The argument about biological murder through negligence is indisputable, but at the same time there is something suspicious about it. It is always used when people have a problem with the fact that the other sexes and sexuality live in different ways or are committed to breaking the gender hierarchy. Feminism or alleged ‘gender ideology’ is quickly identified as hostile images. Because they would mess everything up. So, at least the alleged “natural gender order”.
Biology is not the same as biologism
This is generally not supported by biology as a scientific discipline. Biologists understand that biological research and social theory are not the same. There are many biologists who conduct gender-sensitive research and recognize the social and cultural dimensions of gender. Biological arguments, however, helplessly return people to ‘naturally given’ circumstances. They are used in the context of gender, sexuality and family to denote realities of life that deviate from the norms as “unnatural” and pathological.
Therefore, here is a small excerpt from the bag of tricks, from which biological arguments can be identified.
Trick # 1: Change definitions and hide sociability
The trick among biologists is to make sex dependent on the ability to produce eggs or sperm. Ulrich Kutschera, a professor of plant physiology until 2021 and a board member of the Erasmus Desiderius Foundation, affiliated with the AfD, argues in the same way. Kutschera is a fierce opponent of the alleged ‘gender ideology’ and in combating it resorts to this trick popular among biologists: first he defines ‘woman’ as a producer of eggs, and ‘men’ as a producer of sperm. Based on these biological categorizations, he then practices his ‘gender critique’ in a radio interview with journalist Inga Kahle, in which Kutschera explains: “‘ Man ignores [darin] the whole of biology and shapes the dogma that says: we are born gender neutral and then we are polarized in the direction of male or female, and then we can change gender at will. ”
But who are they talking to here? No one has ever suggested that people who produce eggs can become sperm producers or vice versa. Here, biological definitions apply to discourses, which themselves, however, relate to cultural aspects of gender. It is assumed that human behavior and their interrelationships can be fully explained by the fact that they produce different germ cells. The influence of social conditions is ignored. Because these prescribe gender norms, with or against which sexual self-relationships develop.
In his book The Gender Paradox, Kutschera follows different interests and career preferences to the human sex chromosomes. The “endless conflicts” that exist between men and women are “99 percent biologically determined,” he claims in the lecture. Finally, his unwillingness to think about human life outside of genetic and physiological factors is an anti-democratic position. For with combat terms such as ‘gender madness’ or ‘gender ideology’, emancipatory developments and achievements are stirred under the cloak of science.
Trick # 2: Ignore history
However, the social dimension of gender is far from everything that biologists neglect. The reactionary view of gender relations is often projected into the ominous ‘primordial’: ‘Men and women are opposites, this was already the case in the Stone Age!’ is the argument here to present patriarchal relations as natural. Biological arguments simply ignore the fact that society changes over time, that is, that it has grown historically and that it is simply not always there. Our current concept of gender, for example, first arose with bourgeois modernity and is essentially intertwined with the capitalist mode of production.
In pre-bourgeois societies, women are not perceived as the opposite, but as a more inadequate version of men. In the transition from a feudal household economy to capitalist productive labor, justification was needed for women to commit to unpaid domestic labor. Solution: In the bourgeois gender model of the 18th century, men and women become exclusive opposites: the man is responsible for the public, active and rational; a woman for private, passive and emotional. This task is then inscribed as a natural order in human bodies, and the work of reproduction and care is thus anchored in the ‘natural being of woman’.
Trick # 3: Understand your culture as a general nature
At the same time, not only the historical background of the genus is neglected here, but also its cultural specificities. Because in many societies, which were almost completely suppressed by colonialism, completely different ideas about gender can often be found.
Instead of just one two-gender order, there are various multi-gender orders around the world. There are gender categories beyond the binary division into male and female, gender is sometimes perceived as fluid and changeable and can function independently of physical characteristics.
Thus, it can by no means be said that there is some kind of biological coercion that has consistently worked in humans since the earliest times. This is an incredible equation of ‘biological truth’ with European cultural reality and its white supremacy. In this idea, which assumes that European culture has a more direct connection with nature, there is both a colonial and a racist gesture.
The spread of biological antifeminisms
All in all, all these ‘tricks’ show a neglect of cultural influences on human life and a complete ignorance of lived realities. What people do and think is subject to the exclusive influence of nature and instrumentalized for right-wing ethnic ideas. Ulrich Kutschera retired a bit last year, but the series of biologically argued antifeminists doesn’t end there.
Journalist Brigit Kelle has achieved several successful books with titles such as “GenderGag. How absurd ideology wants to conquer our everyday life “. And she positions herself against ‘gender madness’ and stubbornly invokes ‘a man is equal to a sperm producer, a woman equal to an egg producer’. In his book “Muttertier” he inevitably connects femininity, motherhood and nature. She talks about “biological heritage,” “female nature,” and argues that “there is still the same mating behavior as in the Stone Age”.
Biologisms are not only found in right-wing populism. They also resonate in the nationalist idea of a ‘national body’ that must remain ‘pure’. In addition to racist and anti-Semitic fantasies, the biological gender order is also mobilized here: women must be feminine, submissive and loyal to their homeland, and their task is to ensure the ‘permanent existence of the nation’.
But the evolutionary-psychological primordial stories in many non-fiction books are also alarming: “The evolution of desire. Secrets of choosing a partner “,” Why don’t men listen and women park badly “or” Men are from Mars, women from Venus “. Cabaret artist Dieter Nuhr criticized ‘gender madness’ and contrasted it with gender clichés, which he backed up with “you can ask any biologist about that”. The cabaret program “Man in the Cave” follows marital conflicts to gender relations that “have existed for a hundred thousand years”: a man is a hunter, a woman sits in a cave and looks after children.
In their constant argumentation against ‘evil gender ideology’, biological myths turn out to be anti-feminist bait. (Queer) feminist struggles try to question traditional forms of femininity and masculinity because they are in a hierarchical relationship to each other and because they are extremely restrictive of all. Identities outside the concept of man / woman become visible to the public because they exist and deserve equal recognition. The dominance of heterosexual life plans is problematic because people know and live other forms or lack of desire.
Biological arguments are hostile to these long-delayed processes of democratization and slander them as “ideological nonsense” using terms on the battlefield such as “native madness”. In this context, the idea of a natural gender order can be understood as a discourse strategy that fits perfectly into reactionary goals: Patriarchy is simply in nature!