“Get the L out?” More like wake the L up!

By Daviemoo

I realised the other day that some of my pro trans content is misunderstood- some people believe I’m a trans man, which I honestly don’t mind because being trans isn’t a bad thing. But I’m not trans; I just stand with trans people. I stand with trans people because I have a few friends who are trans and I know more trans people who seem very decent, and because once you listen to trans people talk about their lives, their experiences, it would take an extraordinary amount of cynicism to doubt their sincerity. I know gender critical people too, and some of the vitriol that comes so easily to them casts no doubt in my mind that they aren’t decent, and even if they are their obsession with demonising trans people is twisting that into irrelevance.
The arguments that lesbian activist group “Get the L out” make all revolve around circumlocutive explainers of their distaste of trans people. “We don’t like men, we dont like penises” and so on and so on- using the veneer of obvious statement
to legitimise obvious transphobia because transgender women aren’t men. If anyone is trying to tell you you simply must date a woman with a penis, those people aren’t of the same ilk as the majority of my trans friends.
The accusations groups like this endlessly cast at trans people are stupid: What person in their right mind do you know who would force upon others the notion that they HAVE to date them or else? The only group I know who do this are… ah, cisgender (aka not trans) men, the men who lurk in bars and proposition women who clearly look uncomfortable at being approached- and it is this insidious comparison of trans female and cis male behaviour that has become so disturbing.
This paralleling is reductive, and will always miss the broader point: Blaming a different demographic for the behaviour of another is a surefire way to continue to propagate that behaviour. That in itself is troubling, but the increasing desperation of gender critical people to prove their ideology is correct has made for horrifying allyships- so to those who believe what Get the L out have to say- all I can say in reply is: Wake the L up.

Let’s get this plain: I dont want the L out. L’s dont want the L out. But people in Get the L out want the L out- so go. Nobody is stopping you, quite the opposite, we actively don’t want bigots in our marches: you don’t “have to” like trans people any more than you “have to” like gay people or people of colour. You’re entitled to be small minded: should you be is a different question. If you keep quiet about it you won’t have an issue- but being offended at being told not to say you don’t like a certain demographic is pretty comical. Saying “I don’t like trans people” is, frighteningly, socially acceptable right now- apply that to any other minority group and people would recoil with shock. This societal malfeasance around trans people is an oversight that will correct with time- people in the future will study this time period in shock at how blithe transphobia is right now. But a key point to remember is this: the people you don’t like also don’t have to treat that dislike, however muted or obnoxiously loud it is, with a wink, a smile, or good grace.
You’re allowed to wrap both hands around the handle of bigotry- but the second you wield it in malice against others, you’ll face repercussions. The fact that this is a shocking concept to people is utterly bizarre.
Transphobic accounts abounds online- anonymous twitter profiles with XXWOMBYN400 will blithely insult trans people with the same ridiculous arguments that have been answered ad nauseam. “What if a man pretends to be a woman, dresses up and goes into a toilet and rapes someone” we’re asked, as though pro trans people are thrilled with this idea. But my immediate response is- what the fuck does that have to do with trans women? That is the behaviour of a cis man- the theoretical behaviour of a cis man- and you’re ascribing it to trans women because-why? And throwing shocking and horrifying terms like, and stories of, rape don’t dissuade people from having the conversation- I myself am a victim of rape- not once, multiple times. Throwing for instance nonsense about rape at me isn’t as important as actual proven instances of it- and how we avoid those.
If you point the stark differences between trans women and cis men out, this is where the delineation between the oft chanted “just women with concerns” and open transphobia becomes plain. If you parallel trans women and cis men, its the open admission that you don’t believe trans women act as their own specific group with their own specific behaviours- and the very act of transitioning, be it socially and or medically, is it’s own divergence from cis het male behaviour. You don’t have to “believe” trans women are women to note that people who decide to socially transition are not of the same ilk as people who don’t. And why on earth would trans women endure a society as openly vitriolic as ours is right now just to enter women’s spaces? And, why would cis men embarrass themselves by pretending to be trans just for some sexual kicks when they don’t need to. Look at any city center on a Saturday night at the pissed up straight cis men who think it’s funny to throw on a dress for a lark. Those men aren’t doing it for sexual kicks, they’re doing it because cis straight men are a law unto themselves- literally.

Stop coddling cis het men

Shocking notion here but- society coddles cis men (including gay ones like myself, though I also posit that we endure different social pressures & therefore face different arms of the same problem).
Literally today, I saw a video of a straight cis man, wearing a rainbow tutu saying to a girl and her boyfriend “flash your boobs for pride!” the girl, naturally uncomfortable, says no to which the guy says “so you don’t support gay people?”
The comments for that video were full, and I mean full, of people saying “see- gay men are just as misogynistic as straight ones”. And yet- two seconds of research would show that the guy with the mic in that video is, in fact, a heterosexual man.
In another example, internet piss-storm and misogynistic shitpipe Andrew Tate is everywhere, all the time, mouthing off about women, and he has also had some choice words about gay people and trans people- and people online will debate for HOURS about how men like Andrew Tate who has openly admitted that he “only talks to women if he can fuck them” are gay gay gay.
Unfortunately for the hard of thinking amongst us, the parallel of not wanting to fuck women must mean that gay men hate women right? I also hate glass bottomed lifts and yet thats not because I don’t want to fuck one.

