I think the best way to summarize Matt Walsh’s “What Is A Woman” documentary would probably be to describe it as being a documentary following real-life 4chan troll Matt Walsh repeatedly harass many people who are more intelligent, credentialed, and accomplished than himself, with the production quality of anything that’s been put out by the Jehovah’s Witnesses within the past five years. It would be an insult to honest documentarians everywhere to call his piece a documentary, as it stands out even from the atrocious excuses for documentaries (that are actual shock films) we’ve seen produced since the late 2000s. As far as why I am reviewing this piece, I was unfortunately depicted in it. Mr. Walsh used deceptive tactics including but not limited to: a producer using a fake name, misrepresenting the purpose and scope of his project, omitting the fact of his own involvement in the project, ambush interviewing, and deceptive editing in order to produce this piece. Therefore, I feel it is my obligation as somebody who was manipulated and used by him to make his transphobic point, to expose his piece for what it is, a sham.
I would not consider it ethical to pay for a subscription to The Daily Wire in order to watch and review this piece, so rest assured that I contributed nothing financially in order to watch it. I watched it yesterday and live awoo’d the experience on my Howlr profile with the promise of later writing an in-depth review. This post is indeed that review. Without further delay, let’s begin:
The first approximately 30 seconds of the film consists of Matt Walsh monologuing about being a father. He uses this narrative to segway into discussing traditional gender roles, his own inability to understand women, and the nuclear family. He states that he “runs a talk show” and “likes to make sense of things”. We’re only thirty seconds in and this is already playing out very similar in tone to religious propaganda. Mr. Walsh is attempting to frame his piece as if it has some sort of philosophical foundation in a way that just seems very forced and uncomfortable. It’s targeted propaganda, and I almost feel as if I’m watching a “Caleb and Sophia” video produced by JWs, but with real people instead of animations.
Matt then meets with a gender affirming therapist. He immediately takes issue when the therapist states that they were “assigned female” at birth and attacks the language of being “assigned” a gender. It’s instantly clear at this point that Matt has an agenda that goes beyond just finding some sort of truth. Throughout this interview, he is rude and condescending to the mental health professional. He sarcastically asks the professional “How do I know if I’m a woman?” and presents superficial interests as hypothetical evidence he could be one. The therapist immediately catches on to his tactics, and states “I’m not a woman, so I can’t really answer that.”
Presumably, not having stumped this mental health professional as much as he wanted to, Matt begins asking random people on the street “What is a woman?” and to define the term woman. I’m unsure what he’s trying to prove here by surveying random people, but it’s rather unconvincing and tacky. He also goes on about how being transgender is a new thing, despite evidence existing to the contrary. We’re only eight minutes and thirty seconds into the film at this point and it’s already shaping up to be hot garbage.
He then goes and wastes the time of another professional, Dr. Marcie Bowers. His interview tactics resemble blatant trolling and harassment this time around instead of initially presenting with some sort of genuine interest as he did with his first interview. He blatantly likens the experience of being transgender to being “trans-abled”, or in other words, to people who wish to cut off their own limbs in order to become disabled. He can’t even pretend he doesn’t have malicious intent at this point. He, again, doesn’t get the reaction he seems to be looking for from this professional, so it’s off to interview some random yahoo who owns a comic book shop… because… reasons?
The comic book shop owner, Don Sucher, is the same one who was featured in a viral video being aggressive and hostile to a city councilwoman over a transphobic sign that was featured in his shop. This man is not a professional or an expert of any kind, and it’s honestly ironic how Matt Walsh parades him on the camera for him to mansplain what he believes a woman is. The interview consists of Sucher being transphobic and essentially acting as a mouthpiece for Walsh’s view points. It’s literally cringe to watch – he couldn’t find a professional to agree with him, so he goes again and interviews randos on the street; one woman is bold enough to troll him back and it’s beautiful to watch.
