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The hypocrisy of Witch Lit The novels are an empty substitute for feminist action

Is Emma Watson really here for all witches? Credit: Gary Gershoff/WireImage/Getty

Is Emma Watson really here for all witches? Credit: Gary Gershoff/WireImage/Getty


January 13, 2023   5 mins

While presenting the award for outstanding British film at last year’s Baftas, Emma Watson made clear that, unlike J.K. Rowling, she was “here for all of the witches”. Her purpose was twofold: to broadcast her moral superiority to the author-turned-alleged-enemy-of-the-trans-community, and to signal her allegiance to a modern, edgy feminism — all witches welcome! — which leaves no one behind.

Despite being marginalised crones on the fringes of society, witches are having a moment. For several years, we’ve been hearing of their resurgence as “a symbol of feminist empowerment”. From young women casting spells against Donald Trump to British Vogue producing a “Guide to Being a Modern Witch”, now is the time for us to wield our wands against the patriarchy — or, failing that, a beleaguered female author will do. And 2023, we are told, is set to be the Year of “Witch Lit”, with novels such as Emilia Hart’s Weyward and Margaret Meyer’s The Witching Tide hitting the shelves.

In many ways, I am in favour of this. Not only am I a huge fan of dark stories about powerful women, but my own forthcoming non-fiction book, exploring the demonisation of middle-aged women, bears the title Hags. The witch has long been an important figure for feminists, capturing the relationship between women’s vilification, our otherness, and our strength. In the words of Kristen J. Sollée, author of Witches, Sluts, Feminists, she’s “a martyr mascot for the women’s movement”.

And yet, I’m not convinced by some of the qualities — moral purity, stylised rebellion — that seem most important to some of those who champion her today. Real witches don’t win the applause of Bafta audiences. Women who are truly hated, truly marginalised, might be role models in the sense that they teach us what it means to be an outsider, but they are not aspirational. In Women & Power, Mary Beard argues that fetishising the female monster is a poor substitute for challenging the forces that keep her in place: “despite the well-known feminist attempts over the last 50 years or more to reclaim Medusa for female power (‘laughing with Medusa’, as the title of one recent collection of essays put it) — not to mention the use of her as the Versace logo — it has not made a blind bit of difference to the way she has been used in attacks on female politicians”.

In my own writing, I am more interested in looking at the dynamics of misogyny, witch-hunting and demonisation than in “reclaiming” witch as an identity open to all. I just don’t think it works that way. What worries me about treating the witch as “one of us” — someone on our side, representative of our values, proof of our anti-establishment credentials — is that it prizes the external trappings of “witchiness” over a meaningful analysis of what might make a woman a witch today. At its extreme, the former becomes a substitute for the latter.

Through the witch — in fiction and fashion — you can engage in a kind of fantasy feminism, role-playing standing up to the mob. In this sense, “Witch Lit” corresponds to a psychological need that cannot be met in the real world, where fear of rejection and ostracism tempers rebellious urges. By making it fashionable to immerse yourself in stories where women go against social norms, becoming ugly, aggressive and dangerous, you create a paradox: a woman can use the witch not as provocation, but to signal her conformity. It’s a way of ticking off feminism’s “bad woman” objective without inconveniencing others, the literary woman’s equivalent of wearing a Girls Just Want To Have Fun(damental Rights) t-shirt.

It’s not that I don’t think fiction writers are producing some wonderful, highly intelligent work on the topic of witches and witch hunts. My issue is with where it sits in the context of feminism and publishing at this particular point in time. For instance, Kiran Millwood Hargrave’s The Mercies is a brilliant study of the way in which a self-sufficient, female-centred community is rendered sinister under patriarchy’s gaze, with members eventually turning on its most outspoken member as a way to save themselves. It’s based on events on the Norwegian island of Vardø in the early 1600s. Nonetheless, the Guardian describes it as “a witch-hunt tale for our times”.

One of the most striking scenes involves the main protagonist, Maren, feeling compelled to participate in the condemnation of a woman who has been her friend: “Maren watches as the word [witch] ripples around the assembled women like a current… She watches, betrayal thumping its drum in her chest as Kirsten is bound at the wrists and led in the direction of Vardøhus.” Reading it, one feels dismay at Maren’s betrayal, but also senses that, in her place, we’d have done the same. It’s testimony to Hargrave’s skill and empathy as a writer that she doesn’t go down the easy route of focusing on heroic victimhood. She makes you understand the compromises. It is, absolutely, relevant to our times, if perhaps in more ways than the Guardian may have considered.

There are many behaviours I notice, in both feminism and publishing, which replicate the dynamics of the witch hunt. Accuse a woman — older, outspoken, perhaps too independent for your liking — of a ludicrous crime, such as causing crops to fail, bewitching your cattle, wanting to commit genocide or denying your right to exist. Vilify women who congregate without the presence of male guardians. Subject these women to punishments which rely on spectacle, then trust that the punishment itself will convince others of the validity of the original accusation. Create a climate of fear, so that other women will be afraid to assert themselves, perhaps even encouraged to point the finger at others to deflect attention from themselves.

In 2020, the year The Mercies was published, Hargrave refused to sit on a judging panel for Mslexia until the older novelist Amanda Craig stepped down. This was because Craig had signed an open letter in support of J.K. Rowling, who was receiving a torrent of death and rape threats — punishment as spectacle — for having had the temerity to express her own views on sex and gender. Rowling was being accused, ludicrously, of wanting others dead, and Craig, for standing by her, was tainted, too. Having read her novel, I was shocked by Hargrave’s behaviour: it seemed like such a crass replication of the very finger-pointing she’d depicted so well. The younger woman directs the mob towards the older one, like Abigail Williams in Salem, like Jennet Device in Pendle. Like, eventually, Emma Watson in front of the Bafta crowd.

It was as though because Hargrave had “done” the politics of the witch hunt in fiction, she didn’t need to engage with it in real life. I’m not suggesting that every author has to better the choices made by their own creations, or that they should share the beliefs of J.K. Rowling. But if part of a book’s marketing relies on its moral import and relevance to modern-day feminism, then I think we need to question how far novels which deal with witchcraft and/or female persecution represent an extension of feminist activism — or merely a substitute for it. I’ve nothing against people immersing themselves in stories of “marginalised women with hidden powers, the kind of female traditionally hunted down or isolated”. It should not, however, become a kind of wish fulfilment, a way of easing the conscience, or not having to face it at all.

The witch is not a cool figure. No one gets burned at the stake for being too cool. Once you start claiming you’re here for “all of the witches”, the truth is, you’re here for the mob.


Victoria Smith is a writer and creator of the Glosswitch newsletter.

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Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago

It struck me whilst reading this piece that the great period of witch-hunting in the UK began in earnest in Scotland, and spread to England via James I.

How apt then, that JK Rowling should be cast as a modern-day crone, in contrast to Emma Watson’s attempt at cronyism.

I await further articles on the 21st century witch phenomenon with interest. Of course, the ancient wiccan was more prosaic, and all the wiser for it.

Last edited 1 year ago by Steve Murray
CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Witch Hunting/Burning also finished in Scotland (then called North Britain)as recently as 1727.

One Janet Horne of Dornoch, was stripped naked, smeared in tar, placed in a barrel and incinerated. Her screams could heard in Glen Morangie nearly four miles away across the water. Fortunately her daughter, who was also condemned, escaped.

“Scotland the Brave”, as we used to say.

Last edited 1 year ago by CHARLES STANHOPE
Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago

Four miles, you say? There are some commentators who would castigate her for being ‘shrill’.

Last edited 1 year ago by Steve Murray
Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago

Four miles, you say? There are some commentators who would castigate her for being ‘shrill’.

Last edited 1 year ago by Steve Murray
CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Witch Hunting/Burning also finished in Scotland (then called North Britain)as recently as 1727.

