Meghan Murphy Says RadFems Are Mean!

Radical feminism has many detractors. Finding Meghan Murphy among them lately has been a surprise.

Beach Read

Holy shit, brain worms might be real!

As her follow-up to defending Benjamin Boyce’s right to talk about ‘whores,’ Meghan has stepped up to tell us How To Feminist. And it’s not a great look.

Even worse, I understand and agree with a lot of what she said! But she paints with a broad brush without so much as a personal anecdote to anchor the conversation. Her bitterness is palpable and she comes across as pretty condescending,

Her title –Radical Feminism Has A Humanity Problem – sets an adversarial tone from the beginning.

“Radical feminism offers a reason for and a solution to much of the sexism we did not know how to respond to, or claims to... It makes sense that young women would want to spread the word … [and] I think that, because feminism is so much about women's lives … it doesn't feel like just politics.

“It can feel very intimate, personal, emotional, and triggering. I think this is why … some women might see it as the answer to the world's problems. I've been there. I get it. But it's not true. And it's not the answer.”

Unfortunately for anyone hoping to learn, she’s not really clear on why radical feminism isn’t the answer.

But Meghan does make a point I have made over and over, “Theory is not meant to be applied directly to life.”

She could have phrased it better, but the system and the individual are not the same. Every individual man doesn’t need to be oppressing each individual woman at every moment for men as a group to be oppressing women as a group.

“It is a way to analyze the world around you, systems, practices, patterns … Theory is just ideas, … it should not be treated as a rule book.

But after this, Meghan and I begin to part ways. “The world and people's lives and problems are too complex for that. Which is why there are so few radical feminists in the world."

Because treating their theory like a rule book is something only unpopular ideologies do, right?…

It’s frustrating that Meghan distracts herself, because these things need talked about. Theory is not dogma. Radical feminism is not your life coach. If you are looking for a rule book for your daily life, look somewhere else.

But after emphatically bringing theory into the discussion, she gets distracted by criticism: “I've found so many radical feminists to be deeply out of touch with what real men and women care about, think, and do in their day to day lives, on account of limiting their engagement to online radical feminist circles,” Who are these women? Where is she meeting them?

If online, many of these communities exist to give women space to rant without judgment and escape daily life. You often have no real idea who anyone is, much less what their life looks like.

If she’s meeting them in real life, Meghan can hardly say they’re only engaged in online circles (nice reference there, Meghan!) So, I’m not sure exactly what she’s talking about here.

Read To Sleep

It’s exhausting keeping up with her leaps of logic!

Regardless, the victim-blaming continues, “Radical feminism veers far too quickly into misogyny for a movement that claims to exist to eradicate misogyny.” Bring a group of abused, traumatized animals together, and the first thing they do won’t be to lick each other’s wounds.

Women bring our own internalized misogyny with us, whether we know it or not.

Additionally, there is a tendency to stop reflecting when you’re focused on activism. When you find a path and set yourself to it, your energy is directed outward. In holding the world accountable, it’s easy to forget about yourself.

But this is certainly not limited to radical feminism, and I can’t get past how she tries to pin our smaller numbers on this kind of reactionary thinking. I have seen it in so few people in so many years in the trenches.

As if we don’t all need to watch for rigid thinking. As if radfems haven’t been kicked off of every major platform. As if criticizing men isn’t always unpopular in a patriarchal world.

It’s almost as if she’s forgotten what she’s talking about. I think too many self-defined radical feminists advocate isolation over understanding (or choose isolation over understanding),” This little wink is the kind of insufferable snideness one might do well to avoid while arguing for understanding.

And anyway, feminism is supposed to be about making the world understand us! About enabling us to understand ourselves. I have lived my life surrounded by the culture and company of men. I think I understand them fairly well, thanks.

But she does name the masculine elephant in the room, "If heterosexual women are all compromised and not to be trusted, ... the vast majority of women cannot be trusted to engage with feminism or politics in general. Does this sound at all familiar?”

Honestly, this terminus hadn’t even occurred to me. It’s a frightening idea, and obviously self-defeating for any kind of ‘women’s liberation.’ All I really know is that radical feminism is the most practical framework for these issues. And that if we’re excluding most of the female population by default, we’re wasting our time.

This is why I have no problem dismissing anyone who insists on total male exclusion. If you’re going to get serious about changing the world, you’re gonna have to involve men at some point. Figuring that out is monumental. This is not the time to be fighting among ourselves!

Meghan takes a weak swing at purity politics but, in her telling, flashpoints become will-o-the-wisps beckoning from the liberal bog.

“What feminist movement treats 95 per cent of women as stupid idiots, too blinded by emotion or sexual desire to think rationally and make choices that are right for them?" I have no idea, but it sounds like Meghan has picked up some flotsam about Choice Feminism. One of radical feminism’s key arguments is that no choice is made in a vacuum, and our environment is heavily gendered.

It’s not the most empowering thought, but I find someone’s reaction to Nature vs. Nurture very telling. In disregarding this key radfem idea, it almost feels as if the lady doth protest too much.

This may be the shadow of having defended a man’s use of a female slur. He was free to say that, and she was free to defend it. It wasn’t a terribly feminist thing to do, but Meghan digging her heels in is the real problem. In her hot-blooded attempt to argue micro vs. macro and plead for nuance to distract from that, she has insulted many of her readers.


Please don’t cancel me, you mean old radfems!

Worse, she seems to think she can do both of these things at the same time, with no awareness of irony whatsoever.

"I am not suggesting women don't have expectations and boundaries – those are a must. But I think there needs to be a balance between those expectations and boundaries, and also having flexibility, understanding, and compassion."

What do we make of this? In the span of two years, Meghan Murphy has gone from speaking on behalf of women before Scottish Parliament and elsewhere, to defending sexist jokes and saying radical feminism should be more inclusive!

"In general, it is weird to approach life and people with a ‘my way or the highway’ attitude.”  I’m sorry, madame, did you forget where you are?

Under certain circumstances, this is exactly how we should approach people! The man in the women’s spa absolutely needs to hit the road. Women struggle against the urge to give in, to make nice, to placate those around us. It’s a pretty universal thing that many of us don’t understand very well.

It’s insulting of Meghan to say radical feminism isn’t popular because we’re not nice enough.

For a minute, I was worried that this was another Dear John letter to The Left. But her criticism doesn’t lead to flat-out rejection, “Radical feminism is not a guide to life. It offers useful tools and analysis, but does not provide all tools and analysis”

It would have been great if she had actually illustrated this instead of ranting about mean girls. We all see the issues, Meghan. I wish you would use your high profile to help us build a better community instead of as a platform for your personal grindstone.




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