On ‘corporate feminism’ and the appropriation of the women’s movement

On Monday, Lisa Wade wrote, for Sociological Images, that Playboy (you know, the multi-million dollar porn empire) has been shopping around for writers who can bring some feminist cred to the magazine’s website. While they’ve yet to find a woman from the actual feminist movement to join them, they found Noah Berlatsky, a man who has a bone to pick with any woman who challenges objectification, male power, and the sex industry.

Berlatsky’s willingness to invent quotes, beliefs, and opinions on my behalf in order to revel in his own self-adoration at his ability to objectify women is remarkable. He has written two articles, previous to this most-recent one, that have wilfully misrepresented or even outright lied about my arguments in order to present himself as the true ally of women, and I, their natural enemy. These three occasions are, tellingly, the only three times, previous to this week, that I’ve ever had to contact a publication about libel or about misrepresenting my work.

I am, of course, unsurprised that Playboy would publish his most-recent libel. Playboy has long promoted the sexualization and objectification of women as liberatory and have a history of unethical behaviour (beyond the obvious dehumanization-of-women stuff) to match. Gloria Steinem documented their exploitative labour practices back in the 60s, a number of women, including Vanessa Williams, Madonna, and Marilyn Monroe, complained that their nudes were published without their consent, and the magazine refused to put a black women on the cover of the magazine for the first 18 years of its existence. Despite their interest in turning women’s bodies into profit, Hugh Hefner claimed he was “a feminist before there was such a thing as feminism.” (The porn kings have always positioned themselves as the true freedom fighters.) It’s only recently, though, that “feminists” have bought it.

Bertlastky is selling the exact same thing Hefner is, in the exact same way. He is the ideal face of Playboy’s new “feminist” image, which latches on to currently-popular neoprogressive language in order to convince women that intersectionality and freedom is defined by equal objectification. In response to my position — that the objectification of Laverne Cox will not lead to empowerment for women — Berlatsky and Playboy accuse me of excluding women, an odd thing to say as I applied the same analysis to Cox’s image I do to all women. He quotes a woman named P. Marie, who says:

“When it comes to sexualized images of us, for me it’s all about agency! Did we consent? Are we respected? Is this our choice? Is this a collection of body parts or erased humanity?”

What this argument says, conveniently, is that Playboy has never objectified a single woman in all its history, as all the women who’ve graced their pages did so with consent.

Berlatsky and Playboy believe that equality will be achieved through fuckability. Yet a quick look through history shows that the sexualization and commodification of women’s bodies has never resulted in liberation from patriarchy — not for marginalized women, not for privileged women, not for anyone. As a number of Indigenous activists have pointed out, European men were the first to prostitute Indigenous women, here in Canada, as part of their colonization efforts. They also married and impregnated many of those women and girls. Certainly, the willingness of those men to sexualize the bodies of Indigenous women did not result in their liberation.

That simple and obvious argument was enough to create a backlash and a swell of support for not only male pornographers and the beauty industry, but for capitalism as our primary route towards freedom. If we are good enough to sell their products and their magazines, we have achieved liberation.

Shortly thereafter, a D-list writer at The Frisky* (a small women’s site that primarily publishes celebrity gossip and personal stories about how porn can liberate you from “sexual shame,” which I wrote for a few times in the past before my editor moved on) named Katie Klabusich wrote a disjointed rant about my post, declaring my criticisms of the pressure placed upon women to reach patriarchal standards “racist” and “transphobic.” Unable to come up with any examples of how it is “racist” or “transphobic” to oppose the objectification of women, Klabusich chooses to simply repeat the words over and over again, hopeful that her readers will become transfixed by her ability to avoid providing a single example of “bigotry” in 1800 words. Instead of explaining how the objectification of Laverne Cox will achieve liberation for women, despite all of history, she accuses me of “spewing hatred for profit,” calling on her twitter followers, repeatedly, to “call out” “White Feminism™,” “violent writing,” and myself. (She then proceeded to go on Netroots radio to further accuse me of “racism” and “transphobia,” saying that you will find all the “proof” you need of my supposed bigotry if you simply Google “Meghan Murphy blackface.” Apparently Klabusich isn’t familiar with the search engine herself, but for those of you who are skilled at this “Googling,” please do go ahead and punch that little phrase in… You will find my article for Herizons magazine criticizing “hipster racism” and “hipster sexism,” which I thought was quite good.**)

Desperate for the internet to acknowledge her existence but unwilling to do the work of reading words or developing an understanding of feminist ideology, Klabusich tried to punch up, but missed. That’s right, the woman shilling for Playboy Enterprises chose to attack a feminist with a largely unprofitable, independent website, with no staff, minimal advertising income (full disclosure: I make approximately $40 a month through those little ads on the front page — compare that to the amount of advertising income both The Frisky and Playboy receive by literally or figuratively selling women’s bodies), that survives on donations from readers, instead of the male-run corporations who’ve set the standard for women’s body-hatred. The full irony of accusing me of “spewing hatred for profit” in this context will come to light shortly.

This particular partnership between Playboy and The Frisky is no coincidence. You’ll notice the site is advertised in The Frisky’s sponsored links, right below Klabusich’s post.

So while the position taken by Klabusich and The Frisky, in favour of Playboy’s stance, is unsurprising as well as financially lucrative for both publications, the extreme naivete, hatefulness, and hypocrisy communicated by “feminists” who signed on to this slanderous attack on myself and on feminism as a whole, is.

One woman who 'favorited' this tweet writes for Vice Canada...
One woman who ‘favourited’ this tweet (as well as a number of similar ones) writes for Vice Canada…

The list of women who participated in attacking and slandering me while simultaneously promoting Playboy is expansive. A number of extremely misogynist, vulgar, and violent public statements were supported by women who call themselves feminist (as well as, naturally, by many men — the Media Director at Netroots Nation, for example thought the whole ordeal was hilarious and defended the attack). Many of those who shared and supported Playboy’s attack on me claimed that, while they wouldn’t normally promote the site, they were willing to now. Apparently it is only appropriate to support a company that made Hugh Hefner millions when it means supporting a white, anti-feminist man in his attempts to smear feminists who oppose the very objectification Hef built his fortune on.

But putting Playboy aside and speaking of “Feminism™,” what is it these people are sticking up for in the first place?

What I responded to and what became the center of this widespread attack on my character, work, political beliefs, and credibility as a feminist, was a nude photo spread in Allure magazine.

Allure is an American beauty magazine owned by Condé Nast. Their tagline reads:

“Discover new hair ideas, makeup looks, skin-care advice, the best beauty products and tips, trends, and more from Allure, the first and only dedicated beauty magazine.”

The purpose of the magazine is to teach women that they are too fat, too ugly, and, generally, too flawed and that, in order to fix these flaws, they must give all their money to male-owned companies that produce toxic beauty products — many of which contain cancer-causing ingredients. This is to say that Allure exists specifically in order to make women feel bad about themselves and to resolve those feelings by supporting corporations that not only want women to continue hating themselves and, therefore, purchasing their products, but are actually poisoning our bodies and the world around us in the process.

Condé Nast is a company that was founded in the early 1900s by Condé Montrose Nast. Charles H. Townsend is its CEO. The company is well-known for its exploitative internship program, which they were forced to close after two interns sued, as the program violated federal and state labour laws. They also tried to bribe a number of food politics writers into producing content for a series they were planning to run on the “topics of food, food chains and sustainability,” sponsored by genetically modified seed/pesticide giant Monsanto. It is a division of Advance Publications, one of the largest media conglomerates in the U.S., currently run by Samuel Irving Newhouse, Jr., Charles H. Townsend, and Robert A. Sauerberg. (This is to say that both companies were founded by and are run by men.)

Advance Publications owns over 100 American newspapers, cable networks, business journals, online publications, and magazines, including Vogue, Glamour, and The New Yorker. They also own Reddit.com.

In the past couple of years they have been responsible for mass layoffs in newspapers across the country and union-busting. A look back into Newhouse-owned newspapers show a history of promoting racism, segregation, and white supremacy, tacitly accepting the beatings, synagogue-bombings, cross-burnings, and general violence and hatred against black and Jewish people happening during the 50s and 60s in the South. When New York Times reporter, Harrison Salisbury, went to Birmingham, Alabama (which was then the most segregated city in American and consequently became the centre of the civil rights movement) in the 60s to cover that which the city’s Newhouse-owned paper was trying to hide, publishing an article entitled “Fear and Hatred Grip Birmingham” on the front page of the Times, the Birmingham News accused him of slander and labeled him a bigot.

Reporters at Newhouse newspapers have been fired and demoted for telling the truth about relationships with advertisers (which involved publishing promotional material for the auto industry, presented as regular columns) and killing stories that rubbed advertisers the wrong way. In the 90s, the Portland Oregonian (a Newhouse paper, once the site of a violent five-year strike which, in the end, signaled the diminishing power of newspaper unions in Portland) ignored multiple sexual harassment allegations made about Senator Bob Packwood, opting to endorse the Republican politician instead.

I could go on, but the point is clear: Advance Publications and the Newhouse family are no friend to the working class, women, or to marginalized populations. The founders and owners of Advance Publications are billionaires. In the 90s the Newhouse family sold Random House for $1.4 billion. The patriarch of the Newhouse family and one of the richest men in America, Samuel I. Newhouse Sr., keeps the money in the family, filing all the top positions in the company with his relatives.

This is what corporate feminism looks like. Literal billion-dollar corporations who screw over the working class and marginalized, time and time again, profiting from the misogynist standards they set for women, promoted and defended as “feminist.” These wealthy white men have feminists across the web rallying together in support of their billion-dollar media empire and nefarious interests. While Hefner watches from his mansion, surrounded by his harem of young women, liberal American feminists who purport to be on the “progressive” side of history are doing his dirty work — not only by promoting the pornification of women and lining his pockets, but by actively working against any feminist who dares challenge him.

Beyond their wide support for the corporate appropriation of the feminist movement, these “feminists” are promoting the idea that, while objectification is bad for white women, it is good for marginalized women.

There is one thing in all of this that’s true: Feminism™ has arrived. You’ve been bought.

Wade asks, at the end of her post, “Who’s in charge over there? Are they trying to appropriate feminism?” And of course the answer is “men” and “yes.”

If you believe you are fighting the power while propping up Playboy Enterprises as the true voice of feminism, you’ve already lost. If you believe a porn empire is ever going to fight for marginalized women you have not only lost the fight, but you’ve thrown women to the dogs in the process. All that is won in these misguided attacks is more power and profit for capitalist patriarchy — a system consistently ignored by American mainstream feminists who prefer to believe that empowerment exists solely in the eye of the beholder and on a case-to-case basis.

Congratulations, the backlash is here and it’s name is feminism.

Written with contributions from Samantha Berg.

*The Frisky has, at this point, received dozens of letters of complaint about this article from individual women and women’s organizations, requesting that editor, Amelia McDonell-Parry remove the libelous statements and issue a public apology, which she has, to-date, ignored.

**As much as I am loath to give Klabusich the attention she desires, I think it’s important to document all of her libel, publicly. She insists, throughout the interview, that there is a history of “transphobia” and “racism” in my work, but is unable to point to a single example. The one benefit of this being that Klabusich’s desire to self-promote is building a public case against her own hypocrisy, inability to do very basic research and, again, her intentional efforts to publicly smear and slander me in an attempt to build a profile for herself.