One Janet Horne of Dornoch, was stripped naked, smeared in tar, placed in a barrel and incinerated. Her screams could heard in Glen Morangie nearly four miles away across the water. Fortunately her daughter, who was also condemned, escaped.

“Scotland the Brave”, as we used to say.

Last edited 1 year ago by CHARLES STANHOPE
Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago

It struck me whilst reading this piece that the great period of witch-hunting in the UK began in earnest in Scotland, and spread to England via James I.

How apt then, that JK Rowling should be cast as a modern-day crone, in contrast to Emma Watson’s attempt at cronyism.

I await further articles on the 21st century witch phenomenon with interest. Of course, the ancient wiccan was more prosaic, and all the wiser for it.

Last edited 1 year ago by Steve Murray
Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
1 year ago

Not a topic I’ve thought about much, but I admire Rowling and liked this essay.

Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
1 year ago

Not a topic I’ve thought about much, but I admire Rowling and liked this essay.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
1 year ago

I don’t believe in witches, but the whole spat between JK Rowling and transgender activists has revealed just how treacherous the young cast of Harry Potter are.

John Riordan
John Riordan
1 year ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

In general though I enjoy this particular example of woke stupidity. It is a contest between JK Rowling, whose creative track record is a modern day cultural phenomenon almost unequalled anywhere else, and a bunch of people who without the Harry Potter films would obviously be complete nobodies.

It is pretty clear from the rest of the work that these actors do – the stuff unrelated to Harry Potter – that they are third raters at best. Their ludicrous moralising from a privileged position that’s entirely dependent on JK Rowlings work is a perfect metaphor for Wokery more generally: an ideology attractive mostly to overprivileged people with too much money and spare time but not enough sense.

Last edited 1 year ago by John Riordan
John Riordan
John Riordan
1 year ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

In general though I enjoy this particular example of woke stupidity. It is a contest between JK Rowling, whose creative track record is a modern day cultural phenomenon almost unequalled anywhere else, and a bunch of people who without the Harry Potter films would obviously be complete nobodies.

It is pretty clear from the rest of the work that these actors do – the stuff unrelated to Harry Potter – that they are third raters at best. Their ludicrous moralising from a privileged position that’s entirely dependent on JK Rowlings work is a perfect metaphor for Wokery more generally: an ideology attractive mostly to overprivileged people with too much money and spare time but not enough sense.

Last edited 1 year ago by John Riordan
Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
1 year ago

I don’t believe in witches, but the whole spat between JK Rowling and transgender activists has revealed just how treacherous the young cast of Harry Potter are.

Max Price
Max Price
1 year ago

I enjoyed this piece but left with the same bad taste in my mouth I get from almost all feminist thinkers. It’s the self pitying solipsism, simultaneously ahistorical and revisionist.

MJ Reid
MJ Reid
1 year ago
Reply to  Max Price

The real witches are the older women who hold their communities together and who are the original feminists. They pass on their knowledge to the women who come after them in ways that modern feminists have no time for as it isn’t cool or edgy. My “coven” is a group of older women who support each other, each others extended families and the old, lonely and lost in our communities. Not for plaudits, awards or fame, but because our mothers, aunts and grandmothers did so before us and hopefully our daughters, nieces and granddaughters will after us.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  MJ Reid

Thanks for that, just so admirable. And without this article, your voice wouldn’t have been heard.

Well done, Unherd.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  MJ Reid

Thanks for that, just so admirable. And without this article, your voice wouldn’t have been heard.

Well done, Unherd.

Narcissa Smith-Harris
Narcissa Smith-Harris
1 year ago
Reply to  Max Price

Not sure what is ahistorical about sexism or the treatment of women. It is pretty fairly well documented in law, in essays, in religion. And no liberation movement can actually speak about the its reason for being without well calling attention to that abuse. To call that ‘self-pity’ is odd. I would direct your attention the declaration of Independence which is, as the kids say, more than a little “extra” –all for 2% taxes.
As for the charge of solipsism, again if one must speak up for oneself, there is no way to get around speaking of the self.Though it is again quite odd to refer to a movement which fights for half the population as self-centered, especially since in many cases women are fighting for others in their lives, daughters, sisters, mothers, friends. And if one would on this basis call let’s say rape victim fighting for her rights or prevention, either self-pitying or selfish, well that would so morally ridiculous that you’d lose the standing to call someone self-centered. But of course, I understand, you aren’t saying they extreme victims like that are the problem. I don’t know you, but I would never attribute such callousness to a stranger. Of course, you have compassion for them. Of course, they are not selfish in your book.
Which leads us to who and what you are referring to, situations that aren’t equal, aren’t fair but are not an absolute horror show. Situations that in your eyes a person can make their peace with even though it represents their lack of full status as citizens. Speaking up for this is selfishness to you. Only someone who is big on self-pity would object because again, reasonable people can adjust to.
In other words, it is selfish of women to insist on being equal and full citizens. That we must argue only for better terms to our surrender, not freedom itself. There is no way that such a claim is founded on the belief that women are not in fact equal. That we are inferior to you, clearly in view morally, or we would not be so selfish, so pitiful as to insist on our own dignity.
So I suggest to you sir, that that bad taste you get, may yet be about selfishness but if so the origin is totally and completely your own.

MJ Reid
MJ Reid
1 year ago
Reply to  Max Price

The real witches are the older women who hold their communities together and who are the original feminists. They pass on their knowledge to the women who come after them in ways that modern feminists have no time for as it isn’t cool or edgy. My “coven” is a group of older women who support each other, each others extended families and the old, lonely and lost in our communities. Not for plaudits, awards or fame, but because our mothers, aunts and grandmothers did so before us and hopefully our daughters, nieces and granddaughters will after us.

Narcissa Smith-Harris
Narcissa Smith-Harris
1 year ago
Reply to  Max Price

Not sure what is ahistorical about sexism or the treatment of women. It is pretty fairly well documented in law, in essays, in religion. And no liberation movement can actually speak about the its reason for being without well calling attention to that abuse. To call that ‘self-pity’ is odd. I would direct your attention the declaration of Independence which is, as the kids say, more than a little “extra” –all for 2% taxes.
As for the charge of solipsism, again if one must speak up for oneself, there is no way to get around speaking of the self.Though it is again quite odd to refer to a movement which fights for half the population as self-centered, especially since in many cases women are fighting for others in their lives, daughters, sisters, mothers, friends. And if one would on this basis call let’s say rape victim fighting for her rights or prevention, either self-pitying or selfish, well that would so morally ridiculous that you’d lose the standing to call someone self-centered. But of course, I understand, you aren’t saying they extreme victims like that are the problem. I don’t know you, but I would never attribute such callousness to a stranger. Of course, you have compassion for them. Of course, they are not selfish in your book.
Which leads us to who and what you are referring to, situations that aren’t equal, aren’t fair but are not an absolute horror show. Situations that in your eyes a person can make their peace with even though it represents their lack of full status as citizens. Speaking up for this is selfishness to you. Only someone who is big on self-pity would object because again, reasonable people can adjust to.
In other words, it is selfish of women to insist on being equal and full citizens. That we must argue only for better terms to our surrender, not freedom itself. There is no way that such a claim is founded on the belief that women are not in fact equal. That we are inferior to you, clearly in view morally, or we would not be so selfish, so pitiful as to insist on our own dignity.
So I suggest to you sir, that that bad taste you get, may yet be about selfishness but if so the origin is totally and completely your own.

Max Price
Max Price
1 year ago

I enjoyed this piece but left with the same bad taste in my mouth I get from almost all feminist thinkers. It’s the self pitying solipsism, simultaneously ahistorical and revisionist.

Dr Anne Kelley
Dr Anne Kelley
1 year ago

Thank you for a very perceptive and challenging analysis, which I thoroughly enjoyed.
As a feminist scholar myself, I recognise the pattern of the marginalisation and vilification of the non-conformist female.
I think it is important to acknowledge as well that in contemporary society, men can be witches too ( as indeed they were in Salem) and suffer a similar treatment to that meted out to women brave enough to think and speak for themselves.

