In which Heather Hastie defends me against the charge that I’m not a feminist “ally”

Oy! You can’t win these days. I recently put up a post about Anna Muzychuk, a woman Ukrainian grandmaster in “blitz chess” and “speed chess” (two forms of chess in which you must make rapid moves). Last year Muzychuk was the world champion in both evens, but declined to participate in this year’s official championships (run by the spineless international chess organization FIDE, which should be called FIDO as it’s the running dog of Islamism) because the tournament’s being held in Saudi Arabia. Muzychuk explained on her Facebook page that she wouldn’t participate in the Saudi scheme because it required modest dress and for women and for female players to obey the other demeaning rules imposed on that sex in Saudi Arabia. Muzychuk’s words:

In a few days I am going to lose two World Champion titles – one by one. Just because I decided not to go to Saudi Arabia. Not to play by someone’s rules, not to wear abaya, not to be accompanied getting outside, and altogether not to feel myself a secondary creature. Exactly one year ago I won these two titles and was about the happiest person in the chess world but this time I feel really bad. I am ready to stand for my principles and skip the event, where in five days I was expected to earn more than I do in a dozen of events combined. All that is annoying, but the most upsetting thing is that almost nobody really cares. That is a really bitter feeling, still not the one to change my opinion and my principles. The same goes for my sister Mariya – and I am really happy that we share this point of view. And yes, for those few who care – we’ll be back!

I called my post “A real feminist”—clearly not to denigrate other women who weren’t “real” feminists, but to extol a woman who sacrificed income and career on altar of her principles. When you lose world championships in defense of women’s rights, well, that’s real feminism! (We can see this happening in Iran right now, with some women ripping off their hijabs as part of the protest against that country’s theocracy, a momentous event that’s barely been covered by left-wing websites.)

Sadly, my approbation of Muzychuk’s action wasn’t good enough. Though I never read responses to my tweets (which go automatically from this site to Twitter), reader Paul Coddington in New Zealand did, and sent me some responses by a woman I don’t know:

This is one reason I almost never read responses to my Twitter posts: people like this Pecksniff start snuffling around for the scent of ideological impurity. Apparently, my title “a real feminist” is such an impurity.

I didn’t respond to her bait, but Paul did in an email to me, and asked me to send it to Heather Hastie, as he knew she’d have her own take on feminism and my lack of “allyship”. Sure enough, Heather wrote a brief response on Vansteenwinckle’s attempt to enforce her brand of feminism on me, and you can read it at Heather’s site in a post called “Homily: an ill-informed feminist attacks Jerry Coyne (plus tweets).

I’m not going to reprise Heather’s take on this kerfuffle, which you should read for yourself, but I will reproduce Paul’s comment that he emailed me (with permission):

It strikes me that this comment is both patronising and sexist. It smacks of the idea that truly supporting the rights of women is a privileged club which one needs permission from an insider to join. Also, it is also unclear what is meant by “he still has a long way to go”. Is this a reference to “ideological feminism” (as opposed to that form of feminism which is essentially humanism, basic respect and common decency with a topical focus on women’s issues)? It appears to me you support the latter and not the former and that perhaps it is being implied that this is simply not good enough.

Also, “Jerry missed some levels, but pretends he didn’t” is an accusation that I can’t see as justifiably having arisen from anything that you have written in that particular article or any other, but perhaps there is some private correspondence that accounts for it.

No, there’s no private correspondence I know of that explains which “levels” I’ve missed. I don’t know who “Vansteenwinckel” is, nor, as I recall, have I ever had any interaction with her.

Heather has more to say, using some rather pungent language.

My view: I won’t have other feminists label me “not an ally” because I don’t adhere to one particular view of feminism. My own view, which I have—to borrow a phrase from Nixon—made perfectly clear, is this: “Women should never be discriminated against on the grounds of sex or gender, and should have equal opportunity from the very onset of life to achieve everything they can.”

It goes without saying that this means that women should be free from harassment and sexual malfeasance or assault, because of course those are forms of discrimination as well as tactics that constrain women’s freedom and opportunity.

That’s my piece, now read Heather’s (and enjoy her collection of tweets).



  1. Posted January 1, 2018 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    I had the pleasure of reading Heather’s first. She ably identified you as a steady ally, and I concur!! It’s all too easy for one to infer omission or addition on the part of another based upon his or her own standards, wishes or expectations.

  2. Marc Aresteanu
    Posted January 1, 2018 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    Modern western feminism has nothing to do with humanism any more.

