What Makes Me a Woman?

Posted on | July 9, 2011 | 40 Comments |

What makes me a woman?

Is it because I have a cunt? No, that can’t be right. Buck Angel has a cunt, and he’s very definitely a man!

Is it because I have the potential to create life inside me? It’s not that either. I’ve been sterilised, so no babies are growing in this womb. And sperm makes life just as much as eggs do.

Is it because I have boobs? Well that’s just silly. Tethys has boobs, and a cock as well. Mmmm.

Is it because I wear make-up? If so I’m only a woman a few times a year! And Tim Minchin is a woman every night…

Is it because I shave under my arms? But I don’t – I have wonderful fur under there, all silky and soft.

Is it because I don’t have hair on my chin? But I do! It’s not my favourite body hair, granted, but it’s very determined to grow.

Is it because I have long hair on my head? My hair style currently is shorter than Apollo’s, than Hylas’, and than Adonis’. So it’s not that.

Is it because I wear satin and lace and pretty underthings? Everyone who wants to wear pretty lingerie should be able to do so. More than one of my lovers does so quite often! Me, I’m in cotton a good 50% of the time, because I like how it feels.

Is is because I am attracted to men? Well, I do like the cock, but cocks can come on women. And I like the cunt, and cunts can come on men. Mostly, I like the people first, and the genitalia second. Hooray for being pansexual!

Is it because I read romance books? Depends on how you define romance. I have more erotica, more science fiction, more non-fiction, more fantasy, more thriller, more comics, and more mysteries. But there’s some romance in there, I guess. And Apollo reads them too.

Is it because I am a slut? Silly! Sluts can be of any gender at all.

Is it because I can be raped? Well, I can. But anyone can be raped, unfortunately. Gender makes no difference there.

Is it because I write with ‘a woman’s voice’? Apparently not. The Gender Genie picked my writing as ‘male’ more often than ‘female’, over 5 blog posts.

Is it because I have periods? When I had the Mirena IUD, I didn’t bleed for five years. In a decade or so when I go through menopause, I won’t bleed. It won’t change my gender.

Is it because other people label me as a woman when they look at me? I don’t know. Is it? It’s a pretty poor reason, if so. Jiz Lee (breasts and cunt) isn’t a woman. Hylas (long hair and pretty underthings) isn’t a woman. So why am I?


It’s a stumper, this question. There must be something that makes me a woman. Something more than how I am perceived by others as I walk down the street.  But what is the answer? What makes me a woman?


I do have one answer. So far as I am concerned, it’s the only answer:

I am a woman because I have chosen to identify as one.

And that’s all that matters, really.


Written for the Gender Celebration Blog Carnival, with the theme ‘Living Gender‘. Go check out the rest!

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40 Responses to “What Makes Me a Woman?”

  1. the bedroom blogger
    July 10th, 2011 @ 5:15 am

    I love this. Thank you.

  2. Dangerous Lilly
    July 10th, 2011 @ 5:45 am

    Very thought provoking post, I like this. And boy does it really make that whole past-generation saying “…..that’s not very ladylike!” a load of hooey. But wtf do they know. I think that this revelation that gender is in your brain is new. I mean it’s old, but yet…it’s new. At least to us, and Americans in particular.

  3. Justine Cross
    July 10th, 2011 @ 7:12 am

    Very thought provoking post. I often wonder the same thing. Even though as I present as very FEMME, I find I feel “masculine” sometimes this means being dominant (which is also another discussion how masculinity translates to dominance) but also because I love having a strap-on cock! Thanks for posting and all the links :)

  4. Dee
    July 10th, 2011 @ 6:02 pm

    Thank you all for your responses :)

    Hylas said to me, once he’d read the draft of this post: “The question then becomes ‘how or why have you chosen to identify as a woman?'” Which is a good deal more complex to answer – and leads me to wonder why we (the generic ‘we’) feel the need for gender identities at all!

    xx Dee

  5. Lady Grinning Soul
    July 10th, 2011 @ 9:06 pm

    I never “chose” to identify as a woman; but I know exactly what you mean.

    Personally I’m woman because, well, I just am.

    (Although I have a lot of loved, cherished and nurtured masculine facets; but often they are all the more fun for coming from my female self.)

  6. Ellie
    July 11th, 2011 @ 5:16 am

    I like the question that Hylas presented to you. Of course you are right that it is very complicated to answer. Thanks for this post and for participating in the Carnival. You always have something clever to say.

