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Cambridge Dictionary Redefines "Woman"

Instead of farming out our arguments to institutions aligned with transgender ideology, we should make the forthright case that men are men, women are women, and that the consensus of civilizations immemorial has more wisdom than the Cambridge Dictionary.

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(Ink Drop/Shutterstock)

On Monday, Chris Rufo noticed that Cambridge Dictionary updated its definition of the word "woman" to include "an adult who lives and identifies as female though they may have been said to have a different sex at birth." It also added two new model sentences—"She was the first trans woman elected to a national office," and "[M]ary is a woman who was assigned male at birth"—neither of which describes a woman. (A "trans woman" is just a man, and, unless the doctor who "assigned" him "male at birth" was blind, "[M]ary" is a man, too.)

The revision is meant to disarm conservative appeals to "the dictionary definition" of male and female in the wake of Matt Walsh's What Is a Woman? documentary. It's bad, of course, that Cambridge changed the definition for ideological purposes, but it should have been obvious to conservatives that appealing to dictionary definitions was a doomed strategy. These dictionaries are staffed by people who would sooner change the meaning of a word than see it used to serve conservative ends, especially on an issue like transgenderism. Conquest's Second Law holds that any institution not explicitly right-wing will eventually become left-wing, and if it holds for the Department of Defense, it certainly holds for a two-bit internet dictionary.

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It is also an object lesson in the need to stop appealing to "the science" or "biology" on transgenderism—not because our position is unscientific, or because scientific inquiry is evil as such, but because scientific institutions have been captured by the same people who foisted transgenderism on our schools, hospitals, and federal government. Many biologists would sooner abandon biology than see their work be used by the wrong people for the wrong ends. It is a mistake to rest our arguments on the consensus of biologists when there is little chance such a consensus holds as an activist generation enters the field.

Instead of farming out our arguments to institutions aligned with transgender ideology, we should make the forthright case that men are men, women are women, and that the consensus of civilizations immemorial has more wisdom than the Cambridge Dictionary.

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