When Intersectionality Silences Women

This is a continuation of Helen Pluckrose’s exploration of censorship on campus. Read the first piece, which details the campus environment and provides personal testimony from women academics, here.

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I sent a survey out on Twitter and on Academic Reddit forums seeking “female academics or students who find they need to self-censor on campus due to fear of social or professional consequences for holding views considered not ‘intersectional’ enough with regards to gender/racial/LGBT equality, ‘diversity’ and ‘inclusion.'” Respondents were asked how their own views differed from intersectional ones, how they self-censored, what they feared could happen if they didn’t self-censor and for some examples from their own experience. I received 76 relevant responses from women in universities who valued social equality and disagreed with some or all aspects of intersectional approaches to diversity and inclusion and felt the need to self-censor these views on campus.

The most common difference of opinion respondents said they held was the belief that gender is binary and this was reported mostly by gender-critical feminists. The second most common was a preference for meritocracy and individuality over identity politics. The third was a general agreement with the diversity and inclusion aims of intersectionality but a feeling that it had become too extreme. Other less commonly stated but repeated differences of opinion were a preference for intellectual and ideological diversity, a respect for scientific and evidence-based approaches and an objection to the demonization of and discrimination against men.

Women reported self-censoring mostly by simply remaining silent although some tempered their views and others expressed them in trusted company. The negative consequence feared most was social ostracism, hostility or misjudgement with career damage coming up as a close second and violence and doxing also being repeated fears.  Individual experiences respondents chose to share varied widely but included seven academics finding their work compromised by identity politics, particularly gender politics, five women having experienced hostility for having expressed unorthodox views and four feeling intimidated by an overwhelming ideological presence on campus.

Introduction

It is important to note that the sample size of 76 is small and that the survey is likely to have been seen mostly by people who follow liberal skeptics on Twitter which limits its range. It must also be noted that the sample is tightly controlled. I specifically asked for women who were in universities and 1) supported equal opportunities for people of all races, genders and sexualities but 2) did not agree with some or all ideas of intersectional feminism’s understanding of inclusion and diversity and who 3) self-censored this disagreement for fear of serious consequences. The results therefore are not representative of the general population of women in universities. They do not include women who don’t support equal opportunities, women who do agree with intersectional approaches or women who don’t feel any need to self-censor. They don’t include those who are simply indifferent to or unaware of politics of gender, race or sexuality on campus and don’t find themselves compelled to take a position. This is not a quantitative survey of the opinions of women on campus. It is an initial outreach to women who value social equality but feel the need to self-censor non-intersectional views to learn more about where they differ, how they self-censor, what they fear will happen if they don’t and what experiences they have had.

156 people responded to my survey. 112 were women and 144 said they supported equal rights unequivocally whilst a further 5 did so if they could substitute “sex” for “gender.” 132 said they self-censored due to views that differed from intersectionality. 16 responses had to be discounted for ambiguity, incoherence, lack of seriousness, irrelevance or misunderstanding the purpose of the survey. Ultimately, 76 responses were from women, currently or recently in universities who valued principles of equality but disagreed with intersectional approaches and felt a need to self-censor. Respondents were primarily from the US and the UK and Ireland. Canadians and Australians also made a significant contribution as did Swedes and Germans. They came from a variety of academic disciplines. Some respondents named one difference of opinion or fear whilst others named several. All have been recorded and it is the responses that have been measured.  Graphs and discussion are provided and direct quotes given when they are full sentences, unique and pose no risk of identifying the respondent.

Justification for exclusion

The replies from 44 men have been saved for future projects. The experiences of men are no less important than those of women but the aim of this particular project was to discover women finding themselves silenced by a dominant form of feminism.

There were 8 counterviews offered. These also needed to be excluded because they were not women who disagreed with intersectional approaches and felt no need to self-censor but will be summarized for transparency. They consisted of two American & one British academic saying that all views were welcome on campus, an American and an Australian student complaining that campuses were not intersectional, diverse and inclusive enough, an Australian and a British student saying that the universities were supportive of trans students but that not all students were accepting of trans identity and this made them feel unsafe and a British woman saying that her university was thoroughly intersectional, that this was a good thing and taking issue with my survey for asking leading questions which seem to doubt this.