Paul Nathanson
Paul Nathanson
1 year ago
Reply to  Dr Anne Kelley

Thank you so much for pointing that out. If men aren’t the marginalized witches of a woke world, let alone a feminist one, then all of this talk about witches, whether historic or symbolic, makes no sense. This, the lack of historical context (not what Smith says about women) is precisely what troubled me about the article. In 2023, it’s not good enough to assume that sexism is synonymous with misogyny–as if misandry were some kind of illusion.

Last edited 1 year ago by Paul Nathanson
Galvatron Stephens
Galvatron Stephens
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Nathanson

You’d do well to get Victoria Smith to take misandry seriously. Smith has written several times about her male children dressing in female clothing. I am sure it was their idea, totally not instigated by her, and that nothing untoward was going on from an abuse perspective…..

harry storm
harry storm
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Nathanson

Sexism isn’t synonymous with misogyny even if there was no misandry. Sexism means stereotyping women or being prejudiced against them (presumably in jobs, education, etc.). Misogyny is the far less common hatred of women. The two have become synonymous, but that’s only because many people aren’t verbally “literate.” There are other examples of this, where a “weaker” word like sexism becomes synonymous with a stronger word like misogyny, but I can’t think of any right now.

Galvatron Stephens
Galvatron Stephens
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Nathanson

You’d do well to get Victoria Smith to take misandry seriously. Smith has written several times about her male children dressing in female clothing. I am sure it was their idea, totally not instigated by her, and that nothing untoward was going on from an abuse perspective…..

harry storm
harry storm
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Nathanson

Sexism isn’t synonymous with misogyny even if there was no misandry. Sexism means stereotyping women or being prejudiced against them (presumably in jobs, education, etc.). Misogyny is the far less common hatred of women. The two have become synonymous, but that’s only because many people aren’t verbally “literate.” There are other examples of this, where a “weaker” word like sexism becomes synonymous with a stronger word like misogyny, but I can’t think of any right now.

Richard Parker
Richard Parker
1 year ago
Reply to  Dr Anne Kelley

Quite so: there are many male witches, coven witches and hedge witches both. All kinds (regardless of sex) shun attention, and, in my experience, are humble and cautious in their dealings.

Paul Nathanson
Paul Nathanson
1 year ago
Reply to  Dr Anne Kelley

Thank you so much for pointing that out. If men aren’t the marginalized witches of a woke world, let alone a feminist one, then all of this talk about witches, whether historic or symbolic, makes no sense. This, the lack of historical context (not what Smith says about women) is precisely what troubled me about the article. In 2023, it’s not good enough to assume that sexism is synonymous with misogyny–as if misandry were some kind of illusion.

Last edited 1 year ago by Paul Nathanson
Richard Parker
Richard Parker
1 year ago
Reply to  Dr Anne Kelley

Quite so: there are many male witches, coven witches and hedge witches both. All kinds (regardless of sex) shun attention, and, in my experience, are humble and cautious in their dealings.

Dr Anne Kelley
Dr Anne Kelley
1 year ago

Thank you for a very perceptive and challenging analysis, which I thoroughly enjoyed.
As a feminist scholar myself, I recognise the pattern of the marginalisation and vilification of the non-conformist female.
I think it is important to acknowledge as well that in contemporary society, men can be witches too ( as indeed they were in Salem) and suffer a similar treatment to that meted out to women brave enough to think and speak for themselves.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago

The author is right – irritating to see rich, popular and successful women purporting to claim outsider / marginalised kudos.
“You’ll never live like common people.”

Galvatron Stephens
Galvatron Stephens
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

They are only doing the in thing. In 2010 they would have been tweeting controversial jokes. I wonder when it will shift to something else.

Galvatron Stephens
Galvatron Stephens
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

They are only doing the in thing. In 2010 they would have been tweeting controversial jokes. I wonder when it will shift to something else.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago

The author is right – irritating to see rich, popular and successful women purporting to claim outsider / marginalised kudos.
“You’ll never live like common people.”

Christopher Chantrill
Christopher Chantrill
1 year ago

I always read the feminist writers at UnHerd with interest. But I wonder what would happen to a woman writer that did not recite the Feminist Catechism faithfully.
Let us just say that women have a way of dealing with heretics that is rather different than the way of men in such matters.
As a Jungian, of course, I am intensely interested in the various female archetypes, of which “witch” is obviously central. As my Argentine friend puts it: “which witch is which?”
No doubt many of the archetypes are pejorative. Maybe the pejoratives are telling us that women are not quite as helpless as we’ve heard tell.
You see, I always come back to My Girl George Eliot. I wonder what she would think of the 21st century feminist.

Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
1 year ago

She would certainly develope them as characters.

jmo
jmo
1 year ago

That got me thinking. Imagine a Dorothea-like figure, committed early on to an idealism (Casaubon / contemporary feminism) she later loses faith in. The interesting question for me is what would she turn to next.

Dr Anne Kelley
Dr Anne Kelley
1 year ago

The term ‘feminist’ is a catch-all, as this article very eloquently illustrates. Don’t tar us all with the same brush!

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago
Reply to  Dr Anne Kelley

Indeed – the term is now meaningless.

harry storm
harry storm
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

So many social/political terms are these days.

harry storm
harry storm
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

So many social/political terms are these days.

Galvatron Stephens
Galvatron Stephens
1 year ago
Reply to  Dr Anne Kelley

Many terms can be called a “catch-all”. “Conservative” can be called a “catch-all”. As can “libertarian”, “populist”, or “Nazi”. Part pf it is the nature of movements but is feminism more prone to this than other movements?

What do you think caused feminism to become so many different things? It would be interesting to learn your perspective.

Last edited 1 year ago by Galvatron Stephens
Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago
Reply to  Dr Anne Kelley

Indeed – the term is now meaningless.

Galvatron Stephens
Galvatron Stephens
1 year ago
Reply to  Dr Anne Kelley

Many terms can be called a “catch-all”. “Conservative” can be called a “catch-all”. As can “libertarian”, “populist”, or “Nazi”. Part pf it is the nature of movements but is feminism more prone to this than other movements?

What do you think caused feminism to become so many different things? It would be interesting to learn your perspective.

Last edited 1 year ago by Galvatron Stephens
Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
1 year ago

She would certainly develope them as characters.

jmo
jmo
1 year ago

That got me thinking. Imagine a Dorothea-like figure, committed early on to an idealism (Casaubon / contemporary feminism) she later loses faith in. The interesting question for me is what would she turn to next.

Dr Anne Kelley
Dr Anne Kelley
1 year ago

The term ‘feminist’ is a catch-all, as this article very eloquently illustrates. Don’t tar us all with the same brush!

Christopher Chantrill
Christopher Chantrill
1 year ago

I always read the feminist writers at UnHerd with interest. But I wonder what would happen to a woman writer that did not recite the Feminist Catechism faithfully.
Let us just say that women have a way of dealing with heretics that is rather different than the way of men in such matters.
As a Jungian, of course, I am intensely interested in the various female archetypes, of which “witch” is obviously central. As my Argentine friend puts it: “which witch is which?”
No doubt many of the archetypes are pejorative. Maybe the pejoratives are telling us that women are not quite as helpless as we’ve heard tell.
You see, I always come back to My Girl George Eliot. I wonder what she would think of the 21st century feminist.

Dr Anne Kelley
Dr Anne Kelley
1 year ago

Reading through the comments on this thoughtful and completely inoffensive essay, I have been amazed at the level of dislike expressed by commenters (mainly male) for ‘feminism’. I’m not sure what they mean by this catch-all term in the context of this article.
Women writing about other women? Women discussing their historic persecution as witches, and what the term has come to mean today? Or just a worry about women getting too uppity?

R Wright
R Wright
1 year ago
Reply to  Dr Anne Kelley

I believe the point is some men believe that many feminists cross over into outright hatred for men, but then you probably already knew that and you’re being flippant.

