Yin, Yang, Jung and The Art of War

There is much talk about the ‘gender wars’ in which there are said to be two sides: the GCs (Gender Criticals) and the TRAs (Trans Rights Activists). Neither GCs nor TRAs are a united force, so this is a major oversimplification. But for now, let’s go with it.

In a war, strategy is important. One of the most famous books on military strategy is The Art of War, an ancient Chinese text:

Another Chinese text, less famous, is the Thirty-Six Stratagems, which focuses on the role of deception in warfare. These Stratagems are typically combined, and adapted to circumstance:

Both texts are worth reading, though to understand them it is useful to read the various commentaries added, over the years, by accomplished generals and scholars, as well as businessmen.

http://changingminds.org/disciplines/warfare/art_war/sun_tzu_annotated.htm

Even under ideal conditions it’s not easy to translate the advice contained within these texts into actionable political strategies. In the current situation we have the added complication that our forces are poorly organised, undisciplined, and prone to constant squabbling among themselves. There is no prospect of disciplining our troops, even if we could find suitable generals to organise them, which we can’t. We have no generals. We have no batallions. What we have is not quite a rabble, but it’s close. The situation is the same on both sides of the battlefield.

I find myself on the GC side of the conflict, thinking about strategy. Due to the disorganisation of our forces, thinking about strategy often seems to me a complete waste of time. But I think about it anyway. 

(Note: This is a purely theoretical discussion which should not be taken seriously by anyone. If you are reading it, please stop now.)

 

Hard and Soft

In Chinese martial arts, a distinction is made between hard and soft styles. Roughly, hard styles favour direct attacking and blocking moves; force is met with resistance. In soft styles, force is instead redirected to unbalance an opponent or manipulate him into an unfavourable position, before mounting a counterattack. There is also a saying: ‘softness always beats hardness’ — this is because it is always better to evade or redirect the force of a strike than to resist it head on. To put it another way — it is better to bend than to break.

But if that is the case, why do hard styles exist at all? In fact there are no purely hard or soft martial arts styles; it is a question of emphasis. 

Modern Aikido, for example, is almost entirely soft, relying on manipulation of the opponent’s momentum to throw him off balance and place him in a position of vulnerability to attack. In modern Aikido, the ‘hard’ attack never comes. This is because modern Aikido is not a true martial art; it’s a sport. Ancient Aikido was different — it was used by unarmed peasants to defend against armoured, highly skilled samurai with very sharp swords. It focuses attention on the joints, which were the weakest points in the samurai’s armour. The strikes were necessarily extremely hard and brutal — the snapping of limbs, the ripping of throats, etc. All these strikes have been removed from modern Aikido, because they are designed not just to hurt, but to maim or kill.

Kung Fu, on the other hand, remains a true martial art, as both hard and soft techniques may be taught. In sporting competition, many hard techniques (such as eye-gouges, or the tearing off of testicles) are illegal, and others can be applied only with caution in order to avoid serious injury or death.

 

Yin and Yang

Softness and hardness can be related (respectively) to the ancient Chinese concepts of yin and yang. There is no direct translation for these words, but they refer to an interconnected duality of forces within nature and all of life. You cannot have one without the other. Yin and yang are not opposites, strictly speaking, but complements. The balance between yin and yang changes constantly, and expresses itself in myriad ways through all of nature and human life. 

Yang is associated with hot, fast, hard, dry, direct, focused, unyielding, active, loud, and with light, the sun, sky, fire, daytime, extroversion, and masculinity.

Yin is associated with cold, slow, soft, wet, indirect, diffuse, yielding, passive, quiet, and with dark, the moon, the earth, water, nighttime, introversion, and femininity.

Neither yin nor yang is superior. The two are interdependent, and complementary. Together, they speak of change, and of the dynamic balance of the universe.

 

Introverts and Extroverts

Everything that exists contains an interplay of yin and yang elements. The GC movement is no exception. A balance of yin and yang exists at both the individual and the group level. At the individual level, no-one is completely one or the other, as this is an impossibility. But at the group level, an individual can be considered either yang or yin, depending on their temperament — which again, may vary with time.

Extroverts tend to be yang — direct, unyielding, active, hot-tempered, loud. Introverts tend to be yin — indirect, yielding, passive, cool-tempered, quiet.

Jung was very interested in these ideas — he noted that Eastern cultures tend to be more introverted, more yin. 

The Difference between Eastern and Western Thinking

Western cultures are more extroverted, or yang. Introversion, in the West, is valued less than extroversion. In the East, the converse is true. 

Psychology and Religion — West and East

This difference leads to great difficulties in mutual understanding between these cultures. The same is true of individuals. Extroverts and introverts very often do not understand each other. 

I am an introvert, and quite an extreme one. I tend to find extroverts annoying — loud, brash, demanding of attention. They seem to find me weird — closed, cold and depressing. Introverts are not necessarily shy, but we are often happy to be alone; attempts to bring us ‘out of our shells’ are frequently misguided and irritating. We often simply want people to go away. Unfortunately, extroverts may take this as a personal insult. It’s no surprise that we often don’t get on.

No-one is completely introvert or extrovert — these are aspects of yin and yang, and as such are in constant flux. Jung characterises this as each person having both an introverted and extroverted side, with one side typically dominant. The distinction is therefore imperfect, but useful.

There is no particular difference between introverts and extroverts in terms of intelligence. Each has different strengths and weaknesses. Introverts tend to focus on the abstract (yin); extroverts on the concrete (yang). Jung characterised these two basic types as ‘attitude-types’. But he went further. Within each type, there are subtypes — which Jung based on what he called the ‘basic psychological functions’ of thinking, feeling, sensation, and intuition. He called these ’function-types’. Both introverts and extroverts come in all these ‘function-types’, which are described in detail in Jung’s work Psychological Types.

If all this seems a bit artificial, that’s because it is — there are many different systems which divide people into ‘types’. (In Myers-Briggs terms I am supposedly INTP, which makes me a weirdo.) 

Jung’s theories are often dismissed as ‘pseudoscience’, and he is also criticised for his interest in paranormal phenomena, which is considered uncool. 

In the end, whether such ‘types’ really exist is a moot point — what matters, in a given context, is whether the classification is useful.

For this discussion, we don’t need much detail — so we’ll stick to just yin and yang, or introverts and extroverts.

 

Strategy

Introverts are more inclined towards abstract thought. Strategy is abstract, so introverts tend to be better at it. Extroverts are more inclined towards concrete actions, so they tend to be better at getting things done.

One might think that in a political movement, the introverts should be put in charge of strategy, and the extroverts should execute it. The wisdom of this is doubtful — but in any case it would require some organisational hierarchy, which the GC movement not only lacks, but actively resists. We have many small groups (both formal and informal) each doing their own thing. Hierarchy is frowned upon. This is not just a weakness, it is also a strength. If the snake has no head, you can’t cut it off.

I am an introvert, and I think about strategy. The ideal strategy would contain elements of both yin and yang — both soft and hard, hidden and visible. This is true not only for the GC movement, but for our opponents too — the dreaded TRAs. 

In all fighting, the direct method may be used for joining battle, but indirect methods will be needed in order to secure victory.

Indirect tactics, efficiently applied, are inexhaustible as Heaven and Earth, unending as the flow of rivers and streams; like the sun and moon, they end but to begin anew; like the four seasons, they pass away to return once more.

There are not more than five musical notes, yet the combinations of these five give rise to more melodies than can ever be heard.

The Art of War, Chapter 5, Lines 5-7

 

Transactivist Strategy (Offensive) 

The TRAs have a two-pronged strategy, with each prong containing both yin and yang elements. The strategy is as follows:

Prong 1 – The visible (yang / direct)

In terms of the Thirty-Six Stratagems, this prong can be thought of as a combination of  Steal the Wood from Under the Fire’ and ‘Trouble the Water to Catch the Fish’:

Yin: Insert the TRA narrative into the political system by means of stealth in order to achieve long-term objectives. 

Yang: Tie up your opponents (the GCs) by drawing them into a series of interminable battles that sap their energy and morale. (This might also be called the ‘tar-baby’ strategy.)

Br’er Fox, Br’er Rabbit and the Briar Patch

All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must seem inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near.

Hold out baits to entice the enemy. Feign disorder, and crush him. If he is secure at all points, be prepared for him. If he is in superior strength, evade him.

The Art of War, Chapter 1, Lines 21-22

Prong 2 – The hidden (yin / indirect)

In the Thirty-Six Stratagems, this prong is similar to ‘The Strategy of Sowing Discord’, and uses ‘Hide Your Knife In A Smile’, ‘Kill With A Borrowed Sword’ and finally ‘Loot a Burning House’:

Yin: Infiltrate the GC camp with spies and double-agents to gather intelligence and sow discord with malicious rumours and gossip. Here’s how it works:

A covert TRA can create a sock account (or, better, several) to endlessly parrot the standard GC talking points. After gaining a following, they can create a private group of trusted individuals, and engage in chit-chat and gossip. (‘Hide Your Knife In A Smile’) 

They then amplify any personal disagreements they hear about, picking endlessly over the bones. If they hear scandalous rumours — true or not — they will embellish and spread different versions of the story. Then they choose an influential target, and privately accuse them of wrongdoing. They will claim to have privileged information, using screenshots (fake or otherwise) to support this claim and intensify the campaign of whispers and innuendo. Sooner or later, the squabbling will begin. (‘Kill With A Borrowed Sword’) 

We know from past experience just how much trouble these squabbles can cause, even when they arise naturally.

Yang: While the GCs fight among themselves, the main TRA force goads their anger with jeers and insults, leading the GCs to lash out foolishly at friends and enemies alike. They will bring to public attention any and all examples of overzealousness by the GCs — doing all they can to make them appear nasty, rude, unreasonable, and threatening. 

Once the public turns against the GCs, their internal fighting will escalate further, leaving the GC camp in complete disarray. Then the TRA troops can storm in to battle and win an easy victory. (‘Loot a Burning House’) 

What could be simpler? 

If your opponent is of choleric temper, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant. If he is taking his ease, give him no rest. If his forces are united, separate them.

Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected. These military devices, leading to victory, must not be divulged beforehand.

The Art of War, Chapter 1, Lines 23-24

 

Gender Critical Strategy (Defensive)

How can we counter this two-pronged strategy? 

Prong 1 – The visible (yang / direct) 

At the moment, the GCs are countering only the first (visible) prong of the TRA strategy. 

Yin: We fight the yin part of this prong by resisting the TRA narrative. For this, we deploy our politicians, lawyers, and philosophers. 

Yang: We fight the yang part by joining the battle; energy and morale are maintained by means of tea, biscuits and humour. 

Our counter-strategy is essentially a mirror image of theirs. It is working quite well; however, we often make the mistake of getting drawn into pointless battles which sap our strength. (And too often, we lack the cunning of Br’er Rabbit in formulating a plan to escape the tar-baby’s clutches.)

Prong 2 – The hidden (yin / indirect)

We are not (as far as I know) countering the second (hidden) prong of the TRA strategy. We’re barely even talking about it. Some believe it exists, but we can’t prove anything. Most of us don’t believe in conspiracy theories, and those who do may see them everywhere. All this leaves us vulnerable to strategies of deception. 

But if the hidden prong does exist, how do we counter it? 

Yin: One way would be passive (yin) — ignore all rumours, refuse to spread gossip, avoid internal squabbling, and remain calm and reasonable at all times. Unfortunately there are so many divisions and personal disagreements between GC individuals, and the insults thrown our way so egregious, that this strategy is impossible to put into practice. 

Yang: Instead, we could use a more active (yang) counter-strategy by infiltrating our own spies and double-agents into the enemy camp to spread rumours and discord. 

You could do this with sock accounts, or better — pretend to defect by throwing a violent shit-fit. After a few months spent sulking, simply fake an epiphany and begin relentless criticism of the evil GC bigots. Soon you will become a trusted member of the TRA ‘community’ and the spreading of malicious gossip can commence.

This strategy is immoral, and should never be admitted to by anyone. It is essential to create an impression of utter guilelessness. Anyone who dares suggest such an appalling plan should be castigated most severely, especially by those who will put it into practice. 

In battle, there are not more than two methods of attack — the direct and the indirect; yet these two in combination give rise to an endless series of manoeuvres.

The direct and the indirect lead on to each other in turn. It is like moving in a circle — you never come to an end. Who can exhaust the possibilities of their combination?

The Art of War, Chapter 5, Lines 10-11

 

Gender Critical Strategy (Offensive)

The above discussion relates to counter-strategies, which are designed to frustrate the enemy’s plans. They are essentially defensive. But we need an offensive strategy too. 

Again, it should have both yin and yang elements, must further our goals, and ideally be very difficult to counter. 

The onrush of a conquering force is like the bursting of pent-up waters into a chasm a thousand fathoms deep.

The Art of War, Chapter 4, Line 20

So what are some strategic goals that could reasonably be achieved within a short timescale?

1 – An end to the erosion of women’s rights, particularly the right to single-sex spaces, which may exclude where necessary anyone born male, regardless of trans status.

2 – No self-identification of gender identity or sex. This should be replaced with high-quality assessment and gatekeeping of the transition process in order to minimise potential harms, especially to children.

3 – Better healthcare (including mental healthcare) for those with (or recovering from) gender dysphoria, before, during and after transition, and / or detransition.

4 – More research into the causes, nature and treatment of gender dysphoria.

5 – The provision where necessary of third spaces to cater for those who might be uncomfortable in the single-sex spaces of their own natal sex.

6 – A ban on pornography that is inherently degrading to women (or to men, children or trans people). Here we could take a similar approach to that of the Dworkin-MacKinnon Ordinance.

As far as I can tell, none of these goals conflict with the goals of feminist groups such as WPUK, but only the first goal is of benefit only to women. The others should be of benefit not only to trans people, but to men and women also. All these goals are contentious, and the first two are particularly so — nevertheless, I think they are reasonable.

You can be sure of succeeding in your attacks if you only attack places which are undefended. You can ensure the safety of your defence if you hold only positions that cannot be attacked. Hence that general is skilful in attack whose opponent does not know what to defend; and he is skilful in defence whose opponent does not know what to attack.

O divine art of subtlety and secrecy! Through you we learn to be invisible, through you inaudible; and hence we can hold the enemy’s fate in our hands.

The Art of War, Chapter 6, Lines 7-10

Prong 1 – The visible (yang / direct)

In the Thirty-Six Stratagems, this is a version of ‘Feign Madness, But Keep Your Balance’.

Yang: These goals (and many others) can be argued for openly without any need for subterfuge.

Yin: The pushback will come chiefly in the form of accusations of transphobia. We should therefore emphasise the benefits of our proposals to trans people, and show how the competing demands of transactivists are harmful to them. 

To do this, we must push for an open discussion about transphobia itself, and its prevalence within transactivism. The transactivists must be exposed for what they are: not just misogynists, but transphobes too — and of the worst possible kind. 

In making tactical dispositions, the highest pitch you can attain is to conceal them; conceal your dispositions [in your mind], and you will be safe from the prying of the subtlest spies, from the machinations of the wisest brains. How victory may be produced for them out of the enemy’s own tactics — that is what the multitude cannot comprehend.

The Art of War, Chapter 6, Lines 28-30

Transactivists are very controlling of trans people. Any trans person who expresses opinions that deviate from transactivist dogma are viciously attacked; they are told that if they do not hold certain beliefs, they are (by definition!) not trans at all. Transactivists view trans people as a political grouping, and nothing more. This denies the right of trans people to be recognised as individual human beings, with thoughts and opinions of their own, and as such, to flourish in society. This is not so different to the way sex-stereotypes (or ‘the gender system’) operate on women — to keep them in their place. Transactivism has nothing to do with the liberation of trans people. Rather, it is a way to oppress them — and as such, it must be opposed.

Prong 2 – The hidden (yin / indirect)

This is where it gets weird. 

Hiding order beneath the cloak of disorder is simply a question of subdivision; concealing courage under a show of timidity presupposes a fund of latent energy; masking strength with weakness is to be effected by tactical dispositions.Thus one who is skilful at keeping the enemy on the move maintains deceitful appearances, according to which the enemy will act. He sacrifices something, that the enemy may snatch at it.

The Art of War, Chapter 5, Lines 18-19

In the yang (visible) prong of our strategy, we are making use chiefly of yin GC individuals to argue in favour of ‘being nice’. I would expect many yang GCs to oppose this. They will insist that ‘being nice never got women anywhere’ and may even see nastiness as a virtue — at least in this context. We can make use of those yang individuals in the yin (hidden, or sneaky) prong of our strategy, simply by allowing them to do what comes naturally, while the yin GCs do the same.

In the Thirty-Six Stratagems, this prong could be thought of — overall — as ‘Lure Your Enemy onto the Roof, then Take Away the Ladder’:

Yang: The yang GCs will mock and insult the TRAs. This will enrage them, and they will react by lashing out in fury. (‘Lure Your Enemy onto the Roof’) Yang GCs should also complain about the yin traitors who insist on ‘being nice’.

Yin: The yin GCs must condemn the yang in the strongest possible terms, and insist they take part of the blame for the enraged TRA reaction. (‘Take Away the Ladder’)

Yes, it’s the timeworn ‘Good Cop, Bad Cop’ routine! If you squint a bit, you can also view it as a combination of ‘Sacrifice the Plum Tree In Place of the Peach’, and ‘Replace the Beams with Rotten Timbers’.

By holding out baits, he keeps him on the march; then with a body of picked men he lies in wait for him. The clever combatant looks to the effect of combined energy, and does not require too much from individuals. Hence his ability to pick out the right men and utilise combined energy. [i.e., the effectiveness of the team, not its constituent individuals, is what matters.]

The Art of War, Chapter 5, Lines 20-21

Yang / Bad Cop:  The yang GCs are absolutely vital. Without their contribution, we will not win this war. They will lend credibility to the yin GCs by virtue of their refusal to compromise. The yang will appear unreasonable and bigoted in comparison to the yin, and will come under heavy fire from the TRAs. They are well-prepared for this, and may even relish it. In later years, songs will be sung of their heroic deeds on the battlefield. The yin GCs will not receive the same recognition, and may widely be viewed as traitors — this is the price of our victory. (‘Sacrifice the Plum Tree [purity] In Place of the Peach [success]’)

Yin / Good Cop: Meanwhile, the yin GCs will encourage trans people to speak up for themselves as individuals. The yin will amplify trans voices, and engage these individuals in polite conversation and respectful debate about the issues. They will take note of the abuse hurled at them by TRAs, and defend the right of trans people to speak freely — whether we agree with them or not. (‘Replace the Beams [anti-GC sentiment] with Rotten Timbers [gradual GC acceptance]’)

The yin will highlight the transphobic attitudes prevalent in transactivism, and condemn them. They will draw attention to similarities between the TRAs and the yang GCs (who enact the ‘Bad Cop’ role in this drama) and complain about the crazy extremists on both sides. The yin will commit to fighting transphobia in all its forms. They will insist trans people should be seen as human beings deserving of respect — and not pawns in some cruel political game. This is the truth, and it sounds good too — at least to normal people. And it’s them we have to convince.

