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The women are getting liberated. And they’re doing it in secret in real life, but splashing it across social media. This is how it’s done, and it’s been effective. A meeting with fascinating, outspoken, fearless gender critical women is announced. Tickets are sold. The location of the talk is revealed only a few hours before, and to ticket holders only. The movement of gender critical women is a backlash against a trans ideology that rejects biological sex differences in favor of a gender based in feelings.
The latest gathering of gender critical feminists was at A Woman’s Place, in London, was reported on in the New Statesman by Helen Lewis, and began with the revealing of the secret location to ticket holders only. For her detailed reporting, she was bashed on social media as “full TERF” by BuzzFeed‘s Ryan Broderick.
Reactions like these, and the concerns over violent protests, are why groups like A Woman’s Place in the UK, and Women’s Liberation Front (WoLF) in the US, don’t broadcast the location of their gatherings. The goal of these events is not to make a media splash or stir up trouble, but to bring together women to talk about the ideas surrounding trans ideology and the reality of being female. This is what Lewis was discussing, and what Broderick, and his many minions on Twitter, were trying to shut down.
Debate is not welcome in the trans corners of the civil rights movement. Instead, blind adherence is what is demanded. Stepping outside the lines, asking tough questions about how exactly a man who says he’s a woman can be a lesbian, or how someone who is born male has actually been female all along, or what the word woman means if not adult human female, can get a woman cancelled from her job, her social groups, and her social media accounts blocked. It sounds dystopian, and we all know it is. Women who were born women and believe in the reality of their own bodies know, intrinsically, and on a basic, cellular level, that being female is not like being male, and that it is only the superficialities that are adjusted when a man or woman changes to present as the opposite sex, despite their claims that they have in fact always been that sex.
Women know that parsing gender and sex, claiming that the former is entirely a social construct and the latter irrelevant to identity, is a falsehood concocted so that people who claim to be women won’t feel left out. Women are great at making sure no one feels left out. It’s one of our best things, gathering, bringing everyone together, smiling, acquiescing, being accommodating, loving, and caring. It is only when women stand up for themselves that they are told off, cancelled, harassed by law enforcement. Gender critical women do nothing illegal when they proclaim that biological femaleness is the definition of woman, but because men want to define what women are, have always wanted to define what women are, and in fact demand it, women are shouted down about their own definitions and bodily autonomy.
Lewis’ account of the Woman’s Place meet up mirrors my own experience attending WoLF events in New York. The women who come to these events are desperate for camaraderie, acceptance from other women, and reassurance that they’re not crazy, that the ones who are nonsensical are the men who have hijacked the women’s movement in order to center their own experience in everything from the pregnancies and periods they’re not having to the dresses they can’t find in their size to redefining female anatomy as inclusive of something called “lady dick.”
For years, women like Megan Murphy, Posie Parker, Natasha Chart, and so many others have been doing the gender critical work of speaking out against this nonsense. For their trouble they have been harassed, sued, kicked off social media, unfunded, fired, deplatformed, and more. They have taken the hits while so many women, who disagree with the trans agenda, do not speak out of fear the same thing will happen to them. The trans lobby has successfully equated believing women are female with a belief that trans people don’t have the right to exist. This is, of course, entirely bats. Believing, rather, knowing that women are female, has absolutely nothing to do with trans existence.
Trans people exist. They have a right to exist. Everyone does. Every adult person ought to have the freedom of self expression, and under many nation’s founding documents, they do. Gender critical women do not debate this, for there is nothing to debate. Freedom of speech, in the form of press, expression, or religion, is a natural right. This natural right has nothing to do with biological reality, or the actual existence of female bodies.
Gender critical women were not always gender critical. They began as women who were comfortable being accommodating, caring, and compassionate. What happened, for each women who attends these conferences, lectures, meet-ups, or posts privately in secret online groups, or hides behind an anonymous twitter handles, is that they were confronted suddenly with the reality of the lies they were being asked to believe.
When a daughter comes home from school, so disgusted with her femaleness that she denies its existence, or when a man enters vulnerable woman’s spaces and claims them as his own, or when a woman is told that her innate femaleness gives her more privilege than a man whose innate femaleness is not apparent, or is told that she is a cis woman, the opposite of a trans woman, that even the definition of her body requires a prefix, or when she’s asked to state her pronouns just so others feel able to state theirs, or when she’s told she placed fifth in a track meet because two boys who wear their hair long and have superficially feminized their appearance came in first and second, or when she’s asked to not mention her vagina when talking about her sex, or her uterus when talking about her period, or her breasts when talking about nursing, or made to feel she’s bigoted when her lesbianism is centered only on natal women, she hits what is called peak trans, and loses her shit.
It is a moment, it is a light bulb, it is defiant, and it is scary. To know suddenly that you are out of step with the Women’s March, as well as your super inclusive, woke, progressive friends and colleagues, Planned Parenthood, the National Organization of Women, Thinx underwear, and the entire third wave of feminism, is a terrifying place to be. For women who were strictly leftists, they find that there is no where to turn. They reach out for like minded women, skeptical that they will be exposed if they miss their mark and reach out to the wrong person.
When I attended the first Women’s March in January 2017, my “pussy power” sign, where I’d painted the O in power to look like a pussy, felt transgressive, and I got some definite side eye for it. Pussy power was controversial at a women’s march, and soon the pink, pussy hats that so many women hand knit and wore for the occasion would be labeled non inclusive of the trans experience. Women caved, not mentioning that these hats shaped like cats were representative of their own experience of womanhood. Why? Because they didn’t want to be yelled at, belittled, or humiliated, and they definitely didn’t want to make anyone feel bad.
Helen Lewis’ piece in the New Statesman got some backlash on Twitter, primarily because of a woke, toxic Buzzfeed bro, and it will probably get some more before the whole thing blows over.
But the women have gathered, they will keep coming together, and the more they do, the more that they will know, for certain, that community, camaraderie, caring, compassion for each other, for women and women’s experience, is more important, more essential, than centering any male idea of what women are or what they should be.
The male ideation of femininity and womanhood is what our foremothers in feminism were fighting against. Today’s feminists, who buy into the concept of the TERF, call out gender critical women, and cancel them, have been undermined by male concepts of femaleness. What we can see in Lewis’ piece is that the gender critical women will not stop fighting for women’s liberation. But where it has been done in fear and secrecy, we are seeing the beginnings of exuberance in this fight. The work to reclaim women’s bodies is being undertaken with joy, which means the women are finally getting liberated.