The sad truth is, many straight men and a worrying proportion of gay men have misogynist thinking baked into them by growth in a society that just doesn’t raise men right- this isn’t to exculpate these men from this type of thinking, by the way. Even I, who used to think I was a feminist and a good ally to women, had much thinking and behaviour to unpick and I try to do that work to the best of my abilities. The problem, though, is that society has hard wired into us the idea that straight men are just wandering the world on autopilot, totally out of control of their behaviour. A girl walks past in a revealing dress and gets groped? A dizzying proportion of people will say “I mean why was she wearing that” and not “why is he out in public if he can’t control himself”.
This same logic utterly pervades the gender critical movement, though rather than being woven in like knitting, large and observable, it’s threaded in like needlepoint and only noticeable when you pick at it.
So- what IF a man dresses up as a woman and sneaks into a woman’s space? Well, then he’s using a space he doesn’t have a legal right to, and he’s doing so for nefarious purposes: that man should be punished legally to the full extent the law allows to prevent it- there is a gulf of problematic behaviour between there, and a trans woman popping into a public bathroom to urinate. And what if a trans woman sexually assaults someone? Then she should be punished to the full extent the law allows because- and I know, shocking concepts everywhere today – anyone being a creep to anyone is bad.

Eternal word-twister Helen Staniland was recently asked why a trans woman quietly using a changing room, unseen, undetected even by the people around her would be problematic. Staniland replied something to the effect of “one could also say the same of a woman who was recorded without her consent- if she doesn’t know, what’s the harm”.
One is a person existing in a space they’re entitled to use, to try on clothes which is the purpose the facilities were built for and who doesn’t intend to circumvent anyone’s boundaries or invade anyone’s personal space- one is a crime and an invasion of privacy which carries a custodial sentence- it’s not even the comparison of apples and oranges, it’s the comparison of an apple and a Typhoon FGR4 fighter jet.
Staniland and those like her are hypocrites of the highest order- they accuse transgender people of disgusting acts which quite often they themselves carry out. Staniland is well known for asking people if they are happy to campaign for male born people with a penis to use women’s facilities, and refuses to accept the answer “if they are trans, yes”. But I’m also confused as to why Staniland et al are so keen to stalk changing rooms, verifying strangers genitals as up to their expectations- Staniland even zoomed into the crotch of a counter-protester in Bristol recently and accused them of having an erection. Sorry to break it to the gender critical movement, but some people just have penises which take up space in our trousers and do occasionally show through- but if you think merely possessing a penis is provocative that is very much for you to untangle with several bouts of therapy- not the least because, according to you, the inversion of a penis doesn’t mitigate the threat of it’s existence. Some people see the ownership of a penis as equivalent to the ownership of a gun, but a penis isn’t a weapon unless it’s used that way, the same way a monkey wrench isn’t a weapon unless you club someone around the head with it. It’s not the physicality of owning a penis one needs to worry about, it’s the intent of the owner and to cast all trans people as dangers just because of their genitals is a ridiculous argument.

The very idea that anti trans people see trans people’s mere existence as a transgression against themselves is the reason I’ve become so deeply concerned about the path down which the anti trans groups are wandering. Pushing the idea that it’s as offensive to exist in tandem to someone as it is to nefariously record them without their permission is fallacious- and eagerly swallowed down by gender critical supporters of all calibres because of course that’s what trans people are doing, why they’re transitioning. It’s not because trans people just want to use facilities like you do- they’re nefarious by nature, clearly…
This leads me on, though, to a point I feel the ardent supporters of groups like Get the L out don’t consider: the call is coming from next door right now, but it won’t be long til it’s coming from inside the house.

What if…

`Let us say that gender critical people “win”. Trans women are wholesale BANNED from women’s spaces (how you would even police this is insane; at my own gym, there are many women who I honestly couldn’t tell you are cisgender or not. Genital inspection? A quick DNA test on the door?)
Lets say they do it- NO MORE TRANS WOMEN IN WOMEN’S SPACES! Congrats my lesbian cis-ters, you win.
How long til it’s you? After all, trans women can be straight (aka like men) or be gay or bi. But lesbians always like women… and isn’t it dangerous to have someone who is sexually arrest by women in women’s spaces…? How far away from “I don’t want to share my space with predatory men pretending to be women” is the argument “I don’t want to share my bathroom with a woman who thinks other women are sexy”. Do you think the trans people will be booted out into a magic third space that will cost the taxpayer a fortune, or even into the mens spaces you’re so convinced they belong to, and the movement against progress will just disappear? Or do you think that there won’t suddenly be stats about lesbian and gay sexual assaults used as justification for the same rhetoric against us?
Ah, let me guess! “It doesn’t happen” right?
This is when I’m extra glad it’s Get the L out who did this- you may remember Get the L out from a certain BBC article last year.
Get the L out were surveyed by the BBC, who wrote an article intimating that some lesbians feel pressured into having sex with trans women (pressuring anyone into sex, ever, is wrong- is this controversial news?). Get the L out provided a survey, asked to their own (already transphobic) members, about whether they felt pressured into sex with trans women- which is a bit like asking a pub full of tories whether you think Boris Johnson seems like a decent chap: You know the answer you’re going to get.
But do you know who else was interviewed? A lesbian named Lily Cade- who not only went on, after this article, to write a detailed blog post about how trans people should be lynched and their families gang raped- but who was already notorious herself, our little cisgender lesbian Lily- for sexually assaulting women in bathrooms. Cade’s contribution was removed when it came to light that she was a serial assaulter of other women and that she had written a blog post calling for trans genocide- but the damage was done, the article had already been read en masse by those whose minds were shaped by it.

