Activism, Health, Human Rights, recent, Sex

The Rise of ‘Drag Kids’—and the Death of Gay Culture

Last month, the CBC—Canada’s public television network—ran a lavishly publicized documentary about “four kid drag queens as they prepare to slay on Montreal stage.” This was marketed as child-friendly content. Indeed, the CBC promoted the documentary, titled Drag Kids, on its “CBC Kids News” channel as a fun look at children who “sashay their way into the spotlight.”

For me, as a gay man, watching the documentary was traumatic. The interviewed parents defend themselves against accusations they are abusing their children by encouraging them to dress up in drag. But to do so, the parents must purport to separate drag from sex and sexuality, which is simply ahistorical. They define drag as “a way of expression,” and assure everyone that “there’s nothing sexual to it” (a premise that the CBC clearly embedded in the marketing around the documentary). The kids themselves are very much on message. One remarks, “I was called gay-boy, but I did nothing but dress up.”

That last remark actually brought tears to my eyes—though not for the reasons you might think. I cried not because of the homophobia directed against that little boy for dressing in drag. No, I cried instead because we now inhabit a culture that denies our real gay history of gender revolt—from the British “Molly Houses” of the 18th century (where homosexual men dressed up and held mock weddings and birthings), to the drag queens who threw the first rocks at Stonewall and invented gay liberation.

I thought a lot about that. And then I decided that as a gay man and drag queen, it was time to just, well, give up. After years of propaganda to the effect that sex is meaningless and “gender expression” is all that matters, it’s now official: Gay is gone.

* * *

As with many things gay, the trend started with AIDS. The disease did not, as was gleefully predicted by some homophobes, wipe out the fags. But it destroyed gay culture. In its place, we got Grindr, gay marriage, RuPaul on TV, prepubescent drag kids whose parents haven’t got a clue, and a preachy LGBT activist elite that prioritizes pronouns over the realness and rhapsody of human sexuality.

Gay liberation was born in the 60s amid the sexual revolution. Porn was going mainstream. Movies by gay filmmakers John Waters and Andy Warhol were seen in “legitimate” movie houses. In 1967, when I was still a child, Johnny Carson chatted about the Swedish art film I Am Curious Yellow, which featured hardcore sexual footage of a woman kissing a penis, on The Tonight Show. Later, I worked as an usher at Toronto adult cinemas called The Eden and The Eve. Back then, couples would go to porn movies on dates, dressed up fancy. The ladies would ask me, without irony, “Do you think I’d like this movie?” The unofficial spokespundit of the hippie movement, Herbert Marcuse, assured us that “obscenity is a moral concept in the verbal arsenal of the establishment, which abuses the term by applying it, not to expressions of its own morality but to those of another.” Wilhelm Reich told us, “the pleasure of living and the pleasure of the orgasm are identical. Extreme orgasm anxiety forms the basis of the general fear of life.” The pill came into wide use in the early 1960s, and Roe vs. Wade was decided a little more than a decade later. Sex no longer necessarily meant heterosexual procreation, and women were suddenly free agents. We, the sexual liberationists, thought nothing could stop the revolution.

Among the fundamental premises of gay liberation was that being gay meant being a sexual person. Chris Lea remembers that for the founders of The Body Politic—Canada’s first magazine devoted to gay liberation (founded in 1971)—sexual liberation was an obsession: “The Body Politic was very sexual. There was a kind of fundamental idea that sort of permeated. It was that promiscuity was the glue that kept the gay community together. They used to say that. It’s hard to believe, but they used to say that. So it made me into a kind of more sexual being for sure.”

Articles by gay men in that publication stretched the boundaries of what was considered acceptable sex. People discovered that sex outside marriage could produce joy, fun and even love through new, open, alternative relationships. Body Politic collective member Sue Golding (still a female, still a lesbian, but now known as Professor Johnny Golding) understood that “the body is political, and therefore that sexuality is political.” Golding later went on, in the 1980s—like many other sexually liberated lesbians—to defend On Our Backs, a magazine devoted to lesbian erotica. Women, people of colour, and the working class were oppressed, too, and we were all part of the same revolution.

