IDEOLOGY VS. REALITY – Gender theory

– José Maria C.S. André

Pope Francis’s harsh references to gender ideology and the, equally strong, recent speech of the Vatican’s representative to the United Nations (9 March) drew the attention of commentators. I invite anyone who considers these declarations overstated to laugh for 4 minutes and 13 seconds seeing a video that came out a few days ago:

Joseph Backholm, a young American man, pointed his microphone to students of the Washington University. First, he asked them if they were aware of the current debate in Washington about gender identity and the access to locker rooms and toilets. The answers reflected the “politically correct” doctrine: no problem. A boy or a girl can go to the bathroom of the other sex, as long as they identify themselves in that way. Long live freedom!

The second question was a small variant: “If I tell you I’m a woman, what would you say?”

All the interviewees laughed at the joke, but the ideological consistency forced them to accept: “If you think so, okay”; “It is up to you”; “I have no problem with that” … One student understood the implicit mousetrap and tried to resist without answering: “Really? How did you come to that conclusion?”

The third question was less expected: “What, if I told you I am a Chinese?”

The first reaction was to laugh. Then, on second thought, each one found a diplomatic way out: “I would feel a bit surprised, but …good for you”; “Maybe I would think you have a Chinese ancestor.” The same highbrow student: “I would asked you how you came to that conclusion and why you came to that conclusion.”

“What, if I say I’m 7 years old?”

The answers became more difficult: “Hmm … I would not believe that immediately”; “Hmm … maybe I would doubt.” Someone, more consistent with the radical doctrine, replied “If you feel 7 at heart, then be it so.”

“In that case, if I want to enroll in the first grade class, should I be allowed?”

It was impossible not to laugh, but the politically correctness continued to dictate the answers: “Probably …”; “If you feel like this, you should be admitted”; “If it does not harm society, I see no problem.”

“If I tell you I’m 6.5 feet tall?” (The interviewer was clearly smaller).

This time, surprise! Someone gives up the ideological coherence and exchanges it for a bit of common sense: “That I would question!” “Why?” “Because you are not six feet tall!” But others still resist: “If you truly think you are 6.5 feet tall, it is fine. I do not mind you saying you are taller than you really are.” “Then you’d tell me I’m wrong?” “No! I am not telling you are wrong! But hmm…”

“So I could be a Chinese woman?”

Great laugh!


“But I could not you be a 6.5-feet Chinese woman?”

“Yes … hmm.” The diplomatic student, sticking to his dialectic way of arguing: “If you put forward arguments, I will be open to accepting this.”

The video is funny because of the bombshell face of the interviewees and their evident discomfort when they try to be consistent with the ideology of the day. This ideology intends to convince them that sex is a trivial convention, so irrelevant that each individual can choose or modify it. Instead of ‘sex,’ which points to a real body and real responsibilities, this ideology speaks about ‘gender,’ as arbitrary as the grammatical gender that prescribes that the word ‘ship’ is feminine and the word ‘sea’ is neutral [in Portuguese].

Echoing what bishops from all over the world said, Pope Francis did not hesitate to enumerate the ideology of gender and the dictatorship of thought imposed by it as one of the plagues of our time: “Let us not fall into the sin of trying to replace the Creator. We are creatures, and not omnipotent. Creation is prior to us and must be received as a gift. At the same time, we are called to protect our humanity, and this means, in the first place, accepting it and respecting it as it was created.” (Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia, 56).