Galvatron Stephens
Galvatron Stephens
1 year ago
Reply to  R Wright

Yeah I wonder what feminists could ever have said or done in the past to make people dislike them…..

Narcissa Smith-Harris
Narcissa Smith-Harris
1 year ago
Reply to  R Wright

We are certainly charged with man-hatred a lot, and often on the most weird evidence. But there is nothing in this article to suggest it, yet here predictably are the charges on cue.
One of things that has always puzzled (and annoyed) me about these claims is that they are often based on an idea of manhood most men don’t share.
Most men don’t see being a man as something crass, vile and violent. They don’t see it as a zero sum game. Most men speak of being a man in terms of responsibility, community, and honor. A great many would include kindness, though they might use a variety of terms to identify that behavior. This has been men’s self-Id for a very long time. It is why Tom Clancy novels sold. Why Master and Commander is so popular.
And feminists have no objection to this definition. We encourage it. But we don’t think it gives men any rights over our bodies, our lives or means they are better equipped to make decisions than we are. And we know that when the world is structured as if it does bad things happen, to us.to children.to other men.
Admitting that is often called man hate, as if it wasn’t a man who said power corrupts.
Which leads me to the other side of the feminists are man-haters group. The cynics. Men who agree that men don’t always live up to their ideals, that power corrupts–and they are good with that. They do define manhood as crass, vile and violent. It’s nature baby with Alpha males take all. Feminists being unnatural c**k blockers and so ergo man haters, because they won’t let men be men.
I roll my eyes hard at that one, particularly since the men who push this idea, are often not able to achieve it themselves.These cries de coeur are not coming from people like Duwayne “the Rock” Johnson,Chris Hemsworth, or even Idris Elba.
No, they are coming from men who may or may not be incels but require quite a bit of patriarchy to support their love life.
They say things about men that I as a feminist would never say. I’m not even sure I’d say some of them as a joke. And then they claim feminists hate men because–we don’t endorse their view of manhood. Seriously?

Galvatron Stephens
Galvatron Stephens
1 year ago
Reply to  R Wright

Yeah I wonder what feminists could ever have said or done in the past to make people dislike them…..

Narcissa Smith-Harris
Narcissa Smith-Harris
1 year ago
Reply to  R Wright

We are certainly charged with man-hatred a lot, and often on the most weird evidence. But there is nothing in this article to suggest it, yet here predictably are the charges on cue.
One of things that has always puzzled (and annoyed) me about these claims is that they are often based on an idea of manhood most men don’t share.
Most men don’t see being a man as something crass, vile and violent. They don’t see it as a zero sum game. Most men speak of being a man in terms of responsibility, community, and honor. A great many would include kindness, though they might use a variety of terms to identify that behavior. This has been men’s self-Id for a very long time. It is why Tom Clancy novels sold. Why Master and Commander is so popular.
And feminists have no objection to this definition. We encourage it. But we don’t think it gives men any rights over our bodies, our lives or means they are better equipped to make decisions than we are. And we know that when the world is structured as if it does bad things happen, to us.to children.to other men.
Admitting that is often called man hate, as if it wasn’t a man who said power corrupts.
Which leads me to the other side of the feminists are man-haters group. The cynics. Men who agree that men don’t always live up to their ideals, that power corrupts–and they are good with that. They do define manhood as crass, vile and violent. It’s nature baby with Alpha males take all. Feminists being unnatural c**k blockers and so ergo man haters, because they won’t let men be men.
I roll my eyes hard at that one, particularly since the men who push this idea, are often not able to achieve it themselves.These cries de coeur are not coming from people like Duwayne “the Rock” Johnson,Chris Hemsworth, or even Idris Elba.
No, they are coming from men who may or may not be incels but require quite a bit of patriarchy to support their love life.
They say things about men that I as a feminist would never say. I’m not even sure I’d say some of them as a joke. And then they claim feminists hate men because–we don’t endorse their view of manhood. Seriously?

Ray Andrews
Ray Andrews
1 year ago
Reply to  Dr Anne Kelley

“Women discussing their historic persecution as witches”
Men were as likely to be charged with witchcraft as women and had the added liability of being charged with heresy. The nice thing about being considered mentally inferior is that women were not often — tho there were exceptions — considered even ‘capable’ of heresy, which is good news since whereas witches (in Britain and America) were hanged, heretics were burned at the stake. The Oppression narrative is greatly overdrawn.

harry storm
harry storm
1 year ago
Reply to  Dr Anne Kelley

It happens every article. Many also blame “feminism” for wokism, or believe gender critical feminists are now getting a taste of their own medicine. It’s tiresome.

R Wright
R Wright
1 year ago
Reply to  Dr Anne Kelley

I believe the point is some men believe that many feminists cross over into outright hatred for men, but then you probably already knew that and you’re being flippant.

Ray Andrews
Ray Andrews
1 year ago
Reply to  Dr Anne Kelley

“Women discussing their historic persecution as witches”
Men were as likely to be charged with witchcraft as women and had the added liability of being charged with heresy. The nice thing about being considered mentally inferior is that women were not often — tho there were exceptions — considered even ‘capable’ of heresy, which is good news since whereas witches (in Britain and America) were hanged, heretics were burned at the stake. The Oppression narrative is greatly overdrawn.

harry storm
harry storm
1 year ago
Reply to  Dr Anne Kelley

It happens every article. Many also blame “feminism” for wokism, or believe gender critical feminists are now getting a taste of their own medicine. It’s tiresome.

Dr Anne Kelley
Dr Anne Kelley
1 year ago

Reading through the comments on this thoughtful and completely inoffensive essay, I have been amazed at the level of dislike expressed by commenters (mainly male) for ‘feminism’. I’m not sure what they mean by this catch-all term in the context of this article.
Women writing about other women? Women discussing their historic persecution as witches, and what the term has come to mean today? Or just a worry about women getting too uppity?

Christopher Barclay
Christopher Barclay
1 year ago

I’d love to see JK put a black cat amongst the feminist pigeons by writing her own witch novel. It might even be worth reading.

Christopher Barclay
Christopher Barclay
1 year ago

I’d love to see JK put a black cat amongst the feminist pigeons by writing her own witch novel. It might even be worth reading.

David B
David B
1 year ago

| …the relationship between women’s vilification, our otherness, and our strength

How can 50+% of the population claim “otherness”?

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  David B

Fair point. I guess it takes longer than just a few decades of increasing female agency after millennnia of male domination to escape that feeling of ‘otherness’.

As we see in these comments, attempts to close down the right of females to voice their own thoughts still exists.

Last edited 1 year ago by Steve Murray
Galvatron Stephens
Galvatron Stephens
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

“As we see in these comments, attempts to close down the right of females to voice their own thoughts still exists.”
Care to provide examples of this?

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago

“Why has Unherd enabled yet another feminist past their expiry date to write for them?”
The very first line of your opening comment, sir.
You’re welcome.

Galvatron Stephens
Galvatron Stephens
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Where am I “closing down their right” to speak? Learn the difference between a right and the publication decisions of an online outlet.

I was, heaven forbid, complaining about Unherd featuring them on a daily basis. That is not equivalent to “closing down their rights to speak”. If you think those two things are the same, please don’t have children.

No feminist publication would grant sanctuary for other victims of woke cancel culture.

Your argument is literally this:

Football fan: why has Southgate picked Maguire again?

You: you’re trying to stop Soutbgate fron picking players and Maguire from playing football!

Last edited 1 year ago by Galvatron Stephens
Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago

Perhaps my understanding of the English language is different from yours?
“Why has Unherd enabled…” cannot mean anything other than you’d rather disable the author from publishing on this platform, i.e. close her down.
Please feel free to disagree, i’m rather enjoying this. I might also enquire what, exactly, it is that you fear from such articles?
And you’re way too late with your pathetic “don’t have children” comment. Six, and counting.

Last edited 1 year ago by Steve Murray
Galvatron Stephens
Galvatron Stephens
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Clearly it is.