Meghan Murphy
Meghan Murphy

Founder & Editor

Meghan Murphy is a freelance writer and journalist. She has been podcasting and writing about feminism since 2010 and has published work in numerous national and international publications, including New Statesman, Vice, Al Jazeera, The Globe and Mail, I-D, Truthdig, and more. Meghan completed a Masters degree in the department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University in 2012 and lives in Vancouver, B.C. with her dog.

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  • purple sage

    It is evident here, and in all your work, that you are willing to do research and cite sources before publishing a piece. I wish I could expect that same level of integrity from the writers who actually get paid a salary for their writing. I think what I’m learning from this situation is that independent media is a lot more reliable. Journalists who work for corporations are clearly being paid to write a certain point of view in a certain way—the way that benefits the corporation.

    Meghan, brava for having integrity, maturity, and courage even when you’re being attacked. I’m so sorry this has happened to you. Although this is clearly a shitty situation, I hope that one good thing will come out of it. All the publicity will bring more people to your site and when people read your thoughtful and well-researched critiques of objectification and porn culture they will see you are right. That’s how I came across Gail Dines. People were posting her articles and calling her the “Mayor of Wrongville” and then when I read what Dines was saying I realized she was right on. This is what I wish for you and your future readers.

    The attacks are coming steadily because your work is so good, and you are becoming more well-known. If we can measure the impact a feminist is having by the size of the backlash against her, then you are doing a fantastic job! Keep up the good work!

    • Meghan Murphy

      Thanks sister. Solidarity.

      • Priscila

        *o/* go Meghan *o/*

      • Nullvoid

        With any hope, I think the little assault on your character might open up a few peoples eyes when they search for your supposedly egregious racism and transphobia and lack finding anything but assertion after assertion.

        Then again, I think it’s safe to say that if people are invested in liberal feminism that much, they don’t really care for the thought of changing their perceptions just yet.

        • Meghan Murphy

          Remains to be seen, I suppose…

        • Cepheid

          I actually came to this site a few years ago through something similar. Someone was going on a rant on a liberal feminist site about how bad and transphobic Feminist Current was, so I came to have a look because sometimes I like to be offended.

          What I found here changed my outlook on all sorts of issues I’d just sort of bought into from liberal feminist sites. “Objectification is empowering”, ” Prostitution is empowering “, “gender identity”, etc. I always had this little niggling feeling in the back of my head that there was something wrong with the liberal feminist ideologies I was parroting, but it was this site that allowed me to open my mind and understand things rationally instead of through feelings.

          So, thank you, Meghan. Really.

          • Meghan Murphy

            Well, that’s an upside to all this garbage if I ever saw one!

  • derrington

    Mandela wrote that it wasn’t the words of his enemies that hurt, it was the silence of his friends. The sexism positive feminists have abandoned any attempt at critical analysis of power structures or how they work whilst throwing all of us that recognise these systems, usually having been run over by them in the form of rape, sexist violence or harrassment, under a bus as expendable. Silence from our so called friends in sexism positive feminism would be preferable to seeing them join in with baiting of radical feminists, most of whom actually work or support women and children escaping male violence, as opposed to proclaiming that its a choice that these women and kids took that didn’t work out – no reason needed. This latest attack must be stressful for you Meghan, and I send you support from the UK and thank you for your bravery in speaking truth to power. Some of us admire integrity in journalism, especially when its in such short supply nowadays.

    • Southwest88

      Signed the counter-petition to Rabble. But after the post here describing the number of rich and powerful men who have decided to make fake feminism a product selling tool, I am worried that Rabble may feel too much pressure to do the right thing and keep Murphy. Your point is true, derrington, these are the times that separate the sheep from the goats. To be fair to the “fun sparkly feminists” I will say that recognizing and standing up to abuse comes at a heavy personal price sometimes. I think many of the faux feminists have seen that and are desperate to avoid doing anything that would make the men in power mad at them. And, just in time, here comes the porno pimps and corporations letting them be a certain kind of submissive, shallow, attacking other women fake feminsts who these porno dudes will say nice things about.

      So sad but I will keep on fighting for all women. Heck, I could make a full-time job out of trying to get young women to actually vote. Most of them seem to think that voting is either useless or they won’t lower themselves to vote for the “lesser of two evils” but will wait until Prince Charming, er, the perfect candidate comes along.

      • Yes, I signed the petition as well and have been fighting susan davis on babble.

        But I dunno, southwest, if you live in the US, often there is really nobody for whom to vote.

        Here in Montréal, I was able to vote for progressive candidates who were at the least left-social-democratic, ranging to almost anticapitalist. And they won.

        Refusal to vote for bourgeois parties is not necessarily a sign of apoliticism. Lots of young people are taking it to the streets these days, even in the US. (I’m not a young person)…

      • Dana

        I don’t want to vote for the lesser of two evils and I don’t have to wait for a perfect candidate. There are lots of parties in this country, pick one and vote for its candidate if you find you can agree with most of what the candidate stands for. This is supposed to be a representative democracy. If you really want your candidate to represent you, vote for one you agree with. If you find you have to hold your nose to vote, you’re voting for the wrong candidate. If we were willing to truly be sisters and support one another, it wouldn’t matter who made it into office, because we could weather anything they threw at us.

    • river

      Also: just plain jealousy. Meghan has a byline.

  • jo

    *standing ovation*
    Yes men understand how effective feminism is so they try to fight against it, twist and defang it, take over it.
    I’m sorry you have had so much libel written about you and your article Meghan. That’s apparantly what happens when you are an actual feminist online.

  • These people are cheering for the objectification of transwomen. And they’re accusing you of being transphobic.


    • Meghan Murphy


    • derrington

      The weird thing about this whole trans issue is the way that is has become such a hotly contested issue. Most feminist spaces are trans inclusive and one of the main problems I have seen within these spaces is trans women wanting to use a women’s issue space to talk about trans issues and arguing that the time/agenda should include those issues to the same degree that they cover cis issues. The trouble for me is that there is usually so little time to even devote to wider women’s issues, let alone give over a significant portion of time to talk about an issue that effects only two people in a room of 500. It feels a little like going to a French class and demanding the right to spend a large amount of time speaking German. There are plenty of common issues such as male violence against all women, trans and cis, but it seems that its the wish to mainstream trans experiences within a space and event that is largely cis that leads to so much bullying. Likewise the concept of objectification of trans women not being subject to the same critique as objectification of cis women without an enormous amount of bullying. It seems a lot of boundary shifting going on around treating transwomen as same as cis women sometimes, but not others …

      • Dana

        And it’s the trans*women* we’ve got the big issue with here. We already welcome trans*men*, so it’s not even transphobia by the loosest definition of the word. It’s not wanting people coming in acting male and trying to make the whole meeting about them. If it were cisgendered males and we let them in, they’d be doing the exact same thing. “Rape? Men get raped too. Domestic violence? Women beat their boyfriends and husbands too. Children? Men always get screwed for custody. Blah, blah, blah,” and we’d still never get anything done. If they really want us to believe they’ve become women, maybe it’s high time they acted like same.

  • C.K. Egbert

    Ditto to everything everyone has said. This is an excellent site, and I’ve been very honored to have the opportunity to publish here.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Thank you, sister! (And everyone here!)

  • David and Goliath. The little independent web site that doesn’t make enough money to keep a healthy midget in donuts versus the Fortune 500.

    Thank god you’re there!

    I had a general question I’ve been struggling with. The F500 has been pushing Profitable Feminism™, using their marketer drones to make it sound good, and they’re reaching scary numbers of people.

    So what can you do in a social situation when some well-meaning newbie starts piously repeating drivel about “sex work” or choice or the whole nine yards? I mean you’re supposed to be polite. You don’t want to be a downer. You don’t want people to feel attacked, which they will, even though that’s not at all what I want to do. I just want them to understand what’s wrong with the whole entire world in two or three simple sentences.

    I don’t have the social skill to know what to say, and I feel like a grubby weasel when I don’t say anything.

    Does anybody have ways of dealing with this? Is there any way to give quiet comments that don’t derail the whole evening but might start people thinking? Or is the way of the weasel the only practical way?

    • just me

      Ask them how they came to their ideas and take them through it to its logical conclusions…. ooor just be like ‘huh, i completely disagree with you! We should talk sometime about it, eh?!’ or something? haaa

      • Both of those suggestions sound good and potentially doable. Thanks! (Why didn’t I think of that? :?:)

    • Southwest88

      quixote has a point. A lot of the people being seduced by corporate faux feminism have not been in the workplace or world long enough to see sexism for the huge rigged game that it is. They are willing to buy into leaning-in and oh-if-women-only-worked-harder-or-something-they-would-get-respect and they want to be liked more than anything. I doubt many of them have had much first hand experience with the vile world of pimps and pornographers, so it is easy for a carefully chosen spokeswoman to convince them that rape for pay is just like working at the local burger joint. Many of them see themselves as the Cool Chick who the men really like and respect because they are not like the other women.

      And the corporations and porno mags control the media and have their brands on all kinds of fun events. As long as they go along with a type of feminism that keeps the men happy, they get pats on the head and praise for how they aren’t like those bitter old hag feminazis. And with the trans activists, pornographers and pimps calling everybody who opposes them racist, well, it takes some experience and backbone to call that out as BS. If they are employed in some field where they can be the targets of coordinated attacks (like Murphy) then they really know they have to toe the ideological line.

      How to speak with them? That is tough because it seems that using careful reasoning and logical procession of ideas is not in fashion nowadays. And even if we try to appeal to them on the hyper-emotional level that the trans-activists use, we just aren’t as good at it. You can’t win a braying contest with a jackass, after all, they are just better at it. It seems like faux-feminism is just something only time and experience can cure. I hate that some of these women are going to walk into the meat grinder of the pimps and woman-haters but what can we do?

      I don’t give up hope since people do grow and evolve. My little tough girl past seems so naive and silly to me now. But it took time and experience for me to see how the game is rigged and how many of the people who I fought for would never lift a finger for me. So, maybe when they lean-in so far that they fall over and still don’t advance or they find out that the men will revoke that Cool Chick status eventually or when they live long enough to notice that the pimps/trans-activists/pornographers they shilled for all these years have done nothing for them……well, hopefully a lot of us will still be here to welcome them to real feminism.

      Sorry about all the wrong on sentences in this – hope it is readable. Keeping fingers crossed the Rabble will show some backbone and not be bullied.

      • Eli

        [Q]Many of them see themselves as the Cool Chick who the men really like and respect because they are not like the other women.[/Q]

        Exactly. But when they are personally affected by the men they are intimate with, perhaps then they will see the light. I wonder how many of these women would be alright with their male partners or husbands using prostituted women, for instance. It’s not so cool when (as happened to me) your husband develops a full-blown compulsion to purchase women and is regularly using them. What about STDs? Will they think it’s so cool if they happen to get one?? The fact these men couldn’t care less about how their behavior impacts others is astounding.

        OTOH, there is an unfortunate trend where women are using men’s behavior as the measuring stick for what is “liberating” and they think acting like men and adopting men’s “sexuality” in the name of “equality” is what feminism is. If I hear one more time that feminism is about equality I will scream. I can understand using the term when referring to equal pay for equal work, but when women think they are practicing feminism by acting just like men and adopting their most obnoxious behaviors, that concerns me greatly. Ariel Levy’s Female Chauvinist Pigs addresses this beautifully.

