Leer en Español
It would seem to be a question worthy of a truism: What is a woman, isn’t it something obvious, evident to any human being? It is actually a basic concept, translatable into any language, understandable in any civilization, and distinguishable even through the mists of centuries. This simple definition has become the focus of controversy.
From the realm of the obvious to the den of controversy
Just 20 years ago, the difference between a woman and a man was not up for debate. Avril Lavigne sang with absolute certainty, “He was a boy. She was a girl. Can I make it any more obvious?” and we all understood. Then something changed. Woke ideology was born in academia and advanced with banners unfurled over politics, economics, press, and culture, turning gender ideology into media and legislative dogma.
Something that was obvious suddenly became an insult. What was obvious became unpronounceable.
The woke movement had an overwhelming political success, and the reason is simple: its discourse implies a very seductive promise for modernity, the idea that each person has the right to define the terms of his or her own reality, and from it to alter it.
That is, under the progressive promise, each person will not only be able to identify himself as whatever he wants, but he has the right to have the rest of the world endorse that identification. If John wants to identify as male, female, or anywhere in between, everyone is forced by empathy to respect and fully embrace that “reality.” Not to do so would be, they claim, an act of oppression and exclusion.
Every definition is exclusive
Therein lies the great problem with questions such as: What is a woman? Because asking ourselves what a woman is forces us to define, and every definition is in itself an exclusionary act. By grounding the concept of what something “is”, that definition also inevitably and automatically implies everything that a woman “is not”.
Specifically, defining woman inevitably implies hurting the feelings and self-perception of the transgender community, because it implies recognizing that the very existence of the concept “woman” requires the fulfillment of certain preconditions that those who consider themselves to be women are not necessarily going to meet. In short, defining “what a woman is” implies affirming that there is an objective reality beyond personal feelings and identifications. And that, in these times, is blasphemy.
“What is a woman?”
That’s why Matt Walsh’s new documentary simply titled “What is a woman?” has provoked such an aggressive and closed-minded reaction from progressives. A question, which a couple of decades ago would have been irrelevant as obvious, has now become a radical and “unpresentable” political act in the good society.
“What is a woman?” is a documentary as interesting as it is entertaining, with all the flair that has made Matt Walsh so recognizable, first as a columnist for The Blaze and now for the Daily Wire. It includes enough interviews, arguments, discussions, and evidence to give any bona fide person pause for thought, and does so at a brisk pace. It’s not preachy, it doesn’t bore, it doesn’t lose its sense of urgency.
There is urgency because behind the question “what is a woman?” lies a real crisis of logic and common sense, which began in the radical left and is seeping into the rest of society. In one of the most remarkable scenes, Walsh attends a “women’s march,” and questions the marchers, without them being able to give him a clear answer. Even if everyone knows “what a woman is,” saying it out loud is tantamount to denying womanhood to the trans community, and no one wants to do that.
Why it matters
Now, does it really matter knowing what a woman is? Basically, the progressive narrative tells us no; that feelings and self-identification have priority over objective reality and that everyone has the right to build their own reality and relate to the outside world from it.
They are wrong. Definitions matter, especially when we talk about something as basic as the concept of “woman”, because, to sustain civilization (to live together), human beings need to operate from a reasonably shared, objective and predictable reality. Assuming that everyone can design a reality in their own way and that everyone else must take those realities into account when interacting with other people is a recipe for chaos, confusion and madness.
Until a couple of years ago, women were women and men were men. Once we learned that concept, we could go about the world with that certainty, freeing our range of attention for the rest of the information that we get. By contrast, in a woke society, every interaction multiplies stress, as we try to remember who identifies as what, since the traditional clues (name, physical form, biological sex) are no longer considered valid.
If that happens with the concept of woman, it can happen with any other concept. Consequently, when talking to other human beings we will be forced to assume as real (at the same time) all the self-perceptions of each one of them, multiplying the wear and tear of each interaction and fueling endless conflicts when those perceptions (inevitably) are incompatible.
After all, popular wisdom proclaims that “every head is a world”, but that does not mean that we can put the worlds of everyone else in our heads. To try it is to be deafened by the chaos of a narcissistic choir where everyone believes they are “the soloist” who demands accompaniment and submission from others.
Gerardo Garibay Camarena, is a doctor of law, writer and political analyst with experience in the public and private sectors. His new book is "How to Play Chess Without Craps: A Guide to Reading Politics and Understanding Politicians" // Gerardo Garibay Camarena es doctor en derecho, escritor y analista político con experiencia en el sector público y privado. Su nuevo libro es “Cómo jugar al ajedrez Sin dados: Una guía para leer la política y entender a los políticos”