Flat White

What is a ‘woman’?

26 March 2022

4:00 AM

26 March 2022

4:00 AM

I happen to know that a woman is an adult female. And these days, that makes me a veritable genius.

I acquired this special knowledge, now hidden from progressive elites, in primary school where a mystic – in those times known simply as a biology teacher – explained that females were distinguished by their XX chromosomes and their ability to give birth. They also had distinctive genitalia.

If only Joe Biden’s Supreme Court nominee had access to these secrets when asked at her confirmation hearing to define the term ‘woman’.

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson complained: ‘Can I provide a definition? I can’t. I’m not a biologist.’

Ms Jackson is not a meteorologist either, but I bet she could tell you when it’s raining. And despite not being a vet, I guarantee she’d know a cow if she saw one.

But as for a woman? Let he who is a biologist say what defines a woman, for it is otherwise mysterious and difficult to ascertain.

It was a remarkable moment. A woman who had given birth to two daughters and who was nominated to the Supreme Court, in part because she was a woman, couldn’t say for sure what a woman was.

In just four years, the US Supreme Court nomination hearings have gone from ‘Believe all women!’ to ‘What’s a woman?’ accompanied by the sound of crickets chirping.

The level of absurdity was mind-boggling. One thing is for sure, Harvard graduates aren’t what they used to be!

But Ms Jackson is not the only substantial woman unable (or unwilling) to substantialise what a woman is.

Forty-four years after the Commodores famously sang ‘you’re once, twice, three times a lady’ British Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper three times refused to say what a lady was. She insisted she would not go down ‘that rabbit hole’ when repeatedly asked in a Times Radio interview earlier this month.

Ms Cooper, who released a book in 2019 entitled She Speaks: The Power of Women’s Voices now doesn’t want to be asked what a woman is because it’s all just too ‘tangled’.

As Commodores lead singer Lionel Richie might have crooned:

Thanks for the times you have given me

The memories are all in my mind

And now that we’ve come to the end of our (LGBT) rainbow

There’s something I must say out loud

You’re once, twice, three times someone only a qualified biologist could possibly call a lady though it’s really not a rabbit hole I want to go down.

Cooper said that rather than try to define what a woman was, she would prefer to focus on preventing violence against women. If only she knew what one was.

Cooper’s Parliamentary colleague, Labour’s equalities spokeswoman Anneliese Dodds, was wholly unhelpful.

Dodds told BBC Radio this month that the definition of ‘woman’ depended entirely on who was asking.

‘It does depend on what the context is, surely?’ she said. 

Are our political and cultural elites cowards, or are they just plain stupid? It does depend on what the context is, surely…

Having spent forty years insisting there is no difference between men and women, our political and cultural betters now have no response when trans activists take them at their word.

The definition of woman has been reduced to a feeling that can be appropriated by men at will. 

And now no one can object to men exposing their penises in the women’s change rooms since who can say for sure that he is not a woman?

And as for minimally talented biological men dominating women’s sports, well it’s all contextual, isn’t it?

Maybe Judge Jackson and her political contemporaries are not stupid… Maybe they are just scared of being cancelled by the same woke club they belong to.

They don’t know enough biology to define a woman. Or to find their own backbone.

Meanwhile, the British Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, who last year rebuked a woman for saying ‘only women have a cervix’, has had a go at defining women.

‘A woman is a female adult and, in addition to that, trans women are women,’ he said, continuing a long and proud tradition of men telling women what they are, and how they should think about their bodies.

‘That is not just my view. That is the law,’ he added helpfully.


So if lawmakers decide that donkeys are women, will the alternate British Prime Minister insist that ‘a woman is a female adult and, in addition to that, trans women are women, and donkeys are women’?

Or would the law be an ass?

Not even conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson could bring himself to properly define women.

He told Parliament this month: ‘I think when it comes to distinguishing between a man and a woman, that the basic facts of biology remain overwhelmingly important.’

He thinks?

The implications are staggering.

The same politicians who insist on a woman’s right to choose, cannot – or will not – say what a woman is. 

How can people, unable to point to any objective difference between the sexes, rile against sexism?

And of what value are gender quotas if the ratios can be changed by a man choosing to identify as a woman and so being counted as one?

‘There’s no such thing as a woman. And women need more rights!’ It takes a special kind of cognitive dissonance to be a progressive politician.

When Judge Jackson was asked to define the term ‘woman’ she was really being asked, ‘What do you believe about the nature of human beings, and what sort of judge will you be?’

‘Do you believe in absolute truth. Or do you believe reality, and indeed people themselves, can be manipulated like plasticine to suit the whimsies of the day?’

Obviously, Judge Jackson recognises ‘woman’ is a biological term and not a social construct. But if she is unable to speak truth in the face of leftist dogma, she will likely be prejudiced by leftist dogma rather than by facts when it comes to her Supreme Court rulings.

If you’re not smart enough to know what a woman is, you’re not smart enough to be on the Supreme Court.

And if you’re too afraid to say what a woman is, you’re too lily-livered to lead the country.

Gender is so deeply ingrained in our biology that they can dig up a human being buried 10,000 years ago and determine from the skeleton whether the remains are from a man or from a woman.

When they dig us up 10,000 years from now, they will easily determine our gender, but they will never in a million years understand just how stupid we had become.

You can follow James on Twitter. You can order his new book Notes from Woketopia here.

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