        • Mar Iguana

          Eli, us old Second Wavers demanded equal opportunity, not equality with men. The Backlash erased terms like equal opportunity and women’s liberationists (replaced by feminism, an obviously problematic term).

          quixote, returning to the use of these kind of “old” fashioned terms whenever you would use/see the words “equality with men” or “feminists” would, I think, be a powerful tool. The Man is terrified of these terms/words for good reason.

        • ptittle

          But that trend is understandable, I think. I was certainly guilty of it at one point. Men seem freer, more privileged, more powerful, so one does what they do in an attempt to be as free, as privileged, as powerful. It does make a sort of sense. (Before one understands…everything!)

      • SW88 and Eli, yes indeed. Those are my problems and questions. too. What can I do? What, what, what?

        Partly, I guess, I just have to get over avoiding the sticky awkward atmosphere of social B.O. that happens whenever sexism is pointed out, however mildly. I have no trouble being loud and obnoxious when it’s a hostile situation. But most of the day-to-day damage gets done quietly and pleasantly, and that’s the part I’m so bad at. I’ll have to try to find the book on Nonviolent Communication Maarten mentions.

    • Maarten

      I think the Nonviolent Communication book offers good advise on this. I won’t try to paraphrase it, I should actually read it again.

    • Rosie

      Remember Germaine Greer – “women have very little idea how much men hate them” – this is as true now as it was 45 years ago.

      I think a lot of sex-positive feminists are too young to realise just how deep male misogyny goes. They confuse sexual desire with respect, not realising that the men who drool over sexy women are the same men who rape and murder those women. Hate and sexual desire are not mutually exclusive.

      Quixote – tell any women defending prostitution to look at @InvisibleChoice if they really think that johns see prostituted women as “professionals” providing a “service”
      Then tell any women defending porn to watch Gail Dines on the horrific realities of mainstream contemporary porn.
      And http://transgenderreality.com reveals what some trans women think about cis women, in their own words.

      This might stop them kidding themselves.

      • Oceans

        “I think a lot of sex-positive feminists are too young to realise just how deep male misogyny goes. They confuse sexual desire with respect….”

        Oh how true. They are so young, with minimal real-life experience in the adult world. They think they are respected yet these same guys will be the ones getting the promotions, the larger pay increases, and the actual respect on the job.

      • Good links. Thanks, Rosie! Now that you mentioned it, I’ve seen the InvisibleChoices one before, but the trans one is new to me. Part of me never manages to stop boggling that people objecting so much to discrimination can have so little self-awareness.

    • Rabble is hardly Goliath. It was founded by a prominent feminist, and has a very small budget. But it is strange to what extent people succumb to the neoliberal brand of “feminism”.

  • Hannah

    I’ve noticed that the only respected older feminist to not to be “no platformed” is Gloria Steinem even though she’s always maintained an anti porn stance. Jezebel will do their yearly Steinem birthday tribute and then run an article the next week on how feminist porn helped me get my groove back. That movie about Linda Lovelace got rid of the scenes of Steinem trying to get justice for her abuse, they didn’t even put the scenes as extras on the DVD.
    Her ideas mean nothing to these people. She’s a pretty face to help sell their bullshit. I wonder why Steinem doesn’t talk about this more. Maybe she saw what happened to Andrea Dworkin and wanted to avoid that level of hate?

    • Meghan Murphy

      Totally. They suck up to her and ignore her radical positions. It’s completely insulting imo.

    • In Liberal Land (TM), image is everything.

      Imagen and reputation that is. They want a simple narrative of good “progressives” vs. bad “conservatives” and if somebody is already firmly cast in a role they tend to want to keep that person there, because admitting that “your reality” is not accurate is scary and so is adding any kind of complexity to a historical narrative.

      I know they blabber on about “grey areas”, but labelling everything as a morally complex murky mess that you can’t be stuffed figuring out does not equal having a complex worldview. It’s just intellectual laziness. It’s a lot easier to say that everything is really complex and that people are arrogant for claiming to have figured out things than it is to actually try and understand reality.

  • Sylvia Black

    “Alice stepped right out of Wonderland to inhabit your fantasies.”

    Suggesting a girl-child character from a children’s book is on her way to fulfilling the male reader’s sexual desires…


    • Meghan Murphy

      What problem? Where???

      Their blinded by neoliberalism and the stupidity of Twitter groupthink.

    • Thomas Eisenecker

      Well, considering that Lewis Carroll was a pedophile*, I wouldn’t be surprised at all, if Alice in Wonderland was just one big male-fantasy-fest. I think Carroll would be proud.

      *he loved to look at little girls in their nude. It was “aesthetical”. His supporters justify his behaviour by saying that he was completely harmless and that he would have NEVER touched a little girl. Alice is based on one of the little girls in which he was infatuated (i.e. whom he had the desire to rape).

      • Lee

        Hipster pedophilic-appropriative irony ad-speak. You just don’t get it, you aren’t cool enough, bro. 😉

      • Nicolas

        As any scholar doing research on Caroll will tell you, that is inacurate. Evidences tends to support the idea that Lewis Caroll was asexual. Lots of people on the web like to support the pedophilia theses but let’s not act like an angry crowd and let’s refrain from judgment without evidence here.

        • Thomas Eisenecker

          Even if he was a Completely Innocent product of his time and a victim of slander throughout the years, there would still be his legacy that I fear. His paintings and photographs of little girls (Alice Liddell included) could qualify as legal masturbation fodder for pedophiles and, honestly, I am profoundly uncomfortable with that. After I read some self-identified pedophiles in the paraphilia section* on Psych Forums who praised Lewis Carroll, I realised that I can’t even read Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass without thinking of these dudes. Other than that, I don’t particularly care for Lewis Carroll. I leave the speculation and controversy to the scholars.

          *That place is really fucked up. Some dude actually said “I am sexually attracted to little girls and there’s nothing wrong with that. I would never harm a little girl!”

        • Rich

          “let’s refrain from judgment without evidence here.”

          and everywhere else, for that matter.

        • Dana

          No human being is asexual, that is biologically impossible. The word you are looking for is “celibate.” Asexuality means you can just divide yourself in half and presto, you’ve made a new human being. I don’t think I need to explain to you why that is never going to happen.

          I know I’m being pedantic and you might even want to argue with me but the misuse of the word “asexual” ranks up there with the misuses of the words “gender” and “sex”. Over it.

          • Thomas Eisenecker

            Alright. *stops existing*

          • I think you’re confused. You’re thinking of “asexual reproduction,” not “asexuality.” Asexuality means that one is not sexually attracted to anyone. This is an accepted use of the word.

  • When liberals call a radical leftist or feminist “racist”. It is often just code for “that person disagreed with me”. I don’t see why I have to endorse femininity, sexualised depictions of women, pornography or extreme beauty practices in order to not be considered racist. I oppose all these things, in principle, regardless of the race, cultural background, religion, etc. of the person practicing or endorsing them. They’re using the racism accusation to try to force people to accept ideological (liberal) positions.

    If they think opposing femininity (in all its forms, western, white or otherwise) is inconsistent with opposing racism they have a right to try and make their case, but they usually don’t. They assume their opponents are filled with racism and hatred, then they use that as an excuse to censor them. It’s really frustrating.

    Oh and “violent writing”, what the hell? If she had written detailed descriptions of how to murder transpeople/non-whtie people/feminine people I would understand, but she didn’t. How on earth can her violent be writing? I guess in their minds the actual, physical violence of hard-core pornography, BDSM and extreme beauty practices (which I count as a form of violence because they inflict pain and physical damage upon the body) cannot compare with the horrific violence of having someone tell you you’re wrong.

    • Did I say “violent is writing”? LOL, I think you all know what I meant.

      • just me

        I giggled <3

    • Mar Iguana

      Racism is rooted in sexism, indeed it could not exist without sexism. Racism will end only when sexism ends and not one second sooner.

  • Magdalene

    Sorry to hear about this attack on your work. The media doesn’t seem to be capable of anything but group think.

  • Lee

    Truth scares the shit out of most people, eh?

    It matters, though, when people speak it, whether they are acknowledged or ridiculed or attacked by those with the money, and therefore the power. You’re affecting people, Meghan, that’s why you’re on their radar. You are powerful, your truth is powerful. This isn’t just another bullshit blog bullshitting bullshit readers for bullshit ad money.

    People, women, they have to live in a complete state of denial or look at truth. If someone’s paycheck depends on lying, they will probably lie. Living lies is not comfortable, though; it’s not a happy place to be. It requires a lot of maintenance, to keep up the lies; a lot of energy. It’s hard. It never really works out, in the end, in my experience. People’s livelihood shouldn’t depend on lying, but that’s another topic.

    I think that’s supposed to be the message of the trans community — that truth is a healthy and good thing — but the lying people with the money, they sure can throw quite a tantrum to avoid uncomfortable truths. What’s the harm in a little dehumanization, a little degradation, if people, the people with the money, are having fun? Especially if those negatively affected are just women?

    Gloria Steinem, what an icon. What a beloved feminist. HBO, beacon to progressives everywhere, loves her so much, they made sure to include a prolonged shot of her nipple in their ‘Isn’t Gloria a Neat Old Irrelevant Broad’ doc. I’m sure she feels like the bad old days are over…

    Laverne Cox seems pretty cool. I don’t know why it would be hard for her to get why many of us humans don’t want to be defined by our asses, our fatty parts, our nipples, though. She seems like she can grasp why that’s an ‘issue’ for a significant portion of humanity.

  • Mark

    Meghan, Thanks for your courage, composure and integrity in the face of this shitstorm.

    On a personal note, as a youth worker, I’ve used many of your articles with the young people I work with.

    The articles are accessible, they deal with interesting topics and are well written and argued. Many of these young people have come to this site and begun developing/broadening their knowledge around feminist issues.

    Just wanted to give this feedback on the grassroots impact your work is having.

    Solidarity Sister!

    • Meghan Murphy

      Thanks Mark! Solidarity!

  • These pro porn and pro prostitution feminists can go on kissing the feet of men all they like. I as a radical feminist am too proud to do what they do, to do what the world tells me to do and not tell the truth

  • Jane (the first)

    It’s extremely disingenuous of Katie Klabusich to employ the term “white feminism”. Klabusich doesn’t have a problem with proper sex-poz white women like herself having platforms. After all, she is a professional liberal feminist herself. She seeks donations on Patreon in order to continue being one, rather than donating the money to feminists of color. Using this loaded term to denounce a system that she seeks not only to perpetuate but to profit from does not provide nearly the ideological cover Klabusich thinks it does.

    Klabusich uses the term “white feminism” to put a progressive sheen on what is simply an assault on all women who oppose the libfem agenda. She also hypocritically wields it with the assumption that women of color all subscribe to her liberal version of feminism. The feminism Klabusich sells could hardly be more neoliberal or corporate, as Meghan illustrates above. That makes it “white” by default, and attempts to project this whiteness onto radical feminism instead do not change this.

    At this point “white feminist”, is another nonsensical liberal term like “TERF”. If you’re a white woman who doesn’t toe the sex poz liberal line, they’ll denounce you as a “white feminist”. If you’re a woman of color who dissents in the same way, libfems like Klabusich will simply pretend you don’t exist. This is even worse, because they have to draw attention to the work of a “white feminist” in order to demonize it. Radical and nonliberal feminists of color, on the other hand, are simply erased as in one of those retouched Stalin photographs.

