Why was it so important to confront this programme? The ABCD programme was based on a 'gender theory' which claims that sex distinctions are socially constructed to oppress women. The aim, therefore, was to have a school curriculum which sought to suppress the differences between boys and girls.
This, of course, fits in with the general aim of liberalism of promoting individual autonomy. If the aim is for individuals to be self-determining, and our sex is something that is predetermined, then it will be thought of negatively as a restriction on individual freedom. The aim of liberals will be to make sex distinctions not matter.
Here is one academic explaining the implications of gender theory:
"Claiming the equality of all people regardless of their gender and sexual orientation is deconstructing the complementarity of the sexes and thus rebuilding new republican foundations" (Réjane Senac researcher at CNRS, professor at Sciences Po Paris and University Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris 3, pages 24-25).
In this view, equality means deconstructing the complementarity of male and female. It is a radical outlook. Here is another official statement on what the gender theorists want to achieve:
the report by IGAS (General Inspectorate of Social Affairs) recommends "replacing the terms 'boys' and 'girls' by the neutral terms 'friends' or 'children', telling stories in which the children have two dads or mums, etc." According to the report, the aim is to "prevent sexual differentiation and the interiorisation by the children of their sexual identity."
If you look at the teaching materials supplied to teachers as part of the ABCD programme you get a sense of how far the French state was willing to go to achieve these aims. Teachers in all subject areas were expected to micro-manage their lessons to break down sex distinctions.
For instance, when it comes to Physical Education the gender theorists were not only concerned that girls preferred rhythmic gymnastics to boys, but more than this they were concerned that girls preferred the aesthetic aspect of the sport, whereas boys were more oriented to the ball skills component. Detailed lesson plans were supplied to teachers to overcome this aspect of sex differences.
Similarly, there was concern by the gender theorists that in group play girls were more likely to seek activities in which there was no confrontation, which were calmer and which took up less physical space. The gender theorists were concerned, in other words, by the existence of subtly different styles of play existing between boys and girls, assuming that these were socially constructed to disadvantage girls.
The French people were right to demonstrate against the imposition of such a curriculum:
|The banner reads "No to gender theory"
In my next post, I'm going to publish an excellent statement from the VIGI site in defence of sex distinctions.