One of the creepiest things resulting from the apparently growing conflict between radical-feminists and the trans community is periodic agreements and alliances between trans women and MRAs (“mens rights advocates”).
The MRAs absolutely love this, because it, to them, confirms everything they’ve been claiming (erroneously) about feminism itself. That feminism is a “female supremacist” movement full of angry, hateful bigots who want to advance their cause by harming everyone else. To them, the branches of radical-feminism organizing things like the RadFem2012 conference are simply the natural logical extension of feminism itself. Feminism distilled to its essential nature.
This is obviously in conflict with the perspective most trans-feminists take, that such forms of radical-feminism are, in fact, deeply anti-feminist in their principles.
Regardless, when you’re up against as scary, dangerous and threatening a force as a united hate group who specifically have you as their primary target, are actively petitioning governments to strip you of your human rights and medical autonomy, are successfully publishing in mainstream university presses, and somehow maintain a semblance of credibility in the public eye despite their blatantly discriminatory agenda, it’s hard to turn against a group of people offering help in stopping them.
When Sheila Jeffreys was barred from speaking at RadFem2012, and Conway Hall eventually pulled its approval for the conference being held there, many MRAs attempted to take credit for the success, denying the intense work and involvement of numerous trans activists.
It’s not exactly surprising. They were using trans women as a means to advance their own agenda and grant it credibility.
You see, to the MRAs, these kinds of circumstances where they work together with the trans community in criticizing radical-feminism, they’re not “alliances” between disparate groups. To them, we fall under their own agenda. To them, halting radical-feminist hatred of trans women is a men’s rights issue.
It’s the Brony attitude. Persecution of femininity or gender variance amongst AMAB people is not, according to this mentality, an issue of femmephobia, cissexism or variant misogyny. Instead, it’s simply something they can point to to support the notion that men are actually the persecuted class in society. They focus on the assigned sex of the individual while ignoring that the violence and persecution is based in “feminine” or otherwise female-coded expression of gender.
“Well…well…well… guys get made of and beaten up for playing with ponies”, conveniently ignoring that it’s generally men doing the mocking and beating up, “while girls get to play with whatever toys they want! Therefore ‘female privilege’.”
Also conveniently ignoring that it’s the fact that masculine behaviours are perceived as stronger, better, and “only natural” for girls to want to pursue, while that which is “feminine”, coded as female, is seen as frivolous, weak, artificial and inferior, that leads to that disparity.
Leaving aside the fact that MRAs are exploiting trans and queer issues, through distorted simplifications of the gender dynamics at work, to help advance their inverted, bizarro world interpretation of sexism, there’s an even more dangerous reason we should avoid allying with them, beyond simply inadvertently supporting a misogynistic agenda.
While the rad-fems see us as enemies because they see us as male, the MRAs see us as worth fighting for, and part of their political agenda, because they also see us as male.
Do we really want to be seen allowing people campaigning to defend and maintain male privilege working on our behalf?
What does that suggest?
We might be able to somewhat more easily win isolated, circumstantial victories with the help of MRAs. But in collaborating with and trusting them, we surrender a considerably more important battle.