I'm going to start this by pointing out a few things. I'm not a socialist. I think earning money is fine. I could never be described as 'far left', unless the describer is 'far right'. But I couldn't ever be described as 'rightwing' either, unless the describer is 'far left'! As an American and someone from the atheist/skeptic world, I understand 'free speech' very, very well. I am pro-science, in favour of listening to experts and have been publicly speaking about feminism and 'gender identity ideology' since 2013. I have worked in media and marketing and am very interested in the areas of persuasion and cult-thinking. I hate hypocrisy, illogial thinking and authoritarianism. And so, with that...
I'm going to talk about Kellie-Jay. Not the Standing For Women event in Brighton and who may or may not have been there. I want to talk about some very strange things being said... Let's just see how much I get attacked for this, shall we?
There was a post going round (that I'm not going to link to because I am in no way wanting to attack the woman who wrote it) that said "Posie Parker [is] toe to toe with capitalism." So she is anti-capitalist and also an "anarchist agitator", leading "grassroots" activism.
There's also been a lot of slagging off of women who are being called 'professional feminists' and 'head girls'. These women for the most part are writers - either in the media or academically. If you don't know much about the media or academia, it's REALLY hard to succeed in them. You need to be SHITHOT at what you do. Many of these women I've known for nearly a decade, all of whom - with a few exceptions - were "ordinary women" not working in academia or the media when I first knew them. There were a very small number of us looking at what was going on, seeing the 'cancelling', the threats, the challenges to the law. Some of us chose to speak out... and some of those women were such brilliant writers that people listened... Ten years later, those women now being slagged off as 'professional feminists' have moved forward in their lives and careers specifically because they have something important, valuable or interesting to say about their worlds. They have become 'experts' because they have dedicated their lives to this. That isn't wrong.
Yesterday, I looked at my Gmail that I use to sign up to websites and saw the following from the person who is hailed as a grassroots, anarchist, anti-capitalist... Note: these are marketing emails from only one day.
I clicked on one of them... 'minimum spend £50'...
Is this now being 'toe to toe with capitalism'?? OK...?
This is the way the 'anti-gender' person who is a "a figurehead for lesbian separatists" is represented on her site. And, like, I think Kellie-Jay looks lovely, but she's very much presenting herself on the Barbie end of the Mermaid's scale...
One thing I saw for sale on the site was this, which is *ahem* not at all a symbol of the far right.
Now, I think Kellie-Jay is a BRILLIANT marketer. I have always admired her ability to grab attention or choose exactly the right thing to say in order to get the response she wants. I bought some t-shirts from her when she was starting out in order to fund the billboards - which was an excellent marketing campaign... I also think she has been amazing in her media appearances. She's always very calm and clear, never flinches, always unflappable, always stays on message. Ace.
But after the initial billboard thing... I felt like there wasn't anything else going on other than being really good at selling stuff that women can buy in order to signal to others which group they are in. And again, making money is fine. I don't have an issue with that... But when Kellie-Jay true believers slag off other women as "professional feminists" because they have worked their way up over a decade and are now writing articles that are commissioned by newspapers or magazines that politicians read, and are hailing KJ as some kind of anarchist, anti-capitalist... something very strange is going on.
My concerns about this whole thing some from a few things that are vitally important to me:
1. I am a feminist. I think feminism is about more than just being able to define the word Woman properly. Just as I think science is about more than just knowing the world is spherical. And, yes, being able to define Woman and stating that the world is not flat are important, but they are not the be all and end all of what is needed. If tomorrow we all wake up and suddenly everyone in the whole world understands that Woman means 'adult human female', do you think 'feminism' is done? Or do you think there might be some other things that need to be sorted out...?
feminism femɪnɪzəm noun The belief and aim that women should have the same rights, power, and opportunities as men.
2. I hate authoritarians whether they are left or right... I think politics generally is moving away from left/right into authoritarian/anti-authoritarian thinking. I think we will see many more people making seemingly unlikely alliances based on authoritarian/anti-authoritarian lines rather than left/right... In case it's not clear, I'm on the anti-authoritarian side.
3. I'm very wary of cult-thinking, fanaticism and fame. Here's something I wrote before on cult-thinking and fanaticism. I've not really written about the fame stuff before (though this touches on it), but I can tell you from my own experience that it makes people treat the 'famous person' in very, very strange ways. 'Fans' can treat the 'famous person' as if they are Perfect and somehow not a flawed human being like the rest of us. Everything they do or say is Perfect and if anyone challenges that, a lot of fans will attack them (read up on 'Toxic Fandom'). It takes a lot of will and introspection as the 'famous person' to not allow yourself to be carried away by it and believe that you can do no wrong. And the 'famous person' doesn't have to be on tv or whatever, they can also be someone with 10,000 followers on Twitter...
So, when you combine anti-feminist, traditional representations of gender, indifference to authoritarians and the whirling, swirling of 'fandom', I'm just not very comfortable, because they hit all the wrong buttons for me. ymmv
That’s it. That’s the post. I guess that's all I'm going to say for now. I've got a very busy week... Again, I will be interested to see how much shit I get for this. If I do, it will tell me all that I need to know. And if you feel the need to attack me for this, have a little think about why that might be...