Owen Jones, a British socialist journalist, has come under fire for posting a misogynistic photo of himself with a woman wearing a T-shirt that declares "WILL SUCK DICK FOR SOCIALISM". The comments on the photo from women make clear their disdain for this brand of socialism:
"If this is Socialism you can keep it"
"Owen, love, your misogyny is showing. Women don’t exist to sexually service men."
"I was hoping a spontaneous uprising of decent working people propelling a real socialist government to power would do it, but I guess it doesn’t hurt to have a plan B."
"Seriously? This the image of socialism and feminism that's "fact"?"
The left has a long history of misogyny, and it seems women are getting tired of it. The tweet comes on the eve of an election that saw women spoiling their ballots and claiming political homelessness. Even the Greens have gotten in on it, calling women "non-male" on Twitter. Feminists in the United States are feeling the same; the only viable female candidate has repeatedly pandered to gender ideologues that are diametrically opposed to feminist aims.
In 2017, Vox wrote:
"Whether the new socialist left can transcend its peripheral status will depend on if it can incorporate — and listen to — the women in the movement demanding a firmer stance against sexism."
It doesn't appear that the left has taken this message to heart.
Women have long been pushed towards voting for more liberal or progressive candidates for a variety of reasons. Often, the misogyny of the right is more blatant, more deadly, and more repulsive than the misogyny of the left. In the United States, anti-abortion laws pushed by Republicans are putting the lives of low-income women specifically at risk.
But further, the left often relies on women's willingness to set their own interests aside to protect other oppressed classes. Whether it's racial minorities, immigrants, or the working-class—women of all races and classes are expected to prioritize the needs of these aspects of their identities over their needs as women. Women have long put their own feminism or well-being on hold to hold those perceived to be more in need. Women have been the force behind every social movement. Just like we are expected to be the caretakers at home, we are expected to be the caretakers of society.
Jones' misogyny is just the next iteration of leftist men assuming women will continue to put feminist aims aside in order to create the revolution men want. He and his ilk are the direct descendants of American poet and political activist John Sinclair, who allegedly stated that after the revolution "Free grass, free food, free women, free acid, free clothes, etc" would be available to men.
Of course, feminists at the time hardly ignored this behavior. Robin Morgan and other women at the “Rat Subterranean News” revolted, taking over the male-dominated leftist zine in 1970. They penned a scathing review of leftist misogyny titled, "Goodbye To All That":
“A genuine Left doesn’t consider anyone’s suffering irrelevant or titillating; nor does it function as a microcosm of capitalist economy, with men competing for power and status at the top, and women doing all the work at the bottom (and functioning as objectified prizes or coin as well). Goodbye to all that. Run it all the way down.”
Today, the left is promoting the regressive and harmful gender norms, the mutilation of gender-nonconforming children, violence against lesbians, the silencing of women who speak out, male-centered sex-positivity, and the buying and selling of women—all for male gain. Women are supposed to shut up and vote "Labour" or "Democrat" or whatever their country's version of the "lesser evil is" so that things don't get worse.
Personally, I think it's time to say "Goodbye To All That" again. Rather than biding our time with male politics in the hopes that we one day get our turn, women should consider a Global Women's Party, united in serving women's interests first. Yes, these interests will often intersect with the interests of other populations. Women make up half of every other oppressed group on the planet, whether it is by race, religion, sexuality, or nationality. Putting women first is the answer leftists have been ignoring, and it seems like women are starting to get tired of being ignored.
Cover photo by fat-freddies-cat
CC-BY-SA, M. K. Fain