International Women’s Day 2023

Don’t tell me what a woman is, based entirely on what she is not

Every woman has the electromagnetic quantum power of Captain Marvel coursing through her being, writes trans comedian Jordan Gray

Tuesday 07 March 2023 21:37 GMT
<p>A woman’s body is her own</p>

A woman’s body is her own

Indy Voices has asked me what it means to be a woman in 2023. I’m honoured by that question.

2022 changed my life. 2023 shows no signs of slowing down. On 17 February, I was plonked on a motorbike and whisked across London to close the National Comedy Awards live on Channel 4. I was handed a Breakthrough Star award bigger than my couch. I took an all-female line-up to the O2. The Independent has listed me as one of the “50 Influential Women of 2023”. All the while I’m keeping a stiff upper lip, while my human rights are disputed by billionaires.

So – what does it mean to be a woman in 2023?

On any given day, I can post a picture of myself online (eating some Wotsits, perhaps?) and the comment section will be inundated with unsolicited definitions of what a woman is... based entirely on what she is NOT. “Women are not men!” “Women don’t have penises!” “Women won’t wheesht!” (which I believe to be some type of gateau?). “Women have babies!” (Tell that to the tens of thousands suffering with infertility.) “You can’t just say you ‘feel’ like a woman!” (Nobody tell Shania Twain...) Either way, it’s all a bit Debbie Downer. So, since you ask, I’d love to throw my own definition of a woman into the ring:

A woman doesn’t define herself by what she’s not.

A woman endures. A woman takes a licking and keeps on kicking. In 2023, a woman is angry – and has the power to channel that anger with incredible effect. A good woman looks before she aims.

A woman is strong. Infinitely more so than a man. A woman knows that pain and change are forgone conclusions. A woman’s body is her own.

A woman in 2023 shares her mantle with the England Lionesses, Michelle Yeoh, and the inimitable Sandi Toksvig. Women are the very best of us. Women move history forward. Every woman has the electromagnetic quantum power of Captain Marvel coursing through her being.

A woman thrives, independent of the criticism she faces. A woman’s rights can never be taken away. A woman has the powerful choice to reflect the very best or the very worst of the world. And in either case, that choice is hers.

Or it might just mean “an adult human female with a vagina!”

Call me biased, but I prefer my definition.

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