What is a ‘real woman’?

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There seems to be an epidemic of otherwise intelligent, respectful, feminist people suddenly blurting out that trans women “aren’t real women.”

Dame Jenni Murray did it last week, with the host of BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour writing a Sunday Times Magazine column entitled “Be trans, be proud — but don’t call yourself a ‘real woman’”.

She suggested that trans women can never be “real women” because they experience male privilege before they transition.

Over the weekend, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, who wrote the brilliant We Should All Be Feminists – part of which was included in Beyoncé’s video for Flawless – made a similar misstep.

When asked if “trans women are women” the Nigerian writer said that her “feeling is trans women are trans women,” and that experiencing male privilege made trans women different.

And, earlier this year, more than 17,000 people signed a petition to stop Germaine Greer from speaking at the Dome in Brighton on International Women’s Day.

In the past Greer has spoken out against “man’s delusion that he is female”, claiming trans women are “some kind of ghastly parody” who will never be women because they don’t know what it’s like to have a “big, hairy, smelly vagina”.

It’s really very simple.

No-one switches gender.

Being misgendered and living in the wrong body is not a privilege.

Trans women are women. Trans women are women.

For anyone who’s still confused, here are some things which are not women:

1 This pot of red paint

2 This menu of delicious drinks has not chosen a gender for itself

3 This kick-ass flag

4 The gate above the entrance to Anfield is not female

5 This guitar has been signed by many people but does not itself have a gender

6 Nope, that’s the French island of Corsica

7 This is a sculpture of a park bench, not a woman

8 These fireworks at the Nordic World Ski Championships are genderless

9 These brussel sprouts? Nope, try again

10 This cocktail involving whisky and amaretto is neither male nor female

11 A Dominican Republic baseball hat and glove

This, however, is a real woman

So is she

And they are too

Also, anyone who self-defines as a woman. Got it?

The author of this article is a cis man – and a proud feminist.