So a lot of people on Twitter have been asking me why I haven’t done a blog in over a year – well it’s partly because I’ve been super busy (I can just about manage 140 characters a day sometimes) but it’s also because I’m worried about attracting too much attention from our friends over at SocJus. They are scary; I have met up with people who have had their careers ruined, who have been threatened, who have had false allegations made against them, who have lost their jobs because of saying things these people don’t like. Sometimes I think maybe I should just stop being so paranoid. After all, these are people who claim to fight for the rights of everyone, who want equality, and who – especially – want the voices and opinions of women to be listened to, and respected. They abhor the violent and controlling ways of male dominated western patriarchy. It’s all about creating a safe space for a dialogue. Right?
So this morning, I wake up to news on my Twitter feed that someone has covered Lauren Southern (Libertarian, non-feminist journalist and YouTuber) in what may have been urine at a protest last night.
It seems that a group of activists were protesting at the planned venue of a speech in Vancouver which was not going to go ahead as the speaker had been barred from entering Canada. The following footage shows Lauren discussing issues of gender and feminism with some of the protesters present, who identify as feminists. There is strong disagreement, but at least there’s a conversation going on, and nobody is breaking the law. Someone pours a bottle of liquid over Lauren’s head and face. There is an altercation between the person who poured the fluid and someone defending Lauren (I think).
As Lauren leaves people can be seen sticking their fingers up at her and shouting things like ‘burn in hell bitch’. Some of them are loitering around in masks. These people are not afraid. These people do not care about a woman’s feelings, or her safety, or her consent. These people – who in a debate about misogyny would be happy to argue that the word ‘bitch’ is an insult that shames and oppresses all women – are not shy about shouting gender based insults at a woman, laughing at her when someone covers her in God knows what, and insulting her intelligence. Not everyone in the crowd behaved like this – of course not. But, unfortunately, this bullying, hostile and intimidating attitude is characteristic of so many of the activists who today claim to be coming from a position of powerlessness and oppression. For example, compare their behaviour to the people protesting at this speech. Screaming, making rude finger gestures and storming off. Do they look like people who have no rights? Do you think the people who made this speech before Christina Hoff Sommers spoke at Oberlin College really needed a ‘safe space’? Do you think they would have allowed someone from the other side of the argument to make a joke about ‘only biting people they don’t like’? And some of what happened to Maryam Namazie when she spoke at Goldsmiths was pure thuggery.
The fact that they treat women and LBGTQ people like this demonstrates that these people do not care about women. Or gay people. Or oppressed people. They care about one thing: their ideology. Being right. Just like the non-feminist community (of which I proudly consider myself to be a part) these people don’t care what gender or race you are. They admire people because they agree with their ideas. There’s nothing wrong with that. But what’s so galling about it is the hypocrisy; this is how Anil Dash (who only retweeted women for a year) treated me:
(I don’t think he really can have read my blog properly, since his first reply came back within a minute and the second after 14 minutes)
When a movement that claims to fight for womens’ right to make their voices heard can rejoice pouring a bottle of urine over a woman’s head, and delete her posts that are critical of feminism from Facebook, I think we can all see that it’s ideology they are committed to, not women.