As many radical feminists know, Julie Bindel, a famous radical feminist theorist and writer, has long since been no-platformed by the National Union of Students in the UK, and cannot speak at universities, including my own, on any topic, because of her “transphobic views”. These “transphobic views” are basically that women are oppressed on account of our biology as females, not because of our ‘ladybrains’. Cut to my seminar on Tuesday:
I’m taking a seminar on Critical Theory and the seminar tutor and convener of the module is a young, American man with a doctorate in comparative literary studies, or something like that. He has created a new syllabus which he’s very excited about because “since the credit crunch Marx has come back in a big way and this theory we are going to be learning has become just as relevant as it was in the 1970s, if not more so”. I immediately thought of the Women’s Liberation Movement, of course. We are going to be reading Marx extensively: Term 1 will be a grounding in his theory, and then in Marxist revisionism; Term 2 will be spent, half on Marxist feminism and then some stuff on the anthropocene and Environmentalism etc. He gave us a run-down of each section.
When introducing Marxist Feminism, he asked the class a question. He said, “Feminists in the 1970s started looking at Marx and saying, ‘there’s something massive missing here. Marx has completely ignored a major component of unpaid labour in this society.’ And what do you guys think is this ‘unpaid labour’ they were talking about?”
One of the four men in the class, of course, put forward, the classic answer “domestic work”.
Then a theatre student added, “feeding the workers.”
And I chimed in, controversially perhaps, “physically producing the next generation of workers”.
And I was expecting a hushed silence, I was expecting my tutor to grimace, to clarify that female biology has nothing to do with this sexism that we’re talking about now. But, to my genuine surprise, and to my amusement, to be honest, he nodded enthusiastically. Yes! “All of women’s labour was ignored in Marx, and these feminists sought to address that. Production as Reproduction.”
Woman = Female!? No one batted an eye.
The reason I’m posting the story on my blog is because I want people to know. I want people to know that at my university, where Julie Bindel is no-platformed, where we are not allowed to use the word “woman” or “female” on our Anti-Sexism Society’s discussion page, a prominent male tutor is teaching Marxist Feminism with sexism defined as sex-based oppression. It just blows my mind: his male privilege means he can speak the truth with no consequence. At least I already know what my essay topics are going to be.
Men can say what women get punished for. Liberal feminism is intellectually bankrupt.