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'The Reckoning: How the Democrats and the Left Betrayed Women and Girls' (book review)

Courtesy of Kara Dansky
Courtesy of Kara Dansky

It takes far more guts to confront your ideological compatriots than your foes and a recent book documenting the assault of gender ideology on women’s rights from a leftist perspective exhibits such courage in spades.  

Radical feminist Kara Dansky is arguably the most visible and outspoken American leftist of this stripe and she has also been among the hardest-working and boldest voices on the scene. In her latest book, The Reckoning: How the Democrats and the Left Betrayed Women and Girls, the author and president of Women’s Declaration International USA does not hold back her disgust for her political party currently captured by an ideology that is wreaking havoc on females in every area of society. 

Contrary to the prevailing narrative in the corporate press, a doggedly determined group of unapologetically left-wing critics of transgenderism has been raising the alarm about what “trans” means for society for the last decade. Known as “TERFs” – once a term that trans rights activists wielded as a derogatory insult that their opponents have claimed for themselves as a fun sobriquet – these “trans-exclusionary radical feminists” have labored in the trenches for years often at great personal cost to them.

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The Reckoning is the public record of Dansky’s dissent. As time marches on, she’s speaking for increasing numbers of women who consider themselves Democrats, liberals, or feminists who are irate at what their party leaders have done by going all-in on “trans” as the supposed next frontier of civil rights. The betrayal these Democratic women and others feel is painful and infuriating. Dansky has told me that she frequently hears from disaffected lefty types who somehow find her work on these issues and then they tell her how when they try to address this topic with elected Democrats, the public officials are snide and recalcitrant. Many Democrat voters have switched their party registration to “Independent” and some have even voted Republican for the first time in their lives. Many also say they feel “politically homeless.” This is especially true if they are parents of a trans-identifying teen girl. 

Pointed and extremely thorough, the book illuminates the vast tentacles of gender ideology and how the Democratic party has unscrupulously backed a movement that has yielded the erasure of women in law, the decimation of their hard-won rights such as Title IX, and the tremendous savagery of so-called “gender-affirming care.” No stone is left unturned and Dansky brings the receipts.

The crimes of gender ideology are too numerous to count. From the heinous abuse of incarcerated women in prisons and the appalling hijacking of female sports to the hasty facilitation of testosterone and double mastectomies on dysphoric teen girls in gender clinics, the author is unequivocal in her rebuke from start to finish. As the publication Not The Bee noted in its review of her first book, The Abolition of Sex, radical feminists like Dansky “punch hard, whether they are punching at you or with you.” The Reckoning is what you might call Radical Feminist Punching Hard 2.0.

Most impressive to me was Dansky’s meticulous documentation of systemic journalistic malfeasance throughout the mainstream press and late-night comedy, which she aptly refers to as the “lefty dudebro media,” on these issues. Along with the schools, she argues that the media is the actor more responsible than even the Democratic party leadership for trying to abolish sex and betraying women by pushing gender ideology. Though the author is not a religious person, I appreciated that she rightly credits the outlets that refused to confuse their readers with deceptive gender lingo and wrong-sex pronouns, including The Christian Post.

But lest anyone think Dansky is only punching at her party and other left-wing entities, no one gets a pass. Chapter 7 holds to account the “accomplices” who have, to varying degrees, been willing to go along with the erasure of women’s rights via trans ideology. Such accomplices include craven Republicans who play insidious political games with the issue and have taken money from groups tied to gender clinics and, most inexcusably to me, churches and religious organizations that have furthered this madness in God’s name. 

The million-dollar question, it seems, is: “So, when is this long-awaited reckoning over the gender monstrosity coming?”

In some ways, it is already upon us as these issues have been forced to be a national discussion and have already shaped the 2024 election cycle. Approximately half of the U.S. states have passed bills prohibiting males in female sports. Nearly half the states have also implemented restrictions on administering puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and the performing of trans surgeries on minors. Additionally, advocacy efforts are underway to pass what is known as a "Detransitioners Bill of Rights" while yet others are taking the deliberate step to define "sex" in law by genotype so that trans activists will be unable to manipulate policy with their incessant language twisting.

The increasingly awakened public can thank the determined TERFs for these important developments. If you ask them, none of them ever could have imagined that they would have to spend years of their life tenaciously defending something as basic as the material reality of sex. But they discerned the times and stepped up to the plate. 

Indeed, long before the masses watched The Daily Wire’s “What is a Woman?” documentary in 2022 and also before many red states started to file legislation aimed at curtailing trans ideology, these lefty women blazed the trail when few understood what was occurring. Some sacrificed their careers, friends, social networks, and so much more to tell the truth and they have not received nearly enough credit. Although I disagree profoundly with them on several issues philosophically, we owe them a debt of gratitude.  

Dansky is owed a debt of gratitude all her own as no one but she could have written The Reckoning. Few know the issue better than she does and her fellow Democrats will not be able to say that they did not know about the medical atrocities they enabled and the sinister misogyny they countenanced for years while simultaneously claiming to represent women’s interests. She believes they have known all along and that they most definitely know now. She knows they know because she has told them repeatedly, both in print and in person. 

When the full story of these strange times is written, honest historians will have to acknowledge how these lefty women skillfully disrupted the narrative around these existential matters and helped give rise to the widespread cultural pushback that is presently emerging.

Whatever your political leanings, courage and gritty determination like that is worthy of honor. Given the years of dedication from those unflinchingly bold TERFs like Dansky, I’m beckoning the reckoning she has heralded. 

May it come swiftly. 

Brandon Showalter has a bachelor's degree from Bridgewater College in Virginia and a master's degree from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. Listen to Showalter's Generation Indoctrination podcast at The Christian Post and edifi app Send news tips to: Follow on Facebook: BrandonMarkShowalter Follow on Twitter: @BrandonMShow

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