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Billy Bragg still doesn’t understand feminism

The Bard. Credit: Getty

April 29, 2024 - 10:00am

I am very familiar with men on the Left telling me I’m doing feminism wrong. The musician and activist Billy Bragg is just one in a long line of males telling me I don’t share their precious values. In an interview published yesterday, the double-denimed demigod was asked about his role in the debate on gender and single-sex spaces:

“My problem with people like [J.K.] Rowling, like Julie Bindel, is really who they are lined up with. [Rowling and Bindel] are people who I agree with about women’s rights. I agree with them about abortion. But we don’t agree on this.”

I can certainly say that Bragg and I will both support access to free and legal abortion, but I would imagine we hold these views for somewhat different reasons.

If there’s anything that benefits men, the likes of Bragg will declare it to be feminist. As my friend and comrade J.K. Rowling has pointed out, male Leftists tend to applaud prostitution and stripping, so long as women are doing it and men are in the driving seat. Surrogacy, lap dancing and slut marching are “empowering” activities — a word never ascribed to anything done by men. It is faux feminism for the boys.

Just like his bro Owen Jones, Bragg insists that trans women are women and, handily, this stance doesn’t seem to have any drawbacks for these men. They get cookies for being such great allies, and not an ounce of danger or inconvenience as a result.

Suggesting that silly women who object to men in women’s changing rooms, hospital wards and prisons have joined forces with the hard-Right is ludicrous. Left-wing feminists, such as myself and Rowling, have led the charge against gender ideology because we campaign against rape and domestic violence. For Bragg to bleat about how abortion rights and equal marriage are at risk as a result of these imagined alliances is a bit rich considering that he, as a straight man, needs neither.

Bragg doesn’t like the powerful, Right-wing men who agree with me and Rowling on the trans issue. The inconvenient truth is that neither Donald Trump nor Viktor Orbán would be au fait with feminist politics, but are each aware that there are only two sexes. If to Bragg that means I agree with those men, so be it.

Feminists — all women — have been deeply and profoundly betrayed by Left-wing men. They have preened and postured about being such good trans allies while we have been attacked, abused, harassed, libelled and shunned for standing up for women’s rights. They turned a blind eye when lesbians were told by transactivists that we are bigots for excluding men from our dating pool. These men clapped along as we were losing our jobs and reputations, agreeing with the zealots that we just needed to be more kind.

Men on the Left rarely prioritise women’s issues, and we are expected to dance to their tune in order to be deemed acceptable. As the late feminist author Andrea Dworkin wrote: “To Right-wing men, we are private property. To Left-wing men, we are public property.”

This problem spans many decades and continents. In 1964 Stokely Carmichael, a prominent Black Power activist, was asked about the role of women in the civil rights movement. He replied: “The only position for women in the movement is ‘prone’.”  It is precisely because men on both the Left and the Right displayed such misogyny that the Women’s Liberation movement was founded in the Seventies. Bragg is a modern-day Carmichael, and men like him will always put men first, whether they claim to be women or not.


Julie Bindel is an investigative journalist, author, and feminist campaigner. Her latest book is Feminism for Women: The Real Route to Liberation. She also writes on Substack.

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Mike Doyle
Mike Doyle
19 days ago

Superb article.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
19 days ago
Reply to  Mike Doyle

“Superb” indeed.
A long diatribe against men of all sorts, left wing, right wing (albeit with a grudging admission that the latter are not idiots like left wingers), some random dude from 1960s who renders all men guilty (though funny how he can’t be used to slander ALL black people though, that won’t do)….

And yet she superbly, just magnificently, manages to not mention…not even once…leave along share the blame…. with the specific, large group that dominates left wing support, who are by far the main supporters of trans, whose moronic “no biological differences” ideology and slimy tactics relying on hysterical, emotional blackmail have been co-opted by the trans jokers.

No mention of them, no accountability from the group who is primarily responsible for this trans fiasco.

Oh no, it’s all the fault of the men who, when in power, decided to grant separate toilets, sports and other women only domains in the first place.

Absolutely brilliant.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
19 days ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

She does not say all men are responsible for women’s loss of rights due to the actions, or lack of actions, for the rights of women in the face of trans activists. She specifically targets left-wing men who should be standing up for women’s rights, not the rights of men in dresses.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
19 days ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Oh give it a break.
This whole article is dripping with misandry, statements like
“because men on both the Left and the Right displayed such misogyny ” based on what some random black man said in 1964.

And she targets leftist men specifically in this case because they happen to differ with her ideologically on some issue – while blithely forgetting to add that those men are a minority of the leftists / “liberal” groups that are supporting trans.

Which segment of human beings constitutes the majority of those leftists, however?
You won’t find them mentioned in this “brilliant ” piece.

What you will find is amazing lines like
“silly women who object to men in women’s changing rooms, hospital wards and prisons”
Women support psycho men who enter women’s spaces built by men, men to blame.
Monty Python couldn’t match it. Sheer genius.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
19 days ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

Not sure why you’re getting downvoted. I’m on board with most of Julie Bindel’s articles, but unfortunately they almost always contain at least one sneering put-down directed at men. Like the old mother-in-law jokes of the 1970s, her misandry is tired and dated.

Samantha Stevens
Samantha Stevens
19 days ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

Because men as a group have raped, beaten, and murdered women since the dawn of time. I love my husband, and I loved my dad, but those personal experiences don’t change the overall reality that over 5,000 women are murdered by men every year in the US, more than half by their husbands or boyfriends.

David Morley
David Morley
18 days ago

Because men as a group have raped, beaten, and murdered women since the dawn of time

No they haven’t. No more than women as a group have murdered children since the beginning of time. Only some women have done that. (For American viewers I’m referring to infanticide here, not abortion).

In the U.K. the number of women murdered per year is vanishingly small. The US is a more violent society, but the numbers are still tiny in proportion to the population. In both countries more men are murder victims.

Samantha Stevens
Samantha Stevens
17 days ago
Reply to  David Morley

Yes more murder victims are men, but the murderers are still men.

Q T
Q T
17 days ago

So what? It’s irrelevant. Stop with the misandry.

David Morley
David Morley
15 days ago

So what. Why does it make it ok if the murderer has the same genitals as their victim?

Q T
Q T
17 days ago

Well, the best part of 165 million men in the US didn’t murder a woman then. But hey, let’s generalise blame to the other 99.996969696969697% who didn’t.
Can we blame you, then, for the women who murdered men? This would be logical.
Or you know, we could just say ‘murderers’ and acknowledge that the gender of murderers is irrelevant compared to the fact that they murdered someone.

Q T
Q T
17 days ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

Yes. She could have saved everyone a lot of time by simply writing, “I hate men. Everything is their fault.”
Very few women in the civilised West today are ‘the property’ of men. Perhaps she should have a little sabbatical in an orthodox Islamic regime to gain some perspective … And gosh, some women actually WANT to be the property of men, but let her ‘liberate’ women by forcing her views onto them.
But yeah, If you have to go back to 1964 to find yourself a supporting point, your views are probably somewhat out of date … You’re right, that’s one of the best laughs in it.

MJ Reid
MJ Reid
13 days ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

You should get the mountain on your shoulder looked at bbefore it does you a damage. Julie Bindel is no misandrist. Feminists like us know there are good men in the world, but they are difficult to find as they don’t blow their own trumpets. They go about their lifes quietly and with dignity. The men we have issue with are those who think they know what it is to be a woman better than us. Who profess to be better feminists than women. And who hate being told they are wrong about both.

Andrew Vanbarner
Andrew Vanbarner
19 days ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

Carmichael was, like many Black Panthers, a fairly violent and dangerous individual. Rapists are generally violent people, towards both men and women, as are radical militants. Carmichael was, at least until the very best end of his life, both.
Bragg, for all of his socialist nitwittery, is more likely than not a fundamentally decent human being, albeit with glaring flaws.
The former can easily be pictured dispensing with rivals, as well as political opponents, with the use of violence. The latter, though filled with a few prejudices of his own, is a folk singer.

Q T
Q T
17 days ago

Fixed : “The latter, though filled with a few prejudices of his own, can easily be pictured dispensing with rivals, as well as political opponents, with the use of folk singing.”

David Morley
David Morley
15 days ago
Reply to  Q T

Well Woody Guthrie did have “this machine kills fascists” on his guitar.

David Morley
David Morley
15 days ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

Spot on. I guess the downvoters just don’t know their feminist history.

