he campus craze of banning outspoken women from university events and debates across the country is such a gift to the misogynistic “men’s rights” movement, that if I were a conspiracy theorist I would be insisting this is a global plot to end women’s liberation.
Lies and smears against radical feminists and allies who name male violence as the key way in which we are oppressed are nothing new. We are labelled prudes and “pearl clutchers”, slurs previously bandied about by men defending their right to rape.
At a talk I did earlier this year on feminism, several students turned up to hear me, with one telling me a heartbreaking story about being cast out by her feminist group because she was a “terf” (trans exclusionary radical feminist) and a “swerf” (sex worker exclusionary radical feminist). Her crime had been to circulate an article I had written about the disgracefully low conviction rate for rape in the UK.
Another emailed me recently explaining how she had been at the meeting at a London university that decided to “no platform” me from a debate on whether or not prostitution is harmful to women.
When several of the female students said they wanted to hear the debate, the white, male leader of that society started shouting that they were all “transphobes” and “whorephobes” for supporting me, so everyone shut up. I don’t blame them. I have had 11 years of this hostility because of one article I wrote, and they do not want the same treatment.
Another student told me she was banned from her feminist society because the flyers she distributed outlining the threat to women’s reproductive rights referred to “women” rather than ‘“womb bearers”, which was deemed transphobic.
Any feminism that names men and men’s violence as the problem is being shut down. The liberal, queer-identifying feminists that celebrate SlutWalk, pornography and “sex work” do not get no platformed. They are simply not a threat to men, and therefore the increasing numbers of men who are leading the troops into no platforming hell are appeased by them.
The Canadian feminist writer Meghan Murphy went through hell recently after writing an article in which she challenged the notion that the actor Laverne Cox –of Orange is the New Black – was liberating women by posing for the annual Nudes Issue of Allure. Because Cox is transgender and black, Meghan was accused of being both racist and transphobic, with a number of groups demanding that Murphy be sacked from her unpaid blog and part-time paid editor position at rabble.ca.
The current climate in universities of creating “safe spaces” in which no evil must enter is pathetic. Banning me from speaking by claiming that my very presence would cause harm and even violence to students, when they regularly allow men who actually campaign against women’s rights to speak, is outrageous.
Initially, the University of Manchester decided to no platform me and not my opponent, Milo Yiannopoulos, a vocal anti-feminist, (though he too was later disinvited, after protests over the hypocrisy). In doing so, they handed me a gift. Here is proof that this is an anti-feminist crusade, and nothing at all about so called safe spaces.
No student was harmed in the writing of this article.