TERF tirade against Oxfam over board game controversy
By Aine Eastwood
Well, there we are. Another day, another uproar because someone, somewhere recognized that transgender people exist. This time the famous Oxfam charity shop found itself at the mercy of the âgender criticalâ crowd (the politically correct term for âtransphobicâ). These critics have denounced the charity and seem almost ready to storm the stores with pitchforks and torches. All around a board game.
The story began at the beginning of last week. News broke on Twitter and in the tabloids that the charity was removing a board game called Wonder Women (which included characters like Jane Austen, Marie Curie and Rosa Parks) from its shelves. Oxfam’s reasoning behind the game’s takedown was somewhat vague, saying they had removed the game due to “concerns raised by trans and non-binary colleagues”, but without specifying what these concerns were.
Therefore, those who heard the news had to make up their own minds about the reasons for thisâ¦ which didn’t take long. The game was also present Harry potter author JK Rowling (who not only doubled but tripled his transphobic opinions last summer), and so there was the narrative. Oxfam pulled the game out because trans people hate JK Rowling.
Unsurprisingly, the decision was met with immense criticism and anger from critical gender circles. Unlike the trans community and its allies, these circles hail Rowling as a hero. After writing her âessayâ last summer, she has become more or less the face of the TERF (radical transexclusionist feminist) movement. Rowling has been celebrated for taking such a courageous stance, if you think displaying contempt for trans people is courageous, of course.
But for this particular group, the problem extends beyond Rowling. Because this incident was just another example of the trans movement âerasing women and their accomplishmentsâ. Once again, the awakened crowd arrived and destroyed the advancement of Second Wave feminism. The charity has been labeled cowardly at best and misogynist at worst. Many proud self-proclaimed feminists have announced that they will never buy from Oxfam again.
Except it turns out the problem had nothing to do with Rowling at all. After an anonymous Oxfam volunteer reached out and shared the story on Twitter, it became clear that the real problem people had with the game was the inclusion of Canadian actor Elliot Page. You may remember in December of last year, The page came out as transgender, and so it’s not hard to see why her inclusion in the game made her trans and non-binary colleagues uncomfortable. It’s not unreasonable to be upset that a trans man has been included in an inspirational women game and has a dead name as well.
It should be noted that the game was created before Page’s transition and due to a rushed process the game was not well controlled by Oxfam staff. It appears to be more of an unfortunate mistake on Oxfam’s part than a malicious attack, and the Oxfam employee treated it as such in the statement. In addition, as soon as the news reached the company that produced the game, a replacement was ordered and offered to Oxfam.
So, in truthâ¦ the situation is nowhere near as dire as the TERF crowd has made it appear. Oxfam did not take the game out because trans people hate JK Rowling. But would it really be unfair for trans people to be unhappy that a woman actively helping to take away their rights is labeled as inspiring? It was also not an attack on the achievements of women. It was just about not wanting a trans man to be included in a game about women, which one would think these proud “feminists” would wholeheartedly agree with.
It might be easy to laugh at this and move on. But, this incident reveals uncomfortable truths about the goals of gender-critical feminism and its position in the British media. Let’s focus on the first point first.
The Twittersphere was teeming with gender-critical feminists disavowing Oxfam. They promised to avoid shopping there in the future and to cancel their monthly payments. A former store volunteer even handed in her review, citing the incident as a reason. The response from these circles has been deep, emotional and, on the surface, rooted in a just cause. However, it doesn’t take long for it to break down (in reality, it only takes about three seconds of critical thinking).
Oxfam is far from the only charity in the UK, but it is one of the main ones. And it places particular emphasis on promoting women’s rights in developing countries. While it is not exempt from criticism, seeing so many right-thinking feminists turn their backs on it completely, vowing never to darken the door of an Oxfam store again, does not give the movement a particularly strong image.
With this decision, the gender-critical movement sends a clear message that its contempt for trans people trumps all other principles. If people still doubt that this so-called “movement” is a hate movement and that it is simply trying to “protect” women, that should be pretty solid proof. The pressure to “cancel” a charity shop because they dared to show support for their trans and non-binary colleagues demonstrates a clear and frightening priority of their anti-trans agenda over anything else. Including work that improves women’s rights.
Even more bewildering is the way the mainstream media handled the whole episode. The gender-critical crowd, despite their cries of pity over how “women’s voices are being erased,” received more than their fair share of support from the press.
Maya Forstater (whom you may remember with backing from JK Rowling last year) talkRADIO accuse Oxfam of “Change their definition of women”, as well as categorically saying that trans women are not women. GB News one presenter called Oxfam flabby, disrespectful and misogynistic. In either case, the issue of Elliot Page’s inclusion and his death was not at the center of the argument, if mentioned at all. Instead, the narrative was an outrage at the lack of representation of women, to the detriment of trans women.
Now I believe in a free press that shows both sides of the debate, even the ones I disagree with. What I don’t believe in is the press which stages fanatic opinions and actively disseminates false and harmful information. You would like to think that public news channels like these would force people to do their research before going on air, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Same Sky News ran the story with a misleading title that directly fueled the transphobic beast. This has fueled the narrative of trans activists threatening women’s voices.
It is deeply disheartening and infuriating to watch the mainstream media play this game of false neutrality with the facade of the alliance. At the same time, they amplify anti-trans voices and push trans people into the villainous role. This has a detrimental effect on the struggle against women’s liberation. The gender-critical crowd can play the ‘gagged woman’ card as much as they want, but this example is just one example of many proving that when the chips are low, they can count. on the mainstream media to be present. their corner.
The irony of that, people laughing at others for being “too sensitive” to losing their marbles on a board game, should be funny. If only the implications weren’t so disturbing.