Balkans protest against gender, mistaking it for an ideology

In response to protests across the Balkans against 'gender ideology', a useful reminder: gender is a performative process, not a world view.

Claudia Ciobanu
Claudia Ciobanu NewsMavens, Central & Eastern Europe
Balkans protest against gender, mistaking it for an ideology - NewsMavens

Why this story matters:

Across the Balkans and further, attacks against 'gender ideology' are becoming increasingly common. More recently, the target of the anti-genderists is the Istanbul Convention, which is meant to protect people from violence or discrimination based on their gender.

Earlier this year, following an intensive media campaign by conservative groups, Bulgaria refused to ratify the Istanbul Convention. Earlier this month, 10,000 people protested in Croatia against the ratification of the Convention in their country.

Conservative groups depict gender as a threat, as a concerted effort to destroy traditional families and corrupt children. The anti-genderists consider themselves a minority under threat by women, LGBTQ people, feminists and others. In reality, they are there to defend white male privilege.

Details from the story:

  • The author of the recommended article argues that gender cannot be an ideology, because it is a 'performative process' (via Judith Butler) that includes: dressing, behaving, our manner of speaking, etc., and how this is perceived in society.

  • Activists opposing 'gender ideology' have been organising actions and rallies against the Istanbul Convention, which is meant to protect against gender-based violence and discrimination.

  • Most Balkan countries have ratified the Istanbul Convention, but Croatia still has to complete the process -- not in the least because of lobbing by the conservatives.

  • The anti-gender movements have appeared in many places, especially where far-right parties have made political gains by scapegoating marginalised groups.

  • The real aim of these protests seems to be to protect individuals who are already privileged, namely white straight males.
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