If you are at all active in right-wing online spaces, you may have taken note of an influx of women into dissident right political circles over the past two or three years. In addition, there has been an increase in conversations surrounding the phenomenon of women within the political left who have rejected some of the more egregious elements of third-wave feminism, often at great personal and social cost. These women, who identify as second-wave or classical feminists, unequivocally reject transgender ideology – they are Trans Exclusive Radical Feminists (TERFs).
“TERFs” emerged as a slur by early 2010, as pushback against trans activism within feminist circles gained more visibility, along with the lesser-used Sex Worker Exclusionary Radical Feminist, or SWERF. With a major overlap, both groups reject the notion that sex is socially constructed and changeable, and both embrace that pornography and sex-positive feminism is a societal sickness and deeply exploitative of women.
These two core positions form the bridge between TERFs and the dissident right, with several other elements contributing to the exodus of women from the feminist framework altogether. TERFs aren’t necessarily “radical” in the sense that they are any more anti-male or passionate about their discourse than third-wave feminists, but for many, their adherence to the traditional feminist academic understanding of sex and gender earns them the label.
A surprising number of women involved in the dissident right admit to coming to their political stance from varying degrees of leftism. Similar to the “Libertarian to Alt-Right Pipeline” ubiquitous in 2016, the pipeline connects two diametrically opposed ideologies and makes converts out of an oppositional party. In order to understand this ideological leap, we have to understand what drives women to accept the core tenants of dissident right belief.
Gender as a Social Construct
Until the proliferation of transgender ideology in recent years, feminist academia understood gender as an entirely social construct distinct from sex, which is the unchangeable, biological basis of women’s oppression. Gender expression as a socially constructed phenomenon, or a product of an individual’s upbringing, is a concept undergoing a shift toward a more nuanced understanding of where and how the intersection of gender and biology occurs. The common dissident right position would be an unwavering view of immutable physical sexual dimorphism, a view shared by radical feminists, taken together with an understanding of gender expression as at least partly based in bio-psychological urges.
Feminists have long strained against the ties joining gender expression and a biological basis for gendered behavior, ardently arguing against the concept of a “woman’s brain” until recent developments in trans ideology have begun to repopularize the surprisingly regressive concept. In the midst of this confusion – a third position emerges. What if gender expression IS largely based on biology, and that’s perfectly alright? Why can’t we celebrate our unique aptitudes? Why can’t we accept what we cannot change, and advocate for women’s interests with this understanding?
Women’s Liberation to Corporate Slavery
The most severe catalysts for any women’s liberation movement are the immediate threats of physical and sexual violence and the lack of ability or opportunity for a woman to support herself or her children if her partner or guardian fails in his responsibilities or if he has passed away. Once these dangers were somewhat mitigated in the West, we see a shift from a genuine women’s liberation movement into the mid-to-late 20th-century Jewish-led feminist theory.
This movement and its development into third-wave intersectional feminism have helped to shape a society where violent pornography is encouraged for consumption and accessible to children, where mass immigration has caused rape epidemics in once comfortable European towns and villages, and women and girls are subject to unthinkable violence as part of a tradeoff for the supposed strengths of a diverse society. With self-identification laws and rabidly anti-woman LGBTQ activism, women have largely lost the right to privacy and the women’s only spaces vital for our safety. The freedom for women to work and support her family in a dire situation became perverted into a massive societal push for women to join the workforce en masse, resulting in what we now understand to be a wage-stagnating doubling of the labor pool and a generation of small children and infants raised in an often apathetic daycare system.
With this comes a new understanding of women’s oppression. We are torn away from our children by the new economic reality, sent into corporate slavery, and prevented from starting families. When the most natural essence of womanhood is discouraged and we are denied the fruition of our most basic biological instincts, we come to understand the current system as one dangerous to the feminine body and spirit, the family structure, and the backbone of western society. From this core realization onward, there are a number of factors that have caused the mass exodus of TERFs from the left into the dissident right.
Rejecting Degeneracy Depletes Social Capital
With countless women realizing that feminism, for all of its pro-women intent, has failed women and allowed these miserable circumstances to come to pass, nothing highlights this disconnect more than the social consequences of rejecting the trans and sex-positive narrative. The TERFs label results in the same personal or professional upheaval as being outed as a white nationalist, and trans activists use the same cowardly tactics as Antifa uses against suspected fascists. Women have lost their jobs, social circles, and families for failing to adhere to third-wave groupthink. They are subject to violent threats from trans activists and “feminist” men alike. These women become social pariahs and have simply already lost the social capital they stand to risk by getting involved in dissident politics.
Vancouver Rape Relief has been repeatedly vandalized, including a dead rat nailed to their doorway. The center provides support services to female victims of sexual assault.
Statistics and Race
Male violence is of unique interest when arguing the risks involved in allowing men into spaces where women are vulnerable, and one of the first steps in accepting the reality of male violence is actually viewing the statistics regarding male-on-female violence. Viewing the publicly available data with a critical eye reveals a truth known to anyone on the dissident right. It doesn’t take any thinking woman long to see exactly which men are committing violent crime and the majority of partner violence, and race realism is a natural next step.
Another issue that sets most TERFs apart from intersectional feminists is their unflinching rejection of the Islamic encroachment on the West. Mass Islamic immigration is a grave concern to most women who value their safety over the social capital gained from intersectionality. Unregulated immigration from the southern border in the US continues to sacrifice female victims of illegal immigrant sexual violence on the altar of multiculturalism.
Certain sects of honest leftist politics have begun moving away from “woke” liberal discourse and into legitimate class struggle and economic analysis. Many have conceded the disastrous effects of mass immigration and an endless supply of cheap labor on wage stagnation and worker protections, and as these topics become less taboo in leftist dialogue, genuine leftist women feel more confident in questioning the diversity dogma.
Respect for Masculinity
Feminism creates a gender divide that doesn’t speak meaningfully to women who have healthy relationships with men. Anti-male rhetoric is toxically present in radical feminist spaces, and the most vehemently anti-male and anti-masculinity conversation pushes away women who have strong bonds with their fathers, partners, sons, and men in their communities, or even just the woman confident in her attraction to traditional masculinity.
Many women on the dissident right have come to understand patriarchy as a system of paternalistic male leadership, with the expressed goal of protecting women, families, and the larger societal structure. The adversarial understanding of patriarchal societies espoused by both MGTOW and third-wave feminism is both reductive and historically illiterate.
There is no perfect patriarchy to draw from historically, and some reactionary traditionalist movements only seek to replicate an idealized version of gender relations that are more a product of the 1950’s advertisement and marketing industry than a genuine understanding of our history. A pro-family, pro-natalist movement requires some degree of female participation, and reframing the patriarchy paradigm is essential – toward a system where men’s urges and strengths are allowed to flourish and channeled into healthy outlets, and women are protected and respected for their material reality and the gifts our unique biology affords.