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Women’s voices are suppressed on social media platforms with the help of publications like The Atlantic. We’re Ovarit.

A rebuttal from the Ovarit Administration regarding The Atlantic’s article: The Secret Internet of TERFs (12/8/20)

Link to Wiki version (may be easier to read on mobile)

If Ovarit was a secret, we’re doing an awfully bad job keeping it under wraps. As of December 7, four months after launching the beta site, we’ve given invite codes to over 2,500 registered users. On an average day in early December we hosted over 7,000 unique visitors, almost 100 new posts and 1,200 comments. And thanks to The Atlantic’s recent article, The Secret Internet of TERFs, we’ve been inundated with new requests to join, experienced a significant bump in site traffic (our user base increased 10% over the past week), and conversations about Ovarit are circulating here and on other social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, LipstickAlley, Mumsnet, and Saidit.

We launched Ovarit with a handful of familiar circles - some of the banned subreddits such as r/GenderCritical, r/TERFisaslur, r/ActualWomen and r/ThisNeverHappens - and a few new ones such as o/WomensLiberation, o/WomensHistory and o/FeministEvents! In the four months since our launch, we’ve added circles to reflect our member’s interests and willingness to help grow their communities, such as: o/STEM, o/Fitness, o/FeministBooks, o/Games, and o/ArtsAndYarns, all growing in subscribers and content. o/SaveWomensSports, created December 8th, already has over 400 subscribers.

And all of the circles, posts, comments, and gut-shakingly, spit-out-your-tea funny memes are publicly visible, with or without an invite code. It’s no secret. You can check it out and read what we’re saying for yourself.

We wanted to respond to The Atlantic article to share our side of the story. Fortunately, we’ve been down this road before with media misrepresentation and knew to keep receipts of our discussions with the reporters. We encourage you to read the article, our rebuttal (below), the original interviews, and check out our site to learn more about what women are really saying on Ovarit.

TL;DR

We take issue with The Atlantic’s decision to publish this article as is, considering its frequent use of manipulation and rhetorical fallacy in an attempt to smear us as similar to the alt-right; the poorly chosen embedded links which did not uphold the argument of this piece; the complete and utter lack of evidence that we are a hate group or engage in hate speech on Ovarit or any other site; and the lack of representation of the Ovarit administrators, which gave readers a false impression that the site is run by someone who worked on the software before the site launched.

This is intellectually dishonest, biased reporting that any common person could see through with a quick glance at our site. We resent that in 2020, the centennial year after women gained the right to vote in the United States, our voices, experiences, and liberties are still so poorly represented in civic society.

Media misrepresentation of radical feminist women?

We’re Ovarit.

Part I - What Makes a Hate Group?