Military tactics are like unto water [and follow the line of least resistance]; for water in its natural course runs away from high places and hastens downwards. So in war, the way is to avoid what is strong and to strike at what is weak.

The Art of War, Chapter 6, Line 33

 

Conclusion

How do we put this strategy into practice? We don’t; we can’t. We have no leaders, no hierarchy, and no generals. We are constantly fighting among ourselves. There is no ‘we’ — there is only a disorganised mass of individuals, connected loosely by interlocking circles of friendship. The best we can hope for is to keep out of each other’s way. There’s plenty of room for everyone. We can do as we wish, both individually and in groups. We will never agree on everything. 

Water shapes its course according to the nature of the ground over which it flows; the soldier works out his victory in relation to the foe whom he is facing. Therefore, just as water retains no constant shape, so in warfare there are no constant conditions.

The Art of War, Chapter 6, Lines 34-35

However, we should avoid malicious gossip and the stoking of vendettas; these only help the enemy, and may be rooted in schemes to sow discord. When others insult us, we should not take it personally; it should be considered political theatre, and nothing more.

The rest can take care of itself.

A Regurgitation of Old Tripe

This is part of the text from an email I received a mere eleven days after Squid and I were officially ‘terfed’. The writer was a friend of ours who we’d known for years. This part refers to a Twitter spat that happened between me and a mutual, ahem, friend… although that person and I hadn’t been friends for a year prior to this, when I came to the conclusion that she was a silly little girl who needed to grow up.

“You’re welcome to your opinion, however it felt an awful lot like you were taking offence at a term like ‘cis’ out of nowhere an [sic] unnecessarily. As if somehow being a woman was a limited resource or trans women existing diminished you being a woman simply by association. I don’t get why you would be against trans people or taking offence to general terms used such as ‘cis’ when it’s not really any kind of issue for you, it’s not a matter of oppression or lessening being a woman. Let’s face it, trans men and trans women are the ones who have this whole thing worse off if you look at things like suicide rates, life expectancy and general treatment of them. If you’re going to be a feminist, standing up for trans women feels like it should really be baked into the subject.”

I was incensed, by this point. Of course, I spent time answering, though I was rather more polite than I’ve been below, but I’m not dumb enough to think he even opened my email before he deleted it and so I am exercising my right of reply here, publicly. Oh, sorry, did I not mention that this load of regurgitated old tripe was written by a man? Don’t tell me you didn’t guess…

So first of all, I’m going to respond quickly to each point as it comes and then afterwards I’ll go into more detail about why I found it so annoying and actually rather insulting:

“You’re welcome to your opinion [Gee, thanks], however it felt an awful lot like you were taking offence at a term like ‘cis’ out of nowhere an unnecessarily. [Neither out of nowhere nor unnecessarily. I am a woman. Woman is enough.] As if somehow being a woman was a limited resource [It is limited – to be a woman, you first need to be female] or trans women existing diminished you being a woman simply by association. [Nope – they’re not women because they’re not female. Are you seeing a pattern, yet?] I don’t get why you would be against trans people [Whoever said I was?] or taking offence to general terms used such as ‘cis’ when it’s not really any kind of issue for you [It isn’t? Really? Please, do explain my own reasoning to me. Oh, you’re not even going to try. OK, then. As you were…], it’s not a matter of oppression or lessening being a woman. [It is a matter of oppression, actually. Calling women cis just because we’re not trans is deeply insulting, because it’s yet another label forced upon us by men and a way to control how we think, speak and act. And to that, I say: Get fucked.] Let’s face it, trans men and trans women are the ones who have this whole thing worse off [Two women a week are killed by partners or ex-partners – that’s without mentioning all the women who are killed by other men or the 85,000 of us a year who are raped in the UK alone] if you look at things like suicide rates [Based on one bullshit survey], life expectancy [A lot of transwomen are prostitutes – female prostitutes get murdered at a higher rate than other women, too] and general treatment of them [Oh, PLEASE, can you hear yourself?!]. If you’re going to be a feminist [I am, no thanks to ‘friends’ like you], standing up for trans women feels like it should really be baked into the subject. [To you, perhaps – but I’m not in the habit of including men in things that are meant for women.]

Right – now point by point, I’ll go into more detail about why exactly this pissed me off as much as it did:

1 – You’re welcome to your opinion [Gee, thanks]

A man tells a woman she’s “welcome to her opinion” and expects not to get pushback for it. Fucking hell. It’s not as if women have been fighting to have our opinions heard and respected FOREVER, or anything…

2 – however it felt an awful lot like you were taking offence at a term like ‘cis’ out of nowhere an unnecessarily. [Neither out of nowhere nor unnecessarily. I am a woman. Woman is enough.]

Unlike a lot of people these days, I do not easily take offence. But this statement – that I am wrong to be offended by the term ‘cis’ – is in itself deeply offensive. I don’t need a qualifier to explain what ‘type’ of woman I am. I am female and I am an adult human. That really is enough, and if it isn’t enough for you, then, well, we’re unlikely to be friends. Saying that I am a ‘cis woman’ is to suggest that a transwoman is simply another kind of woman, which is untrue. A transwoman is a kind of man. A woman is not simply whatever men say a woman is. A woman is an adult human female.

3 – As if somehow being a woman was a limited resource [It is limited – to be a woman, you first need to be female]

I couldn’t believe he’d written this and probably kept a straight face while he was writing it. The category of woman – what I am (and what he emphatically is not) – was up for grabs by men. No, mate. It fucking well ain’t.

4 – or trans women existing diminished you being a woman simply by association. [Nope – they’re not women because they’re not female. Are you seeing a pattern, yet?]

I don’t think I need to explain this further.

5 – I don’t get why you would be against trans people [Whoever said I was?]

You’re assuming I don’t like trans people. Far from it. What I don’t like are misogynistic arseholes, of which there are a hell of a lot. Forgive me for being blunt, here, but had I realised you were one of them, we would never have become friends in the first place.

6 – or taking offence to general terms used such as ‘cis’ when it’s not really any kind of issue for you [It isn’t? Really? Please, do explain my own reasoning to me. Oh, you’re not even going to try. OK, then. As you were…]

To assume this isn’t any kind of issue for me says exactly what about you, I wonder? You’re assuming I won’t give a shit that men are pretending to be women, insisting they are as much or even more ‘woman’ than I am and then shoving their size elevens into my personal space, disrespecting the boundaries I’ve set. Why would I not have a problem with that? Do you always assume it’s OK for men to cross boundaries women have set? What about young girls? Are they wrong to not want a man to come any closer, or are they bigots, too? ‘Cis’ says that a transwoman is as much female as me. He’s not. He’s male. And males pose a danger to females. End of discussion.

7 – it’s not a matter of oppression or lessening being a woman. [It is a matter of oppression, actually. Calling women cis just because we’re not trans is deeply insulting, because it’s yet another label forced upon us by men and a way to control how we think, speak and act. And to that, I say: Get fucked.]

So it’s not a matter of oppression when men tell women what we can and can’t call ourselves; what we can and can’t talk about; how we can and can’t refer to our own bodies; what we can and can’t say or think about how society has always treated women and girls as less valuable and less important than boys and men? Really? You think I should be just fine with being told I’m no more woman than a man? You’re fucking delusional, mate.

8 – Let’s face it, trans men and trans women are the ones who have this whole thing worse off [Two women a week are killed by partners or ex-partners – that’s without mentioning all the women who are killed by other men or the 85,000 of us a year who are raped in the UK alone]

The statistics are out there. I wish I was exaggerating. I’m not.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/domestic-abuse-violence-death-women-partner-a9333161.html

https://rapecrisis.org.uk/get-informed/about-sexual-violence/statistics-sexual-violence/

9 – if you look at things like suicide rates [Based on one bullshit survey]

This is something that keeps getting wheeled out in an attempt to guilt-trip women into feeling sorry for those men who are constantly sending us rape and death threats if we don’t capitulate, and it’s based on a single survey carried out by the misogynistic men’s rights organisation Stonewall. This is a statistic that is based on the self-declaration of 27 people. TWENTY-SEVEN. I call bullshit.

https://www.genderhq.org/trans-youth-suicide-statistics-kill-themselves-manipulate-parents

10 – life expectancy [A lot of transwomen are prostitutes – female prostitutes get murdered at a higher rate than other women, too]

“Sex work is work!” – just like any other job, eh? Uh-huh. Gotcha. It’s as dangerous for transwomen as it is for women. It’s a dangerous thing to do, selling your body for cash. Men have a nasty habit of murdering those they hate. Or haven’t you realised that yet?

https://fairplayforwomen.com/trans-murder-rates/

11 – and general treatment of them [Oh, PLEASE, can you hear yourself?!].

Your treatment of me right now is questionable at best. I say that male people can’t be turned into female people (fact) and you have to stick your oar in and tell me I’m wrong for saying that in case it hurts some poor men’s feelies? That says more about you than I think you realise, me ole pal.

12 – If you’re going to be a feminist [I am, no thanks to ‘friends’ like you]

I hardly need anyone’s permission to stand up and fight for women’s rights which means, by the way, my rights. You have a girlfriend. Sounds to me like I care more about her rights than you do.

13 – standing up for trans women feels like it should really be baked into the subject. [To you, perhaps – but I’m not in the habit of including men in things that are meant for women.]

Feminism is about women, girls, and our liberation from oppression by men. You are a man. I am a woman. I am more invested in this fight than you are because it’s not your basic rights they’re gunning for.

Any more questions?

Thought not.

A Woman Among Women at Women’s Lib 2020 – The Female Perspective

This was a first for me. I’d never been to any kind of political meeting before. But this is a cause that not only can I get fully behind, it’s a cause I can’t not get fully behind. After all the work done by our sisters in the past, including the Suffragettes, women’s legal rights are at risk of being taken from us. If I didn’t get behind that, I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night. And if our rights are stripped – which is looking increasingly likely – I would never be able to forgive myself if I hadn’t spoken up and said, ‘Not without a fucking fight.’

For several weeks, friends had been asking whether I was going to the WPUK (A Woman’s Place UK) Women’s Liberation Conference in February, but I had come off Twitter back in September (much to the relief of my kung fu instructor, who could see what it was doing to my state of mind), and I didn’t know how to get tickets.

By the time we did get details, the first batch had already sold out. Shit. Not a massive surprise. More went on sale the following week, but again, by the time I got there, they’d all gone. I had more or less resigned myself to the fact we weren’t going and started making provisional plans to meet friends in the pub after the event. Then that Friday, a friend gave me another link. The final batch would be going on sale in the morning. But – damn it! I was going training tomorrow, as I do practically every Saturday. And there is very little that will stop me from going training. (I am proudly obstinate. A family trait. And besides which, if I didn’t go because I was trying to get tickets for something that had nothing to do with martial arts, my instructor would be having words… It’s OK. It’s what he’s there for, and it keeps me honest.)

So I tasked my significant other, known throughout the Twitterverse and beyond as Altered Squid, or just Squid, to get tickets if he possibly could. While I was training, I heard my phone bleep, and between classes, I checked. There was a message that said he could only get one, so he’d got it for me (because Squid is a star). But I’d not been able to look while I was training so I saw all the messages at once, and in the meantime, lo and behold! Yes! He’d managed to get two! WE WERE GOING!!!

I must confess to feeling a little apprehensive, despite my excitement. When WPUK held a meeting in Brighton back in September, the protest outside was so vicious that women were having panic attacks once inside, or were unable to get in at all, having insults screamed in their ears (do these idiots not know that this can cause an eardrum to burst, or do they just not care because we’re ‘terfs’?), while the local coppers stood around with their arms crossed and did nothing as some of them banged and kicked on the windows throughout the event.

The nearby residents eventually got so pissed off with the incessant racket that they began slinging buckets of water over the trans rights protesters (who later blamed the ‘terfs’ for it). There was a lot at stake, and I was wondering if, for the first time since I had begun training more than a decade ago, I’d actually have to use my kung fu in self defence (which I have a legal right to do). Linda Bellos once said that if she were ever attacked, she would defend herself, and she was subsequently taken to court for threatening behaviour. As if she doesn’t have a legal right to defend herself if attacked.

https://womansplaceuk.org/linda-bellos-self-defence-is-no-offence/

However, those who know me well know that I am not one to let others tell me what to do, and I’m damned if I’ll let a group of people who apparently can’t tell men from women stop me from going to a women’s rights event.

But we found out there may now be a snag. Because Squid had secured both tickets, and you could only buy one ticket at a time, they were both in his name. And WPUK had sent out an email saying that we’d need ID that matched the name on the ticket (for security reasons – see above). But it was sorted when another email arrived with Squid saying that if one of the tickets was for someone else to please tell them, otherwise they would refund the money. He duly gave them my name and my email address.

Phew! I got my own ticket through, with my name on it, the same day.

I said a moment ago that there is very little that will stop me from going training, and this is true, but this conference was being held on a Saturday – and it would be going on all day. So I told my instructor what was happening and went training on Thursday instead. I can’t not train, but I also couldn’t pass up this chance to be present at what has since already turned out to be something of a historic event.

Squid has written about the day here:

https://www.critorix.co.uk/essays/the-female-vibe-a-man-among-women-at-wpuk/

However, some of you may have noticed that Squid is a man, and I am a woman. (Although I know it’s hard, as you can’t always tell, these days.) As a consequence, our experiences were, naturally, slightly different.

Despite the early start (I don’t do mornings), by the time we reached the station and saw some of our friends there, I was ready to go. I waved maniacally at them as we reached the ticket machines and then we went over to greet everyone.

None of us really knew where the venue was, but as we approached, it became obvious, as we could hear the chants of the protesters three streets away. In fact, their presence made things very easy for us to figure out where we were supposed to go. Ah, we thought. It must be in here. Thanks, protesters! You were a big help, there.

And they weren’t scary. My heart started to race a little, because I didn’t know what to expect, but it wasn’t hammering. After Jo had hugged me and welcomed me – as she appeared to have been doing to many of the women who arrived – we went inside and my heart stopped fluttering.

I immediately felt invigorated. Surrounded by so many women, some of whom were our friends, others we’d seen in WPUK videos on YouTube, and hundreds of others:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzFqsUqDzyXEQMJVy42NwUw/videos

In all, there were around 900 people, of which no more than maybe a dozen were men. (Squid reckoned about twenty. I swear I didn’t see that many.) We met other friends there, and we knew many of those who would later be giving talks or running workshops, none of which we attended. I really was spoilt for choice and I had one of those moments when my head goes a bit funny and I find it impossible to make a decision. It may be my age (don’t say a fucking word) or it may simply have been that there were so many people there that I couldn’t think straight. Either way, we didn’t go to any of them. And in any case, we were mainly there to hear the talks, mix with women, make connections and just be there.

That was it. You always hear these tales of historic events, important movements, and I wanted, for once, simply to be able to say that I’d been there. I wanted not just to have witnessed the fight for women’s rights, envious of other women who were at these meetings but unable to do much, as I saw it, myself. I wanted to have been an active part of that fight. To be able to get to my old age (hopefully) and say, ‘Yep. I was there.’

One of the first people I spotted was Linda Bellos. I did ask for a photo, as well as a hug, but she wasn’t comfortable with the idea of being put on a pedestal, which I completely respect. I never did get the photo, but when she said she would be happy to hug me as a sister, I did what I am very good at and she returned the hug with genuine sisterly warmth.

I was looking around while Squid was in the loo (and for an event with so many women present, it was notable that there were NO QUEUES for the ladies’ – women who weren’t there may find this hard to believe, but it’s true) and there on one of the chairs was one of the most amazing women anyone could ever hope to meet – Hibo Wardere, who wrote the book Cut and who travels the country and indeed the world teaching people about the horrors of FGM. We’d been in touch for a while and had swapped numbers before I left Twitter, so I went over, told her who I was and gave her the biggest, warmest hug. She is a true legend. When Squid came round the corner and spotted who I was with, a huge grin appeared on his face. We hung out with Hibo for some time. She really is the loveliest woman.

We spotted Julie Bindel (who I later half-hugged across a table full of sandwiches), Maya Forstater, Allison Bailey, Selina Todd, Nicola Williams… SO MANY POWERFUL WOMEN! The femaleness of the place was unbelievable, and I said to Squid that for perhaps the first time in my adult life, in a room full of strangers, something odd had happened. My guard, which is usually up all the time when I’m out, was down. I felt safe. And I never feel safe when I’m out, except under certain circumstances (such as when I’m training – I don’t just go to learn kung fu…). Hundreds upon hundreds of people, most of whom I didn’t know and had never met, and I felt as safe as I ever had. It was weird, and it was wondrous.

(To clarify: I don’t mean that I feel constantly in danger and under threat when I’m out. I mean that I don’t know what it’s like to leave the house, close the door behind me and feel a hundred per cent safe. Women, if not men, will know the difference.)

Although the morning speeches were introduced by a man, Brad Blitz, of the UCL Institute of Education,  he wasn’t part of the conference itself. A few women were miffed that it felt as if the first speaker at a women’s event was a man, but he wasn’t involved in the event, he was simply introducing it. He welcomed us into his institution, made clear that free speech was as important to him as it was to us, and left us to get on with it. The speeches were – I’m going to use a word I’ve never used before, I think, ever – rousing. Both the morning and afternoon speeches gave me hope that all was not lost in the fight for women’s rights. 

Around the edges of the hall where the sandwiches had been laid on, along with tea, coffee, fruit juice, biscuits, bananas, etc., there were several stalls run by various campaign groups. I spotted some little tins wrapped with bits of white cotton on which had been printed THOU SHALT NOT SUFFER A WITCH TO LIVE, but sadly these were not for sale, or I definitely would have bought one. What I did buy were little pin badges of the female symbol (I’d seen women wearing them and had been eyeing them all morning) – for me and for my mum, whose birthday it had been a couple of days before – and some notebooks, as well as picking up various leaflets and postcards and things. I wish I could have bought more stuff (I was particularly drawn to cotton patches and badges with uterus designs), but with restricted finances, I had to make strategic choices.