  7. Dee
    July 11th, 2011 @ 8:37 am

    LGS, I’m inclined to say the same thing. I am ’cause I am. But I’m sure there’s probably more to it than that … I just need to figure out what it is!

    Ellie, thank you so much for setting up this carnival. It’s been awesome to participate.

    xx Dee

  8. Cereal Stray
    July 11th, 2011 @ 5:59 pm

    Estrogen! That is why I am a woman. I’m also lacking a Y chromosome.

  9. viemoira
    July 12th, 2011 @ 4:36 am

    Excellent post Dee! :)

  10. Dee
    July 12th, 2011 @ 9:24 am

    Cereal Stray, that assumes that ‘woman’ is purely biological, due to the hormones and chromosomes. I really don’t think it is that simple.

    Thanks, vie!

    xx Dee

  11. Cereal Stray
    July 12th, 2011 @ 9:55 am

    I’d like to think it wasn’t that simple but frankly, if they sucked out my estrogen and pumped me full of testosterone, I’d grow penis, chest hair and lose my ability to communicate almost immediately.

    I imagine intersex people should enter into the debate somewhere however?

  12. Scar
    July 14th, 2011 @ 8:30 pm

    This is great. Thank you for writing this. Was it perhaps inspired by my comments on The Lady Garden?

    When I say this is great, however, it pissed me off that people only seem to listen to things like this when they are said by cis women, like you.
    When a trans woman, like me, say them, I get ignored.
    Still, it’s good that you wrote this.

  13. Moz
    July 15th, 2011 @ 12:19 pm

    Dee, the “claimed identity” definition is problematic because it closes off debate and ignores motivations. Which creates backlash, like the MWMF “has realistic female genitals” nonsense, and empowers trolls and idiots playing the “you have to let me in, I identify as a woman” card.

    Remember, if we have to disregard all the hints from biology and behaviour in favour of only using identity, the only way to tell is by asking what that identity is. You’re ruling out things like a T shirt saying “I am a woman” because that’s just an outward physical trapping.

    I prefer the “walks like a duck” approximation, subject to later self-identification. Partly for pragmatic reasons as identity is something I have to ask about and that gets tedious (and some people find it offensive). I suspect Scar would react badly to being asked whether she identifies as a woman, despite her comments above.

  14. Dee
    July 15th, 2011 @ 5:16 pm

    Scar, thank you for commenting. My post wasn’t directly inspired by your comments over on TLG, although it was definitely part of the swirl that percolated in my brain before writing. I take your point well that writing about this issue and others is often only noted when said by a cis-woman, however I do feel strongly it needs saying regardless.

    Moz, I am inclined to take ‘claimed identify’ as the primary way of identifying, with other trappings then adding to that definition. I identify as a woman, and that should be enough. It helps that I have chromosonal, biological, hormonal and social indicators that agree with my definition of self – but identify, IMO, should be the first step.

    (And re the MWMF, I strongly disagree with their requirement that only WBW can attend. But that’s a whole different kettle.)

    xx Dee

  15. Dee
    July 15th, 2011 @ 5:43 pm

    Cereal, your second comment was remarkably offensive, not to mention full of stereotypes. If I was pumped full of testosterone I’d still be a woman, because I choose to identify as one. I wouldn’t ‘grow a penis’ (although my clitoris would enlarge). I already have chest hair. And I would still be able to both speak and write, not to mention communicate non-verbally.

    Buck Angel is an excellent example of a ‘lacking Y chromosome’ person who is indeed pumped full of testosterone. I strongly recommend you read up on him.

    It sounds to me, based upon your comments here, that you are short of knowledge about these issues. They have been written about by trans and intersex people elsewhere online, rather extensively, and I recommend you do some self-education before commenting further here.

  16. Cereal Stray
    July 16th, 2011 @ 9:09 am

    Dee, after all my years of living and working with femme boys, butch girls and unhappy trannies, I’ve learnt one thing about the gender debate…your best bet is just to crack a joke and move on! It is fraught.

    I am woman because I have estrogen. That’s all. If it was taken away I would change. YOU (or anyone else) can be woman (or man or martian) for whatever reason works for you.

    I know, terrible to make light of an issue so many hold dear.