MJ Reid
MJ Reid
13 days ago
Reply to  David Morley

Mmmmmmmm…

MJ Reid
MJ Reid
13 days ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

Interesting. You didnt read the same article I did . Nowhere has Julie ever blamesd all men for the ills of the world. It is the men like yourself, who comment, who do that.

Dustin McGregor
Dustin McGregor
13 days ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

That you feel this is an attack on yourself and in turn all men is a “you” problem not a Julie problem. Beyond that you should probably read a bit more before you start throwing around accusation that she doesn’t criticize women as well as men especially when it comes to the gender identity industry and sex trafficking. Check out the the previous 5 pieces published (hint click where it says “By Julie Bindel” near the top of the page). She critiques the views and actions of at least a dozen different women, liberal feminism and/or organizations whose purpose claims to be defending the rights of women. In 2 cases it’s the entire point of the article. In this case however, she’s discussing good ol’ Bill Bragg, a man so deeply within the cult of gender that he spends half his day arguing with people on Twitter using patently false narratives, appeals to emotion, false equivalences, straw-fems, guilt by association and non sequiturs. Any other number of left wing causes that would actually have a practical benefit for anyone like unionization, he used to be _really_ into unions, he’s left upon the shelf because… I don’t know kid, I wonder that myself and lol, Carmichael was hardly a “random dude from the sixties” but then you’d know that if you were actually interested in understanding what feminists are saying and not simply interested in sh-tting on women.

Mike Downing
Mike Downing
19 days ago

Andrea Dworkin is ripe for a revival I feel.

You don’t always have to agree with what she’s saying, but she cuts through all manner of well-meaning waffle and lays out her opinions with uncompromising rigour.

I don’t know her work in depth but from what I’ve read it looks more and more like she was absolutely right about the dangers and effect of pornography on women and men. Thankfully, in her day it still didn’t affect 7 year olds with smartphones.

John Murray
John Murray
19 days ago
Reply to  Mike Downing

Yeah, I read an interview a while ago with a young feminist academic from Oxford where she said she assigned her students Andrea Dworkin to read for class. She said she fully expected the lecture room to be full of criticism from them of Dworkin’s anti-sex and anti-porn attitudes. Instead, the students were all vigorously in agreement with Dworkin.

David Morley
David Morley
18 days ago
Reply to  John Murray

Believe me, a fresh crop of elite students coming through university who agree with someone as obviously off the rails as AD is not good news. They’ll make the current identity politics look like a storm in a tea cup.

Q T
Q T
17 days ago
Reply to  John Murray

Well, as a feminist academic, she’d hardly say otherwise, would she.

David Morley
David Morley
15 days ago
Reply to  Q T

Given how obtuse many feminist academics seem to be, they were probably taking the mick.

John Tyler
John Tyler
19 days ago

I’ve never thought Saint Billy worried much about real people except where they support or illustrate his fluid ideology.

MJ Reid
MJ Reid
13 days ago
Reply to  John Tyler

He woukd only worry if he wasnt getting gigs, adukatiin and money in tbe bank. So much for his outstanding socialist principles!

Peter B
Peter B
19 days ago

Who cares ?
Just feels like some people with a little too much time on their hands running round trying to stick objectionable labels on each other. About second or third order issues to society at large.
No one does factionalism and infighting quite as well as the left. They do love a label.

Aw Zk
Aw Zk
19 days ago
Reply to  Peter B

I am disappointed that Julie Bindel has written an article about what Billy Bragg has said a few days after it was reported that 24 men had been sentenced to a total of 346 years in prison (and another man given a hospital order after a finding of the facts) for sexual offences committed against eight underage girls in Batley and Dewsbury between 1999 and 2012.

The guilty verdicts were delivered during a series of five trials which took place at Leeds Crown Court from 2022 and 2024, the last of which ended on Friday so the reporting restrictions could be lifted and the convictions and sentences could be reported. The case has been reported by some media outlets, although most of the reports are very similar and consist mainly of information, photos and a statement provided by West Yorkshire Police. In previous similar cases local media outlets have published quotes from court proceedings, statements from victims and their relatives and profiles of those convicted but perhaps this time they couldn’t afford to do that. Meanwhile, it seems that national media outlets which could afford to send a reporter to five trials didn’t want to do that. I wonder why.

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
19 days ago

“The inconvenient truth is that neither Donald Trump nor Viktor Orbán would be au fait with feminist politics, but are each aware that there are only two sexes. If to Bragg that means I agree with those men, so be it.”

Julie Bindel in this sentence strikes at the conformity of ideologues on the left. They can’t accept that someone can share some opinions that they have but not all their opinions. I would describe myself as a conservative but I share some opinions that might be regarded as leftist. Any sensible individual is going to share opinions with some pretty unsavoury individuals. It doesn’t make some opinions you hold wrong that those you disagree with on most other matters share them.

Too many leftist ideologues wish to enforce an ideological straight-jacket so that any deviation from the whole ideology warrants condemnation for associating with the enemy. A traitor to the cause.

Benedict Waterson
Benedict Waterson
19 days ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

Hitler was a vegetarian. Is that the kind of political figure that modern vegetarians want to associate themselves with? Maybe they should rethink the whole meat-free diet

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
19 days ago

A dog-lover as well.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
19 days ago

And would have been quite in favour of Palestinian independence as well.
Something tells me he would be completely on board with “from the river to the sea”.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
19 days ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

Quite a pivot from a ironic critique of guilt-by-faint-association ethics, to an actual reductio ad h i t l e r u m.*
I think that even in your anachronistic, counterfactual history that the Palestinians would be be deemed a little too dark to govern themselves for long.**
*The parallels are stronger and more direct than I thought. My mistake.
**It appears I’m likely wrong here too. I’ve underestimated A.H.’s willingness to make alliances with other sick tyrants.
Samir Iker: I let my disagreements about other matters lead me to post from a place of particular ignorance. Sorry.

Dr E C
Dr E C
19 days ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

Please read some history.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
18 days ago
Reply to  Dr E C

I will continue to “read some history”, trying to fill in my sizable knowledge gaps, drawing my own provisional conclusions. But while my erroneous posts above won’t be the last of their kind for me, I’ll try harder to let my typing fingers rest when I’m underinformed, and to remember not to believe each thing I think, however well or ill-founded it may seem to me.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
19 days ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

This interesting article makes the connection: https://isgap.org/flashpoint/from-hitler-to-hamas-a-genealogy-of-evil/
It suggests that what is happening now is worse than Naz*sm because Palestines have a god-given mandate to eliminate the Jews. I don’t know about you, but I for one am not going to carry a torch for a group that shares ideological hatred with Mr. Hitl*r.
https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/E-9-2023-002606_EN.html

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
19 days ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

Jesus, me neither. What a ludicrous straw man. I’m not defending Hamas and I understand the connection in terms of pure antisemitism. I believe that direct N*zi parallels are still best avoided at the current scale of atrocity. Yes, the intent carries a comparable malice and perversity, but I don’t think it makes sense to go “I’m all-in,…I raise you to H*tler” so much– though I grant that with this evil it’s less of a stretch than with many such comparisons.
My response was also to do with the virulent A r y a n ism of you know who. Would that have stopped with Jews had the A x i s powers prevailed?
I stand corrected. Thanks for the links, Julian.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
18 days ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

I stand corrected.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
19 days ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

You are wrong I am afraid. Even the swastika is not an emblem to be found anywhere else in European history. It was borrowed from the Far Eastern Buddhism – a sign of peace. It was also quite possible to live through the Nazi period as a black man without suffering too greatly. Read up on how Martin Luther King got his middle name! After attending the World Baptist Congress in Berlin in 1936 he was so enthused by the moral certainty of Nazi society that he added Luther to his name.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
18 days ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

But not easy to survive as a Gypsy, cripple, or homosexual–right? I’m afraid you don’t know whether my informed guess is right or not either. Perhaps they would have eased up on other ethnicities once they eliminated their target enemy and held global sway along with the Japanese and Italians. But who can trust a N*zi?

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
14 days ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

I see you managed to miss out the Jews in that list of those who wouldn’t find it easy to survive. You remind me of the SWP which handed out a leaflet about the Holocaust that described it as a tragedy for “thousands of LGBT people. trade unionists and disabled people”.

Will Rolf
Will Rolf
14 days ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

While many gay men and women were killed by the Nazis for being gay, the majority of Aryan gays survived the regime.

