Twisted Sisters

One of the best things about women’s groups is the other women. Getting to hang out in women only spaces and talk about women’s stuff without apologising or qualifying, coz other women just get it eh? One of the worst things about women’s spaces is the other women. ‘Coz they’re great about periods, night feeds, angry teenagers and violent exs, but there’s always something you don’t agree with them about, and then they turn on you, like you were the dirt bag ex everyone was ditching, only five minutes previous.

Doesn’t happen to all women, obviously, but it happens to plenty of us. And when when women slag you off it’s always worse then when men do. As a feminist, I’m used to blokes telling me I’m ugly, bigoted, deluded and, my personal favourite ‘in need of a good fuck’. It all goes over my head. What they are really trying to articulate is their frustration with my politics and my abject refusal to give a fuck what they think. When a woman insults me, it cuts deeper. They too are articulating their frustration with my politics but because they are female they are socialised to be polite so they do it in more subtle ways.

‘Course it could be that I’m simply wrong, only I rarely entertain that premise. Not because I’m arrogant but because I know my subject.

Today, for example, I was on a mother’s group set up by mothers, for mothers, to give mothers a space to speak about their experiences in family court and to seek advice about court orders, crazy fathers and the damaged children of demented men. The subject, the gendered bias of family courts, should not be controversial in a group run by women for women because women are frequently the victims of misogyny in an outdated system designed and controlled by men. But somehow it was.

A stepmother had put up a post seeking help because her stepdaughter didn’t want to see her birth mother and she wanted to support the child’s choice. The child in question was thirteen and quite atypical of a teenager that was struggling with her mum. Now, I have nothing against stepmothers, quite the opposite, it’s hard enough to raise your own kid, I sure as hell wouldn’t fancy raising someone else’s, but I had to question the legitimacy of a stepmother raising a legal question on a mother’s site. ‘Coz it’s actually a father that’s doing it.

So all these women were offering their hard earned advice to a bloke on how to avoid his legal obligation to maintain the mother and child bond.

And that’s a line for me.

It should have been a line for every woman in the group because it violates the group’s purpose and makes every woman in it vulnerable, but it wasn’t. Largely ‘coz lots of women have had bad experiences with their own mothers and whilst I sympathise, it has nothing to do with the subject at hand.

There is a moral to this rant. Internalised misogyny is the lot of all women and if we are to ever overcome the patriarchy, we gotta do a lot of work on ourselves. Folk can say all day that domestic abuse is not a gendered problem but the simple truth is that 90% of domestic violence victims are women and believing it’s gender neutral won’t save anybody’s kids. All evidence suggests that hell has greater fury than scorned women and that fury is blokes who don’t like the word “No”.

Anti social media

Twitter just sent me a congratulations message ‘coz I’ve had my current account four years, in a machiavellian attempt to convince me that this is an achievement. It isn’t, of course. The main reason I’m still on twitter is the same reason I drank for thirty years, because it’s a hard habit to break, made especially difficult by twitter’s own policy, to hold you in limbo for a month after leaving, in case you change your mind.

Twitter is like a late pub with loud clientele and lifeless decor that sells watered down liquor to people too pissed to make good choices. The very act of being on it is debasing. Especially, if you’re a woman. Twitter has been at the forefront of the social media drive to cleanse humanity of the one time universally held knowledge that humans are a sexually dimorphic species and the consequent Western obsession with eradicating women as a sex class.

Dimorphic – that’s one of my top ten twitter adjectives. Day and night, I preach the word, ‘Humans are a sexually dimorphic species,’ into the dark echo chambers of twitter, where such a statement is revered and reviled in equal measure. I’m one of thousands of keyboard warriors who hold the line on this truth. And, if I’m honest, it gives me a sense of purpose, supporting this most just of causes, the global right of people to be able to state the fucking obvious.

I like to think, in my own small way, I am contributing to an important movement.

‘Course we all like to think of ourselves in a positive light and to imagine our actions have an impact. Nobody knows that better than twitter. And its algorithms meet my ego and then, puppet like, I play the role of someone whose words can change the world. And it’s a big part, but that’s the joy of twitter. Everyone has a starring role in their own twitter feed. Everyone’s a headliner and the whole world is your audience.

Until you spend long enough on twitter to realise that the whole world has shrunk to the size of two groups. Those that get it. Those that don’t. The ‘it’ is subjective and the algorithms are set to keep you batting for your tribe and baiting your opponents in this relentless game with a single aim, to keep you online, where twitter can sell you stuff and make their shareholders richer.

I haven’t always been this uber aware of the pointlessness of twitter. The first year was sort of fun. Finding all these folk who thought like I did about certain things. Feeling a sense of belonging that urban single mothers crave. Feeling a part of something greater. But the honeymoon gave way to the drudgery of day to day life in twittersville, where nothing changes but your follower count as everyone interesting gets banned or bails, for mental health reasons.

