What is a Woman? (2022)

Most large publications have avoided reviewing What is a Woman?, and with good reason: It is very clearly a piece of hate-fomenting and fearmongering propaganda against transgender people.

I’m not sure why I watched it (rest assured I found a way to view it without putting a penny in its creators’ pockets), but since I did, I have the choice between ignoring it or condemning it. I’m not going to write a full review of it or put it on the site’s front page, but I do want to notate that it is the worst and most angering film I’ve seen all year. It fails to achieve any rhetorical goals. It is not intellectually curious. It does not raise thought-provoking points. It simply rehashes hate speech and misinformation we’ve seen a million times. This is no Riefenstahl situation where there’s cinematic genius leveraged by a hateful political mission. It’s just a bad film, a YouTube video essay with a budget. No more sophisticated than that.

There are challenging, complicated questions to answer in a world where definitions and perceptions of gender are rapidly changing. And there are affirming ways to ask and answer these questions without dehumanizing trans and nonbinary people. This so-called documentary is not interested in doing so. It just provides an echo-chamber to make it easier for bigots to stay bigoted; and, worse, people who might genuinely want to understand these concepts better to avoid confronting their own biases and prejudices.

Don’t make the mistake I did and give it any of your spare time or brainwaves.

Is It Good?

Very Not Good (1/8)

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