Model response to a dilemma for women in the left-right storm

reality matters Film Makers Deirdre O'Neill and Mike Wright

It’s been hard going for women’s sex-based rights campaigners, slandered and misunderstood at every step, and – because women’s rights are a matter of direct concern to over half the population of the planet, a campaign that reaches across every divide – of politics, of nationality, language, culture and class.

It’s no surprise then, that there have been tears and fireworks along the way. In the last few months, the most difficult storm in this world of storms has been the left-right issue. By and large, commentators from both politics and the media have over-simplified to the point of talking downright nonsense, portraying the sex-self-ID campaigners as “on the left” and “progressive” and the sex-based rights campaigners “on the right” and so “conservative.”

This not only misrepresents the broad swathe of women concerned about dignity, safety and privacy for women and girls, it also creates constant clashes between women, and between women’s groups, as they attempt to place themselves in the political world.

The day before New Year’s Eve, film-makers Reality Matters announced that they had been invited to talk about their recent project Adult Human Female on the Tucker Carlson Show. Initially, they simply announced to the world that they’d been invited, and declined…

Reality matters announcement

… but immediately, the storm stirred and there were messages and social media posts growing increasingly heated. Trouble is, we all have our political red lines but different people have different ones, and find it hard to tolerate others’ choices – and also, there are women on this campaign with very little political experience, who simply don’t know the importance of those red lines.

Calm in the eye of the storm

Seeing the heat rising around their announcement, Reality Matters put out a second, in which they said they’d decided after all to reply to Fox News, and published the reply itself (I have posted a full transcript of the message below, so don’t worry if this screen-grab is too weeny on your screen)…

Reality matters explain their decision

… to me, this is a model response to the situation. It demonstrates 1. that the decision is made, 2. that the message has been sent, so it’s all done and dusted, and crucially, 3. because the reply has been published, anyone who’s puzzled or concerned by the decision can see their reasoning, and see that everyone’s seen it.

True, there were still some fireworks going around, but there were also a lot of supporting responses, such as this one…

A social media response

… and best of all (in my opinion) quite a few responses that suggested Reality Matters‘ actions had generated actual thought and discussion…

Tweet: I thought you should have gone on and had it out with him. With this, I can see and respect why you haven't. Fair play to you.

Well done, Deirdre O’Neill and Mike Wayne. For anyone who hasn’t seen it yet, here’s a link to their film:

Click here to watch the film on the Reality Matters website

And here’s the full text of their reply to Fox News:


Dear Samantha,

We are going to decline. It’s not for us. It’s a smart move on behalf of Fox/Tucker C. to try and channel British gender criticals into your orbit, as it lends credibility to not only the sensible stance taken by many on the right vis-à-vis single sex spaces, but also credibility to other positions that touch essentially on women’s interests, say on abortion rights. On the latter, the new dominant extreme right in the Republican party represents as fundamental a threat to women’s rights as the Biden-led and woke oriented Democratic party do on single sex spaces. That does leave gender criticals with a genuine dilemma and there are no easy answers, but here’s our take for what it is worth. Fox News is not equivalent to other American news broadcasters. Poor as they are on informing the public on the question of sex (and on much else) they still bear some resemblance to the genre of news. In our view Fox News and its discussion shows bear no relation to news or journalism; it looks like news on the surface, they have studio presenters, reporters, the graphics, etc., but it is something else entirely, something which does not conform to even the basics of truth telling. We think this is because Fox are part of an evolving political project that it is in no one’s interests to come to fruition other than the most rapacious and amoral elements of the US corporate class. The lies around the ‘rigged’ 2020 US election and Fox News’ participation in that lie, now well documented, gives a clue as to where that evolving political project would like to go.  Bad as the other media can be and are in the US and in the UK, Fox is in a universe all on its own. Please don’t understand our decline as ‘purity politics’, and we are making no judgments on your audience, who we are sure are a mixed bunch among whom there will be many decent people trying to make sense of a crazy world, like we all are. Sure we would like to speak to them, but we also have to balance risk with reward, in our view the broader implications of getting mixed up with the wrong political project play out  practically like this: as they come for women’s rights on abortion issues, people will say: ‘it’s not a left/right issue, it transcends that, they are not women-hating, look they had X and Y on their shows, and who could be a bigger defender of women than X and Y?” Who indeed?

Reality Matters to Fox News – end of transcript

What a wonderful way for the women’s campaign to end the year. We’ve all been learning as we go on this campaign, as nothing quite like it has ever happened before — I can still see fireworks going on out there on social media, but also quite a bit of discussing and learning.

Happy New Year!


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