If you pay attention to mainstream feminist blogs on Tumblr – or mainstream feminism anywhere, really – you will likely know what a TERF is.
TERF is a term used to describe radical feminists. It stands for “trans exclusionary radical feminist” or “trans exterminatory radical feminist”. Neither of those are accurate descriptions of radical feminist theory or activism – we do not focus our activism on excluding trans people, who focus on making the world a better place for females, and we do not exclude trans people. The very definition of the word “female” includes trans men, who are biologically female and thus benefit from feminism.
This usage of the term TERF has a few goals in mind. The first is to make radical feminism this “other” thing. When a popular blogger says “OP is a TERF” it is followed by (whether vocalised or not) a declaration that anybody who is not a violent bigot needs to unfollow or block them immediately. This often results in threats of violence or death being sent to that radical feminist blogger (which is illegal, at least in Canada, and I will talk about that in another blog post). I have my ask box turned off on my tumblr blog for that specific reason.
Many radical feminists are familiar with the suppression of critical thinking in the liberal feminist community. Most of us used to be libfems ourselves; plenty of us have received anonymous asks from people who have rejected liberal feminist ideology but are too afraid to start reblogging stuff from our blogs or become an openly radical feminist blog in any other way.
This results in an Orwellian state of affairs in the liberal feminist community. Even aside from any possible allusions to Animal Farm – the liberal feminists (who may have originally intended to work for women) gradually became more and more like anti feminists until the two became one and the same – many, many comparisons can be made to 1984.
Liberal feminism has become like the Two Minutes Hate from 1984, where everybody screamed at a screen depicting enemies without knowing why. This results in libfem after libfem after libfem mindlessly chanting “OP is a TERF” without knowing who TERFs are (other than the fact that we’re apparently bad) or what we believe. The most vivid example of this is one anti-DDLG blog I saw on Tumblr who posted something along the lines of “if TERFs actually cared about children they would be against DDLG and CG/L”, obviously completely ignorant of the fact that we are all against that abomination.
Doublespeak in its entirety is used in liberal feminism. Doublespeak doesn’t merely involve believing wholeheartedly in things that are blatantly untrue. It involves changing the past to support that misguided belief. Anyone who is familiar with liberal feminism and trans politics will know exactly what I’m talking about here. We have liberal feminists saying “trans women are women” over and over again, like an obedient parrot. They have persuaded themselves that trans women are women, despite anything that scientists say about the matter. And they are trying to rewrite history as well. Look at how the Stonewall Riots are being portrayed. Cherno Biko, a well-known trans activist and rapist, tweeted on January 23 “40 years after Sylvia and Marsha fought the TERFS, Black trans women myself included are still being targeted and attacked” and “personally IDGAF and Marsha’s tactic of paying it no mind but I don’t want trans kids fighting TERFS 20 years from now”. First of all, us radical feminists are not targeting and attacking trans women. The people who are – men – don’t give a flying fuck about radical feminists beliefs; to them we are women who refuse to cater to them. Radical feminist beliefs about trans women are not causing men to attack and murder. Furthermore, trans women seem to be the ones being violent – do I need to go pull up that giant long Tumblr post listing cases where trans women have attacked, been violent, or behaved otherwise inappropriately towards women? What about the fact that Cherno Biko himself has been accused of rape? That’s conveniently ignored.
Newspeak in 1984 involves the gradual destruction of language in order to eliminate freedom of thought and the ability of people to revolt against oppression. In liberal feminism, the denotation of words doesn’t matter; words mean what a libfem wants them to mean. Vaginas refer to a trans woman’s genitals. Using biologically correct pronouns is violence. Homosexuality is bigoted bisexuality (this one especially pisses me off. Leave lesbian women and girls alone, for fuck’s sake).
In liberal feminist circles, two and two add to make five. Radical feminists are the only ones brave enough to insist that it actually adds to four.