Sunday, March 09, 2014

This is the woman teaching French children about gender?

Last month I reported on a victory for traditionalists in France. Large demonstrations forced the government to backtrack on its programme of introducing "gender theory" into French society.

The Boston Globe has published an unsympathetic report on these demonstrations:
The spark that rekindled the movement was, of all things, a grade school program called the “ABC of equality.” This experimental project, launched by the government in late 2013 in a handful of grade schools, encouraged children to consider that though some biological differences between the sexes exist, other differences are “constructed” by society, a product as much of stereotypes as of physical differences. According to its critics, the lesson plan was inspired in part by the work of American gender theorists like Butler.

....Enough people had become horrified by the new impact of “gender studies” that, in February, they turned out in droves. Nearly overnight, “la théorie du genre” was on everyone’s lips. Gender theory was the “obsession” of the Socialist government, one conservative news magazine declared. Activists contacted public libraries to demand that they pull texts tainted by American gender theory from the shelves.

As a result of all this, Butler suddenly found herself massively famous in France.

The report plays down how radical gender theory is. Here is Judith Butler denying the reality of sex distinctions:
... gender is a performance ... Because there is neither an “essence” that gender expresses or externalizes nor an objective ideal to which gender aspires; because gender is not a fact, the various acts of gender create the idea of gender, and without those acts, there would be no gender at all. Gender is, thus, a construction ...

This is almost the exact opposite of the traditionalist view on sex distinctions (we would concede that understandings of sex distinctions are influenced by society; however, at the same time we would hold that there does exist a masculine and feminine essence and that there is an objective ideal which our masculinity and femininity aspires to.)

So who is this Judith Butler who has been put in charge of the sex identities of French children? Well, here is a recent photo:

Yes, she is a lesbian, feminist academic. That is who the modern French state believes is the best person, the expert, to guide young French girls and boys along the path of development toward manhood and womanhood.

The problem with the photo is not how pretty or otherwise Judith Butler is. You don't have to be good-looking to be a good philosopher. I just think it reveals starkly how much at the cutting edge of unfeminine Judith Butler is. She is an outlier, who clearly has never experienced much of the feminine, who is nonetheless being pushed forward as the authority on gender for French girls.


  1. She looks like a man and doesn't have breasts. It seems like she has fused her personal battle against her own sex into a universal ideal and goal, into a requirement. In healthy society Butler would be unifluential extreme phenomenom in the sidelines of society.

    1. Valkea, agreed. You are going to get such outliers in any society, but what's unusual here is that the outlier is being allowed to set the ideals for the majority.

  2. Very interesting, Mark. The terminal point of this kind of ideology might look something like this statement in the "Diversity Policy" of a major US-based international law firm on its hiring practices...

    "It is the policy of the Firm to ensure equal employment opportunity without harassment or discrimination on the basis of race, religion or belief, gender (with or without sexual conduct), gender identity/expression, color, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, age, genetic predisposition or carrier status, marital or civil partnership status, pregnancy, creed, military service status, citizenship status, current unemployment status or any other basis protected by Federal/national, state or local law, ordinance or regulation. This Policy applies to recruiting, hiring, placement, promotions, training, discipline, terminations, layoffs, transfers, leaves of absence, compensation and all other terms and conditions of employment."

    I have to say that I don't even know what some of this actually means. One wonders what sorts of questions get asked in the interviews! And what it has to do with being a lawyer, I have no idea.

    1. A bit of a mouthful. You have to wonder what else will be added to it over the next decade or so. (I wonder what they mean by "genetic predisposition or carrier status"?).

    2. Ask the corporate lawyer if the employer can discriminate based on the color of the applicant's sox. They can. Likewise, tattoos, apparent disposition not suited to the job description (surly, etc.) ad infinitum are all perfectly acceptable reasons for rejecting an job seeker.

      What is curious, and what seems to go missing from a great many discussions on the topic, is that there is a presumption that the interviewer will know the gender or sexual orientation of any applicant. Only if the latter said something like "I'm not hiring you because you seem gay to me" would there be a "violation". To even it up I think applicants should be prohibited from disclosing certain private information. This way an employer would not feel discriminated against in being forced to make a choice that should not have to account for such data in the first place.

    3. 'Genetic predisposition' could be anything, most probably a likely disease which might make them unsuitable for the job, which the employer would then have to overlook. 'Carrier status' would be a diseased person (HIV, Hep alphabet, etc).

  3. "This is the woman teaching French children about gender?". Judith Butler is not a woman. She is a masculine female. Woman is the feminine, psychological, emotional and physical counterpart to man, as man is the masculine, psychological, emotional and physical counterpart to woman. One does not exist without the existence of the other. Judith Butler is a female who lacks the attributes that define woman. What's the expression? Those who can't do, teach?

  4. Time for another reminder on Australia's (and the world's!) gender role academic guru? I mean Raewyn Connell, formerly Bob Connell,

    1. Thanks, Titus. I'd forgotten about Bob Connell. I thought it interesting enough to put up another post.

  5. My first interview for a full time job as a young man I was rejected on the basis of being a male.
    I was informed that out of the hundreds or so employees only two were male.
    Reasons given were that I would not be able to handle interacting with the women there.

    This is how women create entirely female organisations. They appeal to the traditional girl's club mentality that certain areas dominated by females should have next to no male interference.

    This is how feminists won the war in taking over the west. By using traditional attitudes against unsuspecting westerners.