    Liberals like Klabusich who use this term are co-opting the struggles of people of color simply to smear those who disagree with their version of feminism. This is similar to the way libfems and trans activists have hijacked the term “intersectional” to silence critique of neoliberal platforms that are anything but progressive. In addition, many people, both white and of color, have observed that you can be as misogynist as you like in liberal spaces such as those of Twitter and Tumblr if you cloak it with antiracism. One can hardly overstate how damaging this sleazy behavior is to the left and oppressed people everywhere.

    • C.K. Egbert

      Also if you are a woman of color and you oppose the sex positive agenda and all that it entails, you are likely to be considered a woman who has merely espoused “white feminism” (for example, bell hooks).

    • “White feminism” is simply a gratuitous insult. Few of these people have actually explored the history of feminists who aren’t white (I hate grouping them together, as we are referring to the vast majority of the world’s human population, from very different cultures and histories).

      I hope the readers here from the US remember Lucy Parsons, a remarkable feminist and revolutionary of African and Amerindian descent:


      I haven’t read the whole thing through, but it seems to play down the fight Parsons had to wage for working women’s demands to be recognized even among radical unionists.

      But have I ever found a Parsons quote for Meghan!

      She related how the prosecution had lined the walls of the courtroom with red and black flags as a way to whip up an anti-anarchist and anti-socialist hysteria within the jury (note: the jury arguing her husband Alber’s fate). To this she retorted:

      But the red flag, the horrible red flag, what does that mean? Not that the streets should run with gore, but that the same red blood courses through the veins of the whole human race. It meant the brotherhood of man. When the red flag floats over the world the idle shall be called to work. There will be an end of prostitution for women, of slavery for man, of hunger for children.[42]

      They sure as hell aren’t listening to the majority of Indigenous women here, who have taken a strong stance against sexual exploitation and assumption that they are disposable objects.

  • marv

    Hey everybody, here is a concrete way we can demonstrate our unity with Meghan:


    • Meghan Murphy

      Thanks Marv!

    • Mar Iguana

      Thank you, marv. I have added my name.

      Meghan, “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win,” to quote Gandhi, who learned everything he knew about nonviolent resistance from American Suffragists.

      In these times of escalating misogyny, you are crucial to the struggle. I thank you for your brave work and appreciate your strength and kind mind.

      • Meghan Murphy

        Thank you! Strategically I think this has been a huge failure for them… Even those who don’t agree with my writing have told them they are disgusted with this smear campaign and efforts to have me fired and no platformed. They are unable to come up with an argument so they lie. And it is transparent. All they’ve done is show that the sisterhood is powerful and that they have no integrity. Solidarity!

        • link

          I signed the (counter)petition. I have also informed Shameless magazine that I will no longer donate to them. I have also unfollowed anyone on my Twitter feed who supports this ludicrous smear campaign.

          These are very, very small actions. But, I have great fear that, because I am an academic-in-training, I hurt my career prospects by being publicly on the “wrong” side of this debate. It is unconscionable that that is something I fear. This reveals much about how academia, and not just feminism, has been coopted and corrupted by neoliberalism.

          I am dismayed that established feminist academics (read: the non-precarious), and particularly those academics associated with Rabble (Judy Rebick, here’s looking at you) have been silent on this matter.

          I also want to share here what I wrote on the petition page, for I have not yet shared with Meghan the profound impact that her work (and the work of those that FC has opened me up to) has had on me:

          “Meghan Murphy’s work is critical, fearless, and crucial. Her analyses are consistently measured, factual, and supported in and by evidence and argument. Her work and her perspective are needed, for not only does Feminist Current continually critique patriarchy at its intersections with racism and capitalism, it does so in a manner that is thoughtful and thorough. Meghan’s ideas inspire, as does her rigourness.

          I was, until recently, a “choice feminist” who published writing championing sex-positivity, “feminist” pornography, and empowerment through beauty regimes. I tried to take what I thought was a “nuanced” perspective–seeing the oppressive and liberatory effects of things–because I thought this made sense. For several years, something didn’t sit right with me about this approach/politic; I felt uneasy and uncomfortable with what I was writing and saying in public as a feminist. I was having a harder and harder time finding the “empowerment” in, for instance, music videos where, always, nearly naked or naked women dance around fully clothed men. Increasingly, I could not accept that the majority of images I saw of women were sexualized ones.

          Eventually, I found my way to the work of Gail Dines, and then to Feminist Current. My worldview changed; I no longer felt compelled to support a politics I didn’t agree with just because it is what’s popular. Feminist Current is a much-needed counter to the politically bankrupt and corporatized version of feminism espoused today.

          But, what Meghan Murphy and her work have been subject to these past few days is not about what feminist beliefs are “right” and which ones are “wrong.” Well, not entirely: certainly the “anti-Meghan” camp thinks her analyses are all sorts of “wrong,” though they use insults and ad hominem attacks to say so. All politics should be about debate and discussion, not personal attacks. This is one of the first rules of argumentation we teach high school and university students: challenge the idea(s), not the person.

          We do not make inroads when we shout each other down. No progress is made for marginalized peoples when so-called activists deploy the tactics of marginalization against those with whom they disagree. No good can possibly be done when we engage the discourse and strategy of the oppressor.

          The abuse that Meghan has been subject to is absolutely disgusting. It is not, under any circumstances, the work of “passionate, engaged human beings,” and it does not “expand ideas,” to quote your website. Feminists of any stripe wouldn’t tolerate this behaviour, hatred, and abuse from “cis” men under any circumstances; why are we doing it to women, to our comrades?

          So, I urge Rabble to do the same: do not support one position/one politics at all or over another. Do not choose homogeneity. Do not stifle debate and discussion. It does no good for the “rest of us.””

          • Meghan Murphy

            Thank you so much for your support. I know all too well how dangerous it can be to speak out against this bullshit. Solidarity.

          • Rosie


            I’m a student and wannabe PhD candidate. At my university, radical feminist views are publicly denounced by the SWERF-finder General of the Students’ Union. Events promoting sex work as a viable career option are hosted by the union. A friend of mine was kicked out of the feminist society just for questioning the presence of non-passing trans women in her sex abuse survivors’ group. In an online feminist discussion group for students, one male commenter said he thought TERFs were a “waste of entrails” and when a woman challenged his rhetoric she was banned. This shit happens all the time.

            I keep my head down because I don’t want to get on the wrong side of academics who have power over me. Everything I write online (even here) is under a pseudonym.

            When this letter was published a few months ago – http://www.theguardian.com/theobserver/2015/feb/14/letters-censorship – one of my lecturers went on an angry tirade against the signatories. She said it was outrageous for people with a national media platform to claim they’re being “silenced”. I kept quiet. I’m a lowly student and she marks my work – what else could I do? There was silencing going on right in front of her, and she had no idea.

            The famous women who are no-platformed and attacked on social media are only the tip of the iceberg – there are so many more women who are silenced because we know what will happen if we speak out. I daren’t risk putting my career in jeopardy before it’s even begun.

            I’m so grateful to the women who risk their jobs and reputations to speak out for the rest of us. Keep up the good work Meghan. You’re awesome.

          • andeväsen

            Solidarity. I’m in a similar position. ‘FSW’ and ‘CSW’ are the preferred terms in academia and in aid work, and so-called harm reduction the preferred model.

          • link

            What do those terms mean? Is it Feminist Sex Work? And what else? I’ve not seen these acronyms before.

          • andeväsen

            Commercial sex worker and female sex worker. Development studies and aid work.

          • link

            Wow, Rosie. That (the example of your professor) is just unbelievable. We must commit to being more careful, and more precise about our bias. At my institution, there is a similar agenda. We cannot show documentaries like Killing us Softly because they are “triggering” but we can show “feminist” pornography to our students. My PhD colleagues openly say that sex work is “so cool.”There is a clear political agenda in our Women’s Studies program: people doing the trendy/cool research on “sex work” and “feminist porn” are the darlings of the department, and get the better (more senior) courses in which to be a Teaching Assistant.

            I have stopped doing feminist work in my dissertation because I can no longer acquiesce. I am so fucking tired of being asked, every time I say that my dissertation project is about A Certain Thing, “well, did you talk to any trans people?” “have you talked to sex workers?” because they assume I have not and because this is what I must do to legitimize my work as feminist. I feel that I am being forced to withdraw from feminist theory because I hate what it has become, and because making a move to reclaim it would not be effective, it would just be career and personal suicide.

            There is, to my mind, a profound delusion and a profound obliviousness to the ways in which contemporary academic “feminism” is culpable to the promoting the very inequities it supposedly intends to challenge.

            Case in point: I was recently at a conference where a world-renowned feminist philosopher stood up in front of large audience, condemned the neoliberalization of academic institutions and the effects it has had on teaching (casualization), freedom of expression (gag orders) and, well, life (loss of free time due to overwork). This person called on us to do something, anything, to counter the neoliberal academy.

            I was appalled. These comments were made in an intellectual and political atmosphere that capitulates to the very ideology that fuels and sustains neoliberalism: choice, empowerment, individualism. And so, a paradox presents itself. Increasingly, feminist academics “railing against” the detrimental personal and professional effects of the neoliberalization of their institutions and producing “intellectual work” that actually subscribes to neoliberal ideology, and promoting a politics that does the same. Yet we spend all kinds of time and energy talking about “taking academia back.” Perhaps we need to look inward, first.

          • Rosie

            sigh… that sounds about right. I’m sorry to hear things are so bad at your uni too Link (are you in the US?)

            Yes there’s this total lack of insight among a lot of academics. It’s like their critical faculties just switch off when it comes to these points of clash. It’s not everyone – I personally know a couple of academics who are appalled by this situation, and I’m sure there are many more. The problem is that the dominant group are loudly opposed to anything they deem heretical, so there’s a culture of silence. I was in a seminar a few months ago and a man (cis, het) started bad mouthing TERFs and talking about women in a really unacceptable way IMO, and the teaching assistant didn’t challenge him. I know for a fact that she has private reservations about the anti-TERF stuff, but I guess she felt like it wasn’t her place to challenge a student on this. I didn’t challenge him either – no one did. People are scared, I guess.

            I really don’t want to be pressured out of women’s studies… I’m deciding on where to apply for postgrad now, and I’m definitely not going to apply to any Gender Studies departments. There are a few Women’s Studies courses left in the UK (though precious few), but they may well have the same problem. I may have to stick to Sociology departments, but it makes me so furious!!! We shouldn’t be bullied out of the discipline like this.

          • amongster

            All the stories by academics here make me think twice about going to university. I’m an unskilled freelancer but as an information sponge I’ve always wanted to experience life as a student. Though it seems like nowadays you really have to struggle to keep an open mind studying at university. Sad.

          • Rosie

            oh no I don’t want to put you off going to university amongster! I’ve actually become radicalised because of going to university – I’ve been forced to think really carefully about why I object to certain ideas, and I’ve learnt the skills to argue against them. Plus I have 1000s of books available to me, and friends to talk about this stuff with. It’s definitely worth it.

            All the best xx

          • C.K. Egbert

            I want to endorse what Rosie said–I actually went to a Catholic university and the culture shock resulted in me really being forced to examine my positions. I think I would have grown up as a good fun feminist if I’d been in a more liberal environment.

            I’d still say my college years were some of the best years of my life (granted, I spent it all in the library, going to talks, and joining clubs rather than partying), and a period of immense growth. Definitely go if you have the ability to do so!