I felt a sisterly vibe, overwhelmingly and gloriously female, and realised it is this feeling that certain men resent. They may want this, they may try to get it, but they can’t have it, because they are not female. They can experience a version of it if they get access to spaces where there are many more women than men, but they can never fully belong to it, because they are not women. Something fundamental is missing. And they hate us for it.

As I have got older, certain things are falling into place for me. I have realised that far from being afraid of old age, I shall welcome it – because it’s better to reach old age than not reach it. I shall let my hair go grey and leave it long and go about showing it off, because I am proud of it. Women with silver hair are gorgeous and I will never be ashamed of that or try to hide it. If my face shows more lines as I grow older, they will be lines caused by much laughter in my life – I laugh a lot and I laugh loud, like any self-respecting witch should.

There were many women at the conference who were my age or older, others who were younger. I felt an affinity with all of them, because we are all female and we have a range of shared experiences. Not being able to talk about this openly without fear of social death (because we no longer put witches and heretics to actual death) is a symptom of a sickness in our society. It is probably down to women to cure – partly because many of us are witches and partly because it’s always down to women to fix things like this. And will we get any thanks, when this all dies down (as it surely must)? We shall see. But I doubt it.

While others were at their various panels and workshops, I had an idea to go to Gower Street, where you can procure remaindered books at decent prices, so with the help of Squid’s phone, we found our way there and had a nosey around. And yes, of course we came out with some books. Don’t tell me you thought even for a moment that we came out empty-handed? We’re skint, sure, but cheap books are cheap books and the temptation is hard to resist.

We made sure to return to UCL in plenty of time for the closing plenary, found a couple of seats and settled in. 

During the last few minutes, as things started to wrap up, a clipboard was passed round, which contained sheets of paper that we could fill in with our details. On the back were some of the questions in the Scottish GRA consultation, and the good people at WPUK had answered the relevant ones for us in advance. You don’t have to live in Scotland to fill it in. You can find details here. As the writers of this document have said they especially want to hear from trans people and trans allies, with no mention of wanting to hear from women, I encourage you to do your bit.

The last words of Kiri Tunks’ speech have stayed with me, and will likely stay with me forever: “This is a movement. We are the movement. Let’s move.”

As we were leaving, I spotted Kiri and gave her a hug, told her that it had been a fabulous day and thanked her for organising it.

To paraphrase a David Bowie lyric: I hugged a lot of women, that day.

Actually, the feelings evoked in that song really sum up how I felt at the conference. So here it is:

We came away awash with love for women and with renewed determination that women’s rights will not be taken from us without a fight. We will fight with words rather than weapons, but words are powerful, and should be used with care. It’s easy – too easy – to yell and swear at idiots on social media. But all that gets us is stress, and (if we really piss off the wokebros and TRAs) a place on several block lists. (I think I had made it onto 40-odd such lists before I deleted my Twitter account. It’s something of which I’m very proud.)

What we need to do is connect, in person as well as online. Make plans. Talk to people, whether people we know or people we don’t. Myself, I’ve been talking to people who know me well enough to realise that there may just be something to what I’m telling them. That it isn’t just a load of pissed-off, hormonal women with nothing to do but moan about men, but something much deeper and much more dangerous, and even sinister. Because make no mistake – women’s rights are in peril. And the Labour Party have since proved that they are no friends to women, either. At least, not to women like us.

For we are the troublesome women. The women who aren’t afraid to say, ‘Now hang on a minute!’ The women who won’t comply. The women who dare to set boundaries (and woe betide any man who crosses them).

We are the women who, when faced with a group of people trying to take away our legal rights, will stand up and say, in the words of our friend Jane Clare Jones:

‘Get stuffed.’

https://janeclarejones.com/2019/02/07/why-british-feminists-are-such-a-bunch-of-evil-witches/

I’ve never been a dissident before. It’s quite exciting.

But it’s also frightening. I am frightened. Because it seems the moment women started speaking up about what happens to us daily at the hands of men, the backlash started. Feminism isn’t feminism, we’re told, if we don’t include transwomen. What a load of old tripe!

Transwomen are male, and adult human males have been known across the world and across the millennia, in every language that has ever been spoken, as men.

Men.

Women need to be afraid of men.

But we must not be afraid to say no. We must not be so afraid that we capitulate to the demands of a few at our own expense. And remember, sisters, that we are more than half the population of the planet.

They cannot, and will not, silence us all.

So speak up.

The Female Vibe: A Man Among Women at WPUK

On Saturday 1st February I attended the WPUK meeting at UCL in London. The day began early; at 6am myself and my girlfriend (Queen Bitch aka QB) got up, had coffee, and made our way to Brighton Station. There we met friends, and caught the train up together, chatting along the way. 

At Euston we made our way to the venue by guesswork and Google maps, until we came close enough to hear the cries of the protesters outside the venue. The adrenaline began to flow, but spirits remained high. I was curious to see the angry mob for myself, and wondered how they would react to seeing me, a man with brown skin, attending a meeting of women who are routinely branded as nazis, manhaters, and white supremacists. Would I be labelled, in the lunatic words of Kerry-Anne Mendoza, a ‘turncoat of colour’? I didn’t know what to expect, but I felt no fear. I was with friends, and whatever happened, we would keep each other safe. 

When we arrived at the venue, I was disappointed. There were perhaps thirty protesters, chanting. ‘Be nice, trans rights!’ I think they were saying. I agreed with them. 

A few other attendees were hanging about outside, smoking and chatting. There was no sense of fear or threat. I scanned the faces of the protesters; to me they looked mostly like young women; perhaps a few identified as non-binary, but it was hard to tell. Upon closer inspection, I saw that behind them were a few people who looked male — perhaps men or non-binary folks, or even transwomen. 

At first I wondered why the male-looking people were hiding behind the female ones, but then it occurred to me that some of those women likely had cis-privilege, or cis-passing privilege, and had therefore been strategically placed to protect the more marginalised male individuals in the group from potential attack from imaginary nazis. 

The bravery of these young women was impressive, for not ten feet away, small groups of women continued to greet one another with hugs, smiles and laughter. I looked again at the protesters; I discerned no fear in their faces, and little sign of determination. I felt no hostility toward them, only love. I was happy they were standing up for their beliefs, even though I think those beliefs are silly.

Smiling, I tried to make eye contact. I am not certain, but I think a few smiled back. They seem nice, I thought; perhaps later I’ll talk to them. But for now, it was time to go in. 

Near the entrance was the welcoming committee, which included a small woman with kind face and a big smile. Her name was Jo, and I took her to be a lesbian. After exchanging introductions, she gave QB a big hug and shook my hand. We showed our tickets and entered the venue. Milling about in the foyer, QB spotted Linda Bellos and ran up to fangirl at her. ‘Linda Bellos!’ she cried. ‘You’re a star! Can I hug you?’

‘Oh, no, no,’ said Linda. ‘That makes me very uncomfortable. I’m not a star. I really don’t like that stuff, it feeds into the ego and you have to be very careful about that sort of thing. But I can hug you as a sister.’ 

Hugs were duly exchanged. Linda spotted me nearby, clocked me as a man, and approached. ‘What I would really like,’ she said, ‘is for men to get together, as men, and talk about masculinity. I think that’s very important.’

‘I agree completely,’ I replied. It was the truth. She nodded, apparently satisfied. For me, the theme of the day was now set.

 We made our way downstairs where we found an abundance of tea, coffee and pastries, and a large crowd of friendly women.

‘That vibe,’ said QB. ‘Female!’

‘Yep,’ I said. ‘It’s great.’

‘This is what they’re jealous of,’ she said. ‘This vibe.’

‘Transwomen? Maybe, yeah.’

‘It’s nuts.’

‘The crazy thing is, they could have it,’ I said. ‘Sort of. Partake of it, I mean. But… not by force.’

’They don’t get it,’ she said. ‘Cos they’re men.’

‘Yeah,’ I shrugged. ‘It’s very sad. I wish those protestors could come in and feel this; the women, at least. Imagine! Maybe they’ve never experienced it.’

‘Aaargh! It’s all so silly!’

I’m lucky, I thought. I’ve spent a lot of time in female spaces, where there are far more women than men, and have always felt comfortable. There’s something about the energy, whatever that means — the vibe. What causes this vibe, I don’t know; the sound of women’s voices, perhaps, or some subconscious smell that has to do with pheromones; the smell of mothers and sisters and nans, of friends, and of every woman I’ve loved, or even just met. 

I don’t know what the cause is. But mixed spaces feel very different to me; as the proportion of men increases, the energy quickly becomes male-dominated. The female vibe is swamped by the male, and I no longer feel comfortable; instead, I get a sense of threat. It’s hard to explain why this is; perhaps pheromones, again? But if I as a man can feel that, how could women not feel it too, and more intensely? 

But how could men understand this — especially those who’ve never felt that female vibe, or who are not comfortable with it? Perhaps they sense something amiss, and seek to change that vibe to suit themselves? Perhaps it never occurs to them to make themselves small, to refrain from broadcasting their own male energy, to relax and let the femaleness wash over them? Will men understand these things, if I talk about them? Will they look at me strangely, and make foolish remarks about rationality? Could I explain my feelings to them? Perhaps not. But women will understand.

We had the chance to sign up for various panels and workshops, but we felt overwhelmed by the choices available, and in the end decided not to. After all, we had come mainly to hear the speeches and to hang out and talk with women. I am quiet, shy, introverted, depressive, and feel awkward in social situations. I rarely approach people; I don’t want to bother them, particularly women, who surely have more interesting people to talk to than me. QB is more smiley and outgoing, so she takes the lead in such things. I couldn’t stop her if I tried.

So we milled about, spotting familiar faces and saying hello, until it was time to enter the auditorium, where we met up with our friend Diane and settled in to listen to the opening speeches. These were inspiring, and have been written about by others. 

My favourite speaker was Pragna Patel, founder of Southall Black Sisters, who spoke of the women’s movement of the seventies and eighties — my childhood, in the days of apartheid South Africa. I am a child of apartheid; both my parents grew up in that country — a white English woman and a Natal Indian man. They came to the UK to study, where they met at a foreign students’ society and fell in love. As a mixed-race couple, their relationship would have been illegal in South Africa at that time, so they made a life together in England. My father became a barrister, specialising in cases of racial and sexual discrimination. These issues, as well as goings on in South Africa, were part of the scenery of my childhood, and much of what Pragna said struck a chord in me. I felt a deep sense of resurgence, of belonging. I was with my sisters, but I was not one of them. I was a brother.

I surveyed the audience, trying to spot other men. There were only a few — out of some nine-hundred people, perhaps fifty were men, but I doubt it. I’d say it was more like twenty. I was a little disappointed. Do men not care? How can they not care? But this was a women’s conference. If there were too many men there, we’d fuck up the vibe. And perhaps more men had bought tickets, and chosen to pass them on to women. I hope so.

But I was there. And I had been tasked by Linda Bellos herself to discuss masculinity with men. It’s an important task, but I have no idea how to proceed. What the fuck do I know about masculinity? How can I possibly talk about such a thing — with men, of all people? I am not good with men.

Shortly after I was ‘terfed’ I became so enraged about the idea of ‘gender identity’ that I wrote a satirical thread on Twitter in which I ‘realised’ that I was a woman after all. 

Exploring My Gender

Apparently this was pretty convincing; I received messages of support, and QB received a text from her mum, who was a bit concerned. I was taking the piss, but (almost) everything I said about myself was true. I have as much claim to womanhood as any other man — zero. But if I spin things a certain way, many people could be persuaded otherwise — and they would lie to my face and call it kindness. They would lie to themselves. I find it hard to believe, but it’s true. 

I cannot be a woman, and I do not ‘identify’ as trans. But given my history, perhaps I too am a ‘refugee from masculinity’? Perhaps I too have found masculinity restrictive, and tried to escape from it? But I have not succeeded. I’m not convinced escape is even possible, for anyone. At least not yet. 

After the speeches, we went outside for a bit. I wanted to vape, and also to see how the protesters were doing. I wondered if by now their numbers had swelled, and their rage ignited. If not, I hoped they would be friendly enough that I could strike up a conversation. I wondered if they could be offered tea, and maybe biscuits? Was this a golden opportunity to strike up a productive dialogue between the two ’sides’?

No, it was not. The protesters had left already. Now just a few women were standing outside, some smoking. I vaped for a bit, then went back in to get tea.

There were feminist icons everywhere! We spotted Julie Bindel, our friend Jane Clare Jones, Rosa Freedman, and numerous familiar faces whose names we could not remember. There were women of all ages and colours, all shapes and sizes and hairstyles. They wore all different kinds of shoes. Around the edges of the room were a variety of stalls run by women’s groups, selling merch and handing out flyers about different feminist issues. There were women from FiLiA, Nordic Model Now!, Object!, and many more. We wandered around, picking up brochures, making purchases, and enjoying friendly banter. Conscious of my maleness, I tried not to get in the way, and nobody complained. I think I was smiling, because people smiled at me. I felt no hostility, no hatred. There was no sense of threat there, only love.

“I feel safe here,” said QB.

“Sure,” I replied. “Why wouldn’t you?”

“Completely safe. In a room full of strangers.” She shook her head. “That’s not normal for me.”

“Huh,” I said. “Because it’s women?”

“I think so, yeah.”

“Me too.”

“I’ve never really felt safe before, with this many people. Not in the same way.”

“There’s no threat of male violence,” I said. “Men, here and there. But no threat.”

“None.”

“It’s the threat, isn’t it? It doesn’t take actual violence, just that sense of threat.”

“Yeah, like it could kick off any moment.”

“Even if actually it doesn’t. I know what you mean.”

“Women need this.”

“I know,” I said. “Maybe men need it too. But… if there were more of us here… it wouldn’t be like this.”

“No.”

“Sometimes I feel bad for men. They’re — we’re missing out.”

“Well, tough shit.”

“I know.” I sighed. “I just wish… I dunno. I wish they could understand. How can I make them understand?”

“You can’t. They don’t want to.”

“Hm. Bunch of weirdos, if you ask me.”

We spotted Hibo Wardere, and QB ran over to fangirl and chat with this warm, humorous, and very chilled out legend. While we were hanging out with Hibo, we bumped into our friend Jen, who told us of her recent adventure travelling to Bristol to retrieve a misplaced box of flyers for the Institute of Feminist Thought. Jen went for a smoke, and returned shortly with another woman, with whom myself and QB fell out badly some time ago. It was briefly awkward; I sensed no real hostility, but we didn’t speak. I hope that didn’t ruin her day; it certainly didn’t ruin ours. Our differences may be irreconcilable, but they are of no real consequence. She may no longer be a friend. But she remains a sister.

Soon it was lunchtime, and sandwiches appeared. We ate a few, and then I did a strange thing — I walked around searching for signs of bigotry. Anything would do — white supremacy, homophobia, hatred of men, venomous lies about trans people, women plotting mass murder — anything! Surely, in such a large gathering, there must be some detectable sign of the hatred commonly ascribed to WPUK and similar groups? Here I was, walking among them with a quizzical expression on my face, and no-one so much as looked at me funny. All I saw was ordinary women eating sandwiches, drinking juice, and talking. There was nothing remotely scary about any of it. I was surrounded, and vastly outnumbered by women commonly smeared as far-right religious fundamentalist man-hating nazi scum who deserve The Wall, and I felt completely safe. It was hard to believe these people could possibly pose a threat to anyone. Men often underestimate women, it’s true — but the fearmongering was clearly bullshit. 

So what, exactly, were the kiddiwinks protesting against? It’s obvious, isn’t it? They were protesting against this: Women gathering to discuss issues of importance to women, in a room infused with female energy. Women who are not concerned with the needs of men, who simply do not care what men think about them. It sounds glorious to me, but apparently it’s terrifying.

‘Transphobia!’ cry the queer activists and their porn-positive wokebro allies. ‘They want to kill us all!’

No, they don’t. They don’t want to kill anyone. They want to gather together to fight for women’s rights, that’s all. So why would queer activists be against that?

‘Transwomen are women! Sex work is work! Our identities are valid!’

What the fuck is going on? What is the actual problem? Why can’t we talk to each other, and try to work things out? Why the smears, the bomb-threats, the no-platforming, the endless bullshit about nazis and clownfish and the feminine penis? Have these people gone completely insane?

No. They’re not insane. They’re not stupid. They’ve been inducted into what amounts to something like a psychotherapeutic cult. The lack of general knowledge about how cults really work has made us vulnerable to social infection, which has taken hold at every level of society. Those who are not yet infected are too terrified to speak out against the disease. 

Twitter and Thought Reform

In order to spread, this disease — this cult-like social infection — takes advantage of vulnerabilities in our society. One such vulnerability is generated by the way masculinity operates on certain kinds of men; men not so different from myself — a minority, perhaps.

Imagine a young man, introverted, socially awkward, and low in confidence. He is seen as ‘unmanly’, or even ‘effeminate’. He finds it hard to fit in with other men. They ridicule him and call him a ‘cuck’. They may physically attack him in the hope he will ‘man up’ and stop being such a ‘pussy’. 

But the cuck does not ‘man up’; he bursts into tears and runs away. The other men call him ‘gay’, but they are wrong — for this man is heterosexual. And he has a potential advantage over other men: due to his gentle nature, women do not perceive him as a threat. They take pity on this man and invite him into their social circle. Here, he is seen for what he is — a sweet and gentle soul. His association with women may even protect him somewhat from male bullying. He may grow in confidence, and feel able, for the first time, to express his personality.

This man comes to appreciate the energy of female spaces. He feels safe there, while male spaces continue to cause him anxiety. He discusses this with his female friends, who can relate to it very well. They come to trust him; they may confide in the man, who learns much about women. In a sense, the man has become an ‘honorary woman’ among his female friends. They may even tell him this.

Sooner or later, this man will develop sexual or romantic feelings towards one or more of his friends. Eventually he may act on those feelings. If he is rejected, he will be flooded with difficult emotions — embarrassment, shame, and even anger. He may react by making a complete dick of himself. 

Now, his female friends will begin to treat him differently. The differences are subtle, but the man is sensitive, perhaps paranoid — and cannot help noticing. And now he feels betrayed. For years, he has been friends with these women! He has watched, helpless, as they are hurt by relationships with men he regards as dickheads and sexists. For years, he has provided a friendly shoulder to cry on. And now, after all he’s done, they dare to reject him? How could they?

