Another day, another clever clogs arrives to tell the feminist masses why they’re fucking up. This time it’s the turn of Martha Gill. Like Charlotte Raven before her, Gill offers a rare insight into the feminist mindset. This is due to the fact that not only is she a feminist herself, but she’s amazingly clever and totally ace at writing. Most feminists are, as Gill so cleverly notes, thick as pigshit and rubbish with words. Thus we should all thank her for her guidance (come on, sheep-like feminist masses! Bleat in gratitude!).

In a piece that is ostensibly on “the perils of Groupthink” Gill makes two timely observations. The first is that every single “online feminist” (i.e. those feminists who are several classes down from a “print feminist”) writes in exactly the same style. And that style is … Well, let’s be honest, it’s the style in which Vagenda write. And Vagenda write in that style deliberately, perhaps because they’re writing about the very magazines whose approach they mimic. It doesn’t take a genius to notice this – Vagenda spell it out for you – but still. Well done, Gill. That’s probably a good few young feminists you’ve embarrassed out of writing on the things they care about, simply because they happen to adopt what you consider to be an overly stylized voice. Sod ‘em, though. It’s all very well finding a voice in this sexist world, but make sure it doesn’t sound too jarring to the more sophisticated feminist ear.

Gill’s second point is based on her first. This is unfortunate, since her first (that all “online feminists” write like Vagenda and their imitators) isn’t a very convincing one, but never mind. Let’s pretend this makes sense, otherwise the rest of Gill’s argument is too bewildering for words. Gill wants to suggest that since all “online feminists” write the same (which they don’t) they all think the same (which they don’t):

Now, there’s nothing wrong with showing your writing influences – but when you write as a tribe that’s a sign that you think as a tribe, and when you think as a tribe common sense starts to go out the window.

Evidence for this tribal lack of common sense in the feminist community comes from the fact that online feminists seem to have a thing about rape apologism: they don’t like it. Pretty much all of them don’t like it. Gill seems to find this suspicious, and decides “it’s something to do with people moving as a group”. Because obviously, all things being equal, you’d expect some supporters of women’s liberation to be cool with rape apologism, wouldn’t you? Otherwise it’s just weird. Silly, silly online feminists.

I don’t know where to start with all that’s wrong with Gill’s depiction of innocuous “advice” on rape avoidance being cruelly misrepresented as rape apologism. If her point is that saying some things increase your risk of being attacked but not your responsibility for it, then this has been argued in far more sober, nuanced and intelligent ways, for instance here. I still don’t agree with it, and I’ve tried to explain why here (no doubt in a Groupthink-ridden, knee-jerk way, without even knowing it). The point is, whatever you believe, you can discuss these things without being so bloody superior and insulting. Moreover, it’s important to do so. What’s the point of alienating people or shaming them into silence?

Well, anyhow, I just wanted to say that. Because I am frankly surprised at the meanness that lies behind this type of intellectual posturing. And yeah, now I feel worried in case I slip into “babyish” capitals or forget to drop in the odd “sounds sexist at first glance but actually it’s way radical” observation, just to show I’m not one of the crowd. Is that what being clever is meant to feel like? If so, I’d rather be ignorant, honest and free.