Woman Banned from Speaking at Discussion of Free Speech

Title of the Event: “From Liberation to Censorship: Does Modern Feminism Have a Problem with Free Speech?”

While this happened on the other side of the Atlantic, we have already seen enough craziness on American campuses (like Oberlin, for example) to know that this could easily happen here and probably has happened.

The headline at Reason.com spells out the irony: “British Students Ban Feminist Writer Julie Bindel From Panel on Feminism’s Free Speech Problem.”

The Manchester Students’ Union (SU) flagged Bindel’s appearance at the event—titled “From Liberation to Censorship: Does Modern Feminism Have a Problem with Free Speech?”—as a potential breach of the school’s “safe space” policy. “After reviewing the request in more detail, the Students’ Union has decided to deny this request based on Bindel’s views and comments towards trans people, which we believe could incite hatred towards and exclusion of our trans students,” SU said in a statement.

I’m not as familiar with Bindel’s repertoire on trans issues as I am with her views of sex work, which are of the second-wave, prostitution-is-inherently-abusive variety. Bindel regularly campaigns against sex-worker rights and prostitution decriminalization. And both in articles for The Guardianand on social media, Bindel comes across to me like an awfully unpleasant and misguided human being. 

That being said: Bindel’s views on prostitution and trans issues are certainly active schools of thought in some modern feminist circles (generally referred to as “rad-fems”). They might not be en vogue with the kids today, but it’s not as if Bindel is advocating violence or harassment against trans people and sex workers. So call me a free speech nut, but I’d prefer those who disagree with her shtick debate her on the merits of her ideas rather than seek to silence her—this is not the first time U.K. student groups have “no platformed” Julie Bindel.

Since Bindel is against prostitution, that falls short of Reason.com’s libertarian perspective. And because Reason has decided to make human self-determination essentially related to transgender delusions, they don’t like her much on that score either.

But Bindel, as a feminist, naturally objects to the claim that men can be “women” by simply wearing a dress and make-up. It reminds me of what doesn’t happen when you put lipstick on a pig.

Any real feminist (or anyone else) should be repulsed by this craziness.

It is the sheer craziness, I believe, that explains the drive to censor and exclude. When you live in lies you can’t survive unless you can shut up anyone who speaks the truth.