            Going to graduate school and getting a job in academia is a whole other can of worms.

          • I go to university in Australia, it is not any better here. Perhaps I go to a particularly bad university (a socialist group got banned from the campus for being pro-Palestine and not being nice enough to extremely reactionary politicians, plus non-liberal feminism is so absent that liberals don’t seem to be aware that it exists), but I feel that post-modernist (or as it should be called “anti-truth”) liberalism is the dominant ideology on university campuses in general.

            Have you tried studying sociology (separately from gender studies) In my experience it was not any better. There was a wealthy, white student in my tutorial from South Africa who argued that the anti-Apartheid movement had gone too far and that whites were now oppressed. Nobody criticised her, not even me (I felt I was too uninformed about the issue) or the tutor, although the latter was quiet happy to tell me how horrible I was for arguing that women choose to become housewives as a result of gender socialisation. I am used to MRAs getting away with shit, but when blatant racists are being left of the hook you know the environment you are is generally reactionary and not just misogynistic (although that would be bad enough.)

            Be warned, when liberal academics are not attacking other forms of feminism for being sex-negative and agency-denying, they applying liberal, post-modernist bullshit to other topics. As in “how dare you judge anti-vaccine parents they should have the choice and agency to put their children in danger of deadly diseases and expose other people’s children to deadly diseases, because any choice someone makes regarding their body is completely beyond critique even when other people’s bodies actually could be directly effected by it, how dare you stigmatise people who put others in their community in danger of illness for the sake of their individual choice, blah, blah, blah…”

            If you do not want to put up with that sort of thing (I am responding to amongster here), I suggest you stay away from humanities subjects altogether and study something else (because yes, women can study things that require “systematising” rather than “sympathising” brains.) I would prefer it is you did not reject going to university. The last thing we want is total ideological homogeny in universities. If you studied something else, you could still interact with liberal feminists, when and if you wanted to, without having to step into environments they controlled (e.g. tutorial rooms.)

          • lizor

            I wanted to do a graduate degree in Women’s studies but stayed away for exactly the reasons you describe.

    • ArgleBargle

      Signed, and forwarded to others who also value your writing to sign. This blog has some of the best feminist writing online today, in good company with Glosswatch, Paperhouse, Collective Shout and a handful more that are less well known. Well researched analysis presented in a clear and compelling fashion. I always look forward to reading the new posts on this blog and all Meghan’s pieces posted elsewhere.

      • Meghan Murphy

        Thanks for your support!

  • Rye

    Dear Supporters of #Drop MM

    I am a man who frequents a sex worker, and have expressed my disagreements on Meghan Murphy’s blog. From my experience, I found Meghan to be a nice and caring person. She, including her readers, generally treated me with respect and thoughtfulness. And although Meghan is understandably impatient with stupidity and those who make no effort to understand her, she is no bigot.

    1. Meghan Murphy does not disrespect or dehumanize sex workers. Meghan sincerely believes that prostitution per se subordinates women, by reducing women to objects that exist for men’s use. Therefore, Meghan believes that prostitution should be abolished by ending demand and providing the women in prostitution with the means of escape. Likewise, she opposes harm reduction because, from her point of view, harm reduction amounts to making women’s abuse and subordination “better.” But that isn’t what she wants. She wants the abuse and subordination of women to stop. So, in truth, Meghan wants all women to be able to flourish, including sex workers.

    2. Meghan’s has never indicated that she hates trans women. Her recent article on Laverne Cox was grossly misunderstood. All she was saying was that Laverne Cox did nothing empowering or subversive by an act that was conformist and contributes to women’s subordination. And Meghan was essentially saying the same thing in her article about Janet Mock/Bell Hooks.

    3. Even more absurd is your claim that Meghan is racist. Her articles on Laverne Cox and Janet Mock are not racist for the same reasons I explained they are not transmisogynist. Moreover, you took Meghan’s tweet on Chris Brown out of context. She was expressing her disgust that an abusive man is enjoying a successful music career. She was not literally calling out for his murder.

    Of course, it is fine to disagree with Meghan Murphy. I personally disagree with her on many issues, especially prostitution. However, your claims that she is a racist, transmisogynist and whorephobe are clearly unfounded. This leads me to believe that you have made no effort to understand her, and are bullies trying to silence those you disagree with. And that is despicable behavior. Perhaps you should actually try constructing an argument to show that Meghan is wrong about what she believes subordinates women?

    • Thomas Eisenecker

      What did I just read?

      You understand the radical feminist line of thinking which you can also apply to pornography, you even put it in sympathetic words, and yet you are still “a man who frequents a sex worker?” Wow, the universe really has a sick sense of irony. And you even use the word “wh*rephobe.” I should put your comment on my wall.

      “Of course, it is fine to disagree with Meghan Murphy.”

      It’s fine to disagree with certain minutiae, but what exactly is it that you disagree with? Do you disagree with women’s subordination through prostitution and pornography, in other words through male means and interests? If you genuinely didn’t then you wouldn’t be “frequenting a sex worker.”

      It is a complete mystery to me as to why you have been treated “with respect and thoughtfulness” and I don’t know why you’ve even written this comment, there have been numerous supporters for Meghan’s posts, why did you need to post things that have already been said, with the addition that you are “a man who frequents a sex worker?” (Do I sense some pride in those words?)

      On any other radical feminist blog, they would have banned your ass a long time ago. No, your comments wouldn’t even pass moderation.

    • Mar Iguana

      Rye, you frequent a prostituted human, a being reduced to a product, not a sex worker. Sex workers are the pimps who profit from the objectification of human beings, every one of them from Hefner to the brothel owner to the street thug to the pornographer, et al.

      These sex workers will do whatever vile thing necessary to provide product to satisfy demand; capitalism at its rawest. No demand (johns), no prostituted humans.

      Wake up to your responsibility in perpetuating this torturous nightmare. Realize that your needy dick contributes to the corprats’ economic destruction of entire regions in order to guarantee there is a glut of desperate “product” to harvest and sell to satisfy john (your) demand.

      Please spare us a predictible response in order to justify your vital part in perpetuating this evil.

    • Rye

      @Thomas Eisenecker

      I thought I should clarify a few things. I commented because I felt compelled to defend Meghan from despicable, anti-intellectual behavior. Moreover, I wanted to show three things to any confused person who stopped by. First, the reasons mentioned by #Drop MM for why rabble.ca should drop Meghan are unfounded. Secondly, Feminist Current is not an anti-intellectual blog. Thirdly, they should take me seriously because I’m a member of a group that radical feminists don’t like.

      As for why I used the word “whorephobe,” it was because that is one of the things #Drop MM accused Meghan of: “ … Murphy has remained unwilling to evaluate her racism, transmisogyny and whorephobia.”

      I disagree with the radical feminist view of prostitution because I sincerely believe that the relationship between prostitution and women’s subordination is contingent. No matter what radfems throw against prostitution, I can conceive of a plausible situation without it. I can even conceive of a man paying a woman to have sex without objectifying her. And more importantly, that is exactly what I do.

      When I am with my prostitute, sexual pleasure is equally exchanged: I lick her clit until she orgasms, and then we do piv. Secondly, she has mostly exited prostitution: she has middle class job, has taken down her website, and has not posted a prostitution ad in years. So the sex is mutual and she is not being coerced. In addition, I love her, am faithful to her, and sincerely believe that there is intimacy between us.

      And this is where radfems and I come to an impasse. I know my prostitute isn’t pretending based on her body language, character, and physical reactions. And I have been seeing her for over 3 years. However, I learned that nothing I say will convince radfems that she isn’t pretending. Of course, I don’t blame radfems for their skepticism, but I doubt any further progress can be made towards reaching a mutual understanding.

      On the other hand, I realize that, in the way it is generally practiced, prostitution is savage. My prostitute even told me that trafficking and pimping are not uncommon, and that she encountered women in such conditions before. So for the time being, my position on the legality of prostitution is “Abolition now. Maybe decriminalization in the distant future.”

      Finally, I agree with radfems on pornography, or at least with the radfems who agree that there is such a thing as erotica. Almost all of the sexually explicit material available is pornography, and pornography per se depicts the objectification of women. Secondly, I agree with radfems that pornography has become progressively more violent and degrading. And because pornography subordinates women, I have stopped using it.

      • “I disagree with the radical feminist view of prostitution because I sincerely believe that the relationship between prostitution and women’s subordination is contingent. No matter what radfems throw against prostitution, I can conceive of a plausible situation without it.”

        So fucking what? Your imagination is not a counter-argument.

        “When I am with my prostitute… I love her, am faithful to her, and sincerely believe that there is intimacy between us.”

        Dudebro (I assume you are a dude based on your prostifantasy and the cookie you expect for not watching porn), it’s not her I don’t believe. It’s you.

        If you love someone and sincerely seek intimacy with them, you don’t pay them for sex, you blithering imbecile.

        “On the other hand, I realize that, in the way it is generally practiced, prostitution is savage.”

        Well yea, but you’re one of the good ones! You have a spechul relationship with *your* prostitute. You can’t possibly be “savage,” right?

        “And because pornography subordinates women, I have stopped using it.”

        You gotta be kidding me. It’s harder for you to stop paying women for sex than it is for you to watch videos for free?

        I don’t believe any of this.

      • marv

        Most objectifiers see themselves as honourable – the exceptions to the rule. There are so many of them that the rule is rendered null and void. Abracadabra! oppression is imagined away.

      • Laur


        There was no need for you to post your comment on FC. It would make way more of an impact if you posted in on blogs where they are anti-MM. You know the comment is only going to get readers here, who include many ex-prostitutes, upset and angry.

        Your relationship with the woman you see is NOT equal. For starters, you are a man and she is a woman. So, even if you were not paying her for sex, it would not be an equal relationship. Then, you add in the paying. Client-customer relationships in real jobs are not equal, even when their between two people of the same sex and not related to sex. Then you throw in the sexual aspect. Many feminists believe sexuality is a the linchpin of sex inequality, because there is almost always a sexual component to how male supremacy functions. As you can tell, I’m not real impressed with your reasoning.

        You post on popular blogs about your relationship with this woman, defending it in a myriad of ways. This is a defense of prostitution that other men will read and use. Whether you see it or not, you *are* defending the sex industry.

        Finally, I don’t buy that you can read this woman’s body language so well and that just because you lick her clit your relationship is reciprocal. Men always think they can “read” women, yet women, and most especially women in prostitution, are well adapt at sending men the exact signals they want. Men refuse to even see this as a possibility. Have you ever thought that maybe she doesn’t want her clit licked by you, but she says she does because she knows that makes you feel better about your relationship? I am not trying to speak for this women, but that is a real possibility.

        If this women actually wanted to spend time with you, and have sex with you, you wouldn’t have to pay her to do so. She keeps you on because she can tolerate you, knows what to expect from you, and can make easy money. That’s the hard truth.

      • Blu

        As a survivor of prostitution, let me set you straight on a few points, there.

        She fucking hates you. I guarantee it. You might think that your $$ makes it all better, and that after 3 years you know and ‘love and are faithful’ to her *barf*, but you don’t seem to get it through your thick male skull that THE ONLY REASON SHE HUMOURS YOU IS BECAUSE YOU’RE PAYING.

        We hate punters. Every.Single.One of you. No matter what bullshit excuses you use for being there waving your money about, whether it’s with violence or with the most romantic faux-care, we think you’re pathetic, slimeball pigs whom we’d much rather kick in the balls.

