The Body Politic

Declan Da Barp

The Anti-Gender movement has sprung up across the globe and in the guise of different populist movements on the right and the left. What is clear though is that this messaging of anti-Genderism is a pernicious element in the body politic today that is a backlash of the liberalization of sex and gender in the post-68 period. While many of these campaigns materialized around the move to legalize same-sex marriage and extend rights to the LGBTQ2+ community it has morphed into a movement that aims to regulate the body, restrict reproductive, and prevent sex and gender education (Paternotte and Kuhar). These ideas are widespread and have many overlapping interests, for example in Poland of the Catholic and populist regime. In this way, it touches on the ideas mentioned earlier in the course by Mudde of a “thin-crusted ideology” (Paternotte and Kuhar). Innately, as shown in both readings this week, anti-gender activists map neatly over other pre-existing ideologies.

The idea of gender ideology being a new Marxism was a poignant one, particularly in the Polish context. Poland as described by Piotr and Paweł Zuk defines itself as Catholic and anti-Marxist. The Law and Justice Party (PiS) have added anti-genderism to their repertoire of “Others” which Poland defines itself against. Hungary has done much the same (Paternotte and Kuhar). In the context of post-Soviet Hungary and Poland, to be anti-Marxist has a real political weight to it, much the same weight that being Catholic has in Poland. Thus, the labelling of Gender as Marxist not only plays on a well-established historical dark period in Polish history it gives legitimacy to the PiS party.

Works Cited

David Paternotte and Roman Kuhar, “Disentangling and Locating the “Global Right”: Anti-Gender Campaigns in Europe Politics and Governance Vol. 6, No. 3 (2018): 6-19.

Piotr Żuk and Paweł Żuk. “‘Murderers of the Unborn’ and ‘Sexual Degenerates’: Analysis of the ‘Anti-Gender’ Discourse of the Catholic Church and the Nationalist Right in Poland.” Critical discourse studies 17.5 (2020): 566–588.

3 Replies to “The Body Politic”

  1. Great response Declan,
    The specific reference in the reading to Poland was rather interesting given Poland’s current political position regarding any defiance from state authority. The reference to institutionalized Catholicism was well pointed out by the authors (I felt they missed an opportunity to point out how historically the church has been quite repressive of sexual minorities [excluding actually persecuting their corrupt ecclesiastical officials] but the fact is that some of the most barbaric punishments from the later middle-ages were performed on those deemed to be sexually deviant under ecclesiastical and state law).


    Wesley M.

    1. Hi Wesley,

      Ya that is a great point that you bring up. I expanded on the role of institutionalized church power in my response to your post. What struck me though is how Poland is a glaring example of the move against how the rest of Europe defines itself as secular. Poland openly embraces religion and uses it to justify public policy.

      1. Hi Declan,

        Thank you. Yes I saw your reply. I agree Poland’s become the anti-Europe. As all Europe pre-1800 did.

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