Gender identity was also at the core of gay and lesbian liberation. But unlike now, the term was then understood as marking sub-typologies within a gay community defined by sex and sexual desire. In early gay pride parades, men proudly carried signs marked with slogans such as “pansy power,” and “dykes on bikes” (lesbians on motorcycles) led the march. There had always been “queens” and “trade” in gay culture (effeminate men and masculine ones); and lesbian culture was even more openly obsessed with the typology of “butches’ and “femmes.” Susan Sontag published Notes on Camp in 1964, linking gay humour with high art. Esther Newton published Mother Camp in 1972, a groundbreaking analysis of drag. One reviewer called it “a trenchant statement of the social force and arbitrary nature of gender roles.” Drag was beginning to be seen as a gay phenomenon that had implications for straight ideas and gender roles.

One of the most significant sexual events of the period was the 1977 opening of Studio 54 in New York City. For a while, respectable—even notable—straight people stood in line to attend what was essentially a gay bar. Men were screwing each other in the balcony while the likes of Paloma Picasso, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Betty Ford, Leonard Bernstein, Elizabeth Taylor and Salvador Dali partied down below. For a brief moment—it started with Playboy Club bunnies, and ended in a rumor-shrouded heterosexual sex club in Manhattan called Plato’s Retreat (1977-1985)—heterosexuals admitted they were sexual beings just like gay people. Not coincidentally, around the same time that straights and gays began mixing openly at Studio 54 and elsewhere, Anita Bryant initiated her anti-homosexual campaign. In 1979, Jerry Falwell founded the “Moral Majority,” opposing women’s rights, homosexuality and promiscuity more generally. AIDS delivered the tragic knockout blow that destroyed gay liberation and the sexual revolution. But much of the preparatory work already had been done.

In 1981, gay men in California started dying from what had been misidentified as treatable pneumonia. And gay men in New York City started dying from what was misidentified as cancer. In 1982, the Centers for Disease Control labelled this illness GRID, or “gay-related immune deficiency.” Later that year same year, they renamed it AIDS—“acquired immune deficiency syndrome.” In 1983, Jerry Falwell called AIDS—now being routinely referred to in some quarters simply as the “plague”—“god’s punishment against homosexuals.” In 1987, gay journalist Randy Shilts’ account of the AIDS epidemic, And the Band Played On, blamed the disease’s initial spread on a freewheeling Quebec flight attendant named Gaëtan Dugas (1953-1984), thus hammering home the link between sexual promiscuity and AIDS. Watching what seemed like a medical holocaust of senseless deaths around them, gay men began to detach themselves from what had been a core belief—that gay and lesbian identity was intrinsically related to sexual liberation.

The sex itself was the first to go, at least in its public aspect. Gay men, in particular, felt the need to distance themselves from the world of gay bars and bath houses. Larry Kramer, whose 1985 play The Normal Heart dramatized the rise of AIDS, led the anti-sex faction. In his 1989 Reports from the Holocaust, he wrote: “I was against promiscuity long before The Normal Heart. I believe being gay offers much more than that.” Andrew Sullivan—a gay Catholic conservative who is still a prominent writer—wrote the book Virtually Normal (1995) in support of Kramer’s ideas. It was important for Sullivan to assert that we were “normal” and should have the right to marry, even if “marriage, of all institutions, is to liberationists a form of imprisonment.”

As part of their new quest to convince straights (and each other) that they were “normal,” gay men and women also began to distance themselves from gender issues (as gender was then discussed and expressed). There had always been some measure of discomfort about drag queens and butch dykes in the gay and lesbian communities. In the late 1980s, gay men started to dress like one of the characters in the 70s camp band The Village People—but without the humor—donning work boots and moustaches with a grim severity. A muscular physique became de rigueur—the opposite of the “pansy” epicene aesthetic I knew from when I was young. Gay men were now all about being “real men.” When I produced my play Drag Queens in Outer Space in 1986, drag-queen stars weren’t even allowed in many Toronto gay bars—until they began positioning themselves as fundraisers for AIDS victims, at which point they were grudgingly accepted. I remember sitting beside someone in a bar watching the drag icon Divine in a John Waters movie. Some gay drunk nudged me, saying “At least we’re finally through with all that.” And by “all that,” he meant (without knowing it) me.

The straight community was having its own reaction to the AIDS crisis, even if their per-capita death toll was much lower. AIDS functioned as much as metaphor as illness. For many, it symbolized the end of the sexual revolution. Kramer’s The Normal Heart, a hit among gays and straights alike when it opened 34 years ago, said it all: Gay men are normal. They’re just like everyone else. They don’t need promiscuity, but love. The AIDS doctor in the play wails, “Can’t you just stop having sex?” And the play ends with a gay marriage ceremony, inspiring viewers to go forth to the alleys, bathhouses and dark rooms with a message: “Turn back! Give up! Sexual excess will eat you alive.”

