This is the last in my series of proposed U.S. Citizenship questions. As always, I’m going to give you first the average British answer to each question, just to show what an uninitiated, unassimilated person would say, and then the real answer. Previously: What is Cream Cheese served with? How many bathrooms does the average family house need? and How do you make a cup of tea?
Question: What is a woman?
Wow, that’s a complicated question! The simplest answer is that women are one half of the world’s population. And I guess the biological definition could be that women are people who have two X chromosomes, or who have female genitals and secondary sexual characteristics like boobs.
But we aren’t defined by our biology alone, and the social definition of gender is always historically and culturally specific.
The safest definition is probably a woman is someone who identifies as a woman. Which might sound circular, but that’s ok! Gender, like everything in our life, is ‘remade’ every time we enact it.
That said, it doesn’t exist in a power vacuum, right? So we can also acknowledge that what it means to be a woman depends on our other intersecting identities. Cis-women, heterosexual women, white women, adult women, and middle or upper class women are less likely to have their gender policed or called into question.
U.S. Citizen’s answer:
A woman is a uterus that sometimes acts as if it had a mind of its own.
The funny thing is, I was actually looking forward to waking up on November 9th. And yet yesterday I discovered that I have lived for the past eleven years surrounded by people who hate me. They may not know it, but they do. And now I know it as well.
Back in September I was disappointed that the evening class I’m currently taking met Tuesdays from 6 to 9pm. It meant J and I wouldn’t be able to celebrate the election together at the Grafton Pub, as we had when Obama won in 2012. (We dared each other to drink a shot of Malört if he won. The barman warned us it tasted revolting, and it did.)