UnHerd Live: Where does feminism go next?
Julie Bindel, Hadley Freeman and Mary Harrington discuss what's next for women's liberation
It wasn’t long ago that feminism was a united movement resisting the patriarchal systems of old. Now, disputes between factions of feminists take up as much time as the fight for women’s liberation.
To dig a little deeper into the schisms of the various waves of feminism and offer a few common sense solutions, UnHerd invited activist and author Julie Bindel and columnists Hadley Freeman and Mary Harrington to an evening at the Art Workers’ Guild.
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The panel, chaired by UnHerd Editor Sally Chatterton, discussed their alliances and conflicts on the subjects of gender identity, sex work, surrogacy, motherhood and sexuality.
In our divided times, where does feminism go next?
I enjoyed this discussion – it was almost all reasonable, persuasive, logical and very intelligent commentary about women and their relationship to men.
I also found Julie far more likeable in person than she is in print, though I do wish she wouldn’t use such divisive language in relation to men – as she said, language is hugely important. That said, she has had to tough her way through life. Maybe, just maybe she will see my comment, because it is an important point – not all men are the enemy!
Most men I know and are close to and have worked with, understand that women have had to fight for their place in society and support the road they have travelled. Equally the women they are involved with recognize the important role that men play and celebrate the differences between the sexes.
One has to be really ill-informed/and or biased to not recognize that women and womanhood are under threat from the trans lobby. Most thankfully I am surrounded by men who agree.
… not all men are the enemy!
Very gracious of you to say so.
Do I really have to spell it out? A male sexual offender is an example of the enemy.
Would someone please explain precisely how women and womenhood being under threat from the trans lobby is any different from men and manhood being under threat from the feminist lobby.
Sure, women fought to be more equal to men. Trans activists are looking to erase women. Hope that helps.
Thank you. Most enlightening.
The word ‘woman’ is disappearing from the dictionary.
Now you are just being silly.
Nope, hence new words being introduced like ‘birthing person’, ‘chest feeders’ instead of women. On and on it goes. You cannot make it up!
Don’t forget ‘front hole’ instead of ‘vagina’. Maybe we can call our mouths ‘big top hole’ to be even more egalitarian.
Afterthought : did you really mean “fought”? Is the fight over? Not what the women in my life say! (Yes, I asked them. Of course.)
Not they did not, feminists did and always have fought for special privileges and special treatment for women. Feminism widened ‘inequality’ further in the direction female privilege.
Firstly history is more about class than gender ,in the U.K. the right to vote came for the majority of men and women from the same bill of parliament in early 1918 introduced not because of feminists but in fact introduced to appease the troops returning from the First World War more than 90% of the dead men of the first world war did not have the right to vote the government of Lloyd George shit itself when it saw Russian troops go home and join the Bolshevik revolution of October 1917 so sought to appease British troops to avoid revolution here , one of those appeasements was the Representation of the people act that gave 8 million women and 5 million men the right to vote.
I could agree a lot with Julie Bindel and Mary Harrington especially Julies emphasis on class but I disagree with feminisms basic sexism and failure to engage with reality . All human societies are patriarchies but those Patriarchies are not created for the benefit of men they are in fact created by women and for the benefit of a class of men and women and this is not unique to humans either most primates and indeed mammals do it . Women select males to mate with and those males protect and provide for those women .
The patriarchy has men at the top women in the middle and men at the bottom and gender roles are not determined by choice at all but they are determined Mother Nature rules of survival that we in our decadence have forgotten the luxury we live in hugely distorts the actions of our ancestors when men married women in the past and women were there “property” that was a contract with society that had some short comings for women but also for men who were obliged to provide and protect women in a society where there were never enough resources to go around and malnutrition and starvation were the norm together with no easy phone all to the police when you wanted protection
Billions of men have died down the ages sacrificing their lives for the benefit of women . Whether being hacked to death with an axe or more commonly a wooden spike was the weapon of a peasant . Feminism portrays all men as kings or CEO ‘s which is grossly wrong , 99.9 % of women have not been CEO’s or Queens and 99.9 % of men have not been kings or CEO’s .
Furthermore males are to this day the overwhelming Victims of violence, with more than 99% of them experiencing violence as opposed to the female privilege only 60% . You don’t achieve anything telling me that men are the the majority of perpetrators yes they are but not the 95% you claim and fundamentally I have no more control over other men than you do and I am made of the same flesh and blood as you so am just as much a victim in fact there is a reasonable argument that women have more influence over other men then men do after all as you will know a man will promise anything for sex .
It is arguable that all the progress of human history is men seeking to impress women ! As the feminist Camille Paglia points out “ left to women we would still be living in caves “.
So the technology that has been developed by mostly men in the last 200 years has afforded us the chance to escape our gender roles by the removal of toil and invention of birth control should be celebrated instead we have the worlds biggest hate movement feminism mis portraying the past as men oppressed women that’s rubbish nature oppressed both men and women and if we fail to recognise that in 2022 we will loose our social cohesion and go back to those gender roles as our technology for all its cleverness is fragile .
