TERFER MADNESS: Public Enemy No. 1
A recent article positioned Ovarit as more dangerous to the public than jazz music and marijuana. Ovarit admin Ruby explains why it's the author that needs to get out and touch grass.
I love the publicity we get about Ovarit. And I love getting to share that with all of you. It really brings us together, don’t you think? As well as more sisters and allies who think this whole “mess” is just that - a big mess.
Ms. Bouris, I know you’re reading this and this warning label is for you: The nature of this post is to highlight the absurd nature of your hyperbolic phobia of women-centered spaces that refuse to concede that humans can’t change sex and there’s nothing wrong with women saying so! If this post might upset you, please - turn off the router, turn off your computer, go outside and touch grass.
Those less delicate may continue.
TL;DR: Australian freelancer Catherine Bouris, who fancies herself a deep dive investigative journalist (the smarmy NPR type who condescend to audiences, treating them like out of touch boomer noobs receiving news primarily via radio and email fwds) dips the tippity-tops of her toes into the “TERF underground” so she can report back to those “not chronically online” what horrors lie beneath the “tip of the iceberg.” But after several weeks of diving below its ugly underbelly, Ms. Bouris resurfaces with mere seaweed. She resorts to copying the quivering outrage and distorted hypotheses originally contrived by Kaitlyn Tiffany for her Atlantic article about the “Secret” Internet of TERFs (Dec, 2020).
Ms. Bouris’s main points appear to be:
TERFs use slang and some of it disagrees with her worldview
Ovarit looks like Reddit but has surprisingly restrictive rules about slurs
TERFs are inappropriate about trans remembrance days
TERFs try to persuade friends of theirs to come around to their way of thinking
The whole thing was a bit anticlimactic, I must say.
Having quit my job at the end of January, I’ve found myself with a lot of spare time on my hands, and there’s only so many hours you can play The Sims before you start to lose your grip on reality.
At first, I was excited to learn that Ms. Bouris's search for reality led her to Ovarit (publicly viewable without a login code)! Unfortunately, coverage of our “abhorrent” hellsite got bumped halfway down the piece, a common error known in journalism as “burying the lede.”
Instead of scintillating screenshots of threatening TERFdom, we are treated to stories about Ms. Bouris’s personal life, which worryingly seems to be circling the drain. Ms. Bouris hypothesizes about the demographics of various “TERF” haunts both mainstream and alternative, while failing to conduct any analyses or contact a research firm that does. After mentioning an odd obsession trawling JK Rowling’s Twitter mentions, she treats us to a fearful "vocabulary lesson" of terms such as “radical feminist” “moids” “peak trans” and others - many which are never again referenced.
I’ve previously written - in my rebuttal of the Atlantic piece - about what we think (see Part III - What Radical Feminists Really Believe) so I won’t rehash it here, but again it’s unfortunate how many so-called journalists are almost correct but nonetheless fail to grasp the essential tenets and terms of our movement.
Perhaps if she had interviewed -one- of the radical feminists running this site, she could have asked us to define our terms in our own words.
Perhaps if she had asked us anything, she would not have been "fucking confused, bro" when copying quotes from Ms. Tiffany’s Atlantic article about Ovarit’s open source software – technologies and businesses neither author appeared to grok well enough to write about.
We (admin) have many thoughts about content moderation, social media platforms, feminism, free speech and women's spaces. Those topics could have made more interesting conversation than yawn-inducing descriptions of the headers and footers, site stats (available monthly on /o/ovarit), or teaching reviews from rando man “Dejan” who took a class by Sheila Jeffreys.
Now we’re all digressing quite badly, thanks to this hot mess.
Let me help clear up some misinformation.
The “Radfem to Alt Right Pipeline”
Ms. Bouris claims inspiration for her series partly came from a Media Matters report that “proved that TikTok’s algorithm was leading users from radical feminist content to alt-right content.”
I read the Media Matters report, which doesn’t mention radical feminism once, name one radical feminist, nor vaguely hint that radical feminist content is a gateway in the alt-right algorithm. It does not feature one female content creator or commenter. The researchers noted most of the transphobic and homophobic content “began with repetitive “jokes” berating transgender and LGBTQ people, frequently involving a popular meme saying that these individuals are ‘fatherless.’ “
Does that sound like the radical feminists you know? Where are all the “fatherless” memes on /o/Radfemmery? Who do you think cares about people being “fatherless”?
This is significant because it’s what makes radical feminists and the alt-right diametrically opposed: they want patriarchy, we do not. They believe man has natural authority over women, children, and society. They want gender roles where men command as leader and women submit as follower. Radical feminists are well aware the alt-right is a threat to women’s liberation. Nonetheless, the dreaded “feminazi” caricature (invented by conservatives) is resurrected in the form of a “TERF”, repeated now by the petulant left.
Anybody who has glimpsed alt-right communities has seen the following oft-posted content: death threats; racist, sexist, and homophobic slurs; and sickening amounts of violence. Neonazis and fascists love to divide, deride, and demean. Their memes, gifs, slogans, and symbols advocate for death and destruction, targeting most often gay and trans people, black and Jewish people, foreigners and those they deem “unfit.” And women. They really hate women.
Ovarit Admin agrees that we do not host that content here. Every circle agrees to moderate per our sitewide rules and we encourage users to report liberally so it may be removed promptly. We would sooner ban MRAs, trolls, and neonazis than grow our site numbers just to impress some small fish freelancer who can’t tell the difference between hate speech and telling the truth.
