Flat White

What is a woman? James asks ‘every politician in the Western world’

1 April 2022

4:00 AM

1 April 2022

4:00 AM

At the exact moment totalitarian regimes in Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran are threatening global peace and stability, the Western World is locked in a heated debate about how to define women.

James Macpherson, a columnist with The Spectator Australia, brings you this exclusive interview with Every Politician in the Western World:

James: Thanks, Every Politician in the Western World for agreeing to speak with The Spectator Australia today. Can I begin by asking, what is a woman?

Let me be absolutely clear. Women have the support of the Party. This divisive issue – unnecessarily divisive – harms the vulnerable and the marginalised. We must support all people. We will always stand by women. And the marginalised. But it must be a respectful debate.’

James: I understand that you support women. My question is, what is a woman?

I’m disappointed you think that is an acceptable question.’

James: What’s wrong with the question? 

I think the way you’ve framed the question is deliberately confusing.’

James: I’m simply asking what is a woman? As a proponent of women’s rights, women’s quotas, and women’s issues, is it not reasonable to ask you to clarify what a woman is?

Look, we have to talk about this in an open, calm, and constructive way without talking about it.

This is a question that provokes many strong feelings, and I strongly feel that it makes the nation stronger if we have people who are prepared to be strong about what they feel. Our government would be all about strength – not just strength of feelings, but also other strong things.’

James: Is it the case that you don’t know what a woman is? Or are you just afraid to say what you think?

I just don’t think it’s a useful question to ask. I don’t think asking questions, giving answers, making statements, having opinions, discussing ideas, or being clear is helpful in this kind of debate.’

James: Women represent over 50 per cent of voters. How can you run the country if you don’t even know what a woman is?

Right now, at this moment – what, with war in Ukraine and the climate emergency and so on and so forth – is not the right moment to pigeonhole women into complex holes. I have a very young constituent who has had a very hard time.’

James: I just find it extraordinary that you won’t answer a simple question.


I’ve been very clear on this. So let’s be clear.’

James: Go ahead…

Well, yes. I’ve said this before, and I will go on saying it if you’ll just let me finish. I have clearly stated, and I have said repeatedly, and I couldn’t be clearer about this.’

James: Can you please provide a clear answer to the question?

Well, this debate has become very heated. And feelings are hurt, and people are hurting, and we all know the answer and we don’t want hostility. Let’s all act like adults. I’ve been very clear about the need to act in an adult-like way.

What we do know is that this is a very sensitive issue. It’s not about looking at this in a simplistic light. We need to listen to the most marginalised groups and our policy is clear; we have always supported open, safe debate.’

James: Moving on… Are transwomen women?

Transwomen are women. But let me say clearly that women are also women. And I think my wife may be a woman, although I’m not a biologist so I can’t say for sure.

What I can say is that I am not a woman, so basically everybody else can be a woman if that’s what they want to be, because they’re not me and I’m not, so they can be, and when we are in government everyone who wants to be a woman will be a woman.

This is obviously a very toxic and polarised debate. We need to take the heat out of it. But also, every time you insist a man is not a woman a mermaid has very bad mental health outcomes. So I think we need to be very careful.’

James: Is a person’s sex a fixed, biological reality?

As I’ve already said, I am not a biologist, so I couldn’t possibly comment. But I have a colleague who used to have a physicist in his electorate, and we all know that matter consists of waves and particles, and no one really knows which is which, and if something is both or either. So it’s all terribly complicated. And sad.’

James: Is gender ‘assigned’ by doctors at birth, or is it pre-determined by chromosomes and merely observed and recorded?

I’m not going down that rabbit hole. I’ve been down that hole and there were rabbits down there. I’m not going down there again. My constituents expect me to use my time building back better, which is what I intend to do once the current situation has resolved itself and we can move forward with a reset which, as we’ve said, will be great.’

James: What do you say to people who fear transgender competitors will ruin women’s sport?

I don’t think this is a good faith question. We need to take care of vulnerable minorities and build an inclusive, diverse, progressive, equitable society. 

That’s probably not what you were looking to hear, and if it makes some people upset, well good, I am not here to pander to bigots and transphobes.’

James: Is it your belief that biological men have a right to compete against biological women in women’s sports?

Look, I know what you are trying to do. But when you’re talking about children – and they are so sad, and the figures are so bad, and I have a relative who is also sad – we need to tread very carefully and this really isn’t helping and there are experts and women have rights.’

James: Do you support female-only bathrooms?

It just really isn’t the time, or the place, to be asking a question like that. It isn’t helpful and it doesn’t get us any further in our understanding. Outside the decency and privacy of your own home, why do you even need to know about such things?’

James: But isn’t it important to ensure women have safe spaces?

The Party has a very clear policy on all kinds of spaces, and we feel the law should reflect that. My colleagues and I have been absolutely clear that we will support women if they want to go into spaces no matter what kind of women, or spaces for that matter.’

James: Are you worried that allowing men to self-identify as women may lead to violence against women?

As someone who has worked in the area of violence against women, I understand this issue better than women. So that’s the first point. 

And can I add this: If you want to talk about violence, let’s have a conversation about the very real harm that is done to people when we try to categorise them in this way.’

James: When you say, ‘violence against women’, could you provide a definition for ‘women’ in this context…?

What you have to understand is that our understanding of what is understood by the word that you are asking me about is an understanding that is understood by most people.’

James: And what is your understanding of what a woman is?

We’ll let you know what a woman is after you vote for us. Is that plain enough for you?’


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

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