        Nice to know ‘your prostitute’ is all middle class and respectable, though. Not like those street girls, so it must be ok, rite?

        Sexist abuser. Keep it in your pants (or cut the thing off) and do us all a favour.

        Ps: no-one wants to know the details of what abuses you pay for. The women here don’t exist for your sexual kicks either. Get stuffed.

      • Cindi Gold

        Everything you said about pornography is very true,but you can’t see that you using women for sex as prostitutes is pretty much the same thing and just as bad!

  • hak

    it’s really sad that feminism doesn’t mean anything anymore. Now pro objectification women aren’t just ” empowered”, now they actively promote the objectification of women… i guess it was predictable:if something is empowering then it means that it is good for every women. The ‘choice/personal” position isn’t enough, they have to indoctrinate little girls too.
    And let’s not forget the essentialist argument of identity: objectification doesn’t exist, women just ”express” their sexuality, DON’T ASK WHY, HOW AND FOR WHO BECAUSE IF YOU DO, DON’T ASK WHAT EXPRESSING SEXUALITY MEANS, YOU’LL OPPRESS THEIR IDENTITY.
    They’re doing patriarchy job meanwhile men are watching: they harass radfem until radfem quit tumblr and twitter, they doxx radfem, they threaten radfem, they defame radfem, and even use emotional blackmail (”you don’t think I’m empowered by patriarchy ?? you’re the worst human being ever, a monster, you’re oppressing my feelings, you’re killing me”).
    Ha and the same women who think that biology reduces women to vagina only are the same who dehumanize women when they sexualise boobs and orifices for men. The irony.

    Feminism has become such a mess, and it is now a tool used against radmeans. It’s like a destruction of a movement by… a fake version of this movement. The left is also a mess but at least they don’t have to deal with such a violence. Idk, it is so illogical that some ” feminists” main priority is to destroy other feminists. Conservatives women behave to same way on tumblr and twitter, but they have some decency: they harass but that’s all.

  • Jane (the first)

    The Twitter mob is really freaking out about us naming sex poz liberal feminist activism as neoliberal, because the word perfectly describes their entryist version of feminism. They have no factual rebuttal to Meghan illustrating above exactly why “neoliberal” fits. Their only response is to claim that using the word to describe the political actions of people in “marginalized groups” (defined by them of course) is hate speech and Orwellian Newspeak (ironic, right?). Again they’re attempting to use intersectionality as a shield to protect themselves from critique. Example:


    “A neoliberal is someone who enjoys $500 business lunches. Which I assure you I don’t.”

    Try harder. The neoliberal fat cats don’t implement their agenda through sheer will. It takes an army of underlings in the academic, political and media spheres to do the work for them. Many of these apparatchiks, including libfems, don’t even realize who actually benefits from their labor. That’s the definition of a useful idiot.

    Additionally, it is beyond hilarious to see these postmodern liberal language abusers quibble about the precise definition of a word. This is the crowd for whom words have no meaning except for the ones they give them. So keep using the word neoliberal. It really hits them where they live.

    • Rich

      “Their only response is to claim that using the word to describe the political actions of people in “marginalized groups” (defined by them of course) is hate speech and Orwellian Newspeak (ironic, right?)”

      That is why, IMO, the whole “intersectionality” thing is b.s. It is natural for people from different backgrounds to have different views. But that does not mean that there are different sets of good and bad views.

      If a view can fairly be called “neo-liberal” (or “conservative” or “socialist” or whatever), then it is what it is, and the group status of the person saying it is irrelevant.

      Feminists on here do some very similar things, defining racism in such a way that, members of “oppressed groups” cannot be racist by definition. Its nonsense, IMO. Anybody can be racist.

      • Dana

        Anybody can be bigoted. If you can’t back your bigotry with political power, though, you’re not racist. Wake me up when we get White Crow laws passed all over the United States keeping whites from using regular water fountains and regular bathrooms and from being able to vote and maybe I’ll buy that people of color have become racist. We’re not there yet. I doubt we will ever get there.

        And also I don’t like leaving the word racism in the hands of disgruntled racist white people who think that any conversation about race or any complaint of racist mistreatment whatsoever automatically makes the speaker a racist. It’s the classic “I know you are but what am I” argument employed by five-year-olds everywhere.

        • “Wake me up when we get White Crow laws passed all over the United States keeping whites from using regular water fountains and regular bathrooms and from being able to vote and maybe I’ll buy that people of color have become racist.”

          I think Rich was claiming that blacks and other non-white groups can be racist against themselves (or other non-whites.) I don’t think she was trying to preach the reactionary “reverse racism” idea, though she can correct me if I am wrong.

          The idea that a black person (for example) can be racist against their own group may seem strange to people who buy into the idea that people are “rationally self-interested”, but in reality anyone can be deceived, even if they generally intelligent and even if the claim is about them or their group. Some black people (particularly black men) buy into the idea that all blacks are tough, drug-using gangsters and try to live up to that image to prove that they really are black. They feel flattered by this image. It makes them feel all rebellious . Those who are more privilleged than others of their race (and there always are such people) may not understand that stereotypes like that have consequences (e.g. they justify the imprisonment of black people.) Some women make the same mistake with regard to gender. They think that femininity (a set of stereotypes about women) equals womanhood, which equals who they are (their identity, see my lower comment.)

          Then you have the people who think they are exception to the rule, people who say things like “I’m not like all the other black people, I’m a decent law abiding citizen” (the fact that we equate “decent” with “law abiding” is also a problem.)

          The way I see it, if you regularly think and say racist things, you are racist. If you think and say sexist, pro-femininity things, you are reinforcing male dominance over women. The claim that people cannot be racist or sexist against themselves serves to maintain the dominant order. It ensures that harmful viewpoints can be protected from criticism just by having a (less politically conscious) member of a particular group say them.

          “And also I don’t like leaving the word racism in the hands of disgruntled racist white people who think that any conversation about race or any complaint of racist mistreatment whatsoever automatically makes the speaker a racist.”

          I never accuse non-white people of being racist against whites. I know there are some non-whites who despise white people and I understand why. It is not just that some white people have harmed non-whites (through slavery, genocide, etc.) Those behaviour are to some extent, the product of the economic and cultural norms of white society (e.g. capitalism, consumerism, a general greediness, particularly towards other people and the environment.)

          If white people truly want to earn the title of “non-racists” I think they have to be willing to question the norms and social structures that lead to racist oppression. Same way men have to challenge (and ultimately reject) masculinity in order to be true supporters of women’s rights.

          I regard many things liberals say and support as racist, but I know (most of them) have good intentions. They are not filled with inner feelings of hate (except perhaps towards me and people who agree with me, LOL) and I am not going to try to censor. Sadly though, good intentions are not enough when people all over the world are experiencing mistreatment as a result of not having been born white. I feel I have every right to disagree with their approach to fighting racism, even if some of them are non-white themselves (that said, almost all the liberal feminists I know are non-white.)

          • vagabondi

            You make some excellent points here, Independent Radical, but this is rich we’re talking about: the guy who came into a discussion about andrea dworkin to tell us all that masculinity is awesome, and men love feminine women. I’d be very surprised if he was making such a nuanced point. It’s much more likely that he was saying that poc can be racist against white people.

          • Rich

            I do mean that blacks (or any other race) can be racist, and to any other group, including whites. Racism is ascribing particular traits, usually negative traits, to other people on the basis of their race. And favoring or disfavoring people on account of their race.

            And even if having power over others was a requirement, lots of people who belong to generally disadvantaged groups have power over others. Power dynamics are complex and diverse. One of the people I report to at work is a black woman. She is a graduate of an ivy league college and a top law school. I went to state schools. She is a Vice President. I am not. Other people who report to her are of other races than both of us. She certainly has genuine power over me and the others who report to her. If she were racist (which she emphatically is not) she could certainly give effect to it.

            Everyone is capable of being racist. Further, I think a lot of people, maybe most people, are a little bit racist. It is not an easy thing to entirely put aside, IMO.

          • Mar Iguana

            Actually, Rich, racism is not complex or diverse. Peel away the layers of racism and you will find sexism at its core.

          • Rich

            “Peel away the layers of racism and you will find sexism at its core.”

            I am having trouble understanding that. If I am racist towards black men, or a black man is racist towards white men, where does the sexism come in?

          • Thomas Eisenecker

            Black people *cannot* be racist towards white people. At best, black people can be prejudiced against white people, but that’s about it. They lack the institutional privilege in order to be racist against white people. Come on, this is 101 stuff.

            You know what the similarity is between racism against white people and “misandry?” They don’t exist.

          • derrington

            There you go Thomas, bringing in correct use of the word racism and sexism into the issue. No good will come of it, mark my words!

          • Mar Iguana

            How to end racism: “Everybody keeps fucking everybody until we all look the same.” Bulworth

            Racial purity is maintained by men controlling women.

          • marv
          • You may be right. I haven’t read every article and every comment section on this site, so I was just off of what Rich had said on this page and it seemed okay to me. Though as always I speak only for myself.

            Also, I signed the petition in favour of Meghan Murphy. Say no to censorship BY the sex industry! Remember, the powerful don’t get censored, no matter how subversive they claim to be. They censor others.

          • Rich

            “so I was just off of what Rich had said on this page and it seemed okay to me.”

            There are things that feminists and non-feminists can agree on.

    • Once again liberals are obsessed with “identity” groups (e.g. class, race, sex) to the point where they ignore the actual characteristics of real people. “Neoliberal” is an ideological term, not an identity term. While neoliberals and more likely to be wealthy (and vice versa), anyone can in theory be a neoliberal. Liberals blend ideology and “identity” together to the point where they do not recognise that the two are distinct. Thus they think that there is such a things as a female ideology (their brand of “feminism”), a black women ideology (“black feminism”), a working class ideology etc. There are ideologies that suit the interests of one group better than another (e.g. socialism suits the interests of the working class and strongly opposes the interests of the ruling class), but not everyone in the same “identity” group (in my view, all the liberal so-called “identities” are social categories imposed onto people by hierarchical systems) is going to think the same way.

      With regard to language, liberal are so individualistic that they seem to think that the point of words (or symbols) is to communicate with oneself. They say “fashion is a language” and then they say “I don’t care what you think my clothes mean, they mean whatever I want them to mean”. In reality, the whole point of a language is to communicate with others. If you don’t want other people to judge you based on your clothing, then stop spouting that “fashion is a language” nonsense and recognise that some women just wear certain clothes because they don’t want to freeze or overheat (though I think it is the responsibility of society to ensure that women have access to clothing that will enable them to be physical comfortable without drawing attention to sexualised body parts.) In any case, if the people you are trying to communicate with (and yes those people have to be someone other than yourself, that’s the whole point of communication) don’t know what a word or symbol means, it is not a very useful word or symbol. Neoliberal is a fine word to use to describe liberals, so is individualistic. The latter is nice and universal, but I suppose they will find a way to “identify” out of it too.

  • Rich

    This “no platform” stuff has been out of hand for a long time. It is one thing to fire off a strong comment blasting someone’s article. It is something else altogether to then go on to try to get them fired. People seem to have forgotten what argument is. All they want to hear is people who agree with them, and they lash out at everyone who doesn’t.

    Along with making political and social debate more rancorous that it should be, this impoverishes the level of debate, since to hone your arguments you need to engage in debate with intelligent people who hold different views.