Far be it from me to use the phrase “strange bedfellows” but it seems to me that if you want to argue against trans inclusion in women’s spaces because you’re scared of women being raped, you might not want to side with a literal serial rapist.

We’re so far past “reasonable concerns”

The overarching problem here is that gender critical thinking, to an outsider, can be made to sound reasonable and moderate- and that’s why the movement presents certain faces as it’s front runners- Joanne Rowling, a children’s book writer who just has very normal reasonable concerns about mens behaviour because of her horrific past with men (note- men, not trans women). But if Rowling is the stone upon which the gender critical movement grows under, it only takes turning that stone over to expose the rot beneath; Rowling has even scribed a new book about being a person who gets hounded online, but never decries any of the hateful people she herself has endorsed. Magdalen Burns was one of the earlier gender critical activists on twitter- Burns is well known for this, mostly because her tweet telling trans people they are “blackface actors” still does the rounds every time her name s invoked to defend gender critical speakers. Or how about another well know gender critical, this one from the LGBT+ community itself, who is someone Rowling has passed warm regards to repeatedly.

Dennis Kavanaugh is a gay man and gender critical supporter. He is also a man who said he “preferred AIDS” to trans people’s existence, because at least AIDS just killed gay people and didn’t convert them. Kavanaugh was kicked from twitter for stating these vitriolic nonsense views but after a campaign was reinstated- Rowling warmly welcomed him back. From his suspension. For giving AIDS a nostalgic glance…
Or there’s Caroline Farrow, who recently said a crossing which was coloured in the trans flag colours almost caused her to run people over- the stark difference of white lines and white, pink and light blue lines must have been shocking to her eyes I’m sure. But Farrow is also known for touting her views about our community- she’s campaigned against gay marriage, spoken out about gay and lesbian adoption, she’s known for using the word f*ggot on twitter but framing it as anything but the slur she means it as.
Farrow was recently comforted by Rowling, saying she felt bullied by the community she has habitually moved against. Rowling sent her hugs.
There is also the very obvious conclusion that Rowling chose the name Robert Galbraith for her pen name with no hint of irony that she was pretending to be a different gender to access the known privileges of men despite not being part of the group, along with Galbraith being the creator of one of the mid-century forms of Conversion Therapy, AKA torture for gay people.
This is the reality of what anti trans people endorse, and much like any sort of MLM or cult there are levels. Nobody starts off as deranged as stating that AIDS is good or that gay people are mentally unwell- again, it starts off as “they’re letting MEN use WOMEN’S spaces”, “they’re forcing us to use chest feeding instead of breast feeding”- that’s the right wing reactionary playbook. Use shocking statements as if they’re fact and build on it, as a spider does a coccoon- before you know it, you’re trapped.
Gender critical thinking is a pathway to radicalisation.

All of this is what these groups- LGB alliance, Get the L out, and so on and so on are either unwittingly or- as I suspect, very wittingly, are pushing: the demonisation of transgender people feeds into a very rational fear of non trans men, to whom accusations and blame stick as successfully as oil in a hot pan. But the lack of nuance, the intentional misstep of ignoring the huge chasm of difference- whether you believe trans people are who they say or not- between a trans woman and a cis man, is the sort of hilariously glib oversight that would be funny if it wasn’t so deeply, deeply dangerous. Whilst the world rages against trans women for existing, cis men can continue their downward march into Andrew Tate’s male supremacy videos, spiking, wilful misrepresentation of consent and more- if you want to deal with those problems, get mad at the offenders.

Mayhaps you still need to be convinced.
Trans women and drag queens are two very different groups. Trans women are trans women, and it’s fair to say that the vast majority of drag queens are cis gay men.
Recently in Leeds there was a protest by quite literal fascist group “Patriotic Alternative” who showed up in laughably small numbers despite Leeds being their founding city, to protest a drag queen reading a story book to children at the library. They were so desperate to protect children that they set off a fire alarm, terrifying children, to do so. Why? Their rationale is that dressing in drag is provocative, sexual and inappropriate and is essentially paedophilic in nature.
Let’s unpack that. A gay man in a dress surrounded by parents and children is somehow being paedophilic by reading a book to children. Why? Is it the dress, the makeup? If so, it’s hardly a progressive feminist standpoint to agree with- do you think makeup and dresses are innately sexual or sexy? Is showing skin? Is dressing up as a female impressionist somehow sexual? I’ve done drag myself and I can assure you it’s not sexy- having a comb stabbing me in the temple, losing feeling in my toes for 4 months because of the heels, abrasions where the bra cut in, being unable to move my face because my eyebrows are glued down and covered with concealer… it’s not sexy in the slightest- it’s fun, it’s escapist and I did it to pay homage to my favourite metal singer- if anything it fits in with the carefree nature of children who don’t associate anything sinister because they simply don’t know about it. There is, as I keep reiterating, a huge difference between a drag queen calling a gay man a tart for having his nipples out in a gay bar, and a drag queen reading children a book. The only people guilty of sexualising are the creeps outside with “stop grooming our kids” written on their signs- and I have to tell you, if you see a drag queen as sexy you may well be closer to the LGBT+ than you think.

But this is more proof- because gender critical people agree with Patriotic Alternative and have indeed arranged their own protests against drag queen story time, stating that drag is parodying womanhood rather than simple gender bending, an act that’s taken place since gender constructs didn’t have a name but were as well known as any other type of socialised behaviour. They’re entitled to that view- but endorsing the slippery slope argument of literal fascists and ignoring the connotations that you’re stepping deftly over the line from “just womanly concerns” into “I hate several letters in the LGBT+” is another reason I’m stupefied that the number of people brazenly admitting they align with these beliefs continues to slowly edge up.

