by Phyllis Chesler
Back in the day, we used the phrase “a war on women,” and it was often dismissed, mocked, and/or challenged. Sometimes, people accepted it.
What phrase can I use that can accurately capture what is going on in the 21st century?
The trafficking of girls and women into sex slavery and their use in pornography has, as we feared, as we knew in our bones, only gotten worse.
Starting with the wars between Pakistan and Bangladesh (in the early 1970s) and the civil and religious wars in Algeria and in the former Yugoslavia, (in the 1990s), there were also the repeated and public gang-rapes of women by the Janjaweed in Sudan in the 21st century. I called it “gender cleansing.” Feminists and leftists did not approve of my having published this analysis at conservative sites. I did so because they welcomed it. Many of my colleagues were afraid to say that the Janjaweed were ethnic Arab Muslims and that most of their victims were black Africans of many religions.
The use of rape as a weapon of war—not merely as a spoil of war—has also increased.
For example, Russian soldiers and mercenaries are sexually savaging Ukrainian women.
And then there are the pandemic rapes of women refugees and immigrants on the road and in camps, both by their brethren and by traffickers.
But let us not forgot, not for a minute, that abortion has just been declared illegal in the United States and that the “abortion pills” or chemical abortions have also been judicially challenged. This will force women into bearing unwanted children; worse, it will murder all those women whose lives are endangered by an unviable pregnancy and/or who cannot travel to another state to obtain an abortion. This is reproductive slavery, pure and simple, and, with all due respect to Justice Amy Coney Barrett, for many reasons, adoption is not always a solution.
It is maddening that those who oppose abortion for others are haunted by the possibility of cell clots being “murdered;” some think of them as “unborn humans.” And yet, the inevitable murder of pregnant women, either quickly, in a pregnancy related-disaster or slowly as they struggle to support a child or two or three on poverty-level wages, matters little.
Also, on our watch, the girls and women of Afghanistan have been doomed to hell. They’ve been forcibly removed back to the tenth century.
Thus, on the one hand, extreme violence against women continues—but there is something else going on as well.
Womankind is being systematically disappeared. Birthmother-surrogates—always women—are being hired and disposed of. The one function for which some women were sometimes valued should not be turned into a commodity which can be bought and discarded.
Transgender women, born male, are competing against biologically born women in sports—and they are winning; they are also seriously menacing women in women-only prisons and locker rooms. I do not understand why transgender folk don’t choose to compete against each other. That would make more sense. Or is the point to rid women entirely from competing or from winning, or from earning their own money?
Out of curiosity, I watched a video with champion swimmer, Lia Thomas and was shocked by his/her/their narcissism. When asked if Thomas thought it was “fair” to compete against biological women, (whose height, anatomy, hormones, and muscle mass are radically different), Thomas responded by telling us that it was fair because it made him “happy;” that s/he was unhappy for so long—even suicidal—but no more. S/he also speaks in a disconcertingly deep male voice.
Then there’s this, just in. In the UK, legislation to “protect the rights of women experiencing menopause have been in part rejected by the government due to fears such a move would discriminate against men.”
As has been said, the “woke” have taken over all reason. Now some people believe that men and women are exactly the same or that one sex can easily become the other sex.
And yet: One is seen as inappropriately “appropriating” or colonizing what rightly belongs to a person of color, a formerly colonized person, etc. Doing so results in condemnation, book cancellations, jobs lost.
“Blackface” is verboten but, as author Sheila Jeffreys has written, “woman face” is our favorite form of entertainment. Mocking stereotypical women, “trumping” them so to speak, beating them at their own game, ridding them from the public area—that’s “progress” for you.
Something is dreadfully wrong with this picture. Something else is also amiss.
Radical feminists have pioneered the analysis of sex-based rights for women (as opposed to gender-based rights); we have also pioneered the critique of trans-rights over women’s rights but are rarely credited for having done so. Instead, conservative thinkers are both praised and damned for similar views while “radfems” are condemned and dismissed by liberals as “conservatives.” On such issues we are certainly allies but we have traveled to our meet-up from very different places.
It’s all good. I favor alliances, diversity, and unexpected companions on the road.