    • Jonas

      “All they want to hear is people who agree with them, and they lash out at everyone who doesn’t.”

      welcome to the internet age.

      • Derrington

        Meghan. Do you think it would be viable to crowd fund legal costs and take the petitioner to court for sexist harrassment in the workplace? It might kill two birds with one stone as well as putting a shot across these peoples bows that they cannot threaten a persons employment to get them to stop speaking an inconvenient truth. Would it stand up under canadian law do you think and could you take on that burden? Am well aware its a risky strategy.

        • Meghan Murphy

          I think the most obvious legal issue here is libel… (It’s clear this is all rooted in anti-feminism, too, of course…)

      • Rich

        “welcome to the internet age.”

        Yes, I think that has something to do with it. I do think the internet intensifies “herd mentality” thinking. One thing it is really good at is connecting people with like interests or views. Look at sexual fetishes! If there are ten thousand people in the entire world who have a thing for crooked left toes, they can all find each other online.

        I think it works that way with ideology too. People tend to only do to sites where people mostly agree with them, and then engage in internecine disputes over minutia, while ganging up on people who genuinely disagree.

        • derrington

          Its not even disagreeing that they gang up on, its people with a different experience that disproves their ideology. Neoliberals are the new fascists – whod have thought it. The fact they fight for people’s right to use hate speech against others says it all.

        • Jonas

          I agree with you there are benefits with the web, no doubt but looking at the overall picture some pretty dark clouds emerges.
          Esp younger people today who were born with the web into their hands more or less is increasingly showing serious traits of some pretty weird psychological behaviours.
          If you try and have a conversation with them and you like stop talking to have a response, they so often just go back to their phones. log onto facebook or twitter and that’s it.

          I think in ten years time or so there will be a lot of data on the impacts the internet have had (or has) on human beings on a psychological level.

          And maybe I am derailing the topic here a bit now from the initial post but yes, with the web comes also mob mentality like nothing I’ve seen before in the modern age anyway.
          And it so easy because you don’t have to actually face the person you are threatening you can just jump into and off you go.
          It is very worrying, and I shall not sit here and defend the ruling class, but I honestly believe these things, who is emerging on the web, is one reason why you hear so much talk about censoring the internet from more and more politicians these days.
          I think people cut the corner to much if they think the talks about censoring the web is only because rulers are afraid to loose power. I don’t believe they are afraid of that as much as they are worried that our society is getting increasingly ‘crazy’ in ways “we” did not think of when the web began taking shape in the 90s, before facebook and twitter, before google and even before altavista.

          (I wonder how many even knows about the search engine who was before google hehe)

          • Lee

            The internet has been mostly coopted for the interests of neoliberals. People like to pretend it’s a democratic place, but I think they mostly don’t know what it was like in the early days when it actually (more or less) was.

          • derrington

            I would agree re the dark behaviours the internet validates. We are group animals, and if you can find a crowd that validates your worst behaviours, that a pretty strong reason to carry on with them. I read a report on child porn today through Feminist Current which stated that the average age for abused children had dropped from 12 to 5 and under over the past ten years. The problem we have with a wild west internet is that a lot of bodies pile up under this free for all. The number of women that are leaving it because it isnt a safe space anymore to talk and discuss ideas around being a woman is a perfect case in point. If there’s no one to put the opposite point of view on the internet, pretty soon it becomes a single position space. A bit like Nazi Germany.

          • Jonas

            Yes, you make for some excellent points. Thank you.

          • derrington

            I wish they weren’t!!

  • Missfit

    Why would Playboy want to add feminist content in their magazine? Is it an attempt to cover up their misogyny? To help (some of) the men who buy their magazine, knowing it dehumanizes women while wanting to keep good conscience? So they can tell their girlfriend calling them out on their behavior that Playboy is actually feminist (see!) and if she thinks otherwise, she obviously doesn’t understand? This co-opting of feminism that makes things upside down is for making women doubt themselves, destroy the movement from within. And ultimately make women compliant.

    That sexual objectification hurts women is a basic feminist precept, established by the many feminists who preceded us, through their theoritical and activist work. The sex industry hurts women, individual women and women as a class; the latter makes it anti-feminist by default. There is no need to reinvent the wheel on this front but then you see these proclaiming to be feminists coming with their square wheel. Happy to invoke Gloria Steinem simply so they can gain some feminist credentials. They seem to hung up on the word feminist only to be able to keep some dignity while sucking up to the patriarchy. They are happy for male power to remain so they can continue to try gaining from it. Indeed, they like male power so much they are usually (not coincidentally) pro-BDSM also. Anti-feminist males happily ally with them as they see the opportunity to weaken feminism from within and these individualist liberals are eager for the cookies. And their obsession with transwomen seems to be born out of the same tendency to defer/pander to males. I think the aggressivity they show towards anyone who holds the view that being a woman rests with having a female reproductive system and not with performing femininity is a result of them trying to (ineffectively) cope with all the nonsense they have to spew to toe the party line, such as penis is female. I really don’t know how the sex industry sponsors and trans activists have managed to label those who take a contrary stand to their agenda as being racists. Being against the sex industry or gender/trans critical has nothing to do with race and I’ve seen plenty of woc taking these exact positions.

    I’ve never seen Meghan take anyting that could be labeled a racist stand. She is against the sex industry but not a ‘whorephobe’ (whatever that is supposed to refer to). I have never read her saying something that could honestly (and honestly is the key word here) be labeled ‘transphobic’. Radical feminists have left transcritical comments on her blog, so have defenders of pornography, supporters of BDSM and even johns, and she lets commenters discuss and debate among themselves without censoring dissenting views. That we always see the same ideological crowd trying to silence anyone who disagrees with them shows that this is the only tool they feel they have to make their point. Absent what, arguments? It’s not like radical feminists have ever acted violently. Indeed, it is so not the case that they have to reinterpret violence in order to be able to accuse us of being so. Hearing that the penis is a male organ makes some claim they will kill themselves. Violence! I could say that I’m going to kill myself if I continue to live in pornland but then I’m just a (cis)woman. Radical feminists have no power; the only power we have is the power of truth and that is what they fear. I have heard many radical feminists say they previously were following (more or less convincingly) liberal feminism and then as they dig deeper, they became radical feminist. I have never heard though about a radical feminist turning liberal…

  • Rocio

    I feel stupider for having gone to see the anti Meghan hashtag. Like the amount of irrationality is too much.

    I can’t wrap my head around White Liberal Feminists calling Feminism more radical than their brand “White Feminism” without realizing that traditionally Liberal Feminism has been the most aligned with white middle class women’s interests. I don’t care what they call Liberal Feminism these days & how much they superficially try to include women of color, it still stinks.

    Oh ya and I’m not white. My ancestry is in some large part indigenous to the Americas. So there are woc who don’t think Meghan is racist, what now? Almost like they’d need actual arguments & evidence. Plenty WOC think objectification of WOC is not good. I mean in the US, Latinas are considered “sexy” and exotic and attractive but this has done shit all for our social status.

  • Rocio

    Also it seems to never have occurred to those folks that what might be subjectively good for an individual could still be not good for the collective. They seem to have taken the stance that what might be good for one woman in her own mind must be good for all women. But they recognize how irrational that argument is when right-wing women make it but then go around & make it themselves.

    • Jane (the first)

      Yes to both your posts. Words have meaning. You don’t just get to pronounce things you don’t like “white” without supporting that contention. Calling radical feminism white is a reversal, whether they know it or not. One of the anti-Meghan libfems, Lily Bolourian, describes herself as a “Persian punk feminist activist”. At the same time, she says the following:


      “There is no universal experience of womanhood and, therefore, no way to fight for the “collective” liberation of women.”

      “Slamming “choice feminism” seems privileged because for many women, particularly WOC, being able to choose anything is revolution.”

      If women have nothing in common as a class, what is the point of feminism? Try this: “There is no universal experience of being a person of color and, therefore, no way to fight for the “collective” liberation of people of color.” Do the same with trans women and see what that gets you. If you take her statement to its logical end, you end up with Margaret Thatcher: “There’s no such thing as society. There are individual men and women and there are families.” That’s why we use the word neoliberal to describe liberal feminists, who have no compunction about throwing all poor, non-western women under the bus in order to legitimize their own self-indulgence. It fits.

      Contrary to Bolourian’s assertion, there are several reasons we know the female sex class exists, not least of which is the fact that liberal men continue to treat us as the subordinate sex caste. They do not assign the nurturing, subservient role to trans women that they do to females, thereby proving that they don’t see trans women as part of the female sex class. There is no other class that liberals pull this gaslighting shit with. For example, I have never seen Twitter libfems chew out affluent white trans women like Julia Serano or Parker Molloy for speaking as if the struggles of poor trans women of color are somehow their own.

      Regarding her second Tweet, again, words have meaning, and a choice that is bad for the collective does not become “revolutionary” just because a woman of color made it. Then again, postmodern liberalism is a shell game, in which you can call for intersectionality while forbidding people to acknowledge the intersections you’d prefer to go unnoticed.

      What we’re dealing with here is a strain of liberal feminism created by the internet. The internet amplifies extreme voices, especially those of people who can spend all day on sites like Twitter. Many of the big Twitter libfems, both white and of color, average literally hundreds of Tweets per day. To put it bluntly, these women are simply funfems with an attitude. They may not know it, but their feminism is that of the very white, upper middle class, pomo-addled third wave that sprung from 90s academia. It was formulated by people who did none of the grass roots organizing that second wave radical feminists of all races did. It is purely a product of the ivory tower, and dressing it up with antiracist buzzwords does not make it radical or liberatory for anyone.

      I’m convinced that libfems like Bolourian represent a minority of feminists and other women of color. The fact that elite, and yes, white, media outlets like Playboy are so eager to weaponize this form of liberal feminism tells you much of what you need to know about it.

      • Meghan Murphy

        Bolourian has no idea what she’s saying… It’s unfortunate that young women, new to feminism (as she is…) may listen to her.

      • andeväsen

        “Margaret Thatcher: “There’s no such thing as society. There are individual men and women and there are families.” That’s why we use the word neoliberal to describe liberal feminists”

        Word. Nicely put.

        True liberals, i.e. Adam Smith liberals, have much in common with pro-prostitution voices and their twitter supporters who call themselves “liberal feminist”. E.g. Sara Scarlett’s analysis of sexist media.

        • Mar Iguana

          (Groan) This is from the NIKEWOMAN.COM ad on the Sara Scarlett article (wish I knew how to copy the picture of the ample-butted woman with most of her ass hanging out of her undies, head demurely tilted downwards, standing on her toes in Nike shoes):

          “My butt is big and round like the letter C and ten thousand lunges has made it rounder but not smaller and that’s just fine. It’s a space heater for my side of the bed. It’s my embassador (sic) to those who walk behind me. It’s a border collie that herds skinny women away from the best deals at clothing sales. My butt is big and that’s just fine and those who might scorn it are invited to kiss it. Just Do It.”

          Soooo corporatively empowerfulling, no?

          • andeväsen

            Empowering because separating body parts from the body is the very definition of power. And of course, the income tax number she quoted must be a typo, surely. Surely she must mean “40% rate” rather than “4% flat rate of income tax”. Surely.

  • Pingback: In the Media: 3rd May 2015 | The Writes of Woman()

  • Zhang He

    The internet is a bastion for illiterate, ignorant “right-fighters”.