A reporter from a radical feminist group attended the rally against patriotic alternative and condemned both sides as just as bad as each other- despite the LGBT+ side cheering children and parents, reading out supportive messages and, and I can’t reiterate this enough- protesting against literally fascist people. Nothing like “fine people on both sides”ing an argument where one side is gay, lesbian, bi, trans, non binary and every other letter of our family and the other side are white supremacists- by all means feel free to socialise with some of those fine PA supporting men- but remember at the start when I mentioned straight men who cross people’s boundaries…?

This piece is a warning to the people I can’t stand to address directly because I have such a low opinion of them: if you’re LGBT+ and gender critical, you’re gleefully signing your own death warrant. You don’t have to accept and love trans people, but you sure as shit have to respect their existence- not the least because it’s the decent thing to do- because if you don’t you’re paving the path for your own struggles, and if you’re too blind to see it, take a look at your allies left and right. Some prominent “gender critical” thinkers:
Matt Walsh who hates trans people, and thinks women shouldn’t work, and cheerfully calls himself “fascist”
Ben Shapiro who has regularly stated he thinks women are inferior to men
Vladimir Putin who fosters the idea that gay people being murdered in Russia is fine because we’re equivalent to dogs
Jordan Peterson, a man who, when cornered about the comparison of racist and homophobic thinking, realised in real time how wrong he was- and still espouses those views
Joe Rogan
a human cigarette packet who hates everyone who isn’t a straight white man with veins popping out of his forehead

As I said before, strange bedfellows: all men who think women are inferior to men (all of them have either directly or indirectly said as much), all of them who think gay people are disgusting- keep working with them, I’m sure they’re definitely wrong about racism, sexism, having sex with younger women, homophobia and male supremacy- but somehow right about transphobia.

When we’re all walled off, taken away from our lives by the people you stand behind shouting transphobic nonsense, remember that it was people like me, and every trans person you screamed slurs at, who warned you what you were spearheading, and remember that it was me who told you- wake the L up.

Daviemoo is a 34 year old independent writer, radicalised into blogging about the political state of the world by Brexit and the election of serial failures like Trump and Johnson. Please check out the rest of the blog, check out Politically Enraged, the podcast available on all streaming platforms and share with your like minded friends! Also check him out on ko-fi where you can keep him caffeinated whilst he writes.

Lawrence Fox and the outrage farm

By Daviemoo

Social media is meant to invoke outrage. It feeds on it. Remember when social media first started- sure there would be the odd spat. Now, it caters to it.
Sites like twitter, apps like TikTok, they fuel themselves on controversy- because where there is outrage, there is money… and that’s something that people like Lawrence Fox, osmium dense though he may be, have realised.

Lets get this out of the way first: Fox and all his hangers on like Corcoran, like Grimes and Hartley-Brewer, are all stupid.
All of them are nonsense slinging rage monkeys, screeching out into a world to provoke a reaction, hoping to piss off the world 1/100th as much as they are permanently.
I imagine Fox went to bed last night laughing at the fact he annoyed so many people on a social media app.
“Good”, I bet he thought to himself as he curled up alone in his bed, staring at the dent no sane woman has filled in years. This type of bottom level clickbait farming is literally all he has to his name. If we didn’t know the man was a seething cunt, we wouldn’t know who he is- and he prefers the eye rolling frustration to complete indifference. To quote an excellent TV show- what a sad little life, Jane.

Who is Lawrence Fox without this? What does he stand for? “Free speech”- ok, but what does that even mean? I could also sit there calling people I don’t like paedophiles all day and being taken to court over it, where some shadowy overlord of incel behaviour will be my patron. I don’t, because I’m capable of rational discourse- so the question for Fox and… “friends” is, is he incapable of rational discourse, or is he just that much of a wet lettuce in semi-human form that if someone says “oh don’t say the word moist, I hate it” his veins begin popping up in some primal self defence as he screams the words “MOIST” and “SNOWFLAKE” alternately with more and more tears building in the corners of his rheumy little eyes.

But when it comes to his actions and the actions of his fellow verified incels, they behave this way because they have tapped into the pulse of social media in a way the rest of us may know about, but don’t touch on- not because we can’t, not because we’re unaware of it. Because we’re capable of a deeper nuance in conversation than slinging around hate slurs- because we understand that just because you can be a repugnant prick doesn’t mean you should.
Fox et al are all “free speech” enthusiasts, arguing vociferously for the right to say and do ANYTHING! Anything is off the table, nobody should be able to censor you or your speech, you should be free to say whatever you want.
Dedicated scholars (aka actually intelligent people) would calmly point out that some types of speech are heavily monitored as they are a precursor to actual violence: in the last two weeks in America, two separate anti gay preachers have stood proud at televised podiums and called for the mass shooting of gay people. This weekend, just as Roe V Wade was repealed – a maniac entered a gay bar in Oslo and shot several people to death.
Cause, meet effect- I believe you two are heavily acquainted.

But we know that people like these anger pushing rage monkeys don’t care about that. They just want to feed social media.

