Can't Make this Up

03.05.14

French Protest Gender Theory

Conservatives up in arms over grade school program.

Conservative French groups found a new harrowing threat endangering traditional society: gender theory. An experimental program called “the ABC of Equality” has reignited their protests that earlier were focused on opposing gay marriage and a ‘family law’ which included protections for reproductive assistance for gay couples. The program, launched in late 2013 in a couple of grade schools, teaches children the basics of gender theory: while some of the differences between the sexes are biological, others are constructed by society. This is the simplified idea behind the academic theory that has become widely popular across college campuses since the 1980s. Judith Butler, its most notable theorist and author of the seminal Gender Trouble, became the focus of the conservatives’ criticism, gaining her unexpected fame in French media. In a reaction published in the Boston Globe, Butler said “the kinds of anxieties unleashed by the legalization of gay marriage in France strike at the heart of a national identity that is bound up with quite fixed and traditional accounts of the family, masculinity, and femininity.”