What is a Matt Walsh?

OK, courtesy of Elon Musk, we’ve now watched What is a Woman, by professional stirrer, Matt Walsh. The video has been viewed, or at least clicked on, over 160 million times, and it has been reviewed, well, pretty much nowhere. That, in and of itself, says a hell of a lot.

We have our views, about Walsh and his film, but that can wait. Our lines are open.

43 Replies to “What is a Matt Walsh?”

    1. Thanks A. Can you give examples of the misogyny and transphobia? Accepting for now that the film is both, do you think the film has any redeeming features? I’ll look at the YouTube video when I can.

      1. Do you mean in context of the film or Matt’s views in general?
        I feel like a cis man has no place to comment on something that doesn’t concern them or impact them. He just likes making noise. I don’t want to give him anymore attention than he already has now.

        His views and opinions, like many other things from our not so distant past, will not age well.

        1. I meant the film, which is what I figured A was referring to.

          I’m happy to discuss Walsh more generally, and consider what you’ve written. But I like to think about one thing at a time.

          1. Well just the title alone screams fragile masculinity to me.
            ‘What is a woman?- an idiot’s perspective (that is, in fact, not a woman)’
            Hard pass.
            But each to their own.

            1. You asked a question, and I responded, clarifying my question to Anonymous. If you now want to “hard pass” that question, that’s fine.

              1. I meant ‘hard pass’, in reference to watching the documentary, so I can’t answer your question on my thoughts. That is what I meant.
                Like I said, I just don’t understand why people get so upset about what other people do that would not impact their lives at all.
                Like who cares?

                1. OK, fair enough. I can definitely understand the impulse to dismiss Walsh’s film out of hand. I think, however, it is a mistake to do so.

                  There is plenty about Walsh’s film to criticise, but I think accusations of “misogyny” and “transphobia” are cheap, and largely false. I think it is worth the time, or at least it was worth my time, to watch both Walsh’s film and the video critique of the film to which Anonymous linked.

                2. Absolutely don’t care if others want to change their lives. However, care very much when teachers in schools changing children pronounces without taking to parents. Definitely care, when transgender woman competes in woman sport. Definitely care when a transgender woman allowed to woman spaces. Definitely care, when gay kids mutilated at the very young age. Definitely care when politicians playing dumb and can’t define woman.

                  1. M, I don’t disagree, but don’t just dash off comments. At least pause enough so the spelling and grammar is correct.

                    1. Sorry, it is early morning here and I am at the Uber typing from my mobile. However, you right I should be more diligent.

            2. You don’t have to be something to know what it is. Do you know what a cat is? Are you a cat?

              Just because Matt Walsh is male does not mean he cannot have an opinion on what a woman should be. This is literally sexism.

              1. Yes but why does he care so much? Why does it impact his life? Does it at all? He is a cis male so why does it matter if some people born a male do not connect with that gender and wish to transition to female? Why didn’t he also talk about what is a male? Why has he just focused on female?
                I dunno, I just like to stay in my lane. Some things I do not feel educated enough to pass judgement or comment. I just think is you are cis anything, male or female, how on earth would you understand how it feels to be trans?

                We often comment on posts on this page where some ‘expert’ who claims to be educational mastermind, who are not, so often we think their ideas are flawed. How is this different?
                Does Matt understand what it’s like to be a female? I doubt he even considers females to be equal to him.

                1. Thanks, B. I don’t think one can simply suggest people stay in their lane.

                  It seems unarguable that there has been a strong political and social campaign, largely successful, to make the transgender lane much larger than it was and, which is really the point of contention, much larger than perhaps it should be. (This does not negate C’s important point, that many or most transgender people are simply trying to get on with their lives.)

                  It is of course easy to dismiss Walsh and his film, and I’ll respond a bit more to this on your other comment, but that does not mean it is wise to do so. Walsh is obviously trolling, but that does not mean that he doesn’t have serious points to make, or that his concerns are not widely shared.

