“The grossest possible misogyny”
It was a great weekend. We played a fantastic punk alldayer in Nottingham on Saturday evening alongside some amazing, inspiring acts, and met some really cool new people as well as old friends.
Relaxed in the glow of an evening sun filtered through train windows during the journey home, a couple of us decided to log into the website to make a small update. We initially weren’t too surprised to see a spike in visits over the last couple of days, but became curious and confused when we saw that the vast majority of the hits were for the lyrics to our song “Freedom of Speech” (which we happened not to play on Saturday).
It turned out that this page had been discovered by a TERF (“trans-exclusive radical feminist”). She found our lyrics “upsetting”, so wandered over to Reddit to share them with a bunch of her TERF friends.
The uninitiated can read about TERFs here, here, and here. Warning: it’s not pretty. The subreddit in question is “Gender Critical Feminism”. We’re not gonna bother linking it for obvious reasons. Google it if you must, but trust us when we say that you’re not missing much.
The resulting brief burst of outrage was somewhat predictable. Ruth was misgendered, trans experience was put down to “magical thinking” comparable to George W Bush’s saviour complex, and there is a sarcastic comment about our use of swearwords (yes, we know that swearing is no longer anything like as cool as when MC5 instructed listeners to “kick out the jams, motherfuckers” back in 1969, but you can’t have everything).
The strongest message that comes out of their strange little conversation though is that we’re a misogynist band. That’s right folks, Not Right hate women!
So what’s misogynistic about the song? Well, we do use the word “cunt”. That one’s up for debate in some feminist circles, although we use the word in such the same way as we might use “dick” or “arsehole”. Body bits, yeah?
Beyond that – is it because we say “we’ll hit right back”? Because we talk about “hateful slurs”, and then there is some rude condemnation of said slurs? This is exactly the kind of language that’s used in feminist discourse around protests and events such as Reclaim The Night (which, for the record, we fully support) and it’s not meant to be literal. We’re not planning to actually “hit” anyone – we wish to instead strike metaphorically against their discourse.
This all seems painfully obvious, but is genuinely beyond TERF logic. The same kind of disregard for metaphor and irony can be found in recent TERF criticisms of Against Me! that accuse Laura Jane Grace of misogyny for using lines such as “your tells are so obvious/shoulders too broad for a girl” and having an image of a breast as a slab of meat on the cover of Transgender Dysphoria Blues. This kind of accusation misses the point so spectacularly that you have to wonder if the ignorance is intentional. How can anyone read those lyrics, look at that album cover, and not see a blatant condemnation of binary gender expectations and the sexist objectification of women, trans and cis alike?
Might it instead be that Freedom of Speech is “misogynistic” because we state that trans bodies, trans lives and trans genders shouldn’t be up for debate? If so, there’s no way we can win a rational debate: if you can’t recognise the experiences of others as real and valid, then you’re inevitably going to find yourself at odds with them. You end up with the same kind of entrenched ideological warfare that takes place between LGBT people and homophobic religious fundamentalists.
At the end of the day, it’s ridiculous that women who call themselves feminist are wasting so much energy getting angry about the existence of trans people. There is actual, real suffering happening in this world. Freedom of Speech addresses the suffering that arises from the dehumanising logic of transphobic (and homophobic) hate speech: violent murder, horrific medical malpractice and frequent suicide attempts.
We’re quite prepared to accept that we point all of this out in a blunt, stroppy manner. But “the grossest possible misogyny”? Fuck off.
In other news, some guys who had turned up to the weekend’s gig decided to engage in some “friendly banter” as we got ready to play. As usual, Ruth’s arms were covered in transphobic slurs, and Kirsty had written “culture slut” on her chest. “We’ll see about that,” muttered one member of the fun little group at the front.
We plugged in and blasted out Never Back Down, a wave of heavily distorted noise and furious feminist condemnation. The dickhead parade couldn’t take it. They were out of the pub door before the song was over.
We were left to enjoy the rest of the night free of their presence. The end.
great lyrics there gang!
Radfems and TERFs are a scary abusive minority of fundamentalist separatists who engaged with Laura throwing out every trope and lie they could think of to discredit her which resulted in them plastering her face all over a trans hate site with a rape accusation because she told them to “get fucked” and radfems/TERFs believe telling someone to “get fucked” equals telling someone to “get raped”. They also admitted to the following:
– Women can’t look after themselves so they need to be policed.
- Allowing legal recognition of gender identity for trans* people means that any man can dress up as woman and go into women’s only spaces and rape women.
– Consensual sex with a man always equates to rape and that women are brainwashed to think they like sex with men.
- All women should be political lesbians and stop sleeping with men because men are oppressors.
– Only men can rape. Everything else is sexual assault.
And much more (Potential trigger warning):
Actually, you were called misogynists because of your lyric “You unrepentant, stinking shower of cunts.” That’s right, you actually called women a *stinking shower of cunts.” That’s what you feel entitled to call women you hate. Nauseating.
Don’t worry, though, I completely support your music! Keep making it! Keep calling women cunts! Keep calling them stinking showers of cunts! Keep screaming about how you will hit women for saying things that give you rage. Seriously, I’m all for it. Just keep letting it flow out of you! Forward your music widely! Promote it! I’m all for exposing it to the greatest number of people! 🙂
We can call transphobic women “unrepentant, stinking fields of phallus”, if you’d prefer? Or something involving “arseholes” for a bit of sex neutrality. We’re honestly not particularly fussy about body parts, particularly as “Freedom of Speech” is about both women and men.
I mean, if we’re going to get thoroughly literal about this, a couple of us in Not Right have cunts, and we’re pretty happy with them. Definitely not anti-cunt.
Not quite sure where you’re getting this stuff about “hitting” either. Again, if you’re taking “hit right back” literally, you’re getting completely the wrong end of the stick. I get the strong impression you haven’t even read this post properly.
I propose that your real problem with our song is that we have a trans woman in the band.
You are completely right. The only reason any woman would be bothered by you calling women “a shower of stinking cunts” is if she was bigoted transphobe. Thank you for explaining that to me. You should definitely continue to call women “showers of stinking cunts” and if it bothers them, explain their bigotry to them as well.
Also, you are totally right that when you scream that you will “hit right back,” nobody should take that literally or find it threatening. Women never get hit for the things they say so taking it literally would be ridiculous. And being the superior intelligence you are, when you hear song lyrics threatening to “hit back” against other disempowered groups of people, you would never take that literally. I’m sure you would also be careful to never use hateful speech since you believe the targets of hateful speech should hit right back. (Metaphorically).
And you are right that calling women a shower of stinking cunts is completely the same as calling them a field of phalluses. They’re all just body parts! What’s the problem! Calling women stinking cunts is exactly the same thing as calling them dangly earlobes and any woman who thinks otherwise is just irrational and hysterical. If women don’t understand that, you should definitely explain it to them.
Good luck with your music. If you ever start a crowdfunding campaign to promote your music, I would happily contribute to it.
…did you actually read our post?