Red Scare - Feminism Against Progress w/ Mary Harrington

Episode Date: April 27, 2023

Author and editor Mary Harrington stops by to talk about her new book Feminism Against Progress....

Discussion (0)
Starting point is 00:00:00 We have a very special guest today, it's Mary Harrington. You are a writer and a contributing editor at Unheard, and Mary has a new book out on Regnery, am I saying that correct? Called Feminism Against Progress. Hi Mary, thanks for having me. Thanks for having me. Or coming on the pod. Thanks for having us on your pod.
Starting point is 00:00:53 You don't have a podcast? No. You never had any ambition to have a podcast? There are a lot of podcasts. There are people who do podcasting really well. Honestly, the reason I never wanted to do podcasting is because I figured if I did, I would have to spend a lot of time listening to playback of my own voice, and I just really do not enjoy that.
Starting point is 00:01:14 Yeah, it's horrible, but you have a nice British accent, so I feel like our listeners will like you more than they like Nicolo and his ilk. Yeah, I was telling Danielle yesterday, I was telling the publicist at Regnery, that when I was in my early 20s, I rode the Greyhound bus all the way from New York City to San Francisco via the Deep South and all the kind of weird back, and I did it on my own. With hindsight, probably the only reason I didn't end up dead in a ditch was British accent privilege, which I didn't even realise was a thing, but apparently it's a thing. That's probably why.
Starting point is 00:01:52 I don't think it compels people to be more polite towards you. I don't know. I mean, maybe you can explain, but it seems to be a thing. People find it so delightful. It's true. Yeah. Or maybe they think it's... It's disarming.
Starting point is 00:02:04 Yeah. Or they imagine all the baddies have British accents in American cinema, don't they? They do. Either you're either a supervillain or you're kind of harmless, you grant if you have a British accent. I see. So it's like a generic accent just for any foreign or historical person, even if it's not accurate in the Grecian dramas, if anyone talks like a British accent, like the Gladiator.
Starting point is 00:02:33 RSC, receive pronunciation. Well, I'll do my best to live up to that. Yeah. What kind of accent do you have? Right. Well, I guess... Do you have... Because they're regional.
Starting point is 00:02:47 Yeah. Yeah. We don't know anything about them. I know what a Mancunian sounds like. Yeah. I'm not from Manchester. I was born in the home counties, which is to say the ring of counties around London. I sound fairly bog standard, Southern England, middle class, is my accent, I would say.
Starting point is 00:03:09 So what... You give a lot of biographical kind of background in your book, but for our audience... Yes. What you were inspired to write this book after you had experienced motherhood, basically, and sort of reoriented feminism against progress begs the question, like, what are we progressing towards? Right. And then this is what you sort of elicited over the span of your book.
Starting point is 00:03:44 Is that what inspired you to write this? Pretty much. I mean, that was what brought everything to a head, I guess. I mean, when I had my daughter, it just changed absolutely everything for me. There was a whole load of things which I just believed had never really questioned up to that point about how good freedom is, and just by definition, self-evident, freedom is the highest good, and freedom from in a sense, from being encumbered by the demands of other people, the limits of my own body, or all the ways that people look at you and
Starting point is 00:04:21 make assumptions about you. That all felt like an outrageous imposition by the world, and that I should be able to liberate myself from all of it somehow, and then I had my daughter, and it sort of turned all of that inside out. Yeah, you like fell under the yoke of the ultimate dictatorship. Yes, exactly. Exactly. But then it's...
Starting point is 00:04:43 You realize it's actually not that bad. But on the contrary, this is the thing I'd wanted more than anything in the world. When I lost a pregnancy before my daughter was born, it was the most devastating thing. When she was born, I think the weirdest thing, in terms of most kind of mind-melting thing for me, was that she didn't stop feeling like part of my own body for a whole lot longer than I expected, and that was what... It was so strange. I mean, it felt as though I'd grown another body part, which I suppose, I mean, in a sense
Starting point is 00:05:19 I kind of had, though she was literally part of my body for nine months. Yeah, I think you mentioned in the book that the fetal DNA stays in the mother's body for some months. No, for forever. It's permanent. Oh, okay. Oh, that's sweet. I like the sound of that, yeah.
Starting point is 00:05:35 It feels like a very rich metaphor for something. And pregnancy changes every cell in your body, they say, as well. And it rewires your brain permanently. Yeah, I have a... And you don't have quite the same afterwards. Yeah, I really appreciate how you talk very openly and without bitterness about the loneliness and isolation of motherhood. It's tough being a mom, as we all know, because in addition to the exhaustion, the sleep deprivation,
Starting point is 00:06:00 the loss of gray matter, the postpartum depression, the inevitable feelings of invisibility, your brain, as you mentioned, has been totally rewired. Do you think that there's a realistic role for mothers in the discourse when more people than ever lack the receptors to understand, let alone accept, what it means to love somebody more than you love yourself and to be willing to sacrifice yourself for them? Why would anybody want to do that? It's a good question. It's a fair question.
Starting point is 00:06:32 I mean, if there's one thing I managed to achieve by having told my story and overshared an insane amount of my own story and feminism against progress, it would be to make the case for that, to say, you know, we have a massive mother-shaped blind spot in the way we think about women's interests. Then, you know, we've ended up with this idea of feminism, which is just all about freedom. It's all about escaping the limits of our own bodies, but becoming a mother is pretty much by definition the opposite of that. It's embracing, as you say, the ultimate dictator and leaning into the constraints of your body
Starting point is 00:07:09 and doing it because you want to and because you feel like there's something good there. I want to take the word feminism back from the women who can't see that. I want to make mothers visible again, and I want to make that more central to what we mean when we talk about defending women's interests. Right. I mean, I was thinking about this because it feels like there should be a whole, like a vast domain of literature addressing the experience of being a mother, and there actually doesn't seem to be.
Starting point is 00:07:43 There are these like piecemeal accounts. I mean, I can say for certain like that when I became a mother, it really changed my relationship to things like abortion, for instance, because the moment that you have someone else growing within you, you cease to be an autonomous human being and you really have some duty or obligation to them before you have that to yourself. But that's something that I struggle with because I don't see how there can be like a maternal voice in the discourse that's not either like bitter screeds, like those comics of the woman whose husband drank the peach smoothie or whatever.
Starting point is 00:08:23 Or overcompensatory like trad wife aesthetics. Yeah. I kind of, I have a problem with the trad wives. I think they're not trad enough. Okay. What people mean when they say traditional gender roles, you know, the bread-winning husband and the stay-at-home wife who bakes cookies and is there for the kids, it's distinctively modern because it didn't work like that until industrialization came along and moved work
Starting point is 00:08:53 out of the home. And prior to that, men and women both worked because the site of most economic activity was the household. I mean, if you think in an agrarian household, most of, it's all work, but you're processing raw materials or making clothes for the family and, you know, that's all work, you know, in the... Yeah, that's sad, but the longhouse is the norm rather than the exception throughout history anyway.
Starting point is 00:09:20 I mean, that's a, yeah, I want, I mean. Well, you make the case, one of the central theses in your book, I think, is that feminism is less a reaction to male animus, as you say, and more of a response or an adjustment to market realities. And a response to industrialization. So there are concrete, I mean, what we're talking about when we talk about the loneliness and the genuine, the economic, you know, being economically on the back foot if you're a stay-at-home mum, you know, particularly if you have a spouse who doesn't respect you.
Starting point is 00:09:55 You know, there are a great many of the challenges that feminism is throughout its history has been setting out to address are effects of industrialization. And, you know, I dare say there are a different set of tensions between the interests of men and women prior to that. But I mean, those are much less legible now because we're just a long way, a long way further from that. But the women's movement as such, I've argued, is an effect of the industrial era. It's not a response to some eternal patriarchal animus.
Starting point is 00:10:24 It's not that men as a class have always oppressed women as a class. I mean, I'm not in the same ways at least. No, no. I mean, I have yet to find a modern context where somebody's used the bowed patriarchy that doesn't make more, that wouldn't make more sense if they said immutable sex differences I don't like. I mean, I think there are just two, I read a history of women and medicine a little while ago.
