“on both sides”

Ah yes both sides. Thank god there is someone to wade in at this late date to bemoan the “cruelty” on “both sides.”

She’s a columnist for the Evening Standard and a board member of the Fawcett Society.

Right on cue what? Disagreement? Is that so intolerable? Is it “cruelty”?

So let’s read her “thoughts on the need for more moderate voices.”

I’m on the board of the Fawcett Society which campaigns for women’s equality. Last week, a ruling was made which found in favour of a woman, Maya Forster, who had been dismissed from her job for expressing her views on the trans debate and established that gender critical views are a protected belief. She and others then attacked me and the Fawcett Society for not saying anything about the judgement. Millicent Fawcett, who the charity is named after, coined the motto “courage calls to courage everywhere”.

Oh, I see where we are. Hazarika is so special that she sees criticism of her actions as “attacking” her, and so confident in thinking that way that she doesn’t realize how petulant and vain it looks for a putative feminist to write a newspaper column bashing feminist women for expecting support from a feminist organization.

“Where is your courage?” furious gender critical women raged at me.

Yes, “where is your courage” is the most furious ragey four word question I’ve ever seen. My eyeballs are stinging.

It’s a fair question and I’ll answer it today in an entirely personal capacity. Hands up. Guilty as charged. Squeak squeak. I’m absolutely terrified about this debate. Even as I type, my anxiety levels are through the roof. I’m braced for the inevitable, merciless online abuse. I even booked in an emergency session with my therapist to work out a coping strategy for my mental health. Does this sound right to you? No. Because it’s not. This debate has become utterly toxic.

We know. We also know that it’s not “both sides” – and that feminists understand that.

But it’s time to stop this cowardice and to speak up. I’m sorry to disappoint but I’m not picking a side. The stakes are incredibly high on both sides, and I get that. But what I cannot and will not accept is the level of mindless cruelty and polarisation which is ripping apart progressive politics and making enemies of people who should stand shoulder to shoulder.

Actually she did pick a side, she picked it by starting the piece with a complaint about Maya Forstater and then by saying the two sides are equivalent.

You know all those endless collections of memes and tweets and images threatening graphic violence against “terfs”? And the curious absence of any such collections of memes and tweets and images doing the same to trans people? That are absent because they don’t exist? It’s too bad Hazarika hasn’t noticed the discrepancy.

As with so much right now, extremist, unforgiving, rigid voices on both sides dominate the online war in a fight to the death of who can scream and shame the loudest.

That’s just not true. It’s lazy and it’s a public stab in the back.

Sorry to get all supply teacher, but everyone needs to stop and reflect on their behaviour. If you get off on misgendering trans women, calling them men in dresses or making other pathetic, vile comments, you are part of the problem. If you enjoy slagging off older women who express a view about single sex spaces as ugly old cows who no one would want to f*** anyway, then guess what, you are part of the problem. There has got to be a way through this because newsflash — the only group benefiting from this vile punch up are the forces of social conservatism who are no true friend of either side.

Notice which one she put first. Notice also the difference between “pathetic, vile” and “you are part of the problem.” In short she is, ironically, a little abusive toward feminist women herself, apparently without even noticing it.

It’s funny that she positions herself as trying to tamp down the anger, because this craven and dishonest piece makes me more pissed off than I was before I read it.

Updating to add because I missed a couple of paragraphs hidden under an advert:

There’s a lot of talk of courage. Organising a Twitter pile-on is not brave by the way.

Neither is using a newspaper column to paint yet another target on Maya and then whining when Maya politely replies.

What about kindness and empathy? Most people are accepting of anyone providing they’re not a total arsehole. I’m part of a wonderful Facebook group of older women celebrating confidence in our “hot girl years”, AKA the menopause. Trans women are not only welcome, they are cherished — we have all learned from their stories and world class ability to accessorise.

Oh for fuck’s sake. That is at once so cutesy and patronizing and so insulting and belittling I don’t know where to begin. Yes that’s where women and men who identify as women can meet and embrace: on the ability to accessorize. Silly women, all we care about is fashion and hot girlism. Bully for her, she wants men who say they are women in her women’s groups, but not all of us do, and that doesn’t make us evil or bullies or deserving of a good scolding in a major newspaper…by a board member of the Fawcett Society of all people.

11 Responses to ““on both sides””