A right is a legal entitlement to do something.

I have no control over what the site does or what its selected columnists do. Unherd has the right to publish what it wants. Its columnists have the right to express their opinions.

I have the right to express disappointment that Unherd and other publications which claim to have “un-woke” credentials have on-boarded adherents of an ideology which is woke. You have the right to agree or disagree. Nothing I have written affects anyone’s rights nor does it concern the “closure” of anyone’s rights.

Please explain how my opinion affects the rights of Unherd, feminists, or anyone else. Please tell me where I am trying to “close down” someone’s rights.

Galvatron Stephens
Galvatron Stephens
1 year ago

And response came there none!

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago

And even furthermore, a lack of patience.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago

And even furthermore, a lack of patience.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago

You’ve been hoisted by your own petard. Read that opening line of yours again. It’s got absolutely nothing to do with rights, and everything to do with your wish for the article not to be published. The “rights” argument is, in fact, irrelevant to this discussion, in the terms you yourself set out to discuss it.
Furthermore, introducing the “don’t have children” comment reveals something of your character which perhaps you’re unable to acknowledge, alongside a fear of feminine agency.

Galvatron Stephens
Galvatron Stephens
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

You were the one who accused me of wishing to “close down rights”, but now you are saying the issue of rights is irrelevant. Okay then. Please enlighten me as to the terms under which the issue of rights would be relevant, given that I have provided a definition of a right and an analysis of my comment on this basis.

Your analysis of my first line is totally overblown. People can express disapproval of something without expressing a wish for it not to happen. People can complain about Pink News being pro-trans whilst not entertaining any desire to make Pink News change its stance, given that any desire would be narcissistic. People can complain about things without wishing to exert power over them. I can complain about a football manager picking a player without wishing to be the manager myself or wishing to ban either player or manager from footballing activity. Keep on white knighting though.

Last edited 1 year ago by Galvatron Stephens
Andrew Dalton
Andrew Dalton
1 year ago

This is a good point. It wouldn’t be difficult to accuse Unherd of attempting to silence the transexual community given the volume and nature of output on that topic.
Indeed, many of the writers are accused of that very thing. I disagree because criticism is not silencing.

And one further thought, downvoting could arguably be classed as silencing people with whom you disagree because the comment will be removed after a while.

Andrew Dalton
Andrew Dalton
1 year ago

This is a good point. It wouldn’t be difficult to accuse Unherd of attempting to silence the transexual community given the volume and nature of output on that topic.
Indeed, many of the writers are accused of that very thing. I disagree because criticism is not silencing.

And one further thought, downvoting could arguably be classed as silencing people with whom you disagree because the comment will be removed after a while.

Galvatron Stephens
Galvatron Stephens
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

You were the one who accused me of wishing to “close down rights”, but now you are saying the issue of rights is irrelevant. Okay then. Please enlighten me as to the terms under which the issue of rights would be relevant, given that I have provided a definition of a right and an analysis of my comment on this basis.

Your analysis of my first line is totally overblown. People can express disapproval of something without expressing a wish for it not to happen. People can complain about Pink News being pro-trans whilst not entertaining any desire to make Pink News change its stance, given that any desire would be narcissistic. People can complain about things without wishing to exert power over them. I can complain about a football manager picking a player without wishing to be the manager myself or wishing to ban either player or manager from footballing activity. Keep on white knighting though.

Last edited 1 year ago by Galvatron Stephens
Galvatron Stephens
Galvatron Stephens
1 year ago

And response came there none!

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago

You’ve been hoisted by your own petard. Read that opening line of yours again. It’s got absolutely nothing to do with rights, and everything to do with your wish for the article not to be published. The “rights” argument is, in fact, irrelevant to this discussion, in the terms you yourself set out to discuss it.
Furthermore, introducing the “don’t have children” comment reveals something of your character which perhaps you’re unable to acknowledge, alongside a fear of feminine agency.

Andrew Dalton
Andrew Dalton
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Maybe my understanding of the English language is lacking, but “why…” is a question not an instruction.
It may well be reasonable to assume that the question implies disagreement with Unherd’s policies around publishing excommunicated feminists but it certainly isn’t proof of such thing. Additionally, a question posed maybe answered, many have.
Personally, I’d like to know why Unherd is publishing about a dozen daily articles on the Sussexes. Clearly I want royalists silenced.

Galvatron Stephens
Galvatron Stephens
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Clearly it is.

A right is a legal entitlement to do something.

I have no control over what the site does or what its selected columnists do. Unherd has the right to publish what it wants. Its columnists have the right to express their opinions.

I have the right to express disappointment that Unherd and other publications which claim to have “un-woke” credentials have on-boarded adherents of an ideology which is woke. You have the right to agree or disagree. Nothing I have written affects anyone’s rights nor does it concern the “closure” of anyone’s rights.

Please explain how my opinion affects the rights of Unherd, feminists, or anyone else. Please tell me where I am trying to “close down” someone’s rights.

Andrew Dalton
Andrew Dalton
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Maybe my understanding of the English language is lacking, but “why…” is a question not an instruction.
It may well be reasonable to assume that the question implies disagreement with Unherd’s policies around publishing excommunicated feminists but it certainly isn’t proof of such thing. Additionally, a question posed maybe answered, many have.
Personally, I’d like to know why Unherd is publishing about a dozen daily articles on the Sussexes. Clearly I want royalists silenced.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago

Perhaps my understanding of the English language is different from yours?
“Why has Unherd enabled…” cannot mean anything other than you’d rather disable the author from publishing on this platform, i.e. close her down.
Please feel free to disagree, i’m rather enjoying this. I might also enquire what, exactly, it is that you fear from such articles?
And you’re way too late with your pathetic “don’t have children” comment. Six, and counting.

Last edited 1 year ago by Steve Murray
Galvatron Stephens
Galvatron Stephens
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Where am I “closing down their right” to speak? Learn the difference between a right and the publication decisions of an online outlet.

I was, heaven forbid, complaining about Unherd featuring them on a daily basis. That is not equivalent to “closing down their rights to speak”. If you think those two things are the same, please don’t have children.

No feminist publication would grant sanctuary for other victims of woke cancel culture.

Your argument is literally this:

Football fan: why has Southgate picked Maguire again?

You: you’re trying to stop Soutbgate fron picking players and Maguire from playing football!

Last edited 1 year ago by Galvatron Stephens
Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago

“Why has Unherd enabled yet another feminist past their expiry date to write for them?”
The very first line of your opening comment, sir.
You’re welcome.

Paul Nathanson
Paul Nathanson
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

I don’t consider yours a “fair point,” Steve. No one today has been alive for millennia. And most of those who are alive today, at least in Western countries, have actually grown up in a gynocentric world, not an androcentric one.
Moreover, the opposite sex (male or female) has always and everywhere been “other.” Frankly, otherness is not a bad thing in itself, not when understood as inter-dependence (which is a given of human existence). This is a huge topic. I won’t do more than suggest a complexity to human history that you and many feminists, for whatever reason, don’t acknowledge.
Like you, I see no reason to exclude any point of view from this blog. In any case, feminists have countless venues for self-expression both personal and collective. They are most unlikely to be censored, silenced or “canceled” anywhere. Besides, I’m not sure that anyone on this blog has actually tried “to close down the right of females [by which you must mean feminists] to voice their own thoughts.” Though not a mind-reader, I suspect that those who complain are merely tired of reading what they can find in abundance elsewhere. What makes UnHerd special, however, is the possibility of arguing back.

Last edited 1 year ago by Paul Nathanson
Galvatron Stephens
Galvatron Stephens
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Nathanson

Thank you so much for patiently explaining what I was getting at.

As a side point, Mike Buchanan and many MRAs were cancelled by feminists way before any feminists were cancelled by trans activists. Buchanan and some MRAs tried to hold a talk in Cambridge. Buchanan was milkshaked (with the student paper photographer right on hand to take the shot) and attendees were harassed and assaulted.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Nathanson

I appreciate your comments, made with clarity and intelligence. My work is concerned with ‘otherness’ in both a physical and spiritual sense.

