Flat White

Women in politics: protection or persecution?

14 April 2022

2:00 PM

14 April 2022

2:00 PM

The cowardly distancing of Scott Morrison today from issues around women’s and girls’ sports tells us two things. Firstly, that the Liberals don’t understand solidarity anywhere near as well as the left. And secondly, the cultural protection racket of the left in this country is disproportionately effective in targeting dissenting women because they know that ultimately conservatives won’t protect them.

The protection racket goes like this.

Any woman who falls within the globally-defined, broadly-stamped progressive doctrine will gain acceptance as a legitimate player and any criticism of her, especially by a man, will be tainted with suspicion of sexism by mainstream and left-leaning commentators and media outlets. These women gain cultural and media protection from a range of attacks whether the attacks are misogynistic or not.

If a woman in politics shows any indication that she is culturally conservative, religious, or has biologically defined sexual boundaries, she immediately falls outside of the protection racket and any abuse toward her is welcomed by deafening silence or a look in the other direction. For these women, the problem is worsened because the men and women on their side argue that women don’t need any special protection because of their sex, even from special attacks on their sex.

The left is protecting its own while the right are so terribly principled they feed their women under the wheels of a vile stream of abuse they are supposed to weather unassisted.

There is a live-action example of the cultural protection racket in Warringah where Katherine Deves, co-founder of Save Women’s Sport Australasia, has been selected as the Liberal candidate to go against independent Zali Steggall. The seat is far from safe for Steggall, having been formerly held by Tony Abbott and considered broadly conservative.

Deves is not particularly religious and is considered more classic-liberal than conservative, but as the founder of Save Women’s Sports Australasia she has an obvious belief in the definition of women as a sex rather than a gender category, and so falls well outside the protection racket. The wheels are already turning to unleash the usual dose of abuse and lies on Deves with a side order of misogyny. I wonder if she will receive any protection from her own?

The protection racket works on a number of levels. There is a top-level, where a media organisation, politician, or Twitter ‘blue tick’ will indicate that a person has ‘problematic’ or ‘controversial’ views. On that level, there will be no abuse or serious engagement; what they say will have a tone of ‘nice life you have there, it would be a shame if anything were to happen to it’.

The Guardian, described Deves as having ‘campaigned against transgender women being included in women’s sport’. To be more precise, Deves has campaigned against the inclusion of men and boys in the sex categories of girls and women in sports.

This subtle signal will trickle down to the second tier of the protection racket, activists, community organisations, and smaller bloggers and publications, where the woman will get all her tweets analysed along with every word she has ever said about anything, and it will be thrown into the worst possible light. Exhibit A is the hit piece on Deves by ‘Out in Perth’.

There is some background here. Earlier this year, it was alleged Out in Perth played a role in the cancellation of Karyn Lisignoli, who was sacked as CEO of Girl Guides Western Australia after they complained to her employer that she had approached Katherine Deves on social media in relation to gaining legal advice about making girl guides a single-sex organisation again.

Guiding has long traditions that assume the safety of female children with female leaders, based on the extremely low incidence of sex crime amongst women. Disturbingly, Guiding both in Australia and the UK has extended the assumption of single-sex safety from women to trans-identifying males.

These fears were realised recently in the UK where Girl Guides appointed a 58-year-old male bus driver to oversee Rainbows, Brownies, Guides, and Rangers. When pictures emerged of the bus driver dressed as a dominatrix and holding a gun, the bus driver resigned.

When reporting on Deves, Out in Perth did not mention that she is a lawyer, a mother of three daughters, married to a tradesman, or interested in small business revival. Instead, they found it important to claim she is a believer ‘in the theory of social contagion, arguing that exposure to information about gender identity leads to children declaring that they are transgender’.

What they refer to is a phenomenon labelled Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria (ROGD), the sudden desire of young people to identify as ‘trans’ after having no history of gender dysphoria. ROGD, according to psychotherapist Stella O’Malley, ‘Seems to manifest among a certain, identifiable type of quirky, highly intelligent, isolated, socially awkward teenager.’

Bernard Lane of The Australian has recently reported that in Sweden there has been a reduction in children identifying as ‘trans’ following a more balanced approach by the public broadcaster toward transgender medicine. In the six months following the airing of more critical documentaries of the ‘affirmation’ model by Sweden, there was a 30 per cent reduction in referrals to gender clinics in Sweden. So, if Deves has claimed that exposure to gender identity ideology increases gender confusion in children, it would seem, she is right.