Part II - How Stories are Told - Media Manipulation

Part III - What Radical Feminists Really Believe

Part IV - Assertions Made

Part V - We're Ovarit

# Women’s voices are suppressed on social media platforms with the help of publications like *The Atlantic*. **We’re Ovarit.** ### A rebuttal from the Ovarit Administration regarding *The Atlantic’s* article: **The Secret Internet of TERFs (12/8/20)** [*Link to Wiki version (may be easier to read on mobile)*](https://ovarit.com/wiki/rebuttal-to-the-atlantic) If Ovarit was a secret, we’re doing an awfully bad job keeping it under wraps. As of December 7, four months after launching the beta site, we’ve given invite codes to over 2,500 registered users. On an average day in early December we hosted over 7,000 unique visitors, almost 100 new posts and 1,200 comments. And thanks to *The Atlantic*’s recent article, [*The Secret Internet of TERFs*](https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2020/12/reddit-ovarit-the-donald/617320/), we’ve been inundated with new requests to join, experienced a significant bump in site traffic (our user base increased 10% over the past week), and conversations about Ovarit are [circulating here](https://ovarit.com/o/Announcements/11018/welcome-new-members-and-lurkers) and on other social media platforms such as [Twitter](https://twitter.com/Docstockk/status/1336357960172396544), [Facebook](https://www.facebook.com/TheAtlantic/posts/10159368694328487), [LipstickAlley](https://www.lipstickalley.com/threads/lsa-gets-a-shout-from-the-atlantic-for-being-a-terf-hideaway-prepare-for-an-onslaught-of-others.4176928/), [Mumsnet](https://www.mumsnet.com/Talk/womens_rights/4101279-Atlantic-has-an-article-about-anti-trans-feminism-and-of-course-Mumsnet-is-mentioned), and [Saidit](https://saidit.net/s/GenderCritical/comments/6yk4/reddits_banned_hate_groups_are_still_here_the/). We launched Ovarit with a handful of familiar [circles](https://ovarit.com/subs) - some of the banned subreddits such as r/GenderCritical, r/TERFisaslur, r/ActualWomen and r/ThisNeverHappens - and a few new ones such as [o/WomensLiberation](https://ovarit.com/o/WomensLiberation/), [o/WomensHistory](https://ovarit.com/o/WomensHistory) and [o/FeministEvents](https://ovarit.com/o/FeministEvents)! In the four months since [our launch](https://www.ovarit.com/o/Announcements/135/welcome-back), we’ve added circles to reflect our member’s interests and willingness to help grow their communities, such as: [o/STEM](https://ovarit.com/o/STEM), [o/Fitness](https://ovarit.com/o/Fitness/), [o/FeministBooks](https://ovarit.com/o/FeministBooks), [o/Games](https://ovarit.com/o/Games), and [o/ArtsAndYarns](https://ovarit.com/o/ArtsAndYarns), all growing in subscribers and content. [o/SaveWomensSports](https://ovarit.com/o/SaveWomensSports), created December 8th, already has over 400 subscribers. And all of the circles, posts, comments, and gut-shakingly, spit-out-your-tea funny memes are publicly visible, with or without an invite code. **It’s no secret.** You can check it out and read what we’re saying for yourself. We wanted to respond to *The Atlantic* article to share **our side of the story.** Fortunately, [we’ve been down this road before with media misrepresentation](https://twitter.com/PankhurstEM/status/1211992287758172160) and knew to keep receipts of our discussions with the reporters. We encourage you to read [the article](https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2020/12/reddit-ovarit-the-donald/617320/), our rebuttal (below), [the original interviews](https://4w.pub/my-whole-conversation-with-kaitlyn-tiffany-for-the-atlantic/), and check out [our site](https://www.ovarit.com/o/Announcements/135/welcome-back) to learn more about what women are really saying on Ovarit. ### **[TL;DR](https://knowyourmeme.com/memes/tldr)** We take issue with *The Atlantic*’s decision to publish this article as is, considering its frequent use of manipulation and rhetorical fallacy in an attempt to smear us as similar to the alt-right; the poorly chosen embedded links which did not uphold the argument of this piece; the complete and utter lack of **evidence** that we are a hate group or engage in hate speech on Ovarit or any other site; and the lack of representation of the Ovarit administrators, which gave readers a false impression that the site is run by someone who worked on the software before the site launched. This is intellectually dishonest, biased reporting that any common person could see through with a quick glance at our site. We resent that in 2020, the centennial year after women gained the right to vote in the United States, our voices, experiences, and liberties are still so poorly represented in civic society. Media misrepresentation of radical feminist women? # [We’re Ovarit.](https://ovarit.com/) [Part I - What Makes a Hate Group? ](https://ovarit.com/o/GenderCritical/12170/the-secret-internet-of-terfs-a-rebuttal-from-ovarit/4be6e408-04ae-4c4d-9a78-fcccc3a54ae1#comment-4be6e408-04ae-4c4d-9a78-fcccc3a54ae1) [Part II - How Stories are Told - Media Manipulation](https://ovarit.com/o/GenderCritical/12170/the-secret-internet-of-terfs-a-rebuttal-from-ovarit/4be6e408-04ae-4c4d-9a78-fcccc3a54ae1#comment-4be6e408-04ae-4c4d-9a78-fcccc3a54ae1) [Part III - What Radical Feminists *Really* Believe ](https://ovarit.com/o/GenderCritical/12170/the-secret-internet-of-terfs-a-rebuttal-from-ovarit/f297773e-a3bf-4213-aafd-96652d32e462#comment-f297773e-a3bf-4213-aafd-96652d32e462) [Part IV - Assertions Made ](https://ovarit.com/o/GenderCritical/12170/the-secret-internet-of-terfs-a-rebuttal-from-ovarit/a9cf8a1d-ea56-4c30-8488-912ddf24c972#comment-a9cf8a1d-ea56-4c30-8488-912ddf24c972) [Part V - We're Ovarit](https://ovarit.com/o/GenderCritical/12170/the-secret-internet-of-terfs-a-rebuttal-from-ovarit/e0e3e1c8-e5fb-48f4-bd1d-da846b87720f#comment-e0e3e1c8-e5fb-48f4-bd1d-da846b87720f)

62 comments

[–] Ruby [OP] 74 points (+74|-0) Edited

Part I - What Makes a Hate Group?

The current title of Kaitlyn Tiffany’s Atlantic article is a second attempt. Initially it was titled: “Reddit’s Banned Hate Groups Are Still Here.” Although numerous rightwing and Christian organizations have gained the Southern Poverty Law Center’s attention on their list of anti-lgbt hate groups, not one of them is a radical feminist organization. None of them are even feminist organizations. If we’re such a significant hate group, why aren’t the experts in hate groups paying attention to us?

Ms. Tiffany is familiar with the Southern Poverty Law Center, as she wrote about the SPLC’s “detailed report on r/The_Donald” in her June article about r/The_Donald being banned from Reddit. Both SPLC’s 2018 report and Ms. Tiffany’s article are laden with evidence: quotes, screenshots, memes, and comments from the subreddit, expressing support for genocide, white supremacy, ethnic cleansing, and dehumanization. Actual hate groups don’t hide their hatred.

These details are conspicuously absent in her piece on ‘TERFs.’ Lacking evidence that ‘TERFs’ are a hate group (or anti-trans) in any published journals or by any established authority, Ms. Tiffany relies on a poorly-cited undergraduate student’s unpublished thesis on “TERF trackers,” a 3-page LipstickAlley thread from 2016, a tongue-in-cheek article about “unsavoury” sexual material on Mumsnet, a number of articles and research about the alt-right, and a random Redditor’s comment… to establish credibility.

Do you need evidence to call people a hate group? We think so.

Part II - How Stories are Told - Media Manipulation

The media is responsible for telling stories fairly and accurately, without bias. This piece failed dramatically - from the URL text to the imagery accompanying the article to the embedded links and suggested articles - this article conspires to tell the story that gender critical women are as much of a threat to transgender individuals as the alt right is to marginalized communities. The outcome of the decision to tell the story from a one-sided, hyperbolic perspective is that a critical voice in the political debate has been silenced.

Radical feminists oppose many of the legal aims being pushed by trans rights activists, such as allowing male individuals to play women’s sports, giving children and teenagers untested, unproven medical treatments, forcing women to be examined by male medical professionals, and eliminating women’s rights to single-sex spaces such as bathrooms, prisons, and rape shelters. We have the right to resist legislation that negatively impacts women and girls. We are opposed to media reporting that biases readers against radical feminists, misrepresents our goals and perspectives, and fails to fairly represent the controversies it purports to cover.

Association Fallacy - The Abusive Alt Right

Throughout the article, gender critical feminists are juxtaposed against a backdrop of alt-right racism and violence. This is known as an Association Fallacy and can be found throughout the article: in the headline, embedded links, suggested articles, graphic imagery, and website link.

This type of side-by-side manipulation creates the impression that we are the same as another group the author previously profiled.

