A Twitter thread by @hatpinwoman
I once asked someone who was, at the time, a dear friend of mine what a woman was, if biology had nothing to do with it. She answered that it was impossible for her to separate being a woman from her experiences of her body but she knew that wasn’t an inclusive enough answer.
It was an honest answer though.Without the experience of a female body being a woman is as intangible as a whisper caught on a cherry blossom.What does it even mean? It’s just an idea, shaped&reshaped by individual whimsy&cultural bias, with no relation to our physical existence.
Maybe a world that has so often recoiled from female biology,attempted to sanitise it or pretend we were just broken males was bound to be a world which found it easy to keep pretending it doesnt exist. To find a new way to say female bodies are nothing
Female bodies are everything.
They’re full of intricate processes that even those of us who have them may know little of.Some of us feel the moment we ovulate (the Germans call that mittelschmerz), some of us don’t. Many of us bleed regularly or irregularly, some of us don’t.
Both the experience of having a female body that works as it should and a female body that doesn’t, and feels like it is failing us, are unique to women. I’ve spent much of today walking around my garden, heavy and hurting, because my womb hurts like an exploding Death Star.
There’s nothing intangible about that. There’s nothing intangible about giving birth, menopause, miscarriage, abortion, the complexity of the female immune system or having a female body in a sexist world either. Just as a first handful of examples.
Men’s sexual desires invade our childhoods&those desires,along with societal control of female bodies,shape our relationship to our bodies in adolescence as we’re taught our newly growing hair is unacceptable,our developing is somehow wrong,our faces need make up to be beautiful
There’s nothing intangible about female solidarity or the safety often found in female company. I believe,secretly& unshakeably, that female strength is greatest as it’s a strength of resilience rather than force but we all discover male strength wins in a physical altercation
When we are sexually assaulted, when we are raped, when we walk home alone, when men square up to us, when they lay their hands on us, when they become threatening, when other women disappear, we all know what biological sex is.
It is not a zephyr in the arms of a horse chestnut
Even if we say, straight faced and serious, that biological sex is a fable our bodies, with their indisputable sexed differences, and our societies, with their sexism, don’t alter even a little because of that lie. Feminism shouldn’t participate in that lie.
It shouldn’t pretend we’re indistinguishable from males. It shouldn’t rest our humanity on the lie that only the changeable sea breezes of personal identity makes us different to men.What is a woman if nothing that makes her a physical form instead of an idea can be permitted
No ‘feminist’ or progressive perspective can allow us to become so poorly defined we can no longer combat female oppression. Yet so many women’s organizations and individuals are offering us just that. They are being fools. &women all over the world go on being female regardless.
We go on needing sex based resources and protections, sex based medical care and medical research, sex based considerations and recognitions, sex based language to even speak clearly about our lives.
You can float your ideas of what a woman is on any cloud you like. You can say it includes men. But some of us are keeping our roots in reality because we have to if all women’s lives are to be made better. It’s not a personal slight against anyone. It isn’t malice.
It’s the vital acknowledgement that the half of the human race we belong to matters
That we exist, and for our own sake, not for the sake of male people
This is a scandalous position only because we live in a world where women’s humanity is still not sufficiently acknowledged