Julie Bindel

British radical feminist

Julie Bindel (born 20 July 1962) is an English radical feminist writer and activist. She is a co-founder of the law reform group Justice for Women, which has aimed to help women who have been prosecuted for assaulting or killing violent male partners.

Julie Bindel in 2015

Quotes edit

2001–2007 edit

  • [S]o far, more gay men have attempted to explain the "erotic nature" of inter- generational sex, or shown sympathy and understanding of "boy lovers", than have joined forces with those of us who wish to see an end to child sexual abuse.
  • Why do we glorify women living off the backs - literally - of women in prostitution? They are referred to as madams, and seen as clever entrepreneurs rather than exploiters.
  • Ironically, society usually comes down harder on female child abusers and killers than on the men who commit similar crimes, and yet excuse, even deify, those running prostitution rackets. The term madam is sanitised, as if the female pimp is simply a kindly lady looking out for her girls, rather than exploiting vulnerable women for profit.
    • "Don't call her Madam", The Guardian (25 October 2003).
    • The immediate reference is to Margaret MacDonald, a British woman who had been convicted in Paris of "aggravated procuring for the purposes of prostitution", fined, and sentenced to four years imprisonment.
  • [On scientists searching for the so-called "gay-gene".] What exactly is the purpose of these costly experiments? So parents can decide whether to abort if discovering the foetus might turn out to be a hairy lesbian? Or is it because the majority of people cannot get to grips with the fact that we choose to be lesbian and gay. All the comments us lezzers have endured over the years, such as "you don't you know what you're missing", come from the mistaken belief that batting for the other side is a disadvantage. Actually, a lot of us know precisely what we are missing. If we wanted to be heterosexual we would be.
  • [The article begins with two long paragraphs itemising numerous media reports over four days of violence, mainly rape and murder, perpetuated by men against women] [T]oday I hate men, and will tomorrow and the day after. But only the men who perpetrate these crimes against my sisters, and those who do nothing to stop it. Are you in either one of those categories? If so, then I despise you.
  • I want to see an end to gender. It has no place in my world.
    But to end this tyranny of learned masculinity and femininity, where boys and girls are taught that they should behave in ways befitting of their birthright, we need the oppressors - men - to be the ones who say "enough is enough".
    Like some radical white South Africans, wishing to see an end to apartheid, gave up their power for the benefit of humanity, so should men.
  • In 2004 I wrote a column in the Guardian Weekend magazine complaining about the fact that a male-to-female transsexual had sued a rape crisis centre in Canada for refusing to let her counsel rape victims, on the grounds that it was a "women only" service. I had, in my piece, referred to one transsexual as a "man in a dress". ...
    In hindsight, the sarcasm I used in my column was misplaced and insensitive ("Imagine a world inhabited just by transsexuals," I wrote, complaining about the way many transsexuals parody traditional masculine and feminine styles of dress. "It would look like the set of Grease."). However, the hundreds of angry emails I received, and the levels of vitriol contained within them, made me realise just how much of a sacred cow - at least among us liberals - the issue had become.
    As a result of the article I was firmly branded "transphobic" by the community. No other topic I have addressed in this newspaper has attracted such fury, even though I regularly express controversial opinions.

2008–2016 edit

  • But things seem to have got out of control lately with mens' obsession with lezzerism. First the blog supposedly written by a lesbian from Damascus was found to have been written by a man living in Scotland, and then it turns out that Paula Brooks, the editor of the lesbian news website LezGetReal, is a retired Ohio military man and construction worker. What is going on? Do we not have enough lesbian writers without having to make them up? Do I need to churn out more diatribes?
    Being an out and proud lesbian with a public profile, I often get slated by men who take umbrage that I am not exactly their type for a sexual fantasy (the male version is either a woman so butch she could kick-start her own vibrator, or a Katie Price-type with extra large boobs, three-foot-long tongue and additional fingers). One accused me on his blog of "lezzering on again" after hearing me on Radio 4. I was surprised because the item he was referring to was about the cost of car insurance for women.
    Another Guardian writer, Cath Elliott, is often assumed to be a lesbian by men who take offence at her dislike of rapists and sex murderers. She once got so tired of comments posted on her blog asking her about her short hair and lack of makeup that she told them we both run a lesbian militia training school in the countryside for straight women.
  • I am the proud co-owner of Maisie, a rescue sprollie (collie and springer spaniel mix) from Ireland. Maisie is asexual herself (the pooches entering the competition do not have to be gay themselves), but unperturbed by being raised by two lesbians. Her life was hard prior to being adopted, and she lives the life of Riley with her daily pigs' ears, walks in the woods and trips to the Dog's Beach on Hampstead Heath.
  • She happens to be the spit of the late Diana, Princess of Wales, during her infamous interview with Martin Bashir on Panorama in 1995.
    If scant attention is being paid to Maisie – for example if I am watching TV with my partner and cuddling her rather than the pooch – Maisie will lower her eyes dolefully as if to say, "There are three of us in this marriage", just as Diana said about Charles and Camilla all those years ago.
  • I needed to leave home – there was nothing there for me in Darlington – and pursue my feminist possibilities, that meant starting a new life and all that was open to me. I fell in with a crowd [in Leeds] who spoke about lesbianism as part of women’s liberation. I never chose to be attracted to women.
  • I could have stayed where I was in Darlington and gone along the path that was predestined for me [marriage to a man]. I chose to live my life as an out and proud lesbian.
  • Banning me from speaking by claiming that my very presence would cause harm and even violence to students, when they regularly allow men who actually campaign against women's rights to speak, is outrageous.
    Initially, the University of Manchester decided to no platform me and not my opponent, Milo Yiannopoulos, a vocal anti-feminist, (though he too was later disinvited, after protests over the hypocrisy). In doing so, they handed me a gift. Here is proof that this is an anti-feminist crusade, and nothing at all about so called safe spaces.
    No student was harmed in the writing of this article.

