“The arrogance which informs man’s relation to nature (simply he is superior to it) is precisely the same arrogance which informs his relationship with women (simply he is superior to her). […] woman = carnality = nature.”
- Andrea Dworkin, Woman Hating
With the release of the Matt Walsh film “What is a Woman?” The question of whether Feminists should align with right-wing men has come up in Gender Critical circles. My first reaction to this question was “f#*k that Catholic pr!ck!”. However, by dismissing an alliance so arrogantly, we are playing the ideologues game. It is also not what I think. As an ex-Catholic it is how I feel about Matt Walsh on a superficial level. Not what I think about the situation, as a whole.
The first thing I did before sitting down to write this was, I watched “What is a Woman?” My view of Matt Walsh has not changed. I do support the film though.
Why I support “What is a Woman?
Credit where credit is due. Matt Walsh does a fantastic job of showing how ridiculous the concept of “gender” is. Matt Walsh is witty, smart, sticks to the points. He remains calm throughout the film, which I’m sure was no mean feat. He does offer a perspective from both sides of the debate. It is the ‘Gender Critical’ perspective that comes out on top in this film. Why? Because Matt is not asking leading questions. He is not using anyone’s preferred language. He is not attempting to rub down anyone’s ego.
He asks simple questions, does not stray from the point; nor did he allow anyone else to stray from the point. He pushes back. You can clearly see how some people in the film are not accustomed to being questioned, that included nearly all the “Gender Specialists” who threatened to “end the interview.”
The film will probably be, for many, the first time they see people react, piously, enraged, insulted, attacked, fearful, when asked “what is a woman?” They will see a male doctor correct Matt Walsh after Matt refers to him as a “transwoman”. He tells Matt, “I am a woman”. They will see a female therapist reply to Matt’s question “what is a woman?” with “I can’t answer that. I am not a woman.” How do you help your clients define their identity if you cannot define what they are trying to identify as in the first place?
So, yes, I do support the film. It shows how ideological this movement is. However, it also shows how patriarchal Matt is. That is a belief I cannot support.
A little bit about Women’s role in Catholicism
“And do you not know that you are each an Eve? The sentence of God on this sex of yours lives in this age; the guilt, of necessity, must live too. You are the devil’s gateway.”
- Tertullian, Church Father 160-230 CE, in an address to women
The story of Adam and Eve is the creation story taught to Catholic children. God created Adam (in his image no less). Put him to sleep. Removed a rib. Created Eve from this rib. Allowed Adam to name her:
“23And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”
Then there’s the whole business with the apple. A lesson to women to not think for themselves. To do what their told. To not mislead men away from God. A tale told to men to warn them not to listen to women. That women will tempt them. That if they are tempted by woman, he will lose favor with God.
Isn’t it interesting that women are God’s biggest threat?!
Throughout the story of Adam and Eve women for millennia became chattel for men to bare their sons. Maids to look after their property. Whores to remind all the carnal nature of woman. That woman needed man, he who is made in His image, to save her. To give her status. The status of being private property rather than public property. To be his “helpmate”
“the power of rational discernment is by nature stronger in man and thus he is the natural ruler of woman. Woman is understood to be man’s helpmate”
- Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274)
It bolstered men’s belief, they are the rulers of Earth and therefore, women. If this wasn’t bad enough the Catholics took it a step further. They decided to give women an ideal. An “Ideal Man” would and could sadistically punish and control women in the name of God. “An Ideal” no woman could ever achieve. The Madonna. The Virgin Mother. They planted the seed in the thoughts of all men, that all women who dare show any sign of sexuality outside marriage, are Whores. It is why the ‘Mother’ inside marriage is venerated. Why women unmarried are treated with suspicion. The ultimate achievement for Catholic women is motherhood.
In Catholicism, as with all Abrahamic religions, there is a class system. Men rule, women obey. Boys will be boys while purity is preached to girls. A lot of emphasis is placed on female virginity. Afterall, Christ’s Mother was a virgin and the Catholic Ideal. Apparently, this means ‘good Catholic women’ have no sexuality of their own. Only what is projected on to them by men. It is Catholic men who decide if a woman is a Madonna or Whore. Catholic women police their daughters in hope they don’t fall into the “whore” category. Women in Catholicism are taught that to be a good Catholic woman you must marry and remain faithful, dependent, and subordinate; have an unquestioning readiness to regard the domestic sphere as your natural habitat; engage in reproduction rather than production, with a willingness to accept women’s sexuality is confined to marriage.
Feminists who are against aligning with right-wing men do so with good reason. We understand the reasons why right-wing men are against this new ideology. Matt Walsh is a devout Catholic. He has a dualistic view of women. Good/Bad, Madonna/Whore. He has no love for Feminists. He does not respect women who do not center men. He refers to women who are independent, govern their own bodies and center other women aka radical feminists as ‘vile creatures’. He is the head of his household. The Patriarch. To support men like this is to support Patriarchy. Right-wing men are not fighting for the rights of women. Right-wing men and Left-wing men are in fight over property. Women and children being the property fought over.
Feminists on the other hand are fighting for women and children’s lives. We are fighting for your and our personhood.
““I will protect all of your interests. And all that I ask for in return. Is that you suck my dick. Then we’re right back to square one aren’t we.”
- Dave Chappelle: The Closer
The question should not be, “should feminists align with right-wing men?” But, rather, “shouldn’t right-wing men align with feminists?” Feminists know the answer though. They can’t, which is why we shouldn’t. Because really, all men, metaphorically or otherwise, want us to suck their dick.
 I am referring to the ideologues on both side of the gender critical debate.  “Woman is understood to be man’s helpmate” …. In procreation only. “not indeed to help hi in any other work, as some have maintained, because where most work is concerned, man can get help more conveniently from another man than from a woman; but to help him in the work of procreation. – St Thomas Aquinas: Summa Theologiae, XIII, translated by E. Hill (1964), extracted from ‘Misogyny in the Western Philosophical Tradition’ Edited by Beverley Clack (1999)