After decades of steady progress in terms of gender and sexual rights, several parts of Europe are facing new waves of resistance to a so-called ‘gender ideology’ or ‘gender theory’. Opposition to progressive gender equality is manifested in challenges to marriage equality, abortion, reproductive technologies, gender mainstreaming, sex education, sexual liberalism, transgender rights, antidiscrimination policies and even to the notion of gender itself.
This book examines how an academic concept of gender, when translated by religious organizations such as the Roman Catholic Church, can become a mobilizing tool for, and the target of, social movements. How can we explain religious discourses about sex difference turning intro massive street demonstrations? How do forms of organization and protest travel across borders? Who are the actors behind these movements? This collection is a transnational and comparative attempt to better understand anti-gender mobilizations in Europe. It focuses on national manifestations in eleven European countries, including Russia, from massive street protests to forms of resistance such as email bombarding and street vigils. It examines the intersection of religious politics with rising populism and nationalistic anxieties in contemporary Europe.
1. Introduction, Roman Kuhar and David Paternotte / 2. “Gender Ideology” in Austria – Coalitions around an Empty Signifier, Stefanie Mayer and Birgit Sauer / 3. “No Prophet is Accepted in His Own Country”: Catholic Anti-Gender Activism in Belgium, Sarah Bracke, Wannes Dupont and David Paternotte / 4. Embryo, Teddy Bear-Centaur and the Constitution: Mobilizations against “Gender Ideology” and Sexual Permissiveness in Croatia, Amir Hodžić and Aleksandar Štulhofer / 5. Resisting “Gender Theory” in France: A Fulcrum for Religious Action in a Secular Society, Michael Stambolis-Ruhstorfer and Josselin Tricou / 6. “Anti-Genderismus”: German Angst? Paula-Irene Villa / 7. Anti-Gender Discourse in Hungary: A Discourse without a Movement? Eszter Kováts and Andrea Pető / 8. Defending Catholic Ireland, Mary McAuliffe and Sinead Kennedy / 9. Italy as a Lighthouse: Anti-Gender Protests Between the “Anthropological Question” and National Identity, Sara Garbagnoli / 10. “Worse than Communism and Nazism Put Together”: War on Gender in Poland, Agnieszka Graff and Elżbieta Korolczuk / 11. Russia as the Savior of European Civilization: Gender and the Geopolitics of Traditional Values, Kevin Moss / 12. Changing Gender Several Times a Day: The Anti-Gender Movement in Slovenia, Roman Kuhar / 13. From the Pulpit to the Streets: Ultra-Conservative Religious Positions against Gender in Spain, Monica Cornejo and J. Ignacio Pichardo / 14. The Anti-Gender Movement in Comparative Perspective, David Paternotte and Roman Kuhar
An essential reading to better understand the widespread reactionary backlash in today’s Europe. This book is a much-needed wake-up call. While anti-gay marriage movements have long been regarded as anecdotical, the authors show how deep their cultural and religious roots are. This meticulous account is an important step towards reinventing minority rights across European borders.
In this well-documented comparative study, the authors offer country by country analyses and evidence of international collaborations in campaigns against gender equality. They provide striking new insight into the way the epithet “gender ideology” has become a powerful instrument on the European political scene, wielded by coalitions of right-wing Catholics, Protestant evangelicals, and populists to protect “traditional” sex roles and to challenge the institutions of democracy.
‘Gender Ideology’ fracases now erupting in Europe and Latin America constitute key sites in which to examine how the ‘said return of the religious’, sexual politics and the crisis of democracy are deeply imbricated today. Anti-Gender Campaigns in Europe is a superb cartography of these imbrications in twelve Western and Eastern European countries. It finely charts contextual differences without losing sight of the significant transnational implications of these politics, particularly in what concerns the role of the Catholic Church.
The book examines how an academic concept of gender, when translated by religious organizations such as the Roman Catholic Church, can become a mobilizing tool, but also the target of social movements. The authors whose texts are included in the book analyze the situation in 12 European countries in an effort to understand the sources of these mobilizations, their specific manifestations in different countries and their dissemination beyond national borders. .. The book provides a comparative overview of anti-gender movements and discussed their strategies and rhetorical tropes.
Tihana Bertek, Vox Feminae
The co-edited collection makes a valuable contribution to understand the ways the Christian right in Europe operates, and how the Catholic Church ideologically pushed an anti-gender discourse in different countries.
What fuels the success of authoritarian populism around the globe and how does the extreme right manage to hijack public debate? We know that ‘sex sells’, but we also need to learn how ‘gender’ turns the tables in this context, and Anti-Gender Campaigns in Europe is an excellent place to start. … Kuhar and Patternotte’s anthology provides an encouraging methodological example as to how sociological research into pressing political issues can be conducted. In their sober, account-taking style, the essays provide maximum enlightenment.
Roman Kuhar is Associate Professor at the University of Ljubljana.
David Paternotte is Lecturer at the Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium.