The Handmaidens’ Tales
This is the post in which I express my anger against those young women who’ve betrayed the goal of women’s liberation by promoting male entitlement and female erasure. And, no, contrary to what certain trans activists such as Stephen Whittle say, the term ‘handmaidens’ isn’t misogynist. Misogyny refers to contempt and disregard for women because they are women, i.e. adult human female. It doesn’t include the disdain we feel for women who are selling us down the river, the women who prioritise the feelings of men over the psychological well-being and the physical safety of women. The true meaning of ‘handmaiden’ is female servant and that, in effect, is what these women are.
I don’t expect to have to elaborate on the fact that women have, throughout history and across cultures, been oppressed and exploited because we are female and ‘female’ refers to the sex whose role in reproduction is to produce ova, gestate and give birth. The fact that an individual female chooses not to or may, for medically verifiable reasons, be unable to fulfil that function, does not alter the fact that she is female though, thanks to the patriarchal norms holding sway in most cultures throughout the world, it may mean that she is considered a failure by those who feel entitled to adjudicate on such matters.
Feminism is a movement for women – all women – but only women. This isn’t to deny intersecting experiences of oppression such as class oppression, racism, ageism, homophobia, disability. But it does not include men who think, wish, decide or claim they are women. Men who do that are not members of the female sex class, therefore they are not women, regardless of how they feel, present themselves or what they call themselves.
If anyone disagrees with anything I’ve said so far, feel free to present your argument, based on reason and evidence. My money says you can’t. All you can do is cry ‘bigot’, ‘transphobe’, etc, in the hope of intimidating me – and everyone else standing up to your nonsense – into submission. How angry are you that you are not succeeding!
I was a feminist before I ever heard the word. My feminism was a visceral reaction to the experience of growing up in a family, a community, a culture at a time when male privilege was painfully visible and accepted as the norm everywhere I looked. When the Women’s Liberation Movement of the 1960s started competing for headlines with stories of hippies and ‘free love’, anti-Vietnam War and pro-nuclear disarmament demonstrations, it had a feeling of “not before time” about it, as far as I – a girl of 12 or 13 – was concerned. As I reached my late teens and twenties, I got deeply involved in the Women’s Movement, as it was then called, as well as in socialist politics and the Trade Union Movement.
It was hard standing up for women against the continual put-downs of left-wing men. Their lack of support for us and their determination to keep control of left-wing politics and progressive movements was infuriating. But more than anything else, it was frustrating when women, who were all too happy to enjoy the benefits won for them by feminist campaigns, wouldn’t stick their own heads above the parapet, even though they had little to lose, compared to what they had to gain, by doing so.
But, unlike the young women of today in organisations like Sisters Uncut and FourthWaveLFA, at least those timid and ineffectual women who rode on the coat-tails of feminists in the 1970s and 1980s didn’t actively work to undo the achievements of generations of women before them.
You wouldn’t have seen them supporting the bullying and intimidation of women who were simply concerned about the impact of proposed legislation on their lives. You wouldn’t have seen them defending the displacement of women in sports and the consequent crushing of young women’s dreams of sporting success. You wouldn’t have seen them disregarding the psychological well-being of vulnerable women in prisons and refuges out of deference to the feelings of men. And you certainly wouldn’t have seen them rallying support for a violent male in his 20s, much less fabricating and spreading falsehoods against his 60-year-old female victim, who had done nothing to him, them or anyone else.
Contrary to what is claimed in the notice above right, Tara Wolf – who was charged and convicted of assaulting me – was not targeted, doxxed or harassed by anyone and there is no evidence that he was. But ‘evidence’ is an alien concept to the handmaidens and not something they concern themselves with.
No sooner had the news of the assault on me broken on social media, than trans validation activists (TVAs) were scouring my Twitter history and Skepticat UK blog trying to find the evidence that I was a vicious transphobe who thoroughly deserved the beating. They found nothing and had to resort to deception, see examples here and here. Most notoriously, one trans activist took stills from the videos and rewrote the narrative to present me as the aggressor.
I did complain to Twitter at the time but they didn’t think there was anything wrong with lying about an assault that had been reported to the police in order to help the violent perpetrators and, seeing as the rest of the trans cult had picked up the false story and run with it, I decided all I could do was put a brave face on it and push back where I could.
The privacy settings on my Facebook page were at maximum. Naively, I assumed that all the people who rushed to ‘friend’ me after the assault, were sympathisers. It simply never occurred to me back then how low they would sink. Anyway, I innocently accepted a friendship request from a TVA and, ever since, I’ve seen posts from my Facebook page being distributed across the internet. The most significant was the one below left, which shows exactly how it appeared on my page. The screencap below right shows how it looked after it had been edited and was tweeted by @FourthWaveLFA.
In other words, they took my comment, in which I quoted from a tweet about me by @SecretGamerGrrl aka Jake Alley (whose obsession with me I’ve blogged about here and here) and they tried to make it look like a stand-alone post where Alley’s words are my own and I “admit” to assaulting the dude, when in fact I’m trying to make fun of the ludicrous allegation that I – a 60-year-old, 5′ 5″ female with osteoporosis and permanently injured right shoulder – could thrash anyone around like a rag doll, let alone a young fit bloke in his 20s.