But of course, public denunciations of sex only push it underground. Though we are now living in a more conservative, uptight society, everyone is still hooking up on dating apps (or trying to, anyway). Of course AIDS is now rarely lethal; prescribed pharmaceutical drugs have made it a manageable chronic illness, and HIV-negative gay men take PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis), which can guarantee 99% protection against AIDS. We also know that HIV positive men who have an undetectable viral load cannot transmit HIV.

Yet the 1960s and 70s still seem far away. The truth is that we don’t live in a sexual culture. We live in a prurient one, with the grubby aphrodisiac of digital porn creating a lonely underworld of sad loners who spend their days being preached to by a shrill chorus of puritanical scolds on both sides of the political spectrum. If anything, our hypocrisy is greater than it was in the 1950s, because it is now turbocharged by technology and social-media call-out culture.

There was—and will always be—promiscuity, homosexuality, prostitution, fetish culture and adultery—because sex is human. All that occurred during the 1960s and 1970s was that people began admitting openly what they were up to, with encouragement from the gay men who led by example. With AIDS came the defeat of sexuality’s gay shock troops, and a return to hypocrisy. For heterosexuals, this dipping in and out of the sexual revolution wasn’t particularly drastic, since they were simply able to return to their normal lives of respectable hypocrisy. But for gay men and women, the sexual counterrevolution was existential—because queer culture had defined itself in the brief dawn of the sexual revolution that the counterrevolution extinguished.

Indeed, gays and lesbians are, if anything, now arguably more hypocritical than straights—since many try extra-hard to appear more conjugally blissful, more church-going, more purse-lipped about what goes on in their bedrooms and brains. It has become politically correct to present modern gay men and lesbians as well-adjusted, loving, kind, asexual clean cut, family-oriented individuals (an archetype being Cameron and Mitchell on Modern Family). Supposedly, all gay men and lesbians are either happily married or aspire to be. Their sexuality is invisible and irrelevant.

So much so, in fact, that many don’t even feel the necessity to “come out” anymore—in large part thanks to the modern strain of trans ideology, which asserts that, among the civilized and enlightened, the primal physical needs associated with sexual orientation and body parts are trumped by the body-agnostic vagaries of self-declared gender identity. Indeed, how can there even be anything called gay (or lesbian) “culture” in a world that pretends to see no difference between a lesbian and a straight male-bodied man in a dress and pearl necklace?

And yet the stigma of being gay and lesbian hasn’t gone away. Homophobia is not dead in either the global or local sense. Big cities in North America are anomalous oases of tolerance. In some countries, it is still a crime to be queer. Even in North America, many parents are still shocked to discover they have a gay or lesbian child. I teach at the university level, and most of my gay students are not completely “out.” In some cases, I only find out about their identity after they graduate, which is when they tell me about the horrors of coming out to their parents. Drugs are a symptom of this: I remember my gay therapist telling me many years ago that most of his gay clients were so mired in self-hatred that they had to be drunk or stoned to have sex. The crystal-meth problem among gay men is a particularly acute problem.

It was about 2005 when my queer friends began to gossip about what we called ‘the disappearing lesbian.” It seemed that all of a sudden there were hardly any butch dykes, but a whole lot more “trans men.” My older butch lesbian friends complained about it, asking, “Doesn’t anybody want to be a butch lesbian anymore? Are they all taking hormones and cutting their breasts off?”

While young gay men tend to be addicted to sex and drugs, lesbians are more likely to get their fix on social media. Many will endure an adolescence struggling with gender issues, perhaps cutting themselves, threatening suicide, before coming around to the thoroughly fashionable notion that they’re definitely not lesbians, and so their problems have nothing to do with sexuality, and everything to do with “gender.” As Deborah Soh has pointed out, many of the adolescents who declare a trans identity will find out later that they are just gay men or lesbian women, though by that point much time will be wasted, and their truly transformative years will be gone.

This is how we arrived at the point where a documentary such as Drag Kids could be shown on—and indeed celebrated by—the CBC. As a lifelong drag queen, I know that it is silly to pretend that drag has no sexual connotation. But as someone who has been observing the slow death of gay culture for many years, I also know that this is not a new phenomenon, but rather just the end point in a cultural process that has turned the reality of gay men and women into an abstraction promoted by a gender-studies workshop.