Some examples:

  • The word “toxic” is used six times in the text, both directly and indirectly referring to the gender critical community. No examples of gender critical feminists’ alleged toxicity are provided, however examples of alt-right toxicity are.

  • The author attempts to associate us with pedophiles and sociopaths as she discusses the software options we considered using for Ovarit. This is as relevant as accusing someone of being a right-winger because right-wingers use WordPress or Microsoft Word. It’s a bad argument, and isn’t particularly interesting.

  • The author attempts to draw similarities between the banning of r/GenderCritical and the banning of r/The_Donald. We maintain the only thing the two subs had in common were being removed on the same day.

  • The author changes up the terminology she uses from “TERF” to “gender critical feminist” to “anti-trans feminist” to “anti-trans activists.” This allows her to - when convenient - document hateful or violent actions done by the alt-right and subtly influence the reader to believe it was done by radical feminists. By following the links embedded within the article it becomes clear that the vast majority of “hate” originate from the alt-right.

Whether subtle or overt, we object to and resent being grouped with alt-right, incel, and men’s rights groups. We are regularly targeted by these groups for harassment and abuse, ranging from vulgar memes to violent threats.

The Inferno

The image accompanying the article is a gif of flickering flames appearing at the end of seven browsers layered within each other. This appears to be a subtle reference to Dante’s Inferno and the 7th level of hell: violence. This level is associated with murderers, thugs, suicide victims, blasphemers and “sodomites” - i.e. gay people today. For centuries, women have been depicted as witches, heretics, blasphemers, and worse, particularly when we fight for our rights. Lesbians and gay men have been denigrated, abused, murdered, tortured and discriminated against. This image reinforces the idea that women who express their opinions on sex and gender are committing a hell-worthy offense.

Multiple inferences can be made here. While it may be an attempt to draw a parallel with the religious right, the more likely explanation is that radical feminist views on gender are being twisted as “faith-based” beliefs rather than factual ones. Ms. Tiffany reinforces the notion that gender critical feminists are dogmatic or fanatic by using words like “devoted,” framing popular threads where women share their stories as ritual practice, and emphasizing “guilt” felt by people who no longer adhere to gender ideology.

Our philosophy is not religious, nor fanatic. It is valid feminist analysis and scholarship based on material reality. As Sarah Ditum quipped in response to this article, “if your idea of a dangerously extreme belief is ‘humans have a sex and can't change it’, you might be the out-of-touch one.”

Suggested Stories

[Read: Reddit is done pretending The Donald Is Fine.]

[Read: Reddit is finally facing its legacy of racism.]

[Read: Reddit quashed QAnon by accident.]

The stories suggested alongside this article reinforce the intended narrative of this piece. In Ms. Tiffany’s conception, Reddit’s character undergoes a redemption arc - from free speech proponents with a dirtied legacy to “social justice warrior” cracking down on conspiracy and hate speech. This not only promotes the idea that radical feminist groups also fall into the same ideologies, but that Reddit did the right thing by banning us from the platform.

Link Dropping

Adding a lot of links can be a way to imply to the reader there is far more evidence to support a claim than proven by direct example.

Some of the odder examples include:

  • “Warped online discourse” links to a journalism guide by GLAAD, the transgender advocacy organzation. This link includes no documentation of radical feminists, feminists, ‘TERFs’, or gender critical individuals. It instructs the media how to report on transgender legal issues so their demands are more likely to be met.

  • “Mumsnet” links to a smirking ‘expose’ of Mumsnet women for daring to have sex with men and talk about it on a popular women’s website. There is absolutely no mention of feminists, radical feminists, ‘TERFs’, or gender critical people. We recommend the author read beyond sensationalist headlines next time.

  • “Pistol” links to a piece from 2016 about conservative leader Anita Staver who reports carrying a gun with her in public bathrooms as an expression of her 2nd amendment rights. Staver is not a radical feminist nor representative of one.

It’s shocking The Atlantic allowed all these “sources” to be linked, considering they fail to support the assertions made by the author.

“Us versus Them”

Kaitlyn Tiffany writes about how an “us versus them” attitude cultivates a sense of belonging and has been used to assess toxicity within communities. She then proceeds to craft an entire article using language designed to trigger leftists into grouping radical feminists in with the alt-right and religious right - the “known” enemies of the left.

“If you spent hours a day on this site, it would be easy to forget what that broader world is really like. It would be easy to forget what other people are really like, too, and to lose any curiosity about what they experience.”

If you spend all your time online, in avatar form, you may forget humans are sexually dimorphic, that women experience the world differently than men, and that the world has been developed with men’s and the male body’s needs prioritized.

We’re not off in our own world. We’re in the world, living, working, breathing (hopefully at a distance) right next to everyone else. We wish Ms. Tiffany had demonstrated more curiosity about the women of Ovarit rather than falsely painting us as insular ideologues dealing in hateful rhetoric and company.

[–] Ruby [OP] 54 points (+54|-0) Edited

Part III - What Radical Feminists Really Believe

‘TERF’ is a slur

Many radical feminists believe ‘TERF’ is a slur. Feminist linguist Deborah Cameron notes, the word ‘TERF’ shares clear similarities with the kind of hate speech directed at other groups.

An author of one of the thought pieces linked in the article agrees radical feminists consider ‘TERF’ to be a slur and acknowledges “all bywords for bigots are intended to be defamatory.”

The term ‘TERF’ is levied as an allegation against all sorts of people who disagree with proponents of transgender ideology, regardless of whether or not they actually “exclude trans people” and regardless of whether or not they are radical feminists. By calling us ‘TERFs’ instead of calling us gender critical feminists or radical feminists, the author is able to associate us with anyone who has ever been called a ‘TERF,’ even if we have nothing else in common with them.

