Polluted Erotic Ecologies

“Sometimes life is stranger than art. Suppose you were a novelist, and your book’s protagonist is the genderqueer founder of a web start-up who calls herself Sebastian. Suppose the novel charts this character’s further transformation into a stay-at-home mom now going by her birth name of Mary and writing manifestoes about “reactionary feminism.” Your book would be rejected by all the major publishing houses, who would want the story to be told the other way around.

And yet such is the improbable backstory of one of the most important contemporary writers on gender and feminism, Mary Harrington. She is not alone in her concerns. The gender wars have made strange new alliances, joining Catholic thinkers (such as Erika Bachiochi and Abigail Favale) with prominent lesbians such as Julie Bindel, feminist philosophers such as Kathleen Stock and Nina Power, and sexual-revolution critics such as the journalist Louise Perry. All of these women would likely describe themselves as feminists. And all of them once had or still have a political home on the left. All of them are concerned with the erasure of women in contemporary gender ideology, which grants female status to anyone with an inner feeling of womanhood.”