Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Not newsworthy

For some reason - probably connected with the ribbing I got on the website GenderTrender (henceforth 'GT') two years ago - I thought about visiting it again, to see what might be going on there nowadays.

It's not a website I'd bookmarked, so I first had to do a Google search using the keyword 'gendertrender'. I was very surprised when my search turned up a post from late October 2014 on another website, The TransAdvocate. This post claimed to have unmasked the hitherto very shadowy figure behind GT, who goes by the name of GallusMag. The finger was being pointed at lady named Linda Shanko. The evidence to support this exposure certainly seemed persuasive, and there was a photo of her that looked authentic. But there was no hands-up confession to clinch the assertion made.

You may already be fully aware of all this, but if not, the post published by The TransAdvocate is here: Judge for yourself.

Personally I don't know whether to feel convinced or not. For one thing, I was aware of a theory that 'GallusMag' was actually a man, and that the secrecy was essential not to protect the author of GT from men, but from the potential wrath of all the radical women who were finding the website inspirational. The only thing to support this theory was the violence of the language on GT, which could certainly be read as coming from the typing fingers of a male mind. But of course that's not conclusive. Anybody of extreme views might use that sort of  language.

Whoever does run GT seems unabashed and unconcerned. You only have to glance at the recent posts on that website to see what I mean. If there has been a change following The TransAdvocate's October post, then it's not obvious; I'd say the post has made no difference at all.

And the unmasking certainly hasn't made the BBC News. There haven't been any BBC articles on women's rights that mention GT, and the possible consequences of exposing its mastermind. No search on the BBC News website finds 'GallusMag', let alone an analysis of the facts of her unmasking, and the likely fallout. Some would say this total lack of media interest is evidence of GT's failure. Even if GT actually leads the most radical wing of the feminist movement, the lack of coverage indicates that its doings (and its message) are not considered newsworthy.

Is this saying that the entire feminist movement is unnewsworthy? We certainly see its most celebrated spokespersons getting space to air their views from time to time. But they always seem to be speaking to a special-interest audience of narrowly-defined followers and insiders, and not to people in general.

The 'professional feminists' are not making a big, nationwide impact. Where is the agenda, the big plan? Where in fact is the manifesto for the Women's Party, determined to fight seats at the approaching General Election? And surely win them: for wouldn't half the country's population, the female half, be inclined to cast their vote for the WP? My goodness, what if it happened? But I'm afraid it looks as likely to be a reality as the Pensioner Party, or the Struggling Young Family Party.

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Lucy Melford