I am 100% certain that a large part of the TERF attitudes that seems to characterise a lot of mainstream Feminism comes from British (English) fixations on class.
Compared to other countries Britain experiences next to no social movements which are grassroots. Social progress in the United Kingdom is expected to be spearheaded by the upper class and their cultural institutions. Platforms for Feminist discourse in the UK is almost entirely given to wealthy, privileged white cis women.
This obviously is not to deny the existence of the many good Feminist movements and individuals who don't fit into this elite group, but this is the problem: They are very rarely given a voice in the UK. Trans, queer, black and brown and especially working class Feminist voices in the UK are very rarely given a platform. The face of Feminism in the UK is white, middle class, middle aged and cishet.
This doesn't just stop at Feminism, either. Other areas of social justice such as race, ecology, disability, health and even economic issues are overwhelmingly represented by voices in them which are well off, educated and au fait with British cultural institutions (newspapers, television, universities, etc).
Classist attitudes spreads through every aspect of political and social life in the UK like a disease.
The Grenfell Massacre was the first time since at least the 80s where the British media (the Guardian included) had to face grievances voiced by people who were of colour, who were immigrants, and who were poor.
The British media didn't know how to react to this... So it didn't. For all of the coverage around the fire, relatively little was given to airing the grievances of families and neighbours around the social and economic factors which lead up to it.
The Guardian UK, despite its Leftist trappings, is absolutely at the top rung of cultural institutions in the United Kingdom. Its flavour of Feminism is is composed of women who are firmly within the socio-economic elite and who are invited to write for them: baronesses, MPs, party leaders, top selling authors, major journalists. I don't know many British trans women who fit into this category (yet).
People might disagree with this but that's just my two cents. Intersectionality is important and different social dynamics (in this case class and gender) can interact in unexpected ways. There is no doubt in my mind that the resistance to trans rights in the Guardian UK is a result of the paternalistic class snobbery going on in their offices.
@cocoron This is why right wing populism is so, uh, popular. Politics and public discourse are dominated by toffs, and that applies to every developed country. The aristocracy of 19th century Europe has been reinstated. It just has a different name now.
If history truly does repeat itself, we are about to have a war or a revolution.
@cocoron Also, intersectionality is inconvenient. Instead of being able to draw attention to yourself as uniquely oppressed, you are suddenly just one of many voices competing for attention. Taken to its extreme, everyone belongs to a minority of some kind. There are also minorities that are openly and willfully oppressed and few are willing to defend because everyone else perceives their behaviour as sick and harmful (paedophiles), but that subject is a whole other barrel of dynamite...
@cocoron As a Canadian who went to journalism school here, you're absolutely spot on.
@cocoron My pet theory is that we've reached a point where middle class cis white feminists have got it pretty good, actually. Since they neither want to attack the institutions that they benefit from, nor hand the mic to less privileged women, they've jumped on TERFism as a way to claim they are still the Most Oppressed and continue centering themselves.
My tinfoil hat tells me the whole terf attitude was actually planned by rich people in power as a form of evil eugenic population control. The top hats want a homogeneous society they can control. Trans folk stick out like a sore thumb, and the top people feel disgusted by them. Therefore, any thing that pushes the undesirables back to the sewers is good for them.
Then again, just a tinfoil hat speculation.
@cocoron Absolutely, I recommend this podcast along these lines: https://soundcloud.com/moderaterebels/the-canary-kerry-anne-mendoza-the-guardian-neoliberal-media-episode-28
@cocoron i was going to say it can be generalised further still
the UK is suffering from a similar identity crisis that Austria had when it was reduced from an empire to the size it had after the first world war
@cocoron There’s also a generational aspect to it - establishment vs newcomers - but you’re clearly right.
@cocoron agree, it’s just a shame because there are so many younger intersectional feminists about who just aren’t getting the same platform, or at least when they are they get laughed off of it, because intersectionality seems so bizarre to rich white cis women who are used to everything being catered to them and them only. but i do think the working class know that we aren’t going to get anything changed by relying on the rich who don’t care about us etc. it’s just a lack of organising imo.
@cocoron I've always wondered if I was imagining it or if british feminists seemed especially obsessed with transwomen, thanks for validating my intuition
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