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‘What Is A Woman?’ just passed 177 million views on Twitter. Why did it go viral?

The one-year-old “What Is A Woman?” documentary by The Daily Wire's Matt Walsh has amassed more than 177 million views in less than a week on Twitter. / Credit: Matt Walsh/YouTube

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Jun 7, 2023 / 13:45 pm (CNA).

The one-year-old “What Is a Woman?” documentary has amassed more than 177 million views in less than a week on Twitter. Despite pushback from transgender activists, the documentary has had enormous success since the film was offered on Twitter at the beginning of June. CNA took a look at what the film is about and why it’s amassed so many views recently.

What is the film about?

The documentary, which stars popular culture and political commentator Matt Walsh and is distributed by The Daily Wire, tackles questions related to the transgender movement, specifically delving into the question posed in the title, “What is a woman?”

Walsh interviews a variety of people, including politicians, doctors, a professor, and a therapist, asking them whether they can explain what a woman is. When met with unclear and nonspecific answers, Walsh presses the question further.

At one point, he asks Dr. Patrick Grzanka, a professor of women, gender, and sexuality studies at the University of Tennessee, to explain the differences between sex and gender. When Walsh presses Grzanka about wanting to know the truth and the reality of whether someone is a man or a woman, the professor expresses that he is uncomfortable.

“I’m really uncomfortable with that language of like ‘getting to the truth,’” Grzanka said during the interview. “It sounds actually deeply transphobic to me and if you keep probing, we’re going to stop the interview.”

During the documentary, Walsh also speaks with women who have been forced to compete with biologically male athletes who identify as women. This includes women who placed behind their transgender competitors in both swimming and track and field and believe wins and better finishes were taken from them.

Why is the film going viral?

The film is a year old and was initially released by The Daily Wire to its paid subscribers on June 1, 2022. To celebrate the one-year anniversary, The Daily Wire made the film free on Twitter for a limited time, which began on June 1, 2023.

“What Is A Woman?” has amassed about 177.2 million views on The Daily Wire’s Twitter post since it was released for free. The film has received a lot of publicity and positive feedback from conservatives but a lot of hostility from transgender activists.

Because the film deals with the highly contentious issue of gender identity and gender ideology, it has gained publicity from both sides of the issue.

The documentary has not received many reviews from movie critics, but it received an 83% approval rating from six movie critics listed on Rotten Tomatoes and an 86% approval rating from more than 10,000 users rating the film.

“Our film has been banned from most platforms,” Walsh said in a Tweet. “Mainstream movie critics refused to even review it. It’s been blacklisted and suppressed and yet still reached a massive audience. But how many more could we have reached without the deck stacked completely against us? It’s no use lamenting these things.”

How did it survive content moderation on Twitter?

Twitter initially entered into a deal with The Daily Wire to help broadcast the documentary but ultimately backed out of the deal and began suppressing the film as soon as it was posted on the social media platform.

When the documentary initially aired on Twitter, it was given a content warning, which flagged the video as “hate speech” and limited its visibility based on accusations that it was transphobic.

Walsh and other members of The Daily Wire’s team sparred with Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal on Twitter about the restrictions. They also directly appealed to Twitter owner Elon Musk by tweeting at his account.

Musk ultimately intervened and put a stop to the suppression efforts, which included getting rid of the “hate speech” warning. He then tweeted out the documentary, saying “every parent should watch this.” He pinned the tweet for a brief period.

What have Catholics said about it?

Walsh is a practicing Catholic and the film was well received by some Catholic viewers.

CatholicVote, a Catholic political advocacy group, recommended the film for viewers aged 16 and older and suggested that high school students should discuss it with a trusted adult.

“The question ‘What is Woman?’ is a hook — to catch a bigger fish, as it were,” Erika Ahern of CatholicVote wrote on June 2, 2022.

“Yes, it’s one important question that trans ideologues have refused to tackle,” she continued. “(We hear multiple interviewees replying the Walsh with, ‘Why are you asking that question?’) But there are a number of other questions that could be posed. What is a man? What is gender? What is sex? But the central question is much deeper. Fisherman Walsh tackles it even before he lands his first interview: ‘What is truth?’”