Grotty little publications and activists who get women sacked for trying to protect little girls from men and disregard the suffering of vulnerable children are the Fredo’s of the protection racket. They are not smart enough to bring in the kind of money that is involved in the ‘equity’ industry, but they know if their ideology meets sunlight, their entire world will fall apart.

Katherine Deve’s newly minted campaign on her Facebook page suffered a vicious troll pile-on, instigated by well-known personalities. Deve’s seems to have made a comment about the increasingly ridiculous pride flag, and trolls are doing their very best to brand her as anti-gay by posting hundreds of pictures of the awful-looking flag on her timeline. Deve’s has consistently advocated for lesbians and gays to maintain rights to the dignity of their own sex, sexuality, and spaces.

Under pressure from relentless trolling, Deves has taken her personal social media accounts offline, and has issued an apology to the press for some of the trans-related content they contained, particularly in relation to the surgical intervention in dysphoric children. Shortly after, the Prime Minister withdrew his support for her advocacy and walked back his earlier comments related to Claire Chandler’s Save Women’s Sport private member’s bill.

Once this support is shaky, the next level of the protection racket will ramp up, and this is where the vilest attacks on women are found. Having been told that a woman is ‘fair game’, an army of trolls, perverts, and anonymous accounts will arrive in a woman’s inbox with pornography, rape threats, and sex-specific abuse. This would almost certainly be the reality for Deve’s this very minute.

Most women in politics will receive sex-based abuse, but without a word of protection from either side, a woman’s home and family will inevitably be targeted. Dissenting Scottish politician, feminist, and lesbian Joanna Cherry has had to flee her home because of credible threats. When a man was arrested for the threats, we finally saw a brief report from The Guardian on the issue. Nothing about the stream of vile abuse and misinformation that continues to flow unopposed to gender-critical feminist as they address the rights conflict at the centre of ‘trans’ politics.

Deves will not have to just face the left-wing endorsed abuse and misogyny, she will face the willful blindness on her own side to the way women are attacked in a different manner to the way men are attacked. Bettina Arndt recently placed before us the view that ‘arguments for offering women special protection don’t hold water anymore’. This will only be true when women are not subject to special kinds of attack.

Women will always face a specific type of targeted sexual aggression that is unique to women and almost always from men, this is in addition to the aggression they receive from each other. We are supposed to pretend it is no big deal. We sometimes joke about ‘dick picks’ and share them in private messaging for a laugh. But late at night, I have received more than one message for a tired and weary powerful woman, who is suddenly terrified to go to sleep.

What I usually say to these women is that if you get 1,000 arrows thrown at you, one is bound to find a weakness in your armour. I tell them to turn off social media for a spell, patch up the weakness in a quiet or holy place, hug the children and think of all the reasons you are doing this. But I always remind women that this is a choice, that they can have a normal life if they keep their mouth shut, if they just walk away, because that is almost always true, and more courageous women than I have chosen to do so.

The current global LGBTQ agenda is to steal the cultural and political capital of gay and lesbian people and use it to erode the legal and cultural sexual boundaries that women need to protect themselves. On the frontline of this is the worst misogyny I have seen in my lifetime, where men willingly oblige the invitation to vomit their two minutes of hate on dissenting women.

If conservatives and centrists want to hide behind the skirts of the likes of Arndt, and pretend women need no special protection from abuse, they can expect to see more women leave politics and suffer chronic illness.

Amidst conflicting signals, I think some men are genuinely confused about what is expected of them. But decent men can see what is obvious, even previously sceptical Douglas Murray has conceded that the intense attack on feminists from the left is ‘wrapped in misogyny’.

I am not suggesting that women are not formidable, or that they need men to stand up for them in every instance, but when a woman is on your team, and you are a man, and someone attacks her based on her sex, her sexual politics, her sexual appeal, or in a sexual manner – yes, you are supposed to stand up.

The kind of scrotes who are on the bottom tier of this racket are almost all men, and they almost always back down quicker at the challenge of other men. I don’t make the rules, I just know them.

I don’t know what kind of representative Deves will be, but I’d quite like to see her given a fair go.

Edie Wyatt has a BA Hons from the Institute of Cultural Policy Studies and writes on culture, politics and feminism. She tweets at @MsEdieWyatt and blogs at ediewyatt.com

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