  17. Miss Magenta
    July 17th, 2011 @ 6:32 pm

    This entry makes me want to squee- so wonderfully written and yes, we are women because we chose to identify as women :) Honestly, I’ve never heard it being put in a better way than that. Gender identity is a massive spectrum I’ve found and no, there is no black and white to it. I will admit that early on in my life, due to not knowing the ins and outs of what a transperson goes through, the concept of having genitalia different to the gender identity was a bit beyond me (ie, my frame of mind was ‘Well, if you’re going to identify as something, you’d go the whole hog wouldn’t you?’) however looking at people like Buck Angel and even Tethys who are proud of what they have is inspiring and shows that gender identity goes far beyond genes and chromosomes.

    Have you read Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides? I’m reading it right now and it is fantastic- such a heartwarming story that deals with this issue beautifully.

    xx MM

  18. Mistress160
    July 18th, 2011 @ 2:38 pm

    Thank you :)

  19. Dee
    July 19th, 2011 @ 11:15 am

    MM, your comment was awesome and much appreciated! I haven’t read Middlesex, but thanks to your recommendation I am going to pick up a copy.

    Mistress160, you’re very welcome.

    xx Dee

  20. Scar
    July 19th, 2011 @ 7:02 pm

    Cereal, your use of ‘trannies’ is offensive. It is a slur. Do not use it if you are not trans.
    Also, you might try working with some happy trans PEOPLE, there are a lot of us out there.
    Your entire argument is bunk. Hormones do not make someone a man or woman, else all women post menopause have no gender, likewise trans women and men who don’t take hormonal treatment are not really their chosen gender.
    In the words of 7 of 9: “This is offensive.”
    (also irrelevant, and unacceptable)

  21. Kyle
    July 20th, 2011 @ 5:20 am

    Wonderful post, and wonderful defense of your standpoint. I’m also of the belief that self-identification trumps all. As for that being difficult for others to understand, that’s not my immediate problem.

    I have breasts, a cunt, have been pregnant twice and given birth once and my driver’s license says I’m female. That doesn’t tell the whole picture for me, however. Despite all that, I know I am also a man and no amount of clinical testing is going to convince me otherwise. People who don’t get it, don’t get it, but that doesn’t make it any less real.

    And I love that t-shirt graphic :-)

  22. Dee
    July 26th, 2011 @ 8:27 am

    Kyle, I think you hit the nail with this ‘ People who don’t get it, don’t get it, but that doesn’t make it any less real.’ So true!

    xx Dee

  23. sam
    September 19th, 2011 @ 9:26 am

    definitely makes sense as an answer. it is the choice to identify as a woman that makes you a woman.

    just like it’s the desire to be a singer that makes you a singer, or anything else.

    nice article…

  24. Dee
    September 19th, 2011 @ 1:14 pm

    Thanks for reading and commenting sam. I really do think that only choosing to own a label makes that label stick.

    xx Dee

  25. Nathan Stang
    October 13th, 2011 @ 9:53 am

    I love this post. Choosing your sex, very interesting concept!

  26. Dee
    October 15th, 2011 @ 8:59 am

    Thanks for commenting Nathan – I’m glad people are still finding this post and finding it interesting!

    xx Dee

  27. Ben Knotts
    June 13th, 2012 @ 2:30 pm

    Well this was a very provocative post. Thanks for posting it.

    In the spirit of good conversation, what do you think of processing your logic a bit?

    The logic of your post bothers me because it makes it appear that simply because you choose to identify yourself as something that is morally good – in and of itself.

    So basically a person can identify themselves as a dog, a cat, a hamster, or a car – and it is morally good. If you can dismiss the biological foundations for what objectively defines a woman – why can’t you also dismiss the biological foundation for what objectively defines these animals to say you are one of them?

    Would not a psychologist then tell them that they have a disorder, and would they not teach them that they are wrong when they say they are these things?

    If you have no objective basis to define what a woman is – then in the end, it means nothing at all to be a woman, which destroys the value that half of the world population uniquely holds.

    You say you can be a woman simply because you think you are a woman? A square can’t be a circle because they objective definitions, and when there are no objective basis to define a word, the word then has no meaning.

    So – your logic defeats the purpose of the post, to espouse the value of women because the logic of the post makes being a woman mean nothing at all.

    That’s my take – but I’m glad we are free to respectfully disagree, friend.


  28. Tranonymous
    June 13th, 2012 @ 3:48 pm

    Hi Ben,
    First I’d like to address your use of the word ‘logic’ here. I popped over to your blog and checked out your bio, which informed me that you’re an evangelical Christian.
    Believing in supernatural beings is widely regarded as having no logical basis, so I find the hypocrisy of an evangelical theist calling someone’s gender identity ‘illogical’ to be a bit hard to swallow.