Starting point is 00:10:48 And I was reading it and like there was good research in it, but she was talking about how, for example, male doctors had not been interested in childbirth and this was evidence of patriarchy. But then later on male doctors became very interested in childbirth and pushed out all of the midwives. And that was also evidence of patriarchy. Right. And I was like, hang on a minute.
Starting point is 00:11:07 Surely you can't have it both ways. But it didn't seem to matter what was going on with women and medicine. Somehow it was always evidence of patriarchy. Yeah. Whatever I don't like personally is evidence of patriarchy. But in the end, it seemed to be like actually what she was really angry about was the fact that men's bodies and women's bodies are different. And there's not a whole lot we can do about that.
Starting point is 00:11:29 I mean, apparently it's cancelable in New York City to say it, but we still can't do anything about it. Did you ever read the Ina May Gaskin midwifery book? No, I have not. Okay. Yeah. So in this book you made a very convincing argument I thought that women's liberation and the sexual revolution were less a product of like a shift in social mores and cultural
Starting point is 00:11:55 norms that led to technological change than of the technological developments themselves. Like specifically you mentioned like the industrial scale availability of like contraception and then abortion, probably also STD treatment. And this echoed to me something that Lash said and before him marks as you pointed out that progressive activists are always marching in lockstep with battles that have already been kind of fought and settled in advance outside of their control and like taking credit for them and their solutions often amount to kind of doubling down on the source of our misery by prescribing more of the same.
Starting point is 00:12:35 And I'm wondering why this is such a keystone of progressivism. Why do we always have to address the problems created by progress by just leaning ever further into progress? Yeah. I mean I guess if I were to speculate wildly I mean in the book I've suggested that you know what we call progress is something you know if you look at what's happening materially it's often more like technology being used to liberate people from previously immutable seeming limits and I mean what happened really with the transition I mean through industrialisation
Starting point is 00:13:13 that kind of happens outside in the world you know we invent all these technologies which let us make things quicker or move faster or dig up more stuff or make more you know create more abundance out in the world and then with the sexual revolution that kind of turns inward and the human body becomes the site of liberatory technologies. I mean the contraceptive pill is the first transhumanist technology because it sets out to break normal physiology in the interests of desire and at that point at that point the same mechanism you know the same liberatory dynamics turn you know big starts sets to work on the human body for the first time and what I see happening there is not I mean
Starting point is 00:13:53 we call it progress but it's kind of just the market you know and the market's like a shark it does it has to keep swimming or it dies. Right you call it very aptly I think progress theology in your book and I think that that's in one of the answers Dan's question is that it's a religious almost religious devotion to progress. But what that's what that's like the progress theology what it's legitimising and what it's painting a rosy picture of is often just straightforwardly you know the market looking for new some commerce looking for new terrains that can be new territory to exploit new markets
Starting point is 00:14:38 to move into. But do you see like the progress theology as directly supplanting the older traditional theology? Yeah. Like isn't it like in a direct line? Yeah yeah yeah you know to the to the extent that they're fairly they're fairly explicitly opposed now. And well a lot of what you advocate for in your book which you call reactionary feminism
Starting point is 00:15:03 against we're also against hormonal contraception here on this podcast. This is an anti-pill podcast not anti-pills just anti the pill bolstering the institution of marriage rejecting contraception is were historically things that were the domain of religion especially Christianity and I was wondering if you were familiar at all with Christian complementarianism or they call it new feminism right it's that I'm not honestly very familiar with that body of theory although I would I'd be willing to bet that it's it doesn't argue with my position no it aligns yeah that's not right that's not where I'm coming from right that's not what I'm sub-tweeting if you see me right the complementarianism
Starting point is 00:15:58 is the theological view that men and women are ontologically equal but functionally different it seems accurate yeah and it's that's beautiful I love that and that each is entitled to like a personal dignity that's that's different yeah I have I have more I have feminist friends who are more Roman Catholic than me who come pretty much from that position do you have any background with religion do you come from a religious family at all not particularly I mean my in as much as I have a religious background it's kind of weird so that wasn't like a point of rebellion for you no not really not really you know I went to a I grew up around Steiner Waldov people anthropocipists which is a very odd little I mean it's kind
Starting point is 00:16:44 of semi-christian I suppose you could call it a sect but their followers of Rudolph Steiner who was either a crazy or a visionary early 20th century guy so it's like a cult as cults go it's pretty benign but yeah I guess it's basically it's kind of cult I mean it's a sect more than it's a cult really because they don't they don't punish you or ostracize you if you if you defect which I think is right I mean that's that's generally usually included in the definition of cult so so not really that but they do have they have some eccentric beliefs as Christians go like they believe in reincarnation which is unusual among Christians for example the other thing is that you reprise this classic left-wing economic
Starting point is 00:17:25 argument that women have to work now because you can really no longer afford to raise a family on a single income and but you also hint at the fact that there's more to the story than just economics obviously some portion of women are always going to work because you know being a stay-at-home mom makes you a little crazy and of course a lot of critics will say that this is narcissistic cope from modern women who are like reared in the lib fam paradigm of professional or sexual self-actualization how much of the economic calculus for educated bourgeois women at least is an unwillingness to take a hit to your lifestyle in terms of like starting a family getting married that sort of thing I sort of hesitate to speculate
Starting point is 00:18:09 on behalf of the the entire rest of my class because I know hand hands up I buy def I qualify I guess as educated bourgeois white woman and that's right yeah many such cases it's sort of hard to say I mean being a stay-at-home mom is lonely I mean I was unusual I suppose as bourgeois Oxford graduates go in just being rubbish at all the jobs I did up to the point where I had I was truly terrible I get fired on the regular sort of about once every two years I'd get sacked or you know I was genuinely like pretty much unemployable at the time by the time I became a mom and but there wasn't but what that what that meant was that and there wasn't a whole lot I didn't really have much motivation to go back to work which made
Starting point is 00:18:56 me unusual in for women of I guess my education and social class and most most of my peers you know had had spent years training for a profession that they enjoyed and found rewarding and challenging and had economic commitments more often than not on that basis and that puts you in quite a difficult position when you have a kid and you've got you've got the pull of love and you know maternal attachment and your baby who needs you on the one side and you've got all this other stuff going on in the other and you know I can see how I can see how it's a really it's a really tough call but for me it wasn't like that I just there was nothing I wanted to go back to enough to be away from my daughter right
Starting point is 00:19:32 and I mean you you also very openly said that you had the stability and resources to pull that off I'm very sympathetic obviously to my friends who have children who had to go back to work like three weeks three months in but I mean in terms of the decisions leading up to the ultimate decision of getting married and starting a family because I think a lot of us defer that kind of decision-making because we're literally afraid to to get demoted in our lifestyle choices to have to sacrifice in our lifestyle choices yeah I'm trying to remember what I mean my my 20s was so sketchy that I sort of struggled to put myself in the position of somebody who's genuinely a high flyer because that just wasn't me I was
Starting point is 00:20:17 a kind of sketchy same and so it wasn't I wasn't putting off getting married because I because I wanted because I was having fun as a you know wealthy high-spending single jetting around the world doing glamorous things I was putting it off because I was just morbidly afraid of commitment that's a very is a different thing of a whole host of complicated reasons but I don't know I think when when I had the choice to go back to work or not to go back to work it hit me at that point that actually having a choice was made me extraordinarily privileged and that was completely melted my brain at that point because I internalised from being a kid this idea that being a stay-at-home mum was an imposition and a demotion and
Starting point is 00:21:04 a really it was a it was an invidious thing to end up having to do and there was so much more to life and that I would have exceed I would have succeeded to the extent that I'd managed to be not doing that and so I was surprised to discover when I got to the point yeah no it wasn't wasn't even so much yeah I was surprised to discover that actually having the option to to do that or not do that as I as I preferred was was made me unusually privileged and I was I watched my peers from you know pregnancy groups and go through a kind of bereavement after maternity leave when they had to go back to work because they had because economically that was just that they didn't have a choice yeah they're yeah and
