Could the review be updated?

Julie Bindel reviewed Laurie Penny’s long unawaited book on “feminism” for The Critic.

One of the key problems with Sexual Revolution is its very premise: that we can explain misogyny in its current form with the growth of right-wing ideology and fascism. This excuses a huge growth area in modern misogyny, which is the so-called male progressives: men on the left.

Excuses it and draws a tactful veil over it. An actual feminist wouldn’t want to do that.

And its style can be grating. Penny’s schtick has always been to overwrite her sentences to the point where they become tediously indulgent while saying little. For example, Penny says:

Something has broken. Something is breaking still. Not like a glass breaks or like a heart breaks, but like the shell of an egg breaks – inexorably, and from the inside. Something wet and angry is fighting its way out of the dark, and it has claws.

Ugh. That’s a stupid person’s idea of Fine Writing.

There is no doubt that Penny is genuine in her commitment to naming male violence, so long as it does not get in the way of her “trans women are women” and “sex work is work” ideology. Swotting up on her feminist history wouldn’t go amiss, but I have a sneaking suspicion that she can’t credit her theories on male violence to those deserving of it; after all, these women are now the baddies in her world.

No amount of fudging and outright denial will alter the fact that the feminists currently labelled “TERFs” and “SWERFs” are those who have changed laws, raised public awareness and established domestic violence refuges, rape crisis centres and other women-only services that have proved essential in a world where male violence is endemic.

And then there’s more to the story. The publishers of Penny’s book responded.

The publishers wanted Julie to rewrite the review to include Penny’s stupid illiterate Specialty Pronouns. Are they children?

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