I should probably have quit long ago. I’ve dreamed about getting banned, for ages now. But it’s not been my road. It’s not that I don’t tweet the stuff that gets you banned. It’s the only stuff worth tweeting! It’s just I wake up the next day and instead of facing a lifetime ban, or at the very least, a suspension, I find a live feed and the cycle begins.

Until today. There was something about twitter’s ‘Congratulations’ that was particularly provocative. A platform founded on elevating the banal to the politically pertinent was commending me for continuing to allow its algorithms to manipulate my time. In layman’s terms, Twitter was taking the piss.

Always a Woman.

So I know it’s a cliche to be angry and feminist but like all the best cliches it has basis in fact. If you are a feminist in twenty first century Scotland and you are not fucking furious at the charging of Marion Millar for hate tweets, then you’re doing it wrong. You have completely missed the point of what female solidarity is all about and you should take the word ‘feminist’ out of your profile, even though it’s great for the work…

I am so tired of faux feminists fighting for women’s rights whilst refusing to acknowledge any given group’s rights are utterly dependant on lucid definitions. The idea that we can change the word ‘woman’ to make it mean ‘human’ without completely decimating women’s rights is patently absurd. The fact that we’ve done it, and no-one gives a fuck, is a indignation of how deep seated and all pervasive misogyny is.

It started with a call for kindness and inclusivity and ended up in a complete violation of every boundary we had built to protect our girls and our boys and our women. And why the fuck should we be inclusive of everybody? What other group is expected to centre the oppressor in their activism? Do we expect Marxists to campaign for the rights of capitalists? Do we demand tenant’s organisations open their ranks to landlords? Should we make the girl guides take in boys?

Too late! We’re already doing that. Because… inclusivity.

And because of inclusivity, they call us bleeders and breeders, instead of women and mothers. And because of inclusivity, they exclude us from events that we’ve helped to organise and organisations our mothers and grandmothers founded. And because of inclusivity, we have have been silenced, forced into compelled speech and fired for non compliance. And because of inclusivity, we have been arrested. Our words of protest posing a threat so real that charges are brought, whilst our rapes go unpunished and our murder rates increase.

See all the #metoo ing in the world ain’t worth shit if a woman is criminalised for stating core truths. Truths we all know. Truths we whisper when we meet in bars or catch up over coffee. Truths that are so self evident they don’t even need voicing. Men and women are different sexes of the the same species. They always have been. They always will be. Like the sun rises. Like the sun falls. And if one day we take away the word for ‘sun’, that ball of light in the sky will will still rise. That ball of light in the sky will still fall.

I appreciate that stating the fact that women are a distinct sex class hurts the feelings of folk that truly believe sex is a spectrum and I don’t care. Stating that woman did not derive from man’s rib offends every God fearing Christian and yet, we are not persecuted for acknowledging it. Stating that meditation and a positive outlook never cured cancer really fucks off the wellness gurus but we don’t see the police charging people for taking the piss out of hippies.

In this time, when we claim no-one knows what a woman is, it is informative to look at who is being persecuted for their political beliefs. Black lesbians, working class mothers , muslim beauty salon owners, feminist academics, Indie children’s authors.

To a man, every last one of them are women.

We are living in a post truth world where the biggest liars get the best gigs. The right deny climate change and global pandemics. The left deny biological sex and class. Each perceives themselves as both morally and intellectually superior to their counterpart. Both sound equally stupid, to me. We live in a time when mumsnet is described as ‘a hotbed of terrorist radicalisation’ by lunatics who have the ears of presidents. Here, in Scotland, we are approaching a point when admitting that you know what a woman is, is a criminal offence.

And for all that, women continue to exist. We always have. We always will. Like the sun rises. Like the sun falls. And if, one day, we take away the word for ‘sun’, that ball of light in the sky will will still rise. That ball of light in the sky will still fall.

Scapegoats

If you live in the UK and you aren’t in an underground bunker you’ve probably seen Nic’s video lamenting the scourge of transphobia in the SNP and, by inference, Scotland. You probably think trans people are being spat on in the street, beaten in their beds and threatened with violence every time they try to politically organise. The situation must be pretty grim for the head of the country to take a break from pandemic duties and allay public fears.

Only it isn’t.

There’s no widespread increase in trans violence. No attempts (organised or otherwise) to shut down trans discourse or prohibit them from political engagement. No firings of trans people. No refusal to hire trans people based on their political beliefs. There has been no censorship of trans literature. No attempts to stop trans people from speaking at public events or engaging with the media.

Nada.