Children should be encouraged to dress up and play as they wish, of course. But the parents who appear in the documentary want to have their cake and eat it, too: They want to allow their male children to act effeminately, but without acknowledging the connection to gayness—since gayness cannot stand in isolation from sexual orientation; which itself cannot stand in isolation from desire.

Drag is quintessentially gay and essentially sexual. It is a way for gay men to deal with the psychological effects of the homophobia that is directed against them by straight people. It always has been a way for gay men to exist in a homophobic society while proudly claiming their effeminacy, their love for other men, and, frankly, their proud status as “sex objects.” To create bubbly television fare marketed to Canadian children as wholesome (and even edifying) entertainment is at best ignorant, and at worst damaging.

The popularization of drag on RuPaul’s Drag Race has helped convince people that drag is not about sex, but about show biz. Even your grandma loves RuPaul. What you won’t see on Drag Race is the witty, chatty, virulently obscene monologues that still characterize real drag shows in the few remaining real gay bars that comprise the surviving vestiges of gay culture. And therein lies the tragedy of a world that ignores sex and fetishizes gender. A world that teaches kids it’s okay to be effeminate as long as you stay mum about being gay is a world in need of another sexual revolution.


Sky Gilbert is a Canadian writer, actor, professor and drag performer. He teaches creative writing and theatre studies at the University of Guelph. His book about Shakespearean rhetoric —Shakespeare Beyond Science: When Poetry Was the World — will be published by Guernica in 2020.

Featured image: A 10-year-own “drag kid” profiled on the CBC, as promoted on the CBC Kids news channel.  


  1. One of the more sad elements of the intersectional landscape is that far from the unifying coalition of ‘marginalised’ groups combining to overthrow their oppressors, many of these arbitrary groups end of in competition with each other. Great movies like ‘Kinky Boots’ or ‘The Adventures of Priscilla , Queen of the Desert’ might end up as cultural oasis, unique in their place and time in history. Another way this is playing out, is in the protest of Muslim parents and communities over LGBTQ awareness curriculum in schools, or in recent disputes over funding, inclusivity and emphasis at recent pride parades.

    It really is tragic that this movement that was supposed to increase tolerance, empathy and compassion between groups, has ended up as a sordid competition for higher victimhood status. If anything, it only seems to be increasing divisiveness and intolerance- yet another example of the political overruling the humane.

  2. Great article.
    I’m straight and I do miss the old gay culture. Modern shirtlifters are so earnest and dull.
    I would question the author’s use of the cant term ‘‘homophobia’’. I realise that it is a convenience term, but it is inaccurate because there is no real fear of gays and lesbians. There is a distaste for the act of homosexual sex which has been channelled by some into a disdain for gay people. But this is not an irrational fear.
    I remember my gay friends telling me that they had their suspicions about a few blokes who they thought were really straight but who ‘‘came out’’ in their 30s and threw themselves heavily into the gay lifestyle, which meant taking a lot of drugs. Like the author said, these blokes had to be really drugged-out to have sex. My friends thought that these were really straight men who liked the promiscuity and sexual basis of being gay, but actually didn’t like having sex with other men.

  3. Not being gay, the topic of this article has been something of which I have been curious. I was a bit surprised when the issue of gay marriage arose. Being married of course entitled one to health and survivor benefits, but it also comes with legal obligations and responsibilities. Marriage presupposes fidelity, can end in divorce, alimony, support, property settlements, prenuptials and so on. The free wheeling gay life style not being about procreation seemed to have avoid this consequence of sex. I wondered if gays really wanted the potential consequences of marriage or simply wanted a wedding. Wouldn’t legislation allowing gays to designate a survivor for benefits and a dependent for health insurance have given them the best of both worlds (sexual openness with legal status)?

    Feminism and a lot of straight men endeavored to convince heterosexual women that the “hook-up culture” was in their best interest and meant freedom. Many women have learned otherwise. Odd thing about the sexual revolution is it seems to have produced gays wanting monogamy and straight women wanting promiscuity.

  4. It’s a bit surreal listening to a washed-up, flamboyantly gay drag queen yelling at kids to get off of his lawn.

    Unfortunately, the sexual revolution didn’t come with an emergency break.