    I don’t even know why we keep pretending it does. It’s just another protective label regressives use to shield themselves from criticism.

    Honestly, in western countries, if you were to take any random self-identified feminist and any random self-identified non-feminist… who’s behavior do you think is more or less likely to lead to fair and harmonious society?

    • Rita
      Posted January 1, 2018 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

      Honestly, as a feminist I’m not not going to disavow that label just because some regressives also call themselves “feminist”. And when I hear a woman saying she isn’t a feminist, I think she’s either dishonest or she’s living in the 1950’s. Though maybe living in the 50’s would be fair and harmonious, at least for you.

      • Blue
        Posted January 1, 2018 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

        +!, Ms Rita.

        Inharmony is a noun that I know
        for certain that never in my lifetime to date
        have I ever used. But one / its societal
        concept that I see every day (at university
        actually) IF not in place, THEN is in re
        feminism among workers, students and faculty
        viewed as … … desired. Still. y2018.

        How feminism is taken as threatening to some,
        still, is in line with their view that
        protecting the hierarchy … … for one’s
        continuation to secure (mostly) his power and
        control for himself is … … desirable.
        = inharmony and unfairness.

        Instead of: acceptance of, let alone,
        happiness with, the sharing of and the cooperation within those activities which
        emanate the various scenes’ power and
        control. = harmony and fairness.


      • jay
        Posted January 1, 2018 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

        Women have equal legal rights for years. Having succeeded in that, feminism seems to have gone farther and farther afield, redefining language, denying science, and pushing agendas that work against women such as demonizing men as a whole but paying more attention to transgender ‘women’ then to actual women.

        Once a movement (of any kind) achieves its primary goal it should dissolve, but usually those in leadership roles keep creating new crises.

        Side point: Notice how relatively quiet the feminist organizations have been so far about the demonstrations in Iran. One could speculate, but the influence (co-option) by the social justice crowd makes them unwilling to condemn a brutal regime, but worry interminably about wording that must be used. Or maybe they won’t condemn the Iranian government because Trump has… and they simply can’t bear to agree with him on anything.

        • Travis
          Posted January 1, 2018 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

          “Women have equal legal rights for years.”

          I’m going to defend the controversial view that women in fact have more rights AND fewer obligations than men, in the western world.

          Women have the right to bodily autonomy. Genital mutilation (of women) is fully illegal, even the least severe forms (which I still oppose – let’s not pretend that all forms are equal and that all forms are better or worse than circumcision, though) are illegal, whereas male genital mutilation is not only legal but normalized.

          Women have the right to vote without the reciprocal obligation of selective service (which is also needed for other things like loans, if you’re male). Women have never had this obligation.

          Women have the right of parental surrender in many ways, including child abandonment (safe haven laws). Men have no reproductive rights and are legally held accountable for their AND their partner’s choices (even including if a woman lies about birth control, abortion, etc.)

        • Heather Hastie
          Posted January 1, 2018 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

          So getting equal rights under the law automatically changed all the bad attitudes towards women? That’s like saying making homosexuality legal got rid of homophobia, or getting rid of apartheid laws got rid of racism. Quite frankly it’s ridiculous.

          Just one obvious example – the level of sexual and other assault against women that still occurs. (Yes, I know men suffer in that area too, but it happens a lot more to women) In fact, many men (and women) still see it as acceptable despite it being illegal.

          • Posted January 1, 2018 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

            Jay needs to study Latin.

            De jure does not equal de facto.

        • Posted January 2, 2018 at 6:30 am | Permalink

          Just because the law says something should be the case doesn’t make it magically true. You need to change attitudes too.

          For example, sexual assault of women has been illegal for as long as I can remember and yet, we still have cases like Harvey Weinstein. The law doesn’t tell us what is the case but what should be the case. Even then, it is only a crude approximation thanks to various political factors.

          Finally, it should be obvious that women do not have “equal legal rights for years” or even at all in Iran.

      • Travis
        Posted January 1, 2018 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

        “And when I hear a woman saying she isn’t a feminist, I think she’s either dishonest or she’s living in the 1950’s.”

        I think you have a deliberately narrow worldview on this topic, then. You can’t just pretend that feminism is entirely uncontroversial or that the controversial parts are somehow distinct from feminism (you also can’t do the same for the good parts, for the record).

        There is good and bad that comes from the feminist ideology and “no true feminism” doesn’t get you out of this problem.

        Also, you’re aware than in the western world feminists make up from ~5-20% of the population? That’s a lot of people who are dishonest and/or in the 50’s!