It’s not even the point that certain types of speech should be criminalised -we’ve all heard the hot takes of people being arrested or given punitive sentences for posting lyrics to songs people find offensive and I’m not here arguing about that. Those stories, those articles- all feed into the clickbait outrage machine these one trick ponies have mastered. No, it’s not about whether these types of speech should be criminalised or even punished- it’s about the fact that as human beings, capable of rational speech, it’s unbecoming to use them…

I could grunt like primal man. I could scream slurs at a nursing home, and I could yell all the epithets I want to in the street until I was led away for fear of being unbalanced. I don’t do those things- not because I cant, I very much can. It’s because I’m not a fucking loser…

If you can’t have rational discourse without using slurs, if you can’t talk to someone and not immediately sink to saying things you know will provoke and piss them off you aren’t a big brave freedom fighter in the guerrilla war against speech. You’re one of two things, or possibly both:
The first option is that you’re too dense to realise that what you’re saying is rude. This is the type of person like the taxi driver who will jeer at an effeminate man then be surprised when you tell him to shut the fuck up, acting like you did the wrong.
The second option is that you are desperately unhappy, as the collection of geese this article is prompted by are, and simply have to propagate that misery in others.

Perhaps if Fox knew how to behave around people he would still be married. Perhaps if he was more interested in raising his children than provoking anger online he wouldn’t be so hated. But he doesn’t care. This will suit him. And social media allows it.

Oh yes, he shared the imagery of a progress pride swastika yesterday and now his account, as twitter openly professes, is “temporarily locked”. He’s already posted his distain, crying about how “you can call the Union Jack a symbol of fascism but you can’t criticise the holy flags”. Ah yes, free speech until it’s speech you don’t like then, as always.

And in the background of this little sonata of stupidity, social media feeds. More clicks, more shares, more discussion of the man who will sink to the most flagrantly slackjawed commentary just to get acknowledged- and why? Because more clicks are more engagement. More engagement is more money. More money is good, always good right? Does twitter take this outrage money and donate it to LGBT+ charities who are sorely in need of funding and suffer at the hands of the unmitigated bollocks that people like Fox wank onto the internet? Do they even invest it into making their platform better, using algorithms to detect and censor swastika or tweets that could provoke violence against marginalised communities? Well, no but you can be damn sure that any of the upper management have nice cars and big houses.

Social media has fastened its lips around the collective flaccid peni of wasters like Fox etc and is happily slurping up the givings as they sit back in immunity knowing that they’re almost impossible to dislodge because sites like twitter or Tiktok or Facebook or whatever other tepid social media we use are absolutely delighted when a new cunt-in-chief pops up to start tweeting the usual transparent bollocks like “LGBT+ people are bad and this is my freedom of speech”.
LGBT+ people don’t care about your personal opinion- we care that this is step one on the very short ladder to “LGBT+ people should be exterminated with prejudice” and people like you are happy to bend down on all fours to let more extreme people capitalise on your incel upsets to gain ground.
As for freedom of speech- you’re free to walk around calling people like me fags and shirt-lifters, back scratchers and queers. But two things to always bear in mind. If you use language that identifies you as a threat you’ll be treated as one and you shouldn’t be surprised if you call the wrong guy the F slur one day and end up wearing your teeth in a purse around your neck.
But the most important point of all is- you can say those things. But if, in a world as big, broad and varied as this, you sink to the most gormless commentary you can muster just because you should be able to you’re lacking in the very most basic parts of human development when it comes to interaction. And that is why people like Lawrence Fox sleep in a large bed, alone, tweeting at strangers all night.

We need to talk about the men who say “not all men”

By Daviemoo

We know. We know it isn’t all men. But after yet another woman speaks out about her experience of discomfort when receiving unsolicited, perverted DMs and the conversation is immediately co-opted by the “yeah but, it’s not all men is it” crowd one must begin to ask whether those who are more interested in being delineated as not creepy are more interested in protecting their egos, or hiding their deeds than the very real pain, discomfort and fear of women.

A small note- I will be talking about MEN in this article. If the lack of the word some bothers you- you’re the target audience.

Rosie Holt, the comedienne and political satirist posted a very disturbing DM on twitter today, which reads as follows:

Said offending DM

I found myself amazed that a man could type this, thinking “yes, yes this is a polite and funny message where I proposition a woman about her body, it will definitely go down a treat”. So many people seem not to understand that politely harassing someone is still harassing someone- something I discovered a while back when I shared an anonymised grindr message of someone asking me to let them, and I quote, “smell your bum through your trousers”. My comments lit up with people disgraced that somebody could absolutely disregard someone’s boundaries and, without so much as a hello, send such a creepy message- but between those spots of consensus were the odd “erm, why are you sharing his private message?” “He said please, what more do you want”, “it’s a hookup app- what do you expect?” (is a hello too much, really?)

So it was with much trepidation that on Rosie’s post, I headed to the comments, hopeful of some light hearted discourse to cheer Rosie up (which was there)-and yet…

The hated phrase

There it is. As always.

It’s not all men, its SOME men, it’s a FEW men, its just some random, unknowable, unquantifiable men who do these things. No DECENT men do these things and we simply must CLEARLY STATE THIS, lest the conversation about women’s safety and comfort online devolve into discourse around how distressed women receiving DMs that range from mildly disturbing to pornographically obscene to horrifically violent, must cater to men’s feelings around discussing the topic. Every single time the word “men” is used without the demanded prefix of SOME men, in flood the people determined to prove that it’s not them, they’re not predatory and creepy and how dare you lump them in with the baddies?! They’re feminist, they have wives and sisters and daughters and they’d NEVER do such things! And of course, we all know you can take the words of strangers on the internet to heart because nobody has ever lied on there… right?

They are right of course- it’s absolutely not all men- but does that need stating in discourse where frustrated, angry and frightened women are talking about inappropriate behaviour? Why must men appear and center themselves over the women? Why are some men’s feelings more important than a group of women’s shared experiences of harassment and the urgent need to discuss and forestall it?