I take exception to comments which berate Unherd for publishing any voice, not just the female voice. In that wider context, my point should be considered not as unfair but universal.

The commentator you’re defending started his tirade with that very breach. I rest my case.

Last edited 1 year ago by Steve Murray
Galvatron Stephens
Galvatron Stephens
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

My tirade? Oh calm down, dear. Have a sweet. You accused me of wanting to “close down” rights then said rights were irrelevant when I debunked you. You had all the opprtunity in the world to clarify your position. Making an objection to the publication of an article is not a violation of anything. Grow up.

Last edited 1 year ago by Galvatron Stephens
Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago

There you go again…obviously i upset you with my reply to someone posting with intelligence. The use of twitter-like attempts at put downs are symptomatic of your type.

You’ve debunked nothing, but continue to flail away against the reality of your opening remarks. I really am enjoying this.

Galvatron Stephens
Galvatron Stephens
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

For the umpteenth time, I debunked your claim that I wanted to “close down” rights (your words). You then said rights, which you raised, not me, were irrelevant. And then you make comments about intelligence. You’re trying to wind me up because you can’t admit I proved you wrong. You can’t assert anything about my opening remarks as it is obvious they went way over your head.

You didn’t upset me replying to Paul. Quite the opposite. You should re-read the last paragraph of his comment for the reasons I already hinted at, as you might learn something. I won’t hold my breath.

Last edited 1 year ago by Galvatron Stephens
Ray Andrews
Ray Andrews
1 year ago

It is ungracious to ask a checkmated player to knock over his king. You’ve won, let Steve save face. No need to rub it in.

Ray Andrews
Ray Andrews
1 year ago

It is ungracious to ask a checkmated player to knock over his king. You’ve won, let Steve save face. No need to rub it in.

Galvatron Stephens
Galvatron Stephens
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

For the umpteenth time, I debunked your claim that I wanted to “close down” rights (your words). You then said rights, which you raised, not me, were irrelevant. And then you make comments about intelligence. You’re trying to wind me up because you can’t admit I proved you wrong. You can’t assert anything about my opening remarks as it is obvious they went way over your head.

You didn’t upset me replying to Paul. Quite the opposite. You should re-read the last paragraph of his comment for the reasons I already hinted at, as you might learn something. I won’t hold my breath.

Last edited 1 year ago by Galvatron Stephens
Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago

There you go again…obviously i upset you with my reply to someone posting with intelligence. The use of twitter-like attempts at put downs are symptomatic of your type.

You’ve debunked nothing, but continue to flail away against the reality of your opening remarks. I really am enjoying this.

Ray Andrews
Ray Andrews
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

“The commentator you’re defending started his tirade with that very breach. I rest my case.”
Sorry Steve but you’ve lost this debate. It is quite clear that your interlocutor expressed his displeasure within the context of an ethical environment in which he takes it as given that *both* the ‘right’ of Unheard to publish this author *and* his ‘right’ to disapprove of it are fundamental. Thus one might ‘berate’ a given article while still robustly approving that it was published so as to be open to critique. And at no time is there the remotest suggestion that Unheard is not within it’s rights to publish this or anything.

Galvatron Stephens
Galvatron Stephens
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

My tirade? Oh calm down, dear. Have a sweet. You accused me of wanting to “close down” rights then said rights were irrelevant when I debunked you. You had all the opprtunity in the world to clarify your position. Making an objection to the publication of an article is not a violation of anything. Grow up.

Last edited 1 year ago by Galvatron Stephens
Ray Andrews
Ray Andrews
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

“The commentator you’re defending started his tirade with that very breach. I rest my case.”
Sorry Steve but you’ve lost this debate. It is quite clear that your interlocutor expressed his displeasure within the context of an ethical environment in which he takes it as given that *both* the ‘right’ of Unheard to publish this author *and* his ‘right’ to disapprove of it are fundamental. Thus one might ‘berate’ a given article while still robustly approving that it was published so as to be open to critique. And at no time is there the remotest suggestion that Unheard is not within it’s rights to publish this or anything.

Galvatron Stephens
Galvatron Stephens
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Nathanson

Thank you so much for patiently explaining what I was getting at.

As a side point, Mike Buchanan and many MRAs were cancelled by feminists way before any feminists were cancelled by trans activists. Buchanan and some MRAs tried to hold a talk in Cambridge. Buchanan was milkshaked (with the student paper photographer right on hand to take the shot) and attendees were harassed and assaulted.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Nathanson

I appreciate your comments, made with clarity and intelligence. My work is concerned with ‘otherness’ in both a physical and spiritual sense.

I take exception to comments which berate Unherd for publishing any voice, not just the female voice. In that wider context, my point should be considered not as unfair but universal.

The commentator you’re defending started his tirade with that very breach. I rest my case.

Last edited 1 year ago by Steve Murray
Galvatron Stephens
Galvatron Stephens
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

“As we see in these comments, attempts to close down the right of females to voice their own thoughts still exists.”
Care to provide examples of this?

Paul Nathanson
Paul Nathanson
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

I don’t consider yours a “fair point,” Steve. No one today has been alive for millennia. And most of those who are alive today, at least in Western countries, have actually grown up in a gynocentric world, not an androcentric one.
Moreover, the opposite sex (male or female) has always and everywhere been “other.” Frankly, otherness is not a bad thing in itself, not when understood as inter-dependence (which is a given of human existence). This is a huge topic. I won’t do more than suggest a complexity to human history that you and many feminists, for whatever reason, don’t acknowledge.
Like you, I see no reason to exclude any point of view from this blog. In any case, feminists have countless venues for self-expression both personal and collective. They are most unlikely to be censored, silenced or “canceled” anywhere. Besides, I’m not sure that anyone on this blog has actually tried “to close down the right of females [by which you must mean feminists] to voice their own thoughts.” Though not a mind-reader, I suspect that those who complain are merely tired of reading what they can find in abundance elsewhere. What makes UnHerd special, however, is the possibility of arguing back.

Last edited 1 year ago by Paul Nathanson
Helena H
Helena H
1 year ago
Reply to  David B

wasn’t simone de beauvoir’s book about this?

Last edited 1 year ago by Helena H
Lindsey Thornton
Lindsey Thornton
1 year ago
Reply to  David B

May I recommend The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir. Her thesis answers your question ‘How can 50+% of the population claim “otherness”‘. Historically men have defined women as the Other, in opposition to men. Man is complete in himself but Woman is the add on, she is incomplete and lacks maleness, and is only recognised in relation to the man who stands for the universal human. This male world view as universal world view obviously needs to be continually questioned as it is so ingrained in western culture. The defining of women as witches is part of this history. Personally I’d rather be defined as a feminist!

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  David B

Fair point. I guess it takes longer than just a few decades of increasing female agency after millennnia of male domination to escape that feeling of ‘otherness’.

As we see in these comments, attempts to close down the right of females to voice their own thoughts still exists.

Last edited 1 year ago by Steve Murray
Helena H
Helena H
1 year ago
Reply to  David B

wasn’t simone de beauvoir’s book about this?

Last edited 1 year ago by Helena H
Lindsey Thornton
Lindsey Thornton
1 year ago
Reply to  David B

May I recommend The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir. Her thesis answers your question ‘How can 50+% of the population claim “otherness”‘. Historically men have defined women as the Other, in opposition to men. Man is complete in himself but Woman is the add on, she is incomplete and lacks maleness, and is only recognised in relation to the man who stands for the universal human. This male world view as universal world view obviously needs to be continually questioned as it is so ingrained in western culture. The defining of women as witches is part of this history. Personally I’d rather be defined as a feminist!

David B
David B
1 year ago

| …the relationship between women’s vilification, our otherness, and our strength

How can 50+% of the population claim “otherness”?

