Astroturfing is the attempt to create an impression of widespread grassroots support for a policy, individual, or product, where little such support exists. Multiple online identities and fake pressure groups are used to mislead the public into believing that the position of the astroturfer is the commonly held view.
Jennifer Bilek, an environmental activist who was deplatformed from a speaking venue by transactivists in 2013, developed a curiosity about the power of this group to force this development. A year later, when Time magazine announced a transgender tipping point on its cover, she had already begun to examine the money behind the transgender project.
She found exceedingly rich, white men with enormous cultural influence are funding the transgender lobby and various transgender organizations. Much more important than funds going directly to the LGBT lobby and organizations, only a fraction of which trickles down to assist people who identify as transgender, is the money invested by the men mentioned above, governments, and technology and pharmaceutical corporations to institutionalize and normalize transgenderism as a lifestyle choice. They are shaping the narrative about transgenderism and normalizing it within the culture using their funding methods.
Transgenderism has certainly made its way into the American marketplace, so it seems important to consider the implications of this as we pass laws regarding transgender individuals’ and our civil liberties. Transgenderism sits square in the middle of the medical industrial complex, which is by some estimates even bigger than the military industrial complex.
Nothing like experiencing astroturfing first hand, if you're a feminist like me, fighting for women rights via social media, this is a daily experience.
I was thinking if I wanted to create a marketing campaign with long life dependency on pharmaceuticals and surgical transition as the result, this is what I will do.
1. Find the groups who are strongly against it and demonise them.
- Radical Feminists (lesbians, bisexuals and heterosexuals)
- Women, especially lesbians and bisexual women, who are doubly marginalised, as women and for sexual orientation as well.
- Ethical people who realise the medical harm to transgenders themselves
- Current transgenders and parents of them, looking for real answers
- People who are open-minded to understand more
- Anyone speaking up about it
2. Have a plan. Since it's bot driven, there must be a script that's strictly adhered to, it will come across odd to real people using social media, when responses lack personality, often aggressive and regularly make no sense at all. It's mass gaslighting at its best, where your sense of reality is distorted, you're more susceptible to the messages, the more you live in fear, the easier exploitation becomes.
3. Hire people so it doesn't look fake, real accounts that have a unique personality armed with the same script, with bots on call backing these people up to bury civil disobedience, end gender critical discussions. Concurrently assuring believers they are on the right path, equip others with the same script, recruit more people to become unpaid or paid mouth pieces.
A self-identified trans woman account.
Another trans account, which wasn't on the original thread, immediately jumped in. See that image, that anime girl with blue hair as the main profile pic, also the number of times it was used by that account on the bottom left, more about it below.
4. Sign contracts with social media platforms to rapidly address any reports against your marketing campaign. Add in people who are superficially interested in a cause, uninterested in gaining in-depth knowledge. Mix it with the power hungry who want to build political capital, people looking to increase social media clout.
We have a social media disaster on our hands.
When I confronted Morgane Oger on Twitter, a self-identified Transgender, about shutting down Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter, I immediately got a Twitter response, I was temporarily suspended. When I reported accounts that regularly use TERF as hate speech or specific posts that abuse women, I have no replies as of yet and it has been days.
I'm not the only one. Meghan Murphy, owner of Feminist Current, was banned permanently from Twitter for saying "men aren't women". There are many more incidences, I have been hearing stories from women all around me. When online abuse gains traction, Twitter is fast to shut down female voices while allowing it to go on.
Morgane, who chairs the Trans Alliance Society, has been advocating since 2013 for Rape Relief’s municipal funding to be stopped.
Interestingly enough, Morgane did not build any transgender shelters, I also didn't find anyone, including any of the vocal trans activists who are doing it. Having worked at a women's shelter, Rosie's Place in Boston Massachusetts US, knowing how hard it is to get funding, how poorly paid social workers are, how passionate they're about what they do and how vital a lifeline it is for a desperate woman in need, my heart aches about the possibility of closure. (edit 19 May 2019, from closed to it is still operational, it has been defunded)
My experience working with abused women has also informed me further of how urgent new shelters are needed, to close down a shelter on any ideology is unconscionable, especially since the trans message is about inclusivity, how about the people at the bottom, the most vulnerable people in a crisis?
How about women?