He then goes to interview a professor in gender studies. Post-production makes no attempt to hide the fact he cut the majority of this interview content, seeming to frame it as if the interview itself was too lengthy and boring to present. Matt has all the integrity of an internet troll, but in real life. He’s cutting and pasting bits from interviews that seem to go with his narrative. Tired of being harassed, the professor shuts down the interview. Matt tries and fails to twist the professor’s words quoting “You just said the truth is transphobic.” Matt seems to think every time people walk out of his ambush interviews that he “got them” or “proved a point”, when really, he just looks like a persistent fly on the wall that’s being told to shoo.
He then decides to equate the concepts of being transgender to being transracial. This is literally a YouTube comments section style argument that makes it clear Matt is grasping at straws to prove his point. There’s a lot of obvious cuts and edits in this bit, so it’s impossible to really tell the context of his interviews beyond how he is trying to frame them. It is important to note that like me, these professionals were probably ambushed and misled as to the purpose of their involvement in the project and are likely upset by the ambush-style interview tactics. An allusion is made to Matt having conducted himself unprofessionally during the interview, which he brushes off.
He lies, constantly, about his purpose. He stated he isn’t seeking any type of particular definition to answer his question, only that his seeking “a definition”. This clearly isn’t the actual truth. He then finds probably the only psychiatrist he could that partially supported his view points. Even this professional seems to find some validity in the concept of gender dysphoria, despite having some very backwards viewpoints. I feel like Matt cut and paste this interview together, and I’d be interested to see the full discussion he had with this psychiatrist.
There’s then an obligatory component about transgender athletes and how cisgender girls feel them being allowed to compete is unfair. This is the same tired argument that gets passed around time and time again, so I don’t have much to say about it. I never did care about sports, they’re not that important in the grand scheme of things. I’ll be honest and say I glossed over most of this portion due to lack of care – human rights are more important than competitive sports and always will be. Sorry not sorry.
So, now they are talking about a legitimate concern. Apparently, a transgender woman who was also a convicted sex offender exposed herself (bluntly, her penis) to others in a public setting. I don’t think most legitimate transgender women would want to show their genitals around others without their consent. From personal experience, I have extreme bottom dysphoria and wouldn’t want anyone to see that part of me, especially people I don’t know. Predators are predators, regardless if they’re trans or cis and should be punished as such. Matt is making an assumption that this person identifying as transgender and being a predator have some sort of connection, they don’t.
Matt then trolls a member of US Congress and is unceremoniously removed from his office. He continues to badger and harass the elected official and his staff even after being asked to leave. Call me crazy, but I feel like this constitutes trespassing. Matt is being a pest and then gets offended that nobody seems to want to participate in his bad-faith interviews. It’s literally juvenile. Like a juvenile, he then interviews a random nudist for seemingly no reason.
Matt then goes to a Women’s March and is asked by, amusingly, several cisgender women to leave. They declare that he isn’t at the March in support of women. Matt displays this in his documentary as if it is a badge of honor… but anyone watching critically will be able to see that it is just Matt taking an L…. again. He then goes and interviews an African tribe. This is the most insightful and genuinely interesting part of the entire documentary, and that’s saying something.
This part of the production is interesting because of Matt’s interactions with the tribe. He is showing them a lot of respect, kindness, and admiration, in complete contrast to any of the other subjects he has interviewed. Matt takes a genuine interest in learning their way of life and interacting with them, something he did not do for others. The tribe is clearly confused by the concepts of transgender and non-binary. It seems to come from a genuine place of ignorance and confusion, as opposed to Matt’s arrogance and hatred. He makes the conclusion that “gender ideology is clearly a western phenomenon” as if interacting with one tribe made him an expert on the entire world’s viewpoint.
Every story needs a villain, so they explore the history of John Money and Alfred Kinsey… because, of course they do. They frame it as if these two individuals are responsible for the existence of transgender people, and of course, the “erosion of Judeo-Christian values”. They’re painting these two people the way Allister Crowley was painted during the satanic panic of the 90s, and then making the statement that they’re responsible for transgender people. It’s a really bad argument that doesn’t hold its weight.