So it’s about time the decadent feminists got real and recognised that human progress required and still does require men to make it work and we have a mutual interest in it together!
Let me quote the suffragette Emmilene Pankhurst from over 100 years ago she understood it modern women have forgotten it – “ we have to free half of the human race , the women, so that they can help free the other half “ what do you think is that other half ? Emmeline Pankhurst understood that men and boys were the oppressed !
Yes women had it hard child mortality and deaths in child birth but if I take a cell out of any human body and look at the DNA I will find every time that 74% of all the women that have ever lived reproduced but only 34 % of all the men that have ever lived reproduced contrast that with the fact that the majority of human history is the fight to survive amongst scarcity . Then you can clearly see that the currency of biology calories went in the lions share to women !
I do not blame women for this , nor do I hate them it is clearly nature’s design but we are amongst the first life forms on the planet to have the luxury position of being able to produce resources to escape the roles nature made for us so feminists do not squander it stop blaming men !
Men make up 99%of combat deaths , 99% of torture victims , today 78% of murder victims , today 97% of workplace deaths and 88% of the homeless and 88% the victims of all violence and 40% of domestic violence as well as the majority of rape victims .
Cut the devicesive privilege bullshit and help humanity become the first species in the history of carbon based life forms to throw off the oppression of Mother Nature ! I bet my grandmother and her mother before were a lot stronger than you empowered feminists and for that matter many men of today stop insulting them with feminist devisive privilege rubbish they clearly respected their male partners in the fight for survival !While
I am being contentious! I will add that equal pay was achieved by the men and women of the Transport and General Workers Union going on strike together at Ford Dagenham and that did make it law to pay men and women to be paid the same for equal work . The current gender pay gap is not a pay gap it’s an earnings gap not men and women being paid differently for the same work , a medium average of an aggregate total does not give you individual pay !
My last observation is Karl Marx “You are determined by your relationship with the means of production “ that is the true marker for most people’s lives . To my adversaries I say this as Karl Marx noted society is made up of class and his advice to that class was “ Workers of the World unite and throw off your chains “ as noted before when men and women came into the equation on the right to vote they got it , when the men and women of the transport and general workers Union striked together for equal pay they got it ( single men used to be paid less than married men )
Intersectionality – putting people into groups determined by immutable characteristics and applying arbitrary subjective values to them is both racist and sexist identical to Benito Mussolini bunch of twigs with each twig representing a group of people, the Italian word for bunch of twigs being Fasci , discredited further by the hoax on Oxford university where chapter 12 of Mein Kampf was edited to replace Aryans with women and Jews with men then entitled a treatise on intersectionality and submitted to the feminists at Oxford university and duly peer reviewed and published !
perhaps I am unfair to feminists , most of my experience of feminism comes from the variety of feminism practiced in the corporate media which would not least surprise me is designed to set men and women against each other so the banking oligarchy can continue to cream it off for itself.
And sentences. Preferably fewer.
thanks Andrew Dalton, I have a lot of room for improvement!
Well I liked it, though I’m not sure about men being a majority of rape victims. Have you a reference for that?
This is a feature of the USA having arguably large prison population
Reynhard Sinagar the most prolithic rapist in British criminal history believed to have over 200 victims , convicted of 48 rapes largely unreported in British media due to victims being young men .
The feminist goal to destroy marriage has had some success in the last few years. I’d like to hear what the next big push is going to be in that area.
“We can’t destroy the inequities between men and women until we destroy marriage. ” — [Robin Morgan, “Sisterhood Is Powerful,” (ed), 1970, p. 537]
“Marriage has existed for the benefit of men; and has been a legally sanctioned method of control over women… We must work to destroy it. – The Declaration of Feminism , November 1971
I listened to Julie Bindel on Triggernometery today, fully expecting to disagree profoundly with her – yet I found myself nodding along in agreement with 99% of what she said. Having said that, I also agree a lot with the ex (or still?( Marxists on Spiked, so it just goes to show what a tipsy turvey Woke world we live in at the moment.
I heard a lot of talking, but not much being said. They seem to be speaking in some code they all understood, and if one was not fluent in current Left/Liberal/Female thinking it would almost be incoherent.
The parts about Feminism now being set on destruction of the family is merely that feminism has been captured from the 80s by the ‘Frankfurt School’ scheme to use identity politics, Intersectionality, ‘Critical Theory ‘(CT), and Neo-Marxism, to break the Western Middle class, and working class. Useful Idiots are the tool the Left has always used to destroy society, as Useful Idiots work from within, with the appearance of being a usual citizen.
We all remember Cicero going on about that:
““The enemy is within the gates; it is with our own luxury, our own folly, our own criminality that we have to contend.””
You never see Feminists carrying National flags in Pride, possibly in protest and Irony, as it is anti Patriotism. They do not praise the system which has given them everything, but rather despise it. The only meaningful thing in life, Love, they deride as a tool of their subjugation. They really are for nothing positive, but a very great things negative. Third Wave Feminism really is a pathology, like the one social pathology they can see – Militant Genderism, but they cannot recognize it in themselves, so deeply into our decadent society it is now lodged.