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago

Can I just take this opportunity to plug “my own forthcoming non-fiction book” entitled “Another Load of Pseudo Tripe Aimed at a Rabid Sect Because Lets Face it its Never Going to Sell on the Quality of the Writing or Content”

Galvatron Stephens
Galvatron Stephens
1 year ago

I think Robert Conquest came up with the Seven Ages of Man:
“Seven Ages: first puking and mewling
Then very p***ed-off with your schooling
Then f***s, and then fights
Next judging chaps’ rights
Then sitting in slippers: then drooling.”
We could have The Seven Ages of the Feminist
“First, a sixth-form feminist
calling everything and everyone sexist
Then lecture and hector
in journalism or the public sector
then cancelled by trans lobby protests”
Not bad for a first go in my lunch break!

Last edited 1 year ago by Galvatron Stephens
Galvatron Stephens
Galvatron Stephens
1 year ago

I think Robert Conquest came up with the Seven Ages of Man:
“Seven Ages: first puking and mewling
Then very p***ed-off with your schooling
Then f***s, and then fights
Next judging chaps’ rights
Then sitting in slippers: then drooling.”
We could have The Seven Ages of the Feminist
“First, a sixth-form feminist
calling everything and everyone sexist
Then lecture and hector
in journalism or the public sector
then cancelled by trans lobby protests”
Not bad for a first go in my lunch break!

Last edited 1 year ago by Galvatron Stephens
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago

Can I just take this opportunity to plug “my own forthcoming non-fiction book” entitled “Another Load of Pseudo Tripe Aimed at a Rabid Sect Because Lets Face it its Never Going to Sell on the Quality of the Writing or Content”

Dumetrius
Dumetrius
1 year ago

If you’re here for everything, you’re here for nothing.
You serve up air tart, since at least one person is allergic to every fruit you might put in it.

Dumetrius
Dumetrius
1 year ago

If you’re here for everything, you’re here for nothing.
You serve up air tart, since at least one person is allergic to every fruit you might put in it.

Jerry Carroll
Jerry Carroll
1 year ago

It appears Kiran Millwood Hargrave is that most common thing, a hypocrite.

Jerry Carroll
Jerry Carroll
1 year ago

It appears Kiran Millwood Hargrave is that most common thing, a hypocrite.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

which clit?

Galvatron Stephens
Galvatron Stephens
1 year ago

Haha

Galvatron Stephens
Galvatron Stephens
1 year ago

Haha

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

which clit?

Galvatron Stephens
Galvatron Stephens
1 year ago

Why has Unherd enabled yet another feminist past their expiry date to write for them? It’s almost as if feminists have a life cycle where they eventually get pushed out of their own movement for some ideological reason and wind up in publications that were only interesting because they weren’t colonised by woke leftists.

Guess it shows it doesn’t matter how spiteful a feminist you are, you will always wind up with a gig. Suzanne Moore and Julie Bindel at the Telegraph and the Spectator. Hadley Freeman at the Times. In the main they have literally nothing to say beyond ideological tracts, yet the Right genuflects to them at every turn.

Why is Victoria Smith surprised that feminists are intolerant of ideological difference? The slogan “the personal is political” is a feminist slogan, and feminism in general is built on simplistic binaries. Women good, men bad. Feminine good, masculine bad. If you are nit feminist, you are sexist. Yet they can’t handle “woman of colour” good, “woman of no colour” (aka white feminism) bad.

So why are feminists so surprised when they discover their movement is intolerant of wrongthink? This ideology, which critiques the shape of buildings and breathing capacity as potential vectors of sexism, is all-encompassing, so who is really surprised at the continual infighting in feminism?

Last edited 1 year ago by Galvatron Stephens
AC Harper
AC Harper
1 year ago

I suspect that each ‘wave’ of feminism is especially prone to the narcissism  of small differences. Perhaps when each wave of feminism ‘owns’ the absolute misogyny, previous waves must be absolutely wrong?
Which is a shame because you can argue that misogyny still exists – at least as much as misandry (which dare not speak its name).

Adam Bartlett
Adam Bartlett
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

While agreeing the Left tend to be more prone to ‘narcissism of small difference’ effects, I’m not sure that’s whats happening here. Quite a big difference between those who see ‘Male’ & ‘Female’ as helpful categories in a wide sense (social, political, etc.)  and the increasingly extreme gender neautral movement. For me it’s good that Unherd are boosting old school feminists on this topic, which I see as well aligned to sensible social conservatism.

Galvatron Stephens
Galvatron Stephens
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

Yes, they have to keep up the grift by finding fault in the work of their predecessors. Academia is a place where this is common, and universities are hotbeds of feminism.
Misogyny is a problem, but feminism will never solve it as it sees it as the product of a social system instead of a moral wrong.

Paul Nathanson
Paul Nathanson
1 year ago

Misandry, too, is a problem. I see no way to solve that until feminists and wokers abandon the dualism of “us” (women) vs. “them” (men).

Galvatron Stephens
Galvatron Stephens
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Nathanson

Misandry is a problem, I agree.

Galvatron Stephens
Galvatron Stephens
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Nathanson

Misandry is a problem, I agree.

Paul Nathanson
Paul Nathanson
1 year ago

Misandry, too, is a problem. I see no way to solve that until feminists and wokers abandon the dualism of “us” (women) vs. “them” (men).

Paul Nathanson
Paul Nathanson
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

I’ve spoken its name on UnHerd. For a lengthy essay (not a snide comment), I received nothing more than a minus-one.
See: Louise Perry, “Happy Valley: The Crime Drama that Eschewed Porn and Won,” UnHerd, 11 January 2023; https://unherd.com/thepost/happy-valley-the-crime-drama-that-avoided-porn-and-won/?mc_cid=8daf86cbf1&mc_eid=f2fa9eee10

Last edited 1 year ago by Paul Nathanson
Galvatron Stephens
Galvatron Stephens
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Nathanson

Perry is another one that “unwoke” blokes slobber over. I never watch the BBC now.

Galvatron Stephens
Galvatron Stephens
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Nathanson

Amazed at how my comment on misandry being a problem gets a downvote.

And then feminists complain how they have an unfairly bad reputation.

Galvatron Stephens
Galvatron Stephens
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Nathanson

Perry is another one that “unwoke” blokes slobber over. I never watch the BBC now.

Galvatron Stephens
Galvatron Stephens
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Nathanson

Amazed at how my comment on misandry being a problem gets a downvote.

And then feminists complain how they have an unfairly bad reputation.

Adam Bartlett
Adam Bartlett
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

While agreeing the Left tend to be more prone to ‘narcissism of small difference’ effects, I’m not sure that’s whats happening here. Quite a big difference between those who see ‘Male’ & ‘Female’ as helpful categories in a wide sense (social, political, etc.)  and the increasingly extreme gender neautral movement. For me it’s good that Unherd are boosting old school feminists on this topic, which I see as well aligned to sensible social conservatism.

Galvatron Stephens
Galvatron Stephens
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

Yes, they have to keep up the grift by finding fault in the work of their predecessors. Academia is a place where this is common, and universities are hotbeds of feminism.
Misogyny is a problem, but feminism will never solve it as it sees it as the product of a social system instead of a moral wrong.

Paul Nathanson
Paul Nathanson
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

I’ve spoken its name on UnHerd. For a lengthy essay (not a snide comment), I received nothing more than a minus-one.
See: Louise Perry, “Happy Valley: The Crime Drama that Eschewed Porn and Won,” UnHerd, 11 January 2023; https://unherd.com/thepost/happy-valley-the-crime-drama-that-avoided-porn-and-won/?mc_cid=8daf86cbf1&mc_eid=f2fa9eee10

Last edited 1 year ago by Paul Nathanson
R Wright
R Wright
1 year ago

While I entirely agree with your sentiments and many of these women betray their naked hatred for men regularly, the whole point of Unherd is to give a platform to those we would otherwise not hear much about. If the constant churn of trans topics and wrongthinking harridans is that much of a problem for you perhaps check out the Economist instead.

