What is a woman?
The answer is simple and obvious. And we all know it.
Yesterday, during Supreme Court confirmation hearings, the Supreme Court nominee was asked a simple question: “What is a woman?”
The nominee (a woman) could not answer the question. Or, at least, refused to. Stating that she was “not a biologist.”
The obvious humor of such a silly response aside, it is truly fascinating that someone would not (or could not) answer it.
The definition of “woman” is, of course:
An adult human female
Simple. And female is a biological term.
Of or denoting the sex that can bear offspring or produce eggs, distinguished biologically by the production of gametes (ova) which can be fertilized by male gametes.
So, to extrapolate, a woman is “an adult human of a biological sex that can bear offspring”.
And there’s nothing mean-spirited, or hateful, about that. It’s a very scientific, practical, long-standing (as long as language itself has existed) way to define the word.
All of this is becoming an issue because some people are promoting a competing idea — that “woman” is not defined that way. How do those individuals propose that “woman” should be defined?
… well… they don’t.
“A woman is anyone who identifies as a woman.”
… get used quite a bit. Which, of course, is a circular definition. Thus taking the term “woman” and rendering it, technically, without any actual meaning.
Considering the long-standing, scientific usage of “woman” (along with the every-day, practical usage)… this is, obviously, not a positive step.
Then there are phrases like this:
“Trans women are women.”
There are, realistically, two ways to interpret this:
“Trans women = women”
Which is an obvious problem in terms of defining the word. “Trans women” are, by definition, men. They are “males” that identify as “women”. Therefor saying “Trans women = women” is no different (from a scientific point of view) as saying “Men = Women”.
Then there’s the other way to interpret that phrase:
“Trans women are a sub-set of women”
This is also technically incorrect.
A “Trans woman” is, by definition, a “male”.
A “male” cannot belong to a subset of “female”. Putting this in a nice, visual, venn diagram helps to illustrate this.
A “Trans Woman” is, by definition, a man who identifies as a woman.
And a “Trans Man” is, by definition, a woman who identifies as a man.
That absolutely must be the case… otherwise there would be no point in even discussing it or having the term at all.
Despite how astoundingly simple the logic is around these words, the net result is a large number of people simply becoming unable (or unwilling) to define a word that has been basic, scientific, and obvious for as long as language has existed.
“Le Gasp! You’re a Transphobe!”
I like everyone, for who they are.
… even if they don’t feel very good about themselves.
Do I believe that boys are boys and girls are girls? Of course I do.
If that makes me a “transphobe”… well that makes a lot of other people a transphobe too. Like, for example, Mister Rogers.
Boys are boys from the beginning
Girls are girls right from the start
Your body's fancy and so is mine
Girls grow up to be the mommies
Boys grow up to be the daddies
Your body's fancy and so is mine
As a general rule of thumb, if you’re on the same page as Mister Rogers… you’re probably doing something right.
If people wish to attack me — or anyone else — for that? Well. That’s a bummer. But that’s entirely their right to do so. But that doesn’t make them correct.
“There are four lights!”
When I see people attacking others for making simple, factual statements about biology… I am reminded of the Start Trek: The Next Generation episode “Chain of Command part 2”.
During this episode, Captain Picard is shown four lights and asked “how many lights are there?”
He responds: “There are four lights.”
At which point his captor tortures him. The goal is to get Captain Picard to say “There are five lights.”
The purpose here is to break the Captain. To get him to submit to the demands of his captors. To force him to deny basic reality — no matter how obvious it is.
And that gets to the very heart of why I am writing this right now. Because reality is important. Words are important.
When something is true — when something is obvious and real — you don’t need to threaten, attack, or torture someone to force them to believe it. A well stated argument, supported by logic and facts, is the name of the game.
Likewise, if someone is stating something that is obviously false and incorrect… you don’t need to silence them. To censor them. Their incorrectness will, under examination, show their folly.
If someone is trying to censor you… it is because they fear what you might say.
I do not see anyone attempting to censor those that wish to redefine “Woman” to mean “Woman is anyone who identifies as a woman.” The idea is so silly that the logic falls flat on its face.
I do, however, see numerous people, governments, and companies censoring anyone who says “A woman is a human female”.
And that, really, speaks volumes.