    Your use of dogs, cats, hamster and cars as examples is also fraught with problems, from a logic perspective. A human being has a roughly 50% chance of being born male or female, but has a zero percent chance of being born a dog, a cat, a hamster or a car. It is, in fact, impossible for a human being to be born one of those things.
    Your argument therefore, is logically flawed.

    I also find the argument of “if you have no objective basis to define what a woman is… it means nothing at all to be a woman” to be equally fraught with problems. Since you are a Christian, let me use that as an example, as it will be easier for you to understand.
    Do Christians not self-identify? If someone is not a Christian by your standards of Christianity (but still calls themselves one), does that then render your own identity as a Christian invalid? Does being a Christian mean nothing at all if some of the other self-identified Christians do not meets your standards?
    I would guess that it doesn’t. In fact, in any case where someone identifies as belong to a group (be it a nationality, ethnicity, belief system, culture or activity), their identity is not invalidated by others claiming that identity too. If I watch netball once a year and claim to be a netball fan, does that invalidate other netball fans?
    I don’t think so.

    Your claim of ‘logic’ is anything but. Your bias is pretty cut-and-dried here, because any rigorous self-examination of your own beliefs in context with what you have said here shows it under a glaring spotlight.
    I don’t have an issue with you believing that there is an omnipotent being who created and controls the universe, but you seem to have an issue with me believing there was some kind of biological mix-up in utero prior to my birth, which led to a doctor declaring my gender incorrectly after a 5 second examination of my genitals once I had exited my mother.

    If I were an unfair person, I could most certainly claim that my belief is by far the more rational and reasonable – but thankfully I’m not; so I instead believe that our beliefs are equally valid.
    I’ll make a deal with you Ben; you don’t attack my beliefs and I won’t attack yours.
    Does that sound fair? Does that sound like something a reasonable, compassionate, balanced and fair human being would agree to?
    I don’t think there is any need to disagree; I think we can hold our respective views without treading on each other’s toes.

    How about you?

  29. Ben Knotts
    June 13th, 2012 @ 5:49 pm

    Thanks for the response! :)

    I want you to address the question I posed to you, which is simply this:

    How can you say you are a woman – if you have no objective basis for what a woman is?

    If there is no objective basis by which to say you are or are not a woman – how can you then say you are a woman because you choose to be a woman?

    If there is no definition to quality or disquality what a woman is – how do you then quality yourself if you disqualify any objective basis for it?

    That is a contradiction – which is illogical be Webster’s own definition.

    Thanks. I hope to hear a response.

    – Ben

  30. Tranonymous
    June 13th, 2012 @ 6:00 pm

    Hi Ben,

    You did not in fact pose that question in your original post.

    Can first I ask what you’re hoping to get out of this conversation? Because I’m not convinced that your motives here are altruistic or entirely wholesome.

    What brings you to this site, Ben?

  31. Ben Knotts
    June 13th, 2012 @ 6:13 pm

    Thanks for asking and responding.

    Honestly – I mean you no harm, and it is not my intent to antagonize, condemn, or demonize you.

    I am generally interested.

    Additionally – I did pose that question – albeit not as clear as I had hoped. So please accept my kind regards to you for being unclear.

    So this is the question:

    1. How can you define yourself to be a woman when you reject any objective definition of what a woman is?

    2. If you do have an objective definition of what a woman is – please share it so I can better understand your post.

    Thanks again.

  32. Tranonymous
    June 13th, 2012 @ 6:25 pm


    I have not told you how I identify and I’m not going to. That’s private.

    If you are generally interested, there are plenty of transgender specific websites out there.

    I recommend starting here: http://tranarchism.com/2010/11/26/not-your-moms-trans-101/

  33. Ben Knotts
    June 13th, 2012 @ 6:56 pm

    Thanks for writing me. :)

    Look what you said here:

    ” What makes me a woman? I do have one answer. …I am a woman because I have chosen to identify as one.”

    So what objective definition are you using to define the word “woman” that you are conforming to when you choose to be a “woman?”

    Your whole blog post is a rejection of traditional understandings of what a “woman” is – but you tell your readers you choose to be a “woman” without showing how it is different than what you have dismissed.