It isn’t all men: but how do you know which men it is?

“I never thought he would kill her,” Loney said. “I never thought that would happen in a million years.”

https://nypost.com/2015/07/26/man-arrested-in-slaughterhouse-style-killing-spree/

The first defence is always “I never knew he was like that”.

“I never knew he hit his wife”

“He seemed like such a lovely man”

“I never knew he was abusive”

Here is something I bet you didn’t know: Stanford Rapist, Brock Turner’s parents are now campaigning for the sex offenders register to be scrapped to protect their rapist son. So knowledge, we learn, is not power and even if it is, it still doesn’t lend itself to the protection of victims. Turner’s mother is actively involved in the Facebook group for scrapping the sex offenders register- so sometimes knowledge, intimate knowledge isn’t as important as the strange urge to protect a disgusting degenerate just because you birthed them.

John Wayne Gacey was a clown as part of his career: he also stacked the corpses of his victims under his house in a crawlspace. He was active in the church and by all accounts a polite and convivial neighbour. He’s also one of America’s most prolific serial killers: gay he was, but the threat still stands.

I am, of course, reaching for two extreme examples there- so how about a home grown one: during lockdown one I was walking to work one morning and stopped to scream abuse at a man who was taking unsolicited pictures of a woman in her gym gear whilst they were waiting for a bus. The man first called me a queer- it’s gay, thanks- then ran away when the rest of the bus stop ganged up on him.

What would he have done with those pictures- hell, he didn’t delete them, he sprinted off with phone in hand. He was also dressed in a fairly nice suit, tie and was carrying a little bag that clearly held a laptop. This wasn’t some “oh they’re just like that” stereotype of a brickie or some other parodyish manlet- this was a businessman. So how does one know which men to reference, and why is the addition of SOME so necessary?

It’s funny because women have often said they feel safe around me because I’m a gay man – I can understand feeling safer as a woman, but my experiences of being a man who likes men and being around men has given me a pretty in depth look into the world of men who say “not all”- but are part of the some.

As a gay man I’ve experienced a shocking amount of unsolicited rude pictures and messages and whilst I’m no shrinking violet (I have cheerfully referred to myself as a man whore at least twice this week), the worrying thread that runs between womens experiences and my own is that men assume. They assume I want pictures of their flaccid willies before they ask, assume I want them to tell me what they’d do to me if I was in a room with them alone, and prioritise the pleasure they get from sending those messages over my comfort in receiving them. It’s at best selfish and at its worst deeply indicative of people who don’t care about the root of the word consent.

Back to the topic at hand, Rosie’s sharing of the DM is a snapshot into an extensive world that heterosexual men in particular don’t seem to understand. I genuinely believe a lot of heterosexual men wish their DMs were flooded with women telling them what they’d do to them if they could and sending myriad photos of themselves, and the reason I think this is that straight men who arent homophobic have genuinely expressed jealousy when I explain how transactional you can be on apps like grindr.

The most disturbing conversation that came around consent and comfort happened when I shared my experience of being sexually assaulted; a disturbing amount of men (sexuality irrespective) responded with “I’d love to be woken up with sex”… It seems there is an innate disconnect between the way men think about sexual pleasure and the involvement of the other. I get no pleasure from sending nudes I haven’t been asked for, but apparently some men do. I get no pleasure from being, as I described to the man who assaulted me “used like a fucking fleshlight”, but some men do- and they are more than happy to center their feelings over the other, just as men in this discussion do.

Men will take a discussion around women feeling violated and unsafe on the internet and center themselves in it as readily as some men will center themselves above someone else’s consent to a sexual act: and its this correlation that makes women right to be afraid of men.

If you are more interested in being pandered to in a conversation around appropriate behaviours than around listening to those who are being made to feel vulnerable then that, however minor it may seem to you, is the top of the tipping point to being more bothered about your own feelings than the feelings of those who are trying desperately to have a discussion. It is also wildly disturbing to see men who are so desperate to be marked as “one of the good ones” when most rapes are committed by someone known to the victim and therefore likely to be someone the victim feels safe around- and that is an underreported statistic.

As a man, of course I understand that sometimes you may frown because you know you’re not one of the horrendous perpetrators of these crimes: but if you know that the statement doesn’t apply to you, it’s probably important that you ask yourself then, why it offends you so? It’s not being directed at you but is a blanket statement and does not apply to you- your perception of you isn’t changed by the statement so why be offended by it? Ultimately, if you know you haven’t exhibited any of this problematic behaviour you should be completely unphased by statements around those who have done so: because it’s not about you.

Women who experience abuse, harassment, threats and disgusting imagery should-MUST- be listened to, and ultimately if being listened to is at the expense of some male ego… well, we have more than enough of that: were it an energy source the UK would be lit up like a firework. Your feelings are important and valid- but not as important nor as valid as women who fear opening their messages in the event that they are being dehumanised by men- whether they know said man or not. Next time someone comments something about men, rather than leaping in to make ABSOLUTELY SURE they know it’s not you, I advise you to sit down, shut up, and ask yourself why your discomfort at a label is weightier than the bodies of women who have been objectified their whole lives.

Daviemoo is a 34 year old independent writer, radicalised into blogging about the political state of the world by Brexit and the election of serial failures like Trump and Johnson. Please check out the rest of the blog, check out Politically Enraged, the podcast available on all streaming platforms and share with your like minded friends! Also check him out on ko-fi where you can keep him caffeinated whilst he writes.

Strongmen? Putin? Trump? Johnson? Don’t make me laugh.