Dr E C
Dr E C
19 days ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

He was. His mate the Grand Mufti Husseini became the leader of the Palestinian national movement & together they dreamed of making both Europe and the Middle East Jew-free. Not enough people know the _actual_ (not rhetorical) Nazi origins of the Palestinian national movement.

Linda M Brown
Linda M Brown
19 days ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

Considering he and the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Mohammed Amin al-Husseini, were allies during WWII, I think you’re correct

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
19 days ago

Not only a vegetarian, Hitler was also an activist non-smoker and teetotal and were he alive today he would most definitely be found on one of the many pro-Palestinian demos. Not only did messages on cigarette packages and bans on smoking in public buildings and transport start in Nazi Germany, he was also a fan of the Muslim religion and it was quite possible to reach high positions in Nazi society as a convert to that religion. One might even say that he would be in his element today.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
18 days ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Next we’ll say H*itler was “woke”–not right wing at all. After all, the German version of the word “socialist” appears in that infamous acronym!
My unpopular reply to Samir Iker was a bit ill-considered and a little too personal in tone. It’s fine to introduce a little humanizing or qualifying nuance. But these revisionist re-purposings of one of modern history’s worst villains to tar one’s opponents–or make everyone who wants their university to stop funding Netanyahu’s war machine into a literal N*zi–are just way over the top.

R S Foster
R S Foster
14 days ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

Hitler certainly wasn’t in the least right wing in economic policy, nor class politics. He was firmly a communitarian socialist in respect of those he chose to consider “Aryan” – which did include some Muslims…but emphatically and absolutely neither Jews NOR Slavs. The most successful Communist propaganda campaign in history was the one that convinced subsequent generations to see only NATIONAL in the full name of the Nazi Party, and forget all about Socialist. His attack on the USSR was about it’s being Slav, and in theory at least, internationalist…and he hated the British political system at least in part because it was led by “Decadent Aristocrats” like Churchill..

Catherine Conroy
Catherine Conroy
19 days ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

Quite true. It’s because we’re always pigeon-holed into a package where we’re expected to work to a script. The gender woo crap has smashed that and it might make some of us less tribal in our judgement. If Democrat Bill Maher can applaud JK Rowling and tell his audience that Ron DeSantis was not wrong when the Governor of Florida called out grooming, then so can we.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
19 days ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

Absolutely, if you agree with anything that someone like Donald Trump says you will be said to be right wing. I get that on Twitter all the time.

Stephen Follows
Stephen Follows
19 days ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

I’d say that Trump and Orbán are considerably more savoury than Corbyn, Jones, Burgon and their mates.

Andrew Vanbarner
Andrew Vanbarner
19 days ago

I would second this by saying that my bank balances, and my family’s lifestyle, were far better under Trump. It’s also readily apparent that places like eastern Europe and the Levant were far less bloodstained.
Trump of course has some glaring flaws, much of them in the PR department. Biden, on the other hand, has what’s more or less a loyal PR firm in much of the media, and communicates mostly well managed, careful phrased, exceedingly rare public statements, generally from polished, comme il faut staffers.
And yet it’s clear to see, or at least should be, which man was the better President, “reproductive rights” and “affirmative transgender care” notwithstanding.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
18 days ago

What wine would you like to savour them with?

Wilfred Davis
Wilfred Davis
19 days ago

I don’t know, it may just be me, but I wonder whether Julie will ever get round to writing a piece complaining about men.

William Shaw
William Shaw
19 days ago

Nobody cares what Billy Bragg thinks or says… apart from Bindel, who must have been desperate for something to write about.

Mark Cornish
Mark Cornish
19 days ago
Reply to  William Shaw

I’m assuming that you are a bloke William? If so, you couldn’t have made Julie’s point for her any better. People like Billy Bragg are too narcissistic to admit that they are wrong. Julie Bindel exposes these hypocrites for what they are.

David Morley
David Morley
18 days ago
Reply to  Mark Cornish

Er not exactly one of JBs strengths either!

Mark Cornish
Mark Cornish
14 days ago
Reply to  David Morley

How is Julie Bindel being a hypocrite? She has never swerved from the position of defending women’s rights and she has had the dignity in her writings to admit when she has made mistakes.

David Morley
David Morley
18 days ago
Reply to  William Shaw

Not sure why Unherd is publishing this bun fight. Clickbait for its more cognitively challenged readers I guess. Haters hate, and haters get into mutual hate contests. But nobody is obliged to print it.

Mark Cornish
Mark Cornish
14 days ago
Reply to  David Morley

You’re happy to be part of the ‘bun fight’!!

Tyler Durden
Tyler Durden
19 days ago

Hypocritical of these trans-critical feminists to remain on the Left. To my mind, opposing permissiveness over the application of Queer philosophy and militant politics to mainstream society is a conservative position, one also advocating a change of thinking on mass access to abortion and the destructive cultural signifiers presented by single-sex marriage and adoption.
Otherwise, this debate becomes a straight battle between men’s and women’s rights which pretty much expresses the disastrous ‘cultural turn’ the Left has taken over the past 10 years. Feminists of this ilk should not be amongst them at all.

Dennis Roberts
Dennis Roberts
19 days ago
Reply to  Tyler Durden

The world is far too complex these days to simply divide people into left or right.

Mark Cornish
Mark Cornish
14 days ago
Reply to  Dennis Roberts

The terms left and right are meaningless now. The left have become the illiberal fascists who want to cancel and shut down opposing Ideas, whilst the right have become the champions of free speech. Everyone should be a champion of free speech and that is why I would never call myself left wing anymore.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
19 days ago
Reply to  Tyler Durden

“To my mind”. And you are the arbiter because…?
Actually, “Feminists of this ilk” can be and do whatever they want without your approval or validation.

John Riordan
John Riordan
19 days ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Well not quite. He makes a good point that one cannot adopt a principle that is objectively conservative but still maintain that this has no effect upon one’s professed left-wing politics. Bindel and Rowling, whether they like it or not, have taken a conservative position on this issue, and for them to deny that that’s what it is, is absurd.

Q T
Q T
17 days ago
Reply to  John Riordan

Nonsense. Any thinking person would likely have a varied bag of opinions on different sociological issues; does this really mean they can’t have an overall political inclination? Of course not.
A person who is 100% an ideologue of the Left or the Right, is nothing more than a proscriptive bigot and should probably develop their critical thought processes.
Besides, it’s perfectly possible to express either the trans or feminist positions on this matter in the context of being Left wing … Since when did the bloody Left agree about anything anyway?

Q T
Q T
17 days ago
Reply to  Tyler Durden

How can there be such a thing as ‘queer philosophy’ when a great many lesbians and trans are at odds? It’s ‘almost’ like there is a plurality of thought in evidence … What you mean is, everyone has to agree with ‘your’ philosophy or they get kicked out. And therein lies the entire problem in a nutshell.

Albireo Double
Albireo Double
19 days ago

Great article.
I think Bragg is the very best example of the very worst sort of narcissistic self-centred, crooning whiner, full of the dishonesties and doublethink that Bindel describes so well.
His generation of bigoted self-styled “liberal progressive” hypocrites is dying out, but unfortunately they seem to be being replaced by the likes of Owen Jones and their ghastly “woke bro” pals.
The only good thing about people like those, is the horrified look in their eyes in conversation, when they realise that you’ve just politely and publicly exposed all their contradictions, hypocrisies, dishonesties and shortcomings, without them noticing, until it’s too late.
With a bit of careful rehearsing this is easily done in one “dinner-party punchline” and nothing feels quite so good, I can tell you.

John Riordan
John Riordan
19 days ago

What Julie Bindel keeps getting wrong is that the fiasco of transgender ideology is partly the fault of the kinds of feminist that she is herself: those who cite intersectionalism as the basis for defining women partly through the lens of victimhood.

I’m quite sure Billy Bragg has got his position on this wrong of course, given that he’s wrong about everything else in general, but to criticise him from Bindel’s own perspective is simply the same storm-in-a-teacup politics in which the Left specialises and about which nobody else cares.

Q T
Q T
17 days ago
Reply to  John Riordan

Ooh don’t point out that feminists created this monster themselves, they really blow their stack over that.
The late Chris Hitchens foretold this a long time ago…

Paul Thompson
Paul Thompson
19 days ago

The “woke bro” and other “trannie allies” who are male are perfect examples of the holders of “luxury beliefs”: A “luxury belief” is one that puts you at the bleeding edge of liberal thinking, but costs the holder nothing – those who pay for the “luxury beliefs” are others. Here, white males can be cool, and avant guard, but they pay nothing – the women are the ones paying.