        • Diane G.
          Posted January 2, 2018 at 1:55 am | Permalink

          The current (I believe it’s called third-wave) feminism is about as representative of feminism as a whole as the anti-free-speech Ctrl-left is of traditional liberalism.

          You and others insist on telling those of us here (male and female) who were feminists before the aforementioned 3rd wavers were even born that we don’t know what true feminism is. I’m afraid it’s you who’s mistaken. If you want to interact with the pomo idiots, go post on their blogs.

          • Blue
            Posted January 2, 2018 at 6:20 am | Permalink

            +1, Ms Diane G. Succinct.

            … … As is .that. of Ms Eve E similarly:

            “I am over the passivity of good men.
            Where the hell are you?

            You live with us,
            make love with us,
            father us, befriend us, brother us,
            get nurtured and mothered and
            eternally supported by us,

            so why aren’t you standing with us?”


            • Travis
              Posted January 2, 2018 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

              standing with you for what?

            • Diane G.
              Posted January 3, 2018 at 3:07 am | Permalink

              Nice quote, Blue.

          • darrelle
            Posted January 2, 2018 at 7:31 am | Permalink


          • Heather Hastie
            Posted January 2, 2018 at 10:53 am | Permalink

            Well said Diane.

          • Travis
            Posted January 2, 2018 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

            “The current (I believe it’s called third-wave) feminism is about as representative of feminism as a whole as the anti-free-speech Ctrl-left is of traditional liberalism.”

            I disagree partly. 3rd wave feminism or whatever people like to call the last 20 years of feminism still stems from the same ideology, even if it’s worse than the older forms (which still have severe problems – we can’t just sweep all the bad under the rug and pretend it’s purely from 3rd wavers).

            “You and others insist on telling those of us here (male and female) who were feminists before the aforementioned 3rd wavers were even born that we don’t know what true feminism is.”

            uh, I’m saying that you can’t pull a “no true feminist” card on an entire fragment of the ideology/movement.

            • Diane G.
              Posted January 3, 2018 at 3:12 am | Permalink

              “…entire fragment…”

              You & I must have different definitions of “fragment.” 😉

              • Travis
                Posted January 3, 2018 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

                Please elaborate. I’m referring to a fraction of the whole movement. What else should this be called but a fragment?

              • Diane G.
                Posted January 4, 2018 at 2:05 am | Permalink

                The “entire fragment” phraseology made me think you thought it was a much bigger subset than what I would regard as a “fragment.” Personally, I’m happy to disregard most fringe elements of any politico-social movement when they’re totally off their rockers.

                But this is nothing more than semantics, sorry I started it.

      • Travis
        Posted January 1, 2018 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

        I also wonder why you specified women… hat do you think of men who don’t identify as feminists? Are they also dishonest and/or in the 50’s?

        Or do you expect men to be non-feminist because you have some prejudice against men?

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted January 1, 2018 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

        Well said Rita.

        As I point out in my post, most feminists are like the ones that grab the media attention. They only get attention because they’re outside the norm.

        Modern feminism has everything to do with humanism. It’s about women not being treated as lesser beings just because they’re women. Whether some men like to admit that or not it still happens everywhere.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted January 1, 2018 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

          Also, the feminism I was exposed to addresses the raw deal men get. Men are seen as unable to be caring, as somehow inferior if they have a feeling. As incapable of child rearing. This is all a load of crap.

          • Heather Hastie
            Posted January 1, 2018 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

            Yes, this is the feminism I know too.

            • mikeyc
              Posted January 1, 2018 at 11:02 pm | Permalink

              It’s the feminism I grew up with. It’s still there. Everywhere, in fact. It’s just…quiet now. Or anyway can’t be heard above the shrieking.

              • Diane G.
                Posted January 3, 2018 at 3:18 am | Permalink

                “Shrieking,” indeed.

                Small but loud fringes of any movement seem to get an inordinate amount of attention. I’m afraid the internet exacerbates this, what with the need for clicks & thus ad revenue.

          • Travis
            Posted January 2, 2018 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

            I see feminists in power express this sentiment themselves all the time. Just yesterday Cassie Jaye uploaded another interview segment with Katherine Spillar who says that men are just violent brutes and women care about people (and that this underlies men and women’s interest in becoming police officers). Aside from the question dodge, she exhibits a typical feminist mindset: shift all discussion from male victimhood to female victimhood.

            Then there are things like the Duluth Model caused by 2nd wave feminists and supported world wide since, that paints men as violent abusers who use violent to control their partners (yes, ONLY men – it’s right in their power wheel) and that women are victims of said violence, and never perpetrators themselves.