2017–2019 edit

  • Where there is legal prostitution, such as in Germany, the Netherlands, Australia and New Zealand, legal pimps will sell literally anything to anyone without concern for law enforcement's interference.
    Where there are no bestiality laws, a woman in a legal brothel can be penetrated by animals, however large, and no one is breaking the law. The woman is very likely to be harmed and highly traumatised, but who cares about her under a system where profit trumps safety and dignity?
    The rise in pregnant women for sale in the sex trade fits perfectly with the neoliberal notion that the female body is nothing but a marketplace, where everything is for sale.
  • [During a visit to Cambodia.] The women were desperate to tell their stories of the daily violence and abuse they endure from punters. All told me how much they hated selling sex for a living. I asked the women about the benefits of being in the Union, and was answered not by the women, but by the WNU member. She spoke solidly for five minutes, ignoring any interruption from the women themselves. "If they are beaten by the police, they are given legal training on their rights; if they are arrested, the WNU will provide food during the time they cannot work; and if one of the women dies, they will help to buy the coffin," she explained. Knowing their rights "empowered them", I was told.
    The women did not appear to be empowered. Some had become pregnant by buyers and were caring for the babies. Three were HIV positive. All of the women had been raped on multiple occasions. Each told me they could get out of prostitution if only they had $200 to buy formal identification papers, because this was the only way to secure legitimate employment in the service industry or a factory. None of the women were familiar with the international campaign to de-criminalise the sex trade, and all said that they wanted out.
    None of the women, the translator told me, used the term "sex work" to describe what they do, or "sex worker" to describe who they are. One of WNU’s aims is "to challenge the rhetoric around sex work, particularly that concerned with the anti-trafficking movement and the 'rehabilitation' of sex workers". All of the women asked me where they could get help to escape the sex trade. In the meantime, WNU board members and paid staff travel the region, speaking at "sex workers' rights" conferences, distorting the voices of the exploited women.
    This NGO seemed to consider the concept of "sex workers' rights" to be above and beyond the importance of the lives of the women themselves. I asked the board member if they were planning on raising money to help the women out of prostitution. She told me: "No".
  • The opposite, abolitionist position – favoured by feminists including myself, and every sex trade survivor I have interviewed – is: prostitution is inherently abusive, and a cause and a consequence of women’s inequality. There is no way to make it safe, and it should be possible to eradicate it. Abolitionists reject the sanitising description of “sex worker”, and regard prostitution as a form of violence in a neoliberal world in which human flesh has come to be viewed as a commodity, like a burger.
    Abolitionists do not consider prostitution to be about sex or sexual identity, but rather a one-sided exploitative exchange rooted in male power. They believe the progressive solution to the sex trade is to assist women to exit, and criminalise those who drive the demand.
  • I have been beaten up by men in the past but not for a long time, and I knew precisely what was coming when I saw the rage on his face, and I am just so sick of this.
    We had had a very positive meeting - I was speaking about male violence against women and never even mentioned transgender people - and when I came out this person was waiting.
    There had been a protest outside earlier, but that had gone so he was obviously waiting for me.
    He was shouting and ranting and raving, "you're a f***** c***, you're a f****** bitch, a f****** Terf" and the rest of it. We were trying to walk to the cab to take us to the airport, and then he just lunged at me and almost punched me in the face, but a security guard pulled him away.
    I got my phone out to film him to get evidence and he went for me again. It took three security guys at the stage to deal with him.
  • I think the lecturers and other staff who stoked the flames of this by calling women bigots and fascists and Nazis because we were holding an event to discuss women's rights, should take responsibility for this.
  • How have we arrived at this shocking state of affairs, where feminist campaigners are called "Nazi scum" and are no-platformed — denied a forum — for speaking out on behalf of marginalised and abused women?
  • My view on transsexuality is that trans women are trans women, as distinct from natal females. It is impossible to change sex, it is only possible to live as the opposite sex.
    I refuse to accept the Orwellian concept that it is possible for a man simply to declare he is now "a woman" because he "feels like a woman".

