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One group of men chips away at abortion rights, then another group tells us if we don’t support the sex trade or commercial surrogacy — “her body, her choice!” — we’ll only have ourselves to blame if we lose reproductive choice altogether. Meanwhile the anti-abortionists have no compunction in telling us that unless we go along with forced pregnancy, we can wave goodbye to women-only spaces, women’s sports and any acknowledgement that the female body exists at all.

Neither group is really challenging the other; they are capitalising on each other’s extremism. There are times when it has the air of a backroom agreement. They provide each other with leverage in an endless back-and-forth cycle of exploitation. As Andrea Dworkin put it, “if you let them distract you by the public cockfight they‘re always having, you miss the fact that when it comes to producing the social product called pornography, they agree”.

How is Victoria Smith always so perceptive? I can't wait to read her book.

These men will say they hate incels, telling feminists they’re the ones we should be fighting (as though ending male violence is women’s work, with men themselves as the project managers). But the vast majority of male violence against women is not committed by incels. Most women who die at the hands of men do not die at the hands of fully paid-up members of the manosphere. If we are going to call this terrorism, let’s include all of it, and let’s include all of the rhetoric that feeds into it.

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'This, after all, is the end point of feminism. It is not a movement for the liberation of people in general. It does offer humanising possibilities for men, but that is not its key purpose. By telling boys such as my sons that there is no cost to them in recognising the full humanity of women — that unless they are failures, like the incels, they will never feel excluded — we reassure men that women’s emotional, sexual and reproductive services will always be there for the taking. It is not just incels who cannot accept anything less. Scratch the surface, and you may find a shockingly high number of men.'

Brilliant and important as ever.

Victoria writes with such clarity. One to be bookmarked.

Absolutely brilliant article! She really cuts right through all the bullshit and takes us straight to the heart of the matter at hand.

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