So what is the transphobia of which Nic speaks?

Nobody really knows because we still don’t have a definition.

From my own experience of regularly being called a transphobe, transphobia is any attempt to assert the material reality of the sexed body and any attempt to defend the sex based rights of women. Under this definition, anyone can be a transphobe but the biggest transgressors are those who politically organise around the concept of the shared biological reality formally referred to as womanhood.

So when Nic says she will rid the party of transphobes what she means is she will purge the biggest party in Scotland of women who assert their sex based rights. And yesterday, she demoted Joanna Cherry as the sacrificial lesbian lamb to show the kids how serious she is.

As I’m writing, I’m conscious of time running out on my legal ability to express how this shitstorm works. Hastily compiled reactionary hate speech legislation is currently going through parliament, designed to shut down debate on this issue. And there is a genius to rendering debate hateful. It puts one in a position of being against hate speech legislation and who the fuck wants to try and sell that?

But every move in this game has been Genius. It started with a cis and the sub- division of a sex class into a sex and gender class, where the sex section was the oppressor and the interloper the victim. And once that ludicrous proposition had made it into mainstream then then it became all about maths and linguistics and adding a verb whilst subtracting an adjective. And transwomen are women was born and and created the marginalised tunnel into which all future funding was funnelled.

The most important thing to remember, if you dare, is that trans women aren’t women. They are men. Saying it out loud is fearful for many and I’m not without sympathy for that position. In truth, saying it out loud has repercussions and these must be weighed against any public statement on the issue, especially for women.

To call transwomen men is perceived as a profound insult, the zenith of bigotry in a world increasingly intolerant of intolerance, but it is, in fact, a neutral statement of fact. It is true, which is why those who say it are called TERFS and compared to Nazis, but rarely is the insult ‘liar’ levied at us.

And because we can’t be shut down with a counter argument, because the counter argument is a visibly demonstrative lie and a kick in the face to every discipline from biology to anthropology, we are shut down with slurs to our character and threats to our livelihood, and when the next round of legislation is passed, criminalising of dissent.

Some bloke told me he hoped I’d become a ‘better person’ yesterday and that he felt sorry for my child. His logic appeared to be that an awareness of the material reality of the sexed body is incompatible with good parenting. It would definitely have hurt if I gave a fuck what random men on the internet think of my mothering skills.

I’m a good enough mother, I’ll have you know. I teach my son about the material reality of a sexed body ‘coz he has one. I further teach him that he lives in a place and a time of science denial and publicly acknowledging that the sexes are obviously different may have a negative impact on his future ambitions.

And that’s how they get us all…in the end.

Before Q

Before Q, we were okay. Before Q, you were okay. Yeah, we argued, sometimes, like people on different pages of the same book. And then Q came along and burned all the books ‘coz reading is for losers and Donald Trump rocks (even with covid).

Q was the game changer. Like a last stage cancer it spread over our friendship and the globe, simultaneously, covering the uncertainty of the moment in a layer of virtual treacle trapping humans like flies as they sped round targeted sites looking for answers. And you were taken, in an instant, and now they own you and your mind belongs to them. And it’s very sad.

And not just for you and me but for all them and all us Q’s created as it cuts through families and society with the same precision blade. Q doesn’t want stable followers, he can’t sustain them, and luckily for him, he doesn’t get many.

I’ve personified Q as a male. Fact is no-one’s sure who or how many Q is. We know where he came from – the chans (4 and 8), the online equivalent of those late night bars you’d never willingly enter when sober, and the chans are unequivocally male and misogynist and white and racist and anti sematic. They are a virtual playground for the kids that were too weird (think burning cats not been really good at maths weird) to have friends.

And origins matter. Especially when the tale they tell is so tall, and is their a taller tale in the history of tall tales than Donald being the chosen one?

And what a stroke a genius to make it about children because everybody’s for children and against paedophiles, except the paedophiles, obviously. So which are you a Trump supporter or a paedophile? And how the fuck did we get here because the question makes no sense? And that’s what Q does. Murders common sense.

And after that it’s like talking to a cultist. And everybody knows you can’t talk to cultists. But nobody thinks their friend is going get trapped in a cult until they do.

The good man paradox

Not all men are wankers but enough of them are, to come out in force and say that they’re not all wankers, whenever you point to the actions of any given wanker, or group of wankers.  As if this is relevant.  As if I’m supposed to care that some bloke in Cardiff raises his three kids because their mother abandoned them.

As if that, somehow, negates the crisis in family courts, where violent men gain access to kids and violent male sexual predators gain custody of kids.  Or the crisis in rape prosecutions, where less than 2% of rapists (men) are convicted for their crimes.  As if that will save the life of either of the women killed by their male partners this week in Britain.

