Last December, the group The Left of the European Parliament published a report on the anti-feminist communication strategy of the right in Europe, which radiographed how proclamations against abortion or LGTBI rights often have more of an instrument to activate certain insecurities and/or certain feelings of belonging to reap the conservative vote , than genuine ideological debate.
In Europe, the right is following a very clear strategy of turning the tables, turning the perpetrators into victims. Under the pretext of the right to talk about controversial issues such as immigration, they introduce racist speeches. And when limits are placed on them, they denounce the censorship of the left, which intends to impose the dogma of “political correctness”. They also seek to delegitimize the left, if not criminalize it, for acting aggressively, based on cancellation and escrache. The right wing have intentionally provoked the judicialization of some of their political messages, to give them more publicity and reinforce their position as the aggrieved party. other strategy win win, very hackneyed of the rights, is to feed on indignation. They express their positions in a provocative and hurtful way, so that both the fervent adherence of their supporters and the indignant criticism of their detractors give them publicity.
The novelty lies in the fact that for the first time, a sector of organized women, the critics of gender self-determination, leaves behind the spontaneity of genuine political debate and adopts an organized and ambitious communication strategy. The messages through which they convey their ideological positions, the doses of demagoguery, the profile of those they choose as broadcasters and even the events around which they take the opportunity to introduce discourse, are calculatedly thought out.
The debate about gender self-determination is being as hurtful as it is naive. The criticisms are reduced to its virulence and to lamenting the division of the feminist movement, in an inopportune moment of regression of women’s rights. Some obvious things, which cry out to heaven, are mysteriously not triggering any reaction. Femicides are on the rise, sexual violence is rampant, custody is withdrawn from mothers who denounce fathers for abuse, etc… and from all these trenches, the custody of the female subject chooses as a political priority the supposed threat that the election represents gender sense. Does gender self-determination really represent a threat to public equality policies? Could it be that in reality this debate is just noise, a way of distracting attention from the truth strategy, that of managing to impose a narrative that facilitates the conservation of certain quotas of power?
Beyond the communicative folklore, there are two aspects of the communicative strategy against gender self-determination, which deserve to be reflected upon. The first reflection is in the key of self-criticism: if we feminisms had discussed in depth what ethical limits we self-impose in the expression of our dissent, and what direct relationship these ethical limits have with the preservation of our identity and political legitimacy, the debate, surely, would have been conveyed in another way. Being clear about which discursive borders cannot be crossed, out of integrity and empathy, would have made it easier for the feminist community to position itself to stop certain drifts.
The second reflection, linked to the first, has to do with how we conceive freedom of expression from feminisms. We bet, as the rights do, for the liberal conception of it, according to which it consists of the individual right to be able to express oneself without limits derived from external restrictions. Or by the model of rights, according to which freedom of expression is a right that can be exercised responsibly, to the extent that it contributes to public debate, respects fundamental rights and does not discriminate against subalternized communities. In this second model, setting the limits to freedom of expression takes into account the power relationship between the sender and the recipient, and whether the objective of the message is to expand or restrict rights.
Starting from this prism, it is not difficult to verify what conception of freedom of expression the detractors of gender self-determination are exercising. Nor is it difficult to find similarities with the communication strategy of the right. The detractors of gender self-determination claim to be victims of censorship, despite the fact that they are at a clear social, political and communicative advantage over trans people. Victims of the hostility of the inquiry, despite the fact that they are trivializing oppressions, fighting against the consolidation of rights and denying identities. Sounds like an exercise of power, doesn’t it?
It seems that the comfort of the academic armchair and partisan fantasies have made some forget the tools of collective struggle: dissent, confrontation and protest. We feminisms cannot deny the social denunciation that has served us historically to win rights, nor can we recriminate those who are using it against the oppression of the hegemony of which we are a part.
The absurdity of it all is that deep down it doesn’t matter what those ladies think. It doesn’t even matter what we all think. The street rules and the reality is that diverse identities flow with more force every day. Critics of gender self-determination will make headlines, recognition of the establishmentform political parties and even delay the approval of laws, but the gender battle has been lost for a long time.