Feminism for Women: The Real Route to Liberation

Rachel Cooke in The Guardian:

Away from the sulphurous world of Twitter, the feminist campaigner and journalist Julie Bindel is best known as the co-founder of Justice for Women, an organisation that since 1990 has advocated for those convicted of murder after having experienced violence by men; JfW campaigned successfully for the release of Emma Humphreys, who killed her violent pimp, Trevor Armitage, in 1985, and more recently for Sally Challen, who was convicted of the murder of her abusive husband, Richard, in 2010. Thanks to this work, and to her reporting elsewhere, Bindel also has expertise in the areas of porn, prostitution and sex trafficking; she was one of those who helped to break the story of the grooming gangs operating in the north of England, an investigation that would eventually lead to the independent inquiry into child sexual exploitation in Rotherham in 2013.

All of which surely makes her a Good Thing: a person of integrity, bravery and determination. But alas, as she writes in her new book, Feminism for Women, there are people for whom none of this is relevant. To them, Bindel is a Bad Thing, and they would like her to disappear – if not from the world, then at least from public life. In recent years, she has been de-platformed by numerous universities and other institutions following protests by assorted trans activists and their allies, among them those who argue that “sex work is work”. Even when such events do go ahead, there’s often trouble. At one, a man tried to punch her in the face. At another, a debate about pornography, her opponent, a man who has made money in that industry, was given a warm welcome by the students who’d tried so hard to get her taken off the bill. What, you might well wonder, has she done to invoke such anger, disapproval and bizarre contrarianism? Why does her past now count for so little? Is it really such a crime to believe, as she does, that sex is a material reality, and gender a social construct?

More here.