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What makes a woman a woman?

(107 Posts)
FierceMamaBear Fri 08-Nov-19 20:03:37

Please discuss.
What makes a woman a woman?
What makes a man a man?

Is a girl who plays football any less of a girl?
Is a boy who plays princesses any less of a boy?
Is a woman who likes a pint at the pub less of a woman?
Is a man who drinks wine in a bubbly bath less of a man?

Is not the suggestion of feeling like a man/woman/boy/girl horrifically outdated and sexist? I felt like society was moving towards accepting of boys playing with fairies and girls playing with trucks, but now it seems very much against that.

Why is that literal human biology is being challenged and not gender stereotypes?

Am I the only one who finds cis offensive? I'm not a cis woman, I'm a woman. I find the term offensive. Women have been suppressed throughout history and to the present day. Women have worked hard to make woman a strong empowering word. I loved the always throw it like a girl campaign. Although, of course, no longer buy always.

Would love a discussion, my OH refuses to talk about it and all he'll say is their brain waves dont match up to their body confused

BloodyCats Fri 08-Nov-19 20:05:58

I’m no expert but I think you are what you are. I think there is a spectrum to being a woman or a man. You can be a man and be very feminine in character, or you can be a woman and be masculine. That doesn’t change your sex though.

Too many labels for my liking.

testing987654321 Fri 08-Nov-19 20:13:01

The ones who can potentially have babies as adults.

That's it.

Driechdrizzle Fri 08-Nov-19 20:13:52

From the Oxford English Dictionary:

woman, n.
(ˈwʊmən) Pl. women (ˈwɪmɪn). Forms (case-inflexions in OE. and early ME. as in man n.1): sing. α. 1–5 wifman, 2–3 -mon, 2–4 wimman, (3 wim(m)on, wyman), 3–4 wymman, 3– 5 wymmon (4 wyfman). β. 3 wummon, 3–5 wumman. δ. 3–5 womman, wommon, 4–6 voman, 5 vomman, woman(n)e, 5–6 wommane, 7 whoman, (also 9 dial.) wooman, 3– woman. γ. 5 oman, 6 owman (?), 7 Anglo-Welsh o'man, 7–9 uman, 9 'ooman, umman. pl. α. 1–4 wifmen, 1–4, 8 wimmen, 3–5 wymmen, (4 wyfmen, wimen, wemmen, 4–5 wymen, 5 vymmen, 7 Anglo-Welsh ymen). β. 3–4 wummen. γ. 3–5 wommen, 5 womene, vommen, woymen, 6–7 woemen, 4– women. δ. 4 Sc. vemene, 4–7 wemen, 5 wemyn, whemen, weymen, 5–7 weomen, 6 vemen, 6–7 weemen, 7 weamen. [OE. wífmon(n, -man(n masc., later fem., pl. wífmen(n, f. wíf woman, wife n. + mon(n, man(n human being, man n.1 A formation peculiar to English, and not extant in the earliest period of OE., the ancient word being wife.
The regular ME. descendants of OE. wífman, -men, viz. wimman, wimmen (cf. OE. léofman, ME. lemman, leman) continued in use until the 15th century. By c 1200 the rounding of wi- to wu- is clearly established, and is at that time characteristic of western ME. texts. The form womman appears in the late 13th century (first in western texts), and the corresponding pl. wommen in the late 14th. The simplification of mm in womman, -en and wimman, -en, and the consequent conversion of the first syllable into an open syllable gave rise to forms with ō and ē, which, continuing to the early modern period, provided the occasion for punning analyses of wōman and wēmen (see 1k below). From c1400 woman and women became regular spellings for sing. and pl., and have been retained as a properly corresponding pair to man and men; but in the standard speech the pronunciation (wu-) was ultimately appropriated to the sing. and (wi-) to the pl., probably through the associative influence of pairs like foot and feet.

From at least the 16th century, the only variety in the pronunciation of the pl. has been in respect of the quantity of the first vowel, which was either short or long in the 16th and 17th centuries; but in the same period no less than five pronunciations of the sing. are recognized by orthoepists, viz. (ˈwʊmən), (ˈwuːmən), (ˈwʌmən), and (ˈʊmən), (ˈʌmən), of which all but the first have now sunk to vulgar or dialectal status.

Examples of the δ-forms of the sing., without initial w, follow here; for illustration of the more normal forms see sense 1.

?1455 Paston Lett.. I. 343 Youre pore bede oman and cosyn, Alice Crane. 1558 Charnock Bk. Astron. Title of Chapter (MS.) Is the theffe man or owman or bothe? 1623 Shakes. Merry W. iv. i. 52 Eua. Leaue your prables (o'man)‥. Eua. O'man, forbeare. 1632 Nabbes Cov. Gard. v. ii, Your Ladiships uman. 1749 Fielding Tom Jones xv. x, When her Laship was so veri kind as to offar to mak mee hur one Uman. 1808 Jamieson, Uman, the pron. of woman. 1837 Dickens Pickw. xiii, Putting on his spectacles to look at a married 'ooman! 1838 Jas. Grant Sk. Lond. 69 Bad luck to the 'ooman! 1898 G. W. E. Russell Coll. & Recoll. 14 Like other high-bred people of his time, he [sc. Lord John Russell]‥called a woman an ‘'ooman’.]

I. 1. a. An adult female human being. (The context may or may not have special reference to sex or to adult age: cf. man n.1 4 a, c, d.)
†man or (or and) woman used appositionally = male or (and) female.

sarahstanley Fri 08-Nov-19 20:14:34

Biology. Anything else is self expression/personality/outward appearance but biology makes up the sex we are. Nothing else.