Ms. Bouris, et. al: If you keep directing your aggression at leftist women passionately defending women's spaces and voices, you'll lose sight of the real wolves at your door, gnashing their teeth and dreaming of blood.
Mocking Trans Deaths
People like Ms. Bouris know the alt-right is addicted to offense, which is why, when Ms. Bouris floundered at finding threatening content on Ovarit, she took the bait from Kaitlyn Tiffany and fished up a year-old post about a satirical ‘TERF Day of Visibility’. I’m not going to rehash this argument either - it’s in Part IV under Radical feminists post hateful content.
I’d like to add on to what I wrote last year:
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.
Women’s whole lives, past, present, and future, are lost when events, activities, sports, awards, and historical days for women are co-opted by trans-identified males. This is a gut-punch loss on top of the worsening rates of femicide, domestic violence, and battery against women. Women in and from crisis zones like the Ukraine and Afghanistan are exploited by men eager to gain new brideslaves. Forcing someone to work on a farm is criminal but forcing someone to be raped for housing is not. Ovarit users have made hundreds of posts, thousands of comments on these subjects.
We want to organize actions but that becomes difficult when domestic violence and sexual assault movements are co-opted to “center trans women.” Statistics of male violence are distorted when male criminals are logged in databases as female. Hundreds of women have been sexually harassed, secretly recorded, raped, murdered and more by trans-identified males, many of them in places women deserve to have their dignity and privacy safeguarded: prisons, shelters, rape crisis centers, school bathrooms, locker rooms, shared hospital and care home rooms.
Why do you think Ovarit users want to talk about these subjects with their loved ones, Ms. Bouris?
When I was a baby feminist coasting on the gains fought for and won by my 2nd wave sisters (education, reproductive rights, banking and credit, better pay and jobs, to name a few), I never thought we’d have to fight to keep prisons from locking serial killer males in the same cells as mentally-disabled young female prisoners. I couldn’t have believed anyone would be vile enough to leave dead animals on the doorstep of a rape crisis shelter, that was harassed and defunded by Trans Identified Men for setting the boundary of “no males” as patrons or staff. I never imagined there would be exhibits at public libraries glorifying violence against women. I never thought hundreds of women crying #MeToo about their trans-identified male partners would be silenced en masse or that detransitioners would be so cruelly shunned by the community that changed them.
Radical feminists want to talk to their families and friends about subjects that impact them, without being threatened or attacked at the dinner table. We believe we have the right to lobby, organize, and speak on behalf of matters important to us, important to women.
These are our receipts. Trans rights activists and liberal feminists have made the work of radical feminists harder. They have hurt women, fractured families and friendships, and imploded meaningful activist causes, splintered by divisiveness and demands made in sacrifice to “trans rights.” Sacrifices of women’s rights, resources, spaces, and voices. We cannot do our work because you all keep getting in the way, sabotaging our movements, harassing and abusing feminists who are working to help women and girls, all of us impacted by patriarchy’s grip.
Shame on you, Ms. Bouris. How dare you publish this unintelligible yellow journalism, targeting women who think there’s something pretty borked about the idea that “men can become literally women” and we deserve a space on the internet to say so without being banned, harassed, or threatened.
How dare you manipulate your readers into thinking we’re as vile and abusive as the alt-right while producing none of the evidence from either us nor your source experts? How can you consider yourself a professional when you don’t even have the audacity to talk to any of people you’re writing about?
Since Ms. Bouris likes the style of writing diary entries that identify as thinkpiece exposés, let me bore my audience by ending with a story specifically for her (yes, I know you aren’t touching grass as advised. But you really really should.)
It all started after I got a job as a staff writer for a university weekly. I didn’t have a lot of spare time but I needed money and experience, so into the real world I went. Which is how I found myself attending an animal rights protest targeting a big name in the cooking industry who was visiting my town. Since I attended the protest and talked to a bunch of people there, and later read loads of awful stuff people had said about this horrible businesswoman, I thought that I knew everything. And I wrote every nasty thing everyone said about her in a very assertive tone.
But my editors refused to publish my piece. “Call her,” they said. “Get her side.”
I didn’t want to. I was terrified. Me, an 18 year old newbie journalist, call up a millionaire celebrity chef businesswoman and get her side? I was convinced I knew it already. After all, plenty of people had already told me everything. Hadn’t they?
But my piece wouldn’t be published otherwise. So, after a lot of procrastination and nailbiting and moaning to myself about how unfair it was, I picked up the phone and dialed her press office.
The office was polite and helpful, offering up statistics from their business and responses I could use in my article, including quotes from #GirlBoss herself on the subject of animal welfare, her beliefs and business practices. Everything I asked, they answered, and even offered a follow up interview if I needed more information later.
As easy as it was to do exactly what my editors requested, the responses from the PR team confounded me. Hearing a different point of view shook the existing structure of my piece, forcing me to be more thoughtful, and more honest, about how I presented both my argument and hers.
I too, did not think journalism should pretend to be impartial nor neutral in the face of injustice. But my editors were right, I needed to be courageous enough to ask questions of the scary “other side” and do due diligence researching and writing my piece. Which, in the end, strengthened the points I wanted to make, while bringing integrity to my work.
Ms. Bouris - talking to your opponents may not change your mind or your conclusion, but perhaps you will realize the boogeywomen you’re trying to conjure are just shadows on a cave wall … but I’ve told enough stories already and we don’t have time to get into all that.
If you ever want to chat with the admins of Ovarit, you know where to find us.