top of page


What does it mean to be a woman in 2023?

By Ellen Highwater

Women of the world, it’s the 8th of March! Let us celebrate International Women’s Day 2023 and see what marvellous and dazzling women’s achievements are being highlighted by our governments, media and corporations.

Hersheys chose to feature Fae Johnstone in their IWD campaign ‘Her She’ (get it?). I mean, who knows, maybe it was a stroke of marketing genius to use a fake woman to promote fake chocolate.

The Biden administration invited a trans identified male, Alba Rueda, to the White House to receive an International Woman of Courage award.

And closer to home, Jeremy Corbyn celebrated women who changed the world through protest. Including Marsha P Johnson and Sylvia Rivera. Someone needs to explain to Jeremy that even a Magic Grandpa cannot turn men into women.

So far, so bad, but none of this compares to the Independent’s offering to their female readers who obviously need a man to explain what it means to be a woman in 2023. Luckily, they had the penis pianist Jordan Gray on hand to help us all out.

I’ll spare you having to read the article as I really don’t want to support the Indy with clicks for dicks - it will only encourage them.

So, allow me to unpick some of Jordan’s manly musings on what a woman is.

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

Jordan gets a hard agree from me on this one. Indeed, it’s why I and many other women left the green party after they referred to us as ‘non-men.’

A woman endures. A woman takes a licking and keeps on kicking.’

Aside from the violent imagery this is just trite. Some women are broken by male violence and oppression, some don’t survive at all. No woman needs to ‘take a licking’ to prove her female credentials.

In 2023 a woman is angry and has the power to channel that anger with incredible effect.

Other than the singular use of ‘woman’ Jordan is right, women are bloody angry. We’re angry because men are colonising our language, our spaces and our rights. However, not all women have power or can channel their anger e.g. the sportswomen who lose out to mediocre males, missing out on college places as well as medals.

We’re angry that lesbians now have to meet in secret, because governments such as those in Tasmania and Canada have ruled that women only gatherings are illegal. We’re angry because girls are forced to share toilets and showers with boys at school, and we’re angry because there is no longer a single space we’re allowed to call our own.

The women in Afghanistan and Iran would no doubt love to identify out of their oppression but their anger can never be a match for the Taliban overlords armed with guns. So yes, we’re angry, in fact we’re fucking furious that men have appropriated womanhood and reduced it to some kind of pornified, misogynistic clownface with high heels and glitter.

And we’re even angrier that national newspapers, TV channels and global corporations applaud and pay them for it.

A good woman looks before she aims.’

I can only assume this is a reference to Jordan’s ability to hit the porcelain. Actual women don’t need to worry about this – we just sit down.

A woman is strong. Infinitely more so than a man.

Again, inane bollocks. Literally. Jordan might as well tell us we need to Live, Laugh, Love. Women are physically weaker than men, but we win hands down at growing and birthing babies. It’s the reason we have separate sports categories.

Psychologically, some women are stronger than men, others are broken by male violence or by living in a society that gaslights them by asking them to call their rapists she/her in court, or by saying things like men make better women because ‘their tits will never shrink and they do anal by default.’ The spirit of Bernard Manning lives on, only this time he’s wearing fake tits and lipstick.

Every woman has the electromagnetic quantum power of Captain Marvel coursing through her being.

Really? A woman with dementia in a care home, a woman locked up on a psychiatric ward with abusive men, the girls subjected to CSE, homeless women, trafficked women? Do these women have Captain Marvel coursing through their bloodstream?

Interesting that Jordan chose a male superhero too, almost like it’s his default setting. Some have argued that Captain Marvel is now a woman so that isn’t a fair comment but I’m old enough to remember Captain Marvel as a bloke and we all know men can’t change sex. No-one can, not even superheroes.

A woman thrives independent of the criticism she faces.

Well some do (looking at you, J K Rowling) and some don’t.

Some lose their livelihoods for speaking up about safeguarding of children or women’s entitlement to single sex spaces. Some are silenced by economic fear or legal threats. Some women are destroyed by the criticism, their reputations shredded, and some come back from that. We don’t hear much about the ones who don’t, nor the ones who are silenced with non-disclosure agreements.

Meanwhile a man who rubs his knob on a keyboard live on TV is elevated to ever more dizzying heights, headlining at the London Palladium and receiving comedy award nominations galore, despite the complaints and criticism rained upon Channel 4 for his lewd display.

A woman’s rights can never be taken away.’

I’m sure those reassuring words from Jordan will be such a comfort to the women and girls of Afghanistan who literally just had all of their rights taken away (does Jordan ever watch the news?) Not to mention all those women in the US and around the world who can no longer access safe abortion or contraceptive care.

Perhaps Jordan could go to Afghanistan and explain to the Taliban that they aren’t allowed to take women’s rights away. I’d be happy to contribute to a crowdfunder for his airfares.

A woman has the very powerful choice to reflect the very best or the very worst of the world.

Not all women have choices, Jordan, but your choice to commit indecent exposure on live TV whilst singing a misogynist ditty definitely does not reflect the very best of the world, it just reflects your very powerful male entitlement and lack of respect for actual women.

Or it might just mean ‘an adult human female with a vagina.

Yes, Jordan, yes! That’s what woman means.

Strong, weak, bad, good, intelligent, stupid, right wing, left wing, centrist, all ages, all colours, all abilities & none. All women and girls, all human females, none with penises.

All of us women who deserve far better than some dick waving narcissist trying to tell us how to be a woman on the one day of the year we were supposed to have to ourselves.

bottom of page