Galvatron Stephens
Galvatron Stephens
1 year ago
Reply to  R Wright

Trans topics are not a problem for me. They are a problem for feminism, as the trans issue exposes their ideology. As for “wrongthink”, the retired feminists like Moore and Burchill play it ultra-safe by siding with what they know is the trans-sceptical majority of people. They have no choice.

Unherd really isn’t as brave and edgy as you think it is.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago

I cannot understand why you have been downvoted.
While they trot out all kinds of alibis the real issue for feminist is something as lowly as a can could claim to be a woman and could be recognised as such.

Last edited 1 year ago by Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Galvatron Stephens
Galvatron Stephens
1 year ago

I can understand why I have been downvoted, don’t worry.
But thanks for your reply!

Galvatron Stephens
Galvatron Stephens
1 year ago

I can understand why I have been downvoted. But thanks!

Galvatron Stephens
Galvatron Stephens
1 year ago

I can understand why I have been downvoted, don’t worry.
But thanks for your reply!

Galvatron Stephens
Galvatron Stephens
1 year ago

I can understand why I have been downvoted. But thanks!

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago

I cannot understand why you have been downvoted.
While they trot out all kinds of alibis the real issue for feminist is something as lowly as a can could claim to be a woman and could be recognised as such.

Last edited 1 year ago by Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago
Reply to  R Wright

So why isn’t Nick Griffin or Morgoth contributors an why do we never see any pieces from trans activists?

Last edited 1 year ago by Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago

2 reasons:
Too self-righteous to engage in debate; andIncapable of coherent debate.

Galvatron Stephens
Galvatron Stephens
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

If those two things were genuine criteria, then they rule out a lot of feminists too, who have never had to meaningfully defend their positions until very recently and who are not renowned for coherent debating skills. Their usual tactic is to just call anyone who questions them sexist, so it never gets as far as a debate. The trans lobby use the same tactics feminists did for decades.

Last edited 1 year ago by Galvatron Stephens
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

I do not know about Nick Griffin, But Morgoth is on of the most thoughtful writers about
Julie Bindel on the other hand has just one hobby horse that she relentlessly flogs

Last edited 1 year ago by Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Galvatron Stephens
Galvatron Stephens
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

If those two things were genuine criteria, then they rule out a lot of feminists too, who have never had to meaningfully defend their positions until very recently and who are not renowned for coherent debating skills. Their usual tactic is to just call anyone who questions them sexist, so it never gets as far as a debate. The trans lobby use the same tactics feminists did for decades.

Last edited 1 year ago by Galvatron Stephens
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

I do not know about Nick Griffin, But Morgoth is on of the most thoughtful writers about
Julie Bindel on the other hand has just one hobby horse that she relentlessly flogs

Last edited 1 year ago by Ethniciodo Rodenydo
R Wright
R Wright
1 year ago

Because it’s Unherd… but only to a point. I entirely agree that the former should be given space. If I wanted to read trans activist pieces I’d go to the Grauniad.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago

2 reasons:
Too self-righteous to engage in debate; andIncapable of coherent debate.

R Wright
R Wright
1 year ago

Because it’s Unherd… but only to a point. I entirely agree that the former should be given space. If I wanted to read trans activist pieces I’d go to the Grauniad.

Galvatron Stephens
Galvatron Stephens
1 year ago
Reply to  R Wright

Trans topics are not a problem for me. They are a problem for feminism, as the trans issue exposes their ideology. As for “wrongthink”, the retired feminists like Moore and Burchill play it ultra-safe by siding with what they know is the trans-sceptical majority of people. They have no choice.

Unherd really isn’t as brave and edgy as you think it is.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago
Reply to  R Wright

So why isn’t Nick Griffin or Morgoth contributors an why do we never see any pieces from trans activists?

Last edited 1 year ago by Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Emmanuel MARTIN
Emmanuel MARTIN
1 year ago

Let me answer your first question.
This essay is published because it is interesting, thought provoking, and offers interesting insights from a thinker which expresses herself from a specific perspective. Obviously, this feminist advocacy is not where either of us is talking from. That article is insghtfull (especially about the social dynamics of female communities) and worth reading nonetheless.
I nonetheless agree with the rest of your post

Last edited 1 year ago by Emmanuel MARTIN
monicasilva999
monicasilva999
1 year ago

Are there feminists you approve of who could write on these pages? Or should Unherd just ban them on the grounds of your personal opinion – with which, as you can see in the comments, many people don’t agree?

Galvatron Stephens
Galvatron Stephens
1 year ago
Reply to  monicasilva999

I am not saying Unherd should ban anyone and nowhere have I suggested such. Nice try, though.
It is just frustrating to see publications which have woke-scepticism as a selling point (Telegraph, Spectator, Unherd) have people write for them who were woke until twenty minutes ago until they were hounded out from woke spheres. Feminists have literally hundreds of websites they can write for. I would also point out that feminists have not been anywhere near as generous when it cam e to the free speech of their critics.
As for the opinion of people in the comments, such as yours, I couldn’t care less. Many people who have responded to my comment happen to agree with several things I said. You are the only one who hasn’t.

Last edited 1 year ago by Galvatron Stephens
Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
1 year ago

Oh I finally get your main point. If you believe something, you must cling onto that belief like a drowning man to a log. Even when you’ve been persuaded to change your mind, pretend otherwise.

Galvatron Stephens
Galvatron Stephens
1 year ago

That isn’t my point at all. Bit early for drunkenness, I’d say.

None of these people have substantially changed their views on the world. It’s just the Guardian won’t publish their stuff anymore.

Last edited 1 year ago by Galvatron Stephens
Derek Smith
Derek Smith
1 year ago

Yes – they’ve been banished from the Guardian, and have been picked up by liberal publications (both centre and right) because their original colleagues and audiences have shifted even further along progressive lines than they already were.

Derek Smith
Derek Smith
1 year ago

Yes – they’ve been banished from the Guardian, and have been picked up by liberal publications (both centre and right) because their original colleagues and audiences have shifted even further along progressive lines than they already were.

Galvatron Stephens
Galvatron Stephens
1 year ago

That isn’t my point at all. Bit early for drunkenness, I’d say.

None of these people have substantially changed their views on the world. It’s just the Guardian won’t publish their stuff anymore.

Last edited 1 year ago by Galvatron Stephens
Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago

Are you saying that they’re faking it?
Not everyone falls neatly into rigid categories.
I have some stereotypical hard right opinions, some hard left opinions, and a lot of wishy-washy middle-of-the-road opinions. That’s not unusual.
Lots of people do not fall neatly into perceived tribal opinion patterns.
For instance, you can have conventional liberal views, and yet hate abortion. Or disagree with trans.
Or have conventional right wing views on tax but still wish to nationalise the railways etc.
It’s interesting to read the perspective of anyone who disagrees with some new thinking which is now extant in his or her habitual thought tribe.
These issues may not affect you or me that much, but I have kids about to enter teenage years and this woke rubbish will plague their lives, so I’m interested to find out more about it, if only to discredit it. And the writers of which you complain are interesting to me in that regard. They know more about such topics than either of us. 

Galvatron Stephens
Galvatron Stephens
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

Who is faking what?

I never claimed that anyone fell into a neat category. That doesn’t prevent anyone from commenting on an ideological movement and/or its adherents. And why do you suggest they “know more” about anything? You don’t know what I know, I don’t know what you know.

Galvatron Stephens
Galvatron Stephens
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

Who is faking what?

I never claimed that anyone fell into a neat category. That doesn’t prevent anyone from commenting on an ideological movement and/or its adherents. And why do you suggest they “know more” about anything? You don’t know what I know, I don’t know what you know.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
1 year ago

Oh I finally get your main point. If you believe something, you must cling onto that belief like a drowning man to a log. Even when you’ve been persuaded to change your mind, pretend otherwise.