            But even going back to the 1st wave or earlier (such as the suffragettes) you can see the same mindset: Women need equal rights but NOT equal responsibility!

  3. Diana MacPherson
    Posted January 1, 2018 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    I hesitate to express an opinion about this. It often doesn’t go well…..but here it is.

    I think this is an example of someone reacting after interpreting something in the least generous way possible. I see this from just about everyone lately and I think this behaviour is actually the reason we have such extremes….I’ve felt it in myself. When someone talks about white people being racist, my first reaction is defence because I take it as I am, personally, being accused of racism. So, I can see how some men can react and think that when sexism is brought up, they feel they are being denounced or how a feminist can interpret “real feminist” in a way it wasn’t intended. Often, a doubling down happens if the point is argued, as you can see with her response. It’s too bad as we all end up fighting each other while violently agreeing on the main issues. Honestly, the only way around this is to stop and think for a moment and consider that maybe the intent wasn’t so bad.

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted January 1, 2018 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

      Undoubtedly I’ve taken issue with some opinions you’ve expressed. (Heck, sometimes I’ve taken issue with myself after I’ve made some comment on this site or Heather’s.) But I wholeheartedly agree with this comment. And when you say, “I think this behaviour is actually the reason we have such extremes…, I must admit that whatever the specifics that generated the feeling, I’ve discerned it in myself,” and recognize that you’re speaking about something that’s in me as well.

    • jhs
      Posted January 1, 2018 at 4:58 pm | Permalink


      The misunderstanding of Ms. Vansteenwinckel further demonstrates that practicing the principle of charitable interpretation is the best way to go.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted January 1, 2018 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

      I agree Diana. People are all too ready to see the worst in what others say.

      On my site you noted how Richard Dawkins is often seen as being rude and you think that’s because of his voice. I think you’re right on that too.

      People want to find something wrong with certain people, especially an older white man talking about feminism. If there’s nothing there, they will infer something,

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted January 2, 2018 at 3:06 am | Permalink

      Well said Diana.

      I usually prefer (or at least, as a philosophical proposition I think I ought to prefer) to interpret any statement in the most charitable way.

      Too many feminists or others on the left (well, mostly on the left)** seem to want to impose some sort of purity test. What I’d say to them is, “If you’re going to be so picky about your allies, you’re going to end up without any”.

      ** I’m quite aware I’m generalising wildly there

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted January 2, 2018 at 11:00 am | Permalink

        It’s not “too many feminists”, it’s the ones everyone gets to hear about because they say controversial or outrageous stuff. Most of us aren’t like that. We’re strong in our opinions, but there’s nothing we say that a fair and reasonable person shouldn’t be able to agree with. In order to denigrate us, they have to refer to the most vociferous of the third-wave feminists.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted January 2, 2018 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

          Well, I did say ‘feminists *or others on the left*’ and I did acknowledge that I was speaking loosely.

          I do agree that it’s the noisy and more extreme / unreasonable individuals in any movement who get the attention.

          I do dislike the ‘us and them’ ‘if you’re not with us you’re against us’ extremist mentality, whichever side it’s on.


          • Heather Hastie
            Posted January 2, 2018 at 11:11 pm | Permalink

            Yes, the “us vs them” thing is an issue. You can agree in 95% of stuff, but they still reject you in total because of a minor difference of opinion. It’s an advantage forced on NZ by dint of being small. There aren’t enough of us to form many silos – if we didn’t just get on with most people nothing would ever get done. We mostly don’t sweat the small stuff, and we’re more relaxed about differences of opinion.

            • Diane G.
              Posted January 3, 2018 at 3:26 am | Permalink

              I’ve been thinking lately that the US’s huge size and ethno-cultural diversity is one of our biggest problems. Much as the proverbial melting pot expressed many of our ideals, today’s tossed salad is nowhere near as cohesive. Given that we seem to still be in thrall to our tribal evolutionary origins, I’m no longer confident that an entity our size can persist in today’s world, at least not as a democracy. Alas.

              • Heather Hastie
                Posted January 3, 2018 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

                I think it’s the size that’s the important issue. Because of that, people still mostly live separate from people who are different from them. NZ and several other countries are more diverse but we don’t have the same problem because our small size means we mix at every level. Therefore the fear of the unknown that causes bigotry isn’t there and we get along better. We also have a better (though definitely not perfect) historical record. No slavery, no voting laws based on race, all women voting on the same basis as men since 1893 etc.

