Monday, January 22: I tried postdating this, but my version of WordPress won’t allow me to show postdated blog posts, so I’ll be periodically changing this post’s date so that it is at the top and can receive feedback.
For my feminist philosophies term paper this quarter I am considering writing a paper to answer the question, “What is woman?” As my professor, Lani Roberts, noted in class, this isn’t a simple biology question. We can’t say a woman is a person with a uterus, because that excludes women who have had hysterectomies, as well as transwomen and, as Stoltenberg has pointed out, women in prisons (biologically male but gendered woman in the prison society). Additionally, sex (a set of biological traits) and gender (the values and behaviors assigned culturally to sex) are different, so “woman” is not so easily biologically defined. Some radical feminists define woman as “people dominated by men” and men as “people who dominate women.”
Any comments from readers about ideas of how to define “woman” would be greatly appreciated. What do you think? What makes “woman”? (Alternatively, if you have speculations on what makes “man,” that would be appreciated as well).