Starting point is 00:21:46 yeah and that made me that made that raised a whole lot of questions for me about you know some pretty basic assumptions that I've made up to that point about you know how we prioritise things are you in a lot of mommy groups not so much anymore no I was I was a very avid mumsnetter for a long time that was probably that was it was an important important important part of the turf journey as it is for what's a mom's mom's net mom's net is a British parenting forum oh it's an online forum I mean it's I say parenting but it's like 95% women right lots of them are very funny it has it has a very very distinctive subculture and it's like the the the mom's net to turf pipeline is well known so you
Starting point is 00:22:34 identify as a as a turf where is the lie well for me it's in the I guess it what a question I have for you is what do you think the dominant definition of feminism is the the one that most people adhere to and certainly the one that I hear criticised from the right is almost always the feminism of freedom you know which I think of as a kind of cyborg feminism you know that like that believes we should just set out to free ourselves from everything and we can we can and should use technology to its fullest extent you know to to to underwrite our own desires you know in in contravention of you know whatever our embodied nature if necessary and that's that's just whatever you want you know and from that point of view
Starting point is 00:23:24 a woman really is whatever she says she remember the onion headline you know women empowered by whatever women do yeah and that feminism yeah do you and and that's that that's the dominant definition of feminism I dissent from that has has ought to be clear by now I guess but that's why I ask about turfdom because that's the the part of the acronym that I would take issue with is that I I don't know if I identify conventionally as a feminist operating off of the common definition of feminism as equality between the sexes yeah I mean if you're if you accept the limitation of feminism to that kind of cyborg paradigm then no I guess I'd have to self exclude as well but I mean I spent the first third
Starting point is 00:24:06 of the book trying to show that in fact the reason the definition of feminism is so narrow is because at least half of it has been memory hold there's a whole swathe of 19th century feminism which just isn't like that at all which is very grounded in women's physiology and very grounded in the realities of and make so much space for care and motherhood and all the things we've been talking about and that's just been memory has been pretty much kind of canceled from women's studies curricula and just doesn't show up at all doesn't even read as feminism because the winners the winners rate write the history books and you know and the and the feminism of freedom won in the 1960s with the legalization
Starting point is 00:24:42 of abortion right and I do appreciate you pushing back on some of these right wing and non misogynists who tend to you know blame women and feminism for for what's up whaming yes yeah for every for every social fix everything by keeping everything the same except what women do I'm not not convinced that's gonna work but you did mention in I think the last couple of chapters on trans ideology that the main promoters of this ideology are women often mothers of trans kids because that's one way for otherwise invisible people to kind of sex self actualize in the market it's so it's so doc see like an irony in women promoting an ideology that directly disempowers them well I mean I think the you have to look
Starting point is 00:25:33 you have to look a little bit at who's being disempowered and not all hashtag no not not hashtag not all women but not all women are being disempowered at the moment and like if you're if you're an elite knowledge class like laptop class woman chances are you're still a net beneficiary of the belief that our bodies are completely immaterial to ourselves and from and if that's your belief and you've signed you're fully signed up to that kind of cyborg feminism then it it's logically consistent with your position that you should embrace the possibility that anybody can self identify anywhere they like and you should be and it would be broadly in your interests to be trying to abolish the political and
Starting point is 00:26:17 legal standing of biological sex difference because it's broadly in your like if you're like if you're a barrister or you're an accountant or some kind of you know management consultant you know there isn't really any obvious reason why being a man or being a woman makes a difference to you professionally and it's probably not in your interests for that to creep too much into the discourse because people you know if we talk about how men and women are physiologically different below the neck then somebody might be like well maybe maybe men and women are different above the neck and that could have repercussions in terms of how I'm perceived in the workplace where in fact it doesn't doesn't really seem like that's and I can
Starting point is 00:26:52 see why that's not really going to benefit you at all but there are but there are other areas of work and life where sex really does matter you know nobody's campaigning for more more women in in collect in waste collection and everybody knows why you would think so but recently Anna Kasparian of Young Turks made waves on Twitter because she's a left leaning person who's pro trans ideology but she was kind of freaking out about being definitionally like demoted from being a woman right by like a person with a womb or yeah birthing person or whatever and even she was you know having second thoughts about this ideology that she and her colleagues were effectively promoting in the media but if you're if you're signed
Starting point is 00:27:34 up to the idea that my if I'm signed up to the idea that my sex doesn't matter at all for any any obvious for any part of my participation in public life then it's logically consistent with that position that I should be for trans rights and it's not in my it's not economically in my interest it's not in my class interest to be anti trans rights but if I'm if I'm a working class woman or I'm in prison or something it's pretty obviously not in my interest and I think you know there's other elite women at the top who are who are propagating something which is broadly aligned with their class interests and they just don't they don't really care about the women in prison who are being impregnated by male quote unquote
Starting point is 00:28:12 women they just don't massively care so women are the problem just the only one yeah you know I'm happy to incite class war with infamy so I sort of feel like that's that's about where we need to be right now because I see the the cyborg worldview as being negative for the majority of women and I think if we're going to defend women's interests I'd rather all of them and not just not just the the women the elite women would you agree you cite Louise Perry off a lot in your book where I have not read who asserts that the sexual revolution was predicated on eradicating sex difference in your view do you think that is sort of where things went really off the rails was in the in the 60s well I guess I've
Starting point is 00:28:59 I've made the case before that the there's the sexual revolution wasn't the beginning of feminism it was the end I mean if you in as I've characterized feminism as a back and forth between the feminisms of care and the feminisms of freedom that ended in the 1960s and since then we've been we've been somewhere else and I I mean what I've called cyborg feminism here I I call it elsewhere call sort of it's more like a libertarianism of the body than it is you know it flies under the banner of feminism but it's more like a bio libertarianism that says you can do you can do what you like with your body and I mean you or you could just call it transhumanism I don't know it just says you know we we're meat Legos and
Starting point is 00:29:37 we can do what we like and that's to me that it's that's only feminist for a subset of women it's only it's only pro women for for the elites and for everybody else it's increasingly horrible the poorer you are and the more likely you are to be kind of resursal your body your body becomes a workplace or it becomes a product or it becomes raw material and the more likely you are to be the seller rather than the buyer the more terrible it is surrogate right exactly spiritual surrogate yeah yeah yeah yeah and you know one of the example the really grim example as I mentioned in the book is this this practice which is now pretty normalized in some parts of India where female farm workers will get a hysterectomy in order to make themselves
Starting point is 00:30:22 more employable because it's just you know if a woman a woman's normal menstrual cycle is just an interrupt interrupts her ability to work consistently in the fields or whatever so that you know they're making tiny amounts of money and they've they've eliminated their ability to have children just in order to make themselves employable at all and I'm thinking you know the you have you have this this piece of the picture and then elsewhere in India recently there was a headline about a guy who's proposing to do the first uterus transplant right into a into a man who identifies as a woman and I'm thinking you know it's not it's not going to take very long for somebody to figure out that there's an arbitrage to be done there yeah
Starting point is 00:31:00 he can get it from one of these impoverished farm workers and I can't think of a more grotesque and a more richly illustrated summary of where where the economic injustices of treating people like meet Lego start to play and how they start to play out up and down the class hierarchy do you think your you mentioned earlier your phobia of commitment being more of your the driving force behind your deferrence of having a family I want I was wondering if you could talk about this idea of big romance and if that played into your prior world view yeah so I my deep history of big romance was that it was it was good actually for the industrial era because women in that time had effectively lost a whole lot of economic and economic agency like when you when
Starting point is 00:32:02 you stop being an equal participant in a productive household and you become the chief consumer in a private domestic economy the bourgeois house the book you become a bourgeois housewife you know you have a lot less leverage than perhaps as a farmer's wife even though it might be counterintuitive to think about it like that but you're basically you're you're radically dependent in a way that you wouldn't be in a in a pre-modern household on your husband's goodwill and on his virtue and and that's that's all very well if your if your husband likes you as I discovered when I was a stay at home mom I was I was lucky my husband had plenty of we had enough resources and we had a good relationship so and under those circumstances being a stay at home mom's it's not bad you know