How do your views of subjects like gender, race, sexuality, intersectionality, diversity and inclusion differ from those you find you are expected to comply with?3.pngWhen asked in what ways their personal values differed from that of the intersectional ethos, the most common straightforward answer was “gender identity.” 23 people (30%) said this. The view most likely to be censored for fear of career damage, vilification and ostracism was the one that gender is binary and correlates with biological sex. Most of these responses came from women who expressed other values that generally fall under the umbrella of Gender Critical Feminism and were accompanied by a rationale which foregrounded women’s identity and safety and criticized the concept of gender. Gender critical feminism holds that gender is a cultural construct that was built up around biological sex in order to constrain and oppress women. Therefore, one cannot be the opposite gender to one’s reproductive system. Further, when acceptance of transgender identity leads to people born with a penis having access to women’s bathrooms and changing rooms and feminist and women’s groups, it is seen as both an appropriation of womanhood and a danger to women. Gender Critical Feminists are opposed very strongly by intersectional feminists and trans activists who equate their views to fascism, transphobia and ultra-conservative bigotry.

Gender critical feminism, which is almost synonymous with radical feminism, has always had a strongly academic component and until recently, radfem academics had prestige and status within the social sciences and their books formed the backbone of much required reading for Women’s Studies and Gender Studies. With the rise of intersectional feminism and its inclusion of trans identity within its framework, radical feminists are increasingly finding themselves unwelcome on campus and likely to be protested and no-platformed at the bequest of feminist and LGBT groups. The sudden decline of radical feminist popularity in universities is largely due to the intersectional conception of a hierarchy of privilege and marginalization. Men score highest on the “privilege” scale whilst trans people are considered to be among the most marginalized. Therefore, radical feminist critique of masculinity and men is seen as challenging an oppressive system but their rejection of trans identity and exclusion of trans women from feminist concern as perpetuating one. The high number of gender critical feminist responses on the survey is probably not an indication that they represent a large proportion of dissenting thought on university campuses. They are a small and radical group but they are cohesive and organized and it is likely that their disproportionate representation on this survey is a result of it having been circulated in a group as these answers came in in a cluster.

They said things like:

“I am gender critical. I do not believe in the concept of gender identity. I certainly do not believe transwoman are women.”

“Gender is a social construct. Bathrooms are for biological purpose. Transgender people should identify as trans but not as ‘real’ (opposite sex).

“Mentioning sex based oppression/sexism is taboo these days. Intersectionality has been hijacked to mean including male trans people and all discussions center trans issues.”

“There’s a denial of sex based oppression… They thinking identifying as a woman is the same as being born one and living your life as one….. They call a penis female. I can’t speak up and I’m scared.” (Respondent’s elipses)

The second most common difference with intersectional ideas (21 people, 27.5%) was perceived to be in the realm of opposition to identity politics in which rights and outcomes are sought in relation to group identity rather than by individual ability. Women said:

“It is my conviction that everyone should be judged by the content of their character and not by biologically determined characteristics.”

“Equal rights, not equal outcome. No quotas. No affirm action. Stop talking of oppression — we are all oppressed in our own way. Diversity — of what? Diversity of skin colour is meaningless because skin colour is meaningless.”

“I recognise human fallibility. This means that I do not necessarily see structural oppression in every situation… Individuality and thereby humanity is not a part of the equation when discussing at university.”

“Because I believe in equal freedoms, rights and opportunities for everyone, I cannot agree with the intersectionality approach of quotas and special rights for people based on gender, race or sexual orientation. “

These kinds of values cross many ideological and political borders and do not belong to the right or left. Two women answering in this way identified as “classical liberal,” one as “moderate but slightly left-leaning” and another as “libertarian.” One woman said she didn’t disagree with “progressive” values and another that she favored “traditional” values but only for herself. Most did not label themselves or identify their political position at all.  People expressing this difference were more likely to stress a number of them whilst the gender-critical feminists were very likely to only refer to trans identity. This therefore seems to be a more general objection to the intersectional focus on identity politics which is also a common criticism outside universities. There has been much criticism of identity politics by social commentators with a variety of political views as well as analyses of how it could contribute to the popularity of Donald Trump, the rise of populism and the formation of white identity politics. Identity politics do not resonate well with the sense of fairness held by moderate conservatives which focuses on individual responsibility or with universal/classical/Enlightenment liberals which focuses on universality and individuality. Because all respondents had responded “yes” to being in support of gender/racial/LGBT equality, these respondents are unlikely to be white supremacists or intensely religious conservatives. 

The next most popular difference was a perception of positive aims being taken too far. 12 people (15.5%) stressed their commitment to equality but said they saw the dominant ethos in this area on campuses as going too far, being too radical, too aggressive or too extreme.