The thought of many more of the same happening, spurred me on to investigate whether the trans movement is a legitimate civil rights movement or it's something else entirely.
SNP MP for Edinburgh South West, Spokesperson on Justice and Home Affairs, Queen's Counsel and Feminist, Ms Joanna Cherry, told The Herald that during the JCHR session she questioned a representative from Twitter about its policy towards online abuse of women and free speech, who accepted there were shortcomings.
The abuse on social media directed at Ms Cherry followed an evidence session of the Joint Committee on Human Rights[JCHR] at Westminster as it undertook an investigation into democracy and freedom of speech. During the session the SNP MP questioned representatives from Facebook and Twitter about the abuse of women MPs and women more generally on social media.
This later led to what Ms Cherry’s office described as a “large number of unpleasant tweets”. But one particularly caused alarm, which was different from the others and could have been regarded as a direct threat to the MP’s health and safety and confirmed her whereabouts at a certain time and place.
Advice was sought from the Metropolitan Police and Police Scotland, which subsequently interviewed Ms Cherry’s constituency staff and provided the protection from two uniformed officers “as a precaution”.
Her office also pointed out how research by Amnesty International in 2017 found the backbencher, who is her party’s home affairs spokeswoman, was the second most abused MP during that year.
Ms Cherry resonated with many women using Twitter, encountered the same online bullying, noticed the inaction on Twitter's end to protect women's safety.
So those above are real activists, mostly women who care about women, with a few men. Also the same people who get the below, bots, commonly called trolls, paid astroturfers mixed in with out of control men who use transgenderism to hurl abuse at women.
This image has been trending on Twitter, just one account est says trans rights for example, used it at least 5 times, I can only report 5 tweets at once. Each time I report an account for it, it was easy to pick out TERF being used 5 times. Imagine if one account keep spooling this on command, 24/7, 365 days, multiple this with 1,000 accounts, 10,000 accounts, 100,000 accounts, 100,000 accounts. 5 (a very conservative estimate) X 100,000 = 500,000 tweets, I would say a climate of fear is sure to happen.
I posted this and apparently it's super offensive, I got the trans army after me, telling me I'm a horrible human being, I'm a TERF, transphobic, transphobe, transphobia. I swear, they are obsessed about being trans and trans only, throwing these words out like they mean nothing, the assumption is any disagreement hides a sinister motive.
Shut the fuck up TERF with a gun pointing at me.
Didn't see the trans army telling people not to use that image, not once, instead I saw the opposite, they are all supporting it and ganging up to bully in groups.
I drew another one in case if you're wondering if I stopped. LOL, I didn't.
Just in one day, on Twitter for half an hour, I get so many personal accusations, add in men who enjoy abusing women and lesbians, hiding behind the shield of trans activism, I see way too much happening to document it all.
To me, to other feminists, women, lesbians, all the time, relentlessly, it keeps going.
I think trans women are safe, a lesbian on the ground with the police on her isn't a threat at all, appropriating the words, lesbian, woman, female is another popular trend. Anyway, I saw video footage, they were ahead of the march, not interrupting it at all, the police were already there, so they weren't called in.
The lesbian women who protested during Swansea Pride are from Get The L Out. Wonderful solidarity there from Lydia here, trans women YES, lesbian women NO. The double standards from trans activists disheartens me, I would image I'm completely desensitised by now, instead I still feel upset each time it happens. Which reminds me how not OK this is and how we must continue to speak up.
Hhhhmmmm I wonder why? The above is re-tweeted by the account below and guess what this person started doing?
The above tweet is sent on April 29th.
On April 30th.
The day I took this screenshot, after May 4th.
Guess who I'm The HellSloth got this idea from?
21-year-old Dominique McLean, who is arguably the best (and certainly the highest paid) e-sports player in the world. “I guess I just gotta say that I’m gay, black, a furry – pretty much everything a Republican hates,” he told the audience at the Game Awards in Los Angeles in December.
A gay, black furry, then: what could be more progressive, more 2019, more two-fingers-up at the prejudices of the past? Except on 28 April, McLean posted a Twitter video of him playing Mortal Kombat 11. It was captioned “What I do to terfs” and featured a male character striking a female character so hard in the neck that her skin came off. Every time a blow fell, McLean shouted “terf” into his headset mic.