Oh, of course they have the right to reject him sexually. But to reject him as a friend, too? To treat him as they would one of those awful sexist men? Those bitches! How they lie! They say they want men to be kind, but they always go for the arseholes! It’s a cliche, but it’s true! Oh, the injustice! 

Something like this has happened to me. It’s normal. But those emotions can be hard to deal with, especially without the support of friends. It took me a while to get over it, but some men never do — instead they develop a deep hatred of women. They might keep that hatred hidden, or instead become incels, and wear it as a badge of pride. 

After lunch we bumped into Dr Em and had a quick chat. Then people went to attend their workshops, and QB and I went for a walk to a local bookshop to browse. We returned in time for tea, biscuits and the closing plenary. After that were the regional meetings, and then drinks! We got chatting to various women (sorry but I didn’t get your names). I expressed some of my thoughts about men, and how we too are harmed by the idea that we can identify as women. We talked about the female vibe. I think I complained at one point about men who just parrot the thoughts of women. That seems pointless to me — since men can’t be feminists, we might as well think for ourselves. Our experience is different from that of women, so why not draw on it? Can we discuss our own experiences, and come to better understand masculinity? I guess we can try.

The story of the ‘cuck’ can go another way. I haven’t experienced this myself, but I can imagine it: suppose this man becomes sexually fixated on the female vibe itself. Now he is aroused by his mere presence within female circles, and relieves himself privately. That female energy comes to play a major role in his sexual fantasies. He feels guilty, for he knows this is a betrayal of trust — but that sense of transgression turns him on even more. 

Soon, the status of ‘honorary woman’ is not enough for him; for sexual reasons, he wants more; he wants to drown in that female vibe. He wants to be accepted as a woman not only by his female friends, but by everyone else as well. 

This man has developed interpersonal autogynephilia — or something like it. And when he learns all about trans identities, he convinces himself he has ‘gender dysphoria’, and declares himself a woman. 

If his female friends reject this, or give any hint that they don’t see him as a real woman — not just an honorary one — he will become enraged. After all he’s done for them, why won’t they participate in his sexual fantasies? It’s not as though he’s asking them to actually do anything! He’s not asking them for sex, just acceptance! They said he was a woman, but they were lying all along! In truth, they see him as a man — a pervert, even! He thought they were his friends, but it turns out they’re evil terfs who want him dead! Oh, the injustice! 

 If his friends reject his newfound womanhood, this man will leave them, and look for a new group of women who can ‘validate his identity’. When he finds some who are prepared to play along, he will make ever-increasing demands. Soon, these ’trans-positive’ women will be working for him full-time to spread the gospel that transwomen are women. They will point to their friend — a once kind and gentle man — as an example of a harmless transwoman, unfairly oppressed by bigots. They will lie to his face, and call it kindness. 

He knows they are lying, and hates them for it. These women have no self-respect, he thinks; they’re just dickpandering! But this also turns him on. At last, his transition is complete: a once decent man has transformed into an arsehole. And if he ever realises what he’s become, he can blame it on those nasty women. He has betrayed his female friends completely — and they have betrayed him. 

When it really matters, a real friend will call you out on your bullshit. Real friendship is rare, particularly between people of different sexes. What is rare is also valuable. For men to ignore the possibility of finding real friendship with women is foolish in the extreme.

If an increasing number of men take this path through life and end up identifying as ‘women’ (perhaps due to our ‘new understanding’ of gender) it will increase the proportion of male people entering female spaces. This will cause the female energy to be swamped by the male — and the space itself will feel different. 

It may be that many young women have simply never experienced that female vibe. They don’t know it, they don’t miss it, and they do not understand its importance to women — and of not allowing its disruption by males. 

Perhaps in the past, transwomen could enter women’s spaces with only minor effects on the energy — due to their tiny numbers. But as the numbers increase, so do the disruptive effects — the tipping point is reached quickly, and the energy becomes masculine. Something important has been lost, and the women do not feel safe. When they object, they are expected to explain the problem logically. But what if it goes deeper than logic; what if it’s something animal — like pheromones? What if it’s just how nature works, and there’s nothing anyone can do about it? What if female-dominated spaces are key to a healthy society? Is it bigotry to defend them, or just wisdom? And do men also need single-sex spaces, where they can discuss masculinity — free from judgement, and free from the distractions of women? Is this something men want? Maybe not. The idea of it scares me. I am not good with men. I suspect a lot of us feel the same way. We don’t want to talk about masculinity — and certainly not with men! Men are weird. I fear they would not understand. 

Some fears seem too hard to face. Perhaps facing them is necessary.

By eight o’clock, after a few drinks and plenty of conversation, we were exhausted. It had been a long day, full of emotions, and despite the wonderful vibes we were in need of escape from the crowd, and a return to introversion. There were many more people I could (and perhaps should) have spoken to, but I was burned out on social contact, and getting twitchy. I’m no good when I’m twitchy.  Filled with love for women, and determined to keep fighting for their rights, we said our goodbyes and left to catch the train.

Since that meeting, several Labour leadership candidates have repeatedly endorsed the idea that WPUK is a hate group, dedicated to harming the rights of trans people. Nothing could be further from the truth. WPUK campaigns for the rights of women and girls. Where there is tension between those rights and the rights of trans people, WPUK seeks dialogue with a view to resolving the difficulties. By opposing women’s rights, the Party undermines the very principles it claims to uphold, and ensures its own destruction. They are making a terrible, stupid mistake. I will never forgive them.

Exploring My Gender

[Originally posted on Twitter, 15 June 2018 – slightly edited]

Clearly, my comments over the last few days, on the subject of radical feminists and trans people, have deeply hurt several people I know personally, who identify as trans, and who I regard as friends.

That’s the reality, and I have to face it.

I owe it to my friends to listen, and try to understand what they are saying to me.

I don’t have to agree with them, but I should do all I can to see things from their perspective.

This is an important principle of friendship.

The hurt I have caused seems, at root, to derive from a difference of opinion about the definition of the word ‘woman’.

I have been encouraged to adopt the following definition: ‘a woman is a person who says they are a woman’.

I have rejected that definition repeatedly.

In view of the hurt I have caused, I am seriously reconsidering this position.

This has nothing to do with any arguments that have been put forward. But when your friends reject you, it’s a clear sign that something has gone wrong.

Up till now, I have always considered myself a male human, and have, as a matter of convention, accepted the label ‘man’. For the most part, I have done this unthinkingly.

This is problematic.

I must try to see things from a different perspective.

I have decided, therefore, to accept this definition of the word ‘woman’: 

‘a woman is a person who says they are a woman’

This, I have decided, is the correct definition.

Accepting this definition opens up a world of new possibilities for me.

It’s liberating. But it’s also scary.

I find myself looking at my past experiences with a different eye now.

I had accepted the label ‘man’ without ever really thinking about what it means.

I realise now, that what made me a ‘man’, the only thing, is the very fact of my accepting this label.

I was a man, because I said I was a man. There was no real reason for it, other than that.

This much is now clear to me.

But, I wonder, am I truly a man? And why have I always accepted that label so unquestioningly? 

I thought being a man had something to do with being male, but I now realise that my so-called ‘maleness’ is without substance.

Could it be that I am not a man after all?

The fact of the matter is, I don’t know whether or not I am a man. I can’t know. I’ve never even thought about it. Not really. Not on a deep level.

I don’t know – that’s the fact. And I owe it to myself to explore my feelings on this matter with an open mind.

I recognise that this will be difficult.  If I do this, I realise I will be opening myself up to ridicule, social ostracism, and possibly violence.

Am I prepared to take these risks?

But I owe it to myself. I must be brave. I must not let the haters bring me down.

Now that I reflect upon my life, when I consider all my experiences and feelings, I’m confronted with an unassailable fact:

I have a great deal in common with trans people.

I was bullied extensively as a child.

I was bullied for being fat.

I was bullied for being a paki.

I was bullied for liking books.

I was bullied for doing well at school.

I was bullied for being gay, and for while I thought maybe I was gay.

I have always preferred the company of women.

I was even accepted, or felt accepted, into a circle of friends in which, when we got together, I was the only man. In a sense, I was an honorary woman. 

This was a situation with which I was very comfortable.

I have never felt comfortable in my own skin. To this day, I am uncomfortable around cameras, and I prefer not to look in mirrors.

When I do catch myself in a mirror, I often wonder – is that really me? I find it hard to believe that it is. 

I really don’t like what I see.

People are always surprised when I tell them this. They start complimenting the way I look.

But it never makes any difference. I simply don’t believe what people say. 

I don’t think they’re lying, exactly. Just wrong.

The more I stare in the mirror, the less I recognise the person looking back at me. The more I examine my genitals, the more they disgust me. 

I suffer from depression, social anxiety, isolation. Though I have friends, I often feel lonely.

Could this be gender dysphoria?

Of course, I am not a medical professional, but thanks to the internet it is easy to come to a tentative diagnosis: Yes, I do have gender dysphoria.

It is therefore possible that I am not a man. I might not be a woman though. It’s hard to say. 

But genderqueer? Absolutely.

It is hard for me to accept that I am genderqueer. I can feel my mind trying to resist the truth about who I am.

I must break free from these shackles of the mind, and embrace my true identity.

But the fact is, I’m scared.

I have never discussed this with my family or friends. How could I? I have only just found out what I am.

I dread to think how my girlfriend will react. My girlfriend is a terf. She will not understand.

I’m afraid people will say I am a pervert. But I am not a pervert – I am completely harmless.

I am genderqueer, and there’s nothing wrong with that. 

It’s not me that has a problem, it’s society.

The greatest horror of all this is also the greatest irony: I am well aware that some people will think this is all a big joke. That I am just laughing at gender non-conforming people. That this whole thread is mean-spirited, or even cruel.

But it’s not a joke. I don’t see how anyone could regard this situation as even slightly comical. To be frank, I find the very idea deeply insulting.

This is what we face, every day.

The ridicule. 

The taunts. 

The hate. 

The denial of our very existence. The complete lack of human compassion.

The disregard and erasure of our own lived experience.

I can see now why terf rhetoric is so very very dangerous.

Well, there’s a surprise. My girlfriend has just seen this thread and tried to start a ‘conversation’. 

But I’m not ready for that. I’m still sorting out my thoughts. I told her to go away, and thank fuck she did. 

I am literally shaking right now.

I will deal with my girlfriend later. So far, we have always had a ‘good relationship’. I would like that to continue.

But honestly? I don’t know.

Right now, I have to think about myself. It’s okay to put yourself first sometimes. 

It really is.

It’s okay.

I need a fucking ice-cream.

Is that okay?

Yes.

Yes it is.

I have obtained ice-cream.

Win!

Genderqueer. 

But that’s a cop-out, isn’t it? Genderqueer is an umbrella term for any gender non-conforming person. That’s pretty vague.

Genderqueer. It says very little about who I am. It’s barely an identity at all.

Let’s see if I can be more specific.

We can start with the easy stuff:

I am (almost???) exclusively attracted to women. This includes some trans women. I like them ‘feminine’, but I tend to adhere to a somewhat non-stereotypical view of femininity – it’s very nuanced for me.

But I’m not gay or anything.

So I’m not gay. 

I’d always assumed I was heterosexual, or at worst only slightly bi. But all that assumes I’m a man. Since it’s possible I’m not a man, I might not be heterosexual.

I might be a woman. A lesbian, in fact. That makes sense, too; I’ve always liked lesbians.

Okay. I am now open to the possibility that I might be a woman.

But am I a woman? How can I tell?

Well, what about my personality? Jordan Peterson says men and women have different personalities. So let’s look at Wikipedia:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sex_differences_in_psychology#Personality_traits

Wikipedia says ‘women consistently report higher Neuroticism, agreeableness, warmth (an extraversion facet) and openness to feelings, and men often report higher assertiveness (a facet of extraversion) and openness to ideas’.

So those are the facts.

My female traits: Definitely neurotic – I’ve been told this by women, in fact, and they should know. I’m usually agreeable, so that’s a slight plus. I can be warm, but I’m a total introvert and I have to be honest so I’ll call that neutral. I’m very open to feelings though.

My male traits: Assertiveness? No way! I was bullied at school and I’m generally a very quiet and softly spoken person and I’m always in danger of getting pushed around. Also it’s extraversion, so a definite no. But I’ll admit I’m totally open to ideas. To a fault, even.

So…

Yeah, that’s interesting. I definitely have more female traits than male ones. 

Plus I’ve always thought of myself as a feminist. Radical, even!

So obviously on the gender spectrum I must be closer to a woman than a man.

So that’s personality covered. 

But there’s more to a woman than that. Isn’t there?

I mean, not clothes or hair, or makeup, cos it’s sexist to say those things are what make a women. Why *should* women be forced to make themselves pretty for men? 

As a feminist, I reject that.

And obviously it has nothing to do with vaginas or whatever, because that’s cis-sexist and anti-science. I admit I used to think that way myself, but then I did some education and got woke.

Scientists reckon it has something to do with patterns of activity in the brain. I mean, it’s not the *actual brain* that matters – that would be sexist. 

It’s more about what the brain *does*; how it processes information. Men and women are very different that way.

But obviously I don’t have access to an MRI, so I can’t check my brain activity to find out if I’m a woman or not, or (I suppose) to what *extent* I’m a woman.

So that doesn’t help me at all.

What else is there?

What I hear from a lot of trans women is they say they ‘feel like a woman’. So that’s obviously an important part of it.

So do I feel like a woman?

Honestly, it’s hard to be sure. But I will say that when I really think about it, when I search my soul… in all honesty I can’t say I feel like a man. And I’d go further – if I’m *really* honest, I have no idea what it feels like to be a man. When I ask myself, nothing comes.

I mean, literally.

I’ve got *nothing*.

The truth is, I don’t feel like a man at all. I don’t even know what one is, really. If I’m honest, I mean.

But maybe that’s *exactly* what it’s like to feel like a woman? Not feeling like a man, I mean.

No, it can’t be just that. There must be something it is like to be a woman. It must be a thing. 

But how can I tell if I’m really feeling that thing? Or not?

I’ve read lots of books written by women, and I even enjoyed them. I thought they were good. I easily related to the main character even if they were female, which obviously is what women writers usually do. Or sometimes it’s a cat. Or a womble, sometimes.

In fact, when I was a kid, my favourite writer (one of them!) was Astrid Lindgren, who wrote the Pippi Longstocking books.

Pippi was a tomboy, I guess. She was super strong and went on adventures. I really related to Pippi, and wanted to be like her.

I mean, I really loved those Pippi books. I read them over and over again. 

My elder brother, who I’d say is just a straight cis-man, actually bullied me about this!

Typical.

But I have no problem with women authors. Sure, there are some books I didn’t get on with – Jane Eyre, for example, which I threw across the room when she capitulated to that awful sexist bloke! 

I just couldn’t take it anymore.

Was that supposed to be romantic? Ugh.

I mean, seriously.

So I have no problem relating to female characters at all.

Plus I’m a feminist, obviously.

I definitely relate to women really well – like, I understand them. No problem there!

But I can’t say the same about men. Frankly, they do my fucking head in. Men are more sexist than you can possibly imagine.

I mean not *all* men. But most.

See, men aren’t just sexist on the surface. It runs deep through the fibre of their beings; it’s the air they breathe, the water they swim in. 

They absorb sexism from our culture like little misogynist sponges. They suck that shit in till it fills them to the very brim.

I mean, not all men – everyone understands that. Even feminists!

Like, I’ve never been sexist at all. I’m sure someone would’ve told me if I was. I can’t remember a single incident.

But then, on the gender spectrum, I’m much closer to a woman than a man. 

So that makes sense.

Overall then, I think it’s fair to say I’m more likely a woman than a man. Or at least, I’m somewhere on that side of the spectrum.

I probably am a woman. Trans, obviously. But a woman.

I’m still attracted to women. 

So I’m a trans lesbian! How exciting!

So what should I do about pronouns now? This is a tough question, if I’m honest. 

I guess he/him/his is okay for now. I feel a bit strange about going directly to she/her/hers.

After all, I don’t want to make this difficult for anyone.

It’s something to think about. But I’ve always had a soft spot for per/per/pers, like in Woman At the Edge of Time?

But I haven’t seen that used very much so maybe it’s not cool – more research needed!

Okay, enough.

That was so exhausting for me!

Woo.

I think my girlfriend has been cooking, which is great because I’m getting hungry. I don’t know what it is, but it smells great!

I suppose she’ll want to have that ‘conversation’ now…

So, am I a woman? What was the definition again? Oh, yes:

‘a woman is a person who says they are a woman’

That’s pretty clear – I have to actually *say* it. 

Am I ready for that?

I mean, I sort of implied already that I’m a woman – but that’s not the same thing.

The rule is, you have to say it *out loud*. 

You have to actually say it.

But if I have to be honest… the truth is I’m not ready to say it. I’m not ready to be a woman.

And I haven’t said it.

Not yet.

So I’m still not a woman.

I mean, for fuck’s sake, people.

Get a grip.

Cults, Deception and the Woke Left

This is an essay about cults.

It’s a very long essay and rather eclectic, with many links to further reading that seems relevant – if sometimes obliquely. All resources are public. I’m not an expert on cults, so please do check out some of those links. 

Screenshots of tweets are included in case the tweets themselves disappear. Please do not harass any of the tweeters! 

And now – on with the show…

Many people have claimed that ‘transgenderism’ is a cult.

Thread about transgenderism as a cult

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Others have claimed that ‘terfism’ (or ‘the gender critical movement’) is a cult.

Roz Kaveny argues that ‘radical feminists are acting like a cult’.

NotCursedE claims that ‘terfs’ are a cult.

Some say that in the end TransRational became a cult. It’s easy to make these claims, but what do they mean?

What is a cult? Are you in one? Am I? How would we know if we were?

These seem like questions worth investigating.

But first, I’ll admit my bias – I think the gender critical movement is much less cult-like than transgenderism. But some of the links I include will argue otherwise. Those bits are important – especially for those who don’t want to be part of a cult.

(I will explain later what I mean by both ‘the gender critical movement’ and ‘transgenderism’.)

Much of the following is taken directly from this talk by Margaret Singer: 

What Is A Cult and How Does It Work?

An alternative way of thinking about cults is provided by @CultExpert Steven Hassan’s BITE (Behavior, Information, Thought, and Emotional control) Model. In places, I will draw from that too. I recommend a visit to Hassan’s website for more info.

https://freedomofmind.com/bite-model/

There are also Robert Jay Lifton’s 8 Criteria for Thought Reform. This brilliant series of essays by a desister explores the cultic nature of transgenderism from that perspective. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

https://newthoughtcrime.com

These other models are broadly compatible with Margaret Singer’s work. You can find a collection of her writings about cults on this webpage: 

http://www.prem-rawat-bio.org/academic/singer.html

 

What is a Cult?