Ann Schneible, a freelance journalist writing a review for National Catholic Register, gave the film a B+. She said it is a good starting point for this issue but would not recommend it as a tool for understanding someone with gender dysphoria.

“While it may not be persuasive to anyone who does not generally agree with Walsh, it may still be a valuable starting point for anyone who wants to delve deeper into an issue that is affecting an increasing number of individuals and families,” Schneible wrote. “From this perspective, I would recommend this film.”

Mary Rice Hasson, the director of the Person and Identity Project at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, tweeted out her support for the film and criticism of the initial restrictions.

“Matt Walsh’s documentary has had a powerful impact, sharing the truth on an incredibly important issue,” Hasson said.

Oli London, a man who formerly identified as a gender-fluid trans woman but has since detransitioned and converted to Catholicism, also tweeted about the film and the previous censorship.

“Despite Twitter censoring [Matt Walsh’s] ‘What is a Woman?’ [The Daily Wire’s] documentary this evening and Elon issuing several tweets adding to the confusion he has now tweeted that the censorship will create ‘The Streisand effect,’” London tweeted. “The Streisand effect is an unintended consequence of attempts to hide, remove, or censor information where it instead leads to increased awareness of that information.”

Sachin Jose, a Catholic journalist and social media influencer, encouraged others to step up and discuss this issue.

“Matt Walsh is one the greatest evangelizers in the West and Catholic Church today,” Jose said on Twitter. “He is able to save the lives of thousands of kids. We need priests, bishops, and laypeople who are not afraid to speak the truth.”

• Related at CWR: “Matt Walsh’s film What is a Woman? is both valuable and incomplete” (June 3, 2022) by Amy Welborn

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  1. To answer the question “what is a woman?” is found within the etymology of the word itself, which is a conflation of two words standing for “man” and “womb”. Ergo, with a little refinement, a woman is a human with a womb. That is the only answer that addresses the reality described. It is simple, understandable and immutable. Deo Gratius!

    • Transgenderism is the mainstreaming and institutionalization of self-hatred. True Catholicism, Authentic Truth and Reality are hated and said to be “uncomfortable”, when it is what tansgenders, homosexuals and all of us direly need to build our lives upon and built true communities, true societies and true cultures. Only in Truth do humans become true humans. Building on lies and delusions make us anti-human.

      • Some fine comments, Phil, and indeed a deeper understanding of what’s involved. In order to defend truth and the Truth as you desire, and as I have set forth in various comments and even some blog articles, do not use the terminology and meanings favored by those who support “transgenderism” without necessary qualifications. Instead, note the following sections from some of my comments and articles:

        In writing, always use quotation marks with “transgender” (also “trans,” “trannie,” etc.) to signify that it is a faux term since nobody can change their genders. In conversation, be sure to make it clear that the term is not accepted and won’t be acknowledged for the same reason. Don’t ever give in on this, even for so-called politeness reasons. Apply the same approach to the despicable, anti-freedom-of-speech insistence that people must deny objective reality and refer to other people by their “chosen pronouns” that do not coincide with their biological/gender realities.

        Also, nobody can “transition” or ever has “transitioned” or is in the process of “transitioning” from one sex to the other. Such is impossible, so this must also be resisted and made clear that it is merely a fantasy that also attacks objective reality and God’s creative order. And, because nobody can so “transition,” it is also flat out stupid to wrongly praise some people for allegedly “de-transitioning” as if they had indeed “transitioned” from one sex to the other and have subsequently worked at reducing or eliminating any mutilation and so on from their ill-conceived efforts to change what cannot be changed. Such people can be praised and encouraged for recognizing the error of their initial efforts to try to change what cannot be changed, but in no way should this ever be looked upon rationally as actually “de-transitioning,” which is simply impossible.

        The roots of the term gender come from the Latin genus, which means kind, or kind of thing. As such, one objective and legitimate application of the term ‘gender’ is the classification (kind of thing) of organisms based on their biological sex. This being so, everyone is a particular and non-changeable gender or kind of thing, which is either the biological male gender or the biological female gender.

        Moreover, ever since the 12th century, the word ‘gender’ has been properly recognized and used as a synonym for the biological sexes, and this understanding/usage was made even stronger in the 15th century. As such, this rightful understanding of gender must not be surrendered to the “transgender” movement since they and their fellow travelers use their preferred yet still false definition of gender as a social construct and/or feelings a person has that may or may not coincide with their biological sex/gender to further promote their despicable agenda.