Starting point is 00:32:41 it's quite a nice life but but but those are some you know if is doing doing some heavy lifting there and if you're a I mean you don't you only have to look at the relationships threads on mom's net to see what it looks like I mean if you want if you want a black pill on men and women you know spend some time in the relationship threads there but yeah if you stay at home mom's who don't have good relationships or their husbands are financially abusive or yeah I mean there are there's so many different ways it can go wrong and it could be really bleak and under those like and so with the arrival of industrialization pretty much concurrently with industrialization you start to see this ideal of the companion at marriage like the the Jane Austen marriage you
Starting point is 00:33:21 know mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett you know like the where he he respects her as and loves her as a person rather than just as like the other participant in in a set of prescribed social roles right you put it very likes you as a person and therefore he treats you well and and this is the ideal to aspire to and it makes sense because it's a way of hedging against some of the ways that that your your relative economic and political disadvantage under those as a stay at home mom can go wrong right so that's big romance in it's kind of healthy your leverage effectively becomes charm over utility yes yes and that's you know that that's why they all learn to play the piano and kind of be charming and accomplished well you put it well in the book you say that the management
Starting point is 00:34:03 of sexually symmetries by male monopoly on resources and female monopoly on sex was sort of propped up in the Jane Austen model yeah that's the Jane Austen model exactly but but of course that all that all went out of the window with with the sexual revolution and women's entry mass entry into the workplace and women's ability to control our own fertility you know all of a sudden a lot of the a lot of the hard limits on on why by the cow sorry why by the cow right exactly exactly in that in a nutshell you know a lot of the heart the hard limits on on the the different so these the you know the the male and female monopolies start to bleed collapse into one another but but this idea of falling in love and happy ever after like memes memes take longer
Starting point is 00:34:50 to change than material conditions sometimes and you and so and so the big romance big romance ideal has mutated since the sexual revolution well I have a question about that because I liked your point that yeah memes sort of lag behind reality I wanted to ask you about e-girls e-girls yes okay yeah you write quote the digital revolution offers abundant new technologies that make it ever easier to turn desire into transaction much of it hovers in the shadowy terrain between building a fan base and overtly selling sexual access a gray zone we're often extremely young so called e-girls build large online followings of besotted male fans known as simps by posting flirty or outright sexualized self imagery in some cases it's just the platform that profits from the clicks and the
Starting point is 00:35:32 e-girl simply enjoys the attention um do e-girls really even pine for um love and marriage or do they just want an army of simps it's like the digital version of a medieval fantasy and of course my intention is not to attack young women figuring it out on the internet but to kind of get at how our desires and expectations have been literally rewired by social media completely well I mean you know I mean humans are humans are perverse and easily led astray right you know and I can remember what your question what it makes me think of is being about 12 or 13 and you know I live in I grew up in small town England and then I guess I would have been that would have been the early 1990s so no internet none of none of that stuff and you get to 12 or 13 and you and you realize that
Starting point is 00:36:20 like men are men are looking at you differently like men respond to you different you don't really know what that means or you know how all the different ways it can go wrong or just how like just how far you're playing with fire at that point because you're only 12 or 13 or whatever and I can remember I can remember putting on insanely short dresses because I had them and just walking around town and wanting wanting the the van drivers to beep at me and that was that was just what I just wanted that I wanted the validation I wanted van drivers to beep at me and you know it's not like I wanted them to stop and talk to me I certainly didn't want them to bundle me into the van and do like you know but it was just that impulse was just kind
Starting point is 00:36:57 of self-contained I just wanted van van drivers to beep at me and it's plausible to me that you know the e-girl thing is just that dialed up all the way to 11 yeah I think it is you dress you put on a cute dress and you get people to you know the digital equivalent of van drivers beeping at you it's great so you do it more and then and then you and all of a sudden you've got 100,000 followers and you can monetize yourself and then there's a whole different set of incentives there but I mean that would be that would be my my my guess at how how how you end up doing that and and you know once you once you're in that system of perverse incentives I can see it just you know it can take on a life of its own
Starting point is 00:37:43 I don't know but I don't think I don't I don't know that I'd be willing to bet that Belle Delphine for example didn't start thinking I'm going to end up selling my bathwater and doing hardcore porn dressed as a schoolgirl yeah I had a great idea though yeah I know I was reading that passage in the book and I was like damn why didn't we think of them do you want my 40-year-old bathwater and the sad thing is that we could probably find a buyer yeah we monetized our our sims yeah one of my friends told me she had a she had a colleague at work who made a who had a side hustle so selling slices of bread that she'd wedged between her butt cheeks and then posting off in like little baggies and with the full support of her husband this was the insane thing
Starting point is 00:38:31 it wasn't like a thing she was doing on the qt this is like he but he was all for it the Japanese model yeah I don't I mean people are people are weird on the internet right yeah but I guess it's easier to have like an e-girl simp dynamic than it is to accept the reality of human life which is much more risky and scary yes well the antidote to big romance in one of your later chapters on on marriage you advocate sort of citing uh Justin Murphy I believe right I know controversial moves in some courses anyway um for basically people to sort of lower their standards lower your standards I mean well that guy just stays telling on himself I I guess what I what I've been trying to suggest is that I mean fundamentally I'm pretty
Starting point is 00:39:32 doomerish about the the direction of travel of just everything and I don't just mean relations between men and women I mean I don't I don't see how men I don't I feel like you can't have never ending growth on a finite planet you know like a number of balloons are going to come down eventually to my eye I mean when I talk to zoomer friends it's kind of happening already you know that's why millions must die right exactly billions yeah that that whole that whole name flex exactly there are there are so many zoomers who just look at the world and they say they see no realistic prospect of the kind of the kind of lifestyles to which we've all been educated to expect yeah so given given and and given that like the the the later mutation of big romance
Starting point is 00:40:18 I guess that that's the missing piece in the argument like big romance mutates because after the economic incentives shift with the pill and all of a sudden um it and it stops being something which kind of mediates mediates the different monopolies that men and women have and becomes just a vector for self actualization so marriage is just something which is you know it's a nice to have but you can do is you're fine without it and the thing about that is it's predicated on the basic assumption that the world will scoop you up if if your family comes apart that there's a welfare state that there's that you've got enough money that somebody's gonna you know if you end up as a single mum you're not going to starve to death in a ditch and I maybe I'm too demerish
Starting point is 00:40:56 but I I don't I'm not convinced that it's still going to be like that by the time my daughter's an adult yeah I don't think it's really like that it's increasingly less like right now like the welfare state is a Ponzi scheme like anyone with eyes and a functioning brain can see it and the demographic crunch is just going to be it's going to be horrific and by the time I don't really expect that to be much of a welfare state by the time my daughter's an adult and given that I don't want to raise her with with a with a mindset in in terms of part of a relationship formation which is predicated on never ending economic abundance because that just seems wildly imprudent to me so so the case I've I've said you know why I think we should abolish big romance
Starting point is 00:41:42 is because the majority of zoomers need to be much more pragmatic about about who about who they choose you know so it's not a vector for self actualization it's about who's going to show up for you you know not not not so much about who gives you the warm and fuzzies but who you know who's going to drive you to the hospital if there is a hospital you know who's going to who's going to shoot the intruder or whatever so it yeah it's a it's a fairly it's a fairly kind of dystopian you know it's it's a kind of preparish approach to relationships but I think there's a I think there's a case for it yeah I mean I think it's going to be a tough sell because everybody wants to fall in love and find the one but I guess my addendum to that would be that people have to