They then talk about the case of somebody who was forced to transition against their will, who did not have gender dysphoria. They try to compare this person’s case to the case of transgender people. It’s not even the same thing. It’s not remotely the same thing. A person experiencing dysphoria and desiring to transition and somebody who didn’t get to make the choice on their own are not even remotely comparable. This is a real “WTF” moment.
It’s time for the emotional appeal. Matt interviews somebody who regretted their choice to transition. He makes the inference that because this person has regrets, a large number of people must also have regrets. There’s a lot of “think of the children” arguments being made here as well as if there’s an abundance of people under the age of eighteen surgically transitioning. Medical guidelines do not recommend genital gender-affirming surgeries before a child is eighteen, but Matt seems to be implying that it’s recommended at a massive scale.
The only thing I will agree with Matt on here is that medical professionals should always present all potential risks with all potential benefits of a procedure. The professional and patient should then weigh the risks and benefits and make an informed decision together. Professionals who do otherwise are a disgrace to the industry and that’s something I truly believe. Informed consent is the only legal form of consent there is.
They then go into how Lupron was used for chemical castration, so it’s automatically bad. The argument of “it’s used for X, so using it for Y makes an equation back to X, so it’s bad” is a fallacy. However, I have no personal experience with Lupron. I don’t feel like I am qualified to properly evaluate this segment, so beyond pointing out an obvious fallacy, I’m not going to. I will point out that A TRANSPHOBIC FATHER JAILED FOR MISGENDERING HIS CHILD IS NOT A VICTIM AND SHOULD NOT BE MADE OUT TO BE. Wow, Matt. Wow.
They then talk to somebody about furries and otherkin. This person claims that schools are required to respect furry and otherkin identities, which I highly doubt, but whatever. They’re misrepresenting otherkin and making false parallels to being transgender. They then display footage from my iWonderTV Interview before cutting to my interview with Matt. Oh gods, here we go.
They cut over 90% of my interview with Matt. The vast majority of questions he asked me during the interview were in relation to my identity as a woman, specifically, as a transgender woman. I also made it very clear in my interview that I don’t identify as trans-species and that my therian identity and my gender identity are two very different things to me. I vehemently rejected the term transspecies and the comparison being made, but none of that made it into the interview. I recall Matt being frustrated during our interview that I wasn’t giving him any of the “gotcha” responses he seemed to desperately want, so it makes sense that he would focus on what he believes is the more extreme portion of my identity – being a wolf therianthrope. He cut the portion of me explaining this identity was spiritual in nature.
He was very perplexed when he asked if I’ve ever spent time around real wolves and I answered with “Yes.” – he had framed this to be a “gotcha” question that he thought he would already know the answer to. My answer was different from what he anticipated and it’s obvious it threw him for a loop. He wanted me to say I was able to communicate with wolves on some level beyond what an average person could, and I wouldn’t give him that either. I’d also like to mention he made me incredibly uncomfortable on the set with how he was staring at and reacting to me. He also had a literal body guard on set, probably because he was intending to push his subjects for violent reactions. Ultimately, I got up and walked away mid interview – this is the first and only interview I’ve just walked out of.
He then shows a lot of user-generated content from transgender people. He shows photos from a transgender minor’s top surgery. If he truly believes being transgender is bullshit, that makes him a child pornographer for doing so. It is at this point that I stopped watching. This production is utter trash, and anybody who falls for this as an excuse of a legitimate documentary is a complete and total idiot. This is merely a production of somebody who spends a significant amount of time trolling and has money to throw at his bizarre hobby. He puts it behind a paywall because he only intends for people with his ideology to consume and review it, and to praise it.
This film is an absolute disaster, and even if you’re conservative and agree with his viewpoints, you’d be better off saving your money as there’s nothing new here. Just the same old tired arguments and an old man creeping on trans kids.