Do NOT attempt to contact Laura or any other feminist. It is a waste of your time and no matter how polite you are they will find a way to view it as harassment. I only contacted Laura Bates in this instance to give her a right of reply as I knew I would be speaking about her work in public. I emailed her the below message in good time before the interview and my husband who is still friends with her on Facebook (she deleted me ages ago) also sent her a Fb message as a reminder. She has ignored both messages.
I do not follow Laura or normally read any of her books. I was made aware of claims in her new book which are wrong and so decided to speak up – I read her book in order to do that. I have been interviewed by @EyeisBloke on this topic, and the footage should be released in the next few weeks. Writing this email, reading her book and preparing for the interview took up a huge amount of time and this entire business has caused me significant emotional stress.
I will let everyone know when the interview is available.
Catherine from the year above you at John’s here. I hope you are doing well and am very sad to have to contact you in this way – I have always tried my best to talk about ideas rather than people in this debate and have no wish to make this personal regarding others or myself in any way.
However, material from your new book has been drawn to my attention which I know to be factually untrue, and which erases myself and other ethnic minority women not only from a discourse but from a physical space. I am sure that you would not want this to be the case and will be eager to correct your statements and feel that it would be cowardly for me to remain silent when the work of women who I know have overcome a huge amount of adversity is being denied recognition by an influential public figure with whom I was educated.
Your description of the 2018 Messages For Men mini conference was met with bemusement by the two women who organised it, whom I know well. In particular your claim that there were no women of colour present was bizarre, given that one of the organisers, Natoya is always visibly running the event from the tech area to the right of the stage and is half Jamaican. I myself come from an ethnic minority and always attend – however I usually arrive late as I like to put my children to bed first. Given that Natoya and Elizabeth (who delivered the introduction) always go out of their way to chat to any women who attend, and that you do not seem to be visible on any of the footage of the event they have concluded that the most probable explanation is that you attended the event for a short period of time, in all likelihood leaving just after the start of the first talk. I think some clarification on this would be greatly appreciated.
It is understandable that you may have been experiencing apprehension at the event. Cassie Jaye documents how disquieting it felt to have to question her worldview and how there were many moments when she could have chosen not to do this and I fully respect your choice not to engage directly with the community you were researching. However I do not believe that this justifies the manner in which you mischaracterised not only what was said in Elizabeth’s introduction, but the makeup of those present. I myself do not identify as an MRA as my personal objective is to work towards greater nuance in our cultural debates by counteracting what I view to be harmful ideological biases. However, my work in this area enables me to vouch that the UK MRA community is ethnically diverse, often features LGBT speakers and certainly centers female voices. Speeches given at ICMI conferences (held at the Excel) will confirm this, and can all be watched at your leisure. Please note that one of the main talking points at such conferences is always the disadvantages faced by black British males. I do not enjoy discussing people on the basis of their race, so please understand that I mention this only in response to claims you have made.
In your work you accuse the non-feminist community of fascism and terrorism. Women like Elizabeth, Natoya and myself do not agree on everything but built a communication network because we felt silenced, gaslit and pushed out of the conversation around gender and society – as such we have not spent time discussing anything remotely connected to fascist ideology, which we find repugnant. We are all mothers, and simply want our children to inherit a world where all humans receive respect and kindness irrespective of their race, sexuality or gender, stand equally before the law, and have equal educational and professional opportunities. We do not believe this will be possible if an ideology which seeks to re-racialise and gender all interactions is forced on our children in schools and on society via public institutions.
This does not make us fascists, and your insinuations have made me feel very unsafe – I am sure that you are aware that groups such as Antifa carry out violent attacks on people accused of some of the horrendous things you mention. While it is very easy to dehumanise people who disagree with you by pigeonholing them as straight, white men – not to mention associating them with parasitic worms – it is my hope to remind you that it is beneath a woman of your intelligence to conflate opposition to feminist ideology with hatred for women, and that 91% of British women (according to the Fawcett Society’s own statistics), in rejecting the feminist label seem to agree.
I would be happy to introduce you to Elizabeth and Natoya and am sure you would gladly take the time to understand their views so that you can correctly characterise their work.
I have also been asked to speak as a guest on a YouTube channel on behalf of the #GamerGate and #NotYourShield communities in response to comments made in your book. Like you I feel not only fear of repercussions for doing this but a huge weight of responsibility towards the many marginalised voices which have been excised from your narrative. If you have any comments as to why you saw fit not to include Not Your Shield in your discussion of GamerGate I will gladly discuss them in the interview which will probably take place in around a week’s time.