February 24, 2023
Ivan Tranfi reviews in RevDem the recent special issue on gender and illiberalism edited by Matthijs Bogaards and Andrea Pető, experts in de-democratization and gender studies from Central European University:
"The special issue on gender and illiberalism is a great example of the importance of both gender studies and, more broadly, critical social sciences. By revealing and scrutinizing the power dynamics of oppression that excludes those who do not fit into an ethnopluralist, heteronormative order, each of the individual contributions helps highlight that a democracy that genuinely fosters freedom and equality is impossible if gender+ equality is negated. By actively producing unscientific or downright conspiratorial ‘alternative’ knowledge on issues such as sexuality, reproductive technology, child development or abortion, illiberalism poses a threat not only to minorities, but also to the general population and children, despite its declarative pro-natalism. Gaweda’s piece notes the replacement of IVF with Church-backed ‘naprotechnology’ as one example, to which we could add the non-existent ‘post-abortion syndrome’, the dubious Billings ovulation method and other practices proven to be harmful, like the corporal punishment of children, not to mention ‘conversion therapy’. Future research should focus on how the very ideology, policies and practices proposed by illiberals as ‘pro-family’ or natural actually hurt or mislead vast swathes of populations, not just minorities. Fighting for evidence-based policy-making and resisting the elimination and de-specification of gender studies as an academic field are thus a democracy-preserving task of utmost importance".
See the complete review here.