Jesse Singal is a journalist whose “progressive” credentials were never questioned until he wrote a cover story in The Atlantic about the growing phenomenon of “gender transition” for children. The article begins by focusing on a girl who “desisted” — Claire, who at age 12 began binge-watching YouTube transition videos, became convinced that she was transgender, but has since changed her mind:
“I think I really had it set in stone what a guy was supposed to be like and what a girl was supposed to be like. I thought that if you didn’t follow the stereotypes of a girl, you were a guy, and if you didn’t follow the stereotypes of a guy, you were a girl.”
Claire is an example of what has been called “Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria,” and Singal’s examination of this problem made him a target for online activists. Bestselling feminist author Roxane Gay called Singal’s article a “travesty” and asserted that the article should have been “vetted” by transgender advocates. What this was, of course, was an endorsement of censorship, and Meghan Murphy — a radical feminist critic of transgenderism — was having none of it.
The belief that transgender activists should exercise a veto over media coverage of transgenderism — that journalists owe their “blind allegiance” to the transgender cause — is an obviously bad idea, as Ms. Murphy says. However, the same could be said in regard to feminism and progressivism more generally. How did we get here, after all?
Isn’t it true that so-called “mainstream” journalism has been captured by “social justice warriors” (SJWs) like Jesse Singal, who helped smear #GamerGate? Didn’t Donald Trump get elected president in large measure because he was willing to call out the “fake news” media?
The whole architecture of 21st-century progressivism, rooted in an “intersectional” calculus of privilege and oppression, tends toward the silencing of certain viewpoints, and the monopolization of discourse by those who claim unquestioned authority on the basis of their identity.
What disturbs Ms. Murphy and other feminist critics of transgenderism — beyond the stark insanity of “transitioning” 12-year-olds — is that the intersectional agenda is now being used to attack the definition of womanhood, delegitimizing feminism’s identitarian basis. After all, if Corey Dale Ehmke can declare himself to be a woman named “Coraline Ada” Ehmke, and thus allow an employer to fill a quota of females for the purposes of “diversity,” this will leave actual women with a smaller slice of the affirmative-action pie. In Mexico, which has imposed quotas for female office-holders, it was recently discovered that 17 male candidates had falsely claimed to be transgender “women.”
Many of my conservative readers have enjoyed the schadenfreude of the clash between radical feminists and transgender activists, as man-hating ideologues like Meghan Murphy are hoisted by the petard of their own identity-politics formulae. Yet the enemy of your enemy is not always your friend, and any intelligent person can perceive that (a) Ms. Murphy and her allies are correct in saying that biological reality cannot be vanquished by abstract concepts of “gender” and (b) this conflict has forced feminists to make important admissions about fundamental differences between male and female. And thank God for that.
Ever since I began my deep dive into this abyss of insanity four years ago, radical feminism’s “war against human nature” has been my focus. As I have documented — e.g., in the presentation I gave last fall in Leominster, Massachusetts — the logic and rhetoric of feminism is not only anti-male, but also anti-marriage and anti-motherhood and, in the final analysis, feminist ideology is anti-heterosexuality, per se.
For years, this radical logic was masked by a public-relations agenda that sought to sell the Feminist™ brand as an innocuous commodity. A few months after I began the Sex Trouble project, Emma Watson made her debut as spokeswoman for the U.N.’s “He for She” campaign designed to convince men that they, too, could (and should) be feminists.
Anyone with two eyes and a brain could see that the object of this was to give a celebrity boost to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, but this transparent charade was embraced by any number of progressive “male feminist” types, to the consternation of actual feminists like Meghan Murphy. She raged against “male feminists” like Noah Berlatskyand Charles Clymer (who announced earlier this year that he is a “woman” named Charlotte). No amount of self-abnegation can rescue a man from Ms. Murphy’s implacable anti-male hatred, and there is thus no incentive for men to support feminism, except insofar as such support is necessary to employment in academia, media or “progressive” politics.
The danger of making feminism mandatory, so that anyone who dissented could be purged from public life and branded a “misogynist,” should have been obvious. Imposing ideological conformity not only shielded the feminist belief system from fact-based challenges, but produced on the part of many “progressive” males an envy of feminist power. If all that is necessary to boss people around — to silence anyone who disagrees with you — is to wield the totalitarian authority of feminism, isn’t it predictable that some men will crave that power?
“The totalitarian can never be appeased. . . . Feminists have an appetite for power that is ultimately insatiable.”
— Robert Stacy McCain, Feb. 21, 2017
The feminist movement was always incoherent, its public rhetoric of “gender equality” contradicted by an anti-male ideology that, in fact, amounts to an unlimited belief in female supremacy. Meghan Murphy categorically condemns males as sexually useless and socially harmful. Like other feminists, she is against “the patriarchal institution of marriage,” and considers motherhood “unappealing to say the least”: Women have no “real desire” to become mothers, she says, but are instead the victims of “powerful forces at play that convince women they must reproduce in order to fulfill their destiny as women.”