Catherine Conroy
Catherine Conroy
19 days ago
Reply to  Paul Thompson

Years ago, when I was ranting against the lenient treatment of rapists, my partner at the time called me illiberal. I explained to him that it’s really hard for a woman to be liberal because some of those ‘liberal’ values hurt us.

David Morley
David Morley
15 days ago

Try not ranting. People might listen.

Q T
Q T
17 days ago
Reply to  Paul Thompson

I don’t know about that. Anyone who holds those beliefs is immediately compromised to a lot of people. It’s not cost free by any means. Nor does it necessarily exact a ‘cost’ for a woman to hold those views, as indeed many do.
In fact, any real physical ‘cost’ is exacted on a minute proportion of people. The actual costs of any position these days are more likely to be having people whining at you online.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
19 days ago

The trans thing has gotten traction in no small part because of the willing compliance of a good many self-proclaimed feminists and a significant segment of the rainbow mafia. Maybe look at those people instead of building a straw Billy Bragg who simply reflects what the dominant media culture is telling him is the current thing.

Catherine Conroy
Catherine Conroy
19 days ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

No, he’s been pretty vocal and bitchy about the whole thing.

Daniel P
Daniel P
19 days ago

As a center right, straight white man, I could have told you that the left wing ones are usually the most dangerous to women and their interests.

Just my opinion, but most of the left wing guys that I have known are usually Beta males. My experience in college and my 20’s was that most often these guys were the ones that were the most “off” and least likely to get a date except by appearing to be hyper supportive of whatever the women on campus were pushing at the time. But their support is always with one eye toward what benefits them personally. The problem with Beta males is that they fundamentally do not like themselves and they do not really like women and they are generally intimidated by men who are on the right. They feel best and safest receiving praise from liberal women for their allieship.

I find these men to be generally fake, posers, with little character or backbone and I find many of them creepy, like they are rapists or pedophiles in waiting. These are not brave men or men that you could trust to have your back when things get tough. These are the guys that if they are on a date and get mugged would push the woman in front and call it feminist equality instead of stepping in front of her and telling her to run while he takes a beating to buy her time.

I find it interesting to see all the posts online by liberal young women that hate the fact that they are attracted to conservative men, they like how conservative men treat them, but they want these men to become liberal on politics. Never seems to occur to them that the very characteristics that make them attractive to date are the same ones that lead them to conservative political views.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
19 days ago
Reply to  Daniel P

Ah, the “hold my beer, cuck” School of Conservatism. I see some general validity to your claim about physical cowardice among vocally far-Left young men. Also, moral weakness*, since on campuses and among most people under 30, being Left-wing is anything but bold. Nevertheless, some young extremists on the Left will resort to violence in a heartbeat, even in a nobler cause like defending a woman. I agree it’s more typical of the right-wing type-a-guy.
But I’d say the type of bravery you mention has more crossover with old-fashioned manly chivalry: a social rather than political conservatism. It’s also a bit likelier to be found among the lower-middle and working classes than elsewhere, broadly speaking. And there’s no of shortage of physical or moral cowardice on the Right-identified side of the sociopolitical spectrum.
While I don’t see DJT as a genuine Conservative, he has effectively re-branded himself as a Right-populist reactionary. Would he stand up to protect a woman if his own life were in danger, even as a younger man? I think Biden would have, and one of his sons (the dead one) saw military action. What do self-declared conservatives who endorse bone-spurs-in-which-foot-was-it? Trump–with whatever degree of eagerness or reluctance–think about his credentials in the area of physical and moral bravery, or as good fatherly and manly example overall?
*or just conformity

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
19 days ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

I find it telling that Trump never said he had surgery for his bone spurs. I had surgery for a bone spur and and its role in damaging my Achilles tendon. It was extremely painful. It took six months and physical therapy for me to recover. Hey, Trump, are those bone spurs still bothering you?

Andrew Vanbarner
Andrew Vanbarner
19 days ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

I find it very hard to picture Biden as a male feminist, nor do I think his occasional pugnacity extends much beyond the verbal. But then again I’ve never met him, nor his bete noire, so I have no way of knowing if either man is more of a Popeye, or a Bluto.
I do however know of more than a few male feminists who themselves like to insert their presence into “female only” spaces, often as a dating strategy, albeit an often unsuccessful one. Women are not in the main attracted to submissive, deferential, or anxious men, and only the very politically active seem to prefer very left wing men, with the exception of the few who are physically imposing and assertive.
Either way, equality is a funny beast. Most of us seem to only want an equal share of the good things, and are perfectly happy with double standards, if we remain the beneficiaries, and we are all far too often blind to our own hypocrites.
I have no doubt that some people who struggle with their own sexuality are often deeply unhappy. Nor do I think for a moment that they should be treated with anything less than the courtesy and respect one should normally show to any other human being.
However, on the issue of transgendered men in women’s locker rooms, restrooms, and spas, I’m afraid I’ll have to agree with Bindel, odious as I find many of her other views.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
19 days ago

“Women are not in the main attracted to submissive, deferential, or anxious men, and only the very politically active seem to prefer very left wing men, with the exception of the few who are physically imposing and assertive”.
Totally agree, with the caveat that there are exceptions to that valid generalization.
I wouldn’t call Biden a male feminist either. In fact, he was pretty chauvinistic and creep-adjacent toward Anita Hill at those 1990 hearings. I was just floating the pretty-beside-the-point (and dumb-macho) notion of which candidate was tougher physically in their prime, and likelier to stand up for a woman at his own peril. I admit my take is biased by the fact that I think Biden is a somewhat better man than Trump overall–a ridiculously low bar to clear. But Biden ain’t left-wing, he’s a old-school moderate, despite his mostly symbolic gestures toward the wokerati.
Also, Daniel P sets up a dichotomy between “left wing” and “conservative” males instead of something more balanced like leftwing/rightwing or liberal/conservative. While I accept the commenter’s claim to a degree, as framed, you’ll not convince me that arch conservative or far-righting men only rarely present a major threat to women. (Not saying it’s one-sided in the other direction either). Nor let Ben Shapiro or Samuel Alito tell me that the Left contains all the Beta males. Beta in what sense?
*I also agree with Bindel, at least when they haven’t done “the full snip”

Alison Wren
Alison Wren
18 days ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

A castrated male is still male and this shows in many interactions that the male socialisation is still there! No man has lived the life of a female so cannot be a woman

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
18 days ago
Reply to  Alison Wren

I do not disagree. I’m just saying that once all the “equipment” is gone that the threat is reduced, by a lot.

Alison Wren
Alison Wren
18 days ago

No such thing as a male feminist. Women would like just ONE movement to be just theirs. Be an ally please but don’t infiltrate our only single-sex movement!

David Morley
David Morley
18 days ago
Reply to  Alison Wren

Be an ally please

Thanks, but I’ll give that a miss. Ally just means put up and shut up and act as a target as we vent our spleen. No person with any self respect does that.

Peter B
Peter B
18 days ago
Reply to  Alison Wren

Hang on a moment. I didn’t hear too many feminists complaining when Ed Miliband proudly self-identified as a feminist. That seemed to be very well received at the time (absurd though it seemed to me). This seems to be a rather selective judgement – some men are deemed “acceptable” and others not.
Going slightly off topic …
It is every bit as cakeist as most of modern feminism – wanting both to be treated the same as men and curiously much of the time to be treated differently (and always better).
The media and female politicians scour budgets for any possible change that might have even the slighterst net disadvatntage for women. But the floodgates are open for any change that disadvantages men and radio silence is maintained.
The WASPI campaign being the absolute epitome of all this – “we still want pensions paid 5 years earlier than men, but we don’t want to pay for it and you never told us (even though you did)”. The tragedy of all this being that it diverts scarce resources from people (at least 50% of them women) who need and deserve better pensions to a lobby group of mainly middle class women pushing a spurious case (they were informed) to protect their uniquely privileged position.
And that is what 90% of “activism” is this days. Special interest groups lobbying to preserve their undeserved privileges. Whilst ignoring those really in need.
“Feminism” is just another undefined term like “racism” or “toxic” or “hate speech” that’s well past is use by date. Totally subjective. As in Alice in Wonderland, “when I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean”.