    2. It’s been a while since I watched the documentary (I watched it around the time it was released). I do remember thinking it was a bit misogynist at parts, such as the ending which seems to reinforce the idea of women staying at home, cooking, and needing a strong husband who can open jars for them. However, I didn’t think it was transphobic. Recognising sex as immutable and rooted in biology or scepticism of how children with gender dysphoria are treated is not transphobia.

      For instance, I believe any a consenting adult should be able to undergo HRT, cosmetic surgery, or any other treatment whether they have gender dysphoria or not — it’s their life. However, I am strongly against children undergoing irreversible treatment before the age of consent, and I am concerned there is not enough evidence into the long-term effects of such treatments.

      1. I did not watch the movie, and I don’t intend to, but that’s the impression that I get about it as well. Matt Walsh’s aim is to showcase the incoherence of so-called “gender ideology” (which I don’t believe is really an ideology, but that’s another question), and gain political points by poking fun at progressives who are so enthralled with said ideology that they lose the ability to (at least publicly) even say what a woman is. Considering that feminism has long been a part of the progressive movement, and that feminism requires knowing what a woman is in order to defend their interests, this is a problem. But Walsh, as a social conservative (and in no way a feminist), also has opinions about gender, and about what men and women should be, that are probably just as divergent from most people’s as so-called gender ideologues’.

  1. I haven’t seen the film, so I can’t comment. I have no idea who Matt Walsh is, and maybe his film is the best thing ever. For good or worse, I don’t need a movie on ‘What is a woman?’. Everything that I learned in biology class at the age of 13 or 14 is still valid. There are two sexes, male and female. Sex predicts gender in more than 95% of the cases.
    The difference between males and females is in gametes. Female gametes are called ova or egg cells, and male gametes are called sperm. That is all about it. Everything else is pathology. We must treat people with pathologies carefully, but we mustn’t forget about everything else.
    The best book I have read on the topic is by Debra Soh, “The End of Gender: Debunking the Myths About Sex and Identity in Our Society”. Debra W. Soh is a Canadian columnist, author, and former academic sex researcher. Soh received her PhD from York University in Toronto.

      1. Hahaha. I didn’t comment on Matt Walsh and his film but on the topic and why I think that, at least, I don’t need a film on this topic.
        Also, as Pascal once said: ” I didn’t have enough time to make it shorter”.

          1. Possibly. However, the film is probably not about What is a Woman. The answer to this question is very simple. The film is perhaps about gender wars and all the crazy politicization around straightforward things fully defined by biology. I don’t think anyone can be accurate on the topic of subjective beliefs in these post-modern times. Hence, why even try

            1. Hence, why rush to comment before people who know Walsh or have watched the film have had a shot?

              1. Do you believe that I have prevented anyone from commenting? It is obviously flattering but, I think you are attributing too much power to my words.

  2. I just watched the whole film. Regarding Walsh himself, ironically his voice and looks are a lot like modern hipsters, which caused my initial revulsion towards him. Combining right-wing punditry and hipsterism!

    I don’t think there are many flaws in the film itself, the main one being that it’s clearly biased. I’m friends with multiple transgender people and they’re just trying to live out their lives. Young kids obviously shouldn’t be allowed to get hormones, but I don’t see the problem with “social transition” or if not that (non-sexual) experimentation. I don’t see the problem with a ten year old boy trying on a skirt. I do, however, have a problem with a ten year old boy taking estrogen. A sixteen year old is probably old enough to decide that, but arguably not old enough to decide to be castrated, or to get a mastectomy/hysterectomy or whatever have you.

    The rise of cancel culture and the loss of freedom of speech is the biggest problem with this whole ordeal, but we in Australia are somewhat immune to this. We might get fired for misgendering someone, but we’re sure as hell not going to jail. Hopefully the pendulum swings back far enough that we get better protections for freedom of speech, but that seems unlikely.