Starting point is 00:42:27 I mean again I'm very leery of the log off and touch grass argument because we're like so enmeshed in the internet now but people need to I think try to reclaim their humanity in general because I see people on the internet becoming like less and less human history and I don't mean like cyborg and in that they're getting like cosmetic surgeries and trans surgeries they're just emotionally effectively less human yeah yeah yeah it's more like it's more like people's inner lives are being emptied out that's that's how I see it and the mutation of big romance is self-actualization as you said but also this like eternal optimization of like there being someone better out there for you exactly just never ending optionality always always swiping always swiping
Starting point is 00:43:13 for for the next person well Dasha you said this when we were like discussing the awful Agnes Callard article that was actually that one actually I thought the writer did a good job because she was so subtly roasting her but I think in it Agnes Callard said something to the effect of like well I don't want my relationship to be about compromise and settling but I think Dasha said well guess what relationships are about compromise and if you get married you're settling by definition yeah and but it's like a two-step process because in order to compromise and settle with somebody you have to really love them and they have to really love you so it can't be pure pragmatism no no no no but I I think we could do with a more generous
Starting point is 00:43:55 side order of pragmatism right because at the end I mean especially after you have kids things just change really radically you know your your priorities the amount the the ways you're available for one another it all it all changes and and at that point unless you're willing to be a little bit more about you know this is all the work it's just the work and it matters less who does it than that it gets done you know and you're willing to be a bit generous and a bit forgiving and a bit compassionate for all the all the ways that everyone just brings their own mess to the table unless you unless you are a bit able to be spacious and just and sometimes just loyal because your partner has been pissing you off for a year and a half and actually you're
Starting point is 00:44:37 you're gonna you're gonna stick it out until things get better and often they do you know there I know I've seen so many relationships that went through rough patches that went on that lasted literally years it doesn't and then and then it got better again I think it doesn't occur to a lot of people that if your relationship is in the shitter there's always an option to work on it right I think the contemporary mindset is just to that's exactly and when I say abolish big romance I'm just saying you can you have you have the there is always the option of not pulling the ripcord there is the option of not opting out there is the option of not going back to swiping and actually some you know more often than not and I'm not saying you know stay with somebody
Starting point is 00:45:15 who's violent or just a you know complete psycho or whatever you know there are obviously situations where it's not in anybody's interests to to stick it out but there are a great many relationships which are not perfect and they're never going to be perfect but where on on balance especially if you've got kids like you know almost yeah very very much when you have kids it's it's not necessarily going to be better if you leave and it absolutely 100 won't be better for the kids if you leave well to echo the the annoyingly the catholic framework again st john crissostom who was a priest in the fifth century wrote this book on marriage and family life and in that he says that a man must love his wife even if she doesn't respect him and she must respect him even if he
Starting point is 00:46:04 doesn't love her man must love his wife even if she has a triple digit especially yeah I mean I mean that all I'm really doing is all I'm really saying is that which is and he's put it much more succinctly but unfortunately like we are we are where we are and if you cite st john crissostom like a lot of people will a lot of people they don't like they don't like it yeah people will be like yeah I'm I'm just yeah it's so easy to like meme yourself out of a relationship yeah yeah yeah yeah I mean you remember that that terrible atlantic piece where the woman is like how I demolished my life yeah and and she she writes about how she she loved her husband but she divorced him anyway because she just she just wanted to self-actualise more yeah yeah I quoted
Starting point is 00:46:49 her in the book and this seems to me just like she's taken it all the way all the way to its logical extreme and she was like was it worth it for the kids was it was it worth all the suffering that I put everyone through she's like worth it for me worth it for me yeah I mean I don't I've read that and I just thought you're a terrible person if honor if you're listening to this you're a terrible person did you see the the Daily Mail article that was trending about the woman who left her boyfriend when he was suffering from brain cancer and ran a marathon I mean I think these articles are also really designed to like rage bait people yeah for sure you know the copy pastor about hi I'm so glad you reached out I'm I don't I'm actually a capacity right now you know sorry
Starting point is 00:47:28 about your cancer but you know maybe I can run a marathon for you I was really interested in the statistic that you mentioned that I think something like one third of people who get divorced actually come to regret it which seems plausible to me I mean there are times in a in any long-term relationship where it's it's rough and you might think well surely surely nothing nothing could be worse than this but I my sense is that there are I mean I know I actually know couples who broke up and then got back together you know I've got I've got friends but friends with boomer parents who did that and who are who are really angry with both of them for for having just put them through everything that was involved in that only to get back yeah yeah and they and eventually
Starting point is 00:48:04 they they got back to or they did it several times what I wonder what's worse putting your kids through a divorce or putting your kids through a situation where you separate and get back together well yeah it's a you know first you have to grieve your parents marriage and go through I mean I'm a child of divorce I was an adult when my parents separated and you know it wasn't it wasn't any nicer because because I was an adult when it happened it was still it was still rough on all of us so you know you go through all of that and then they're like oh yeah no we changed our minds and now we're back together again and you've got you've got to look happy at their second wedding right yeah I think it would it would be messy I think it would be messy well I think it's harder
Starting point is 00:48:41 for children because they're the ultimate psychotics and narcissists so they see everything as being about them and therefore if their parents divorce it must be their fault tremendous egoic damage incurred I have kind of a callous take that no one's gonna want to hear but that has to do with settling but also maybe as a good segue into the the trans the transitioning conversation which is that not everyone is meant to reproduce there's sort of a eugenic argument to be to me that not everyone should breed and maybe if you are the sort of person who sterilizes yourself for either an economic incentive or because of gender dysphoria then you wouldn't be a you're an abortive person you shouldn't be rearing or children anyway that you would be an
Starting point is 00:49:47 unfit parent and maybe you're sort of self selecting yourself out of and maybe rather than settle just to breed because you feel an impulse to maybe you should just resign yourself to dying childless well it's funny because I feel like the two most vocal spokes of the trans movement now are young teenage primarily female people who then come to regret it and like autogynophiles who are very often already married with kids middle-aged perverts yeah yeah and that they're completely different completely different species and I think it's a different mental and I'm pretty it seems pretty clear to me and from all the research that anybody's been able to sneak out under the radar before it gets shut down and the etiology seems to be
Starting point is 00:50:33 completely different like one of them one of them is principally driven by sexual fetish and the other is principally driven by something a great a great deal more of what goes into that is it is actually trauma I think it was social confusion like it's one is autogynophilia and the other is autogynophobia you know to put it crudely yeah that's what and they're completely opposite motivations I mean you I routine if you go and look at the you know the the rftm discussions so many of them are about this deep rooted horror at the other possibility that you might be perceived as female yeah yeah hating your body you know wanting breasts or menses yeah yeah yeah everything about being female just elicits horror and the you know straight up body horror
Starting point is 00:51:19 response and that's the it really is a kind of inversion of what's going on you know with these kind of hairy handed truckers in baby doll nighties with the bad lipstick but what do you think about not everyone needing to have kids so what what do you think about not everyone needing to breed well I mean it's I guess you could you could extend it even further couldn't you and say you know the the the global pretty much now global demographic crash you know it's kind of evolutionary feedback on a at scale yeah about just how how the culture is generally you know and it's in a sense where we're editing this entire civilization out of existence because it's just it's not one which is capable of reproducing itself well some civilization
Starting point is 00:52:03 will end well I guess I guess the case I'm making it's all going to implode apart from the old order Amish or I don't know maybe I mean but that someone's just going to keep reproducing and I guess the the case I'm making rhetorically is that maybe rather than lowering your standards maybe only people who can couple based on holding themselves to a higher standard should be the ones having children in like the western developed world there's a certain amount of play at the edges surely in terms of you know there are there are people who are you know basically decent who can be memed into stuff and memed out of stuff and there are edge cases yeah I mean the people that I'm more most worried about are these like dysphoric and depressed teenagers because they