Q T
Q T
17 days ago
Reply to  Alison Wren

I’m not an ally. You’ve spent decades telling everyone how powerful and strong you are. Take care of it yourself, therefore, Captain Marvel. You can’t have it both ways.

T Bone
T Bone
19 days ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

I’ve seen that line of reasoning in the last paragraph repeatedly over the last 8 years.  Most traditional Conservatives (myself included) don’t see Establishment candidates as “moral” so Trump’s lack of “morality” is effectively irrelevant. At least he’s telling you what he thinks.

The overwhelming majority of Establishment politicians don’t say what they actually think.  They speak the language of pragmatic expert driven consensus. Over a period of time you repeatedly see Establishment politicians take positions that seem to defy reality yet they promote the consensus or “current thing” because it’s too politically risky to question the “experts.”  And then, years later they back out of the position and act like they never held it at all!

Whether it’s funding certain war efforts, phasing out fossil fuels, reimagining policing, mandating masks, closing schools, eliminating gender distinctions and many more; these ideas are quite clearly unsustainable yet few Establishment politicians (especially on the Left Establishment) will contest them.  They actually work to entrench them by actively working to discredit speech and promoting censorship of Conservative political ideas that go against the Consensus.

I don’t believe you ever feared the watchful eye of DJT’s administration for simply criticizing his policies.  The same can’t be said for people that criticize the current administration.  Most Conservatives feel like they can win a public debate if allowed to speak. Conservative speakers regularly get chased off, deplatformed or suppressed by mobs. 

The Establishment has little sympathy for them while they become constitutional stewards for progressive “speech” rights to agitate and set up encampments on public property.  Why? Because a rational Conservative with a pen or microphone is far more concerning to the established order than thousands of screaming Left-Wing protestors.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
19 days ago
Reply to  T Bone

“I don’t believe you ever feared the watchful eye of DJT’s administration for simply criticizing his policies. The same can’t be said for people that criticize the current administration”
Yes, it can. I don’t believe you’ve ever feared it* either. You place me as an individual against all who criticize the Biden administration–not a fair framework. You don’t think that with a little time and effort I could provide a list of Trump critics who have legitimate reason to fear another presidency from a man who openly promises personal revenge?
And by the way, what generally law-abiding people can you name that have legitimate–not hyperbolic or hysterical–fear of the Biden administration?
You repeatedly fail to acknowledge that the Establishment is very far from the excusive property of the Left. We hear more and more fevered claims about ideological capture, with panicked people on the Right believing (or pretending) that the FBI, CIA, Church Hierarchy and financial institutions are all part of some Frankenstein’s monster of the Left, along with Academia and the MSM (those I concede, with notable exceptions in Fox news and AM radio). What’s the next claim from head-on-fire populists (that’s not directed at you): a Manchurian Supreme Court?
Nice rhetorical flourish in your concluding sentence!
*the “watchful eye” of the Biden administration

T Bone
T Bone
19 days ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

I get what you’re doing and I respect much of it.  You’re taking a contrarian hammer to what you see as an evolving train of right-wing groupthink. 

I’ve never claimed the Establishment is the exclusive property of the Left. I’ve only claimed the Left is presently driving the ship after a 60 year struggle.   Where we clearly disagree is the scope of the capture.  I think that every major institution in not only America…but the entire West has been captured by Critical Social Justice.  As I noted before we’re also talking about a huge percentage of Churches.

I don’t see “Wokeness” as some idiotic, whiny mentality spread by campus nihilists. The ground activists are nothing but a Red Guard.  Critical Social Justice is a vast, well-documented series of academic theories for Counter-Hegemony organized by extremely intelligent Secular Vanguard (similar to Lenin) to tear apart the foundation of Western Civilization and create a new paradigm. Its a “totalizing force” and the Vanguard has the ear of the Establishment.

It’s using stochastic methods like DEI to effectuate capture.  DEI is not fundamentally about race or identity, its a probabilistic framework for installing ideologues.  By making DEI and the social justice framework a prerequisite for corporate and government positions and selecting “diverse” members from “marginalized” groups, the theory is that over time a new ideological paradigm of activism will form.  Those who contest the program will be out the door (inclusion through exclusion) and only those who live the framework and help reproduce the ideology are allowed to stay.This is not an ideology of fairness or impartiality.  It’s an ideology that forces compliance and actively excludes or punishes all others that don’t conform.

Like my buddy, you seem to think CSJ (Wokeness) is no more prevalent or harmful than say MTG. They’re all just fringe idiots and nothing further needs to be said. While I completely appreciate why you’re against MTG, MTG does not have a socio-economic theory for reimagining society.  Nor does she actively despise the country she represents.  There are PROMINENT members of the Left that openly despise everything that America has historically stood for.  Marxism is incompatible with our form of government and Critical Social Justice is clearly an adapted form of Marxism.  So to clarify- yes I do have concerns, because I don’t think our system is currently governed by people committed to impartial justice.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
19 days ago
Reply to  T Bone

I agree with your concluding sentence and even much of your framing, including your boiled-down but fair enough characterization of my typical intent on a comment board like this one.
I would only return that I don’t trust either side of the aisle to deliver impartial justice right now, nor do I find impartiality to be the norm throughout American history, far from it–whatever the shifting level and direction of the bias that tends to prevail. I’m not saying that’s fine and dandy, but I do not trust that smashing and burning the system will likely lead to a net improvement. Things can get far worse–with violent threats from either side of the horseshoe.
And hatred of America as it really is–instead of how it seemed to be in 1960 or (in very extreme but not so rare cases) 1860–is a spreading disease on the Right. In my lifetime, I’ve not heard such hatred of fellow Americans and America itself from both entrenched sides of our divided union.

T Bone
T Bone
18 days ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

I really don’t think the social breakdown in America is all that unique. It appears to be the norm across the globe. Which begs the real question here- why is a singular adaptable “secular” ideology about “equality, inclusivity, liberation, resilience, sustainability and restorative justice” present in such a high percentage of social resistance movements throughout the world if its being facilitated by the have nots? Are we to believe it’s just a “grass roots movement” of righteous democratic citizens?

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
19 days ago

“there’s anything that benefits men, the likes of Bragg will declare it to be feminist.”
“Men on the Left rarely prioritise women’s issues, and we are expected to dance to their tune in order to be deemed acceptable.”
Whether true or not, what’s also hilarious about these lines is the extent of projection.

The whole idea of feminism is “anything that benefits women”, even if it treats men unfairly or unequally or relies on imaginary complaints.
And of course, rarely, in fact never prioritise men’s issues. Bias against fathers in family courts, bias against boys in schools, male suicides or concentration in dangerous occupations?
Couldn’t care less, just as the suffragettes were utterly unconcerned for male soldiers in the trenches during WW1.

jane baker
jane baker
19 days ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

Yes,Emmeline and Christabel had made a Devils Pact with Lloyd George and the subsequent granting of the vote was not for blowing up post boxes,it was paid for in blood.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
19 days ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

Here you go again, beginning with a reductive claim about the “whole idea of feminism”, according to its worst aspects and proponents. That’s actually a pretty good contender for upvotes BTL of this kind of article here. But then you pivot to an insane calumny against all suffragettes, some of whom had husbands fighting in those trenches.
I wonder what year you’d long to return to, since anytime post-suffrage seems too late in Western history for your liking. To repeat a question you left unanswered on another comment board, perhaps a year ago: Are you against women having the right to vote?

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
19 days ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

“Are you against women having the right to vote?”
Everyone should have the right to vote.
Difference is, working class men had to die by the millions to get the vote.
Indians and other colonial subjects had to suffer great tragedies and tortures to get the vote.
Upper class women got it served to them on a plate.

Only one of these groups is incapable of shutting up about it till this day, though.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
19 days ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

Thanks for the clarification. I genuinely wasn’t sure. At times I wish I could shut up about ten percent of nearly every demographic. But for many good reasons I don’t get to make that selection, and it’s obvious to me that I’d be on some people’s “fit to be silenced” list myself.
I get your rough point about the privilege and insulation of the average suffragette. Still: Were they among the biggest Great War hawks? How many of “their own kind” should suffer “great tragedies and tortures” before a given group is deemed worthy of enfranchisement?

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
19 days ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

Their own kind aren’t suffering great tragedies, except in their mind.
Their own kind aren’t dying in wars or mines, aren’t being treated as second class parents in family courts, aren’t being shunted aside in schools, or constituting the majority of homelessness or suicides.

