A critical view of the gender theory coming from Paris University

Essays - April 5, 2023

Five years ago, Dr. Jean-François Braunstein, professor of contemporary philosophy at Panthéon-Sorbonne University, published a very interesting essay on gender ideology, animalism and euthanasia entitled “Philosophy Gone Mad” (Grasset, 2018, 400 pages).

With regards to the first area covered in the book, that of the gender theory, the author basically analyses in a critical manner the contributions of three main contemporary defenders of this ideology, namely, Dr. John W. Money, Dr. Anne Fausto-Sterling and Dr. Judith P. Butler.

Dr. Money, a psychologist and sexologist originally from New Zealand and later educated in the United States, could be considered the theory’s founder seven decades ago.  His studies focused typically on patients with hermaphroditism, a sexual trouble with an estimated frequency of 1 out of 800,000 people.

His thesis was that biological sex does not always match the “gender role”, a social, cultural and educational construct.  Therefore, a castrated baby of up to two years which were educated as a girl would actually become a girl.

Money experimented his theory on David Reimer, a patient of 19 months re-educated as “Joan”.  After long years of treatment during infancy and teenage, including heavy hormonisation and partial genital amputation, the adult David committed suicide.  When failure was evident, Money defended himself by claiming that criticism arose from “the extreme-right”.

Dr. Fausto-Sterling has expanded Money’s theory by discussing that there are not just two sexes, opposite to what objective biology would seem to show as scientific evidence (particularly bearing in mind that the human species can only reproduce through the binary combination of male and female).

According to the New York sexologist, sex is an artificial classification; on the other hand, the existence of different sexual troubles demonstrates that “intersexuality” is much more frequent than what had been believed before her innovative contributions.

Having studied worms, she contends that human sex is, in fact, a continuum, an idea already advanced by Dr. Money earlier; indeed, he had argued that no sexual action should be considered either normal or pathological, including such extreme practices as incest or paedophilia, if they are accepted by those engaging in them.

Prof. Braunstein qualifies Fausto-Sterling’s feminist positions as neo-Marxist, since they foster an ideal future world without sex, a structure that deserves to be dissolved for being a source of deep conflict among individuals.

Dr. Judith Butler, a philosopher of Cleveland, has further developed the theory by adding the idea of “gender stereotypes”.  This means that concepts such as norm or nature oppress individuals and compel them to change their inner self and ultimately constrain their liberty.

According to her, if an individual wants to become a woman, medical doctors should provide for such transformation, implementing newly available technology to modify bone structure, brain circuits and even genetic activity to make will become a reality.

On the contrary, Prof. Braunstein reminds us that this reveals an attempt on behalf of man to acquire an almightiness proper to God:  A female human being cannot fertilise herself without male cells, our body is bound to die one day, and a self-mutilated penis will not become a vagina but just a perineal cavity.  These realities cannot be overpassed beyond the level of pure imagination.

The evolution from the times of Dr. Money is, in fact, that of a polemic treatment of patients in the American 1950s, to the current satisfaction of desires of anyone who is perfectly healthy, but wishes to undergo an experience promoted by the internet, educational trends, political messages and legal instruments.

The Sorbonne professor warns about the dangers implicit in the gender ideology, i.e. those of irreversibility, secondary effects and mental balance, created by none other than physicians themselves, who go as far as betraying their traditional oath to cure and cause no harm (primum non nocere).

In opinion of Professor Braunstein, the discussion around “gender” signals the end of a civilization, as the Eastern Roman Empire bore when the Turks crashed Constantinople while fifteenth-century thinkers were discussing about the sex of angels – a matter to some extent analogue to that brought forward by Money, Fausto-Sterling and Butler.

Source of picture:  ICSH.es