MIdgebabe Fri 08-Nov-19 20:15:11

Brain quaint!

littlbrowndog Fri 08-Nov-19 20:17:16

No brain waves or that stuff

Born a girl grew into a woman

No need for anymore stuff

It’s that simple

MyMajesty Fri 08-Nov-19 20:18:14

Female biology = woman
Male biology = man
No discussion needed

Yes, all the crap we're hearing about this now is based on stereotypes.

Tartyflette Fri 08-Nov-19 20:19:15

Adult human female = woman. Just woman, and certainly not cis.
And our lived experience confirms it.
In my view.

Driechdrizzle Fri 08-Nov-19 20:22:14

From Merriam Webster:

female, adjective

fe·​male | \ ˈfē-ˌmāl
Definition of female

(Entry 1 of 2)
1a(1) : of, relating to, or being the sex that typically has the capacity to bear young or produce eggs In a field of milkweed, I watched a female monarch butterfly deposit a single egg on the underside of a leaf.— Tom Tyning A few months later, she became the highest paid female performer on the Great White Way.— Susannah McCorkle
(2) : having or producing only pistils or pistillate flowers a female holly female inflorescences
b : made up of usually adult members of the female sex : consisting of females the female workforce
c : characteristic of girls, women, or the female sex : exhibiting femaleness composed for female voices

HumberHellraiser Fri 08-Nov-19 20:22:36

Being an adult female of the human species. Just that.

Everything else is personality, preferences or plain old stereotypes.

MidnightMystery Fri 08-Nov-19 20:37:06

Why do I feel so scared to say anything these days blush

To me a woman has a vagina and a man has a penis.

Goosefoot Fri 08-Nov-19 20:42:15

I think man and woman refer to the sex class we belong to. Whatever that means in terms of biology, and I'd include things like hormones or biological elements of behaviour, whatever. We don't even need to define them o talk about this, if it's mainly biological and about your sex class, it's part of being a woman.

Obviously some things are not about what makes an individual a woman, you can be sex female and 6'3. But we'd still say that women as a group are typically smaller than men.

Unlike some here I think gender is an inevitable result of having two sex classes in a social species with culture and politics, and so also some sense of what is masculine or feminine may go along with that almost inevitably. But that isn't what makes you a man or woman, that's an ass-backward analysis.

FrankenCat Fri 08-Nov-19 21:12:01

Women have XX chromosomes and men have XY.

I think it's as simple as black and white part from the very tiny minority who have XXY chromosomes.

I've just had a hysterectomy. I read on Twitter last week that a woman was having her uterus removed to "make her a man". hmm
What a pile of bollocks (or lack thereof). I'm no less a woman because I've had a hysterectomy.

MIdgebabe Fri 08-Nov-19 21:13:38

Unfortunatly, one could argue that means you identify as a woman. ( rubbish, but I have seen a lot of rubbish spouted)

Taswama Fri 08-Nov-19 21:15:15

I love peach yogurt on this subject.

But it’s simple innit - chromosomes.

JanesKettle Fri 08-Nov-19 21:16:08

A woman is a human born female (of the sex class that produces large, immobile gametes) who has grown to adulthood.

Pretty bloody simple.

Campervan69 Fri 08-Nov-19 21:16:20

Being a biological female. Simple as that.

An adult human female to be specific.

Gizmo79 Fri 08-Nov-19 21:18:24

A woman is an adult female.

IWantADifferentName Fri 08-Nov-19 21:24:58


The playing princesses/drinking beer/wine in bath crap is harmful gender stereotyping.

Girls can drink beer, join the army, and become astronauts and engineers too!

Boys can be fashion designers, nurses and teachers too!

Qcng Fri 08-Nov-19 21:26:42

Ask your husband,
What "brain waves" make a male bodied person not male?

When a male bodied person has testes, can get an erection, can impregnate a woman perfectly naturally, but they have "special womanly brain waves", how exactly are they anything like a woman?

What brain waves do women have that make us all the same?

Qcng Fri 08-Nov-19 21:29:18

I wonder if your husband thinks that all transwomen have had "the op".
It's a common misconception. Less than 5% of TW have "the op" and about 25% have fake breasts/facial reconstruction.
The vast majority are completely unadulterated males.
That tends to wake the men up.

Velveteenfruitbowl Fri 08-Nov-19 21:31:17

It a combination of biology and socialisation. Girls and women are socialised into certain behaviours and into accepting certain discriminatory behaviour because of their biological differences to men (in particular their ability to carry and birth children, their hormonal patterns and, their sexual vulnerability). A woman might feel certain ways or do certain things because of the way she’s been treated and her experiences. This is not unimportant at all, but that only happens because of biology. Womanhood has both sociological and physiological elements. To ignore the former is reductive, the ignore the latter is wilful ignorance.

ashtrayheart Fri 08-Nov-19 21:31:45

'Klinefelter syndrome (XXY) is one of the most common chromosomal disorders, occurring in one to two per 1,000 live male births'
X and Y chromosome disorders don't change whether someone is male or female of course; if you have a Y then you are generally considered male. But just saying.
(My daughter has XXX and is therefore a super female wink)

bluebluezoo Fri 08-Nov-19 21:36:01

I think it's as simple as black and white part from the very tiny minority who have XXY chromosomes

You do know XXY isn’t the only sex chromosome/DSD?

But yes. To be slightly more specific, XX plus female anatomy = female, XY + male anatomy =male.

DSD are completely separate to the trans debate. It is ambiguous biology, and nothing to do with brain waves or gender. Caster Semenya for example is not transgender, and shouldn’t be included in the trans athlete debate.

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