Monday 23rd of May 2022


Retorica e movimenti anti-gender. Spunti di riflessione dall’Italia e dall’Europa


Beatrice Spallaccia, Università di Bologna pdf_icon_30x30



Abstract: In recent years, expressions like “ideologia del gender” (ideology of gender), “teoria del gender” (gender theory), and “genderismo” (genderism) have dominated the public debate over gender positive education and anti-discrimination policies in Italy as well as across Europe. These terms have been used by conservative and ultra-Catholic forces to oppose the implementation of gender mainstreaming policies promoted by European institutions, and to support heterosexist and homotransphobic sentiments in many countries of the continent. The rise of a reactionary challenge to gender inclusivity has led several scholars who work in the interdisciplinary field of gender studies to start analysing the discursive strategies used by anti-gender activists and their forms of mobilisation. The present article aims to contribute to this emerging field of research on anti-genderism. By reviewing two books recently published in Italy and abroad, it seeks to provide a better understanding of anti-gender rhetoric as well as its political implication in Europe. First, it confirms the findings of previous research on anti-gender discourse, showing that “ideologia del gender” is to be understood as a new rhetorical device coined by the Vatican to fight the cultural revolution brought by feminist and LGBTQ+ theories and movements, and to ultimately restore the traditional sexual order. Second, it looks at anti-genderism in two specific countries that can be considered the cradle of anti-gender movement, i.e., Italy and France, and attempts to link its success to the ways in which feminism and gender studies have spread there. Finally, it tries to stress the discursive intersection between anti-genderism, nationalism, and populism, pointing out the dangerous effects of this synergy within the broad European context.


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