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted January 3, 2018 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

                That doesn’t explain Canada though where we are all spread way out – low population and a big country. Though we have regional differences, we aren’t as regionally diverse as the US.

              • Heather Hastie
                Posted January 3, 2018 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

                I think the fact we stayed with Britain means people like the Maori and First Nations people were treated vastly better than Native Americans. Slavery ending much earlier in Canada and lack of discriminatory laws too.

                That doesn’t explain Australia of course, where the treatment of the Aboriginals was pretty bad, and there’s still a lot of racism. Just look at the treatment of the so called boat people for a start!

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted January 3, 2018 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

                Canada didn’t directly participate in slavery like in the US. Slaves that ended up in Canada were from the US and not directly from Africa and Canada wasn’t a country until late – 1867 when Britain had abolished slavery. First Nations actually participated in slavery but European settlers treated First Nations horribly. First Nations are different from Maori in that they do not have a mono culture. They speak different languages, practice different customs and in many ways they are divided so this is something I noticed knowing both NZ and Canadian culture.

                I sort of see Canada as getting off easy in many ways. Our neighbour is America and then the ocean and one of the oceans is the Arctic ocean so we aren’t getting waves of refugees like Europe or Australia so I tend to think that it isn’t because Canadians are so fabulous that we are so liberal….I think we are just lucky to not have to make a lot of hard decisions. It does suck having everyone, including Russia, wanting the Arctic and the US saying nothing because they want it too.

                I read in Steven Pinker’s Better Angels of Our Nature where he describes who settled America and where and I think that is really telling in the two Americas idea and why America is so divided.

              • Heather Hastie
                Posted January 3, 2018 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

                Yeah – all good points of course. There’s a definite cultural divide in terms of attitude in who settled the US.

                The Artic thing is going to be major, and the behaviour of the US is far from honourable. It doesn’t help that so much of it’s Russian either. It was different in the Antarctic, though that’s obviously a different situation. The US still managed to muscle in there but everything they do goes through NZ. Not that we can control them of course.

              • Diane G.
                Posted January 4, 2018 at 2:34 am | Permalink

                @ Diana, comment that begins, “Canada didn’t directly participate in slavery like in the US.”

                Excellent points.

                I too think the multitude of different native tribes was an extra complication the US & Canada had to deal with, unlike the NZ/Australian experience. (Fascinating to think about…until you get to the part where we (the US) totally screwed the Native Americans…)

              • Diane G.
                Posted January 4, 2018 at 2:26 am | Permalink

                @ Diana, comment that begins, “That doesn’t explain Canada, though…”

                You’re big physically (way big!) but an order of magnitude (más o menos) smaller than us, population-wise. I think it’s the huge, often self-segregated (online, especially!) population that makes the difference.

              • Diane G.
                Posted January 4, 2018 at 2:16 am | Permalink

                @ Heather, post that begins, “I think it’s the size that’s the important issue. ”

                I couldn’t agree more. I think when our (very young, relatively) country was still growing across the continent, nationalism was second nature. Then we had the era when all of the US listened to the same 3 broadcast networks for all the current news and read the same wire-service write-ups in the newspapers. Now we’re huge, divided, and each ethnic/social/economic class reinforces its own grievances on parts of the internet only they read. Very hard to be optimistic these days…

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted January 2, 2018 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

          Oh, and if I might split hairs / quibble a bit –

          ‘It’s not “too many feminists”, it’s the ones everyone gets to hear about because they say controversial or outrageous stuff.’

          One might argue that, however many (or few) that number is, it’s still too many. 😉

          ‘Too many’ meaning ‘enough of them to get the whole movement a bad name’ – which may unfortunately be the case.

          I certainly didn’t mean to imply, by ‘too many’, that I was referring to the majority of feminists.


          • Heather Hastie
            Posted January 2, 2018 at 11:13 pm | Permalink

            Yes, I agree. Even one is too many, which I pretty much imply in my post though don’t use those actual words. I think it was something like, “we can do without feminists like that” or similar.

    • darrelle
      Posted January 2, 2018 at 7:35 am | Permalink

      I agree Diane, well stated. I do make an effort to not do what you describe, but on occasion I find myself doing it anyway.

      • Diane G.
        Posted January 3, 2018 at 3:28 am | Permalink

        (Just so she gets the credit, not me–that was Diana. 😉 )

        • darrelle
          Posted January 3, 2018 at 7:37 am | Permalink

          Oops! 🙂

          I knew who I was talking to, just one of those unconscious brain farts. My counter did just click off another year so I’m gonna go ahead and blame it on aging.