It should be self evident that anecdotal examples of compassion, or even simply  of taking responsibility – I’m talking to you, doting Dad from Cardiff – have no real place in a conversation about the epidemic of male violence that’s never gone away.  And yet, it’s such a common ploy among the defensive, that it has its own acronym – NAMALT.

In the week since the British rape victim returned from Cyprus, the internet has been awash with rapists, rape apologists and rape enthusiasts.  Any rape that makes headlines becomes a catalyst for all that is dark and damaged and depraved and downright dangerous about online mankind to surface.  Keyboard warriors across the globe celebrate her conviction because it makes them feel better about their own, unsanctioned crimes.

‘I was accused of rape once.’  They say.  Only once?

‘THE LYING WHORE SHOULD BE LOCKED UP!’  They shout.

‘It’s women like her that make it harder for real victims to get justice’  They proclaim, but never qualify how.

And as awful as these rants are, they somehow make sense.  In a world where one in five women are sexually assaulted, there’s got to be a lot of rapists, and most of them will be able to type.  A case that highlights the brutality of rape, the corruption of police investigations, the incompetence of legal systems, and the complicity of political systems  is a case with a lot to prove.  Rapists have a lot to defend.

What never makes sense to me is those who do believe her, but still want you to know that not all men are like a group of Israeli rapists.

‘It is important,’ they tweet, ‘that you remember there is good men in the world.’

Why is that important?  In what way does that empower the victim of a savage gang rape and an international miscarriage of justice?  In a world where men do most of the killing and raping and maiming, I can see how it’s comforting to know that your Barry puts the tea on the table four nights a week and always picks the girls up from ballet.  I just don’t see why it’s important.

The existence of good men is not what we question when groups of men conspire to deny a rape victim justice, but the persistence of bad men.  Not all men are gang rapists of teenage tourists, but gang rape is an exclusively male crime.  If we can’t call a spade a spade, for fear of hurting the good man’s ego, or the happy wife’s happy life, then perhaps these people are neither as good nor as content, as they contend.

Not all writers think like me.  If you like this you will also like my debut novel Nailing Jess.

Gaslit

I’m really angry this morning and I don’t want to be, this close to Christmas. I want to ice gingerbread men and mull wine and wrap presents in sustainable wrapping products and I can do none of the above because I’m so fucking angry.

Yesterday Maya Forstater lost her case at an employment tribunal. Her witness statement outlining her beliefs can be read here. In a nutshell, Mia was fired for believing that one’s biological sex is a material reality.  This, a judge held was a not a belief protected by The Equality Act 2010.

I urge you to pause and consider the implications of this judgement. I ask you to get your head around the fact that a belief in a self evident material reality is not protected, that a woman got fired for knowing what everybody knows – Biological reality exists.

Does it make you feel a bit crazy?  ‘Coz it’s sort of driving me nuts.  No-where in my mind can I accommodate an alternative belief.  Sure, I know they exist, but a lot of bat shit crazy ideas about the nature of womanhood exist, and I’m adept at ignoring most of them. Why do I have to capitulate to this one? More importantly, why would I, when it is devastating to women as a sex class, and intellectually lacking any discernible weight?

‘Gender is a spectrum’ is the latest apple they’re shoving down our throats. ‘Course it’s a spectrum, because not all women wear pink all the time, and some men cry at romantic movies marketed to the crying gender. Saying gender is a spectrum is a core message of feminists, forever. We created it to climb out of the home-maker box and the baby maker box and the sex maker box we’d been coarsely shoved into, a few thousand years before.

So far we are all in agreement. At one point do we start to diverge?

‘Gender is a spectrum therefore I am (… insert random made up word) to subdivide the already two distinct sex classes into a mosh pitt of meaningless sub categories that serve one clear aim – To eradicate women as a sex class.

This is the part of the game that separates the women from the girls, literally and metaphysically.

To be clear, I have nothing against metaphysics and have been a willing participant in many a conversation so pretentious and outlandish that it disappeared up its own anus, but co-existing with metaphysics is material reality. I thought all good philosophers knew this. Certainly, all ex mental patients do.

There is what is in our heads.

There is what is before our eyes.

Before my eyes there are two distinct biological sexes. My senses converge to reaffirm that position.  It’s not simply what I see, it’s what I smell, it’s what I taste, it’s what I touch, it’s what I perceive.  It’s coded into my brain and hardwired into my instinct.

I think if you put me in a room that played a twenty four hour loop of the mantra ‘Transwomen are women’, you still couldn’t change my mind.

Folks, you may have to shoot me, or at the very least fire me.  #istandwithmaya

Looking for a last minute Christmas gift, why not radicalise a loved one with a copy of my debut novel Nailing Jess?