That's the title of an article by author and friend Sarah Hoyt, in which she considers, in the light of the Roe v. Wade brouhaha, what it means - or should mean - to be a woman. Here are a few excerpts from a long, but very thought-provoking discourse.
... our bodies influence us, in health and illness far more than we wish to believe. The thinking meat is MEAT. We are creatures of flesh and blood, who think. We are not thoughts, trapped in the flesh and blood.
And if you ignore the needs and impulses of the flesh and blood, you’ll either lose your mind or your body.
And if you ignore them as a society, you end up with a lot of unhappy, confused, angry people, who can’t figure out what’s made them so unhappy.
On the whole subject of abortion, a friend said — and I don’t intellectually disagree — that we can’t force women to carry babies, because that’s evil. And that we can’t curtail women’s sex drive, or demand they curtail it, because that too is evil. Oh, and that all birth control fails eventually (which isn’t wrong, btw. Reproductive systems are far, far more complicated than we like to believe. Which I’ll revisit again, btw.)
But something at the back of my head piped up and bitched when she said that. It wasn’t a happy something, and it was an admission against interest, since I mostly believe we should make people as free as possible (my protest on abortion is that it involves two people, and the defenseless one gets killed, but that’s something else) and since I legitimately think nature is something to conquer. But what piped up in my mind was “But is that fighting against reality?”
This was brought into full bloom last night, on a facebook thread of Brad Torgersen’s, in which a guy came in guns blazing and said we needed abortion to be safe, convenient and as available as possible so women wouldn’t be “second class citizens.” Because if women are going to be fully equal, we need to eliminate the downsides of being a woman.
At which point the bitching at the back of my mind became a scream “But women are women. You can’t eliminate the downside of being a woman, without eliminating being a woman.”
. . .
... we are not brains, or minds, in a vacuum. We’re creatures of flesh and blood. And contra the “there’s no difference” crowd, you need only have a rudimentary knowledge of biology to know your brain, your tissues, everything were formed differently according to your sex. I don’t remember and am not in the mood to go look it up, but you start differentiating at a ridiculously early gestational point, for sure before two weeks. After that the hormone baths in utero are different, and your development is markedly different.
No, you don’t know what it’s like to be the other sex. No one does. Yes, we’re way more different than our superficial outward appearance would indicate. The longer I live the more aware I become that perhaps Heinlein was right about us really being different species who are merely symbiotic.
So when making women “not second class citizens” requires making them as free from concerns about getting pregnant as men…. are we in actual fact at war with the very fact that there are women; that women are unique and have different capabilities and different downfalls? ... Whether you consider getting pregnant a liability or a magic power, it is still an integral part of being a woman.
. . .
It seems to be worth it as a woman you have to pretend to be a male.
The push is on constantly. You’re sneered at for writing or reading romance, because it’s a thing women do. (Yes, men do it too, but the crossover on that is minuscule.) And now a lot of movies, including those billed as romantic comedy are consciously eliminating the Happily Ever After. Instead the woman decides to go off and have a career, or “learn to love myself.”
And I come back again to: Why can’t women be women? Why is it that performing the most basic and distinctive function of being female is considered being a second class citizen? Why are we all supposed to act like men?
. . .
Arguably civilization came about because women didn’t want to put out all the time and for everyone. If Ogg wanted Morga to put out, he had to make sure he was a good hunter, and could make the spears to make himself so. And no sleeping around with everyone, all the time, because he had to provide for Morga and their kids. In return, he had the assurance that Morga also wasn’t sleeping around, and their kids were THEIRS.
If women sleep around as much as men, the entire world becomes a giant gay-bathhouse. And kids are an inconvenience, or a “punishment.” Stop me when this sounds familiar.
There's much more at the link. Highly recommended reading.
These are, of course, the points that radical feminists either deny outright, or reject with contempt, or simply ignore (usually because they have no answer to them). Our natures as men or women are fundamental to who we are, how we respond to external stimuli, our roles in society, and so on. Any variation on those basics tends to be only skin deep, and only effective in a society that has enough artificial supports to make them possible.
I'm here to tell you from long and (sometimes bitter) experience: when things go badly wrong, through disaster, war, or any other crisis; when the social norms to which we're accustomed are sloughed off because there's no time or energy or infrastructure to support them any longer; the "bad old days" of society return with a vengeance. Men are once again valued for their physical strength, their willingness to defend those weaker than themselves, and their ability to provide food, clothing and shelter. Women are once again valued for their capability to nurture, to make a house into a home, to be the heart of the family rather than its head. This happens everywhere, whenever circumstances require it. It's not strange, it's not unusual - it's normal. It's not a matter of patriarchy or matriarchy, or anything in between. It's the cold, hard reality of life when it's pared down to its essentials, without any of the luxuries and social trappings that modern society uses as a fig-leaf to disguise the reality of men and women and their complementary roles as human beings.
Go read Sarah's article in full, and think about it. It's worth your time.