We recognize the patriarchy, but feminism is for women

We take issue with framing radical feminism as “focused on the roots and prevalence of male violence.” Feminism is a movement for women. It is not about men. Radical feminism is defined by its focus on the root or origin of women’s oppression.

As feminist writer Carol Anne Douglas explains, The word ‘radical’ means going to the root of things. Political radicals believe there is oppression in society and try to look in radically new ways to understand this oppression, its causes and ways of ending it.”

Feminists recognize patriarchy (male power and control over civic, economic, and social domains) as a root of oppression for women as a class. We work on myriad efforts related to liberating women from this oppression - ranging from advocacy around reproductive health and sovereignty, to abolition of rape and violence, to economic and criminal justice, to expanding women’s fair access to, and representation in, education, government, media and other spheres of public and private life.

Sex is fixed and gender should be abolished

Lavery claims ‘TERFs’ are “a minority of a minority of feminists,” while presenting hyperbolic statements about a “TERF industrial complex.” We agree radical feminists are likely a minority political group, but the mainstream view held by most scholars on sex and gender, as well as the majority of the population, is that humans cannot change sex. Only recently has this been a controversial point of view. Conversations about ‘gender’ are confused because people use different definitions for the same terms.

Proponents of transgender ideology believe that people have intrinsic psychological states of ‘gender’ and define gender as a person’s internal and external expression of “feeling” like a man, woman, or “neither/both/other.” They refer to their feelings (“I woke up today feeling like a boy”), appearance (“I’m wearing a dress and makeup”), interests and hobbies (“I like playing with dolls like girls do”), and behaviors (“I talk like a man”) as evidence of their internal ‘gender’, i.e. whether the individual is a man, woman, or some other variation.

Radical feminists use the term gender to talk about roles and statuses prescribed to individuals based on their sex. This means girls are raised to become a culturally-specific kind of domestic servant, care giver, sex object, and/or mother, in many cases receiving little to nothing in return but food and shelter. We recognize this as a form of oppression. We define sex as the biological categories of male and female.

People who do not believe there are internal gender states and that people cannot change their sex are called gender critical. This may include people who are not feminists or not leftists. Often this position is held by radical feminists. We don’t buy into the premise that “not liking girl things” or “not feeling like a girl” means not being a girl. We want to live in a world where girls can grow up to be all kinds of women - no transition required.

We do not exclude trans people

Use of the word ‘TERF’ implies radical feminists are “excluding” trans people from the feminist movement. Radical feminists fight for the liberation of all female people, regardless of how they identify. This may include women and girls who identify as “trans men,” “non-binary,” or any other gender identity. Many radical feminists also fight for the rights of trans people to be free of employment and housing discrimination, and to live free from the restraints of gender.

As Andrea Dworkin wrote:

“Feminism is a political practice of fighting male supremacy in behalf of women as a class, including all the women you don't like, including all the women you don't want to be around, including all the women who used to be your best friends whom you don't want anything to do with anymore. It doesn't matter who the individual women are. They all have the same vulnerability to rape, to battery, as children to incest. Poorer women have more vulnerability to prostitution, which is basically a form of sexual exploitation that is intolerable in an egalitarian society, which is the society we are fighting for.”

We’re leftists, but we don’t always agree with the left

Some assume that because radical feminists have conflict with other leftists that we must be on the right. Radical feminists disagree with leftist efforts that exploit women - including pornography, prostitution, and surrogacy. While leftists may appear to be a monolith on some policies, notable leftist scholars such as Noam Chomsky and Hannah Arendt also support radical feminist perspectives.

We Aren’t Wombyn

We were perplexed by the claim in this piece that we embrace the word “wombyn”, so we conducted a sitewide search of the number of times the word was used on Ovarit prior to the publishing of this piece and came up with a whopping six(!) mentions from 2 users who used the term, one repeatedly as a matter of personal preference and the other once as satire (the usage of this word went up greatly after the Atlantic article due to discussions about it).

Women want to call ourselves women. We’re not trying to call ourselves “wombyn” any more than we’re trying to call ourselves “uterus bearers” “menstruators” or “people with front holes” - terms we’ve all seen used to recategorize “women” so that males who call themselves “women” don’t feel excluded from the term.

[–] Ruby [OP] 56 points (+56|-0)

Part IV - Assertions Made

We are ‘lawless’

Ms. Tiffany states that if gender critical feminists are banned from mainstream social media sites, we will go to more “lawless” parts of the web. This is reinforced by “internet researcher Luc Cousineau'' who claims we are not “hemmed in'' by dissenting voices or platform rules. Why is Luc quoted as if he is an expert on feminist internet spaces when he describes himself as a researcher of “masculinity, power, and men's rights in leisure time on Reddit”?

The underlying suggestion here is that gender critical feminists don’t have to follow the rules of civilized society while on Ovarit. For anyone who thinks Ovarit is a free-for-all, we encourage them to read our sitewide rules and guidelines which have been in place since the site launched. We explicitly refuse to host abusive, hateful, and pornographic content - which is more restrictive than Reddit. We expect all our users to follow the rules of Ovarit as well as the circle-specific rules they are commenting or posting in. Moderators are quick to remove rule-breaking content and discuss grey area concerns as a collective group. Ovarit is not and never has been a free-for-all for hate speech.

‘TERFs’ dox people

Ms. Tiffany shares an anecdote from trans-identified male Katelyn Burns who claims “members of r/GenderCritical [dug] up and mock[ed] pictures taken of her with her children before her transition.”

When these claims were initially made, r/GenderCritical moderators spent a long, sleepless night pouring through hundreds of posts and comments to try to find the offending material. It was never found. On the other hand, Burns has a history of making up claims about being harassed.

Sharing personal information that could be private (doxing) is banned on Ovarit.

