After seeing the disgusting intimidation of people leaving the Meghan Murphy talk in Toronto, which reminded me of the gauntlet pregnant women had to run to get into abortion clinics down through the years, I thought it might be helpful to show the confused and curious what Meghan actually believes and why it has attracted such venom.
Here is her recent Woman's Place speech. Please watch the whole thing, it's a very good primer on the gender critical position.
I am proud to consider Meghan a friend. She very kindly did a Disappeared for this site in which she again explained the gender critical position as she sees it:
My work has long been rooted in a radical feminist analysis of sex and gender, which means that I understand males and females to be socialized in different ways under patriarchy. Girls are taught to be passive, polite, accommodating, and to look pretty, for example, and boys are encouraged to be aggressive, dominant, to take initiative, to lead, and to be more active than girls. Women’s rights exist today on the basis that there is a historical context for sexist discrimination against those of us born female. Whether we like it or not, in our culture women and girls are at risk for violence and sexual assault, which mostly comes at the hands of men, meaning that certain spaces where women and girls might be particularly vulnerable -- shelters, change rooms, prisons, etc -- are women-only.
This has become the crux of the debate: whether or not men who identify as “transwomen” should be allowed access to women’s spaces. Trans activists have done a very good job of confusing the public into believing that sex and gender are the same thing, and that because, they argue, gender is a “social construct,” sex is as well. This is ridiculous, of course. It is not possible to change your biological sex, though it is possible to reject gender stereotypes and roles.
Essentially, I began speaking up about what I saw as the potential harms of gender identity ideology because countries began to pass legislation I believed would nullify women’s rights and put women and girls in danger. And because I saw other women speaking up and being threatened and vilified for doing so… I felt I had no choice but to stand up and support these women, but also to fight back against legislation that threatened to undo all women had worked to achieve over the past century.
I’ve been punished a great deal for speaking up, of course. Friends have turned their backs on me due to social pressure or perhaps ignorance. I’ve been threatened. I am protested every time I give a talk or participate in a panel. I’ve been slandered so many times I could not possibly count. There are certain places I no longer go, knowing I could be in danger. I lost my book deal. I was banned from Twitter. It’s been hard on my friends and intimate partners, as people try to trash me or pressure them to stop associating with me. Canadian media and Canadian politicians have participated in all this, misrepresenting me and in some cases outright libelling me.
Nonetheless I am certain we will prevail. Things may get worse before they get better, but we are undoubtedly right and on the right side of history. More and more people are becoming fed up with this attack on women and material reality.
We also spoke on her YouTube channel. She was supposed to be interviewing me but we ended up interviewing each other.
Meghan is also an exceptional writer. Here she is being brilliant on the Jessica Yaniv trial and her website Feminist Current is an essential resource for anyone interested in a feminism that doesn't centre men. In other words, actual feminism.
Meghan Murphy is a hero, and maintains a brave face, but anyone who's involved in this fight knows that what she's going through is exhausting and stressful. Many people who SHOULD be helping are silent. Please get off the fence. Be brave, raise your voice and help her drown out the incoherent ideology that is causing such harm to women and girls at the moment.
I stand with Meghan, and so should you.
(If you want to thank the Toronto Public Library for standing up for free speech and for women, donate here!)