Starting point is 00:52:45 can't quote consent but a trans is a microcosm in that lashian way of progressive activists doubling down on what ails us of the fact that we're slated if not already in a demographic collapse and and here we are sterilizing our children yeah yeah yes it it's completely unhinged I mean I'm always leery of the kind of right-wing stuff that I see on Twitter about trans kids and AGPs and prisons but your books seem to provide enough data to show that this was like a serious it's it's happening it's a fringe phenomenon yeah I I guess from where you're sitting like the the trans discourse is overwhelmingly right-wing in the United States and it's and the picture's quite different in Britain like being being being a turf is by no means just a right-wing thing
Starting point is 00:53:35 in the UK you know the the original gender-critical movement were great great many of them were otherwise otherwise fairly normie liberals JK Rowling we have we have famously JK Rowling but Kathleen Stock who wrote material girls was a you know but you know she's a she's a lesbian she's a she's an academic philosopher you know the most left-wing of British universities Sussex she's not there anymore they they basically forced her out but you know most most of the prominent British gender-critical feminists are not right-wingers Julie Bindle is a radical feminist of the like old school you know spent her you know lifelong campaigner against why do you think that is why are British turfs different yeah mostly mum's net but it my I think it's there are several
Starting point is 00:54:20 different things the perverse incentives of our healthcare system are different I think there's a there's a sort of treatment maximization incentive in the American model because if you can find somebody to if you can find an insurer who'll pay for it you can get well you can get you can do what you want but if you if you have a nationalized healthcare model it's it's inherently more conservative because the taxpayers funding it so so I think those are there are breaks on just crazy crazy experimental treatments in the British model which aren't there in the American one where it's it's all just about you you know you do I mean America also has like a long history of doing deranged things to people's endocrine and like sexual reproductive systems wasn't there
Starting point is 00:55:03 some guy in New Mexico in the in the 19th century who was like grafting goat testicles onto his own body to like improve his masculinity and yeah those are just really really what yeah yeah goat ball man like if you google goat ball man you'll find but yeah I mean and they used to you know used to do hysterectomies on teenage girls for hysteria right you know I mean I you know you can really trans yourself for free if you just drink unfiltered water it's all full of like where you mentioned like birth control byproduct so so you know from one point one perspective you could say that you know the whole the whole trans thing is it's more of a there's a there's a historical and cultural continuity with various other kind of depraved medical experimentations
Starting point is 00:55:52 which are just downstream of the the you know it's hashtag blessings of freedom right blessings of liberty you know you can you can do what you want including graft goat testicles to your chest or sterilize your you know you do double mastectomies on depressed teenage girls live free or die so there's yeah and so some yeah some of it's cultural like that some of it is some of it's just the NHS puts puts the brakes on that then there was there's Britain's just smaller and also it's mom's net you know there was America doesn't have an equivalent I don't think where we don't have a mom blah no you don't have I mean you have mommy bloggers but you I don't think there's a there's a mother's discussion for I find it difficult to imagine that existing in America
Starting point is 00:56:37 somehow yeah I don't think there really there was a distinctively like they've always been been you know they've always been very pro free speech you know they they'll they'll delete you if you if you like ad hominem a prominent trans person but they won't but they've always been very firm even against kind of boycotts and you know hate camp yeah you know alphabet people campaigns about that they will they'll allow this to be discussed openly on the forum and mom's net has become it it was a major a major hub for discussing the gender ideology when it started to happen can and long before it was a kind of done deal can americans go on mom's yeah I'm like what's a mom I'm gonna become a power poster on mom's net yeah I was a I was a regular
Starting point is 00:57:23 on mom's net for a while what made you stop you had to write a book you can't post I can't remember why I stopped it was just I was I was very bored at work and I used to spend a lot of time it was this was long before I had long before I had a child but you were active on mom's not before you had a kid yeah yeah I mean it's like there there are lots of very funny women right but most most funny women are like privately funnier rather than publicly funny and like mom's net has a lot of the funny women at least that was what I that was what I don't know if it's still like that I imagine it probably is but it was just like that it was just really good chat very very very funny and yeah and you just get these hilarious arguments about really trivial things and it was just fascinating
Starting point is 00:58:07 like breastfeeding and formula feeding or stupid running jokes and yeah it's a whole I don't even know if it's you know you know you get a little internet subculture that's just different and unique and special yeah and it was yeah it was I'm kind of tapped out on the twitter subcultures at the moment yeah yeah I yeah it's it's all gone a bit stale recently yeah but I mean I said this on the last pod I think that's because in Elon's America it has less to do with the fact that like people on twitter are like uncharacteristically cruel or mentally ill or irony poisoned I think it's just because it's become so oversaturated and self-referential yeah maybe like the the memes are too much and yet we can't look away and not participate I was like tweeting about
Starting point is 00:58:56 body count discourse today I have a speaking of body count I have a question about the sexual marketplace so you talk about the quote passionate erotic individualism that was envisioned by radical feminists like Jermaine Greer firestone is that actually the role now because you know conservatives love to bemoan like casual sex and hook up culture and the idea that sex sells and I think you know our mutual friend Nicolo put it well on the pod that on the whole heterosexual relations have become more gay but to me like the main feature of the new promiscuity is that it's actually weirdly sexless yeah I agree void of passion that's that's very much the sense that that's very much my I mean I should caveat this by saying I've been on the shelf for well
Starting point is 00:59:46 over a decade so you know it's not it's not as though it's not as though I'm at the cold face with any of this stuff I haven't I haven't tried no I'm not at the orgy so I'm probably not I'm probably not the launch will turn into an orgy wait until you check out the right wing spaces out here in New York City well I'll report back on that but I mean the data's there isn't it you know people are having less sex the zoomers are not at it like rabbits you know I mean I have I wrote a piece a little while ago like the three laws of porno dynamics my my theory which is kind of like the three laws of thermodynamics and one of them is the law of conservation of libido so like the more the more people wank the less sex they have yeah because there's just the same
Starting point is 01:00:31 there's kind of a consistent amount of erotic energy to go around and if that's all if that's all leaking out in you know perpetual masturbation or you know horny horny posting online or billboards or whatever then people are just you know people are going to be in proportion having less sex and it's really it's an argument for repression and you know Victorian levels of repression is just being more conducive to hotness which just seems intuitively intuitively correct to me yeah it seems like what there's probably just like a removal of taboos and also an oversaturation of content but also like people are like more medicated and sedentary and right porn sick than ever fatigue of a kind of like and also I mean if you've spent your entire adolescent you
Starting point is 01:01:15 know if you've constructed a kind of sexual identity an alphabet sexual identity for yourself over the course of your adolescence without ever having had sex with people based largely on you know porn preferences which you've acquired probably sent mostly mimetically you know either via the algorithm or via you know someone of your friends sending you stuff then you know you it's not actually based on anything robust at all you know like like those girls who call themselves bisexual but they've never actually kissed a girl you know of which there are many probably considerably more now because you know there are so many more identities like that which which seem based on and people well there's social incentive to identify as some kind of genderqueer or whatever
Starting point is 01:01:57 and yeah absolutely there are there are social rewards it seems clear that there are social rewards to be gained from having an identity which isn't cishet and so of course you want to find one and so of course people are going to you know split hairs and they're going to invent new ones and you're going to be ace arrow or whatever whatever whatever people have come up with this week uh most of it most of it's just most of it's just kind of mental masturbation um it's got it's got very little to do with with actual sex most which you know if you're doing it right is pretty raw and pretty vital and very and it's unpredictable and it's dangerous but I think the scary things that people are also like very out of touch with their instincts and desires and their own bodies
Starting point is 01:02:35 actually yeah you mentioned that one detransitioner girl um who whose parents dragged her to a horseback riding camp and she that's how she kind of got in touch with her body for the first time like all the people near all the people I know who are extremely online and not batch it crazy have an extreme physical practice as well like you know they lift or something like that I mean I I run 30 miles a week if we'll take and it which is a slightly unhinged but it's it offsets being extremely online and I you know I know lots of people I know lots of people who do something equivalent you know something you have to do something that grounds you as as thoroughly in in your body and you find a there's a lot of ass grabs stewardesses and waitress I mean I guess
