In a recent segment of the Dr. Phil show, conservative blogger Matt Walsh appeared alongside two transgender individuals in what was touted as a presentation of “both sides of the gender pronoun debate.”
Walsh recently shared part of this exchange on Twitter. In the clip, he is responding to a prior statement by one of the other guests, Addison Rose Vincent (of Break the Binary LLC), that “Trans-women are women.”
Walsh’s riposte is quite simple: he challenges the other guest to define the term “woman,” which they utterly fail to do. Watch below:
The full segment is available on Dr. Phil’s YouTube page.
The exchange is quite useful in pointing out the many ways that transgender ideology engages in a form of circular ‘reasoning’ that can barely be called logic at all; really, it is a form of doublespeak. Refusing to define “woman,” they render meaningless whatever they’re trying to say by the statement that “trans-women are women”.
Walsh says at the end of the clip that what his opponents are trying to do is “appropriate” the term “women” and the concept of “womanhood” and “turn it into basically a costume that can be worn.”
But it’s even worse that that, because even a costume has signifiers, content, and meaning. Think about it: if a child comes to your door at Halloween dressed in an “Incredible Hulk” costume, it’s probably unnecessary to ask they child what he is dressed up as; but suppose you do ask. And then the kid says, “I’m a Fireman!”
You’d probably be a bit confused; or, more accurately, you’d rightly assume that the child is confused.
What trans ideologues are really doing isn’t merely “appropriating” womanhood. Rather, they are utterly vitiating the term of its content and meaning, which is far worse. Acts of appropriation may be insensitive, or even offensive and demeaning… but at least they don’t pretend the appropriated concept doesn’t exist. But trans ideology really does pretend “womanhood” essentially doesn’t exist. Trans ideology doesn’t just appropriate what it means to be a woman, it seeks to erase women.
Both of Walsh’s interlocutors in the clip above say they cannot themselves define womanhood—that it’s not for them to say, that it looks different for everybody. To the unwary viewer (which apparently many of the applauding fools in the audience are), this might come off as a very intellectually humble and generous disavowal. It’s akin to the magnanimity of Socrates: wisest in Athens, on account of his knowing enough to recognize that there were some things he did not know.
But really, in this case, this is an statement of remarkable aggression and pride. By asserting that, whatever womanhood is, it’s “different for everybody,” trans activists don’t just disavow their own ability to define “woman;” in fact, they assert that no woman has this right. No woman can speak to the definition of womanhood. No woman can claim her experience—as an embodied female, as a daughter, or as a sister, or a wife, or a mother—as content of what it means to be a woman. That experience, by the above logic, is that particular woman’s alone and doesn’t define womanhood. After all, none of that seems to be content of the experience of “womanhood” the bearded individuals in this clip have for themselves. And so, that other woman and her experience, along with her definition of womanhood, needs to be nullified, silenced. Because trans activists are unable to define their terms, none of the rest of us are allowed to define ours, and women least of all.