Radical feminists harass trans people

This piece did not provide any verified examples of radical feminists harassing people, although it supplied plenty of links indicating that transgender people experience harassment and that the alt-right engages in violent rhetoric and abuse. Radical feminists are familiar with structures of oppression and do not support violence or harassment against anyone.

Grace Lavery, a trans-identified male who believes humans can literally change sex, claimed to be targeted by ‘TERFs.’ Following the source link for this claim reveals Lavery’s joke about burning a book about girl children transitioning:

So-called free speech activists have spent the last week trying to get me fired from UC Berkeley for a joke they didn’t like. The joke was a sort of B+ punchline to a solid A- set-up, but to give the punchline first, it was simply this: “I encourage my followers to steal copies of Abigail Shrier’s Irreversible Damage and burn them on a pyre.”

Lavery admits that “looks pretty bad...if you take it out of context. But the set up changes things.”

Ready for the set-up?

So, the initial joke was: “what we could do is find copies of Abigail Shrier’s book IRREVERSIBLE DAMAGE in our local libraries, rip out the interiors without consent, and install the texts of our own propaganda before sewing the jacket back up. stop this rubbish from reproducing itself.” Perhaps a bit grim, but I think it’s kind of funny:

Lavery has made other offensive comments about the book, although he admits he has only read the cover. There is something ironic and horrifying about an associate professor of English calling for book burning, theft, and vandalism to library books, using grossly derisive language about women’s bodies and non-consent as a backdrop (“rip out the interiors without consent”).

Lavery was not “targeted by anti-trans activists,” there was criticism of offensive speech and a professor encouraging criminal activity. As an academic, he should be familiar with having his public ideas challenged. We give him an E for effort.

Additional links supplied in The Atlantic piece often revealed a different story than the narrative:

  • Andrea Long Chu’s piece (“trolling tactics”) explains that the “true battles rage on Tumblr, in the form of comments, memes, and doxing.” One might expect him to explain how trans people are being doxed - instead he discusses how gender critical women are put on lists for the purpose of being blocked or harassed.

  • s.e. smith’s piece (“doxing and harassment”) describes ‘TERFs’ as abusers who organize mass mobs to get trans people suspended from social media platforms. smith notes that the suspended users were tweeting “jokes” such as:

“If any TERFs like or retweet this, I’m shoving my foot up your ass.”

“It’s German for ‘the terf the.” [Die TERF die]

“give terfs some punch”

“mix up the punch that you made for the terf real good and give them straws to make sure they do not choke.”

“The amount of bullshit TERFs spew is amazing. I think we should punch more of them.”

  • “anti-trans activists target and terrorize trans women” links to a piece about a pregnant trans man whose image was spread across social media sites with harmful lies. There is no evidence in the piece that radical feminists were perpetrating acts against trans women, nor that they played a hand in bullying Trystan Reese.

  • “Dangerous place” links to a BBC article about harassment against trans people. There is no indication nor evidence that these acts were perpetrated by radical feminists.

  • Christina Lu’s ‘TERF tracker’ is intended to silence and suppress gender critical voices

Radical feminists post hateful content

One of the few examples Ms. Tiffany mentions to support her assertions of a toxic community is a meme reposted on Ovarit with the headline “They’re self-aware lmao.” Rather than include the image or link to it, Ms. Tiffany tells readers it is “a playful meme ostensibly made by a trans woman about the transition experience.” The meme, intro scenes from Cartoon Network’s Powerpuff Girls, depicts ingredients being dropped into a cooking pot (each ingredient labeled “thigh highs” “cat ears” “skirts” “Give E[strogen pills]”). In the final frame: “cat girl.” We find the belief that men can become cat girls an absurd premise and feel no shame at having laughed at it.

The other example provided was a thread of women complaining about the Transgender Day of Remembrance. Ms. Tiffany claims “at least 40” trans people have been killed by “anti-trans violence” this year, while linking to the Human Rights Campaign, which counts both transgender and gender nonconforming people who die in any act of violence, which includes robberies, intimate partner violence, and violence at the hands of other trans people. Many of these incidents do not meet the criteria for hate crimes.

Women feel frustrated by the repetitive and misleading media reporting on murder rates of transgender women when over 2,500 women are killed in the US every year (not including unsolved cases and missing persons) with hardly a whisper.

MK Fain and girl_undone were asked by Kaitlyn Tiffany if they were worried about threads that had “a tone more of mocking or anger towards trans women.” MK responded:

I think humor and anger are both very common ways for people to deal with pain and oppression on a huge range of issues. Women (especially black women) are often criticized for being "too angry" when they speak unapologetically in defense of their rights or against systems that oppress them. I personally find more civil dialogue to be very helpful when approaching the issue publicly, but I will never hold it against a woman to nonviolently express anger, resentment, or humor when she is discussing the patriarchy.

Ovarit admin girl_undone adds:

Women are held to an unhealthy standard when it comes to being “kind,” and it’s not one men are held to. It’s certainly not a standard that the opponents of feminists are held to. There is nothing wrong with anger, it’s an emotion that motivates us to assert our boundaries, and I’m convinced that the pressure on women to repress our anger stops us from enforcing our boundaries. Women should be angry and women should be able to mock ridiculous propaganda that is being used to justify destroying women’s rights.

No other content from Ovarit was cited to support the author’s claim of “hateful” or “toxic” speech.

[–] Ruby [OP] 51 points (+51|-0)

Part V - We're Ovarit

The Reddit Ban

Kevin Roose of The New York Times describes Reddit as “a site that for years was considered one of the internet’s dirtiest sludge pits” as a result of its willingness to host “free speech” of any kind. Reddit attracted negative attention for hosting racist, misogynistic, and illegal content, leading to multiple major policy changes. Reddit CEO Steve Huffman, interviewed by Roose, explained that r/The_Donald contained rule-breaking content that was “harassing or violence or bullying” and that Reddit admins had tried to “get that community to come in line,” including changing moderators and making “technical changes” in recent months, all to no avail.

