Let’s redefine “woman”

And then there’s Alex Sharpe writing at Diva:

Are some feminists asking the wrong question about who counts as a “lesbian”?

Why are there scare quotes on the word “lesbian”? Are we treating that as some sort of “problematic” or tendentious or confusing or reactionary word now? Are we holding it out with tongs because lesbians say no to penis?

Kathleen Stock, a Professor of Philosophy at Sussex University, and enfant terrible of gender critical feminism, has recently asked: “can a biological male be a lesbian?” Of course, framing the question in this way tends to suggest a particular conclusion, one Stock wants us to draw, which is that trans women cannot be lesbians.

And framing the question as “Are some feminists asking the wrong question about who counts as a ‘lesbian’?” also tends to suggest a particular conclusion.

Yet, this conclusion only follows if we accept the proposition that “woman” must be defined by reference to reproductive biology alone (Stock does not insist on “reproductive capacity” for obvious reasons), so that “lesbian” desire becomes the desire of two women who share reproductive body parts…

But we know better, right? We know it’s all in the feelings, it’s all in how we “identify,” it’s all in the Lived Experience (of feeling like a woman in our heads). We know that if a man pretends he’s a woman hard enough for a long enough time (a week? two weeks?) then he is a woman, and gets to call himself a lesbian from that time forth. We also know that mere in-the-body women don’t get to resist this, and mere in-the-body lesbian women don’t get to say no to dick, and mere in-the-body lesbian women don’t get to say who counts as lesbian. They have to be Inclusive of superior in-the-head women, on pain of shunning and non-stop threats of violence. Ah brave new world, that hath such creatures in it.

[A] more inclusive definition is open to us and we should embrace it. Not because of scientific or metaphysical “truths”, but because the question of who counts as a “woman” is, as feminist philosophers Lorna Finlayson, Katharine Jenkins and Rosie Worsdale rightly note, “a political or ethical question”.

One that should be decided by men superior in-the-head women.

Before turning to a more inclusive definition of “woman”, let us be clear about what is at stake in the “woman” question and for whom.

Can someone point me to the literature on more inclusive definitions of “man”? I can’t seem to find anything. Surely it can’t be only “woman” that needs a more inclusive definition…can it? Wouldn’t that seem kind of sexist? One rule for the boys and an opposite rule for the not-boys?

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