2022 / 95 minutes
Rating: 9 /10
What is a woman?
That’s the question that confounded US Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson earlier this year, and it’s the same one that Matt Walsh tried to get someone – anyone – to answer in his new documentary. Whether it was a college professor, a surgeon, a counselor, or even the thousands of attendees at the National March for Women – they’d rather walk away than give wrestle with this doozy of a stumper.
But what the smartest folk in the West couldn’t answer, African tribesmen could. And Walsh’s wife. And your toddler.
And that, right there, is the reason our young people need to see this documentary: to see the wisdom of the world exposed for the arrogance that it really is. When our kids head off to college or go straight to the workforce, smart people they meet might say bizarre things, whether it’s “men can have babies too” or “no one know when life begins.” It’d only be natural, if they have any humility in them, to start to wonder, Am I the only sane one…or is everyone else right? What an encouragement it’ll be then, to see Matt Walsh stand up against the nonsense, and do so completely unflustered.
Walsh’s deadpan delivery turns many a moment from simply illuminating to downright hilarious. How can you not laugh when Walsh poses his “What is woman?” question to a lady identifying as a gay man (i.e., a woman attracted to men, who is pretending to be a man attracted to men). She was scoffing at him right from the start for even having the gumption to ask such a question of her… since she said she was a he.
Confused woman (CW): “You should be asking women what it means to be a woman…”
Walsh: “I’m asking all kinds of people. Can’t anyone have an opinion about it?”
CW: “Only people who are a woman. Gay men don’t know nothing about what it means to be a woman.”
Walsh: “…So you’re saying if you’re not a woman you shouldn’t have an opinion?”
CW: “How does a guy get a right to say what a woman is? Women only know what women are!”
Walsh: “Are you a cat?”
Walsh: “Can you tell me what a cat is?”
Faced with either pretending she didn’t know what a cat was, or backing down on her notion that one can only identify something if you are that something, she chose C and hoofed it out of there.
This is how Walsh dismantled the opposition, with pointed questions, and it’s a tactic worth noting. When your opponents are spouting nonsense, the very best thing you can do is ask them to explain themselves. This is also an apologetic tactic with a long pedigree: by one count Jesus, though He was the very source of wisdom Himself, still asked more than 300 questions in the Gospels. He wasn’t asking because He was looking for information; His questions were designed to uncover others’ ignorance.
While He liked asking questions, Jesus did also offer answers. The one glaring flaw to this film is that Matt Walsh doesn’t, or at least, he doesn’t give viewers the answers they most need. Fortunately, what Matt won’t explain, God does. In the Bible’s first chapter we hear that God assigns gender, and no one else (Gen. 1:27). Further on we read that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Prov. 9:10a). That, there, explains these dumb geniuses – they’ve rejected God’s Truth, so all they have left to offer is foolishness.
Why doesn’t Walsh offer God’s Truth? As he has explained elsewhere, Walsh doesn’t believe it’s effective to offer biblical answers to people who don’t hold to the Bible. However, Walsh does keep pitching logic and reason even though the Left doesn’t hold to those either. So why does he bother then?
In Romans 10:14, we see that the Apostle Paul knew how to use pointed questions too. He asks:
How then are they to call on Him in whom they have not believed? How are they to believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how are they to hear without a preacher?
The world is caught up in some crazy lies, but how can they ever turn to God’s Truth if we aren’t willing to share it with them? This isn’t about screaming Scripture at people. What it would involve is acknowledging God – Walsh could have improved his film immensely by adding as little as a line or two to the effect of “Our sex is assigned by God, and when you deny that fundamental reality, then you descend into all these sorts of insanity.” It’s not enough to expose the lie; the world needs to be pointed to the Truth!
Other cautions are of a more minor sort. There’s some language, with a horde of women at the National Women’s March chanting “Asshole, asshole” at Walsh. There’s also an interviewee on a street corner in San Francisco who is wearing only a strategically placed sock. After the initial distant wide-angled shot, the rest of the interview is mercifully shown closer and higher up. There’s also a page of sex-ed material shown from a distance that includes a cartoonish image of two naked guys on top of each other (this is part of a curriculum meant for kids 10 and up).
Finally, the overall topic matter is often… perverse. While the evil being done is generally discussed with restraint, it’s still too much for our younger children to hear. This is only for adults and older teens.
Walsh balances out the perverse with some comedic moments. These are laugh out loud, whether it’s Walsh at the National Women’s March futilely canvassing the crowd of thousands for anyone who might be able to tell him what a woman is, or his interaction with African tribesmen who want to be polite, but don’t know what’s wrong with the clueless American who doesn’t even know what a woman is.
By the end of the film, Walsh has only gotten a handful of answers to his title question, but one of the best comes from Jordan Peterson. What is a woman? “Why don’t you marry one and find out?” It’s a fantastic acknowledgment of the wonder that is the male/female divide. God made us different, then has the two become one, and tells us it is a great mystery (Eph 5:32). Sure, we have different chromosomes and genitalia but what a woman is, is so must more than just that. That there is mystery means marriage is an opportunity for investigation, discovery, and more wonder. But that there is mystery doesn’t mean there’s any confusion about whether a man can become a woman, or vice versa.
Why watch? So our young people can understand just how much of what we’re up against is simply intimidation and scorn. There is nothing substantive to transgenderism, and the other side can only win the debate by avoiding it at all costs. Young people heading off to university need to know that though your professors might be brilliant, that’s no guarantee that they are wise.
What is a Woman? is only available to “Insiders” at The Daily Wire (DailyWire.com). I became an Insider, chose the monthly billing option, paid my $14, watched the film, and now I’ll cancel before I get billed again for next month. I figured $14 isn’t too bad (it’s the price of an in-theater film and very few of those rate a 9 out of 10). You’ll probably want to watch it again with friends, which makes that $14 all the more palatable.
You can watch the trailer below, and check out some of the Christian responses to the film here:
- Apologia Radio (with Jeff Durbin) hits the highs but also notes the low (85-min listen)
- Martin Iles offers a concise answer to the question (9 min listen)
- Samuel Sey of “Slow to Write” gives it two thumbs up (10-min read)
- Babylon Bee has responded with their own documentary, What is a Man? (2022, 99 min)
- What is the transgender position? What are their best arguments for it?
- How does Walsh attack their position? What’s a takeaway – a tactic – we can borrow from his approach?
- A common defense of transgenderism is the statement, said by a parent whose child wants to “transition”: I’d rather have a living son than a dead daughter. What are the assumptions and problems with that statement?
- US Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson couldn’t define what a woman was, explaining that “I’m not a biologist.” Walsh does better but offers what’s basically a biological answer. Is that sufficient? Why/why not?
- What are Walsh’s objections to transgenderism? Can you think of any ways the other side might counter his objections?
- What does God have to say about male and female, transgenderism, and gender identity?
- Why didn’t Matt Walsh ever mention God? Leading question: If the world doesn’t recognize logic and reason, should we stop presenting logical arguments too?
- How can we best help a world that is so very confused on this issue?