    You argue against an objective definition for “woman” in your article –

    – then you say you are choosing to conform to be an objective definition of “woman” at the end of your article.

    So a definition is necessary to know what you are objectively choosing to be when you say you have “chosen to identify as (a woman).”

    So i’m just repeating what you already have asked but did not answer in your own blog:

    “What makes (you) a woman?”

    I know you say you choose to be a “woman” but that still does not tell me “What makes (you) a woman?”

    Please answer the question you proposed.

    Thanks again for talking with me.

  34. Tranonymous
    June 13th, 2012 @ 7:22 pm


    You are confusing me with the author of the post, Dee.

    I am not Dee. I am a different person, someone who reads Dee’s blog and who saw this in the ‘recent comments’ section.

  35. Ben Knotts
    June 13th, 2012 @ 7:37 pm

    lol Well – apologies but all of my questions and statements have been directed to the author so I can better understand the argument she is making.

    I’ll cordially decline further conversation with you because I have only engaged into this discussion to have her elaborate on her work.

    Thanks for the conversation, and I hope we encounter each other again some other time in a less combative (for lack of a better word) forum. Thanks again.

    Restatement of Question for the author:

    1. How can you define yourself to be a woman when you reject any objective definition of what a woman is?

    2. If you do have an objective definition of what a woman is – please share it so your readers and I can better understand your conclusion for what you say it means to be a woman.

    3. Thus – so we will know what you are choosing to be when you choose to identify yourself as a woman.

    Thanks again.

  36. Dee
    June 22nd, 2012 @ 3:01 pm

    Hi Ben, and thank you for posting such a provocative comment (I am referring to your original comment, here). I say provocative because phrases such as ‘morally good’ are very loaded – as are applying ‘values’. I am very curious about what bought you to my site, and whether you read this post in context with my many other postings, or if it stands alone for you.

    There are many basis for what ‘woman’ can be defined as. I wouldn’t call any of them objective, although they all come from different perspectives, and some are regarded scientifically. All have some bias, however. I am aware of my biases, as much as possible. Are you aware of yours?

    I am I am a woman simply because I think I am a woman. Yes, I do. ‘Woman’ is far more than physical biology – a woman can have a penis (some do). A woman can produce more testosterone than is perceived as ‘normal’ (some do). A woman can have facial hair (I do). What’s on the outside is considerably less important than what’s on the inside.

    No, I have no objective definition of what a woman is. I don’t work in objectives – and why should I? The world isn’t objective, it’s subjective. And as a writer, and as a subjective, biased, perceptual person, everything I see is coloured. I know and am aware of that, and try to see people as they choose to be seen.

    Your comments, in responding to Tranonymous, have skated perilously close to trolling. Are you genuinely interested in hearing what people have to say? Or only in pushing your own, subjective, agenda?


  37. Dumb Domme
    June 22nd, 2012 @ 3:37 pm

    @Ben: “then in the end, it means nothing at all to be a woman, which destroys the value that half of the world population uniquely holds.”

    Your logic in half of a population holding a “unique” identify doesn’t work for me. Half of all people can’t hold the same uniqueness (it would cease being unique).

    As for “objective definitions,” I’m not sure there are such things. There are people who defy “objective standards” all over the place. Besides that, the very standards on which we/people/society “define” things are subjective–some person determined them, someone else wrote it down, etc. etc. People made the standards, and people are subjective.

    Even if there were some agreed-upon set of standards and measures for what defines a woman, what good are they? What value do they hold? To whom?

    (sorry for all the quotation marks–just trying to acknowledge that we don’t all define words we use the same way–what you/I see as “unique,” “valuable” and “woman” may not be the same thing someone else sees)

  38. Fred
    June 22nd, 2012 @ 7:51 pm

    I can’t resist commenting here.

    Society at large puts labels on people, that’s what is happening here, some of you are labelling people.

    Problem is you either have the wrong label, or maybe you need more than one label but I rather think that you don’t need a label at all.

    Gender varies. I had a work colleague who was male Monday to Friday but Saturday and Sunday she was female.

    We are all just people and we are what we are.

  39. Sam
    June 22nd, 2012 @ 10:47 pm

    LOVE this post xxxx

  40. Dee
    June 29th, 2012 @ 10:50 am

    DumbDomme and Fred – I am so glad you added your thoughts as well (we really are just all people, too true!).

    Sam, welcome! I love your comics, so it’s a treat to have you visiting :)

    xx Dee


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