By Daviemoo

Many people, not just Clare Foges, refer to people like Trump, like Putin- and even like Boris Johnson as strongmen. And though they can ostensibly shield themselves behind that perception, even a quick look at their actions sets the match of truth to the tinder paper of their lies. The idea that it takes a strong man to bring order and authoritarian tropes is foolish, because only authoritarian leaders are so afraid of dissent that they forfeit the freedoms of discourse, repeating empty lines about G7 recoveries and vaccine rollouts or EU membership instead of facing, head on, the scrutiny of a tired and angry country.

Ruth Ben-Ghiat has written an extensive book bringing light into the dark and murky perception of the strongman and revealing the departure from any rectitude it takes to be, or be perceived as, a classic strongman. She also spoke at length on “Enemies of the People“, a podcast about extremism to discuss the perception of the strongman and why those who are seen as such by the media are anything but, and looking at today’s examples of this archetype it’s easy to see why. Take Putin.

Vladimir Putin is a coward. A terrified coward who hides himself behind the facade of a ruthless strongman. Throughout history, strongmen have appeared in various guises and often the biggest examples of “strongmen” are in fact- not.

Putin’s regime is handled with an iron fist, something which seems, at a glance, to be a trope of a strong and powerful man. Nobody is denying Putin’s power, but strong? It’s the mark of a coward to prevent any scrutiny. It’s why any attempt to place Johnson as an opposite of someone like Putin is, frankly, funny. Johnson is cut from the scraggly end of the same cloth as Putin.

Looking at his government’s flagrant attempts to seize the reins of whatever passes for democracy in the UK, it’s quite plain to see that Johnson desperately wants to push the message of someone with a plan, with a big brain- someone who knows what’s right, what’s best for the people: we’ll take protest away because it might bother you (even though it’s a fundamental right), we’ll tear ourselves out of the single market and the customs union (it means cheaper goods and a much freer market for you to sell into and buy from but so what, freedom!), who needs covid restrictions (hospitals are crawling slowly towards almost 100% capacity nationwide, the cancer treatments we were told would be freed up by dropping restrictions are cancelled left right and centre- but we’re the first country ‘through’ the pandemic eh)

This attempt to make Johnson out as a weak leader is right- but not for the reasons that writers like Foges think: all strongmen leaders are cowardly. Johnson is a member of this club along with those she lauds as “doers”; after all, their favourite defence of Johnson is that he “got brexit done” – heedless of the profound cost of course. To a man, every leader who fits this trope is weak, more interested in consolidating power in a shield around them than doing the job. We’ve seen the perfect examples of this over and over- Let’s look at another example foges mentioned: Donald Trump.

So riled he was that his authority was challenged over his appalling handling of the Coronavirus pandemic he incited an insurrection during a pandemic, uncaring as to whether his followers may sicken or die defending him. He could have spent his time in office making the American people’s lives better, could have brought in legislation to redistribute tax, fix healthcare, reform police or the army, change budgeting. Instead he clung to his podium speaking about invisible, inexorable enemies of democracy as he worked to besmirch it with his own grubby hands. Strong men sit back and let their minions, usually other men, do their bidding. They enthrall others with promises of power and station, and use them. They snatch fear from the hearts of other men and use this fear to line up human shields before them. Only true strong men face the scrutiny of the opposition, the true criticisms of their adversaries and do it without an army of others surrounding them: it’s the equivalent of the person who bullies you when his friends are around but ignores you when he’s alone. And for some reason we have all collectively allowed this archetypal throwback to mediocrity to continually take the podium of power.

Now looking back at Johnson we can see that he fits in well with this crowd of peers that he’s occasionally placed in opposition to. Lets’ then look at other supposed strongmen like the leaders of true authoritarian regimes- Brazil’s Bolsonaro, a man who spent the pandemic talking about his penis and selling off the rainforest or letting it burn. Strong men are seen as bull headed, as if it’s a positive that you can’t change the mind of a man who has decided that he should let the life preserving trees on his continent turn to ash even when presented with science. Johnson too said we would be on course to “irreversibly open the economy” only to close it again months later as coronavirus rocked the nation again. So is a strong man a man who can admit to his wrongdoings, or a man who obfuscates them? At this point, I’m not sure it matters: strong men are the ones who rush in and make the wrong decisions in the first place.

Lately Johnson has taken to referring to President Zelenskyy as “my friend”, a transparent attempt to capture that machismo, bravery and effortless charisma that Zelenskyy has displayed as his country faces horrors beyond our pale imaginations in the UK. This is, of course, another trope that strongmen use- desperately trying to capture the accolades of actual leaders: we both know if war broke out in the UK Johnson would hide so deeply underground he would cook his morning toast on the outside of the earth’s molten core.

Ultimately one has to question why the world is so captivated by these wasteful men, men so afraid of scrutiny they refuse to recall parliament to face questions about their probity, and why people like Foges try so desperately to separate Johnson from the pack. Everybody knows that men like Johnson, Bolsonaro, Trump, Putin are all of apiece and their continued efforts to inherit a power they are too weak to lift aloft is to the detriment of all those being crushed beneath.

What motivates men to send unsolicited nudes?

By Daviemoo

As a man- and a gay man at that- some behaviour that other men display mystifies me. I need to clarify before I get into this piece that sending nudes is fine, if consensual. Things that imply consent like trading alts or sexting and discussing it change the paradigm of sending naked pictures- but there are some things people do which utterly confuse me, and I’ve read myriad articles about these behaviours trying to see if other people understand it better than me- it’s led to more confusion than anything.

