Answering the Critics of Kellie-Jay Keen
A discourse in defense of the grassroots organizer
The Distance presents discussions by Nikki Craft and Donovan Cleckley on Kellie-Jay Keen and women’s rights activism. These pieces originally appeared in slightly differing forms on Facebook. The authors thank the women and men who have shared commentary.
We thank everybody in Gender-Critical Anarchists/Feminists for helpful comments and suggestions, which have assisted us as we have written up what we call “KJK 10-Point 411.”
“KJK 10-Point 411”
July 12, 2023
Pettiness separates; breadth unites. Let us be broad and big. Let us not overlook vital things because of the bulk of trifles confronting us.
- Emma Goldman, “The Tragedy of Woman’s Emancipation,” Anarchism and Other Essays
But how impossible it must have been for them not to budge either to the right or to the left. What genius, what integrity it must have required in face of all that criticism, in the midst of that purely patriarchal society, to hold fast to the thing as they saw it without shrinking. Only Jane Austen did it and Emily Brontë. It is another feather, perhaps the finest, in their caps. They wrote as women write, not as men write.
- Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own
Women are ignored, or patronized. Liberal gestures of good will are made, when we are shrill enough or where we are fashionable enough, as long as we do not interfere with the ‘real revolution.’ Increasingly, we understand that we are the real revolution.
- Andrea Dworkin, “Marx and Gandhi Were Liberals—Feminism and the ‘Radical’ Left,” 1977
We among the Gender-Critical Anarchists/Feminists issue this statement in support of Kellie-Jay Keen. Keen’s detractors resemble those who once attacked Emma Goldman, known for her anarchism and influence on decades of women. They traffic in misrepresentation, if not fantasy, without full attention to the facts. In Goldman’s words, in 1908, press coverage for her went along these lines: “True, she does not eat little children, but she does many worse things.” So, too, has Keen been covered in the most exaggerated terms in our time. There is at least one difference from past to present: The liberal press cares less about eating little children—and may as well celebrate it by now. We need to act without pettiness and with breadth on the principles of civil disobedience, free speech, and women’s dignity, against the tyranny of the state and its religions.