JULIE BINDEL: What book fantasizing about Rowling’s death teaches us about publishers

I suspect most of you will be unfamiliar with the work of self-proclaimed “horror writer” and trans woman Gretchen Felker-Martin.

Lately a little-known film and culture writer, Felker-Martin’s name achieved wider circulation this week after the recent release of a debut novel – but not, it must be said, for the quality of the writing. .

Titled Manhunt, the book is set in a post-apocalyptic future in which a deadly virus wreaks havoc and turns people into zombies.

So far so mainstream – if you like that sort of thing.

Yet, dig a little deeper, and Felker-Martin’s work is very disturbing for reasons that go far beyond the characters and plot, which centers on two transgender women stalking and killing “TERFs” in a battle for survival.

JK Rowling is someone who cares about people at the bottom, regardless of their creed or sexuality, and she uses her wealth, privilege and power to their advantage. His reward? To be hunted down, vilified and now fictionally crushed to death to the delight of her hate-filled detractors.

TERF is shorthand for “trans-exclusive radical feminists” — the highly pejorative term used by trans rights activists for everyone but almost exclusively women — which insists that biological sex is real.

I am among them, while the term is also used repeatedly against Harry Potter author JK Rowling for his passionate defense of this fundamental principle.

Now Felker-Martin has apparently seen fit to demand some deeply unpleasant fictional revenge, depicting the bestselling writer’s gruesome death after being crushed by a burning castle.

I won’t pay tribute to Felker-Martin’s disappointing prose with a more detailed description, except to say that it’s full of misogynistic bile which you can get a sense of via one of the many enthusiastic promotional tweets posted on social media. .

‘Try my novel Manhunt. Trans dykes fall in love and fuck and murder TERFs, wild men maraud the desert, JK Rowling dies, and more. ‘, she proclaimed.

So here we are in a place where a mainstream publisher – Manhunt is published by Tor Nightfire, an offshoot of publishing giant Macmillan – sees fit to publish a novel featuring aggressive, violent fantasies about a living, breathing woman.

TERF is shorthand for “trans-exclusive radical feminists” — the highly pejorative term used by trans rights activists for everyone but almost exclusively women — which insists that biological sex is real.  I am among them, while the term is also used repeatedly against Harry Potter author JK Rowling for his passionate defense of this fundamental principle.

TERF is shorthand for “trans-exclusive radical feminists” — the highly pejorative term used by trans rights activists for everyone but almost exclusively women — which insists that biological sex is real. I am among them, while the term is also used repeatedly against Harry Potter author JK Rowling for his passionate defense of this fundamental principle.

Unfortunately, I can’t say I’m surprised. In a way, it’s a natural extension of the world we live in now, where women (and they almost always are women) are regularly threatened, physically harassed, and attacked for their opinions.

A world where self-proclaimed “activists” can call for their rape and murder and do so in front of the house where they live with their children, as they did with JK Rowling.

While affirming that they are the victims and we are the oppressors.

Now it’s being billed and marketed as “entertainment” – and it makes my stomach sick. Let’s pause for a minute to contemplate the outcry if an author dared portray an actual trans person being crushed to death, the fate that befell JK Rowling in Felker-Martin’s novel.

In fact, we can do more than imagine. Last year, JK Rowling released Troubled Blood, one of her Cormoran Strike series, which she writes under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith and was immediately accused of transphobia. She had employed the simple fictional trope of allowing her killer, on occasion, to disguise himself as a woman to commit his crimes.

It doesn’t matter that he’s not the book’s main villain, and that he’s never portrayed as trans or even called a “transvestite”: the howls of outrage and victimization were immediate, along with calls for a boycott of the Rowling’s work and to bookstores to remove it. shelves.

Where are those bleeding hearts now, when depictions of grotesque violence against women are glorified by another author and his cronies?

But I know firsthand the hypocrisy of publishers, who seem to have no problem selling books from everyone from drug dealers to murderers – and indeed gladly taking advantage of the promotional opportunities they offer – but which shuns female authors who have done nothing more than speak out for women’s gender rights.

Two years ago, after producing a proposal as well as a sample chapter for my book on modern feminism, I was wooed by three separate publishing houses, invited and dined by their reps and told that they were desperate to be the ones to bring it to market.

Yet when they then took it to their acquisitions department, all were told the same thing by the bearded hipsters and their blue-fringed colleagues: that they would quit their jobs in protest if they dared to publish a book by ‘transphobe’ Julie Bindel.

They all gave in, leaving me to sink into a deep depression from which I struggled to emerge. After years of being “stripped” of academic debates, uninvited from events at the last minute, and often requiring police escort to those I am “allowed” to attend, this felt like the final nail in the coffin of freedom of expression, reason and women’s rights.

In fact, my story had a happy ending. My agent was then contacted by a male editor from Little, Brown, who published the book last year. It has since sold extremely well, justifying their decision.

Many other female writers, including children’s author Rachel Rooney, weren’t so lucky – harassed for doing little more than tweeting in support of gender rights and, in Rachel’s case, choosing to leave the publishing world.

It’s a chilling portrayal of the double standards – and doublethink – our society now finds itself in. One in which feminists are branded oppressors in stark contrast to the evidence that surrounds us.

I spent 40 years campaigning for women’s rights, and I know now, as I have always known, that our morgues, rape crisis centers and domestic violence shelters tell all the true story of the perpetrators of violence and who the victims are.

The truth is, you don’t hear reports of trans activists being assaulted by women, feminists or otherwise.

Far from there. All of us, including JK Rowling, have come out in favor of gender non-conforming people.

Indeed, having had the privilege of knowing her in recent years, I can testify that she is the most beautiful and the most humane of people with a heart as big as a country.

JK Rowling is someone who cares about people at the bottom, regardless of their creed or sexuality, and she uses her wealth, privilege and power to their advantage.

His reward? To be hunted down, vilified and now fictionally crushed to death to the delight of her hate-filled detractors.

What’s worse is that the people who peddle this hatred and misogyny know the truth. They are fully aware that JK Rowling is not bigoted and that she is not the demon they claim to be.

Instead, it’s a convenient label used to silence her because she’s a feminist who talks about male violence.

I will not stoop to their level. As a supporter of free speech, I would never call for the cancellation of books. However, I would certainly be interested to see where Felker-Martin’s novel stands in relation to incitement to violence laws.

In the meantime, I’ll be curious to know if the bookstores that have resolutely refused to exhibit my books—and others by feminist authors—apply the same resolve to Felker-Martin’s work.

We can all only hope. Because make no mistake, while this horrible misogyny may be aimed at JK Rowling, it’s everyone’s battle to fight.