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At the heart of the denial of the real: gender theory

by Théophane Le Méné

" Little boys will play with pink dolls, practice knitting and indulge in hopscotch, while little girls will wield toy pistols and get into fights "

   

If one were to choose a scapegoat for fascism, a punch-bag to soak up the anger of the professionally indignant, it would surely by Nature. Since it summoned us into existence, Nature has wanted us, without any consultation and on a purely arbitrary basis, to be either men or women, leaving no place for confusion. But Nature is bereft of the wily ways of Culture, and a number of enlightened individuals have managed to promote the idea that sexual status is a purely social construct, subject to the free will of individuals. We are, of course, talking about gender theory.

Developed by feminist social movements struggling against social discrimination based on belonging to either the male or female sex, gender theory has been pushed to its very limits, to the point that its advocates consider sexualisation as a social determinant that must be overcome. In reality, it is a matter of establishing a distinction between sex and gender with a view to analysing the construction of social roles established from the outset. American scholar, Judith Butler, was one of the first to explain this new form of ideology inspired by deconstruction theorists like Michel Foucault and Jacques Derrida. In her book, Gender Trouble, she invites us to reappraise social organisation according to alternative models, notably homosexual or transsexual perspectives, while at the same time denouncing “phallocentrism” and “obligatory heterosexuality,” which she considers as “the effects of institutions, practices and discourses from multiple, diffuse sites.”

In 1949, in her book, The Second Sex, Simone de Beauvoir, declared: “One is not born, but rather becomes a woman […] in a democracy, anatomy should no longer be equated with destiny.” Sixty years on, the idea has received official consecration. In 2011, gender theory was included in life sciences study manuals for Year 12 students (16-17 years old), without it even being accompanied by an appropriate anthropological explanation enabling pupils to situate an ideology born of the struggle between the sexes and a refusal of the limits of the body. It would have been impossible to find a better way to give this ideology – which is no more than a philosophical option – a scientific stamp of approval. Yet more recently, the French Ministry of Education and the French Ministry of Women’s Rights (sic) introduced the “ABCD of Equality,” an ambitious programme designed to prevent our golden youth from assimilating stereotypes undermining the goal of sexual equality, notably those supported by the symbolic representation of the difference between the sexes. Colours, games played during school breaks, physical activities and fashion styles must all now be subject to a strict criterion of interchangeability. Little boys will play with pink dolls, practice knitting and indulge in hopscotch, while little girls will wield toy pistols and get into fights. This basic redefinition of traditional codes will encourage young pupils to reverse the burden of proof and conclude, once and for all, that it is not their sex that determines their social activity, but social activity that determines their sex. A number of books for children have recently been published in support of this pedagogical manipulation. Le jour du slip/Je porte la culotte by Anne Percin and Thomas Gornet, is, in this regard, as eloquent as it is worrying, especially in view of the fact that it is aimed at five year olds. When Corinne becomes Corentin, this is the ghastly result: “To take off my pygama bottoms, I usually slip my hands between my skin and the elastic waist band. But this time, it got stuck. There, under my fingers, where there’s usually a little bump of smooth skin, there was a … willy! I jumped as if it were going to bite me […]. Sitting astride the toilet, I realised that I wasn’t dreaming. I was getting my thighs all wet and there was a puddle on the floor. Ugh! What’s going on? And the worst thing is that it doesn’t even stand up on its own! I thought willies were like umbrellas. You just popped them out and they unfolded. But, in reality, you have to hold it in your hands! Help!” I will spare you any more gory details.

What could be described as a bad farce is, in reality, something much more serious. The theory of equivalence and interchangeability between the sexes, contains a curious equation, which is strangely reminiscent of the ultra-liberal economic catechism in which neither language, nor culture, nor morality, nor religion, nor even the definition of the sexes is allowed to hinder the free circulation of goods and services. But, above all, the theory invites young people to reject their identities from the outset and, instead, covet a representation of the self that separates body and mind, while at the same time encouraging a desire that can only be realised in a chimerical way, a representation that is not supported by data generated by researchers in the experimental sciences. Should we recall the sad experiment carried out by John Money, the father of gender theory, which involved testing out the idea on a pair of twins by subjecting them to a sex change operation? Neither of them is here to tell the tale. One committed suicide in 2002, the other in 2004.

Théophane Le Méné

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