Q T
Q T
17 days ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

Indeed. And those who do speak the truth on these matters are generally shouted down and derided as weak, by the very same type of women who blame male suicide statistics on men, ‘for not expressing their feelings’ (oddly enough, often after a man did just that). A more spiteful take could hardly be imagined.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
19 days ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

“reductive claim about the “whole idea of feminism”, according to its worst aspects and proponents.”
Firstly, it’s not its “worst” aspects, it’s the core of feminism – anything that benefits women, never prioritise men’s issues.
Which is ironic considering the article, which basically maligns ALL men according to it’s “worst”.

Ironic that someone BTL supporting the author does precisely the same thing – projection.
Makes you wonder.

“insane calumny against all suffragettes”
Many of whom were horrible enough to be involved with white feather, while just about none of them asked for fighting in the trenches themselves, or fought for voting rights for working class men (or working class women for that matter).

A J
A J
19 days ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

Given that men are rarely women’s rights activists, why do you expect women to be men’s rights activists? This is precisely where liberal feminism has gone wrong, by trying to take on every injustice, every inequality, and in doing so, has ended up shilling for trans-identified men.
There is nothing wrong with choosing a specific cause and focusing on that. In my case, I chose to focus on people losing their jobs for saying there are only two sexes, or for refusing to use incorrect pronouns.

What is the focus of your activism?

(Btw, plenty of middle class women became ambulance drivers and nurses during both World wars, at home and behind the front line. They did all that they were allowed to do.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
19 days ago
Reply to  A J

“where liberal feminism has gone wrong, by trying to take on every injustice, every inequality”
Funny how few of them have taken on the inequality of mostly men doing conscription or dangerous jobs, the inequality of family courts or school teachers…

“men are rarely women’s rights activists”
Men are not “rights activists” by nature.
They merely build infrastructure, put in place and enforce laws, invent technology that, among other things, have hugely benefitted women.

You will rarely find men trying to advocate laws or policies that benefit men and are biased against women.
That’s the difference.

“They did all that they were allowed to do.”
Bs.
They did primarily “safe” roles or stayed safely at home, and left the dying to the men.
While demanding equal rights and votes.
I guess when are not being “allowed” to fight in Ukraine as well?

Q T
Q T
17 days ago
Reply to  A J

“Given that men are rarely women’s rights activists, why do you expect women to be men’s rights activists?”
Given that women are rarely men’s rights activists, why do you expect men to be women’s rights activists? 
Or maybe people should stop fighting and try to get along?

David Morley
David Morley
15 days ago
Reply to  Q T

Actually there are quite a few women who advocate for men’s rights. Just not inside the feminist movement.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
19 days ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

Man you really need to examine the projector in your own hands.

Q T
Q T
17 days ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

What he says is true. Maybe you need to examine the projector in your own hands.

David Morley
David Morley
15 days ago
Reply to  Q T

Is that a projector? I thought he was just glad to see JB.

Q T
Q T
17 days ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

Well exactly. Feminism is for women, an inherently exclusive and selfish club. Therefore why should men support it? Be MY ally, if you want me to be yours.

Point of Information
Point of Information
19 days ago

“Suggesting that silly women who object to men in women’s changing rooms, hospital wards and prisons have joined forces with the hard-Right is ludicrous”.

Bindel’s take on a certain type of Marxist male is spot-on and hilarious.

But…

Objecting to men in “women’s spaces” infantilises women. Toilets have not historically had a chromasome test on the door – anyone can use either toilet in an emergency, and, in the worst case, rapists have always been able to get in – they don’t need to be trans or have a gender recognition certificate to do so.

Changing rooms at all the council-run leisure centres/swimming pools/gyms that I’ve used in the past decade are mixed sex. Before this, rapists could get into single sex changing rooms as with toilets above. Same with hospital wards.

If anything, using a mixed sex space feels safer – if you’ve ever been to a popular family swimming pool in North Kent, where the men tend to be somewhat large and tattooed, with wearing-make-up-in-the-pool girlfriends and migraine-loud kids, I wouldn’t want to imagine what they’d do to a sex offender, but I doubt the police would get there in time to make an arrest.

Because, while the majority of sex crimes are committed by men, the majority of men don’t commit them – and are in fact fiercely opposed, especially if they perceive their family or friends may be at risk.

The majority of women don’t need safe spaces all the time (and if we did, we’ve not had these in the past, long before the trans debate) – these are needed for a few women who are at risk of immediate violence, for (if the perpetrator is quickly and appropriately dealt with) a short section of their lives. Ordinarily, men and women collaborate as part of a community and/or family, to keep watch, report and – if law enforcement is absent – punish.

Jenny Caneen
Jenny Caneen
19 days ago

Are you aware of the harassment and violence women experienced after entering the work force but before women’s restrooms became the norm? Ever heard of the “urine leash”? Have any idea if the number of women who have been victims of male crime and become very frightened when we see them in spaces meant for our privacy and security? We always have to ask “what is he after?!? Are you aware of how vulnerable we are in toilets?? Before the present situation, shame was an excellent social device that limited all sorts of unsocial behavior. Shame absolutely discouraged males in women-only spaces. If I saw a man in a woman’s toilet I could challenge him and/ or ask a manager type to evict him. Police might even be involved depending on what behavior said man was exhibiting. If I see a man today, undressing in a woman’s changing room, and I verbally object, I’ve no guarantee of any support to my objection, and I may even be legally charged with a hate crime!

Point of Information
Point of Information
18 days ago
Reply to  Jenny Caneen

Jenny, when I started working in the construction industry, I shared a bucket to pee in with my male colleagues. When a body building sexist apprentice hurt his back I drove him to the hospital and made sure he was ok. I’ve shared hotel rooms with male colleagues and slept on the sofa undisturbed. I’ve walked the Pennine Way alone and chatted with male walkers at least one of whom I thought was having a breakdown – I walked with him as far as the next settlement where he could make a call and then went my own way.

I have also experienced physical assault from a partner (cracked ribs from being kicked) and a boss at uni (all the skin off my back from being dragged along carpet after I made a fuss about repeated non-payment of wages).

I dispute the word salad that accompanies transactivism and many of its pieties, but dangerous men pre-existed the trans movement and they are the minority. (Men who hurt other men commit more violence).

I’m not aware how vulnerable we are in women’s toilets, I would guess we’re about as vulnerable as anywhere else in public, but perhaps you can provide the statistic to which you refer.

Maybe you are extremely beautiful whereas I have only ever been ordinary looking at best so (perhaps, views are divided on this point) I have less reason to fear, but, without any trolling, I do urge you to be braver. We have, as women, so many burdens, from lower incomes to childcare and elderly care, if you drop some of the fear you are carrying you will lighten your load. Not only that but you will help to create a more open and trusting society for yourself, your daughters and all other women and men.

And to AJ, I have posted elsewhere that people – men, women, any other group – should be able to gather as they choose, without externally imposed open door policies – this is a basic principal of Freedom of Association and should apply to everyone equally and not be a special privilege for women. How this applies: women’s support groups should be able to choose whether to admit trans women or not, one group may choose to, another may not, it should be down to individual members not government fiat.

A J
A J
19 days ago

Quite a lot of women want women’s only spaces. Why shouldn’t we have them? Why shouldn’t lesbians convene a meeting and exclude men? Why shouldn’t women with endometriosis convene a meeting and exclude men? Or women who can’t get pregnant? Men are demanding the right of entry to all these types of groups, as well as rape survivor support groups. Are you saying that’s ok? That women should discuss very private matters with a hulking bloke in a dress present?

Q T
Q T
17 days ago
Reply to  A J

Welcome to our world. Women have successive invaded and denied men’s space for a long time. The current paradigm is that women have to be inserted into everything regardless of whether it makes sense, and it’s a major trend to take male acting roles away and give them to women. Men are expected to celebrate and encourage this.

David Morley
David Morley
18 days ago

Not sure why such a sensible comment is getting so many downvotes.

Catherine Conroy
Catherine Conroy
19 days ago

Yes to all the points. Bragg is yet another self-righteous lefty who refuses to recognise he’s a typical misogynist. Hope not Hate, my butt!
The weird thing about the trans activism obsceninity is that it has made me look at right-of-centre politics with a less jaundiced eye. At one time I would take on faith any bad press about the Tories, Republicans, etc and now I’ve started to take it all with a pinch of salt. It was hard at first to find myself on the side of people I’d historically rejected on ideological grounds. People such as Viktor Orban.
As an aside, it’s interesting how Democrats decried democratically elected Orban’s visit to Trump earlier this year, calling Orban a fascist (what else), yet not batting an eyelid when unelected communist autocrat Xi Jinping visited California.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
19 days ago

Visiting a state versus being hosted at a private residence: a one-to-one comparison?
Curious that Trump is a vocal fan of Xi, Vlad, and Viktor–I don’t think main attraction is political, at least in the left-or-right sense.

