Over the years, the American alternative media company The Daily Wire has grown substantially. It went from being just a news website challenging the mainstream taboos of journalism to becoming one of the biggest conservative internet platforms, which hosts daily talk shows and podcasts, as well as produces its own documentaries and now even original fiction movies (watch out for Terror on the Prairie coming out later this summer, for instance). The Daily Wire’s name was made famous by the brilliant right-wing debater and publicist Ben Shapiro, of course, but this new hit piece proves that the Wire is a lot more than that walking book of arguments with a kippah. There’s also Matt Walsh, for example, whose documentary titled What is a Woman? has been stirring both sides of the political spectrum since it premiered on the 1 June.
In his new documentary, he went all the way on the trans issue – and expectedly was called a transphobe bigot for doing so
Walsh (much like Shapiro) has had his own share of political controversies in the past. As a journalist, author and talk-show host, he mainly dealt with the most highly debated issues of leftist identity politics, so naturally made many enemies on Twitter, which—from a conservative standpoint—starts to become one of the tell-tale signs that you might be on the right path, to be honest. A couple of months ago, he managed to write a bestselling children’s book about a little boy who likes to playfully pretend that he is a walrus only to be taken too seriously by his parents (an uncanny metaphor for kids’ gender transition) that was almost immediately banned by Amazon. Now in his new documentary, he went all the way on the trans issue – and expectedly was called a transphobe bigot for doing so, so let’s see what is all the fuss about again. Possible spoilers ahead!
First, the title was inspired by the infamous question posed by Sen. Marsha Blackburn to President Biden’s recent SCOTUS nominee, Ketanji Brown Jackson, who—in line with the campaign’s aim to increase the representation of minorities—was nominated to the highest federal justice position because she is black and a woman. But upon being asked to define the term ‘woman’, simple as that, Judge Jackson promptly refused, saying that she was not a biologist. Since this absurd episode of progressive lunacy, American public discourse has erupted with debates about what really constitutes womanhood and whether the question itself was transphobic.
And this debate constitutes the premise of Matt Walsh’s documentary as well. Viewers can expect to embark on a truly enjoyable journey throughout the United States in pursuit of this single question: what is a woman? Walsh interviews a dozen or so doctors, therapists, academics and transgender people as well, only to discover that no one in the socially accepted fields of experts knows—or at least, dares to give him—the answer. To this question so fundamental that no sane person twenty years ago would even understand the purpose, today’s foremost ‘professionals’ can only answer in meaningless circles if not flat-out refuse to do so. A woman is someone who feels like a woman. Someone who identifies as a woman. Okay…,but what is precisely the thing they identify themselves with? Well, to that there was not a single answer.
One ‘expert’ even proclaimed that the word “truth”—if meant in an objective way—was transphobic
And that was the point of the first act of the documentary, to show precisely how bad cognitive dissonance has become among the people who push transgenderism the most. To highlight the fact that it is purely based on ideology, unsupported by actual scientific arguments or at least being prepped up by ones that crumble at the first sight of genuine scrutiny. To be fair, because this was exactly what I expected from Walsh, this first act did not feel too remarkable, albeit was quite amusing to see just how easily all these incoherent positions were brought down by Walsh’s arguments, which required no more logic than what your average kindergartener possesses. It was also great to note just how much ideology relies on language, as it was brought up frequently throughout a number of interviews. One ‘expert’ even proclaimed that the word “truth”—if meant in an objective way—was transphobic, condescending and rude in itself. Straight copy of Orwell’s double speak, if you ask me. But seeing these professionals humiliate themselves over and over is not really in what the strength of the film lies, but instead in its surprisingly deep and progressively darker second act, in which Walsh explores the ugly side of the transgender movement.
As it turns out, science on gender dysphoria is far from being settled. As Walsh interviews the physicians and therapists on the other side of the debate – people who risk their jobs and careers for trying to speak up against the contradictions that riddle the medical community regarding gender reaffirming treatments, we start to understand just how few and insufficient the actual data is on the possible side effects and consequences of hormone therapies and other life-altering interventions. We learn facts that rarely get advertised, such as that transgender people statistically become the most suicidal sub-group of the nation 7 to 10 years after transitioning. Or the fact that each gender transition generates a whopping 1.3 million dollars for the healthcare industry. Or that the drug most widely used as a puberty blocker for children is the very same they administer to serial rapists to chemically castrate them. The worst of all is that the experts who support the complete gender transition of minors see absolutely no problem with encouraging them at every step, either unable to comprehend or flat-out ignoring that they are ruining countless lives in the process.
The most emotional bits were undoubtedly the interviews with those who have become victims of the system one way or another. One was a middle-aged transgender man (born as a biological female) who now regrets the journey he took and spends his days raising awareness. The other was over the phone with a Canadian father who has been sentenced to jail for refusing to use his daughter’s preferred pronouns after she was convinced at a hospital that she in fact was a boy, and for trying to prevent the medical ‘authorities’ to start filling her up with testosterone right away. In Canada, parental consent is not required, and children can be easily taken away from parents who are deemed unsupportive.
Walsh flies straight to Kenya to ask members of the Maasai tribe what they think a woman was
Perhaps the best and most original part was the short segment between the two acts of the film, which served as a bridge between the light-hearted and then more serious scenes that followed. After concluding that the United States could provide no answer to his initial question, Walsh flies straight to Kenya to ask members of the Maasai tribe what they think a woman was. The discussion that ensues between Walsh and an elder of the tribe (with the use of a translator) is both heart-warming and almost shocking in its sincerity, especially after hearing so many people dodging the whole topic back in the US. It took some tries to properly make them understand such nonsensical questions, but it turned out that to a certain degree, the Maasai also put a distinction between sex and gender (as in the role of an individual within the community) but they are in no way separable from each other, or in any way subjective based on personal feelings or self-identification. No, for the Maasai, men have penises (and a responsibility to protect the tribe), while women have vaginas and the sole duty to bear children. After learning that in the US some consider these truths a crime against our newly found collective norms, the elder was quick to say he would not visit anytime soon. No one can blame him, frankly.
Nonetheless, Walsh continued to pursue a North American definition of womanhood relentlessly, albeit with little to no success. In the end, of course, he finally finds it at the most obvious place of all – in his own kitchen. However, this article already contained more than enough spoilers, so I will let you watch it and find out the answer to womanhood yourself. Along the way you will also see the best introduction into transgenderism done up to date, not in form of raw data and boring statistics, but real people and genuine stories. As for answering the central premise and not to leave you hanging completely, I will end the article with the second-best definition in the movie, given by Canada’s most famous psychologist, Jordan Peterson himself. So, you want to know what a woman is? ‘Marry one and find out!’
Tamás Orbán, researcher at Danube Institute