Yesterday I received a message from an amazing women, 'A.,' who reached out to me, concerned that my recent battles on social media were maybe getting me down. She is perceptive. Yes, this past few weeks have taken their toll on me - and I can only imagine this comes as good news to those who made it their mission to make things tough for me. I have taken a position on the so-called gender debate many people really do not like. While I have my reservations about some of the content of gender theory, I am unwilling to stay quiet while perfectly innocent transgender people are subjected to the most appalling abuse from people who believe they are defending women's rights.
Clearly this is a subject the internet has opinions about. Since 25 October 2020, when I first engaged in this discussion, I have lost somewhere in the region of two thousand Twitter followers, been on the receiving end of a handful of stressful dog-piles, and have experienced a shunning (where online followers are either too nervous or too angry to like or retweet anything posted by the shunned) — all indications of the internet’s displeasure. Lots of people in every corner of this furious argument have suffered similar, and sometimes worse, experiences.
Foucault, often viewed as the father of the Queer Theory which underpins the issues around gender we now grapple with, didn’t believe in anything as mundane as actual lemonade seas, he didn’t believe in any sort of objective reality at all. No, if you think the sea is made of lemonade — then, for you, the sea is lemonade. This atomised and idiosyncratic truth is actually all that matters, and anyone telling you that it’s nonsense is oppressing you by forcing their own version of reality on you.
Wings Over Scotland has 53,000 followers on Twitter. That is a phenomenal social media reach, made all the more important in the context of a bitter ideological and constitutional struggle in which we still do not have a pro-independence media a fraction of the size of the BBC and with a fraction of its reach and influence. Taking down the largest and most popular pro-independence website from Twitter is a monumental tactical blunder, and it will cost the next independence referendum campaign dearly online.
Yet, we have such an éminence grise. Dumfries and Galloway MSP Joan McAlpine exploded on social media last night when one “Jordon, Duke of Edinburgh” – the partner of Alyn Smith, allegedly – revealed to his Twitter followers the full details of a Scottish government announcement to Holyrood scheduled for tomorrow. Like my hypothetical example above, he had all the details; the position of the government, details of the consultation process and the working group, and the timeline of the bill going before parliament.
Gareth Wardell can be an anti-Semite so long as the definition of antisemitism is suitably adapted to fit the accusation against him. Stu Campbell can be a homophobe so long as the definition of homophobia is tailored to fit a description of his attitudes and opinions. Anyone can be a woman so long as people who menstruate are reduced to a physical function of their bodies. Her behaviour betrays her. Nothing of this is about antisemitism, homophobia, or transphobia. Her linguistic gymnastics have utterly devalued real antisemitism, homophobia, and transphobia.
In hiding behind this myth that we, “middle aged men,” are “a-l-w-a-y-s” chasing women with pitchforks – like angry and uncouth villagers, the gender politicians are wilfully ignoring the truth. Men argue with men in politics all the time. This has nothing to do with the sex of the belligerents, but this fact is deliberately overlooked when the picture is drawn of a club of men – obviously all members of the same secret society, “the patriarchy” – rounding on a woman who is portrayed in the most sexist way; as weak, fragile, and defenceless, against their bullish behaviour.
As with so many modern justice struggles, feminism – in many of its more recent iterations – has become hypersensitive to the merest slight, seeing in every criticism and angry word the ancient Titans of sexual inequality, misogyny, and structural sexism. Every man becomes the enemy and every utterance from the lips of men a proof of misogyny and violence against women. But this disease isn’t limited to modern feminism. It is eating away at the soul of all the great social movements’ progeny. Socialism, racial justice, gender rights – the works...