Originally posted at In Permanent Opposition
Ageism is a curious form inferiority enforcement, because it is the one condition that most of us will one day share. The young women who have grasped the feminist mantle and have re-imagined it into something that Old Women like Fay Weldon and Germaine Greer do not recognise, seem to be lacking in a basic form of humility. Even apart from the bile inducing idea that political and philosophical ideas should come in nifty trends and fashions, there seems to be a wilful ignorance about the fact that the very same fate awaits them. That one day they too, will be considered irrelevant. In fact, with the garrulous and thrifty pace of social media discourse these days, it might happen quicker than they think.
Now, clearly, younger feminists feel a sense of baggage about the second wave; they feel that these earlier feminists had a narrow agenda that didn’t account for the various different experiences of womanhood available. Now without doing a Feminist History 101 here, one wonders to what extent this is actually a fair representation of the many voices speaking and books penned during that 1960s and 70s period. One wonders if some contemporary feminism has actually took its history lessons from oversimplified media parodies.
Originally published at Huffington Post
The continued expansion of no-platform policies to include feminists such as Julie Bindel, and efforts by student unions to no-platform pioneers of feminism such as Germaine Greer over her views on transgender issues, even when she isn’t scheduled to discuss them, betrays an increasingly self-righteousness by the student far-left. Not only is disagreement on the “wrong” issues immoral, but it negates your right to talk about anything. The quest for ideological purity has recently devoured ex-Muslim Maryam Namazie – who identifies as a Marxist and a feminist – with Feminist and LGBT Societies at Goldsmiths passing motions of solidarity with the Islamic Society members trying to intimidate her during her talk there, and even Peter Tatchell himself, who was no-platformed by an NUS LGBT Officer for his opposition to expanding no-platform.
Originally published by Sian Norris at politics.co.uk
For each controversy about free speech – be it Germaine Greer or Peter Tatchell or Julie Bindel – there’s a predictable backlash from no-platform supporters. They claim that those of us with an interest in defending free speech don’t understand the power dynamic underpinning society – that we’re protecting the privileges of the establishment. After all, how can someone like Tatchell be censored when he’s telling us about it in the national press?
The argument is logically inconsistent. Free speech isn’t a zero-sum game. Publishing an interview with Tatchell in the Sunday Times doesn’t ‘cancel out’ the attempts to stop him speaking at Canterbury Christ Church. Silencing a speaker in one arena is not neutralised by providing them with a platform elsewhere.
But more importantly, it’s a lie that the no-platforming movement is only going after establishment voices. Their main targets are actually marginalised voices.
Originally posted at Butterflies & Wheels
I was indignant on Peter Tatchell’s behalf (and on behalf of reasonable discourse, truth in accusation, and the like) on Sunday when I read that the NUS LGBT officer had called him racist and transphobic in emails to a bunch of people. But now…I’m disappointed in him, because he has failed to defend other people from dishonest accusations.
Do it to her, not me? Throw Greer to the wolves, not me?
He shouldn’t be “opposing” Germaine Greer herself. He probably didn’t mean that, but just said it sloppily – but what a thing to be sloppy about. What he should (if so moved) oppose is particular claims she makes, not her as a person. And then is it fair to say she “rejects and disparages transgender people and their human rights”? She does use disparaging language, so that part is fair, but what sense does it make to say she rejects trans people? And I flatly don’t believe she says they shouldn’t have human rights.
And then there’s the breezy way he throws feminists in general in there. Do it to them, not me, eh?
But be accurate about it. Don’t accept lies about Julie Bindel and don’t make exaggerated accusations against Germaine Greer and feminists “like” her.
Originally published on politics.co.uk by Rebecca Reilly-Cooper
By now we all know that Germaine Greer was going to give a talk at Cardiff University, and now she is not. You might see this as a victory for Rachael Melhuish, women’s officer at the university, who led the protest and set up the petition calling on the university to cancel the event; or you could spin it as a triumph for freedom of expression, as the university refused to capitulate. But since the outcome is that a 76-year-old veteran of the frontlines of feminist activism felt uneasy enough about her safety to pull out of a speaking engagement, it’s hard to find much to celebrate.
It will doubtless come as a surprise to the average bystander to learn that Germaine Greer – Germaine Greer! She of The Female Eunuch and “lady, love your cunt”! – is a misogynist, but it is apparently true.