The Feminists complain the Trans lobby pushing in destructively, well a great quote of this is Matthew 7:3 KJV (all truth can be found somewhere in the Bible)
““And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?””
At the same time the power of women is understated; what about female violence? The media is enthralled to women and the retail industry focused on what works for them as well as manipulating them; we want to be beautiful & fit but we don’t want anyone to tell us, when it is usually women telling us.
I would argue that disdain for motherhood is also disdain for the kind of maternal care that takes place in hospitals, care homes, nurseries & schools, most of which is done by women. It legitimises low pay, long hours, toxic power imbalances in the work place and a dismissal of the really important work of caring & supporting young, weak, & those who need support to live their lives. It made it easy for government to dismiss 1000s of care workers on the basis of their vaccination status.
We need to work to elevate this truly significant function and give it the respect it deserves.
Agreed care work needs much higher value the boomer generation is going to find that good care comes at a price like anything else you get what you pay for !
Though to our deep shame we as a society have black mailed the care staff and to a lesser extent our nurses in that their very conscientious desire to provide care to our loved ones is taken for granted .We expect our carers and nurse will give up their time to perform the task at a humane level whilst we shame them if they consider using the strike method that the rest of us,have historically used to improve our working conditions.
We take advantage of their reluctance to compromise on care given with the result that many care services are in permanent crisis management due to minimum wage jobs that cannot be recruited to, resulting in chronically low staffed services that cut corners such as not allowing or even paying for travel time between clients. Then when our money skimping finally dehumanises them we call them abusers ! The British people should grow a pair and ignore the law that prohibits striking for others and go on strike for the people with the most onerous jobs of looking after our loved ones but having amongst the worst working conditions .
It was ok, but felt parochial and old fashioned – except MH who tried to take it in the wide-sweep-moment-in-history direction, but the they just didn’t go there any further. Pity, because that discussion would have been more interesting.
Just a wild thought………
If totalitarian movements need an ‘enemy’ (nazism and jews, communism and capitalists, etc.) is there a possibility that feminism, having foundered and fragmented on the rock of ‘the patriarchy’ (too big and too vague to be an understandable enemy) is looking to recruit a new enemy in the trans lobby so that it can unite against a less formidable foe?
. . . Miss Wisk’s mission . .was to show the world that woman’s mission was man’s mission; and that any genuine mission, of both man and woman, was to be always moving declaratory resolutions about things in general at public meetings. . . . Such a mean mission as the domestic mission, was the very last thing to be endured among them; indeed, Miss Wisk informed us, with great indignation . . . that the idea of woman’s mission lying chiefly in the narrow sphere of Home was an outrageous slander on the part of her Tyrant, Man.
Dickens, c. 1852.
Brilliant balanced panel – I think that one thing missing from the feminist conversation is the now very well hidden taboo subject of the monthly complication of periods. Blood on our sheets, the panic of blood spots on trousers and chairs, migraines, back and tummy pain, running out of supplies, hiding tampons in our sleeves, hormone imbalances, menopause, worrying about plastic and flushing tampons, lost cups, lost strings – why is this important? It creates instant shared understanding and solidarity between woman. Secondly, it’s important because those who make decisions to open up woman’s only safe spaces without actually considering the true monthly experience of woman are complete uneducated idiots but they will remain uneducated unless woman put their shame aside and say out loud what it’s like for a woman when she has her period. We have become too good at hiding it.
a brilliant discussion, thank you.
What are the aims of modern feminism? 100+ years ago it was the vote. Then it was equal pay. Both coherent and concise and both achieved. Now what?
Well Unherd Person, you got a like or two. Now get your giant foot off the back of my neck, because clearly that is where you would like it to be! Not so long ago I wouldn’t have been able to vote – maybe that is where you would have liked feminism to end?
Case in point on the delusion and victimhood.
Startling how easily Feminism has warped so many minds with complete nonsense.
I risk getting a few down-votes here, but worse things have happened to me.
There is no doubt in my mind that 1st and even 2nd generation feminism made many good points.
The problem was, that instead of advocating for equal rights and equal treatment, the movement degenerated into third wave feminism, which became an ever more trivial pursuit of advocacy and indentity politics, descending into the oblique bottomless pit of victim culture known as ‘intersectionality’.
This is 3rd wave feminism, and it is as ugly to behold as it is self-destructive – hence the current state of the debate.
But none of this is to detract from the legitimate causes early (and some modern) feminists proclaimed. No one would seriously contend that women’s right to vote should be contested. Their right to work on equal terms. Their rights to bodily integrity, etc…
I have a 21 year old daughter, currently studying law. I have always taught her she could do anything the boys could – and I abhor the very notion that she should be treated differently, sexually assaulted or looked down upon because she is a woman. I don’t think this approach is in any way helped by calling it ‘feminism’. I think ‘egalitarianism’ or simply ‘equal rights for all’ does the trick just fine.
And those old school ‘feminists’ who want to continue the struggle – look beyond your middle class Western bubbles: the developing world needs you to advocate for women, now more than ever.
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