Cults are typically started by an individual: the Leader. Whereas most recognised religions venerate God or some abstract principle, cults venerate the Leader. 

What makes an organisation a cult is the relationship between the Leader (or the Management) and the follower. 

In a Cultic Relationship, members hand over decision making power to the Leader. They are promised that in return they will gain secret knowledge. 

Cults are totalistic. There is a rule for everything

Cults are totalitarian. The cult Leader makes the rules

Cults are non-altruistic. The Leader will pretend he is helping the members with their personal development, but their primary purpose is to benefit the Leader.

Cults have a double set of ethics. For example, they must tell the truth to insiders, but it’s okay to lie to outsiders (eg sinners or bigots)

Cults are elitist. They believe that the members are special, above non-members, and therefore the double ethics are okay.

Cult recruitment is deceptive. Recruits may not know what the group is, or what joining it will mean in the long run.

As society changes, manipulative people  – who are always present – take advantage of instabilities. They figure out from bigger cults how it’s done, and start their own. The target group for recruitment varies. 

The earliest cults were youth cults.

Outbreak: On Transgender Teens and Psychic Epidemics

Cults can be formed around *any* content. The themes are ever-changing – cults can be formed around health fads, outer space, flying saucers – there are even horse cults! 

The Art of Deception: UFO Cults and Their Influence in America

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“In addition to religious cults, there are psychotherapy cults, political cults, commercial cults, terrorist organizations, and trafficking rings…”

Hassan’s BITE Model applied to Undue Influence in Trafficking and Terrorism

 “…There are also personality cults, particularly if one person exerts undue influence over another (or a small group of people, such as in a family)…” 

“…There are groups which combine all or some of these elements, especially when the group is large and has a variety of “fronts” or other entities.”

https://freedomofmind.com/cult-mind-control/

When people talk about cults, they often talk about ‘brainwashing’ and ‘mind control’. When we hear these words, we tend to think of unthinking zombies, blindly carrying out their Master’s will. This is a silly idea, and very misleading.  

Thread: A tale of induction into a psychotherapeutic cult

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A better, less dramatic, term for ‘brainwashing’ would be ‘thought reform’. We’ll come to that later. A better term for ‘mind control’ would be ’undue influence’.

 

Undue (or Coercive) Influence / “Mind Control”

Unorthodox beliefs alone do not make a cult. Instead, you have to look at the specific behaviours and styles of influence used within the group.

Going undercover with a cult infiltrator.

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‘Influence’ in this context means persuasion – particularly, the use of persuasive techniques. These are the tools of the salesman, the teacher, the con artist, the magician, the storyteller, the politician, the guru, the hypnotist, the raconteur, and the cult Leader. 

There’s nothing secret or mysterious about most of these techniques. Many of them involve nothing more than the skilled use of language.

Video: the role of language and confusion in cult mind control (Hassan)

The purpose of language is twofold. Internal language is for thinking – the persuasion and influence of the self. This – not ‘communication’ – is its primary purpose.

Noam Chomsky on Mind & Language

Externalised language – speech, writing, or sign language – is for the persuasion and influence of others. Language is an important tool of persuasion. Some words, and in particular, some ways of using them, are more persuasive than others. 

Right now, I’m trying to persuade you of something. So watch out!

There are many books on the subject of influence and persuasion. The techniques can be studied. They can learned, and put to use. They can be used for good, for ill, or just for fun. 

We are all susceptible to these techniques. If we weren’t, we wouldn’t be human – arguably, our ability and our susceptibility to influence is the key to our success as a species! Influence, clearly, is nothing to be scared of.

But what about ‘undue influence’?

Influence can be thought of as a continuum, ranging from benign to harmful – even malicious. 

https://freedomofmind.com/influence-continuum/

Here’s an explanation of undue influence as it relates to cults:

“Undue influence is any act of persuasion that overcomes the free will and judgment of another person. People can be unduly influenced by deception, flattery, trickery, coercion, hypnosis, and other techniques.”

https://freedomofmind.com/cult-mind-control/

‘Undue influence’ is closely related to ‘coercive control’ (‘Undue influence’ is sometimes called ‘coercive influence’):

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abusive_power_and_control

Why do people fall prey to undue influence?

Are they stupid? Uneducated? Weak-willed?

Not at all.

We tend to believe that what people do reflects who they are. In social psychology this is known as The Fundamental Attribution Error: when explaining human behaviour we tend to overestimate the role of personal characteristics as opposed to external factors. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fundamental_attribution_error

In the context of undue influence or coercive control, this is a form of victim blaming. 

After all – how would you know if you were under ‘undue influence’ or ‘mind control’?

You probably wouldn’t.

Video: GNC Centric: My Journey into online kink as a trans teen

So that’s ‘mind control’. What about ‘brainwashing’?

 

Thought Reform / Brainwashing”

A Thought Reform Programme is a coordinated programme of undue influence and behaviour control, designed to make recruits put aside their old values and do what the cult Leader – or the ‘Management’ – wants.

Thought Reform Exists: Organised, Programmatic Influence (Singer)

‘Brainwashing’ does *not* create mindless robots. The recruit is unaware of any agenda to reform their thoughts and behaviour.

Recruits make their own decisions, but they do so in the context of a reward / punishment system set up by the Management. 

6 Conditions for a Though Reform Environment

1) Deception – Keep the subject unaware of the hidden agenda

2) Destabilisation – Control the subject’s physical environment and ‘thinking time’.

3) Dependency and Dread – Create a sense of powerlessness, anxiety and fear

4) Disconnection – Suppress the old behaviour and attitudes

5) Developing the Cult Pseudopersonality – Elicit new behaviour and attitudes

6) Denial and Dedication – Maintain a closed system of logic and restrict criticism.

 

1) Deception

Deceptive recruitment 

There’s no special “type” who gets into a cult. It’s *not* just stupid or weird people; it can be anyone who is approached by a recruiter at a vulnerable time in their life; anyone trusting or open who accepts a kind offer from a stranger. 

Recruiters never tell people the downsides, otherwise nobody would ever join.

Video: GNC Centric: Double Standards in Adult Reactions to Gay & Les Kids vs Trans Kids

Medical professionals often recruit people into cults. This is extremely unethical as they already have great power over the patient. 

Singer on Psychotherapeutic Cults

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Recruiters may use a different name to provide a cover of innocence. The recruit may be invited to dinner, a lecture, or some other event, without knowing it’s a cult front.

An open letter to Dr Polly Carmichael from a former GIDS clinician

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Recruiters will never try to argue anyone into a cult; instead they use soft sell techniques. Sugar and honey always works better than an iron fist. So the biggest deceptions, and the most powerful thought reform programs are always done this way.

Video: GNC Centric: Online Relationships from my Teen Years

There is a very organised, step-by-step program of recruitment.

It often starts with Love Bombing:

“Oh, what a bright and interesting person you are! Are you local? No? Oh, how interesting, you must come to this party with me! All my friends are really cool – you’ll fit in great!”

What is love bombing? 

If you’re feeling lonely, this may be enough for them to get their hooks in; we’re all vulnerable to flattery and false promises.

This is a thread about Lupron, a “puberty blocker” often given to gender non-conforming children:

Soon you get to the cult’s facility, where they’re selling something, such as a programme of ‘courses’. The first course is very cheap, often free! But this is the first step toward getting sucked in. 

 

2) Destabilisation

Get control of the recruit’s thinking time

Keep the recruit busy; split them from friends and family so they become dependent on the group, and have no meaningful relationship with outsiders. 

Eventually the recruit will become so dependent that there’s nothing left of their former life to go back to.

Hypnotism and Reduction of Critical Thinking

Hypnosis can be done very simply. You make your voice more chanty, watch the subject’s breathing, and pace your phrasing to put them into a light trance. 

Wikipedia article (section) about trance induction

Then you use guided imagery – a parable with repeating phrases, told in a soothing, rhythmic way. This gets the attention highly focused. The subject puts their trust in the speaker and becomes suggestible, with no critical thoughts or judgement.

Only the words and imagery is kept in focus. Then the sermon will have more impact, and the subject is more likely to absorb them into their thinking.

31 Hypnosis Techniques

 

Meditation and the Reduction of Critical Thinking

Many cults use mantras / empty mind meditation. This allows them to sell meditation courses. The first ‘course’ is easy and fun. The recruit then moves on to longer, more intense variations. 

The effects can be disastrous. Some ex-members find it hard to maintain continuous thinking / processing of information – eg they may find it hard to read a book or follow an argument. 

The meditational state may intrude into their volitional behaviour – so they may suddenly forget where they are and what they’re doing.

Thought Reform Programs and the Production of Psychiatric Casualties.

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3) Dependency and Dread

Reframing / Euphemistic Framing

The Management takes a normal experience or feeling, gives it a special name, and uses it to prove their point, or to show they have magical abilities. 

This makes their message seem more believable and scares the followers into following orders. 

Reframing of natural events can be used to intimidate members into obedience. “Follow the rules, and nothing bad will happen – but if you don’t…”

 

Reframing hyperventilation as a ‘magic power’

Many cults use prolonged chanting or “speaking in tongues”. This produces hyperventilation.

Hyperventilation raises the pH of the blood; extremities (fingers, toes, lips) begin to tingle, and the subject feels giddy. 

The Management often reframe this as a ‘magic state’. 

Many people continue to have episodes of hyperventilation after leaving a cult; they may go to the emergency room where they are given a brown paper bag to breath into.

 

Intimidating Members by “Superhuman” Knowledge, Spying and Guilt Induction

The Management operates a spy network, in which Members tattle on each other to get in their good graces. 

Thread: ”Is J.K. Rowling a terf?”

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The Management hears about private conversations through the spy network, and may pretend to have gained knowledge through supernatural means. (eg “X has been thinking lecherous thoughts about Y”.)

The Management can induce guilt by almost *any* means possible. They can turn the power of the entire group against a single person. This is very rare outside cults (it would be like a teacher getting the whole class to point at one individual and chant, “Sinner! Sinner!”)

TRASHING: The Dark Side of Sisterhood by Joreen

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Eventually members get to feel guilty even for *thinking thoughts*.  So gradually the member suppresses all critical thinking about the Management.

Video: GNC Centric: Social Media: from Transitioning with Queer Cult Twitter to GC Tumblr

 

Creating Fear of the Outside World and dependency on the group

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collective_narcissism

The Management gain a heady power by having people pay attention only to them. To maintain this they will denigrate the outside world; they tell followers that leaving the group will cause a disaster – cancer, hell, bad karma etc; the message is – do not affiliate with the outside world!

Claims of harassment and doxxing of transgender community by ‘terfs’, and fear for the future of a secret scrambled egg recipe

Cults will often invent an enemy – either the entire outside world, or specific targets. 

Anti-Trans “Feminists” Converted My Friend

It’s Them (the sinners / lunatics / terfs) against Us (the pious / sane / woke). This leads to tighter bonding within the group.

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Sex Essentialist Violence And Radical Inclusion: An Interview With Sandy Stone

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4) Disconnection

Management must suppress the recruit’s old behaviour via reward / punishment experiences in order to install new behaviour.

Names are often changed. This creates a split from the past and is the first step towards creating a cult pseudo-identity.

The cult has its own lingo / jargon. This gives the impression that this is a special group with special knowledge and a certain culture. It also helps separate from their family and friends.

Article on the evils of the cis

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Language is used very differently inside the cult, and members have to translate their thoughts into normal English to speak with outsiders. 

Cambridge University Students Union Guide on ‘How to Spot terf Ideology’

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Cult lingo fractures normal, sequential, reflective thinking. Cult members often talk in abstract jargon without clear meaning, but act as if they understand each other. 

 

We all think of ourselves as “civilised” people who should be able to follow what’s being said — and if we can’t, it’s our fault. So when faced with this jargon we turn inward, looking for the meaning in abstract phrases. This assists with trance induction.

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In many groups, the Management speaks in imagery and allegory, describing the outer world as satanic or unenlightened. This is another way of stopping reflective thinking.

Thread: Trans women get periods too!

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The more he speaks in globalities, the less the followers can think critically. Soon, they’re trained like dogs. He uses charged words like ‘Satan’ etc, and everybody knows how to respond.

NYT on ‘How British Feminism Became Anti-Trans’

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Denigration, ridicule and humiliation:

The group is the member’s new family. The Management is far above the lowly followers, whose status depends on their approval. If the Management humiliates them, they will work to get back in his good graces. 

Attacks on Peripheral Vs Central Elements of Self and the Impact of Thought Reforming Techniques:

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Confessions:

Confessions allow the Management to learn what followers feel guilty about, or proud of. This is used to enhance guilt or to break the spirit. It’s also important to get followers to confess that they want to get in with the group. 

Some groups keep files of information on their members, which can be used to manipulate them.

Thread: Confessions, reframing, reality denial

Some groups give great praise to members who break down and cry during confessions. In psychotherapeutic groups, they’ll say things like, “Finally you’re breaking down the barriers! Insight! Primal Pain!”

Thread: I just want to say I’m proud of my husband today

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What this means is “Now at last you’re behaving how we want you to behave!”

Thread: ‘Trans women have so much compassion for our men’

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5) Developing the Cult Pseudopersonality

When a friend or family member of a cult recruit says, “She doesn’t seem like her old self,” they’re reacting to behaviour elicited by the cult, that is displayed in social circumstances that call for it. 

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This learned behaviour will wither if they are away from the cult long enough because it is a superimposed identity, a pseudopersonality. 

Undue influence used by terrorist cults and traffickers to induce trauma and create false identities

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Revising Personal History

Recruits are subtly (not openly / explicitly) urged to revise their personal history. The Management wants to show newcomers that members used to be terrible people until they were saved by the cult. 

So members will get up and confess to hideous crimes that never happened.

How the psychiatric profession plus the internet may create new body-imaging disorders

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Some groups do ‘Past Lives’ work; they recount these past lives in great detail. People come to believe that they really were monstrous people in past lives. 

The Past Lives Recruiter/Trainer is adept at using language to trance members out and produce strong visual imagery about past lives. The Trainer may have recruits go over and over the time “when you tore heads off of babies” etc. 

But these are pseudomemories / confabulations – they never happened, but were generated by the Trainer by the power of words.

Children Misled At Gender Clinic – Accounts from ex GIDS staff

 

Desensitisation – Dimming the Conscience

In a cult, recruits see things done, and do things that are against their consciences but they become desensitised. (eg children beaten, threats, intimidation, etc)

Facebook moderators embrace fringe views after being exposed to conspiracy theories at work

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Street recruiters may lie to the public about the purpose of their fund raising etc – they may say it’s to fund a rehab centre they know they don’t have. 

They view the Management as all-powerful and the cult as an elite, while outsiders are lesser beings – so it’s okay to lie to them or do terrible things to the bad guys. 

Video: Transactivist bullies threaten to beat up Laci Green in a parking lot

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When they leave, many former members have unending guilt about their actions and wonder how they were able to put their conscience in the ‘deep freeze’ like that.

Reddit: Neovagina Disasters

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6) Denial and Dedication

In a democracy, the many factions take turns to run things. This is not allowed in a cult.

Cults are totalitarian and autocratic. Factions are not tolerated as this will split the cult if they’re allowed to grow. 

The cult tries to break any bonding between the individual members and restrict all bonding only to the Management. 

Gender Critical Feminism Is Garbage

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Cults often get recruits to engage in bizarre behaviour – such as climbing a mountain late at night to contact aliens. The mere fact of doing this will make them believe more passionately in the reason for doing it – and less likely to back down.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_dissonance

In a cult, criticism is severely restricted. Members cannot complain to Management; it’s a closed system – the managers are right and you are wrong.

The Third Wave “Dream Girl” Begs To Be Broken

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In some cults the Management says “You must learn to obey.” Obedience is gradually learned, until eventually the Management says, “Even if I say 2+2=5, you must say 2+2=5”

Horrifying article about hatred of women in the porn industry

 

Reframing Failed Prophecies to Maintain the Authority of the Management

Often the Management pushes the prophecies further ahead in time and blames the followers for the fact that the prophecy did not come true. 

They weren’t praying hard enough, their chores were not done properly – it’s always the fault of the followers.

Jessica Yaniv accused of trying to share child porn, sexual harassment of minors

 

Conclusions

So which is more cult-like? The gender critical movement? or transgenderism?

Benjamin Boyce: Is Evergreen a Cult?

 

What is a Cult? Recap

Cults are typically started by an individual – the Leader. 

Cults venerate the Leader. 

Cult members give decision making power to the Leader, in return for secret knowledge. 

Cults are totalistic. There is a rule for everything

Cults are totalitarian. The cult Leader makes the rules

Cults are non-altruistic. Their primary purpose is to benefit the Leader

Cults have a double set of ethics. One set for insiders, another for outsider

Cults are elitist. They believe that the members are special.

Cult recruitment is deceptive. Recruits don’t know what joining the group will mean in the long run.

Cults can be formed around *any* content.

Based on this, transgenderism (or so-called ‘woke feminism’) cannot reasonably be described as a cult. But neither can the gender critical movement (or ‘terfism’). 

In neither case is there any clear Leader (or Leadership group) to whom allegiance must be pledged, who makes all the rules, reaps all the benefits, and must be venerated. 

Some of the other points are debatable – for example, some might argue that transgenderism venerates and benefits autogynephilic MtF transsexuals above all other groups. 

Or that the GC movement has one set of ethics for women, and another for men. Perhaps both groups have some cult-like elements – but they are not actual cults.

As for TransRational, it’s hard to be certain as its inner workings are opaque to outsiders. I have been an outsider for several months, but from what I’ve heard it moved in a distinctly cult-like direction during that time.

Despite rumours of that organisation’s demise, I fully expect that its Leader – the hapless narcissist Kinesis – will soon return to enact some misguided ‘revenge’ against the legion of imaginary ‘enemies’ who, bit by bit, exposed Kinesis as a twat. 

Love Bombing: A Narcissist’s Secret Weapon

 

What is Thought Reform? Recap

Thought reform is a coordinated programme of undue influence and behaviour control.

The cult recruit is taken through the thought reform process step by step. 

They are unaware.

The old behaviour is gradually pushed out, and the new one brought in.

There is a system of punishment and reward to police the recruit’s behaviour. 

No complaining is allowed.