And he is a young bloke. Claiming he’s a woman was just another lie these fauxminists tried to spread but they couldn’t make it stick because people close to Wolf – Ada Cable, for example – had already given away that Wolf’s “girlfriend” was a trans-identifying male (seen in the video below, hooded and trying to grab my camera out of my hands, while Wolf runs up like a little sissy, thumps me and runs away).
FourthWaveLFA was far from being the only account who tweeted that doctored Facebook comment, but most of the others were men like the hateful Elise Hendrick who pretend to be women, not actual women themselves. Other things they did include:
- Attacking me for thanking David Davies MP for writing an article that included the sentence below. Davies is a Tory and a practising Catholic, therefore I’ve no business thanking him for publicly condemning the violence against me, apparently.
“Last week a 60-year-old women’s rights campaigner was assaulted by a transgender activist, presumably a biological male. This violence which was supported by a number of fellow activists is equally unacceptable.”
- Condemning me for letting the Daily Mail, in exchange for a pic of me, pay for the camera that was stolen and smashed by the man they were trying to protect because, in doing so, I was “helping the Mail“. None of my critics offered to contribute to the cost of a replacement camera, funnily enough.
- Claiming I had some kind of alliance with a right-wing organisation. This came from the fact that, below my own blog about the assault, I had linked to many other blogs and articles about it. These included a statement by an American group I’d never even heard of before called the Women’s Liberation Front, which had apparently at some time received funding from a conservative Christian group.
See the desperately labyrinthine thought process at work here?
What this group of young women – who, judging by the vapid sloganeering on their Facebook page, are probably all students of the pea-brained academics featuring in my last blog – categorically did not do in any public arena was acknowledge that I was a woman who had been a victim of male violence and that violence was unprovoked, (unless you think that filming a public protest at Speakers’ Corner from three metres away was provocative), not to mention any suggestion as to how I was to replace my camera, one of the very few things of any value that I owned, given that I was (and still am) on a very low income.
Alexandra Becker: a case study of a handmaiden
I’d like to give a special mention to Alexandra Becker, who used to tweet as @TweedledumAl. She was one of a number of handmaidens I’d had sour exchanges with on Twitter, months before the trial. She only stood out from the others because of her denialism about the terf is a slur website. It seems that telling women to die in a fire, choke on lady-dick, etc, doesn’t matter because they ‘wouldn’t actually do any of it’. They’re just silly…um…girls, I suppose. It seems nothing will stop Becker believing that those responsible for this kind of vile misogynistic abuse are anything other than the “women” they claim to be.
On the day of Tara Wolf’s plea hearing, Alexandra Becker was one of the crowd who turned up to support him. Later, she and a friend passed me and my husband at Baker Street station. They were walking in the opposite direction. When we went through the barriers in order to reach the platform and catch our train, I was perturbed to see that they had done a swift about-turn and followed us through the barriers!
I worried that they were going to try and follow us home to find out where we live, so we told a member of staff, who was manning the barriers, about them. They stood some distance away watching us, while Becker was speaking to someone on her cellphone. We managed to get a few pics of the pair of them. I thought they’d go eventually but they seemed determined to just stay there watching and, I presume, trying to scare me. Their behaviour certainly creeped me out and we decided the only thing we could do was make a dash for our train and hope they didn’t catch up with us. They didn’t.
On the day of the actual trial, there she was again, supporting the violent offender.
A week after the trial she did a long post on her Facebook page, which I have screen-capped and pasted here. (Unlike her fellow trans activists, I didn’t need to use subterfuge to see it.) Here’s some of it:
She smugly tried to evade the issue by using “the defendant” but fell back into male pronouns soon enough. The judge eventually intervened, noticeably annoyed, and asked the question most of us have on our minds all the time on this: “What exactly is the problem?” He asked her again to use female pronouns or gender-neutral terms. “Out of courtesy.” She couldn’t manage. Neither could she and her TERF supporters later show the basic decency of letting the defendant give her testimony without jeers, laughter, tutting.“Acting in bad grace,” is what the judge said the misgendering had amounted to.
A few corrections: I was not “the claimant”. This was not a civil case but a criminal prosecution and I was the chief witness for the prosecution because I was the victim of an assault. But this, of course, is something Becker – like the other transcult handmaidens – cannot bring herself to acknowledge.
Secondly, I don’t call myself a “gender critical feminist”; this label together with “radical feminist” was pinned on me by reporters without ever having asked me. I have a lot of sympathy but also some differences with radical feminism. I come from a socialist feminist tradition but consider my rationalism and scepticism as important to my world view as my feminism. Therefore I call myself a rational feminist these days.