2020–2021 edit

  • The reason I am regularly de-platformed (invited, advertised, and then, humiliatingly, disinvited after a kerfuffle caused by Queer Isis) is extremely well documented.
  • As I have repeatedly pointed out, 'woman' is not a figment of anyone’s imagination. Female genital mutilation, forced marriage, rape and sexual assault, sexual harassment in the workplace, unwanted pregnancies, domestic violence and everyday, casual sexism happens to girls and women because we are born female, not because we identify as such. If it was that easy, we would be identifying out of our oppression at a rate of knots.
    Our biology is not our destiny, but being female has a tangible effect on our lives. We have the right to talk about menstruation and all the other issues that affect us without being told that to do so is transphobic. It is as though men have found a clever way to tell us to 'shut up' and still be considered not only as progressive, but as though we actual women are the real oppressors.
  • Pornography is just prostitution with a camera, and OF is both prostitution and pornography.
  • It is dangerous to claim that OF is safe. Very little is said about the devastating emotional and psychological effects on women of being bought and sold by men. Being treated as a commodity for consumption takes its toll.
  • I had read about the attack on Theresa [Sykes] in salacious detail in the press and was scared when I suddenly became aware of a man rushing up behind me. Looking backwards, I could see him illuminated by light from a nearby pub. He had a beard, was of medium height and had a tight mop of black hair: just like the man Theresa had described.
    I picked up my pace but still he followed close behind. Running into the pub, I asked an elderly man to walk me home. When we came out, the other man had disappeared. The next day, friends convinced me to report the incident to the police.
    At Millgarth police station I told the desk officer that I wanted to report a possible sighting of the [Yorkshire] Ripper. He all but laughed. I was asked if I had heard the Ripper speak, which I had when he shouted "Hello, love" after I turned to see if he was still following. I told the officer that he had a Yorkshire accent and he told me: "No, love, our fella is from your neck of the woods!" The officer was convinced, as most were, that a "Wearside Jack" was the killer and I, newly out of the northeast, still had my Geordie accent.
    Eventually, I helped officers put together a Photofit description of the man which, it later transpired, was similar to many of the other descriptions from victims who had survived.
  • When did 'lesbian' become a dirty word again? Perhaps it is since the trans-Taliban decided that we were a group of bigots and fascists, motivated by hatred of transgender people, existing solely to remove the rights of non-binary, sapiosexual, polyamorous blue fringed narcissists.
  • This new wave of bigots – misogynists thinly disguised as progressives – are every bit as toxic as the old sexists that would beat us up on the street, or tell us that all we needed was a ‘good seeing to’. And what is particularly shameful is that many of the liberals that would have condemned such bullies in the past now seem to be supporting the very people that wish to drive us back into the closet.
  • After more than three decades of campaigning, women were finally given our own wards, but the progress made from the blood, sweat and tears of feminists is now being rolled back. So why do single sex wards matter? After all, Oxford NHS Trust said that the "risk of sexual offending in a trans context is very rare".
    It is staggering that the trust is looking at this as an issue of trans people as opposed to male pattern behaviour. The vast majority of sex offenders are natal males, however they identify, and the majority of victims women.
    This issue has nothing to do with transgender people or the ideology surrounding it. This is about dangerous sexual predators and women's vulnerability. Most of the time a person is in hospital they are undressed and in bed. How many women would feel comfortable sharing a room with a male stranger when wearing nothing but a nightgown, on sleeping or pain medication, and in pain or discomfort?
  • I'm no snowflake, but for me Ofcom’s inclusion of “Karen” in its list of potentially offensive terms was validating. It took me back to last April when, having seen numerous women being told by men on Twitter, "Bye, Karen" when they called out sexism, I tweeted: "Does anyone else think the 'Karen' slur is woman-hating and based on class prejudice?"
    Having seen the "Karen" insult used by predominantly white men having a go at middle-aged white women as well as a smaller number of women of colour, I recognised it as pure, unadulterated sexism. My tweet caused an outpouring of invective against me, neatly proving my point. ...
    It is often suggested that women object to being labelled Karens because we can’t take a joke. The one thing feminists have is a sense of humour; we can often be found laughing heartily at the sheer ridiculousness of some men.

