For Those Who Thought They Knew What a Woman Is
It’s more than Supreme Court Nominees, like Judge Kentanji Brown Jackson, who do not know what a woman is. Judge Jackson’s response to Sen. Marsha Blackburn’s question to define a “woman”, asked during Judge Jackson’s senate confirmation hearings, was essentially that being a woman depends on context. Further, she excused herself from definitively saying what a woman is because she is not a biologist. This sent some into a lather, as confusion with the term “woman” is seen by many as a sign of the end of civilization, especially when coming from a Judge nominated for the US Supreme Court.
The problem is that we are in the midst of a cultural revolution, which, among other things, is redefining gender identities, roles, and equality, and conservative factions of society are not yet onboard with the progressive agenda driving the revolution. In fact, they think it’s crazy.
But it’s not crazy.
To understand why it’s so hard to tell who is a man or a woman, you need to first open your mind, tilt your head to the side, and shake your head vigorously to let all the old cultural programming about sex and gender fall out of your ear.
Go ahead and do it. I’ll wait.
Okay, now that your head is cleared out of preconceptions of what a man and woman are, let’s ask a simple question which should reveal the source of the problem.
If a man identifies as a woman, what clothes will “she” wear?
This question may seem silly. A man who identifies as a woman will clearly wear women’s clothing.
But what are women’s clothing? At different times in history, women dressed differently than they do today. So did men. At one time, men and women wore corsets, wigs, make-up, cologne, jewelry, and high-heeled shoes. We may think of these as women’s attire and accessories, but not necessarily. In some cultures, men and women wear the same clothing.
So a man wanting to look like a woman will wear whatever fashions and clothing items exist currently for women. This might include a bra, frilly blouse, dress, high-heeled shoes, and accessorized with cosmetics and jewelry.
But what if women started dressing like men had been dressing, so clothing and other aesthetics essentially became unisex? How would a man who identifies as a woman dress if women and men dressed the same?
Of course, it would make no sense to be a cross-dresser if both men and women dressed the same. In this case, the man desiring to look like a woman will need to find some other way men and women are differentiated, and imitate whatever that is for women. For example, if only women wore an earring in the left ear, while men wore it in the right ear, then a cross-dresser would focus on earring placement.
The point is that a culture differentiates between men and women by using arbitrary, and sometimes outlandish, symbols of sex identity. These symbols include clothing, hair style, cosmetics, and even styles of speaking and moving one’s body. Being a man or woman means thinking and behaving along the cultural lines drawn for such behavior at this current time in the culture’s history.
This means being a man or woman is a fashion statement. It is a product of culture, not of biology. And cultures change, as it currently is doing.
However, if man and woman are basically relativistic terms, reliant on cultural context for their meaning, then we really can’t say, for sure, what constitutes a man or woman. It’s all relative.
I believe this is what flummoxed Judge Jackson when asked about defining a “woman”. What she should have said, however, is that she can define what a female is.
Whether a person is a male or female is not relative. These are biological terms, not cultural ones. A male human has different genetics than a female human, relating to the presence of an “X” or “Y” chromosome. Men have XY while women have XX.
Of course, people are born, rarely, with multiple Xs or Ys, and have non-standard sexual identities. While not perfectly fitting into either male or female categories, they have had to chose a cultural identity and dress like a man or a woman. Now there are more categories being made to accommodate these people.
What you can see is that there are two factors at play here. One factor is the biological reality of what genetics you have. The second is the current cultural identification of a person as either a man or a woman.
This means that a biological male might identify as a culturally-defined woman, and a biological female might identify as a culturally-defined man. This is why both males and females can present themselves as women, or men. Absurdly, if a male identified as a woman and started to dress like one, but fashions changed and women started to dress like men and men started to dress like women, then the male identifying as a woman would have to again dress like men used to dress, since that is how women now look. The look changed, the biology didn’t.
This leads to the seemingly absurd conclusion that a man can menstruate and have babies, and a woman can have a penis. It makes sense once you realize that male is not synonymous with man, and female is not with woman. Of course, only females can have babies, and only males have a penis. Biology is less flexible than culture.
This all may sound confusing to people who were raised on the notion that there is no difference between a man and a male, or a woman and a female. When the culture ignored people who did not identify with their own sex, it was much simpler. You could be sure that someone dressed like a woman was a female, and those dressed like a man was a male. In fact, you never even questioned it, until you picked up a cross-dresser at a bar and discovered a woman can have a penis. Most women don’t have a penis, of course, but you need to treat people with respect for their uniqueness and be sensitive to those women who stick out from the crowd.
From now on, you need to realize than the person who you believed was a man may actually be having his period, and may be feeling irritable and having cramps, so have some compassion for him, too.
Just remember that culture covers over our biology. Beneath the wrapping may be a package you didn’t expect. Be open to that, because if you’re not, you will be cancelled.