May 4th, 2015

woods, Elizabeth, camera, April

On "Being a Woman"

While I have been mostly delighted with the Makers series on women in many fields, intended to encourage girls and women, the sponsors do tend to recycle the same quotes from interviews over and over...and one of those quotes, by Diane von Furstenberg, bothers me.   Disclaimer: I don't know von Furstenberg, and neither like nor dislike her personally.  I know she is a famous fashion designer and successful businesswoman--I have nothing against either choice of career.  But when she talked, in the interview, about the importance of remembering to be a woman, I winced.  I winced because to me that's another attempt to define--and to limit--what "being a woman" is, as opposed to being an adult female human being.

In the hasty tweets I wrote this morning, I made one mistake, in equating being born with two X chromosomes as permanently determining gender identity.  There are cases of intersex infants, and of persons who have extreme gender dysphoria and despite having the XX chromosomes, feel that they are not women, but men. For people like that, XX does not mean "woman" in any social sense. Collapse )