“I believe that all people should be considered equal, but things have gone too far. I believe that earlier waves of feminism were positive, but I do not think it is necessary anymore. In terms of race, one belief different from many is that I believe you can be racist towards anyone, regardless of power.”

“I’m simply less radical than the standard rhetoric. Generally more for holding people to a common standard and listening to all perspectives (while keeping in mind that some have been historically or systemically silenced).”

“Far less extreme, I try to take a more skeptical approach on things, I don’t believe that women are discriminated against in university or on campus.”

“It’s not that I disagree with any of the progressive ideas that all people are created equally, or anything. It’s that I’ve felt unable to criticize specific behaviours or ideas for fear that they will be misrepresented as some type of bigotry.”

Eight people (10.5%) raised objections to the narrow range of views they deemed as being found acceptable on campus whilst an additional four referred specifically to “free speech” as a value they held which they did not think was supported in universities. A certain amount of care needs to be taken in understanding what is meant by free speech. The largest national demographic was American and there is a tendency in the US for “free speech” to be understood purely in terms of the First Amendment which prevents the government from interfering with speech, whilst in other Anglophone nations and Europe, it is often used more generally to refer to a positive attitude towards the free expression of ideas without penalty. However, if we look at these 12 responses (over 15%) altogether, they can be understood as a concern about attitudes on campus in favor of suppressing speech. Comments included:

“In the university where I work, state intervention and restriction of freedom of expression are constantly posited as the only solutions to social and other problems.”

“I think any adult should be free to do, say, wear, or think what they want as long as it endangers nobody, yet they are pushing everyone to conform to the same ideological framework and expression.”

“Conformity to third wave feminist ideology is expected.”

“There is little diversity of thought. There is an expectation that postmodern gender theory should inform your work even when it’s not relevant.”

Eight respondents found themselves at odds with campus ethos in their belief that religion needed to be criticized but that this was deemed insensitive or offensive. Half referred to “religion” generally whilst half specified Islam. 

I can’t speak out against religious dogmas because apparently that hurts sensitivities.”

“I am also against organised religion, especially Islam … yet I cannot speak out about it for fear of being called ‘Islamophobic’ and racist.”

“Certain beliefs in Islam are sexist, racist, ludicrous and dangerous and I shouldn’t have to respect it.”

“I self-censor the criticism I have of Islam (the religion …I respect Muslims as individuals) because I am afraid that I will be called ‘Islamophobic’ and I will not be able to get a job.”

The same number of respondents (10.5%) said they differed from what they saw as a dominant attitude towards equality issues because of their own commitment to the importance of data-based, evidence-based and scientific approaches to scholarship and equality issues. 

“My views align with objectivity, logic and the scientific method. Rather than subjective opinion.”

“I think a lot of intersectional views are anti science.”

“I just think the proposed implementable solutions to sociological issues are accepted too easily, and not treated with enough empirical scrutiny. I worry about the influence of ideology.”

“I’m much more sceptic than many of my friends. I also like to look to facts and studies rather than what I ‘feel.’”

Of concern to 6 respondents (8%) was what they saw as the demonization of or discrimination against men or simply an indifference or obliviousness to issues affecting men. A further 3 said they were at odds with the denigration of straight and/or white men. Their responses include:

“I am an advocate of men’s rights and masculinities studies and also a firm believer that we need to look at women’s behaviour and attitudes and well as men’s in creating various forms and experiences of discrimination.”

“I feel as though I am expected to hate white men, and that women are fighting not for equality but to be “better than” men.”

“I’m expected to discriminate against straight white males when hiring, although I find it abhorrent”

“Our uni makes all male students take mandatory classes to ‘stamp out lad culture’ — I disagree that all young men should be made to feel guilty, especially as our uni doesn’t really have a ‘lad culture’ — a high proportion of our students are from mainland China.”

Another six said they specifically wanted to question or criticize intersectionality and third wave feminism.

“I think that there are problems within feminism and certain ‘progressive’ groups that are not being addressed… I think that certain issues discussed within these groups (such as mansplaining) are ridiculous and made-up. I think certain feminists delicately {sic) repeat false statistics in order to convince young women.”

“Most of the middle class feminist academics are ironically some of the most privileged people I have ever met so I just can’t relate to their so-called ‘oppression.'”

“I don’t believe in victimhood, and I personally feel that the attacks on ‘white male patriarchy’ are far more oppressive to the groups they claim they are trying to protect.… I think the continuous effort to paint women as victims perpetuates women to continue to play submissive roles.”