  5. @ Geary_Johansen2020

    If anything, it only seems to be increasing divisiveness …

    Diversity cannot exist without divisions.

  6. I dunno.

    Maybe there were a lot of gay men in the past who were horrified by the old gay subculture of drugs and promiscuity and the idea that that was what was in store for them as gay men, and stayed in the closet and made the best of it, or got really depressed and suicidal.

    Maybe many today are a lot more comfortable being gay now that it doesn’t mean having to subscribe to the old gay subculture, and can mean living a stable, quiet life with a home, a loving spouse, children, etc., i.e. a “normal” middle-class life.

    The old lifestyle seems a lot more appealing to the extraverts than the introverts, for example.

  7. That’s not entirely true. Le Chevalier d’Éon was, in my opinion, the first man to do just this. Charles-Geneviève-Louis-Auguste-André-Timothée d’Éon de Beaumont, a decorated Captain of the Dragoons during the Seven Years War, was appointed in a temporary position, chargé d’affaires, to the English court of St. James in 1763. Bored out of his mind with British culture, he became somewhat corpulent and began wearing women’s corsets to maintain his vanity (something which didn’t catch on for men until the mid-Victorian era). Boredom continued, and le Chevalier d’Éon ordered some fancy women’s hats, attended parties, and challenged anyone to a duel who questioned his gender for the purposes of entertainment.
    Gambling was the Netflix of the 18th century, and soon all of the nobility and bourgeois of England had placed bets on d’Éon’s gender to the extent that the British court had to come to an official ruling on the matter in order to settle the wagers.

    Due to the Chevalier’s history as a spy for King Louis XV, and threats d’Éon had made to expose the French crown’s covert operations in Britain after discovering that his office was to be filled by a dishonourable man (France had ordered an extradition of d’Éon; however, Britain continued to refuse until the betting on d’Éon’s gender got out of control), the British court decided that d’Éon was a woman. Stripped of diplomatic rights, because women were forbidden to hold office, d’Éon was ejected from the British court and extradited to France. Upon arrival, King Louis XV decreed that d’Éon wouldn’t be allowed to enter Paris or Versailles dressed any other way than as a woman.

    A fun little game that d’Éon played for fun became punishment for threatening to expose the King and his government’s secrets.

    There is a historical context for “I dress in drag for fun, not because of my sexuality,” albeit it is fairly recent with the bulk of the research conducted at the University of Leeds in 2010.

  8. Sorry, OP- kids are playing dress up in the styles of the past. Remember when being a drag queen was a provocative part of culture? Oh, the history!

    There’s also a deliberately normative aspect, in addition to peacocking. (That the parents are peacocking their wokeness is beyond dispute). One of the objections to the gay subculture was that it was extremely NSFW and NSF children, and that items like gay pride parades should be kept decently out of the public space and after-hours so children aren’t exposed to debauche and hedonism. This is an attempt to respond to that, by making it SFW/fun play time. Of course, as you note, the sexual subtexts have to be completely whitewashed and erased for that to be the case.

  9. I’ve heard people say that these boys are dressing like girls, and that there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with that. In fact, these boys are dressing like highly sexualized adult women, and there is something intrinsically wrong with that. How many parents would let their ten-year old daughters go out (much less on stage!) wearing high heels, a copious amount of makeup, and fake eyelashes? Hopefully very few.

  10. The motives aren’t the issue. The kids are dressing in an extremely sexualized way. Makeup and high heels are fundamentally sexual, especially when taken to extremes as in these cases.

  11. Why does the author think we’re all hypocrites? People having normal sex in a committed relationship are hypocrites?

    P.s. I’m with whoever above said that the new comment section sucks big time. If it ain’t broke, and it wasn’t, don’t fix it.

  12. An interesting article but Sky perhaps overworks the “Back in my day…” nostalgia. He also over-emphasises the role of drag.

    It should be pointed out that many gay men have never been particularly interested in “gender”. In the 70s and early 80s, before the AIDS crisis hit hard, it was already the case that most gay men presented as more-or-less “ordinary” men. They might have worn something a bit raunchy in the clubs, but drag was rare and associated with entertainment, not people’s actual persona. Most gay men weren’t attracted to men dressed up as women, they were attracted to men dressed up as sexy men.

    Many men disliked “effeminate” manners (I didn’t mind them and thought some of the older, more effeminate men seemed quite stylish) and the gay contact columns in those days featured endless “straight-acting” men seeking the same. By “straight-acting” they usually meant “unaffected” rather than pointedly masculine.

