We already live in the cyborg era

For several centuries, the advance of technology has been relentlessly dissolving human limits that previously seemed immutable. We’ve been calling this ‘freedom’ and ‘progress’. Lots of things about it have been good, for lots of people.

But what happens when we turn that transformation on ourselves: our bodies, our relationships, and how we reproduce?

The transhumanist revolution isn’t an ominous possibility just round the corner. It already happened. We live in the cyborg era, and have done for 50 years. This newsletter documents the collision between the values we carried over from previous eras, and the technologies we’re unleashing in the current one. My particular focus is how these changes impact on our intimate lives: how men and women meet and form families, and how we live together (or not) as families.

Why subscribe?

Many of us are trying to make sense of this unsettling new age. I want to contribute to that sensemaking. To that end, you’ll receive short despatches from the frontlines of the Anglosphere’s rapidly evolving cyborg culture, roughly once a week. Here’s one of those:

Reactionary Feminist
Blasphemy is dead. Long live blasphemy
The European court has overturned the prison sentence handed down to a feminist who interrupted a Catholic Mass at the Madeleine church in Paris, topless, and simulated “aborting” Jesus before urinating on the steps of the altar. Hurrah for free speech and the marketplace of ideas? For some decades now, those most committed to the “marketplace of ideas” …
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You’ll also receive occasional longer essays on the larger overarching themes explored in this newsletter. Here’s one a lot of people liked:

Reactionary Feminist
Prison Pod Cities and Killer Robots
Image credit: Vanessa GF According to a report out today from intergovernmental watchdog International IDEA, half the world’s democracies showed signs of decline over the last five years. Well, no sh** Sherlock - most of those democracies spent a significant portion of that half-decade forbidden to associate freely, in some cases compelled to undergo me…
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And I’ll share occasional updates on my writing and other appearances elsewhere, especially in the run-up to the publication of my book, Feminism Against Progress.

Reactionary Feminist is a reader-supported publication, which is to say you have the option of supporting my work financially - but as things stand posts and archives are open to all readers. If you’d like to support my work, you can do so below:

About Mary Harrington

I fell into writing by accident, after two decades of adult life in which I tried every avenue I could think of to avoid it. I’ve been a janitor, a communard, a marketing executive, an internet founder, and a psychotherapist, among other things. Having given up trying to avoid my fate, I’ve joined UnHerd, where I write twice a week as a contributing editor. Elsewhere, my work has appeared in the London Times, the Mail on Sunday, the New Statesman, the New York Post, and The Spectator among many others.

You can find me here on Twitter as @moveincircles.

About my book: Feminism Against Progress

Can you be a feminist if you don’t believe in progress? I’ve been wrestling with that question for more than a decade, ever since I realised that I no longer believed in the ‘arc of history’. The short answer is ‘yes, and no’.

The long answer publishes in March 2023, with Forum Press: my first book, Feminism Against Progress.

Feminism Against Progress argues that we don’t have to see feminism as part of a relentless upward moral trajectory. It can also be understood as women’s cultural and political response to the transformation of our intimate lives, throughout the industrial era. But, I argue, as the industrial age recedes in the rear-view mirror and we plunge ever deeper into the cyborg era, we’re importing values and ideals under the guise of ‘feminism’ that no longer serve women’s interests.

Feminism Against Progress sets out the dystopian trajectory this will take if unchecked, and shows how men and women can re-learn how to live together - but only if we set down some of our most cherished disputes and most entrenched ideologies.

Feminism Against Progress (publisher’s page)

Feminism Against Progress (Amazon pre-order link)

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Feminism Against Progress


Mary Harrington is a contributing editor at UnHerd. She writes on Substack at Reactionary Feminist, and tweets as @moveincircles.