Thirdly, I don’t believe radical feminists in general “welcome” women who transgender but they are not excluded from feminist theory because they are indeed women. Did I mention that feminism is about all women, defined as ‘adult human female’? Anyone who’s (1) read as much feminist literature and (2) listened to as many both male and female trans people as I have understands that the contexts in which men and women transgender are very different. The transgendering of young women should be of extreme concern to feminists…but I guess that’s for a different blog. (As I’ve said before, my use of ‘transgender’ as a verb is deliberate).
Anyway, my point is that Becker – in the tradition of bigoted simpletons throughout history – is labelling me and attributing to me views I have never expressed and do not hold because it fits her agenda to do so. And she’s using a label – ‘TERF‘ – she knows is considered derogatory, not least because I pointed this out in court.
Fourthly, she says I “smugly tried to evade the issue by using “the defendant” but fell back into male pronouns soon enough”. Smugly? Becker would have heard counsel ask me to either use the female pronoun or “the defendant”. Far from trying to “evade the issue”, I was trying to comply with the compromise being offered.
What really beggars belief is when she says the judge “asked the question most of us have on our minds all the time on this: ‘What exactly is the problem?'”
Let me quote from my blog about the trial:
Early on in my testimony I referred to Wolf as ‘he’ and was asked by counsel to refer to him as ‘she’ or as ‘the defendant’. While testifying, I managed to remember to use ‘the defendant’ a couple of times. However, using a noun instead of a pronoun is a very unnatural way to speak and even more difficult to do so under the pressure of giving evidence in court, never mind under cross-examination from a combative barrister trying her best to get her client off. It was at the precise time during the proceedings that I had to relive the assault and answer questions, while watching a video on a large screen of Wolf and his associates attacking me, that I slipped back into using the ‘he’ pronoun.
This was too much for the judge, who interrupted my testimony with the question, “What is the problem?”
What is the problem with watching myself being thumped by a young tall man and having to pretend he’s a woman? Seriously?
Fortunately, most of the rest of the world has more emotional intelligence than Becker and the rest of Wolf’s blinkered supporters. The judge trying to get me to call the man who attacked me ‘she’ in those circumstances attracted more outraged comment from journalists and feminists and sympathisers than anything else in the entire story of the assault, woke a lot of people up to the misogyny of transgender ideology and helped a hell of a lot of people hit peak trans. Remember, Tara Wolf (aka Tara Wood) is at least six feet tall, he’d publicly posted on Facebook of his desire to find our meeting and “fuck some terfs up”. When he attacked me he wasn’t mincing around in a dress and high-heels as he was in court. He looked and behaved like the thug he is. After his arrest he’d also publicly posted that “TERFs” can “suck his cock”.
Elsewhere in Becker’s diatribe, she declares herself “stumped” by the use of the gun-to-head graphic in a tweet from one of my supporters, as if it isn’t a perfectly apt illustration of the kind of abuse women get on that website she’s in denial about. To Becker, the judge wasn’t bullying me, wasn’t complicit in allowing my attacker “one final stab at the victim”, as one journalist with a lot more human empathy than Becker put it. He was simply making a “call for courtesy and respect”.
My jaw dropped at this one. The woman who habitually uses the hateful term ‘TERF’, dismisses as just “silly” the abuse on the terf is a slur site and is quite indifferent to the pain caused by Tara Wolf tells me to have some decency? The least thing I can do is be nice to him? Becker is surely worthy of some kind of handmaiden award for this alone.
Becker also moans about the alleged behaviour of my supporters (and includes me in that allegation even though I played no part in whatever they were supposedly doing and wasn’t aware of any of it apart from a bit of laughter at the goonish defence counsel). She did that on Twitter after the trial too. Clearly Becker’s limited understanding of human nature doesn’t stretch to comprehending why feminists might be unable to disguise their contempt for a violent man who attacked a woman older than his mother, a man who only a few weeks earlier had screamed abuse into the face of a woman trade unionist on a picket line, a man who had lied through his teeth in court and posted disgusting sexually abusive comments on Facebook, a man who even got banned from the trans-friendly Pink News site for his lesbophobia.
And she concludes:
How dare you, Alexandra Becker?
Feminism is not your house. Accusing feminists of unspecified “insults” and “pissing all over the carpet” – whatever that’s supposed to mean – while sanitising threats and vile misogynistic abuse, has no place in feminism. Supporting male abusers of women has no place in feminism, nor does lying about and blaming their female victims. Hateful, violent, aggressive men like Tara Wolf and his accomplices are not entitled to “courtesy and respect” from women. On the contrary, they should be challenged on their behaviour, their misogyny and their entitlement. That is feminism!
I can’t improve on the comment made by the heroic Helen Steel at the top of this post.
The handmaidens unquestioning acceptance of men who want to redefine what it means to be a woman cannot be reconciled with feminism in any shape or form. In promoting the idea that refusal to pander to men’s claims that they can be women is “lack of decency”, “bad grace”, “twisted” – even harassment or violence – they have helped to cultivate an environment in which actual violence against women is seen as justified.
Handmaidens, you are betraying the struggles waged by generations of feminists against men who use violence and abuse to keep women in their place.
Shame on you.
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