The Fight Against “Gender Ideology” Is Coming For You
As the right wing moves to immiserate or kill everyone but cis, straight white guys, the targets don’t even know they’re in the same fight.
Writing about gender as a trans feminist feels like a fool’s errand in 2022. For one thing, our enemies understand the field of play better than we do. As the right mounts a plan to immiserate or kill everyone who isn’t a straight, white guy, starting with the most vulnerable, their targets aren’t even always aware that they’re in the same fight.
My most recent occasion for this feeling came while reading James Pogue’s Vanity Fair article on the Peter-Thiel-funded media ecosystem of the “New Right.” There are a lot of attention-grabbing details — mass shooter apologia! Monarchism! Nazis shop at Brandy Melville! — but what stood out was the sheer number of times the interviewees invoked “family” as sufficient cause for far-right politics.
One woman complains that “you can’t raise your kids in a traditional, somewhat religious household without having them educated at school that their parents are Nazis;” another justifies her fascist sympathies by saying that “I’m not, like, into politics… I just want to have a family some day.” J.D. Vance, the Hillbilly Elegy author and/or stain on the state of Ohio, says he’s working so that “my son grows up in a world where his masculinity — his support of his family and his community, his love of his community — is more important than whether it works for fucking McKinsey.”
Square as it is to invoke “the patriarchy” in the post-feminist 2020s, it lies at the dead center of the far right imagination. What may seem to us like a bunch of separate fights — state legislatures attacking trans children, a rise in homophobia leveled at cis gays, the impending end of legal abortion — is, in fact, a fight to reinstate white, Christian patriarchy at all costs.
It may help to define our terms here. Patriarchy is a racket; the pseudoscientific justification for why cis white men have to be in charge of everyone else. We assign power in society based on “inborn traits” that no-one is actually born with, and “biology” that we barely even comprehend; the Western patriarchal gender…