Our Mothers Day Blog on holding space and passing the flame of feminism....
With #Mothersday on the horizon we were reminded of our Caucus meeting last year. In a zoom of 50+ women, Mandu Reid suggested that sex-based, gender critical feminism (aka feminism) was a 'generational issue'. That advocating for women and girls on the basis of their sex will only alienate younger women.
Using the rights of women and girls as a bargaining chip is a luxury we can little afford. And trust me, women in their thirties, forties, fifties (and beyond) are not the only women who recognise this.
There is a push back amongst young women and girls against the strange and incoherent click-bait feminism. The feminism that teaches girls that consent is everything, yet 'blow jobs are real jobs'... That tells girls that football is not just for boys, yet at the same time suggesting that liking football makes you one... That #metoo and #EveryonesInvited raises questions about the prevalence of male violence, yet asking for male-free spaces is not allowed to be the answer... A porn soaked world where porn is sold as empowering and normal, yet the sex lives of young women is leaving them with injuries and an orgasm deficit....
We thank the contributors of our #MothersDay blog for sharing their story. A story many will recognise and one that shows how important it is to support the generations of women who come after us with an analysis rather than slogans. It is our role as a Party, as women with experience of womanhood, that we hold space and we pass the flame.
Happy mother's day
Rachael's words (Age 15)
Last October, during half term:
'I was on a group chat with my friends. We were talking generally about controversial things and then the conversation turned to trans people. My friend who knew about my views said
'you don't think that trans women are women'- I confirmed this.
Everyone else on the chat was shocked. It got unpleasant and it escalated.
I ended up being called a 'transphobic cunt' by someone I considered a good friend
(I'll call her Girl A). A couple of them said they didn't agree with me but thought that insulting me was wrong.
Others 'liked' the message containing the insult and backed her up. I was asked several questions about all this and I gave my opinion – but I was told this was an opinion I wasn't allowed to have. Some of the others were telling me to 'educate myself' –
...but I have educated myself: I've read articles, I've discussed it with my parents, I know what the Equality Act2010 is and what the Protected Characteristics are. I know about the GRA and what self-ID means in relation to women's sex-based rights...
This didn't stay in the group chat. When I went back to school after half term, Girl A made sure that everyone knew she thought I was 'transphobic'. She cut up a present I'd given her back in the summer and posted the photo of the pieces to the group chat.
She made certain no one would talk to me by making sure they knew they'd get cancelled if they sided with me.Then she screen-shotted part of a caption I had used on my Instagram account (where I post gender-critical stuff). I had called out someone who was comparing Black women to trans women. I thought this was racist, but she used this to somehow accuse me of being racist. (This was despite the fact she knew I was the only one of our group to have attended the local BLM protest.)
Eventually it all calmed down – maybe because I stopped posting on my private Instagram account.
One of my friends who'd taken Girl A's side, came up to me and said he regretted how
things had ended. Girl A herself started to talk to me in a friendly manner, and it seemed like
everything was fine.
But then a couple of months ago it flared back up again: I'd started posting on my account again and realised something was up when a group of friends at school stopped talking to me.
Another girl (I'll call her Girl B) said 'oh look, it's a transphobe' loudly at school, and then loudly said 'openly transphobic' when she passed by me and my mum in town. Girl A messaged a friend of mine who lives far away and who she's never met, telling him not to be friends with me anymore because I was transphobic. Luckily he ignored her.
I have two good school friends who have stuck by me through all this. These friends are open-minded about the issue and they see my point; and they see what's happened in this campaign against me.
Girl A and Girl B spread these lies about me. They convinced other people that they were in the right before the others had the opportunity to understand the issue. What I've realised from all this is that most of these girls (and the majority are girls: most of the boys don't care because it doesn't affect them) don't understand the cause they're fighting so hard for, or how negatively it affects them as females'.
Lizzie's Story (Age 49)
'How has it come to this, that my now-15-year-old daughter has been cancelled for saying she doesn't believe that trans women are women? That Girl A and Girl B can successfully corral the entire year group (and beyond) into demonising her?
During the original Instagram group chat pile-on, when my daughter tried to explain about the importance of upholding women's hard-won sex-based rights, one of the girls who claims to be a hardcore feminist declared that women's sex-based rights were dispensable – our rights were nothing compared to the much more important trans rights.
