
3 years ago
Reply to  Judy Englander

I was in wind-up mode.

Judy Simpson
Judy Simpson
3 years ago
Reply to  Judy Englander

Well done you. I didn’t make it to the end.

Eugene Norman
Eugene Norman
3 years ago

That was clear.

Aaron Kevali
Aaron Kevali
3 years ago

It was basically one long b***h about how hard done by she was.
I’ll summarise for the TL:DR crowd:
“Waaah, people were mean to me at work”
“Waaah, I was hoist by my own petard”

Everyone else: 😀 😀 😀

Patrick White
Patrick White
3 years ago

LOL! Best post!

Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
3 years ago
Reply to  ellenjmoorenb

Ellen,

Suzanne Moore, much as she wants to portray herself as the poor blameless victim of an intolerant, activist lynch-mob, has been at the fore of denouncing people herself.

So before you offer her too much sympathy spare some for those she has denounced in the past.

In true Guardian fashion, her approach has been predicated on a massive and wholly unjustifiable double standard.

Aaron Kevali
Aaron Kevali
3 years ago
Reply to  ellenjmoorenb

Ellen, how so? By not agreeing or sympathising enough?

Patrick White
Patrick White
3 years ago
Reply to  ellenjmoorenb

Nice try… but no.

It was a hysterical puff piece about her native superiority and credentials, as indicated by the title itself.

Eugene Norman
Eugene Norman
3 years ago

She’s from a working class background. As is clear in the article she’s always rubbed up against met liberals.

polidoris ghost
polidoris ghost
3 years ago
Reply to  Eugene Norman

“…she’s always rubbed up against met liberals.”
She worked for met liberals, and she worked with met liberals.
Working class, indeed. She should be ashamed of what she did.

cchilds71
cchilds71
3 years ago
Reply to  Ed Cameron

Agree…

riskpearlswisdom
riskpearlswisdom
3 years ago
Reply to  Ed Cameron

So brave, so strong! Yes, a tour de force of an intellectual powerhouse! I am sure this article would have happened without having her leftwing colleagues eating her alive. Such compassion and self awareness in the comments below!

What’s that? Time to go? Awwww!

alice.timmons
alice.timmons
3 years ago

I started my working life in 1973 as a trainee journalist on a local newspaper
I carry tons of bulging baggage full of stories from the front in the war to be recognised as a worthy human being. I teally didn’t think I’d still be fighting nearly 50 years later, and I’m bloody tired. That’s what rings out to me in this article: the exhaustion, the weariness and the oh-God-just-make-it-stopness of the forever embattled woman. Love the writing while hating its reality.

m pathy
m pathy
3 years ago
Reply to  alice.timmons

Would you not agree that Ms Moore misses out on one big factor at play in the recent trans-terf wars? The role of feminist organisations, thinkers and writers who are very much at the forefront of these new orthodoxies and driving the cancellation of other women? Intersectional feminism?

Ms Moore subtly places the blame for the current trans virulence on gay activists and men – women are playing a big role in this, let’s be honest.

partyoffire
partyoffire
3 years ago
Reply to  m pathy

What role do women play in male violence?

m pathy
m pathy
3 years ago
Reply to  partyoffire

That’s not what I wrote and I do not engage with bad faith actors or those with poor reading skills.

John Jones
John Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  partyoffire

Probably the same role men play in female violence.

50% of DV is instigated by women against their male partners and against children. 38-45% of those injured in DV are men.

cap0119
cap0119
3 years ago
Reply to  John Jones

What are the injuries? How many men die?

Claire D
Claire D
3 years ago
Reply to  cap0119

According to the ONS, year ending March 2018, 96 men were killed in DV incidents, 46 of the killers were women.

John Jones
John Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  cap0119

Men are often unwilling to admit that they have been abused by their wives because of social stigma. The studies indicate that 38-45% of domestic violence injuries are inflicted by women on men, usually when the man is asleep, using a weapon.

David Morley
David Morley
3 years ago
Reply to  m pathy

Good point. Trans thinking clearly emerged out of feminist thinking on gender – in particular via Judith Butler. And trans people were used to support the argument that gender is a social construct. Some clearly didn’t see in advance the way their own thinking would lead. At the time, no doubt it all looked like useful ideology in support of the feminist cause. But ideologies have a habit of taking on a life of their own.

Shame your comment just led to a repeat of unrelated arguments. Disheartening.

m pathy
m pathy
3 years ago
Reply to  David Morley

I have a strong feeling that would create too much cognitive dissonance for some of Ms Moore’s fans.

Sidney Falco
Sidney Falco
3 years ago