Having read several articles and spoken extensively to friends, both male and female, straight and gay, about this topic it often elicits weird and varied responses.

As a whole, my female friends (either trans or cis) do not like, want, or appreciate unsolicited nudes. The responses are usually that it’s strange, alarming, coercive… I’ve never actually had a female friend tell me they want to receive nudes unless it’s someone they already like and have discussed explicitly (ironic phrasing) with the person beforehand. My male friends however… gay or straight they seem to enjoy the idea of unprompted nudes. I’ve asked why, and the responses ranged from “dunno, I just think it’s fit” to “it shows they like you”. It seems to be a fundamental difference in how people think, and I’m not sure if its sociological or biological- but it’s interesting and disturbing in equal measure.

For my own personal experiences using apps like grindr etc, you’re told it’s “part of it” which I honestly can’t help but see as a sad indictment of the mindset of a lot of men who are sexually attracted to men. If people do find trading nudes enjoyable that’s fine – I do too- but sending unprompted explicit pictures as a hello is deeply wrong in my eyes. Even if you’re on grindr for sex, who says that you want to see everyone naked? Or receive explicit voice clips etc?
The men who defend these practices seem not to realise how very predatory their behaviour can seem. Would you approach a stranger you found attractive in a bar and immediately show them your naked body without their consent? Why do you think it’s appropriate to do because it’s on an app instead of in person?

Often those who question these things are the ones who are castigated or shouted down: it’s expected that some men can, and will, behave in this way and with impunity for it. “It’s not serious, it’s not a big deal, it’s for a laugh, you can just ignore it”. It’s always the person receiving the unwanted messages who needs to calm down or moderate their behaviour- not the sender.

Some have stated that they feel these behaviours have worsened because of, or during, the lockdowns during the pandemic.

Men have spent a lot of time away from women, and have almost lost any semblance of respect for women that they had in the face of endlessly talking to other men on the internet about female mythologies- plus the #NotAllMen backlash from the horrific murder (at the hands of a police man) of Sarah Everard seemed to push misogyny to the surface, a piffling defence that not every man commits heinous crimes- but exposing, simultaneously, that any critique of men which personalised towards the every day man, enraged any men who felt personally attacked- which coincidentally covered a lot of men, who suddenly felt exposed and aggrieved for being called out on negative behaviour. The explosion of outright hostility from men all over the internet who felt like they shouldn’t be questioned and should be given carte blanche seemed to cover the fine point that many of the men who do these terrible things, from harassing women over the internet to brutal sexual crimes, were given carte blanche- and now that card was no longer blanche -French for white- it was now the rusty brown of the blood of women murdered for saying no, for walking away, for the crime of being desirable or just being there at the wrong moment.

In my own humble opinion, this behaviour’s continual fostering and tolerance in society is indicative of why we see and experience so much sexual impropriety- from being touched without consent in bars to full, gritty and horrific cases of sexual assault, to men declaring women their property. At no point are men – regardless of sexuality – taught to value the feelings of those they’re speaking to as equal to their own: to pause and consider how unprompted sexually explicit imagery may make people feel, regardless of their own views on receiving them.

I’ve tried to put myself into the mindset of those who send unprompted explicit photos and it’s a strange mindset to be in- is it that sending photos is the sexual thrill, regardless of the reaction? Is the potential of a negative reaction arousing? Do they genuinely expect a positive reaction? Is it a brag? Is it a power move? All these things occcur to me and yet I’m never sure if I’m close to the answer or wildly off base. I can’t help but feel that different people do it for different reasons because it’s so widespread.

I’ve also discussed this with a close group of friends, and one of them said he’d asked a friend who does it “why do you send them unprompted”- the person he asked apparently was shocked that it might offend or upset people- he was convinced it was a nice way to tell a woman he thought they were attractive.

The issue I think that society misses is that every enabled transgression against other people’s sensibilities can potentially be a building block to embolden more damaging behaviour- and society fails to address men’s propensity for thinking of these things as non-serious, indeed, emboldens it and, as such fosters worse behaviour to occur. After all, if men can and do joke about everything from sending unwanted nudes to sexual assault, it lessens the severity- it’s the reason that minorities do not appreciate jokes at our expense- because making someone or something serious an abstract joke emboldens people’s flippancy towards it.

Many men read writing like this and immediately become defensive and it’s this oversensitivity to critique that must be stopped. If these things apply to you – if you send unwanted pictures, just don’t. If you make off colour jokes about sexual harassment – stop. Nobody is asking for you to cut off a toe, it’s a simple reframing of your own comforts to match those around you- and it’s past time that men feel that their entitlement outweighs other people’s comfort and safety.

I urge you to realise that if this applies to you it’s not to say you’re a horrific person: I do feel that a lot of men are victims of a society that fails to impress on them moral decency, and that gives them- us, I should say, a skewed concept of our importance to others. If you grow up believing showing someone a picture of your penis is a reward or a compliment, clearly you have a misplaced sense of right and wrong. Society is failing women every day by not looking urgently at how to address these issues- but it’s also failing men by allowing deep, dangerous holes in moral fabric to percolate and worsen. Of course it’s down to individual choice as to whether you act on these urges which are wrong and in some cases verge on harassment. But I do feel that society needs to take ownership of it’s endorsement of these behaviours, stop, and urgently push men to reflect on how they behave.

Regardless of sexuality- until society admits that a false economy of men’s behaviour being tolerable when it isn’t, and until as a society we commit to doing better, men will continue to be viewed with well earned suspicion.