This is his Twitter account. Dominique McLean, a gay male who doesn't care about lesbians, doesn't care that it's a slur, doesn't care that he associates violence against women with it, proudly defends it with the trans army eager to add fuel to the fire.
I definitely feel the effects of astroturfing, the mind fog of being gaslighted, the casual thoughtless violence against women encouraged by many is disillusioning.
Helen Lewis writes, "as it happens, I told Dominique McLean that his use of “terf” was a glorification of misogyny. He responded by calling me a “terf”. Another user added: “fuck off back to Mumsnet, terf”. (But I don’t even have any children to complain about there?) The ensuing wave of abuse included an image of an anime character pointing a gun at the screen, with the words “shut the fuck up, terf”. Twitter ruled that post did not violate its abuse guidelines, and neither did McLean’s video. (It relented after I went public.)
Helen Lewis continues, "those lucky enough to have avoided this debate, “terf” is – according to those who use it – a neutral description, meaning “trans-exclusionary radical feminist”. Now, there are some radical feminists who could be described as trans-exclusionary. They don’t believe you can change gender: a man cannot become a woman, or vice versa.
However, as I’ve written before, the word is now used more broadly. It is regularly applied to those who, say, question why there has been a sudden spike in young females reporting to gender clinics (when traditionally, far more biological males sought to transition). It is disproportionately used to describe women, and as the linguistics professor Deborah Cameron has written, it is used as an insult. On her blog, she cites examples such as “round up every terf and all their friends for good measure and slit their throats one by one”. Cameron concludes that this usage as a slur means that “the time has come to look for a replacement”. Despite this, “terf” is still used by mainstream left-wing writers.
So why are some progressives still defending the word? I’ve finally worked it out. They still feel the old impulse towards woman-hating, but won’t admit it, and have convinced themselves they are only chastising the impure. Witch-finders did something similar in the 17th century."
My sentiments are the same as Helen Lewis's, also if you want to easily track how your campaign is doing, you need a unique keyword, in this instance, it's TERF. Mysteriously, it came out of nowhere, when I investigated its origin, it was trans accounts who started it, who use it regularly. Also the same trans accounts who kept talking about trans oppression, inclusivity, while not supporting women and lesbian rights in any way shape or form other than to twist it to fit their ideology. It's also the same trans accounts who refuse to acknowledge it's a slur even though many women have said so.
Dominique McLean's reply to Helen Lewis, subsequent supporters for misogyny flooding in isn't unique to her, it's unfortunately the norm and it's getting worse.
Men aren't listening, trans women, trans activists aren't listening.
It kept happening to me, when I responded to posts such as these, suddenly a whole bunch of people, none on the direct tweet, didn't see the re-tweet, came in immediately, BAM! Usually accounts with low following of less than 100 people or those that clearly state their alliance to transgenders on their profiles. Each time I look, 9/10 it says trans woman or transgender or supporter of transgenders on the profile.
Always the same thing.
How did it get out so quickly? I get 5-10 replies in a row, at one time, 50, all burying me with accusations, taking things out of context, egging each other on.
I imagine if I was a real person behind an account, eager to get followers as fast as I can or attention any way I can, including re-tweets, supporters, followers, that's exactly what I would do. Screw ethics, screw responsible activism, screw rationality, screw personal responsibility, screw critical thinking, TERF vomit all over Twitter.
Which is what many kids, teenagers and adults are doing, mostly men.
Who better to target than impressionable kids who like video games and anime, get them on the transgender band wagon young, before it's too late for expensive puberty blockers, get hooked on life long hormone replacement therapy.
At a glance, it's not easy to get the full picture, dismiss it as a typical troll or two. When you look at it as a whole, a jarring anime travelling through the hands of Big Pharma, Big Business with the influence to astroturf effectively. Supported by possibly handsomely paid transgenders, fuelled by irresponsible people hungry for popularity. Add in misogynists eager to prey on women, an anime becomes a tool and TERF becomes central to a marketing campaign.
TERF is definitely a slur, used as a slur to silence women's voices, as our jobs are lost, shelters dwindle, some women are still supporting them, unknowingly complicit in their own erasures. Men are also unwittingly participating when they assume that bullying is only possible from women to trans activists when the truth is it's the opposite and men are getting silenced as well.
This by itself is proof how successful they are at doing this and how dangerous transgenderism has become.
Love, light and peace.
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