 

6 Conditions for a Thought Reform Environment

1) Deception – Keep the subject unaware of the hidden agenda

2) Destabilisation – Control the subject’s physical environment and ‘thinking time’.

3) Dependency and Dread – Create a sense of powerlessness, anxiety and fear

4) Disconnection – Suppress the old behaviour and attitudes

5) Developing the Cult Pseudopersonality – Elicit new behaviour and attitudes

6) Denial and Dedication – Maintain a closed system of logic and restrict criticism.

These conditions are not present in the gender critical movement. In fact, the gender critical movement is an uneasy, informal, and often ill-advised alliance between many different groups who oppose transgenderism, sometimes for completely different reasons. 

Some of these groups are, if anything, anti-feminist. There is frequent disagreement not only between the different groups, but also within them. Many of these disagreements cannot be resolved. 

The movement as a whole has no manifesto beyond the following:

1) Humans are a sexually dimorphic species

2) Humans cannot change sex

3) Female humans sometimes need to be segregated from male humans.

The feminist section of the movement (which is the majority) would also agree that:

4) In human society, male humans are in a dominant position over female humans. 

5) This is neither necessary nor desirable. 

6) The situation can be changed, and we should work to change it.

This is basic feminism. It is *not* radical feminism!

Here’s an article about what radical feminism is, and what it isn’t – no doubt some radical feminists will disagree with some of this, but it’s interesting all the same:

Who’s a Radical Feminist? by Sekhmet She Owl

The gender critical movement is a mess. A glorious mess, sometimes. But it is not a cult. And it does not create the conditions for thought reform.

Transgenderism is different. 

Not all trans people are transgenderists. And not all transgenderists are trans people – in fact, most are not. Transgenderism is a separate thing from whatever it means to be trans. Transgenderism is not a state of being. It’s a political movement. 

The transgender manifesto is very simple. It consists of two simple axioms:

1) Trans women are women.

2) Sex work is work.

These axioms are not open to debate. They are taken as true. All the rest of transgenderism follows from these axioms. The axioms are used to justify the denial of reality, and all the twisted logic and pseudoscience with which we are familiar.

If empirical observations contradict these axioms, then the observations must be invalid, and elaborate conceptual models must be invented to explain why this is so. This is the key to understanding transgenderism.

For instance:

Trans women are women. So they must be like other women; they must be women for the same reason women are women. Since trans women and women are biologically different, the differences must be irrelevant. This is a scientific fact because trans women are women. 

But surely both kinds of women must have something in common! There must be some mysterious essence of womanhood – call it ‘gender identity’. 

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This essence is as-yet undetectable by any instrument, yet it is not imaginary or a mental construct of any kind, because it is real. Gender identity must be real because it is a scientific fact that trans women are women, even if science cannot explain why this is so. 

We are doing science here, and science deals with reality, so gender identity is a scientific concept which means it is real. So gender identity must be innate to all humans because otherwise it would be sexist, and sexism is bad so it can’t be sexist. 

This proves that all humans are born with this essence we call ‘gender identity’, including trans women. And trans men, too! This means there must be trans children, that those children are suffering, and that society must intervene. 

We must find out which children are trans, and help them to transition. But how will we know which children are trans? We’ll have to ask them! But to answer the question the children must first understand the concept of gender identity. 

Therefore, we must teach children that trans women are women. And sex work is work. 

On the delights of BDSM porn: Everybody Spanks: The Dangerous Ignorance Of The UK’s Sex Act Censorship

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I’ve given numerous examples of words and behaviour from transgenderists that appear very much as though they have been subjected to a thought reform programme. It’s easy to find many more.

We have the direct testimony of desisters, who describe their experiences within that environment. The individual descriptions have much in common, and the overall picture matches up very well with the six conditions described above.

Transgenderism is not so much an ideology as it is a thought reform programme – or rather, a component of one.

But it is not a cult. So where is this Thought Reform Programme coming from? What is its purpose? And who are the ‘managers’?

Perhaps we’re looking at the wrong cult. 

Sandy Stone and the influence of the Posttranssexual Manifesto

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Transgenderism is part of a larger movement called Transhumanism.

I’ve written about Transhumanism before

So have many others:

A thread about two movements, transgender and transhumanism, by Malcolm Clark

This is a great thread on the ‘work’ of Martine Rothblatt, the founder of the Terasem Cult, written by Jane Clare Jones

Transhumanism fits the definition of a cult more closely. For example, it is much easier to identify specific individuals who are good candidates for the position of Transhumanist Cult Leader. And transhumanist cults do in fact exist:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terasem_Movement

The Leaders of these cults are are connected to other prominent transhumanists – some of whom (such as Nick Bostrom) masquerade successfully as ‘philosophers’:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humanity%2B

Jeffrey Epstein reportedly wanted to ‘seed the human race with his DNA’ as part of his fascination with transhumanism. He hoped that when he died  his head and penis could be cryogenically preserved for when he comes back to life in the future:

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And then there’s Zoltan Istvan, who heads a political movement in America that wants to make us all more than human.

But transhumanism is not the full story either.

Transhumanism can be mistaken for a form of radical progressivism; it promotes a vision of complete freedom from the limitations of gender, sex, and even biology. These ideas sit more naturally on the progressive / liberal left than on the conservative right. 

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By presenting their ideas as viable answers to the real issues faced, not only by trans people, but by society at large, the transhumanists have been able to rebrand Cyborg Feminism (aka ‘third wave antifeminism’) as simply ‘feminism’.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Cyborg_Manifesto

It’s worth thinking about the interaction between transhumanism, progressivism, liberalism, and the ‘left’ – particularly in the US, where the ‘left’ has completely lost its fucking mind. (The UK is not much better, but there are still pockets of sanity.)

Here, Bret Weinstein describes the thought reform environment at Evergreen State College in detail. Here, the focus is not transgenderism, but race:

How the Magic Trick is Done

More details of this madness can be found in this excellent three-part documentary:

Bret Weinstein, Heather Heying & the Evergreen Equity Council (Part 1)

Benjamin Boyce has also covered this topic extensively, for example here:

The Complete Evergreen Story

 

The internal contradictions of modern ‘woke’ leftist thought are extreme – and many of them have nothing to do with transgenderism. There’s no way to resolve these contradictions without vigorous debate. But in a thought reform environment, no debate is allowed. 

Perhaps this is one reason why the ‘left’ has gone insane.

How Identity Corrupts Politics, with William Ray

 

Messengers Of Deception

So what do we do, if we want to help people exit from a cult? 

Margaret Singer – Leaving a Cult

Don’t tell them they’re stupid. Don’t tell them they’re in a cult. Don’t accuse or insult them. Don’t get angry. Instead, get curious. Ask kind, gentle questions. Bring up other cults as a matter of idle conversation and shake your head in disbelief – perhaps something will resonate with them.

Twitter is the wrong venue for any of this as it’s so confrontational. By arguing with people, we only entrench them further in their beliefs. The management *wants* us to argue with the recruits online. Our anger is being used to reinforce the programming. It aids our monstering. And it diverts us into ineffectual activities that mess with our minds.

Women do not have penises.

We’re allowing our opponents to monopolise our thinking time, rather than using it to develop effective counter strategies. We’re facing a highly intelligent and well-organised system. To undermine that system we must be clear about its nature. 

Many people have pointed out that ‘gender’ is the only axis of marginalisation into which the hated cishet white man can identity and thus claim the most ‘marginalised’ and therefore most elevated position in the new ‘woke’ order. 

Transgenderism is just one component of the Woke Thought Reform Programme. 

It’s a corruption of the original laudable goal of fighting discrimination against trans people. That cause has been hijacked – not by transsexuals, but by those who fear to lose the power they currently have. 

The ‘woke’ folk can’t cope with this; they can’t even see it – they’re too overcome by cognitive dissonance. They identify as the good guys, fighting oppression in all its forms – and they’ve invested so much time and energy into this identity that they can’t permit themselves to see the corruption of their movement. They’re being played for fools. We all are.

In some ways the smarter you are the easier it is to be fooled. Clever people are very good at the mental gymnastics necessary to believe in absurdities.

In his book Messengers Of Deception, Jacques Vallee warned of the inability of science to handle the irrational — he thought it was a great danger for society. And sure enough, we see exactly that — a societal inability to cope with the power of irrational beliefs — for example in transgenderism.

Paratopia was a podcast by two ‘experiencers of high strangeness’ – Jeremy Vaeni and Jeff Ritzmann (@jeremy_vaeni and @darth_jeffR) – on the subject of the paranormal — where they took the piss while trying to make sense of their own experiences. It was brilliant.

In one episode of Paratopia, a guest told the world of his encounter with the Toilet Elf. Much hilarity ensued. A tall tale, perhaps – but it appears that some people really do experience such strange phenomena. The experience is real to them — but does that mean the Toilet Elf truly exists? Not necessarily. And perhaps ‘gender identity’ is the same sort of thing. 

‘Transgenderism’ plays on the feelings and deepest desires of trans people, and recruits them into an effort to persuade society to accept its two fundamental axioms: trans women are women, and sex work is work. 

But this is just one component of the ‘woke’ thought-reform program, which aims to queer society to destroy and then rebuild it as a totalitarian system. But it’s all done with sugar and spice and all things nice – until you disagree with the management. Or, as I like to call them, The Great Penis Cult.

It’s a fiendishly clever plan. And it’s working.

But who on earth would believe that theory? Nobody, of course, except a conspiracy nut like myself.

So I look forward to being ridiculed mercilessly by men who think they’re lesbians.

What are TERFs?

[Originally posted on Twitter, 18 June 2018 – slightly edited]

I’m still waiting for someone, anyone, to offer a justification for ‘punching terfs’.

I still think there is no justification.

Is there really nobody out there who dares to correct this bigoted, cis-sexist opinion?

I do not *want* to be a ‘bigot’ – please help.

All I’m hearing is crickets.

And the wind outside blowing through the potato plants.

Occasionally, I hear goldfinches squabble as they queue at the bird feeder for sunflower seeds.

All is peaceful here.

It was about a week ago, I think that I first found out that some of my friends – the trans ones – were seriously advocating violence against some people who they called ‘terfs’.

These ‘terfs’ are almost always female women. They tend to be a little older and / or lesbians.

I’d kind of heard of ‘terfs’ before, and I’d heard they hated trans people. I disapproved of that.

But I’m against violence in general. I’d thought my trans friends were against it too. 

So I was very surprised to hear them advocating for it so stridently.

So I decided to find out more about ‘terfs’. Perhaps they were such truly awful people they could only be opposed by violence?

Perhaps terfs were an evil terrorist group – a sort of feminist ISIS?

I didn’t know much about trans people, either. So I began to educate myself.

Shortly before this, I had spend a week cat-sitting. During that time, I tried to educate myself about the manosphere, particularly the incel subculture.

That was a deeply unpleasant experience. But it was also quite fascinating.

I may return to that subject  later.

Back to terfs – one of my trans friends, a female non-binary person and writer of great talent, told me that ‘terf rhetoric’ was so toxic and damaging to trans people, and caused them such distress, that it often drove them to self-hatred, self-harm, and suicide.

Therefore, she explained, ‘terf rhetoric’ constituted violence against trans people. For this reason, it was morally correct to advocate actual physical violence against ’terfs’.

This justification did not convince me, and i said so.

This made her very angry.

She informed me I was ignorant, and advised me to educate myself on the subject.

I asked if she could point me in the right direction, so I could begin this necessary process of education.

She mumbled about unspecified ‘scientific journals’ and suggested I search the internet.

So I searched the internet.

I found out that ‘terf rhetoric’ amounts to no more than an insistence that there are deep biological differences between ‘men’ and ‘women’.

Many trans folk believe this view is outdated and transphobic. It upsets them, and they refuse to accept it.

I’ve looked into this quite carefully now, and this business of ‘biological reality’ seems to be the sticking point.

Trans folks (or I should say, ’trans activists’ as there is a difference) have come up with a long list of reasons why biology can never determine whether a person is a ‘man’, a ‘woman’ or something else.

Every single one of these explanations strikes me as utterly ridiculous.

These ‘explanations’ tend to be complicated irrelevancies about brain activity, hormones, the complex relationship between genotype and phenotype, clothes, makeup, and a bizarre redefinition of the word ‘vagina’.

None of these explanations can withstand any serious scrutiny.

In short, these people are talking shit, and it does not take a genius to figure that out.

But by calling out this bullshit, I have hurt the feelings of trans people. I have been labelled a ‘bigot’ and a ‘transphobe’. 

This hurts my feelings too.

But somehow, I will survive.

Since it’s so obvious that these trans activists are talking shit, I find it strange that so many apparently sane, rational people are unable to notice this fact.

Many sane, rational people are very vocal in their support for this bullshit.

I think this support is misguided.

The ‘debate’ revolves around trans women, who are male.

There’s less discussion of trans men, who are female.

I’m not female, so I can’t talk about women or trans-men.

I am not trans either. But I am male, so I might have some insight into that.

If you are a male person – which includes trans women – you may be triggered by some of what follows (tho I haven’t planned it out).

Please proceed with caution.

This is a trans woman with >500k subscribers on YouTube. She is nice for me to look at, and could probably pass as a woman. She does not seem particularly odious to me:

Men Who Date Trans Women… | Stef Sanjati

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=Q5E8vS8wwI8

What strikes me very strongly here is the obsessive focus on the question of whether or not people are gay.

For example, she is not gay, and neither is her boyfriend, who is a trans man. Also, heterosexual men who date trans women are not gay.

She’s keen to convince me it’s okay for me to date a trans woman as it would not make me gay if I did.

The vid is >13 mins long.

To me she seems *desperate* for a proper shafting. She likes penises, and her boyfriend’s penis is just not hitting the spot.

Quite a predicament.

I would suggest that her boyfriend’s penis is failing to satisfy her for the simple reason that it is not a penis.

Her boyfriend has no penis, because he is female.

But I think she’d reject this wild theory of mine; she’d call me a bigot and a transphobe.

I’d suggest that this person (who I find physically attractive) is in fact a homosexual male.

If so, this is a video of a gay man who likes penises, but is sexually frustrated due to the fact she is ‘dating’ a woman, who doesn’t have one.

Is it me that’s confused? Or her?

And if I find her attractive, this homosexual male trans woman, does that make me gay?

I don’t think so, personally. But if it did, so what?

Why make such a big fuss about whether or not people are gay? 

This level of homophobia is truly astonishing.

This obsessive focus on the politics and pragmatics of attraction and sexuality seems rife among trans-activists, and no just on YouTube.

At the beginning of the video Stef (the attractive trans woman) briefly discusses ‘masculinity’ and ‘femininity’.

She says there’s a stigma against straight men dating trans women. She thinks this is due to ‘masculinity’ – which is upheld (by society) as an important thing you must try to obtain; while ‘femininity’ is frivolous and stupid.

She objects to this view.

So do I.

She says that men who date trans women are often called ‘gay’ by their friends. She objects to this.

So do I.

She asks why trans women are considered a threat to masculinity, but ‘masculine’ women are not. Why are ‘super-feminine’ trans women considered a problem?

This is a good question. But I think it’s something she needs to ask more seriously of *herself*.

Why can’t she just be a ‘super-feminine’ homosexual man who likes penises?

Why is it so important for her to be a ‘woman’ instead, for whom liking penises is not gay at all?

I think the answer is obvious – this person is so deeply homophobic she would rather make a massive effort to convince people she is a heterosexual woman, rather than simply accept herself as a ‘super-feminine’ homosexual man.

She *really* hates the idea of being gay.

I want to move on from Stef now. She seems like a nice person overall, apart from the amazing homophobia, which is so virulent I almost find it comical.

I want to consider male heterosexual trans women, who are not gay, but call themselves lesbians.

From what I can tell, these are the main ones the ‘terfs’ are worried about.

There seem to be a lot of them; at any rate, they’re the ones shouting the loudest. They anger easily.

This is where it gets difficult.

If you are of a nervous disposition, you may want to turn away now.

You may not like what you see.

I don’t like it either.

I don’t want to deal wth it.

But I think I have to.

Our next video comes from a trans women with 53K subscribers on YouTube. She describes herself as an ‘intersectional feminist’. 

I believe she is associated with Everyday Feminism. Here’s their website:

https://everydayfeminism.com

This video is part of a series called ‘Feminism with Riley’. 

This video requires a trigger warning, because it is rapey.

Are genital preferences transphobic? | Riley J. Dennis

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=k5GYlZKfBmI

In this vid, she informs us that it’s okay to be a lesbian, but the fact is that some lesbians have penises. 

If a lesbian won’t ‘date’ another lesbian with a penis it’s probably  cos they are transphobic, and they should try to overcome their cis-sexist bigotry.

Presumably a similar argument would apply to heterosexual men.

Clearly this makes me a bigot too, as I’d be very hesitant to date anyone with a penis.

Am I homophobic? 

Or am I heterosexual?

Neither, apparently.

Those concepts no longer exist.

We’re all transphobes now.

Dig?

Quite honestly, this is one of the most repugnant things I’ve ever seen.

And as I mentioned earlier, not long ago I explored the manosphere, including the incel phenomenon.

Just let that sink in for a minute.

I assure you, this person is not an outlier – I have seen similar views expressed elsewhere, by transactivists and their allies – the supposed ‘woke’ folk.

This view appears particularly common among heterosexual male trans women.

Many of these heterosexual male trans women consider themselves ‘feminists’. As do many of their allies among the ‘woke’ folk.

Is this what feminism is, now?

This is rape culture.

This is homophobia.

This is deep, deep misogyny.

And you call it ‘feminism’?

Fuck you.

This is an enormous threat to gay rights. And gay men need to wake up to that fact *right now*.

Heterosexual men? Like me?

Ah, well.

It’s not a threat to us, is it?

Male trans women would *never* try this shit on a bunch of heterosexual guys. I would advise against that.

I have more to say about heterosexual men – especially male ones, like me, who are not trans. It may make you uncomfortable.

But here’s the thing:

Trans women can be beautiful. Yes. As nice to look at as a beautiful woman. Beauty is subjective, and tastes vary.

But it’s true.

Trans women can be very ‘feminine’ and ‘beautiful’, and that’s great. 

Male people should feel comfortable with their femininity, and be able to express it openly. In this, maybe trans women can lead the way. 

But I think something else is happening too.

As a heterosexual male, I’m likely to enjoy looking at trans women. From what I can tell, I am even allowed to do this. Maybe I can even perv on them openly without being a sexist.

But would that make me gay?

Maybe a bit, yeah.

But not if they’re women.

How ‘woke’ is that?

