This is an edited repost of a Tumblr post by little-wolf-teeth, who has since deactivated their account.
Some people claim that the statement “all women have vaginas” reduces women to just that trait and reinforces the idea that the only important part of a woman is her genitals.
But this is false; having a trait does not mean you are nothing but that trait.
E.g. “All dogs have four legs” does not mean dogs are nothing but legs. “All elephants have big ears” does not mean elephants are nothing but a set of giant-ass ears. “All male lions have manes” does not mean male lions are nothing but a walking pile of long hair.
If I say “All people with pale skin have a lack of melanin in their genes”, is that reducing all pale people to nothing but the lack of melanin in their genes? Fucking no lol. Stating a scientific fact – that to be part of class or group X, you must possess trait Y, is not reducing anyone down to being nothing but trait Y. It’s simply saying for you to qualify as a part of this group, you must have this specific trait. That’s it.
The qualification of being female (which is what women are) is that you have XX chromosomes and the anatomy necessary for producing ova.
That does not mean that’s all women are, nor, by any fucking stretch of the imagination, does that mean that the only important part of a woman is her XX chromosomes or female sex specific anatomy. Like come on. All it says is that to be a woman, you must be female, and to be female, you must have XX chromosomes and female sex specific anatomy. Everything above and beyond that makes you 100% as valid as a living, breathing, living, experiencing, loving, laughing, working, struggling, thriving woman, just like any other woman on the planet. But you are still female, you are still a woman. And that is not something you can opt in or out of because biology is unchangeable.
You seem to be thinking that a person’s identity as a man or woman is the ultimate totality of their identity as a person, that there is no identity outside of being a man or a woman, or that the identities of men/women as men/women, respectively, encompass all we are and all we’ll ever be. So to you, reducing the definition of a woman down to biology means to reduce the entirety of your personhood down to biology. But that is a false and misinformed perception. We are more than our respective sexes or the gendered expectations that come tied to those. The fact that you have knit your personality and your gender into one uniform identity is not the fault of radfems or science or biology itself. And just because it threatens your perceptions/conceptions of yourself and your political movement does not mean it is inherently untrue or that it is actually the threat you perceive it to be.
Womanhood is not the sum of a person’s personality or identity. Womanhood is simply the lived experience of females, in all their multifaceted diversity.
Saying “whether or not they experience womanhood” in regard to females is meaningless. There is no womanhood but that which is experienced by females. Womanhood is not a subjective experience that can be opted in or out of. It is the experience of female people, plain and simple. Any experience of womanhood by a female is a valid experience, because it is simply that – the female experience. That’s all it is.
Now, you wanna know what does reinstate the notion that the only important part of a woman is her sexual or reproductive anatomy?