Cards on the table – cognitive benefits of the “attack on gender”

  • Cards on the table – cognitive benefits of the “attack on gender”

It is difficult to understand the moral panic around the notion of gender without reaching to the output of Gender Studies: studies on history, production, reproduction, functions and consequences of the social constructs of sex and sexuality.

On occasion of the discussion on “genderism”, both the weak and the strong players of the public discourse in one way or another unprecedently uncovered what they wanted and revealed, in a disarmingly honest manner, that they were fighting for something, indicating what that “something” was. Therefore, it is a good occasion to look closely at the standards and principles of social life, the presence of which – and, thus, the possibility to discuss, undermine or change which - was revealed by the attack on the gender ideology.

The months-long dispute, involving the key “sense-givers” (church, science, the media), is an extraordinary occasion to perform constructive analyses, as owing to this very dispute we can observe, firstly, the stake gambled for in the political field and, secondly, the status quo of the Polish social reality. In the face of today’s “discourse interception”, an appropriate description of the social reality has become a really urgent need.

Zawadzka enumerates the following stakes: the specific definition of a family, the specific structure of masculinity and the status of a child as a correctly or wrongly managed ownership of the parents. The gamble for these stakes uses the notion of ideology worth looking closely on. The deliberations on deliberations on “genderism” constitute a chance to observe the fascinating and, at the same time, dangerous games of subversion and hostile interceptions between the aforementioned players in the public discourse. Finally, perhaps, owing to the attack on gender, we can foresee the next tinderbox of the Polish debate.

Anna Zawadzka – sociologist at the Institute of Slavic Studies of the Polish Academy of Sciences and the “Archiwum Etnograficzne” research lab. Preoccupied with the analysis of Polish legally binding discourses, with special focus on such motives as: anti-Semitism, anti-communism and anti-feminism – the similarities and differences between them, their interpenetration, the participation of these three motives in the construction of Polish collective and individual identity and, finally, the manner they are passed over and reproduced. Former lecturer, among others, at the Institute of Applied Sciences of the University of Warsaw, Collegium Civitas and Gender Studies UW. Secretary of the editorial section of "Studia Litteraria et Historica". Co-editor of the cultural and political quarterly, "Bez Dogmatu". Director of a documentary entitled "Żydokomuna".

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