    The whole petition thing is a numbers game. It is as old as the internet. “How many of my watchers can I get to blindly follow my lead without questioning or researching facts for themselves??”
    That’s what happens in the Twitterverse. It’s like a game of telephone. People slowly twist a message one after the other, until you have ” Omg MM is a hateful racist and abuses black people and dogs!11 She’s trying to change the Chinese zodiac to add a caribou #RACIST #PANDAPHOBE! Sign my petition! She wants to ban sexy time for everyone!!” …which is a gross, irresponsible fabrication. As someone who has experienced racism and homophobia ( as well as sexual assault), I’m sickened by how flippantly they throw these terms around. I feel most of them have never actually experienced it to their face irl, they just hover in the dark behind their monitors in their first world nation, typing angry messages at anyone who doesn’t agree with them.
    I live in a large, safe, “gay village”. Every year I have attended the Trans March. I interact with transwomen nearly everyday, and have even tried to secure a pro-bono lawyer to help a transwoman immigrate so she can do so in a safe environment and escape her hostile home country.
    And yet I’ve been called a transphobe. It gets to a point where you want to give up because you just can’t win.

    Objectively, empathetically, I do understand why some of the comments under the LC article would bother trans women. Knowing many of them personally, it never goes over well to read comments where people are going out of their way to call them men. I can understand how that would sting.
    However, those comments were not expressed by Meghan in her article. She used the preferred pronouns, and analyzed the LC article as she would any other, as she has done countless times in the past.
    The idea that she is to be held responsible for not censoring every comment on the internet that might hurt someone’s feelings is completely unreasonable. No website does that. It shuts down discussion. It’s the equivalent of sticking your fingers in your ears and going ” LALALALALALALA”.
    If there were comments under the LC article that read; ” OMG we have to kill all transwomen!111″. I wouldn’t be here reading this blog. Because I am anti-violence,and refuse to read idiocy. I’d just go to Reddit (or Twitter) and slum it up. The only comments I saw involving violence were against Meghan. And those people should be ashamed of themselves.
    The women trying to shut down an independent Canadian feminist blog in light of a straight, white man slandering it on the mega-powerful Playboy platform?? Shame on them too. I have never seen this kind of massive attack against the MRM, hate groups, pornographers, rapists- it makes me feel we’re living in backwards land. Noah Berlatzky is the same man who managed to find a why to call Annie Lennox a racist because she didn’t find twerking empowering. He also proclaimed anyone who questioned that article a racist. It’s absolute abuse and belittlement of the term.

    If you don’t agree with all of Meghan’s politics, if you don’t agree with every part of her feminism, fine. You don’t have to. But to create a smear campaign filled with lies, threats and contempt? To try to silence her and prevent her from critiquing our sexist culture? Revolting.

    Sorry if sometimes my english is a bit rough around the edges, I moved here 3 years ago after not hearing it for 10 or so years. But I support you Meghan. thank you for everything you do. Signed the counter petition and am advertising it on my social media. Stay strong!

    • Meghan Murphy

      Also, for the record, there are plenty of comments on that post calling me a transphobe. So I suppose that would mean, if we go with the logic that says i agree with all commenters, that I think I am transphobic. Which clearly I do not.

      • Zhang He

        I did not see anything transphobic in any of your replies to the comments under the LC article. All you did time and time again, was ask them to clarify their arguments. And they never would.
        It seems one of their biggest beef is that you did not police the people saying things like non-preferred pronouns, or having strong opinions on that path of thought. Or at least they are using that as rage-fuel. But this is the internet. If they aren’t making threats, or spewing terrible insults (like die stupid bitch, which oddly is just fine with Twitter feminism), or trolling, One simply can’t declare them spam, or disallow them because their opinions might not be popular. It’s simply unreasonable to expect such a thing.

        You aren’t responsible for the hurt feelings of someone who reads a comment left by someone else on your blog that disagrees with them. But I honestly don’t think that is their biggest issue.
        I think a bunch of them are still upset that the government passed a version of the Nordic Model. You are a great scape goat for their anger because of your visibility. Most internet communities are well aware that there are tensions between trans-women and radical leaning feminists.
        Then there are writers like Noah Berlatzky who like mansplaining feminism to rile everyone up.
        and I bet the MRA’s are just laughing and laughing and fueling the fire.

        You would think that the Neo-Liberal “feminists” would stop to think about themselves when A Voice For Men is cheering them on:


        They should hang their heads in shame.

        • Rich

          “Cox’s agency in becoming an attractive women”

          That Voice for Men post linked to by Zang He contained the above. In my experience, liberal men (and no conservative would call Cox a woman) talk very tolerant and politically correct when it comes to trans-persons, but they sure don’t date that way.

          • Zhang He

            Thing is, in real life I have met a few trans-women who despise the Twitter ‘raging against everything’ type. Not because they have any problems with themselves (anymore than the usual struggles), but because they actually *do not want to be a man’s fetish*. They feel pressure to have implants, or to look like a certain feminine ideal, and it makes them miserable. They feel the specific sting that is having this impossible image to live up to that is unattainable, even with surgical intervention (not only for them, but to 99% of women).
            And that’s why I doubly do not understand the backlash to Meghan’s article, and have to come to the conclusion that we are dealing with people who just rage against anyone who dares critique their pop culture idols.
            And no. I don’t see good ‘ol “feminist’ Playboy showcasing a real transwoman’s body fully anytime soon. They just like to incite an angry mob against anyone that dares speak out against objectification. I’, certain Playboy has a very highly paid PR department that is orchestrating their every move; ” We have to get “feminist”! Feminist is popular today! Men feel better buying women if they know it’s *empowering* them! #empowerment! #agency! Playboy is a *respected* magazine that truly cares about women’s issues!!”


          • Lulu

            Rich, it’s so interesting how these enlightened liberal men will label someone a “TERF” for not believing that a woman can have a penis, yet these men never seem to date/marry “women” who have penises. So none of trans allies really believe this stuff. No one in their right mind does

          • Rich

            Exactly. These liberal and progressive guys talk like they think they are supposed to talk, but that is usually as far as it goes. So he says Cox is an “attractive woman”??? Attractive to whom? If he is straight, there is no way he actually thinks of her as an attractive woman. Who the hell is he trying to kid?

    • Laur

      I would not have known you were not a native English speaker if you hadn’t mentioned it. I don’t see any need for you to worry about your English.

      You made so many excellent points. My favorite was, “he idea that she is to be held responsible for not censoring every comment on the internet that might hurt someone’s feelings is completely unreasonable. No website does that.”

      There is so much mean, spiteful, cowardly commenting on the Internet. I mean, it’s on every website from major newspapers to counter-culture blogs. What I mean is…this really isn’t about the comments at all. It’s about people not liking actual feminism. Since Meghan writes feminism, she’s a target, as all outspoken radical feminists have been and are. I recently read that when Catharine MacKinnon and Andrea Dworkin tried to get the anti-pornography Ordinance passed in the U.S. In the ’80s and ’90s, the pornographers actually hired a PR group as part of their effort to fight it. In other words,the message continues to be: shut yourself up, or we’ll make you.

      I hope everyone remembers to donate (if they can) to FC. If not now, what will it take for you to donate a little? That’s one other thing we can do, in addition to spreading the petition.

  • Tigermilk

    I could be wrong, but I have this feeling that one of the reasons the women’s movement has been hijacked is to preserve horizontal hostility and mistrust between women, and I know much a lack of trust is used against women. People have doubted and continue to doubt the validity of our experiences; others (usually men) confine them to mental ill health or make-believe.

    It’s just that whenever a woman, especially a woman of my age group, states she is a feminist, I have developed the tendency to be wary of her politics, and by extension, her. This is only because of the widespread acceptance of “choice feminism” and the reintegration of gender as a “positive outlet for expression”; the “reclaiming” of femininity and so on. Sometimes that makes me feel like I’m in another realm of consciousness and it makes understanding, and hence solidarity, really difficult to achieve.

    Thanks Meghan, for all that you do. I’m with you.

  • Being a former prostituted woman and now an ardent radfem, I’m glad I could help with that petition. It really bothers me that women are being silenced from speaking all in the name of ‘free speech.’ Feminism has been hijacked by the neoliberals with a bunch of empty rhetoric.

    I know you and I might not agree in the sense that I consider MtT male and you called Cox ‘she’ but I will defend your right to speak your truth. Too many women are being run off for not going along with ‘choice’ and ‘agency’ rhetoric that’s devoid of the reality of women’s lives.

    Make no mistake. This will keep happening so it’s important to stand up to it and set precedent.

    • Personally, I don’t call MtFs “she” because they are female, I call them “she” because I don’t want to have to fight over pronouns when there are much more important issues to discuss. But that’s where I draw the line…

      • Mar Iguana

        Thing is, Francois, wherever you may draw a line, these disturbed men will joyfully cross it. Using female pronouns for them rankles. It’s very jarring to me anyway.

        The pronoun battle was about the first radfems fought these many years ago and m2ts fought like crazy for their “right” to be addressed with female pronouns. It was the camel’s nose under the tent and we knew that if they succeeded it was just the beginning of their invasion into what little protected space females are allowed.

        They won that battle and so here we now are, marveling at autogynephillic awesome bravery, showering them with sympathy and celebrating that they no longer have to jerk off into their wives’ and daughters’ underwear in secret. They are literally swinging their lady dicks in women’s and girls faces in schools, gyms and all spaces where we used to be able to feel at least some modicum of safety. I wish this was just a bizarre dream from which I could wake up.

        They will not be sated until they have silenced and erased us. I prefer to believe my own lying eyes and refuse to cede ANY ground to woman-hating fetishists.

  • Lewis T

    I see myself in Cox, just not the way Playboy wants. I’m a bisexual man and Shaadi Devereaux struck a chord with me. She said transgender black people in today’s culture feel “all the rest of us are just donning costumes to imitate true beauty.” Growing up with gay romantic feelings, I didn’t really understand myself, my social life, friendship, all that well. I was fortunate to read the rebukes of Disney damsel-in-distress on internet blogs, which I sort of credit as my coming-out to myself. In that context, some depiction of gay love in the media would have been very welcome, and I feel close to Deveraux’s sentiment.

    I’d have preferred an actual gay novel or hero in film or TV show where there are stories and not just body part buffets. I think porn is a problem even if you proudly note you gendered your subject correctly. Seeing porn is not only exploitation, it helped me realize nothing beyond the fact that many varieties of fucking exist (I already knew about naked bodies). So I think we owe transgender folk the space to help us care about them, and themselves, without the profit-motives and sensationalism. I figure that’s why you’re getting so much support. I think people want to see her as more than just a taut body filled with discomfort, she’s a person with a story.

    Yet whose story did Playboy tell? Anti-porn feminists. So it’s Berlatsky hitching his wagon to the trend, not you. When you are trying to be thoughtful and nuanced, your liberation is not helped when you’re sold cannibalistic lust. If he’s calling you bad Megan Murphy, then you’re doing something right.

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  • Jem Leav

    Important read. Thank you.

  • Thomas

    “including Vanessa Williams, Madonna, and Marilyn Monroe, complained that their nudes were published without their consent”

    I don’t know about the situation with the two first ones, but you can argue that Marilyn Monroe gave consent when she was paid to pose nude by a calendar company, she sold the rights to nude pictures of herself to be published in a calendar.

    What I don’t understand is that why someone who apparently made a lot of money, and had many rich friends, never managed to buy the pictures back (Hugh Hefner got them very cheaply).