    I think the section where he asked the African people was pretty flawed, from a linguistic perspective. There are intricacies with the words “man” and “woman” that could be lost over in translation. We have multiple slightly different words for “male person” (male, boy, man, bloke, guy, etc.) and for “female person” (female, girl, woman, chick, etc.) and there are nuances for each word. It is likely the same in other languages. How the translator decided to translate the word “woman” will have a substantial impact on the response; in fact one of the people said something along the lines of not being a man until you provide for your family, which could just be a linguistic nuance of whatever the word the translator gave was.

    Now that I think about it more, “what is a woman” is really a linguistic question.

    1. Hi C,
      “What a woman?” is a linguistic question. Is that what you think? It could be that I didn’t understand you, so please.

        1. Thanks for the clarification C. This iis why I hate politization of biology in particular and science in general. Left around the world has plenty of problems with biology. Soviets were solving them by sending their biologists to GULAG’s. Western left cancells them. Right isn’t better woman isn’t attachment to kitchen appliances.

          1. Politics in biology…
            Was in my early 20s when first heard about Lysenko.
            Plenty of Lysenkoism nowadays in the West. Or even worse. Lysenkoism squared.
            Still, if doubting, you end up on a modern rubbish heap, full body. And soul.
            Sometimes you have to stand up to nonsense.
            N.B. Courts are warming up to class actions against instigators, scalpel happy docs etc. And, hopefully, politicians. Can’t wait!

            1. Maybe you’re right, but I’m not convinced. It is certainly not easy yet to stand up to nonsense.

              1. It is not easy, not easy at all. It requires ‘the tallest and strongest’ among us. However, there will be a moment when each one of us would have an opportunity to do something. Let’s not miss it.

    2. I agree — definitions can change over time, and from a descriptivist perspective the word ‘woman’ may have changed to mean ‘anyone who identifies as a woman’ (yes, it’s a circular definition). However, words are important. Language is important. If the definition of woman has changed (in Western culture at least), then do women’s rights mean anything anymore? What about women-only spaces? Women’s sports?

      I think the real issue is not necessarily about going to the dictionary and saying ‘woman is an adult human female’. If society changes the meaning of a word then so be it. I think the concerning problem is the implications of this on women’s rights and feminism (not the libfem ‘TRANS WOMEN ARE WOMEN’ type, but real feminism focused on biological women).

      1. The focus of the movie is on the question “What is a woman?” The majority of the movie is interviews from different people answering that question, and using those interviews to portray the trans side as incoherent, illogical, and crazy. Walsh clearly picked out interviews that favored his side, and I’m almost certain he left out interviews that properly answered his question from the trans side.

        Women-only spaces and women’s sports were touched on in the movie, but only briefly, the main focus is clearly on the linguistic question, and later on in the movie, kids being transed.

        I’d say that “libfem” feminism is still also feminism, just a different branch. TERFs and libfems largely agree outside of trans, sex work, and porn.

        Walsh didn’t really include any TERF-specific content or rhetoric, likely because he’s a right-wing pundit, and because the film is still somewhat anti-feminist in the traditional sense as well, with the first and last scenes of the movie.

  3. Sorry, Marty, for posting the link to a video here. However, I have no other means or ability to draw the attention of the blog correspondents to this event—the event which is a shining demonstration of why we need freedom of speech.

    1. That’s fine, and thanks. (And thanks for being wary of posting another video.) Stock’s event is obviously very relevant to this post, and it had been in my mind to link it at some point. (But, given no one can be bothered supporting their attacks on Walsh, I’d kind of let the post go.)

      It is a very interesting video to watch, and not only for listening to the hyenas in the background. The audience questions are pretty weak, but I think the moderator guy did very well while under an intense spotlight, and Stock was great (again).

      1. Indeed the questions from the audience were somewhat underwhelming. Agree also that the moderator showed as much rigour and preparedness as he could venture, and yes, Stock was incredible.
        Also, kudos to Oxford Union, who stayed ‘firm and tall’ above the hyenas and other scavengers.

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