Friday, October 3, 2014
A decade or so ago, when I translated L'Histoire des femmes, the French weren't sure they had a word for "gender" in their language. Genre now fills the role well enough that Le Monde can refer to "les 'antigenre"'in a headline without risk of being misunderstood. Among "les antigenre" we find such groups as "Vigi-Gender" and the Fédération des Parents Engagés et Courageux. Courageux enough to invent an imaginary enemy of homosexuals and feminists allegedly bent on "destroying the family" and "effacing traditional gender roles." A sinister feature of this movement is the way it has brought together elements of the extreme right with representatives of the immigrant community (consider the strange alliance between Alain Soral and Farida Belghoul, for example). The movement seems to be gaining steam, drawing on hidden networks flourishing on social media, and is now ready, it seems, to move into the schoolhouse and demand direct action.