“It was weird,” said Jenna Thurston, a mommy blogger who read the ebook to her two sons. “One minute, Lord Spittleworth was talking to Lord Flapoon about the commotion in the courtyard, and the next, some omniscient narrator is all ‘biological-sex’ this, and ‘women’s-lived-experiences’ that.”
“My 8-year-old asked me why it was so hard for the Ickabog to understand the difference between gender and sex, and I had to tell him I didn’t know.”
The children’s book transitions to a full-on raving manifesto very suddenly, though early passages seem to foreshadow what’s to come. On page 12, the Ickabog discusses how she is a girl Ickabog because she has “girl Ickabog parts,”, and later on, she does a weirdly in-depth analysis about gender essentialism. The Ickabog even narrates changing her tampon twice, which other early reviewers described as “a bit much.”
The book’s British publisher, Bloombury UK, was quick to issue a retraction.
“We deeply regret the error,” a rep for Bloombury commented. “Our social media manager accidentally mixed in out-of-context portions of an adult manuscript from one of our other authors, Bobby Galbraith.”
The TERF movement, or Trans-exclusionary Radical Feminism, is an ideology largely embraced by wealthy white women with no friends who aim to unfairly exclude trans women from feminist spaces. Despite multiple social media slip ups that point to the contrary, JK Rowling is adamant that she is not prejudiced against trans people. But fans are not buying it.
“I mean, this is Jo we’re talking about here,” said Alyse Edwards, bassist for Potter rock band The Splinched Sickles. “If someone calls her out for being problematic, her only solution is to retcon her way out of it. Remember when she revealed that Dumbledore was gay, or that there was a Jewish wizard in Ravenclaw this whole time? The fact that she hasn’t retroactively made Dobby trans is an indicator to me that she maybe doesn’t understand how harmful transphobia is.”
As for The Ickabog, publishers are expected to remove all TERF-related language before the book is available for physical release in November, though as a compromise she will have a brief monologue at the end about the PC police and cancel culture.