          • Diane G.
            Posted January 4, 2018 at 12:53 am | Permalink

            That’s one good thing about aging. Possibly the only good thing about aging… 😉

  4. Larry Smith
    Posted January 1, 2018 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    I took Vansteenwinckel’s response as a misinterpretation of the title “A real feminist.” Imagine someone saying, “Now, here’s something that a REAL feminist would do.” Or substitute “hero” for “feminist”: “I appreciate what firefighters do, but here’s a REAL hero…” Wouldn’t firefighters sort of chafe at that wording?

    This explanation attempt is in line with Heather’s thinking that Vansteenwinckel was referring to Saudi women, I see the tweeter’s complaint as more generic.

    So, is this what Jerry meant to say? No.

    So, Vansteenwinckel should now say “Oops, sorry, I overreacted. I thought that by giving credit to Muzychuk you intended to denigrate other acts of feminism that occur every day in every part of the world. I see now that I was wrong, and I apologize.”

    Hope this helps!

    • Jake Sevins
      Posted January 1, 2018 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

      You’re right Larry, I think that’s how she read it.

      But at some level I see this and think it is probably a person who tends to see any negative angle possible at every turn. Sort of like telling someone, “you look really beautiful today” and she/he says in return, “so I don’t look beautiful on other days?”

      There’s just no winning sometimes…

    • Posted January 1, 2018 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

      This explanation attempt is in line with Heather’s thinking that Vansteenwinckel was referring to Saudi women, …

      I’m not so sure that Heather is right here. I took Vansteenwinckel to be interpreting Jerry’s “real” feminist to be implying that one is only a “real” feminist if one is a significant person, able to be in the news and give up world titles or similar (of course I don’t think that Jerry was *actually* saying that, I think he was meaning “real” feminists as opposed to regressive-left feminists who put regressive-left ideology above equality for women).

      • Diane G.
        Posted January 3, 2018 at 3:31 am | Permalink

        I couldn’t agree more with your ending parenthetical.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted January 1, 2018 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

      You could be right too. The problem is really that we don’t know because she doesn’t explain herself. I did consider your interpretation, but I thought that wasn’t right if she read the article. However, I may be more familiar than her with what Jerry writes, so that means I’m going to judge his words differently too.

      It then goes back to what Diana McPherson said above about rushing to judgment. I know I’ve been guilty of it myself, including on Twitter, and had to apologize because of it.

    • Posted January 2, 2018 at 6:45 am | Permalink

      I don’t think Heather’s interpretation is correct. I think, if you read that one post by Jerry in isolation or even just that one headline, you might interpret it as him saying that to be a real feminist, you have to make some sort of grand gesture of sacrificing something like money or prizes or whatever.

      Ms Vansteenwinckel probably hasn’t got the context of reading all the posts Jerry has put up about the idiocy of the regressive left including some of those that label themselves as feminist but spend their entire time writing pseudo scholarly articles for minor academic journals. I took Jerry’s use of the word “real” to be a contrast to these people.

      • Posted January 2, 2018 at 6:48 am | Permalink

        I see directly below here is a discussion of Linda Sarsour. She is exactly the kind of person I assumed Jerry was contrasting Ms Muzychuk with.

  5. Posted January 1, 2018 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    I called my post “A real feminist”—clearly not to denigrate other women who weren’t “real” feminists, …

    I took it to mean, as opposed to people like Linda Sarsour, who merely claim to be feminists.

    • Posted January 1, 2018 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

      I took that to be the unspoken comparison. So someone who does not follow WEIT might well misinterpret.

    • Travis
      Posted January 1, 2018 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

      What makes her not a feminist?

      • Posted January 1, 2018 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

        Her wishing other women would be FGM. That she wishes another women is FGM in order to take away that persons womanhood. Her support for Saudi.

        • Posted January 1, 2018 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

          Don’t forget her support for sharia law and her failure to support the oppressed women of Iran and other Middle Eastern States who are rebelling against the patriarchical theocracy. Sarsour is a grifter, out for nobody but herself and her own ambition.

        • Travis
          Posted January 2, 2018 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

          Does that make her also not a human rights activist? This may sound like a stupid question but I’m trying to figure out what people mean by feminism and the requirements of it and related movements.

          If she were in favor of male genital mutilation (circumcision) would she be a non-men’s rights activist, and therefore a non-human rights activist?

          • Posted January 2, 2018 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

            I don’t know what the line is to say who is and isn’t a feminist but its safe to say that the line should not include people that want to take a person womanhood because they have a disagreement about religion.

