It’s funny about the hostility generated in some quarters about Jenni Murray’s recent writings. Some people seem to think that persons like me are trying to ‘re-define’ the nature of womanhood in order to make it fit personal circumstances.
Well, I have to say I’ve never tried to re-define anything, let alone what the word ‘woman’ (or its derivative terms) means. This is mainly because the more defined something becomes, the more restrictive it is. Hence me wrestling over definitions is a self-defeating activity. When it comes to definitions the dictionary really doesn’t help much (because of social semantic drift), and society’s discourse tends to thankfully leave much definition ‘woolly’, if understandable. Most of us go about through our days not worrying much about definitions, since context and usage tends to lend enough meaning for us to get by. The language game is enough.
So why the big upset over my use of ‘woman’ to refer to myself? In effect, it’s not me that has the problem. I’m pretty flexible over use of the word. But Jenni Murray (and her fellow-travellers) are masquerading their lack of confidence in themselves by assuming my use of the term is some sort of threat to their socio-political identity. Methinks the noise they make says more about themselves than about such as little ol’ me.
Oh, and by the way, when circumstances arise where I have to think about my identity, I’ve always thought of myself as doing no more than carving myself a niche in the female domain. That’s good enough for me. It’s my niche, and I don’t necessarily expect anyone else to have to live there with me.
But I guess if you’re unhappy in living with uncertainty then perhaps I’m causing you existential panic?
PS: Of course, one could say my very existence tends to ‘re-define’ issues. But that’s not my problem.