        Battle on, fellow culture warrior for objective truth.

  2. The showing of “What is a Woman?” for free on the Twitter platform is most welcome, especially in light of many people like Joe Biden announcing earlier today that his administration will be engaging in more activities to “protect” members of the LGB”T”Q communities from what he falsely claims (as he has also robotically done in the past on numerous occasions) are being more and more targeted for unjust acts by people who oppose their sinful lifestyles and their despicable actions that are the things that actually harm our children as well as others. Far from protecting children and others as Biden boldly claims he is doing (while he silently shouts toward God: Non Serviam!), Biden fully supports and promotes their sinful lifestyles and bodily destruction that includes forcing life-altering sinful body mutilation upon innocent children.

    At one point, and of course not caring what the Catholic Church teaches and what other people of good will also have to say, Biden made the following dishonest statement:

    “It’s wrong that a person can be married in the morning in the United States and fired in the afternoon by their employer because they’re gay. It’s wrong that the violence and hate crimes targeting LGBTQ people is rising. It’s wrong that extreme officials are pushing hateful bills targeting transgender children, terrifying families and criminalizing doctors. These are our kids. These are our neighbors. It’s cruel. It’s callous. Not somebody else’s kids. They’re all our kids,”…

    RUBBISH !!!

    To be sure, all of what Biden proclaimed is just a pack of lies in order to continue to do what the wokie left seem to be most gifted at doing: create false crime narratives; pretend that they are real and that they report real crimes and rising crime rates against favored groups of people, and then use the false propaganda to unjustly go after people of good will who support natural law morality. In fact, Biden has openly opposed natural law morality at least since the time of his public criticism of Justice Clarence Thomas’ advocacy of natural law as the sound foundation of US constitutional law during Thomas’ confirmation hearings back in 1991.

    Good people of CWR: Promote “What is a Woman?” far and wide. Perhaps you can arrange for it to be shown on a big screen at a Parish Hall or other suitable larger-type venue, and then have a discussion about it afterwards. At the very least, recommend it to your family and friends and colleagues.

    Lastly, always keep in mind Church teaching on sexual morality, and especially when it comes to the malevolence of “transgenderism,” make it clear to all that this most destructive ideology involves sinful mutilation of the body in defiance of God’s gift of the body to each one of us.

    • DocVerit!

      Thank you for your two wonderful comments above!

      You’re absolutely right on every point.

      I’ve noticed you saying similar things before in this forum, and I salute you for being persistent.

      Diabolical lunacy like this bears repeated condemnations. Ceaseless condemnations for an entire lifetime, in fact, if necessary.

      Next time, you might consider adding this admonition to Catholics who continue to vote Democratic despite hideous, death-dealing policies like child mutilation, “Look to your souls, you Catholics who are trying to destroy the Church!”

  3. Just as in ANY Communist country, the elimination, and criminalization of ANY faith is crucial to their success. Our faith has been under attack for decades, but today, the attacks are endless. This country was founded on Judeo-Christian values, yet We The People have seen those values eroding day after day.
    Abortion, Mandates, and the alphabet mafia are all of the same ideology. The party of so called “tolerance” is anything but. We The People must unite and fight the good fight. Fight for unborn, fight for our children against the institutionalized indoctrination of the educational system, fight for our God, and fight against the Satanic Administration in DC.
    Why is so important for the alphabet mafia to have explicit drag shows and drag queen story time with children? Is there a drag queen story time at the retirement home?
    I pray for the Archangels arrival. Do you wear the Armor of Christ?

  4. I would ask everyone to offer a prayer for Matt Walsh and all the folks at DW. They are going after a particularly vile yet powerful group of individuals. The death threats they receive are real. The demons will not rest. Pray.k

  5. It’s all about maintaining (binary) “distinctions” and avoiding transgender “ideological colonization”…

    Maybe the slide into sexual fluidity began with yesteryear’s subliminal suggestion of transformer toys? And maybe the fluid circularity of tomorrow’s synodal synod-on-synodality will find a way to retain the “distinction” between what the Church DOES and what the Church IS?

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