            And no I would not call her a human rights activist either.

            • Travis
              Posted January 2, 2018 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

              Thanks for answering. Do you have an answer to the hypothetical I posed?

      • Bruce Gorton
        Posted January 2, 2018 at 3:18 am | Permalink

        Her support for patriarchal religious laws which hold a woman’s word as being worth half that of a man’s, legislate that women can only inherit half of what a man can.

        In terms of feminism, frankly Anne Coulter has more credibility than Linda Sarsour.

  6. Randall Schenck
    Posted January 1, 2018 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    As I already mentioned over at Heather’s site, I see these Twitters as a poor place for such dialogue. My take on her tweets are the same as most of the Trump Tweets — Playing to a base and that is about it.

  7. yazikus
    Posted January 1, 2018 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    In a town I used to live, there was a popular church with a big banner out front with its name: Life Church
    I would chuckle as I drove by and mutter to myself ‘not like all those other death churches!’. I think this is a case of that sort of reading (lacking my amusement) – as other commenters pointed out above. I think there is a marked difference between being a ‘feminist-ally’ on the internet, and being an ally to women in the real world. The bar for internet-feminism can be set absurdly high.

  8. Posted January 1, 2018 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    Yes this twatling hinged around the “real feminist” in the heading if you ask me… Vansteenwinckle was bothered by the privileged white female chess player being modelled as a ‘real feminist’ and with a photo no less.
    Perhaps if the good Prof(E) had put in “in solidarity with her Palestinian sisters” or other such key triggers it may have hit the Vansteenwinckle expectation mark.
    Who knows, but it’s tough at the top no matter what the hell you’ve said in countless posts, championing women’s rights and equality.

    • Posted January 2, 2018 at 6:53 am | Permalink

      Muzychuk was actually in solidarity with some Israeli chess players who qualified the tournament but could not take part because they were denied visas. I would think that is enough to damn her in the eyes of some.

      • Diane G.
        Posted January 3, 2018 at 3:47 am | Permalink

        Even sadder.

  9. ploubere
    Posted January 1, 2018 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    Whenever I see comments that seem designed to incite antagonism, I’m more and more suspicious that they are trolls or trollbots. Vansteenwinckle is a fairly common name, and there are 40 accounts with some version of that name on Twitter. It might be best to just ignore such comments.

    • Posted January 1, 2018 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

      A little sleuthing tells me she is Linda Vansteenwinckle, a “Nutraceuticals specialist” who lives in Belgium. See

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted January 1, 2018 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

      I knew she was a real person before I wrote my post, though exposing how I know would expose someone else, so I can’t explain it sorry.

  10. rom
    Posted January 1, 2018 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    When I read the label “real feminist”, I thought this sort of pointed to all the supposedly “unreal” feminists who have not come to Anna’s defence.

    While I generally don’t look for news articles on feminism, I have not come across any that have. I suppose there must be some, but wherever they are they are not creating a deafening crescendo.

  11. bundorgarden
    Posted January 1, 2018 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps Vansteenwinkel is a man…

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted January 2, 2018 at 11:04 am | Permalink

      No. As noted above, she is a real person, and her identity is verified.

  12. Posted January 1, 2018 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

    “erry missed some levels, but pretends he didn’t”. Why even have a debate when you can say the other person is wrong, they know they are wrong but you will not say what they are wrong about. This is a twitter show trial she is running here.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted January 2, 2018 at 11:05 am | Permalink


  13. Diana MacPherson
    Posted January 2, 2018 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    I’ll repeat. Not the feminism I was taught and, I know this is controversial, the feminism I was taught and others on this site have spoken about, including Jerry, was taught to me at (gasp!) university!!!!

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted January 2, 2018 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

      Sorry, meant to be in response to Travis above who seems to think that all feminists are 3rd Wave Feminists and that this one person speaks for all feminism.

      • Travis
        Posted January 2, 2018 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

        “Sorry, meant to be in response to Travis above who seems to think that all feminists are 3rd Wave Feminists ”

        This does not at all accurately represent what I’ve said. I said 3rd wave feminists are all part of feminism, and stem from the same ideology. That doesn’t make all feminists 3rd wave feminists. You’ve got the implication arrows backwards.

        “and that this one person speaks for all feminism.”

        Again a misrepresentation. I think their mindset is a product of feminism. That doesn’t mean that all feminists are man-haters but it’s easy to see how it becomes so popular in a movement that uses labels and ideas like patriarchy, toxic masculinity, rape culture (of men on women) and the duluth model.