    As a youth I had my own style of “sexy” presentation for the clubs, usually just stylish shirts with half the buttons undone, designer belts with the end left dangling, and either tight-fitting or pleasantly loose pants. Gay men thought I looked sexy but so did many straight women. I lived in the “gay quarter” of a progressive kind of city and on the streets, was more likely to attract wolf whistles than slurs.

    Yes, there was a lot of casual sex in those days and a lot of it was good fun. But it was associated with high levels of alcohol and drug intake and a lifestyle that could be quite unsettling for those seeking stable relationships and a drama-free life. After a falling-out with a close friend I distanced myself from the gay scene, just in time to avoid the AIDS crisis which took its toll on a number of friends.

    The truth is that we don’t live in a sexual culture.

    I’m pretty sure gays still have their own kinds of “sexual culture”, but as always, it has its own place, which is not in the public spotlight. And that’s what most gays and lesbians have always preferred because if you want to meet like-minded partners, by whatever means, you don’t want the arena cluttered up with straights. As a minority we spend our everyday lives in a straight-dominated world, so “ghettos” serve practical needs.

    a world that ignores sex and fetishizes gender

    There’s certainly a lot of increasing focus on “gender” out there, which is somewhat baffling to those of us who simply don’t care about it. And that essentially is what is represented by the term “cis” - people who have no problem with their “birth gender” precisely because the whole concept means little to them. We’re expected to subscribe to the idea that gender is all-important but it still means nothing to us, so our response is a shrug.

    Young people are more vulnerable to the mania and as Sky points out, an increasing number of young gays and lesbians are likely to be side-tracked into “transgender” irrelevance. On the other hand, there’s also a growing trickle of gay people willing to publicly distance themselves from transgender ideology and its growing role in the LGBTQI establishment.

  13. It seems to me quite the good thing that gay and lesbian people are viewed as normal people, and in my experience, live with the expectation that they will be treated as such by the people they meet. Of course there are gay (and straight) people who want the endless party lifestyle and to advertise their sexual nature, but that’s something people generally outgrow. I’m glad gay people are getting married and having children, because it’s good for society to have stable nuclear families, and the benefit to orphans and kids in foster care is potentially substantial. I’m also glad Pride has turned from a riot/protest to essentially a civil holiday where we congratulate ourselves for being so much less barbaric than the Muslim world and Africa.

    I do share the author’s concern that this attempt to desexualize the gay movement goes too far with the absurd claim that drag kids are not engaging in something essentially sexual. What part of dressing in a highly sexualised manner and performing at strip clubs isn’t sexual? That children are engaging in this is clearly child abuse, and if it were happening to girls those parents would be charged so fast. However, I don’t think the claim this isn’t sexual is being made honestly: it is a defense against the charge of child abuse, that no one involved believes. This is simply the thin end of the wedge forcing acceptance of pedophilia.

    If children are allowed to make permanent, life-altering decisions about their sexuality, which is the base assumption behind the trans conversation with regards to minors, it only follows they can consent to sex. Combined with the sexualisation of children we are now supposed to accept with regards to drag kids, we have the road to normalised pedophilia paved. So we have destroyed the gay movement, in a sense: they promised the rest of society that gay acceptance would not mean pedophilia was next on the agenda, but that is precisely what they did.

  14. Hi Farris,

    If I’m honest, I don’t think it is the majority. I think there is a very vocal minority, spearheaded by protest groups who need to keep their funding coming in. I think there is then possibly a section who don’t question the narrative and just support it because they think it “must be right”. Unfortunately this leaves the very vocal minority the main platform to “represent” gay people, but I can guarantee you they do not speak for the majority.

  15. I am, but I also know how to use the left’s language to call the corporatization of women’s lives misogynistic. I tell feminists that they’re a mouthpiece for the patriarchy if they think killing their children so that they can continue being cogs in the capitalist superstructure is feminist. I tell them that promotion of casual sex and prostitution benefits powerful and wealthy men more than anyone. I tell them they are shills for Islamic patriarchy by normalising explicitly sexist symbols like the hijab. I tell them making women act more like men by prioritising career and being sexually promiscuous, and sacrificing their families in the process, demonstrates their own subconscious hatred for women’s identities and sexuality. This is a case we need to make, and putting it in terms the left understands can help. I have surprising success in leftist forums with this approach.

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