Among the less common answers, three respondents found they were at odds with the equality culture because they believed gender differences to exist and three because they were critical of Black Lives Matter. Two felt that discussing class issues was discouraged, two that sex-work could not be criticized and two that their belief in a small government would not be received well. (The fact that only two people raised this issue as a point of contention could indicate that my sample was low on conservatives and libertarians)

There were many unique issues raised in which people felt their own values differed and these included thinking that Marxism is a bad idea, holding traditional values around family and community, that there is no rape culture, that antisemitism is a real problem, that fatphobia is not a real problem, that colonialism is not the cause of every problem in the East and that not every plan of the Trump administration is bad.

In what ways do you find yourself self-censoring? 

By far, the most common form of self-censorship was simply staying silent on the contentious issues. 43 women, 60.5% said this.

“I do not express my views at all. The social fallout would be more than I am willing to take, and it could hurt me professionally as well.”

“Not asking questions that I want to ask to better understand the material. I’m on edge often in class, thinking about how open to be with my actual thoughts.”

“I could not mention that I do not believe in the patriarchy, I could not discuss issues with immigration (although I am an immigrant myself), I could not criticize Islam for its abuse against women, I could not point to many aspects of evolutionary biology that clearly explain our perpetual segregation, etc. etc. etc.”

“I find myself complicit ofttimes by being silent.”

Four women reported tempering or softening their words or using caution.

“Thinking extra carefully so as not to disturb students, not feeling confident to espouse my own views for fear of being reported or negative consequence.”

“I am extremely careful when teaching not to upset Trans-identifying students, but I will not use pronouns I don’t agree with.”

Three felt able to express their views in restricted company.

“I look around to see if anyone is listening in when I engage in politically incorrect conversations with my friends on campus. “

Two reported saying what was expected even though they didn’t believe it.

“I hardly talk about my views these days, and sometimes I find myself lying to fit in.”

The more specific accounts of self-censorship were varied.

I express my dissent by citing the positions of others, without attributing their views to myself. Only the most clever of my colleagues are able to connect my affection for Voegelin or Solzhenitsyn to my general distaste for radical social engineering.”

One respondent said she avoided data-based and scientific research in order to pass.

Another used pronouns and gender terminology she did not believe in.

Another said ‘My lecturer went on many rants during the British election about how everyone should vote Labour. He went round the class and asked everyone who they were voting for. I like my lecturer but I lied and told him I was voting Labour.’

One changed her career so that she didn’t write about women’s negative experiences of religion anymore because she found she simply couldn’t do so without censure.

One said she has shut down completely and will no longer engage in conversation on campus at all. Instead she expresses her views in anonymous online accounts.

One said she keeps quiet about being a Christian.

What do you fear could happen if you were to express your own views freely?

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Most respondents cited a mixture of fears both social and professional.

“I’d have my reputation tarnished and they may talk to my professors and get me fired. I’d lose a lot of friends.”

“I would face social censure from other graduate students, and the backlash might eventually make its way to my adviser, causing her to treat me differently and perhaps give a poorer recommendation for me to potential future employers.”

“I fear academic ramifications like being penalised, failed, suspended or expelled if I piss off the wrong people. I fear my friends turning on me and word getting around on the job market that I am ‘problematic’ and that I could get blacklisted for work.”

The fear most commonly expressed by the women was that of social rejection (34 respondents, 45%). This was described using the word “ostracism” or in terms of “losing all my friends” or being badly thought of and avoided. 19 (25%) described public shaming as a bigot as being a chief fear and 11 (14.5%) were afraid of facing verbal hostility and conflict.

“I fear that if I were to express my views freely that I would be demonized and ostracized in my PhD program, and that I would not be able to find a job in academia.”

“People call you a bigot and a Nazi. To your face. People who actually like you tell you that it is dangerous to speak about those things. That you could lose everything very fast. They plead with you to shut up. Not actively expressing one’s views isn’t enough anymore, though. There is a new thing: Some students are no longer happy with people completely avoiding issues. They raise tricky topics indirectly and expect you to virtue signal back. If you stay neutral they become visibly upset and keep virtue signalling until they realise that you will not signal back. Then, they start whispering among themselves: ‘She is a Nazi.’”