No husbands, no babies — this is what feminist ideology requires and, while Ms. Murphy calls herself “heterosexual,” one has difficulty imagining how this could happen in practice. She never speaks of men except to condemn them as misogynists, afflicted with toxic masculinity, wrongfully benefiting from male privilege and complicit in rape culture. If men are as universally awful as Ms. Murphy seems to believe, how could she possibly find any of them sexually attractive? Beyond that, however, why would any man find Ms. Murphy attractive, unless he had some sort of weird masochistic appetite for humiliation?
Her feminism would seem to render Meghan Murphy’s heterosexuality mysterious, or perhaps a moot hypothetical, and this is equally true of any feminist who claims to be heterosexual. The goal of feminism is to destroy men — “Smash Patriarchy!” — not to love them.
Confronted with this hateful and destructive ideology, the kind of “progressive” men who consider themselves feminist allies are forced into a degrading condition of servile self-hatred or, alternately, must become dishonest hypocrites like Bill Clinton and Harvey Weinstein, who prey on women in private while praising “equality” in public. Because feminist theory borrows from Marxism a zero-sum-game mentality, pitting women against the male enemy in an all-or-nothing “class struggle,” feminism makes honest male-female cooperation impossible. Insofar as the Left embraces feminism, the effect of this embrace would logically tend toward purging men from positions of power and influence in the progressive ranks — unless men can become “women” like Charles/“Charlotte” Clymer, Justin/“Riley” Dennis, et al.
That the rise of transgenderism was not a result intended by feminists does not mean that it does not logically follow from their premises. After all, it was not the intent of Lyndon Johnson’s “War on Poverty” to trap millions of black people in hopeless dependency on welfare, even though this was the actual legacy of LBJ’s so-called “Great Society.” Failure to anticipate unintended consequences has been a hallmark of liberalism for many decades, and feminists are now confronted by a repetition of this lesson. Having demonized males so that the “cishet white male” becomes what the Jew was in Nazi propaganda — the scapegoat blamed for every ill in society — feminists become enraged when “progressive” men, having internalized this anti-male ideology, claim to be “women” and expect to be praised as courageous for doing so. Is transgenderism insane? Yes. Is it consistent with the logic of “gender equality”? Also, yes.
he online Pied Pipers of transgenderism like Amanda “Miles” McKennaconsider their advocacy of “transition” an expression of the progressive feminist claim that the gender binary is socially constructed by the heterosexual matrix (to summarize Judith Butler’s influential 1990 book Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity). Because there are no natural differences between men and women, according to this theory, and because heterosexuality is a system of oppression imposed by patriarchy, there is no reason why Amanda McKenna shouldn’t inject herself with testosterone, have her breasts amputated and thereby reject her (socially constructed) female identity.
“This is not what we wanted!” the radical feminists scream, yet the logic of their own theory says that “Miles” McKenna is the same as any male, just as “Zinnia Jones” must be equal to any woman. Why should mere biology be allowed to obstruct the practical results of their theory?
If so eminent a feminist as Roxane Gay can defend the transgender cult, what right have Meghan Murphy and others to say that Amanda becoming “Miles” is not consistent with feminism? The feminist movement has no equivalent of the Pope to settle such disputes, so that there are rival feminist sects each denouncing the other as heretics.
Half a century after the schizophrenic Shulamith Firestone organized the first radical feminist collective in New York (and six years since her body was discovered a week after she died alone in her apartment in 2012) the consequences of her insane ideology have become apparent. Every criticism of the movement made by men was dismissed as “sexism.” Once all male influence was rejected, so that only women’s voices could be heard, the momentum of feminism rapidly shifted toward lesbian separatism (e.g., Charlotte Bunch and the Furies collective) and by the 1980s, “revolutionary feminists” in England were denouncing heterosexual women as “collaborators” with the male enemy.
Having watched feminists wield the whip of identity politics for so long, now transgender activists have gotten their hands on the whip. Their commandments are simple and familiar: SHUT UP AND OBEY!
All radical movements end up resembling one another in this way. From Robespierre to Pol Pot, from the Bolsheviks to the Black Panthers, the revolutionaries prove themselves to be murderous power-mad monsters, who must destroy anyone who opposes or criticizes them. When “Char Vortryss” and his/“her” transgender comrades threaten violence against their feminists critics, do feminists expect their progressive “male allies” to defend them, and if so, why? When teenagers insist on their “right” to hormones and surgery, does anyone expect progressives to say “no”?
Advocates of transgenderism cannot permit an open and honest discussion of this issue, or the public will take alarm at what’s happening. Instead, as on so many other issues in our society, progressives want to control the terms of discussion, to promote a one-sided propaganda campaign, as a means to produce the “correct” public opinion. Millions of dollars are being spent to promote pro-transgender propaganda campaign, which Jesse Singal’s story has disrupted. Meghan Murphy and her allies should not be surprised their feminist comrades like Roxane Gay are advocating censorship to appease transgender activists, when feminists have so often sought to silence their own critics.
Because I share Ms. Murphy’s concerns about the transgender agenda, this makes us de facto allies in the cause of liberty. I do not believe that the transgender cult can withstand public scrutiny, if people are adequately informed of the facts. Men and women are different, these differences are not imaginary, nor are they insignificant, and they cannot be wished away by saying they are “socially constructed.”
That’s not feminism. That’s simply the truth.