Another thought I had about the disingenuous claim that “TERF” is merely a neutral description (or even that it started off as some innocent neutral description before a few bad apples started using it viciously): This term, by design, paints radical feminists as mean bullies at best, bigots at worst, because of the word “exclusive”. This word immediately triggers the patriarchally ingrained belief that women should never say no. To say no, to be exclusive of anything, to create and define boundaries, is a form of power. And women aren’t allowed to have power.
Second, it’s meant to derail and deflect from what radical feminists actually stand for. It’s like calling supporters of reproductive rights baby killers and calling yourself pro-life, immediately positioning outsiders as anti-life in general, even murderers. By calling us “trans-exclusive” every time they refer to us it sounds like our only purpose is to keep transpeople down and condone any harm or violence against them. As if we don’t have specific aims for females that we want to focus on that just doesn’t have anything to do with men having body dysphoria or men also having mental anguish with living in a society that enforces sex roles.
Why not call it “Female liberation centered feminism?” It may be redundant, but in this climate with its many waves and factions, it’s use makes the focus of radical feminism more clear. Or even any description that shows what we stand FOR as opposed to making us solely an “anti/exclusive” group? The reason is to paint us as bigots and entitled bullies from the get go. This is why the progression of using “TERF” as a slur and part of hateful rhetoric was always the logical conclusion.