In contrast, Reddit admins had not been in contact with us when the subreddit was banned. Aware of the growing controversy around our subreddit (as well as the persistent threat of being trolled), r/GenderCritical moderators used automated tools to screen for inappropriate content, “fastidiously enforced all the rules that existed, as well as rules [Reddit administration] told us to enforce that weren’t documented on the site,” and recruited moderators all over the globe to ensure there would always be someone available around the clock.

Early in the morning of June 29th, dozens of posts from r/GenderCritical’s front page - possibly all of them - were reported as “suggestive content involving minors” aka child porn. The subreddit vanished hours later as mods were working to clean up the mess. We had no notice or warning, but we suspected what happened.

A few weeks earlier, author J.K. Rowling made public comments on Twitter calling out an organization for using the term “people who menstruate” rather than “women.” Rowling explained her opinion in more detail on her blog, but the trans rights mob bombarded her feed with abuse and harassment.

r/GenderCritical’s subscriber count swelled as people joined to discuss the controversy without threats or silencing. When other subreddits shut down the discussion due to “bigotry” and “transphobia,” more and more people started coming to r/GenderCritical to ask why. Many people, agreeing with Rowling, hadn’t realized their viewpoints were controversial and struggled to understand what the bans were about. When Reddit updated their content policy to take down r/The_Donald and r/ChapoTrapHouse, r/GenderCritical was taken down too.

While other subreddits received information about the rules they broke when they were removed, Reddit was silent about r/GenderCritical. Requests from r/GenderCritical moderators and members to provide more information or clarity on which rules were broken went unanswered.

We want to ask - if Reddit cares so much about hate speech or how violent online rhetoric results in real world violence, why does Reddit still host pornographic content that eroticizes abuse, incest, slavery and trafficking, as well as violent rapes of both women and girls? Are these not serious problems with real world consequences? Does Reddit host this content to prevent lawlessness elsewhere?

We’re Ovarit

There are interesting seeds of discussion about online bubbles, the purpose of moderation, power and control of internet platforms, and the existence of reactionary hate movements. Unfortunately, lacking data or expert opinion on ‘TERFs,’ this piece failed to cultivate that discussion.

We remain concerned about the author’s suggestion that authoritarian-style censorship or tracking is the right action for social media sites to take. We asked our circle moderators what they thought and they shared the following:

  • “Stopping people from having a different ideology is not a goal of moderation at all - its a goal of people who think that they have some right to control other people's minds. It's creepy.”

  • “People will always be able to carry their ideas elsewhere, and as a moderator of one place you can neither forbid your members from going anywhere else, nor can you monitor everywhere else, and you shouldn't do either anyway. Our job is to make sure the space they talk in is as peaceful as possible, not to mandate or contain any opinions.”

  • “My understanding/belief is that moderation of an online space is about making sure that respectful discussion, interaction, expression of emotions and disagreement can occur easily in that space. It is not about policing people's thoughts. It is not about passing judgment on which thoughts are worth more. My own personal opinions and viewpoints, as a mod, are largely irrelevant..... even if I personally disagree with someone, it would be wrong for me to take away their ability to speak, or make them feel as if they would be socially punished for speaking. the two major exceptions to this, for me, would be 1) if a person is advocating for actual physical harm against another person, or a group of people, & 2) if a person is speaking about another person or group of people in a dehumanizing way.”

  • “It's not our place to dictate what people should or shouldn't think.”

  • “I do not trust when people advocate for authoritarian control over other people's thoughts and words (and behavior.....), and frame it as a good thing, or the morally correct thing. I do not trust that. It is not respectful of the subjectivity of other humans and the outcome is never good....abuse of power comes as no surprise! If someone genuinely believes they have the right to define what is morally correct for others to think and believe, and occupies a position which gives them some measure of power/control over others ability to express themselves freely......that power will be abused. Abuse of power and authoritarianism isn't somehow better or excusable when it comes from the Left.”

Women’s speech is limited anywhere that we are put on tracking lists, banned and deleted from view, doxed and harassed with abusive messaging and media. These actions often occur when women claim authority on our own bodies and lived experiences. But we’re not fixated on persecution, we’re fixated on crafting a better world where women can live free of oppression, discrimination, sex role expectations, and violence. The beauty of Ovarit is that we’ve been able to create a space where women can communicate with each other about our lives, health, history, and interests free of aggressive male interruptions, abusive content, slurs, and dick pics.

In closing -

Kaitlyn Tiffany asked Mary Kate Fain, the only woman representing gender critical feminists quoted in the piece, “Would you agree that women in this community feel persecuted by Big Tech, and by the mainstream media?” Ms. Tiffany then published a blatantly biased piece accusing us at Ovarit of promoting hate and violence, failed to support her assertions, and didn’t give us any chance to disagree with allegations and misrepresentations made about us.

We believe women deserve better than that. Let women speak!

- Ruby & the rest of the Ovarit Admins

A special thank you to our sisters in chat for your hard work

P.S.: M.K. Fain

Hey M.K.! We love you <3

M.K. Fain has been a huge support to us here at Ovarit and we appreciate her unrelenting advocacy and bravery. However, we regret that this piece unfairly targeted her while failing to include any of the discussions with two Ovarit admins who were interviewed (multiple times via email and voice chat). It is unclear why an article on Ovarit would focus on a volunteer whose help - although vital to the project - was short-term, while the other admins have been the backbone of the community for many years.

Check out Spinster.xyz, 4w, and support our sister at Patreon.

[–] Tea_Wench 45 points (+45|-0)

"Radical feminists oppose many of the legal aims being pushed by trans rights activists, such as allowing male individuals to play women’s sports, giving children and teenagers untested, unproven medical treatments, forcing women to be examined by male medical professionals, and eliminating women’s rights to single-sex spaces such as bathrooms, prisons, and rape shelters."

