A brief response to Julie Bindel

Put three feminists in a room and chances are you’ll get four different definitions of what feminism is. After all, the likes of Louise Mensch and Julie Bindel get to apply the term to themselves. Bindel in particular is a well-known transphobe, and in her latest Huffington Post column she adds biphobia to her credentials.
There isn’t much of an argument in between all the vitriol and nonsense, but from what I can gather Ms Bindel would like me to stop sleeping with men. That’s in those paragraphs where she isn’t questioning my existence in the first place. Yet in the same piece she objects to Camille Paglia telling lesbians to sleep with men, and declares that – while she believes “straight women are missing out on the best sex on the planet” – it is straight women’s right to choose to sleep with men. So hang on. Camille Paglia doesn’t get to tell lesbians who to sleep with. Julie Bindel oh-so-graciously grants choice and agency to straight women in the matter of who they take to their beds. Yet we poor, possibly-non-existent but definitely misguided bisexuals cannot be left to get on with our lives without this vital guidance from our superior lesbian overlord. Would she spot irony if it bit her in the arse?
Here’s the thing: If feminism is about anything, it’s about not letting your reproductive organs dictate your role in life and limit your choices. It’s about giving choices to people – yes, men and women; and while all our choices are by necessity made within a political context, feminism is about levelling the playing field so that said political context is less restrictive. When you find yourself seeking to limit women’s choices and telling them what they should do and how they should behave – in any area of life, let alone sex! – then, Ms Bindel, you have become part of the problem, not the solution.

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