Enregistering “gender ideology”
The emergence and circulation of a transnational anti-gender language
Mobilizations against gender equality and sexual diversity have gained political traction globally despite their hyperbolic modes of action and conspiracist rhetoric. These anti-gender campaigns rally around “gender ideology,” a trope used to anathemize feminist and LGBTQIA+ activism/scholarship. This paper argues that anti-genderism is a register – a conventionalized aggregate of expressive forms and enactable person-types – of which “gender ideology” is the most famous shibboleth. The paper shows how inchoate collections of words, modes of action, and images of people (i.e. signs) have been enregistered into the cohesive but heterogeneous whole of anti-genderism through semiotic processes of clasping, relaying, and grafting (Gal 2018; 2019). The paper offers a sociolinguistic analysis of anti-genderism to understand the challenges it poses to the enfranchisement of women, queer, trans, and nonbinary people.
- 1.The challenges ahead
- 2.Anti-genderism as a register
- 3.Forging metapragmatic labels: The “totalitarian feminist”
- 4.Expansion: Relaying discursive arenas of action
- 5.Graftings: Turning rights vocabulary inside out
- 6.Conclusion: Unexpected coalitions and queer refusal
Published online: 11 February 2022
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