It's not just radical feminists - most reasonable people who are not in thrall to the fashions of the progressive left also oppose them.

[–] bumpyjerboa 66 points (+66|-0) Edited

I'm only halfway through this so far but my jaw is on the floor, I have to ask before I forget. They actually have linked an article about sex posts on mumsnet to shame it? Is there any logical consistency whatsoever to these people?!?

Edit: brilliantly written. Perfect rebuttal. As usual, I am damned proud to be a member of this community.

[–] womenopausal 45 points (+45|-0)

My suspicion is she didn't read past the headline. It was called something like 'The Dark Side of Mumsnet' and if you didn't like, read it, you might think it was about the evil feminism. This isn't just a failure of the author - it's a failure of the editor how poorly evidenced this whole thing is.

[–] bumpyjerboa 38 points (+38|-0)

Good grief. Just pathetic. In essence, the author likely googled "mumsnet bad" and went with the first hit. Gross editorial misconduct.

Either that or any gathering of women to talk about anything but how much we love our trans betters must be censored, I guess. I saw Goody bumpyjerboa fraternizing with the TERFs after chapel on Sunday!

[–] womenopausal 39 points (+39|-0)

Lol - they were actually talking about some dude who's post coital routine is not the usual falling asleep with his mouth open, but dunking his todger in a glass of water which was stored on the bedside for that purpose. His partner was asking all the other women if this was normal and they were going ..... uh ...... very much no.

The so-called dark side of Mumsnet turns out to be as sinister as the dark side of a chocolate digestive.

[–] Les 28 points (+28|-0) Edited

I'm also convinced she didn't look at Lipstick Alley at all. "Black women's beauty forum." Pull up the homepage in your broswer and you can see the long list of active forums that range in topic from celebrity gossip, movie and TV disussion, the African diaspora, politics, sports, and honestly there is so much that even a truncated list would take up way too much room.

Ah, sorry, I must have been mistaken. Black women are actually just sitting in Lipstick Alley talking about makeup all day. Kaitlynn Tiffany apparently didn't think a black women-centric forum was worth researching or respecting. Poetic, really, given how much the trans movement uses black women as tokens to seem legitimate but then tosses us aside the moment we don't want to mule for them.

[–] yesisaiditxx 23 points (+23|-0)

Too aroused by the “terf bashing” to have been able to think straight.

[–] Noonefromnowhere 21 points (+21|-0)

Just to say, a lot of journalistic enterprises once had a team of fact checkers to double check the reality of everything that was being said. These positions were largely gone ten years ago, and the remaining ones have slowly followed suit. Now, the journo themself is expected to fact-check and no one double-checks (unless you have an excellent editor who has time for something like that). The editor is only responsible for editing. Structural arrangement of sentences and paragraphs, grammar, phrasing, synonyms and that sort of thing. The proof readers who would catch any minor bugaboos the editor missed have also been cut.

So yes, it is a failure, but it is a structural failure generally that is more evident here by our expertise in the subject matter.

[–] Tidal80 30 points (+30|-0)

I paused at the exact same place. The article about mumsnet might as well been called “women have the audacity to like sex AND discuss it!” I had to check the publishing date of the article, was expecting the 1950’s.

[–] NotCis 31 points (+31|-0)

People have always been offended that women, particularly mothers, talk about things other than diapers and nap times. It became threatening, see.

[–] songoftheworms 56 points (+56|-0)

At the end of the closing ceremony at the last Michfest women started to howl like wolves through their grief. There were 9,000-something attendees and it was just incredible, all of us together under the deep summer stars one last time. This feels like an echo of that howling. May it ring across the world.

[–] r4df3mcynthia 24 points (+24|-0)

Where can I read more about what happened to Michfest? And about Michfest's conception, closing and possible return? Because I'm sure lesbian women will be able to have another Michfest someday, as grim as times are now.

[–] somegenerichandle 23 points (+23|-0) Edited

Well, I can't find it now (some email from a listserv was circulated), but in 1991 they asked a transwoman to leave named Burkholder. I recall that he went with a female friend and had helped women with their bags and parking on the first day. At the end of the day, sitting around a fire, the organizers refused him entrance. Him and his friend stayed at a hotel and drove home the following morning. Honestly, he didn't seem too upset about it. However, there were some who decided to make this their cause and then birthed the CampTrans which camped out next to the event. Eventually, they started the TransSisters journal, which is archived at a university website. Leslie Feinberg was among those who wrote for it. She had previously published Stone Butch Blues which did much to popularize the term. Interestingly, the journal tends to use non-trans instead of cis. In 2013, a petition was circulated demanding that musicians boycotted the event because of their policies. In 2016, I was following their facebook group. That year they had a campaign called "Wanted: girls and women" featuring photos of gender non conforming women.

The conception was basically that these women music fests were local in the early 1970s, and three women started Michfest in 1976. There is a letter form the founder in 2013 if you want to read it in her own words.

Thank you for the image, it is beautiful to imagine, I wish I could have been there!

[–] crlody 49 points (+49|-0)

We find the belief that men can become cat girls an absurd premise and feel no shame at having laughed at it.

This is my favorite part

[–] womenopausal 41 points (+41|-0)

I've tweeted out a link to this rebuttal here. If you're on twitter, please consider retweeting it.

[–] yesisaiditxx 41 points (+41|-0)

I wish The Atlantic would comment on this. At this point I wouldn’t care if they just doubled down, but I at least want to know if they consider this an appropriate article or concede to some of these issues. Don’t need any edits, apologies, or long statements— just tell us if you stand by this 100% or not.

[–] hellamomzilla 32 points (+32|-0)

They've been doing this half-assed "journalism" for about a year or so. The editor was making an attempt to hire on some wide-ranging voices (as one would expect from an historically wide-ranging and eclectic publication) and the younger staff became very upset and so people were fired before even writing a word. Then pieces were published which were either not fully supported after publication, but which were so on-the-nose that they drew attention and even a cursory pass showed it hadn't been properly fact-checked, let alone edited.

