What Is a Woman?

By William J. Furney

Females in Afghanistan are becoming even more invisible than the cloaking, imprisoning shrouds that are the burkas they’re forced to wear, as the demented, inhuman Taliban erase half the population from society

What are Afghanistan’s mediaeval leaders hoping to achieve with their imbecilic female-exclusion policy now that the United States and its allies have left? Apart from a further implosion of their war-wracked and desolate country bereft of crucial international aid agencies, a nation where citizens are forced to sell their organs to try and survive.   

Meanwhile, in the oftentimes overly liberal, and increasingly woke, West, we’re trying to figure out what a woman actually is — and waging our own war on those who don’t toe the toxic line.

You’d be forgiven for thinking few males among us had biology lessons in school or relationships with the opposite sex, because we seem to be collectively struggling, as adults, with the entire concept of the feminine form. 

Leaders like Sir Keir Starmer, of Britain’s opposition Labour Party, refuse to be drawn on the definition of a woman — following others who won’t give their views to journalists either, for fear of being branded politically incorrect and upsetting a certain, minority slice of the population. 

Because it’s no longer as simple as XX XY (unless you’re mixed sex). Even though our birth chromosomes are indelible.

But dare to say otherwise and you risk the rabid wrath of the ultra-woke trans lobby, which will vociferously shoot you down, and you may even be cancelled — out of your job and career, your relationship and even the place you call home. 

No one or nothing is off limits. Ask J.K. Rowling, when she had the nerve to question a headline that included “people who menstruate” and found herself in a world of woke trouble. “I’m sure there used to be a word for those people,” the Harry Potter writer mused. “Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?” 

The Cambridge Dictionary — classical arbiter of the English language — recently updated its definition of “woman” to include “An adult who lives and identifies as female though they may have been said to have a different sex at birth”. It gives these examples:

“She was the first trans woman elected to a national office” and “Mary is a woman who was assigned male at birth.”

Some men, it seems, are giving up their outward maleness and opting for the other gender to, seemingly, gain an advantage — most especially in the sporting arena. Recent big transwomen wins, such as 6-foot-1 swimmer Lia Thomas’, have come from previous-men who had never gotten anywhere near the winners’ podium. 

Transmen would never dare enter a men’s competition, for clearly obvious reasons. 

The physical benefits conveyed by testosterone — height, a larger frame, greater lung capacity, bigger muscle mass and more — don’t vanish when you embark on hormone therapy to suppress testosterone and morph you to the other gender. And so allowing transwomen to compete in women’s sports is profoundly unfair. UK Athletics, the sports governing body in Britain, is now rightly calling for a new “open” category where athletes of any gender can compete, so that transwomen don’t end up in the (biological) women’s. 

Why is it, though, that there appear to be so many people who apparently have “gender dysphoria” and don’t feel comfortable in the body they were “assigned” at birth and are desperate to change their physicality so they will feel like they should be?

The answer is it’s not so many people (estimates say between 0.1% and 1.1% of the adult population); and while it’s commendable that some make the difficult — mentally as well as physically — decision to switch their gender, they’re in the minority. But it’s a movement propelled by a highly vocal element that suggests there are far more transgender people than there are and that everyone else should change their ways to accommodate them. 

Starting with the definition of a woman. 

Now we have government agencies including health bodies offering information and advice to “people who menstruate”, “people with uteruses” and “people who are pregnant”. Biologically, these people are female, although they may also identify as male or mixed sex; and so, for instance, it might surely cause offence to direct notices of that kind, however reality-based, at transmen who are pregnant. 

It’s a social minefield and a political no-go zone. In a woke era where labelling anyone or anything — even sandwiches — incorrectly, or the “old-fashioned way”, immediately draws the ire of a certain segment of society, few politicians are eager to wade into the raging torrent. 

Thankfully, common sense is prevailing. Most people know the gender differences, acknowledge the pain those who are genuinely transitioning go through and object to being sidelined to give way to a tiny minority. Biological women who are happy with their “assigned” gender want to be acknowledged as such and are therefore unimpressed at being labelled part of a group of “people” with issues only ever applicable to biological women.

Transwomen don’t have periods (although some argue they might have symptoms); they can’t become pregnant; and they don’t have gynaecological problems. But they’re still the gender they choose to identify with, after embarking on hormone therapy and perhaps also gender reassignment surgery. 

So can we all just agree that we are whatever we choose to be, but let’s not deny the underlying biology?

  • Title image is of the painting The Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli (c. 1484-1486).

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