The words “woman” and “female”

New guidance:

The armed forces are to be given new guidance on “inclusive language” after the Defence Secretary said he is “unhappy” with the current advice.

Inclusive of what? Inclusive how? Speaking of guidance on language, how about not using the word “inclusive” in this vague but threatening way?

The MoD said its Inclusive Language Guide 2021 was a “practical toolkit” to help servicemen and women understand why “certain words or use of language is hurtful or non-inclusive”.

But words and language don’t have to be “inclusive” of everything at all times – if they did they couldn’t do their jobs as words and language. If words are to mean anything they have to be non-inclusive, because if they include everything they might as well include nothing. Meaning is inherently exclusionary.

The 30-page pamphlet said the words “woman” and “female” “mean different things but are often used interchangeably”, adding: “Referring to women as females is perceived by many as reducing a woman to her reproductive parts and abilities.”

Yes, that can be true. “Females” can sound downright insulting…but on the other hand they don’t exactly mean different things. They have different overtones, but the literal meaning is the same.

But then they tip their hand.

“Not all women are biologically female, and the conflation of ‘female’ to ‘woman’ erases gender nonconforming people and members of the trans community.”

All women are biologically female; that’s what the word means. Pretending that not all women are female erases women, so don’t do that. “Gender nonconforming people and members of the trans community” don’t matter more than women do, and there are way fewer of them, so don’t go redefining what “female” means to tickle the egos of a tiny narcissistic minority. Or to put it another way, cut your ties to Stonewall.

The Telegraph understands there are no plans to disband or redirect the MoD’s Diversity and Inclusion Directorate, which was responsible for the guide.

The news came as the new CDS, Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, said the push for greater diversity in the military is not about being “woke”, but addressing the “woeful” lack of women and ethnic minorities in the forces.

If you want more women in the forces, don’t be telling women that not all women are female.

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