This is just the latest nonsense. They're on a quick slide to becoming Buzzfeed. It's a shame, honestly. I used to really respect the care and approach at The Atlantic. Even if I disagreed with a point of view, I never felt like I was being served writing that was essentially a first draft from some barely-an-adult who was doing her best to serve a definite agenda. Oh well. It's their own damn fault. Hard to feel to bad for self-inflicted damage.

[–] girl_undone 12 points (+12|-0)

The editor was making an attempt to hire on some wide-ranging voices (as one would expect from an historically wide-ranging and eclectic publication) and the younger staff became very upset and so people were fired before even writing a word.

That is such a disappointment.

[–] girl_undone 17 points (+17|-0)

I've sent two of the editors questions about this. Are the in-text links supposed to be related to the piece? Does The Atlantic have an editorial policy about fairly representing the positions of the subjects of its pieces? Do they normally not give their subjects opportunity to reply to claims made about them, or ignore their replies and contradict them without note?

No reply so far.

[–] Verdandi -2 points (+4|-6)

Maybe send a fake lawyer letter? I'm having a brain fart and can't remember what this is called.

[–] jackthelass 13 points (+13|-0)

Definitely do NOT do this - a letter that looks like it's realistically from a lawyer will be directed to the Atlantic's legal team, as legal ethics rules prohibit lawyers from talking to an adverse party directly rather than through their legal team. Aside from not getting to talk to the editors or anyone in charge of content/PR that would be able to address your concerns, you might also run afoul of state laws prohibiting the practice of law without a license, which is usually a misdemeanor. Perhaps you're thinking of something like a FOIA request, but that only applies to government records, not information from a private entity like a corporation. Letters that are obviously not from any lawyer but have a lot of legalese inserted to sound 'more official' just kind of make the writer sound delusional and tend to go directly in the trash.

Aside from dishonesty being below us here, in terms of effectiveness this seems much more like a job for public pressure - editor questions from people like OP, retweeting and spreading this wonderfully written rebuttal will eventually catch the attention of someone on staff who cares about their publication's credibility and would want to address the shortcomings that led them to publish something so far below their usual standards.

[–] delicate_silicate 39 points (+39|-0)

A well researched and beautifully written piece of actual journalism.

One thing that was extremely annoying about that drivel she wrote were all the bullshit sources she linked. I went through them and was astonished at how irrelevant they were to any claim she made. It reminds me of the god awful 10-12 page research papers with 10+ authors and 100+ references that my teachers would scoff at. The links are full of nonsense and they think it makes them look smart because they know how utterly stupid and lazy their target audience is. They link a bunch of garbage and know full well nobody will read it. They just go off of the presumed reverence they think their audience has for them. It's manipulative and makes them look like they have something to hide. This woman and the Atlantic have ZERO class and credibility.

[–] drdee 36 points (+36|-0)

Excellent essay, quick question: the link for this statement 'women experience the world differently than men, and that the world has been developed with men’s and the male body’s needs prioritized' goes to a book called 'Invisible Differences', a graphic novel about a woman with autism. Would it have been better to link to Caroline Criado-Perez's 'Invisible Women', which is more about women in general?

https://carolinecriadoperez.com/book/invisible-women/

[–] r4df3mcynthia 17 points (+17|-0)

I thought that was weird too, I figured - maybe she tackles the issue in the book? But it sure doesn't seem like the central theme. I think you might be right. I'm gonna wait for Ruby to get back to us.

[–] drdee 14 points (+14|-0)

I went right to the link because I thought it was another book on male-centred design that I hadn't heard of yet.

[–] Ruby [OP] 28 points (+28|-0)

Thank you all! Invisible Women was the book link we intended to include.

We're so lucky our readers are as sharp as all of you and aware of excellent books to read. <3

[–] ShrewUntamed 23 points (+23|-0)

Thank you for providing such a well-reasoned, articulate response to that screed passing itself as journalism. Brava!

[–] somegenerichandle 20 points (+20|-0) Edited

Thank you for putting this together. It was easy to read and well organized. There are two points which i would like to address. First, I think the bit about Arendt and Chomsky could to be clarified. They and radical feminists share some perspectives. How it is written now, I believe could be interpreted as them supporting radical feminism. Your point, I believe is arguing that gender critical people are leftists because they share the same views as some influential leftists have, such as Arendt's position on totalitarian regimens. Second, regarding the transgender day of awareness, the raw numbers are somewhat meaningless. When we look at the rates, it seems they are remarkably lower than the the overall population. Source: Washington Post, data from 2017 Cheers and I hope this thorough rebuttal gets picked up.

edit: Oh, and the discussion of wombyn, reminds me of womyn, which was used by the womyn's land group of separatist feminists.

[–] r4df3mcynthia 6 points (+6|-0)

the bit about Arendt and Chomsky could to be clarified. They and radical feminists share some perspectives. How it is written now, I believe could be interpreted as them supporting radical feminism.

I totally interpreted like that! I got even a little hopeful they actually support Radical Feminism overtly. They don't, tho'? I haven't checked that myself, yet.

edit: Oh, and the discussion of wombyn, reminds me of womyn, which was used by the womyn's land group of separatist feminists.

Yeah, I was a little reticent on that because I've seen self-proclaimed radfems and gender-critcal feminists on Tumblr bringing back those terms that remove the word "men" from "women", thought it was a controversial topic amongst radblr and likewise. It was a heated subject to bring up! And those tumblrs defending terms like "womyn" or "wombyn" were mostly separatist and also, I might add, not the majority. Iirc, A lot of radfems on radblr also used that terminology ironicaly, in several posts on very different topics regarding the scarecrows TRAs have been made of women who they call "terfs".

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