“I’ve already been shunned from most of my old friends after they found out I was no longer into social justice. On my campus, kids with similar views to mine have been slandered by Antifa, they’ve had threatening posters made with their faces/full names on them. I’m afraid that if word spreads about my views, it could happen to me as well.” (The respondent gave the views she felt she had to censor as ‘I believe that America is the greatest country in the world because we give rise to the individual. I don’t believe that we live in an oppressive, heteronormative, transphobic, racist, patriarchy. I think people should be judged as individuals. Also, Marxism is a bad idea.’)

Career damage was also given as a reason to self-censor with 15 women (20%) stating this generally. 11 (14.5) specified a fear or being fired.

“The fear, and many professors share it, is that we will get fired (despite tenure) and be targeted by trans students on campus, who can be very vocal and organized.”

“I think I would be characterized as bigoted and oppressive, and I think it could hurt my chance of getting tenure.”

“I will struggle to get a job and will struggle to find an external examiner for my PhD.”

Six (8%) students said they feared getting failing grades if they expressed problematic views in their work and one tested this and found it to be the case.

“I am afraid that being open and questioning the common narrative of intersectionality and third wave feminism could result in poor evaluations and perhaps a failing assessment for my classes.”

“I know I get lower grades, because I did in the beginning. But after adjusting to the expected narrative my grades are on top.”

Six feared violence. Five of these were gender-critical feminists who said things like:

“Male violence, backed up by libfems.”

“Public humiliation. Maybe violence? I know a lot of people who throw around “kill all TERFs” rhetoric but it’s hard to say if it’s sincere.”

It is true that gender critical feminists are subject to violent language and threats and that feminists who are skeptical of gender identity have been protested aggressively but also that this branch of feminism regards “male violence” as an epidemic.

5 (6.5%) listed doxxing among other fears but did not elaborate.

Three believed they could get barred from campus clubs.

“I am part of the LGBT group at my university and I also write for the university newspaper. I worry I could be kicked out these clubs. I’m not ‘out’ to my family so the LGBT club is the only time I feel I can talk about LGBT issues and meet people.”

Two said that they did not fear any specific response but self-censored due to the unproductive and tiring responses.

“I don’t really fear anything happening to me, I just don’t wish to deal with the whining and arguing that would ensue.”

“I feel as though I won’t be able to speak to someone without being drowned out by raised voices and a series of buzzwords.”

Of the individual responses, one woman feared that her son could be ostracized, one that she could be sued and another that she’d have to spend so much time defending herself that her feminist work on behalf of abused women would suffer.

Are there any experiences you would like to share in relation to the conflict between your own views on gender, race, sexuality, inclusion and diversity and the approaches at your university? 

Respondents were asked to give examples of their experiences and these were necessarily individual. However, some were similar. Seven women reported their need to self-censor affecting their work.

A German physicist and engineer reported finding her work constrained by an expectation that she must  relate to STEM as a woman rather than as a scientist.

The university often has special ‘women only’ seminars, scholarships, support services, etc, which I find completely abhorrent, collectivist, and counterproductive to the scientific work I’m involved in. I feel like I’m not valued as an individual, but as a particular set of genitals.”

A British Engineer made a similar observation.

“[W]hen I’m approached by the university for comments I feel like I’m expected to start going on about the woman in engineering movement whereas I personally have a lot of issues with the movement. As a woman in engineering I don’t believe women are being discouraged from the field and I believe we are equal… but the societies really don’t like to hear that”

An Australian biochemist found that it was difficult to talk objectively about issues like race and gender in general conversation on campus.

“I think social etiquette has expanded to discourage talking about these topics objectively as well, which is very hard when you are studying fields that concern these topics.”

An American biology and anthropology student also found her studies to be directed along ideological lines.

“I have also had a teacher that completely diminished the accomplishments of historically excellent scientists because they were ‘straight old white men.’”

Within the social sciences, two women reported having their work impacted by ideology. A German psychologist said that she could not include controversial findings in her work even though these could be addressed without prejudiced assumptions:

“Difficult findings must be talked about: A recent study with a very large sample (around 11,000 children) found that children who grow up in same-sex parent households have a significantly higher risk of mental health problems, among other things. I am pro same sex partnerships but if children are being negatively affected that must be addressed. If I spoke about those findings I would be ostracized for being a bigot. Data on migrants (crime, illiteracy, infectious diseases, costs to the tax payer) must not ever be mentioned. But we cannot plan ahead or fix issues if we don’t speak about them.”

Another social scientist found she was unable to look at gender and economics because of objections to the division by gender.

“I used to use a classroom exercise with a practice data set looking at the relationship between gender and economic outcomes. I’ve had to stop using it because students complain that male/female are the only categories of gender in the data set.”

