Matt Walsh didn’t ask me what a woman is—and I would have been glad to participate in his documentary as a lefty feminist type who can answer the question. He didn’t ask the many left wing people resisting the ideological fervor around gender identity or concerned about kids with gender dysphoria rushed to medicate. He didn’t ask the gender-critical feminists who embrace the reality of biological sex and see gender as a set of societal expectations based on it, not an internal sense of self. I’m pretty sure they all would have said what—spoiler alert—Walsh’s unnamed wife says at the end of his documentary, What Is A Woman?: adult human female.
In this mostly worthwhile (hilarious sometimes, unnecessarily shallow others) film about gender identity ideology, many smart, well-educated people he puts the central question to, especially those in the ivory tower, answered in ways that make the left look bad. A woman is only an identity, with no contours or boundaries, no absolutes. Their circular definitions and immediate defensiveness indicated that they didn’t trust their own ideas, and each became hostile when realizing Walsh was going to push back in his deadpanned (and extremely watchable) way.
But Walsh found plenty of people, especially young people, willing to embrace the idea that each person’s individual reality is all that matters, that we don’t need a shared truth to move through the world. I believe what’s happening is a kind of psychological and social anarchy, packaged inside philosophical arguments so convoluted that they’re hard to combat, then wrapped in a veneer of social justice so we can’t object to them without seeming bigoted. We’ve been intellectually beaten into submission on the left.
Walsh tweeted that the hero of the film is Scott Newgent, a trans man irreparably harmed by medical interventions, who campaigns against gender identity-based medical interventions for children. That’s true. His cry of “This is wrong on so many levels” is incredibly moving and reminds us that we should be asking very basic questions. What are we doing? How is it working? Who is being helped and who harmed?
Walsh isn’t asking those questions. He traveled thousands of miles to expose liberals’ absurdity, and he is wildly successful at it. It’s big budget Libs of TikTok, and it’s effective at poking holes in the ideology and making us look like assholes—and deservedly so. But if such a film will fuel the right’s legislative pushback, or anti-trans laws as the left media describes them, it’s not helpful to those of us trying to educate the world about natural gender diversity and nonconformity.