(I'll wait while you retrieve your jaw from the ground.)
How have we allowed the recent memory of these hard-won rights to fade? This generation of teenage girls of course has no personal experience of being unable to apply for a credit card without their husband's or father's signature, of no right to an abortion, of no right to refuse their husband when he demands sex without your consent... or even of no right to wear trousers to school.
They have no knowledge of single-sex exemptions, except within the narrative that these
exemptions are apparently hurtful to trans people. They take their rights for granted: most of them have no appreciation of what these rights mean to them personally, or how fragile they are. But what these girls DO understand is the power of the word 'transphobia'.
And in order to avoid being accused of transphobia themselves, these girls are being coerced (intimidated?) into including boys and men in their spaces and in their very definition of 'girl' and 'woman'.
My daughter refuses to do this. And she is paying the price. She objected to the loos in the new school building being gender neutral (which, remember, actually means mixed sex), and this is used against her as proof of her 'transphobia'.
The girls coordinating the campaign against her are totally unaware that she is actually fighting to protect their sex-based rights and get the school to uphold the law – and she has: the loos are being changed back to single-sex.
Ironically, none of the girls or boys likes the mixed-sex loos – but the girls feel obliged to condemn anyone who publicly objects. It doesn't occur to them that a key reason for single sex loos is simply the right to privacy and dignity in intimate spaces. Or that single sex spaces can protect them from sexual violence, because regardless of how anyone identifies, the fact remains that males commit 98% of all sexual crimes.
This capture of organisations, businesses and schools by Stonewall and others is shameful. Our girls have been betrayed: the push to centre gender identity instead of biological sex means these girls are actively cheer-leading the erasure of their sex-based rights, having been convinced by society that their own needs, boundaries and rights are subordinate to those with a gender identity that doesn't match their sex.
Our modern sexist culture that has existed for decades – the one that dictates girls must be nice, be kind, make room, accommodate boys and men – is alive and kicking. And it's convinced those same girls that by doing so they're being progressive and feminist.
We have to address this. Because by staying silent we are letting our girls down badly.
I very much doubt girls and young women would surrender their sex-based rights if they actually knew what these rights are and what they mean. But how can they know when there's almost no education in schools about the suffragettes, about the fight for equal pay, about the single-sex exemptions within the Equality Act 2010?
There is little understanding among young people that gender identity is part of an ideology, a belief system – but they've fully understood the 100% compliance rule and many willingly police it.
I also very much doubt these girls genuinely believe that people can change sex. But our daughters are growing up learning they are not allowed to have an opinion on this unless it is of course The Right One, the one that parrots the orthodoxy.
The girls in school and the young women at university who do know about sex-based rights have quickly understood that there's a toxic environment around this debate and the vast majority of them have learned to keep quiet. They know too well how much they stand to lose if they speak out. How can we ignore the simple fact that girls and women can no longer safely speak about their physical selves, their lived experiences of being biologically female, and assert their spaces and their boundaries based on their sex?
Nobody should have the right to tell my daughter what she may or may not believe. Yet a toxic culture has been allowed to develop that has resulted in other girls and women thinking they have the right to police their own sex. The well-meaning 'be kind!' has morphed into a demand, a threat.
Many of us women who are in our 40's and older know a lot about sex-based rights. We are old enough to remember when our rights were still being fought for, or when the ink was barely dry on the new legislations that protected us. Yet our age is used against us to dismiss us as irrelevant.
But our experience counts for something. And we know how important it is that these rights be protected. We older women are fully aware that we still have a lot to lose if we stick our heads above the parapet and enter the fray. We know women who have lost their jobs, been pushed off social media, lost friends, and sat terrified in meeting rooms while protestors bang on windows furious that women are trying to organise and stand up for their own rights.
But having watched as my incredibly brave daughter stands alone and deal every day with a
campaign of hate, I know those of us with age and experience must do something. We have to fight for the right of our daughters to speak out. We have to teach them that girls and women demanding their own space is NOT denying the rights of other people – it's simply girls and women demanding their own space.
Always, always, society tells our girls that their spaces and needs come below those of someone else. And this must STOP.'
Women opened the windows of my eyes and the doors of my spirit. Had it not been for the woman-mother, the woman-sister, and the woman friend, I would have been sleeping among those who seek the tranquillity of the world with their snoring
Further watching & reading.......