An artist found her work constrained by expectations of diversity.

“As an artist, it feels like there’s a weird quota you need to reach on diversity and if you don’t, people will find ways to make you seem awful. Granted I believe diversity is important but why am I personally responsible for representing every single type of person ever?”

Five women reported being shouted at or facing verbal abuse and hostility for their views.

“One guy bullied me to tears and then smirked at me when I couldn’t handle it anymore and called me slurs. “

“I have been shouted at aggressively so I no longer debate, it is useless with most people, whether they be sjws, mras or whatever. Very few people debate politely and sensibly”

“No discussion, but rather automatic verbal attacks — bigot etc”

Four women reported an overpowering ideological presence on campus.

“The Antifa have a strong presence at the universities and are aggressive. The universities stick their heads in the sand. It’s another one of those problems that mustn’t be spoken about.”

“My university has put up various massive billboards talking about gender and race issues. They started an anti-harassment campaign which called on people to start calling out ‘sexist or edgy jokes’ and I strictly believe that humour should be sacred, and I don’t like how the student union is trying to tell us what kind of humour is and isn’t ok.”

“There is an overwhelming amount of propaganda peddled at my university. Every market day, every morning, every Friday there are either pamphlets being handed out, demonstrations/rallies being held in the courtyards, or stalls set up to distribute politicized merchandise. You can’t walk between classes without being hounded by ‘Fuck Trump’ t-shirts (we’re not even in the US) and extremely radical Marxist magazines and badges. I’d like to be able to…. not have that shoved in my face.”

Two women reported having their own identities/experiences diminished by ideological beliefs. One American psychologist with a passion for ballet and fashion, said:

“I have been in gender studies classes where it is taught as objective fact that dancers and models are not ‘real’ and that, rather than simply not attend a ballet or open a Vogue if you don’t like them, both of those things should be banned for the betterment of society. I have a 24″ waist and have awkwardly sat through lectures about how I do not exist.”

A Canadian educator who regarded her own experience of being transgender as an unwanted medical condition said:

“Many people tell me what it’s like to be transgender and voice their own uninformed opinions on the matter, without realizing that I myself am transgender.”

Two women reported being censored by campus organizations for their liberal views which did not include an intersectional framework with one finding that they refused to post information for clubs which were not political in the right way and one being angrily rebuked for submitting an essay admiring of a prominent LGBT celebrity believed to hold problematic views.

Conclusion

The survey produced some interesting patterns of opinions and experiences despite respondents being geographically, academically and politically diverse. Trangender identity was a key issue for gender critical feminists whilst a politically variable group were concerned about identity politics more widely and in favour of meritocracy. The third most common perception was that whilst progressive aims were good, the intersectional approach was too extreme. Suppression of speech, an insufficiently rigorous approach to scholarship and prejudice against men were also repeated concerns. Women mostly self-censored by keeping their views to themselves and they feared both social and professional consequences for not doing so. Personal experiences reported included women finding their work hindered, being targets of hostility and feeling intimidated by the ideological presence on campus.

However, this survey was small and tightly controlled and its results are very limited. It would be most useful to know what percentage of students find the ethos of intersectionality and related approaches to diversity and inclusion to be dominant on their campuses, how many agree with it, have reservations or disagree. Of those who are critical of some or all of these values, it would be valuable to know how many fear saying so. This survey only looked at women who did disagree and did fear saying so.

Further investigations would most usefully divide respondents into national and political groupings. There is some reason to think this survey was low on conservatives and libertarians and their points of contention could be quite different. The concerns of gender critical feminists would best be looked at on their own as their points of contention with intersectionality had little overlap with those of the other respondents. It would also be useful to separate academic staff, students, student unions and student clubs when looking at whom dissident thinkers believe to be driving the need to self-censor their views. All were implicated by respondents here. This small, controlled and exploratory survey has produced some interesting patterns of concerns and experiences but raised a great many more questions.

Helen Pluckrose

Helen Pluckrose is an exile from the humanities with research interests in late medieval/early modern religious writing for and about women. She is critical of postmodernism and cultural constructivism which she sees as currently dominating the humanities.

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Helen Pluckrose

Helen Pluckrose is an exile from the humanities with research interests in late medieval/early modern religious writing for and about women. She is critical of postmodernism and cultural constructivism which she sees as currently dominating the humanities.

2 thoughts on “When Intersectionality Silences Women

  1. Thank you, Helen. Small (sample) can be good when authors don’t generalize beyond what the responses allow. Good on you.

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