2022–2023 edit

  • There is nothing hateful, dangerous or violent about promoting female only spaces. What is hateful are the things that men do to women and girls that create the need for single sex services.
    When women flea for their lives in the middle of the night to escape fatal domestic violence, they need a women-only domestic violence refuge.
    The teenage girl who has been raped at a party and fears that she will be blamed, not the perpetrator, needs a safe environment to speak to those that understand what she is going through.
    Women pimped into prostitution, desperate to escape, often can’t face being anywhere near men as a consequence of the trauma they have endured at the hands of punters. They desperately need to be kept safe from harm.
    In short, women only services exist because of the prevalence of male violence.
  • [While visiting Toronto, Canada, Bindel once stayed in the Greektown district.] During that trip I learned the difference between the food of mainland Greece, and that in the Greek side of Cyprus. I am embarrassed to say I used to conflate the two, but they are quite distinct. An abundance of olive oil, thyme, oregano, cinnamon, garlic, mint, dill and bay leaves characterises Greek food, as well as lemon juice or rind to season and garnish. Chicken is the most popular meat, and seafood is always on the menu. Any decent Greek kitchen offers taramosalata, made from cod roe, olive oil, lemon juice, grated onions and bread.
    Mint, cumin, parsley and coriander seeds are the flavours of traditional Greek Cypriot cuisine. Meze is the mainstay of the kitchen, with smoked meats, such as lountza and pastourma, along with beetroot salad and halloumi. My favourite, only found in the most traditional, old-style Cypriot restaurants, is kolokouthkia me ta afta, or courgette with eggs.
    Whilst Cypriot food is often heavily influenced by Middle Eastern flavours and techniques, mainland Greek food is the epitome of all things Mediterranean.
  • [Non-transitioned trans males in women's prisons] That poses a threat to lesbian and straight women alike. Indeed, many of the demands made by trans activists harm lesbian and gay rights. Where extreme ideologues speak about “same gender attraction” as opposed to “same sex attraction”, this effectively means that a lesbian could be a man who claims to be a woman who is attracted sexually to women.
    And nothing distinguishes the gay rights struggle and the trans issue more clearly than conversion therapy, which I experienced as an undercover reporter. Gay conversion therapy is telling lesbians and gay men that we are evil, twisted, damaged and freakish. We are told to ignore our feelings and sexual attraction or be condemned to a life of misery. But when extreme trans activists talk about trans “conversion therapy”, what they are actually attacking is the support that is offered to young people to help them explore their feelings when they present at gender clinics. That is how we fail children, again with the use of language designed to prioritise sympathy over all else.
  • The public are supposed to be placated by the fact that ‘risk assessments’ are carried out when the prison service is considering whether or not to send a trans-identified male to a women’s facility. This is nonsense and offensive to boot. The very presence of a male-bodied person in a confined space, where the majority of the population have been brutalised by men, is terrifying and unnerving.
  • [T]he killer is often portrayed as the perfect family man. The term 'tragic' is often used to describe these terrible cases. As a result, the killer tends to be absolved of his responsibilities and culpability, in a way which would not happen had he lived. A more appropriate term for these crimes is not, in fact, murder/suicide, but femicide – the murder of females by men, because they are female.
  • Transwomen exhibit a pattern of criminality which is no different from other males. Indeed, figures released by the Ministry of Justice in 2018 showed that half of all trans prisoners have been sentenced with more than one sexual offence, almost all against women and children. Therefore, declaring oneself a "transwoman" certainly does not make you any safer. In fact, it puts women and girls in more danger, because they can be lulled into a false sense of security.
    Trans activists insist that women should be worried about "men" and "not trans women". Please tell me what the difference is?
  • Many trans activists (who count a number of Labour politicians within their ranks) claim that offering talking therapies to children distressed about their biological sex amounts to “conversion therapy”. From this false premise they will conclude that unless a young person presenting with dysphoria is immediately and wholeheartedly affirmed as transgender, they are likely to experience suicidal ideation. Thus, anyone who disagrees is a transphobic bigot.
    Actual conversion therapy is when a lesbian or gay person undergoes abusive "treatment" designed to shame them out of acting on same-sex attraction. It is the polar opposite of offering psychological support and counselling to a young person who wishes to escape their body.

2024–present edit

  • Only women experience menopause. Only females get pregnant. As ever, the feelings of men that claim to be women have been placed high above actual women, even when it comes to our healthcare.
    How exactly did the NHS, at a time when it is literally on its knees, end up being concerned about what Stonewall thinks of them? Surely the priority for the NHS should be treating patients – not worrying about making the cut in Stonewall's ludicrous league table?

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