You almost have to feel sorry for the Women’s Equality Party. Somebody from WEP Bath typed “InterSectional” [sic] into Google and stumbled onto Everyday Feminism. She was lured in by the soft-focus “diversity” stock photos. She felt a rush of self-righteous inspiration that numbed her capacity for critical thought, and she took to social media.
@WepBath You post an article from Everyday Feminism and you expect to be taken seriously as a political party?
— Helen Saxby (@helensaxby11) April 11, 2017
Who among us hasn’t been there? Benefit of the doubt. But then WEP Bath’s Facebook account had to go and respond to the concerns and frustrations of their base.
— @critical_sisters (@CriticalSisters) April 12, 2017
Here’s some of WEP’s text from the (now-deleted) Facebook thread:
“Really I see a bunch of man haters labeling trans people as frauds, I mean really?!? demonising a minority is awful!! all of you are so blind”
“… this page is not a breeding ground for Trans Exclusionary feminists to have a tea party”
“I am revolted to see so much hate on this page”
“The comments on this post are incredibly offensive and go against our values as an intersectional, inclusive party. So you are all aware I am going to delete this thread.”
Look: some feminists are concerned about granting males unchallenged access to women’s spaces. You can absolutely respect trans people without erasing the biological basis of womanhood, or vilifying your sisters who do. WEP chose to erase and to vilify.
— Mintyy Chops (@mintyylamb) April 12, 2017
TERF is a slur
Just to be clear: the use of aggressive slurs is a male tactic to silence “uppity” women who insist on defining their rights and boundaries.
@TheNewFeminazi terf is not just the new feminazi, it’s the new witch. “punch a terf” = the modern “burn the witch”. this pattern is ancient
— ms radley (@radley_ms) March 10, 2017
— Lexxity (@Lexxity) April 12, 2017
Of course, being an outspoken feminist has never been popular. Just ask Hillary Clinton. Or Germaine Greer. Or Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Maybe a political party must make certain concessions in the interest of broadening its base.
But whether or not it was a strategic decision, there is no call to shout down and shame the measured concerns of your membership. WEP, of all organisations, should know better.
WEP Bath did issue an apology to its membership. Although, they stopped short of condemning the term ‘trans-exclusionary feminists.’
Reading further down in the comments, not only did this apparently rogue moderator delete the thread, she banned the members involved. Those members have since been restored.
Hopefully WEP’s future actions include not only social media training, but educating activist volunteers on opposing views. And, maybe someday, even a space to debate these issues in the light of day.
Ed. note: this post updated 14.4.17 to include WEP Bath’s response on their FB page. Thanks Helen Saxby for the heads up.