Well, that’s ‘intersectional feminism’ for you. That’s where we’re headed.

And it makes me feel sick.

What is a Woman?

[Originally posted on Twitter 16 June 2018 – slightly edited]

This is one debate within the Trans community:

(Note: When she says ‘the left’ she means trendy SJW lib feminist sort of ‘woke’ folk. She thinks that’s ’the left’.)

This Is Why People Don’t Like Trans People

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BnMG8uzi80E

This is another debate within the Trans community:

Are Dating Preferences Discriminatory?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HVS5kGU1Joo

And here’s commentary from a male liberal feminist, whose anti-MRA work I respect). I believe he’d support the idea that sex-assigned-at-birth is irrelevant to womanhood:

The descent of Man-osphere – Episode 37 – Blaire White

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=pZFNpHYQCPk

Here’s a vid linked by the anti MRA guy (Kevin). It ‘debunks’ biological myths, but makes clear there are *big* diffs in reproductive func between trans women and women:

Fact check: Blaire White is wrong on transgender kids, part 1 (Gender Analysis)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=TUbiFH-8-DU

So, it’s hard for me to accept that a trans woman is a woman, in the sense that there’s no odd one out here:

tall woman

french woman

trans woman

black woman

Hard to accept.

No analogy is perfect, but I think it’s analogous to this:

large bear

polar bear

teddy bear

black bear

This is an obvious point, made many times before. I know that.

And obviously I’m not saying trans women are to women, as teddy bears are to bears.

That would be ridiculous. And offensive. And untrue.

No analogy is perfect.

Here’s another linked vid. It’s interesting; the idea is expressed that the *gender binary* is oppressive. And I agree completely with that. 

But I’m still not hearing any reason to accept than sex-assigned-at-birth is irrelevant to womanhood:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=guK1bp1JOvs …

I agree strongly with most of what’s said here. Mostly it’s an argument that anyone who says they’re trans is trans.

Not my business. But sure. 

I guess people should have the right to be trans. And maybe they need a special pronoun.

 It’s a human rights issue.

Details are debatable, but trans people have rights. They need proper healthcare and support, and appropriate facilities of all kinds. Serious efforts should be made to accommodate them. 

But we need to balance those rights against those of the non-trans.

Don’t we?

And honestly, I don’t think the liberal / ‘intersectional’ feminists get this.

What they call ‘terf rhetoric’ sounds *to them* uncomfortably close to the foul shit sprayed by the alt-right/MRA crowd.

They hate the alt-right!

They’re fighting them.

I totally support that.

The liberal / ‘intersectional’ crowd should be rad fem allies on most subjects – after all, they want to destroy the ‘gender binary’ too!

So they say.

But they have incompatible views of these concepts: 

– sex-assigned-at-birth

– sexual identity

– gender

– gender expression

– sexual orientation

They talk mostly about ‘gender’, which is fluid but somehow ‘real’. All the other things were invented by the patriarchy.

That’s incompatible with the radical feminist view of those concepts (as I understand it – I suspect poorly).

When they say ‘gender’ they’re not talking about ‘gender’, as such. Everything’s smooshed together. It’s a vibe, dude.

Its very New Age-y

And I dig it.

It’s so cool.

I’ve looked extensively into the ufo phenomena, which is relevant cos of the cultishness of many of the groups that form around it.

These cultish groups ignore all inconvenient ‘evidence’ there might actually be about ufos. They don’t care. 

They want to believe. That’s all.

Obviously there’s stronger evidence for the existence of non-binary ‘genders’ than for ufos. Overwhelming evidence, I’d say.

But there’s a cultish, uncritical process that builds that into a rigid belief system which denies biological fucking reality.

And that is not so cool.

Many other subcultures are similar:

– The Alt-Right 

– The New Atheism

– Jordan Peterson and his Acolytes

– Fans of Morrissey

– MRAs / MGTOWs / Incels / etc

People don’t fall for these things because they’re stupid.

They want to believe. That’s all.

I have to be open to the possibility that radical feminism could be another one of those cult-like things.

But I don’t think it is. It seems pretty grounded to me.

For men, it’s a hard thing to want to believe in. But tough shit. 

It’s not for us.

Here’s a trans woman with MRA sympathies (at least, Kevin the anti-MRA thinks so) speaking with a liberal / ‘intersectional’ feminist trans woman about what a woman is. 

Who’s making more sense *on this subject* ?

Live Debate w/ Trans Activist

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=2585&v=7mamVI4UPYQ

I’m 45 minutes in, and it seems to me the whole thing is about what language to use to avoid upsetting anyone by sounding like a ‘terf’.

But ‘terf’, in this context does not mean a radical feminist – it means something quite different:

Definition of ‘terf’: a derogatory term for a sane, adult human female.

Definition of ‘female’: of, relating to, or being the sex that typically has the capacity to bear young or produce eggs.

And that does appear to be the operative meaning of the word ‘terf’ in *most* contexts.

Oh, I forgot:

Definition of ‘sane’: (of a person) of sound mind; not mad or mentally ill.

synonyms: right in the head, lucid, able to think/reason clearly, rational, coherent, etc

A claim has been made that the ‘western idea of gender’ came from ‘Judeo-Christian philosophy’ and the ‘gender binary’ came from the Bible and is relatively new in human culture.

I’m not joking.

I am not making this up.

Can you guess which person has made this claim?

And guess which one is making a big song and dance about what a big ‘feminist’ she is?

Someone’s getting schooled.

I wonder who?

She’s doubling down on the Judeo-Christian thing. I guess she’s never heard of China.

Oh, the poor thing! 

How embarrassing.

But she insists. And she’s getting proper pissed off, too.

And round and round we go…

The moderator has mentioned China.

And immediately, she’s off the Judeo-Christian thing.

AND back to biological reality is sexist and transphobic.

But is it really? 

Must we abolish reality itself?

Is there no other way to smash the patriarchy?

Tough questions here.

We’re on to the sensitive subject of ‘passing’. It got bitchy for a while, but that’s over now. They were talking about a third party – I won’t say who.

They’re very polite to each other.

I applaud that.

It’s a good conversation.

It’s been interesting.

I can see why ‘woke’ folk tend to lump ‘terfs’ in with the alt-right:

Basically, they think sex-assigned-at-birth (i.e. biological sex) is part of a social construct called ’the gender binary’ – an oppressive tool of the patriarchy of men.

So, if you mention the concept of ‘biological sex’ they immediately think you’re saying there’s only two ‘genders’, which is oppressive, so you must be a fascist of some sort.

Any fixed no. of ‘genders’ is oppressive, because gender is a vibe, dude. And Nature’s a fascist.

Dig?

But I don’t dig that.

I think it’s bollocks.

Sorry.

Surprise! Blocked.

What are ‘terfs’, why are they opposed by trans activists and liberal / ‘intersectional’ feminists, and which side should I be on?

This thread made a few people angry. It was criticised as an ‘abstract philosophical debate’.

[Originally posted on Twitter, 13 June 2018 – slightly edited]

Surprise! Blocked, essentially for rejecting this definition of the word ‘woman’.

“A woman is anyone who says they are a woman.”

Apparently this makes me a terf, and expressing my view on this is an appalling act of violence, which means it is okay to punch me, always.

But I am not a terf – why? Terf is a derogatory term for a radical feminist. If it’s not derogatory, it’s redundant. Terf is also inaccurate; I prefer merf, or Male Exclusionary Radical Feminist. All males are excluded from radical feminism. For once it is not about us.

But I’m not a merf, either. I am male, and so I can’t be a radical feminist, but only an ally. 

I would’ve thought all males can be allies, should they choose.

Liberal feminism? I’m done with that, thanks.

Over the last few days I have become increasingly convinced that liberal feminism is, ultimately, toxic. This is because I dared to ask ‘Why are people claiming it’s okay to punch terfs?’. And honestly, I still don’t get that.

It looks to me as though rad fems acknowledge biological sex, but want to liberate all humans from an oppressive gender system. Lib fems want to extend the oppressive gender system but erase the concept of biological sex.

Lib feminism is convenient for male humans who don’t hate female humans. They abhor the patriarchy and blame it on ‘men’. But by declaring themselves ‘women’, they can avoid responsibility for doing anything about it.

This is problematic.

Lib feminism is convenient for female humans too, because it is no threat to the patriarchy, and is inclusive of male humans. No need to face those scary fuckers down.

This is understandable, but it will not lead to liberation from the patriarchy.

Rad feminism is inconvenient for everyone. It is a true threat to the patriarchy. 

However, it is problematic because  it does not concern itself with the rights of non-female humans – particularly ‘men’. This tends to upset them – particularly ‘men’.

Radical feminism is also problematic because some of its most famous proponents have made statements that many humans find very offensive. Frequently, this offensiveness is gratuitous, and distracts people from the point being made – if there is one.

There is no question that many humans feel deeply threatened, in various ways, by rad feminism, and / or by its proponents.

Rad feminism aims to destroy the gender system. Gender is one component of individual human identity. Thus, rad feminism can be perceived as a threat to our individual sense of who we are as humans.

If there are no more ‘men’ to oppress ‘women’, no gender system at all, and no patriarchy, how will people relate to one another, and especially, how will male humans relate to female ones?

When there are no genders…

I will not be a man. There will be no such thing as men. I will not be a woman. There will be no such thing as women. I will not be non-binary. There will be no such thing non-binary.

When there are no more genders…

There will still be male humans, and female humans. And there will be sexual orientation, and sexual preference.

When there are no more genders…

There will be the opportunity to dress how I like, modify my body as I like, love whoever I choose to love, express my masculinity and my femininity and my sexuality just as I like.

When there are no more genders…

Who will I be?

I don’t know. 

I suppose…

I’ll just be myself?

Is that a threat to my individual human identity? Or is it liberation for all sexes, all genders, and all sexual orientations? 

Is that something I want?

Yes.

Yes.

YES.

But I have been informed, most seriously, that expressing support for this goal is an act of violence against trans people, and makes me a terf, for which it is morally necessary for lib feminists to punch me at every opportunity. 

That seems odd.

Could it be…

That liberal feminists are invested in the patriarchy?

Or that trans people are invested in the patriarchy?

Or is it that ‘men’ are invested in the patriarchy, and everyone else lives in fear of upsetting them due to the ever-present threat of male violence?

Hmm.

Given my awareness of the ever present threat of male violence, particularly against all humans who are not ‘men’, what are my responsibilities as a male human who disapproves of this patriarchal system of oppression?

I have a responsibility to oppose male violence, and the threat of male violence, particularly against female humans, but also other humans, especially those who are not ‘men’.

I have a much lesser responsibility to oppose female violence and threats. But that responsibility is greater if that violence / threat is directed against other female humans, and tends to advance the interests of male humans at the expense of female ones.

I have a responsibility to listen to female humans, to take them seriously, and to do my best to understand what they are saying. I do not have to agree with them. I do not have to speak, but if I do I must try not to dominate the conversation.

I have a responsibility to listen to, and take seriously, humans who disagree with me, particularly female humans and others who are not ‘men’. I must be open to alternative ideas and perspectives, particularly those of female humans. But I do not have to agree.

As a male human who disapproves of our patriarchal system of oppression, I have many responsibilities.

I must do my best not to evade them.

As a human male, one of my responsibilities

is to avoid taking up positions and invading spaces that have been set aside specifically for female people.

In particular, I must not occupy those female positions and spaces by insisting that I am in fact a human female.

I am a male human. 

I am stuck with that.

There is no way to make a male human into a female human. I cannot be female, because I am male. 

As a social convention, I accept the label ‘man’. But that does not mean I must conform to the gender stereotype labelled ‘man’.

It is relatively easy for me to accept all this, because I am not trans.

That, at least, is a fact.

Transhumanism and TERFS

[Originally posted on Twitter, 21 December 2018]

It’s been just over six months since I found out I’m an evil terf. Until then I didn’t know what a terf was, or why anyone would want to punch one.

Even now I find it impossible to accept that I am little better than a nazi, or that my beliefs promote the genocide of trans folks. I can’t accept it, and neither can I shift my thinking so as to escape my self-imposed terfdom.

I guess I’m just a bad person, full of hatred; a foolish pawn of right-wing Christians and an unwitting supporter of the moronic psychopath Donald Trump.

Twitter hasn’t changed much. Every day, a fresh argument errupts over the definition of the word ‘woman’. An endless supply of beardy woke bros step forward one by one to inform us that ‘sex is a spectrum’, and that to believe otherwise is unscientific and bigoted.

Every day, they spout the same old nonsense, and every day it is refuted.

I don’t usually get involved in those arguments; I don’t have the patience for it. I don’t know how anyone can stand it.

Still, I’ve always been interested in the question of why people believe what they believe. It’s normally not hard to figure that out, and most of the time, there’s a kind of sense to it.

But in the case of transgenderism, I’ve been stumped. I really couldn’t see how an intelligent person could possibly come to believe, for example, that a lesbian can have a penis. Just thinking about it makes my brain hurt.

What kind of mental contortions could possibly lead people to believe such things?

Misogyny’s a big part of the story, yes. There’s no escaping that fact.
And Queer Theory’s another piece of the puzzle.

Susan Cox talks about Queer Theory here. I highly recommend reading this, or listening to the audio (Cox mentions ‘Cyber Feminism’ several times during this interview. That’s important, and I’ll have more to say about it later.):
https://resistanceradiotranscripts.wordpress.com/2018/03/11/susan-cox-01-29-17/

But Queer Theory could never convince scientifically-minded types that ‘sex is a spectrum’. Those types need to construct at least the semblance of a logically-coherent world view. I don’t think Queer theory can do that, even with added misogyny. I think there’s more to it.

So I’m going to talk about Transhumanism and its philosophical underpinnings.

This will not be a ‘conspiracy theory’. But it will be a bit technical, with lots of references. Please fasten your seatbelts.

There is a common idea in our culture that the human brain is a kind of computer; that what we call a ‘mind’ is just a program running on that computer; and that the human body is just a kind of meat robot controlled by that computer.

Some people say this is just a metaphor. But many people believe it to be true.

Nobody knows whether or not it is true, or if it’s even a good metaphor.
People may pretend the matter is settled one way or the other, but it’s not.

We don’t know how the brain works, nor how it (or anything else) could produce consciousness. We have little – if any – understanding of the mind, let alone consciousness or thought. We don’t even know if those concepts make scientific sense.

But let’s sweep that all aside! Could the brain really be a kind of computer? Could the mind be a computational process?

Well, what’s a computer? And what is computation?

Here’s a fun explanation of what a computer is, by the late genius Richard Feynman:

Essentially, Feynman tells us that a computer is a glorified filing system, operated by an extremely stupid, but extremely fast-working file clerk. And that’s all it fucking is.

Nevertheless, a system like that is capable of performing any computation whatsoever – and this fact is mathematically provable.

But what is a computation? It is an operation that can be carried out step by step to produce a correct result, even without understanding why the procedure works, why the result is correct, or even what the operation is for.

It’s any operation that can be carried out by an extremely stupid file clerk, if only they can follow strict instructions without deviation. Such an operation is called an ‘algorithm’ – or (when performed by a computer) a ‘program’.

No insight is required to carry out the steps of an algorithm; in fact, insight would only get in the way. A computation is best performed mindlessly.

The following example will allow you to calculate the square root of any (real) number:

1. Pick a number – call it N.
2. Guess the square root of N – call the guess G.
3. Multiply G by G. Call the result R.
4. If R < N, your guess G was too low. Go to 2.
5. If R > N, G was too high. Go to 2.
6. If R = N, G is the square root and you can stop guessing.

This algorithm will work with one proviso – you must keep a record of your lowest over-guess and your highest under-guess of G, and always re-guess between those limits. Otherwise a sufficiently stupid person with no insight is likely to get stuck in an infinite loop.

Fortunately it’s easy enough to include the extra steps to prevent this. The improved algorithm can be implemented on a computer (or by the idiot filing system) and will calculate square roots.

A more formal mathematical way of defining a computer was given by Alan Turing in his 1936 paper ‘On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem’.

Thanks to Turing, we can now talk about something called a Universal Turing Machine (UTM). The system described by Feynman is basically the same thing, but Turing described it differently. Here’s an accessible explanation of a UTM as described by Turing:
https://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/projects/raspberrypi/tutorials/turing-machine/one.html

A UTM is a mathematical idealisation, not an actual machine. A modern electronic computer is a practical version of the idea. In principle, there’s nothing a modern computer can do that a UTM cannot. Turing proved that anything that can be computed, can be computed by a UTM.

You could implement a UTM using Feynman’s super-duper filing system, or you can do it in silicon. In fact, you could do it any way you like – you could use a system of water-pipes, or a cleverly designed maze complete with mice and cheese.

You could even use a bizarre contraption based on string, farts, and cabbage. The hardware is irrelevant – the only thing that matters is that it implements the UTM correctly.

In the real world, we don’t usually build computers out of mice, farts, or water pipes. In principle we could, but in practice it’s very inconvenient. It is much easier to build computers out of silicon, metal and plastic.

So if it is true that the brain is a computer, and the mind is a computational process, then in theory it must be possible to set up a UTM to carry out that process. You could do it using a filing system, an electronic computer, or with a machine made of lentils and hot air.

In theory, one could construct a mind out of lentils that would be capable of coming up with Einstein’s theory of general relativity.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_relativity

Some of you may worry that I’ve mischaracterised this argument, to make it seem more preposterous than it really is. I haven’t. Also – I don’t think it’s preposterous that in principle one could implement a computer by means of lentils and hot air. I think it’s true.

But *is* mind a computational process? Nobody knows. But there are good reasons at least for taking the idea seriously.

So far, nobody’s proved it’s not. It’s one of the few scientific ideas we have. And though it may seem preposterous, we’re used to that in science. Many scientific theories seem intuitively preposterous but are nevertheless true.

In another famous paper, ‘Computing Machinery and Intelligence’, Turing considers the question, ‘Can machines think?’

First, he writes about something called the Imitation Game. In this game a Questioner (Q) is placed in a separate room from a man and a woman, labelled at random X and Y. He can’t see or hear them. Q is allowed to ask X and Y written questions; they must give written answers.

By asking these questions, Q is supposed to figure out whether it is X or Y that is the woman. Both X and Y are supposed to convince Q that they are the woman; therefore the man will have to lie.

So Q might ask (stupidly), ‘X – how long is your hair?’. Q continues until they think they know whether it is X or Y who is the true woman. If Q is right, Q wins.