Peter B
Peter B
19 days ago

Well, my comment’s disappeared (after being published). Let’s have another go then.
In UnHerd really the right place for Julie Bindel to pursue her private grudge (vendetta ?) against Billy Bragg ?

Mark Cornish
Mark Cornish
19 days ago
Reply to  Peter B

You have proved her point beautifully Peter. Well done.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
19 days ago
Reply to  Mark Cornish

She doesn’t have a “point” to of ve dear, dear.
She is merely a bitter, misandrist woman blaming men for something women are responsible for, while spewing hate against certain random individuals.

The fact that she has a private grudge against this Bragg chap is something I didn’t know, but beautifully explains the article and puts it in perspective.

Peter B
Peter B
19 days ago
Reply to  Mark Cornish

Sorry, I have no idea what your point is.
Please do let me know what I’m missing.
She’s apparently engaged in a long-standing private feud with Billy Bragg. They’re both apparently “feminists” (a very loosely defined term) and both “on the left”. I’m neither. I’m no part of this petty dispute (which one suspects is as much personal as doctrinal). And have no opinion to give here other than it’s a private matter and they should take it outside.
If I want to read gossip, I’ll pick up a copy of “Hello” or “OK”. Or watch “Real Housewives of Cheshire” (which I sometimes do) – i.e. go direct for the real thing. Not in UnHerd please.

Lancashire Lad
Lancashire Lad
19 days ago
Reply to  Peter B

If it was “taken outside”, i suspect Julie would beat six shades of s**t out of Billy. The rights she’d win as a result would, of course, be Bragging Rights.

Mark Cornish
Mark Cornish
14 days ago
Reply to  Lancashire Lad

I see what you did there!

David Morley
David Morley
18 days ago
Reply to  Peter B

I suspect that by this stage Bragg might be simply winding her up for laughs.

Mark Cornish
Mark Cornish
14 days ago
Reply to  David Morley

Trampling all over women’s rights is a ‘laugh’ is it? If that’s true, it just shows what a despicable individual he is.

David Morley
David Morley
18 days ago
Reply to  Peter B

I thought your original point was completely obvious. It worries me deeply that people cannot read an author psychologically in a case as blatantly obvious as this. How can you possibly get downvotes (Samir too) for pointing out motivations which should be completely obvious to everyone.

Thank goodness the issue really is this trivial!

Peter B
Peter B
18 days ago
Reply to  David Morley

It’s almost as if there’s some sort of tribal pile-on going on here with Billy Bragg as the designated victim. As long as he’s being branded “wrong”, everyone can agree and anything can be justified. This is really no different from identity politics. I really don’t get it. Most people here are better than that.
Still no reply on what “point” of Julie Bindel’s it is I’ve apparently “proved” !

David Morley
David Morley
18 days ago
Reply to  Peter B

I’m afraid these piling on tactics were typical of second wave feminism, have been carried on to later waves, and of course are used by trans and other activists too. They were at the heart of political correctness and ditto with woke.

Someone blows the whistle and the attack dogs pile in. As you say we shouldn’t be seeing this on Unherd. Also pretty mean to pick out one person for attack.

Mark Cornish
Mark Cornish
14 days ago
Reply to  David Morley

Of course one should question the individual and make them take responsibility for the things that they say. The problem is that people like Bragg hide in their group identity and take no personal responsibility for the things they say.

Q T
Q T
17 days ago
Reply to  Peter B

It IS identity politics.

Mark Cornish
Mark Cornish
14 days ago
Reply to  Peter B

Julie Bindell is a realist who sees the inherent danger in adhering to a group ideology which acts against women. She is more than happy, as I am, to be in bed with people who have political opinions that differ from mine in order to safeguard women. Politics is all about finding solutions which enable our society to run as well as possible, despite our differences. Identity politics in the antithesis of that as adherents to this ideology can never offer their own thoughts, opinions and ideas; they merely spout mantras.

Mark Cornish
Mark Cornish
14 days ago
Reply to  Peter B

The fact that you are so blasé and dismissive of important issues about safeguarding women, shows just how out of touch you are with reality.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
19 days ago

Would be interesting to know how many heterosexual men that insist ‘trans women are women’ would be willing to have a romantic/sexual relationship with a trans woman. A revealing test of their sincerity perhaps..

Daniel P
Daniel P
19 days ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

That made my stomach turn

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
19 days ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

I rather suspect they’re deep into shemale p0rn.

David Morley
David Morley
18 days ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

heterosexual men that insist ‘trans women are women

Don’t know any of these, though I guess there must be some. Seems to be mainly a younger feminist thing. Lots of public figures have been scared to stick their necks out of course for fear of attack. But I guess that will change post Cass.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
18 days ago
Reply to  David Morley

Was assuming Billy Bragg is heterosexual. Daniel Radcliffe and Eddie Redmayne also.. Maybe it’s just public figures..

Dengie Dave
Dengie Dave
19 days ago

Lovely tight, concise and clearly argued article by Julie Bindel. Andrea Dworkin’s pithy phrase – “To Right-wing men, we are private property. To Left-wing men, we are public property” – says it in a nutshell.

Q T
Q T
17 days ago
Reply to  Dengie Dave

Deeply bigoted, poorly reasoned and laughably unsupported article.
How many women in Western societies, do you believe then, are considered property of any kind? And pray tell which century you dwell in?

David Morley
David Morley
15 days ago
Reply to  Dengie Dave

says it in a nutshell

Do you mean “says it in a nuthouse?”

Skink
Skink
19 days ago

I appreciate this article. But Julie… shouldn’t we stop being fixated on men and “their betrayal” and start paying the most attention to us women, and sisterhood? Women have done plenty of betraying of our sisters because they did not hold the approved opinions.
Haranguing men has gotten old… there is plenty of work to be done among ourselves.

David Morley
David Morley
18 days ago
Reply to  Skink

We all know that men aren’t perfect, but in many ways they have got better, if at the cost of some toughness and resilience. Not perfect, but better.

Not sure we can say the same of women. They seem more entitled and self centred, self, rather than family oriented, vain, obsessed with appearance and status, many of them use Botox and plastic surgery – on top of which they are having a mental health crisis! Some, quite honestly, are like overgrown children.

OK – it’s a generalisation and there are still lots of lovely, worthwhile people out there – but surely something has gone badly amiss with female culture.

Skink
Skink
18 days ago
Reply to  David Morley

Yep. Feminism took a bad turn. Away from sisterhood, into strident ideology. And pushing women into careers and public life has not been an overall positive development either.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
17 days ago
Reply to  David Morley

You must have been watching Love Island..
Perhaps we need better role models for young women.

David Morley
David Morley
15 days ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

It’s not just the young. Every mall now has its Botox joint. As to role models, anything from stay at home mothers to Marie Curie would be good. Just not air heads.

A J
A J
19 days ago

Brava! Excellent points, eloquently made. I hope he squirms, but I doubt he’s capable of the necessary first stage; admitting he’s wrong.

R MS
R MS
19 days ago

Genuine Question.
Who did more to damage in terms of letting this madness take hold?
Lefty bros cosplaying radicalism and who betrayed they really didn’t think the rights of women and children are important in their activism?
Or the reasonable centrist dad types running lots of business and institutions with their impeccably moderate views, but did nothing at all to stop this madness taking over their institutions …. because they throught this was a ‘women’s issue’ and therefore either unimportant, not something they should get involved in, not something they would get their hands dirty with.
I can argue this either way.
I do think the latter category get off too lightly. They didn’t believe in the mad ideology. But the problem is it turned out they did not believe in anything much, and in particular not much in the real traditional liberal values of free speech and universal equal political rights for everyone per Orwell/Berlin/Popper/Mill/Hitchens et al.
Where the principles of the open society should have been which should have made them step up and protect the victimisation of women and children by this evil, it turns out there was just a vacuum.

John Galt Was Correct
John Galt Was Correct
17 days ago
Reply to  R MS

The reasonable centrist Dad types know full well from 60 years of feminism that whatever they say or do, it will be turned around at them. So they stay the hell out. It’s the only rational and sane response.