Starting point is 01:03:26 that's an option too you know the the the Saturday before I flew out to the US and I knew I was going to be you know zooming around and online a lot I spent the afternoon digging the garden with my husband and my daughter with the chickens out and it was it was the best it was just the best thing I like to smoke cigarettes on my fire escape it brings me back to feel alive touch no well even if the smoke where you can touch something yeah but it yeah it's different when you have a baby and you just like plop the baby on your chest and you become one with the baby yeah and it's like you know like a a figure a of like warmth and energy and love um it's true that's sweet how old is yours please too I was just telling dasha that I finally
Starting point is 01:04:18 submitted my daycare application and I walked out of the building and like immediately burst into tears and public and felt like such a loser in a cock but you know they grow up so fast I really agree with your chapter on on the pill on contraception called rewilding sex I think that that makes a lot of intuitive sense to me that sex ought to be at least in theory procreative that even if you are promiscuous or have acquired a high body count that women should basically be having sex with people that they could at least conceivably imagine conceiving that that should at least be on the table when you take it off of the table it just does has disastrous consequences for libido and behavior I can't prove it but I have
Starting point is 01:05:13 this theory that if you if if birth control disappeared somehow magically overnight so would most of kink culture I mean bdsm to me is like vegan bacon it's like it's almost like the real thing but not quite and so you put a lot of hot sauce like but like contraceptive sex is like vegan bacon and bdsm is just like the hot sauce that you add to make it taste more like the real thing I think I mean I mean what about bdsm much like the day-to-day like routine of being trans and like administering hormone treatments is less about like sex or gender and more about like anxiety management yeah absolutely it's a it's not it's not it's not about sex as much as it is about a set of defenses against sex there's also something about it which I think it functions as
Starting point is 01:05:57 sort of nature reserve for libs who can't quite bring themselves to acknowledge that you know disparities of like power imbalances are real and some of them are really hot and so they had they invent this whole system for managing this whole infrastructure for managing it they're obsessed with power but they want it like sanitized and contract right I think if you're gonna if you're gonna do kink you should do it without safe words and if you're not willing to do that you shouldn't do it at all yeah but isn't I mean I agree that like contemporary bdsm practices are so pretty corny and sterile but in its inception with like sadism with like the marquee they saw it like you know libertinism is there's a historical precedent for I think the market is one of the
Starting point is 01:06:42 original lives oh yeah I mean literally yeah but that predates birth control like extreme sexual practices I think are a separate issue but but the the fact that it's now I mean you I mean the marquee decide was an astonishingly depraved outlier right you know he was like and and bdsm is pretty much influential though right influential but I mean he was still he was very much an outlier whereas you know it's a bdsm or you know it seems seems pretty normalized now you know I also feel like his bdsm was probably way more extreme than yeah sort of yeah yeah well that's yeah it wasn't like yeah that's not like you know all the all the architecture of you know consent and respect and you know agreeing agreeing you know it's not like it's not like he described so far it's you know
Starting point is 01:07:32 that wasn't really that's not really what I wasn't part of the framework no no he's no he's talking much more about you know kind of I'm gonna do this because I can which is it's very liberally I mean conservatives bemoan promiscuity but the problem is not promiscuity as such a promiscuity without risk consequence for your promiscuity yeah yeah I agree with that and because I'm once you put the consequences back into promiscuity the whole system regulates itself again pretty quickly yeah you know at the end of the day you know what what gets what gets decried as you know the patriarchal oppression of women's sexuality prior to contraception was it was actually a totally pragmatic way of managing you know real material asymmetries
Starting point is 01:08:16 you know at the end of the day if you get accidentally pregnant and the guy doesn't stick around you know it's everybody's problem yeah it's not just yours you're a dumb bitch but like the idea that nobody has a stake in what I do or with who it only becomes thinkable with contraception before pre pre the pill it's just not true yeah I guess you would think it was laughable you um what's the word I'm looking for you like spread that responsibility over a bunch of other actors yeah like yeah state actors or whatever yeah yeah yeah who you become like a ward of I guess if you're or your child becomes a ward of yeah and that when that Ponzi scheme starts to collapse you know in the welfare Ponzi scheme collapses much further than it has
Starting point is 01:09:05 I'm willing to bet we'll see a whole load a lot of these other a lot of the other liberations start to roll back for reasons which wholly unconnected to either reactionary feminism or really patriarchy either you know the the system will begin to will begin to adapt itself to new material realities including there being no welfare state how well how do we even get something like a rolling back of the pill how do you even get something like that off the ground I honestly don't know but I we could do worse than by making it low status like making it cringe yeah just making it a bit a bit gross and a bit cringe and a bit um a bit lame and you know a great deal a great deal follows from that um but and it's it's not really that if if that happens it won't be me doing it because
Starting point is 01:09:51 I'm just I'm too old and too ugly and too too like I'm right but you know I'm not I'm not the hot girls on the internet right you know the and a great deal is downstream of what the hot girls want and that's just not you know well none of them want to be on the pill right and if that you know if we if that multiplies and if that snowballs then it will be interesting to see what's what shifts come downstream of that culturally but um the other well the I mean I think I think banning the pill will be I predict that it will be within the overton window within the next 10 years I think that's going to happen and it will be and partly for ecological reasons partly just because you know I think you know in the coming age of scarcity you know manufacturing manufacturing
Starting point is 01:10:33 systems we've seen that breaking down over the COVID period you know a whole load of women who were using you know artificial hormones for menopausal symptoms you know we're not able to access HRT because supply chains broke down and you know it's not it's not that difficult to imagine an equivalent crisis um trashing the supply chains which which which send send contraceptions around the world we need to manufacture and add or all shortage but I mean my gut feel is that when things get banned things get banned downstream of a whole load of cultural changes which which you know the the banning really just formalizes if you see what I mean right abortion was legalized downstream of a whole load of social and cultural changes which made it pretty much an inevitability because
Starting point is 01:11:19 not having it under those circumstances was terrible and I think you know the way the way sexual morees work would have to change very radically in order for it to be thinkable for that not to be legal and I but I can imagine I can imagine material and cultural circumstances changing enough for for it to be thinkable that the contraceptive pill is not legal anymore or just not available I could I can imagine that happening I have a hard time I mean I can foresee more so it fall it becoming very out of vogue or yeah unpopular for women to to take hormonal contraception rather than it being less of it and then it becomes less widely available it's like a de facto ban rather than like a you end up with feedback loops that just
Starting point is 01:12:06 end up with it more or less falling out of vogue and you know and then then exactly you end up with us it's not so much a banners it just kind of things kind of peter out similarly with abortion I think you make this case in your book and I agree that it's isn't so much about banning abortion rather than creating the material conditions in which people are able to have children and thus will have less abortion that's what I think the feminist position has to be classic leftist position like I think Angela nagle said it on our pod years ago but so okay outside of restoring the importance of marriage and demoting the primacy of the pill another solution that you propose is sexed spheres where men and women can help mold the future men and women yeah
Starting point is 01:12:56 how do you restore all male spaces to an extent I think we could just be a bit less uptight about insisting on always being included because there are times when that just you know isn't wholly necessary and I think we could we could honestly be a bit be a bit more realist about though you know there are not you know we live in a very high tech society and for the most part in the working world it doesn't matter immense doesn't matter hugely what sex you are you know like the example I gave of management consultancy it doesn't matter hugely in knowledge right in knowledge but but there are plenty of other areas where it does and I think we should be we should be much more we can and should be much more realist about that and I've I've I've I quoted a former
Starting point is 01:13:43 special forces guy in the book who talks about what happened in his in his fighting unit when it went co-ed yeah some woman came in and she slept with everybody including several of the commanding officers and it messed it messed up all the dynamics and it had a it had a serious effect and the case and the argument that I made in that chapter is that every single one of the arguments that gender critical feminists make against allowing male women into women's prisons you can also make against allowing women into the military or at least in you can make against it all the arguments against co-ed prison units can be made against co-ed fighting units you know the they the increased danger to the people who are already there you know the way it