        Where were you “taught” feminism, exactly? In classes? Activist circles? I’m not sure what you mean. If it was from classes, did you consider that maybe the history of feminism is being misrepresented or biased in some way to ignore all the bad parts? If it was in activist circles, do you think maybe you associated only with the circles with which you already agreed with?

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted January 2, 2018 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

          No, the actually taught isms in school this included humanism, marxism, feminism all of them. The feminism I was taught was not even close to the examples you keep providing because it didn’t even exist back then. You seem to suggest that people who are feminists are all poisoned in their thinking because of these 3rd wave crackpots. That’s like saying that all science is bad because nutrition science is full of crackpots.

          • Travis
            Posted January 2, 2018 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

            No, you are still misreading my implication. I’m not implying that all feminists have poisoned thinking because of 3rd wave feminists. I think feminists can easily be lead to harmful activism and rhetoric because feminism itself is steeped in patriarchy theory, which easily manifests (but not always) as misandry and perpetual female victimhood. It always has and always will be steeped in patriarchy theory and gynocentrism.

            Look, it’s either a movement for equality of everyone, or a movement that focuses specifically on female issues. I get a mixed answered to this question from feminists, but the one thing almost all feminists agree with is patriarchy theory.

            But let me present 2 outcomes to the binary above:

            1) If it is focused on everyone’s issues, feminist activists, academics and “coffee shop feminists” all do a very poor job of looking at or even considering men’s issues. When they do, they tend to blame it on men (patriarchy theory) and minimize them.

            2) If it is focused only on female issues, then it is easy for the rhetoric to grow misandric and the policies to become misandric as well. This means things like the duluth model.

            What is feminism to you? A movement for equality of women (that seems to be what most commenters here say) or a movement for equality of everyone? If either of these, do you understand my 2 points?

            • Diana MacPherson
              Posted January 2, 2018 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

              Well it IS called “feminism” not “humanism” so it does focus of female issues but that doesn’t mean that because it focuses on female issues that that inevitably leads to victimhood and misandry. You really need to re-read the idea of patriarchy. I’ve never heard of a “patriarchy theory”. We live in a patriarchy. Almost all apes do. Feminism sees that the patriarchy can be harmful to both females and males. This doesn’t mean they hate men or that they see themselves as perpetual victims. See this entry about Feminism and patriarchy: It’s instructive to note that prior to using the term “patriarchy” the words “male chauvinism” and “sexism” were used but feminists felt that this targeted men as oppressors rather than the system. You seem to see this as completely backward. Feminism isn’t about attacking men, it’s about challenging a system that has for a long time oppressed women and men. Your understanding of the history of feminism and your logic of how simply focusing on women’s issues leads to misandry are highly questionable.

              I am not going to go further with this. This is why I avoid these topics as much as possible on WEIT. I do not feel it is my duty to educate people on feminism. If you choose to believe feminists are misandrist or potential misandrists simply because they are focusing on women’s issues then so be it. It is not be duty to educate you differently but you may find more sympathy for your views on the various MRA sites that tend to distort history and other facts as well.

              • Diane G.
                Posted January 3, 2018 at 4:03 am | Permalink

                Excellent reply, Diana. I try to avoid these topics on WEIT as much as possible, too.

                (I do think, though, that the feminism/humanism that calls out Muslim cultures (and others) for their oppression of women is a valid topic for WEIT–especially the FvF part of Jerry’s oeuvre–as in this case the entire problem is caused by [or at least justified by] religion.)

                If Travis is confused about the existence of the patriarchy, I’d just ask him to have a look at any recent picture of the US Congress (which will also nicely illustrate our white-iarchy.)

              • Travis
                Posted January 3, 2018 at 12:52 pm | Permalink


                “If Travis is confused about the existence of the patriarchy, I’d just ask him to have a look at any recent picture of the US Congress (which will also nicely illustrate our white-iarchy.)”

                Are you aware of the motte and bailey switch?


                Can you explain why a majority male base of politicians is a good, bad or neutral thing? (I assume to you it’s a bad thing)

                Do you also think we live in a Jewiarchy, and do you think that having a disproportionate number of Jews in positions of power is also a bad thing?

                To me, patriarchy theory and the Jewish conspiracy by the alt-right (and much older groups) are functionally equivalent. They presuppose that the is heavily biased towards their own in-group, to the detriment and/or oppression of the out-group. I disagree, and especially so with the patriarchy theory since men have an out-group bias towards women in general.

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