Q T
Q T
17 days ago
Reply to  R MS

I think you’ll find the truth is actually that most people really don’t want to get involved in it at all. And a very large amount of the people that have gone along with it in some way did so out of self-preservation and fear of attack.
Most people actually don’t give a toss as to the question, ‘what is a woman’. And given how much energy women have spent attacking men and blaming them for anything they are unhappy about rather than cherishing all the good that men have brought to them, can you objectively expect them to get involved in fights between women and people claiming to be women? Most people don’t want anything to do with it at all. The problem is that extremists find it next to impossible to believe this, and instead employ the tactic, “if you’re not with me, you’re against me”.

David Morley
David Morley
15 days ago
Reply to  Q T

And given how much energy women have spent attacking men and blaming them for anything they are unhappy about 

Perhaps feminists rather than women, though when feminists sneeze womanhood catches a cold. The two most amazing things about this are 1. Having the nerve to expect the men they have spewed hate against to come to their aid 2. That some of the men actually fall for it.

Mike MacCormack
Mike MacCormack
19 days ago

Surely feminism is a branch of humanism, reflecting all our worst and best instincts? The most serious difficulties for women arise not just because men are aggressively inquisitive, demanding and would-be commanding, possessive and stubborn and physically demonstrative, though they are of course all those things. Which is tiresome unless those qualities are applied in the interests of that man’s (careful now) partner and their offspring. Just watch how quickly a man gets the shove if he fails to be a ‘winner’ in any important way. The biggest irony of 21st century feminism is that women appear to approve a ‘real man’ for themselves as long as he’s carefully respectful, yet fear or despise any ‘real’ man who they don’t fancy as a potential partner – so we end up with ‘me too’ demanding that men are brought to book, by other men!

Gordon Arta
Gordon Arta
19 days ago

The category error here is to think that Bragg understands anything.

Thomas Donald
Thomas Donald
19 days ago

“Feminists — all women — have been deeply and profoundly betrayed by Left-wing men“.
Great piece. (Said as a mostly Left-wing man, too.)

Q T
Q T
17 days ago
Reply to  Thomas Donald

Depends what you think, “a Left-wing man” is. The real issue here is the notion that you can reduce complex and diverse political beliefs into a fixed palette that must be worn like a uniform whether you like it or not.
I’d say I was oldschool Left in believing in reducing economic inequality, but I’m not supportive of the trans lobby at all. Nor do I particularly support feminism, past the concept that men and women are equal (I do treat women as I treat men. They sometimes hate that but it’s what they said they wanted).
Diversity, yes! Diversity of thought.

Micah Dembo
Micah Dembo
19 days ago

Men fight over women, at least they fight over “some” young pretty ones. This is simple biological programming that one can easily observe in related species of mammals: starting with chimpanzee or Gorilla, and other primates, and continuing through the felines ( cat fights are famous): canines ( same for dog fights), bovines ( bull fights) and so with, all known species of pig, horse, goat, sheep, camel, elephant, rodent, and so on and on. So the programming of male mammals is pretty simple, is is to grab and impregnate as many females of the cognate species as possible. This program is somewhat modified in humans, by a thin varnish of cultural conditioning usually instilled during early childhood. This is done by parents, especially mothers, who attempt to teach their sons to exercise bit of restraint and moral duty of protection and support towards their sexual partners and resulting children. On the one hand, since all men are usually available and willing for secret affairs, women hold the editorial power to choose between them. On the other hand, the man they chose has to be strong enough to perform the protective role. Thus their is a constant battle of the. Sexes, in which each plays to maximize their reproductive success.

Samantha Stevens
Samantha Stevens
19 days ago

Amen Julie Bindel! You are my hero!!!

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
19 days ago

It was illuminating to me to hear Julie Bindel call herself of the “left”, whatever that term means nowadays. I say “illuminating” because normally when I hear the term Islamic Republic of Iran, she immediately comes to mind as one of its apologists – a country therefore which is most definitely on the very extreme right. In any case in the real world in which I live one cannot actually place pro- or anti- trans or even pro- or -anti abortion definitively on the right or left of the political spectrum. Last week I discussed the trans issue with a woman I know. She ended the conversation and walked out on discovering that I was doubtful about whether it was possible or logical to assign a man with all of his bits as belonging to the female gender.

Fafa Fafa
Fafa Fafa
18 days ago

I feel a lot of sympathy towards TERFs because of the hard times they are facing. They are a minority within a minority (RFs), which themselves may be a minority among general feminists – then again I really don’t know what is radical about a RF, i.e. how a RF is different from a plain F. 

Be there as it may, TERFs, if I understand the situation correctly, find themselves in a strange bind, in that, politically speaking, they now seem to be “on the right”. If it is true, it is only due to the fact that the landscape has shifted so far to the “left”, that TERFs now find themselves on the “right”. I’m not sure if that’s how they see themselves but that is how it seems to me, looking in from the outside. To me this explains the vitriol they get from the non-TE-RFs, the trans people themselves, and from the pajama boys (“men on the left”) eager to kiss their asses.

Having come to find themselves in that position, they seem to be multiply disadvantaged. As radical feminists, and I’m not sure if they see if there’s a problem or not but, a large segment of society is looking at them with some suspicion (the term “feminist” does not suggest “equalist” but an adversarial tone); at the same time they are also ostracized within the RF community. I have read, mostly from people on the right, manifestations of schadenfreude towards their plight, “ha-ha, the revolution eats its own!”, etc, – which I don’t share, BTW

I’d like to posit that TERFs do not necessarily have to go alone. Beside the famous and the powerful (the Trumps, the Orbans Bindel appeals to), there is a fairly large segment of the general society that is supportive, and this segment of society I call “the guys”.

What is a “guy”? A “guy” is a mainstream sort of male, exclusively heterosexual, psychologically a little bit clueless, may be a little bit sexist, seeks out companionship with other guys and chooses to do guy-type activities with them, like fishing or telling dirty jokes, who put his woman a little bit a pedestal while at the same time doesn’t mind if breakfast is on the table in the morning, but he will be the one climbing under the sink to fix the leaking siphon or dig the ditch in the backyard.

A “guy” is generally not an observant feminist, and “the guys” are an unorganized, amorphous mass. But a “guy” will never accept a male to simply turn into a woman, will find men in drag to be both distasteful and disrespectful towards women, will find men competing agains women in sports to be unacceptable and patently unfair, and would never seriously date (or marry!) a “transwoman”. So “guys” are – and this is the key idea here – by-and-large, also completely trans-exclusionary – even if not from well-reasoned philosophical considerations, but from something I quickly named biologically based instinct, maybe someone has a better name for it. (I hear the objections, and yes, they may watch “shemale” porn but only because it would be “kinky”)

I’m not sure what “guys” can do to help TERFs, I’m also not sure if radical feminists would even accept help/support from “guys” but maybe they should realize that they do not have to be “guy-exclusionary”.

A D Kent
A D Kent
18 days ago

Bragg is more a Centrist Dad these days and hasn’t put out a good album since ‘Don’t Try This At Home’, but I think the final paragraph here is a touch over the top – I really can’t see him endorsing “The only position for women in the movement is ‘prone’.” But then I’ve not followed anything at all from him since he lost it over Brexit.

David Morley
David Morley
18 days ago

Men on the Left rarely prioritise women’s issues, and we are expected to dance to their tune in order to be deemed acceptable.

Honestly, on what planet? Feminism has been a left wing obsession for decades, at the expense of broader issues around social class and inequality. It’s been central to identity politics. Where women have been neglected, it has been poorer women neglected in favour of women who are rich and successful (but apparently not as successful as men of their social class).

And where left wing men fail to dance to the feminist tune, they get attacked or cancelled. Basically they have learned to toe the line. Not surprising if men of Billy Braggs generation are sick to death of feminist bullying and are happy to see the tables turned a bit. Watch out though Billy – it looks like the trans issue has been put to bed – so you’ll be back in the sights again soon if you don’t go quietly.

David Morley
David Morley
18 days ago

Rule number one for any JB article – scroll to the bottom for the comments worth reading!

Carol Hayden
Carol Hayden
18 days ago

Billy Bragg is just another progressive misogynist. Depressing but unsurprising. Self righteous men on the left are sickening in their indifference to women’s rights. Rights that David Lammy thinks we shouldn’t’hoard’. Substitute any other group in relation to rights and see how accusing them of hoarding them looks.