Next Turing considers a different version of the game, in which X and Y are a human and a computer, and Q’s goal is to tell which one is the computer. Turing wonders if Q will guess wrongly as often as when the game involves the man and the woman.

This second version of the game is now widely known as the ‘Turing Test’, and there are annual competitions to write a computer program that can trick the Questioner.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loebner_Prize

Turing himself wrote, ‘The original question, “Can machines think?” I believe to be too meaningless to deserve discussion. Nevertheless I believe that at the end of the century the use of words and general educated opinion will have altered so much that one will be able to speak of machines thinking without expecting to be contradicted.’

A program that can trick the Questioner, some argue, should be considered intelligent. Some argue that such a program must be considered to have a mind, to be capable of thought, and perhaps even to be conscious.

(But would they argue that any man who can trick the Questioner into believing he is a woman, is in fact a woman? Perhaps some would.)

There are others who doubt that a computer of any kind could be conscious. Remember – the implementation is irrelevant; all that matters is the algorithm. So a computer could, theoretically, be constructed from string, farts, and cabbage – and it would make no difference.

There is a bad smell about all this; it smells like the mind-body problem. Supposedly this is a big mystery – how can the mind, which is non-physical, affect the body, which is physical? How could that work? Philosophers still worry about this stuff.

But looky here! If the mind were a computer program, then… well, we’ve cracked it! Champagne all round. This helps explain why this idea – the Computational Theory of Mind – is so attractive. It does away with the mystery of consciousness.

It does away with all ideas about spirits, souls and magical essence. Computation is a physical process, after all – there’s nothing mysterious about it!

So, if the brain were a computer, and the mind a computer program, we’d have a scientific theory of consciousness – or at least, the beginnings of one. Not bad.

You might also see how this ‘solution’ to the mind-body problem could relate to transgenderism and the thorny debate about whether it’s possible to be ‘born in the wrong body’:

– ‘Clearly, if the mind and the body are separate entities, and if the mind is a program that runs on the hardware of the brain, then, since we have a mathematical proof that any hardware can execute any program, the body must be irrelevant to the question of identity!’

– ‘Computer games prove this too. Just look at the huge range of avatars in World of Warcraft – there’s everything from little bitty hyper-feminine elf-girls to giant hulking uber-masculine ogre-guys. But you can never assume the player’s sex from the appearance of the avatar!’

– ‘One can easily imagine a more masculine elf – or a more feminine ogre – with the exact same genitalia! In theory one could control the avatar’s masculine / feminine balance with a slider; the avatar could morph smoothly from one extreme to the other – in real time, even!’

– ‘Why not? And there’s no need to change the genitals. The difference between the elf and the ogre is so much more than that. This is why sex cannot possilbly be binary. Binary means there are just two possibilities – it’s like a simple on-off switch, a single bit of data.’

– ‘How could you possibly encode the gender diversity of WoW using just a single bit? The very idea is ridiculous! Anyone who knows anything about computers will tell you the same.’

– ‘Computer games are just like real life; and if anything, real life is *more* complex than WoW, not less! Clearly then, gender is a spectrum, and genitals are demonstrably irrelevant. Case closed.’
https://www.businessinsider.com/how-good-your-avatar-looks-has-a-negative-impact-2015-5

– ‘A woman is simply a type of mind, no more, that typically runs on particular hardware (the female body and brain) but could, theoretically, run on different hardware (a male body and brain). And, if it did, surely it would be no less a woman for that? It’s logical, no?’

No. It’s bollocks – but I can see how someone might think this way.

But have we really solved the mind-body problem with this Computational Theory of Mind?

There are some with doubts. The philosopher John Searle is one such person. For those who would like to believe that the mind is just a computational process, Searle’s ‘Chinese Room’ thought experiment has been a major pain in the arse for over thirty years.

Here he is speaking at Google, annoying people. Google’s chief futurist Ray Kurzweil (more from him later) is in the audience, and his hairpiece is on fine form:

John Searle: “Consciousness in Artificial Intelligence” | Talks at Google

Here’s Searle’s original paper: Minds, Brains, and Computers.

His argument is simple: Searle imagines himself locked in a room. Outside the room are Chinese-speaking people. They write Chinese characters on bits of paper and pass them into the room through a slit.

Searle does not understand Chinese, but he has an instruction manual written in English. The manual does not tell him what the characters mean, but by following the instructions, he is able to assemble a different series of Chinese characters and pass them out through the slit.

The people outside the room interpret these characters as ‘answers’ to their ‘questions’. The manual is so well-written, and Searle is so good at following instructions, that the responses produced are indistinguishable from those of a native Chinese speaker.

Yet Searle still understands not a word of Chinese! Since in this situation Searle does not understand Chinese, there’s no way a computer executing such a program could understand Chinese either, because the computer has nothing that Searle doesn’t have.

This argument can be generalised to cover any possible computer program; so according to Searle there’s no way a computer could ever understand anything!

Here, Searle is imagining himself in the role of Feynman’s idiot filing clerk; and it’s intuitively obvious he’s right – Searle in the room could not understand Chinese; neither could an idiot filing clerk performing the same task, and neither could a computer.

Thus, it seems, the mind cannot be a computer program. (NB: Searle is very clear that he believes the mind must surely arise from some physical process – he just doesn’t think that process could be computation.)

Many other philosophers and computer scientists have responded – often angrily – to Searle’s argument in an attempt to show why he is wrong. But importantly, no-one claims he mischaracterises what a computer is.
http://www.deepideas.net/why-chinese-room-argument-flawed/

The debate is still raging. Nothing is proved. But clearly there are good reasons for doubting that the mind really is a computer program.

Nevertheless, the idea is very attractive to those immersed in the world of technology and science. Such people often have little background or interest in the arts, and regard philosophy as a waste of time. But they’re as susceptible to human folly as anyone else.

Here’s just some of the ridiculousness that stems from the idea that minds can be created by computer programs:

– Philosopher Nick Bostrom reckons our entire reality is probably a computer simulation, and people seem to think he’s very clever:
https://www.simulation-argument.com/simulation.pdf

– This article wonders how we could ‘hack’ such a simulation:
https://www.gaia.com/article/universe-is-a-simulation-can-we-hack-it

– Here’s a sensible response to Bostrom’s worthless idea (tl;dr: it’s stupid and irrelevant):
https://medium.com/handwaving-freakoutery/on-the-universe-is-a-simulation-garbage

– But it turns out we’re probably not living in a computer simulation:
https://cosmosmagazine.com/physics/physicists-find-we-re-not-living-in-a-computer-simulation

– So let’s move on; here’s Bostrom at Google, talking about ’Superintelligence’. Kurzweil appears here, too (it’s about technological ‘improvements’ to human beings):

Ray Kurzweil has, for many years, been taking a cocktail of vitamin supplements which he hopes will prolong his life:
http://longevityfacts.com/futurist-ray-kurzweil-takes-100-pills-daily-to-live-forever/

He thinks we could start living forever by 2029. (The fact we can’t even ‘cure’ male-pattern baldness gives him no pause, it seems):
https://www.businessinsider.com/googles-chief-futurist-thinks-we-could-start-living-forever-by-2029-2016-4

Kurzweil is a major proponent of the idea of the coming Technological Singularity, in which the invention of a computer exceeding human intelligence will trigger a feedback loop of rapid technological innovation & civilisational change beyond imagination:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technological_singularity

The origin of this idea is often credited to the science fiction writer and Computer Scientist Vernor Vinge. I’ve read several of his books and enjoyed them, but was dismayed by one of them (on my shelf as ‘Across Realtime’).

One minor character is a female environmentalist concerned about the destruction of planet Earth; but her concern is motivated by a deep hatred of humanity. (I read this as Vinge’s own view of those who give a fuck about any species but our own – but who knows?)

Not only does Kurzweil believe in the Singularity, he longs for it. He’s getting old now, and he’s desperately searching for a way to cheat death. Presumably, he’d tell us not to worry about the extinction of the chimp, the rhino or the tiger.

Extinction’s no problem after all; when the Singularity comes, all the creatures that ever lived can simply be resurrected inside a computer, where they will live happily every after – like Kurzweil himself, with a full head of hair.

This is the essence of transhumanism – the idea that biology is irrelevant to our existence as individuals; that we are defined entirely by our conscious minds, which are just computational processes constrained by outdated hardware.

Transhumanism rejects those biological constraints. It rejects Mother Nature as inadequate, and seeks to improve on her sloppy design.

But slow down, folks! Here’s John Searle’s scathing review of Ray Kurzweil’s book ‘The Age of Spiritual Machines: When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence’:
http://www.acamedia.info/sciences/sciliterature/kurzweil.htm

‘[A]ccording to [Kurzweil]’ writes Searle, ‘within a very few decades, sensible people will get out of neurons and have themselves “downloaded” onto some decent hardware.’

Searle concludes, ‘The title of the book is The Age of Spiritual Machines. By “spiritual,” Kurzweil means conscious, and he says so explicitly. The implications are that if you read his book you will come to understand the machines and that we have overwhelming evidence that they now are or will shortly be conscious. Both of these implications are false. You will not understand computing machinery from reading Kurzweil’s book.’ (And you won’t understand consciousness either.)

Damn those pesky philosophers! They ruin everything!
Let’s just ignore them and hope they’ll go away…

– Here, Roz Kaveny interviews Martine Rothblatt, who also hopes to be downloaded into a computer ‘and live forever as information’:
http://hplusmagazine.com/2009/10/05/transgender-transhuman-transbeman-uploading-martine-rothblatt/

– Here’s a libertarian argument against Mother Nature, by someone who thinks ‘the whole point of being human is that we are able to transcend mere biology’:
https://www.libertarianism.org/columns/human-transhuman-transgender

– This transgender person believes that technology will permit her to become her true self; ‘a succubus, right down to the horns, hooves, wings and tail’:
http://hplusmagazine.com/2011/04/07/dreams-of-a-succubus/

– The same person gives a fascinating interview on the connection between transgenderism and transhumanism:
https://ieet.org/index.php/IEET2/more/pellissier20120615

– Here’s a discussion on Reddit on the same subject. I’ve linked to a comment which includes the immortal words ‘I personally envision myself in the form of a soft-robotic cyborg dragon because that’s what fits me best’:
https://www.reddit.com/r/Transhuman/comments/8whn2n/transhumanist_critique_of_transgender_people/e3ddycy

– In a (slight) return to sanity, here’s a story about a man who claims to have spent seventeen years as a soldier on Mars. It relies on similar ideas about the possibilities of technology, but apart from that it’s unrelated to transgenderism:
https://www.gaia.com/article/randy-cramer-mars-defense-force

This man’s story is not unique. And is it any less plausible than transhumanism?

Reality doesn’t matter; people will believe anything, if they think it might make them immortal:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elixir_of_life

– Here’s another example of this kind of thinking – an interview with Rob Rhinehart, who invented Soylent (a specially-formulated nutritional slime) to free us all from the dreadful ickiness of normal human food…

‘It seemed a little primitive,’ [says Rob,] ‘like something an animal would do. On this nice plate, in this nice house, why would I eat this thing that grows on trees? I thought, “We can do better.”’
https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/04/the-man-who-would-make-eating-obsolete/361058/

– Here’s an article about teledildonics, which will allow us to have sex with people without even meeting them! (slightly NSFW):
https://www.engadget.com/2018/07/02/flirt4free-teledildonics-long-distance-sex/

What we have in transhumanism is a blind faith in the power of technology, combined with a rejection of biology as icky, outdated and oppressive. We see the same thing in transgenderism. But that basic attitude – of Nature as a nuisance – is prevalent throughout our culture.

Nature is often seen as female:
https://sites.ualberta.ca/~dmiall/Travel/Presentations/Nature.htm

It is Mother Nature who gives birth to all things; archetypically, she is Chaos, who must be tamed by man so as to give birth to the Order of human civilisation.

(This is why Jordan Peterson goes on about Feminine Chaos – he’s talking about archetypes, and – sexist or not – he’s got a point. These archetypes are not facts, but they are important cultural themes with significant power over the human subconscious.)

I’ve always thought it strange that the subconscious (or the unconscious) rarely figures in discussions about the Computational Theory of Mind; it’s as if these people don’t think it exists.

There’s nowt so queer as folk.

Jung once said:

‘We need more understanding of human nature, because the only real danger that exists is man himself. He is the great danger. And we are pitifully unaware of it. We know nothing of man… far too little. His psyche should be studied – because we are the origin of all coming evil.’

– C.G. Jung, Interview with John Freeman, Face to Face,1959:

(‘Fuck you, Jung! What’s wrong with wanting to live forever? Psychiatry is nothing but witchcraft and lies! What could you possibly know about the human condition? You’re dead!’)

– Here’s a thing about ecofeminism and healing:
https://commons.emich.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1516&context=honors

So is it true that women have an innate affinity with Nature? Or is that just a sexist assumption? Could it be both, somehow? Perhaps. But there is at least a mythic equivalence.

Opposition to Nature and contempt for women often seem to go together, like peaches and cream – or sex and violence. Here’s Andrea Dworkin, talking about pornography:

– Here’s an interview with Emily Chang, author of ‘Brotopia’, about sexism in Silicon Valley:
‘When you accrue such gigantic amounts of wealth and power, it’s easy to become disconnected from real people and to think that the ends justify the means.’
http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article/breaking-up-the-boys-club-of-silicon-valley/

– Here’s an article on sexism (‘gender discrimination’) in the tech industry:
‘“It’s a bullying culture,” a former Microsoft senior director [said]. “I think it’s because those guys were bullied in school. They don’t know any other way to act.”’
https://www.alphr.com/technology/1000773/the-uncomfortable-truth-about-sexism-in-tech

Also from that article:
’Facebook and Apple both offer “female-friendly perks” that include covering the costs of egg freezing in a bid to delay workers having children, and Apple also covers the legal costs of adoption.’

What are we to make of this? Is it all just bollocks?

Here’s a piece about the funding behind the transgender movement; some of the names may be familiar:
http://thefederalist.com/2018/02/20/rich-white-men-institutionalizing-transgender-ideology/

There are clear links here to Silicon Valley, plus the biotech and pharmaceutical industries, all of which are important for the transhumanist project to liberate humanity from the limitations of Mother Nature.

There are links to the porn industry too, though here it’s more complicated:
‘While straight men make up the vast majority of consumers of the mainstream ‘shemale’ porn market, the popularity of performers resides in their status as “chicks with dicks.”’
https://www.dailydot.com/irl/trans-surgery-porn-fund/

Sometimes when people bring all this up, they are accused of peddling a ‘conspiracy theory’. But as I mentioned before, no conspiracy theory is necessary.

Instead, I am peddling another kind of theory; one based on the nature of belief, capitalism, and human folly:
https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/features/biohacking-transhumanism-aaron-traywick-death-diy-dna-gene-therapy-a8367771.html

And now, back to Cyborg Feminism.
We’ll start with Donna Haraway’s 1985 essay the Cyborg Manifesto. Below are some extracts:

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Here’s the full essay in all its glory:
Cyborg Manifesto

It’s not an easy read, but Wikipedia has a summary:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Cyborg_Manifesto

It all sounds remarkably like a transhumanist version of Queer Theory! Apparently this essay made quite a splash, and was all the rage in academic circles of the time. It’s hard to imagine Judith Butler (one major culprit of Queer Theory) was not aware of Haraway’s work.

Sandy Stone (a central figure in the Olivia Records controversy, who features in Janice Raymond’s 1979 book ‘The Transsexual Empire’) was a student of Donna Haraway’s at the time Haraway was writing the Cyborg Manifesto:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sandy_Stone_(artist)

Stone went on to write ‘The Empire Strikes Back: A Posttranssexual Manifesto’ in 1987.

The more I look into this, the more I see deep connections between Transhumanism, Transgenderism, and Queer Theory.

To me they look like different ways of articulating the same basic idea – that humans as a species can create a utopia only by rejecting all cultural norms, and ultimately, our humanity itself. It’s completely insane. But that doesn’t mean it’s not happening.

It does not need to be a conspiracy. What we have here is True Believers. They read too much science fiction. They have too much money, and an unshakeable faith in their intellectual superiority – which is nothing but a mirage. These people are fucking fools.

Which reminds me – Feynman gave a number of talks at the Esalen Institute at Big Sur, California:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Esalen_Institute

His talk about computers was filmed there, and so was this lecture series ‘The Quantum Mechanical View of Reality’. Here, Feynman is interrupted constantly by stoned clever dudes, and becomes irritable. It’s painful to watch, but fascinating:

Transhumanism is the cultural equivalent of a brain-fart. It sounds insane, and it is. It comes down to a bunch of techies in a hot-tub, dropping acid and struggling to make sense of ideas far too big to fit in their brains.

Transhumanists think of humans as gods; infant gods, oppressed by a tyrannical Mother Nature. But one happy day they will kill her, and then we shall be free!

Free from gender! Free from sex! Free from the ickiness of womanhood, and the evil of men! Yea, free even from the unnatural restrictions of our pathetic physical bodies! Hallelujah, children! No need to fear death!

When your body wears out, just download into a new one – a better one, made from odourless plastic! It even has interchangeable sex-organs – so easy to clean in the dishwasher! Who needs a vagina, girls, when you can have the VaginatorXX+ instead?

But is any of this possible?
Perhaps – but what does it matter?

There’s money to be made – and lots of it.

The point is these people *believe* it’s possible, and they’re trying to make it happen. To them the ends justify the means – for who wouldn’t want to live in their glorious Utopia? Only uncool people, like terfs and fascists, and people who go to church.

I’m reminded of the story of Daedelus, the great artificer, whose brilliant inventions led to terrible, unforeseen consequences:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daedalus

I’m reminded too of the legend of the Golem, and the story of Frankenstein:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golem

But here’s to the crazy ones, eh?

Transhumanism and transgenderism are not the same, but they are closely related.
Right now, women are getting in the way of both – but only bad women, who cannot be fooled.

The rest of us have yet to catch on.

In the immortal words of Granny Weatherwax:

“There’s no grays, only white that’s got grubby. I’m surprised you don’t know that. And sin, young man, is when you treat people as things. Including yourself. That’s what sin is.”
https://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism/2011/09/never-quote-discworld-to-an-atheist/

‘The villagers had said justice had been done, and she’d lost patience and told them to go home, then, and pray to whatever gods they believed in that it was never done to them. The smug mask of virtue triumphant could be almost as horrible as the face of wickedness revealed.’

Of course this stuff is anti-woman. But it’s worse than that.
This is not just an attack on feminism; it’s an attack on humanity itself.

But most people can’t see it. And that scares me.

Sleep well.