Starting point is 01:14:26 messed in the way sex gets creeps in and and messes up messes up the social dynamics you know the way preferences you know favoritism sex favoritism creeps in even though everybody's disavowing it you know there's a whole host a whole host of these these dynamics which my my interviewee um described in the context of his fighting unit they're all visible in the reports that come out of male male women in women's prisons and that's actually crazy to me that they allow biological you know there have been there have been cases where women have been impregnated in prison and I mean yeah you're right these all these all become you know yet more culture war fodder but they're also you know these are real women's lives and yeah I mean if I was a biological
Starting point is 01:15:09 male I would love to go to a woman's prison yeah I mean it's and somehow somehow because then you could do the rape there's been this cognitive dissonance about oh you know no man would ever pretend to be a woman in order to go to jail I mean when they when they discussed it in you know there was a there was an inquiry in in the British government about this and somebody came in came in from the prison service to say I to say I I have seen I have heard from male inmates that that's exactly what they're planning to do you know you shouldn't be allowing this because of course people are going to exploit it I mean at the end of the day you have a you have a large collection of the people who are not interested in playing by the rules and that's kind of what they're doing in
Starting point is 01:15:49 prison in the first that's how they got to be in prison in the first place you know what makes you think they're going to stick to the rules in this case they're criminals and and there's also this this very yeah there's this startling statistic which is now born out internationally that roughly roughly half of transgender identified prisoners are sex offenders not surprising yeah it's great and this is not surprise this is this is the data that's come out of the UK and it's come up seems conservative frankly right and I think and some of this is down to the fact you know a lot of them are autogynophiles and paraphernalia is cluster you know this is this is known this is well documented in in the psychological literature yeah if you have one paraphernalia you probably
Starting point is 01:16:28 have more paraphernalias so you know it's it kind of stands to reason and I'm sure I'm sure I'll now be fire bombed on uh no I'm not not not not encouraging you're in a safe space right I am here but you know we'll be firebombs that's okay but but paraphernalia is cluster and so it stands to reason that somebody who's who sexually aroused by the thought of themselves as a woman may well you know have have other thoughts also along along other lines um other um other grotesque deep-seated deviants, hatreds and confusions about women that might lead them to rape and want to wear them as a skin suit and why would you be allowing those people into you if you want if you want a real horror story on this front look up Barbie Kardashian who's a I think I'm going to stick with mums
Starting point is 01:17:17 a deeply disturbed individual who's who's been sent to a women's prison in Ireland I'm guessing she's neither a Barbie nor a Barbie Kardashian, she's neither a Barbie nor a deeply disturbed individual who threatened to do horrible things to his own mother and who is now in a women's prison because that's because Ireland has gone fully maximalist on this stuff and it's fascinating they they detached themselves from you know deep commitment to the Roman Catholic Church and just jumped straight into another deeply religious set of commitments it's been wild watching it happen um Dasha are you looking at Barbie Kardashian? No no no I'm too scared to it sounds frightening
Starting point is 01:18:01 um you watch Sex in the City? No I think that's how to a very uh I'm a big fan of the show but uh I think that's how to big influence on a woman in a negative way Sex in the City? Yeah in keeping alive the mutated form of yeah yeah big romance because it made you think you could have sex with a UPS guy who was like a civilian 10 and not like a weird hunchback yeah makes you think things will work out between you and mr big um yeah I don't want to know your body count I want to know which Sex in the City character you identify with the most um I was reading but they the the the film the the reprise film they made of it recently was just kind of horrifying the reboot I feel like that there's two of them right um and they're I'm sure they're good for like watching on an airplane
Starting point is 01:18:52 right it's like that sort of fair like the um Elton John and Freddie Mercury biopics right um I have one last question we can wrap it up for it yeah so a lot of your references in the book are kind of plucked straight from Twitter discourse the e-girls and fem cells in cells in non-stenene and vermule Catherine D and Justin Murphy what can I say I've been extremely online for 20 years yeah it's a thing we like us you admit that to being extremely online from a fairly young age um and last time we were kind of briefly talking about this guy Willie Staley who wrote a long read about Twitter I want to say in like the New Yorker the New York Times I don't remember now um and he cites these alarming stats that only a quarter of Americans use Twitter and of
Starting point is 01:19:40 those only a quarter post regularly and then of those only three percent are what he calls power posters um as defined by the frequency of posting not by um engagement numbers or followers or elite yeah um so how much of this discourse is literally shaped by internet addicts such as ourselves and how much of it would even be legible to your average normie like you talk a little bit about the singularity to me that's the real singularity yeah I mean I was becoming less human and yeah I mean I think I think the real singularity happened somewhere after I dated from 2007 which is the year the iPhone landed and they locked up britney um I think that was that was the year the singularity began and it's we've all kind of merged with the machine since you
Starting point is 01:20:28 know we're all constantly scrolling and the internet is just I'm pretty much directly bluetooth into it the whole time um do I do I think that because I'm more extremely online than everybody else that I'm actually just making it all up and none of this is actually out there in the real world yes and no what's the feedback what's the feedback loop I don't know I think twitter isn't the real world but it also is in the sense that you know yes you get you get these unhinged little hipster communities but somehow actually Catherine D who who you mentioned just now you know rightly points out that most a lot of a lot of what's now being you know cemented into law in terms of diversity and inclusion stuff you know was just you know 10 years ago
Starting point is 01:21:09 it was a subculture on tumblr and now it's now it's being written into the law a campus call or something well I'll give you like an example pulled from the red scare anals um anals yeah sorry not as bad as when I confused um cte and crt last time but okay part of the reason that um we um had early success as a podcast is because dasha was part of a viral meme called sailor socialism which I imagine that you've seen um and recently it went viral for a second time but this time the audience was different it was like normie's discovering sailor socials and they got you know a kind of even more reduced memed version without the original context even so there is like a trickle there's a time lag there's a trickle down effect I mean I it never
Starting point is 01:22:04 used to be the case I mean when my when my daughter was in preschool it never used to be the case that mums who I saw at pickup would would ever mention the internet and now it's it's not it's not unheard of you know to have those conversations in real life and I mean I use I use just you know small town british life I mean I don't live in London I'm not an urbanite I live in I live in small town england and I so I just the conversations I have at the school gate serve for me as a kind of benchmark for you know but yeah it's a way of touching grass I guess and to my eye um it's it's coming it's in the mail for everyone and everywhere well I guess I can let me rephrase the question another way actually um do you think that by talking about and engaging with this kind of stuff
Starting point is 01:22:52 as you do in the book as we did on the podcast that we're actually meaning these things are really buying its influence yeah um probably to an extent um or at least yeah I don't I don't have that that kind of grand and estimate of my own influence in the memeplex I mean to an extent I use I use the internet as a kind of dreamcatcher I always have done and in in my experience if you have the kind of pattern recognition if you have a taste for pattern recognition and you like and you use the internet in that way um you what you what you see coming even if it seems obscure to your average your average person who just wants to grill you know it's you're probably still right I mean most most of the things that I thought were coming 20 years ago you know when I was a deranged
Starting point is 01:23:39 20-something activist you know I was just I was just out on the timeline because I thought I thought it was all it would all be there by by 2015 and I'm in the as it turned out I was I was just about I was out by about a decade it's just all happening now um so I don't know I mean so I've been I've been wrong about things before and I hope I'm wrong about about a lot of stuff we're just noticers here yeah we're just oracles yeah but I mean if you're if you're a chronic noticer you know yes it can tip over into schizophrenia and yes it can tip over into self-fulfilling prophecy but often it doesn't often you're actually just right so and which which it is in this case I don't know but you know this what I've written has resonated with enough people that I don't
Starting point is 01:24:23 think I'm completely schizophrenic yeah definitely yeah more will be revealed stay tuned guys stay tuned well thanks so much for coming on our show congratulations thank you this has been fun thank you so much for having me feminism against progress available wherever books are sold we won't post this in time for the launch but so don't don't bother I might I might throw it up now and between the end of this pod and the start of the launch of a few hours okay okay I'm gonna try I'm gonna be ambitious well thanks again thank you so much see you in a hell

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