What is She?

How many methods of discovery do we employ in our investigations? The limits of knowing what question s to ask can help or hinder any investigation. Who am I is who I am? My name is not my being; what is in a name? A load of dog shit by any other would still smell badly. To discover is not to uncover but simply to enforce the opposite of covering. As disrespect is other than simply not respecting; it is to be rude toward or insulting to. To discover is to leave open, to disallow any covering by anyone other than the one who discovers, particularly the natives in the age of discovery which was the prelude to colonialism. How much woman is she when she is a woman, who do we call a woman, what is woman, not women? Again, she is; this woman or that woman. Yes, is. Period (the punctuation mark, not her recurring biological condition). Whether named or unnamed, she is. If she suffers amnesia, she is. If she is living in an Islamist state under the subjugation of men–and I have no delusions that virtually all Muslim societies are misogynistic. I will  not equivocate; women i the west must not also.

Hamlet’s soliloquy is also every woman’s soliloquy. She is not further removed from Hamlet’s Cartesian inquiry than I am because she is a woman and I am a man. Yes, historically men have discovered women, and in this discovering, women have been disallowed from asserting any covering of themselves by themselves or for themselves. Now, the history of anonymous is the history of woman; or is it that the history of woman is the history of anonymity? Women are what, are who? Any woman is anonymous, thus woman, we can say without the determiner ‘a’ or ‘the,’ and without the plural, yes, woman is anonymous. She is in anonymity, anonymity a place history has reserved for woman, and that’s history whether it is written or unwritten, irrespective of whether or not there is a historiography to support it in the way all historiography has a way of aping Moses descent from Sinai.

How much is left unknown at the end of a relationship? How much do the happiest spouses really know about one another. A lover dies, a spouse is put in her tomb and who was she? No one was; the one who is not who she will be when she becomes who she was. But traditionally woman has remained a modified man in the collective unconscious of men. In this, women are parts, not a wholes, except of course in the homophonic, holes. Yes, in many societies a woman is a hole.

Women are . . . what? No, once more I demand that they are not what, but who. So then, Who are they? ‘They’ is too big to manage. As I am we, woman is they, this woman here now in front of me with a world of inquiry and response between us, potentially, is . . . . This ‘they’ is encompassed by the she we use for her, this one and only woman who is herself and every woman as well, both, yet sometimes neither, sometimes someone else. All the time who she is whenever she is anyone she is, all the masks we wear, she can wear; all the parts we play, the players we are–in the sense Shakespeare asserts in the mouth of Jacques in As You Like It: all her world is a stage.

They are; she is; women and woman. They, them, those people, women. We know no one, not really–who do we know. Do we know the people whose minds we cannot know completely, whose lives have been lived independently of ours, whose eyes we do not see the world through, whose shoes we do not wear, whose ears we do not hear with, listen with. What? Who do we know? How much of our selves in the Self remain hidden? How can we know anyone? So how could we know any woman? Every woman is macrocosm to all women; each herself larger than the part she plays in women.

Who is she, again, the question gets asked and asked, and oftentimes asked without the intention of waiting for an answer, a particularly annoying contemporary trait we have all acquired. But how many of us avoid asking any question like this at all? Responses are not answers; I’ve asserted this before in other essays. There are plenty of responses we give, we feign attachment to or connection with, but the answers we seek–do not answer a question with a question she used to say, a woman I once knew. No question is an answer, yet we offer questions as answers, responding as we do not with the rhetorical questions that answer, but the questions in responses that avoid answering. Everything to avoid answering. Irrespective of any answer to any question, She is. To respond is not to answer but to put again, to place once more, and once again I assert that she is, and in this is becomes a macrocosm to every group or category she belongs.  To put once more is a placement nonetheless, it is a choice of arrangement.

A woman is should be the first line of discussion when any thought of her right to choose anything arises. In her is, there is no longer any subtracting devices such as who, what, when, where, how or even why. None of these questions are pertinent or relevant to her inalienable right to choose. There should be no equivocation for anyone sane enough to want to save a woman from the unnecessary horrors that existed before Roe versus Wade. I’ve said this in essays before, and I will reiterate it again and again in essays to come. There were horrors before the law got behind a woman’s right to choose; curtain rods and all that sort of letting the air in.  I’ll never forget the end of Goddard’s Masculin et Femminin, or Hemmingway’s “Hills Like White Elephants,” where the word abortion is never mentioned, just oblique references to curtain rods or letting in the air.

This is not to say–what is or is not to say? What am I saying? How can I say anything for her? How can I not? How can I afford to disallow myself the ability to speak rationally for woman, to speak rationally for liberty, for humanity, for civil rights, for human rights? Defending a woman’s rights is an obligation I take seriously, which sometimes sounds as if the one asserting the severity of the responsiblity misses the point. I assure you I do not, but then who am I to you or for you? It is the obligation of every human to defend human rights. If we ever get to a place where I cannot speak for Woman’s Rights because I am a man, then we are lost.

There will always be dilemmas for her, even if aborting an embryo is legally sanctioned. This is not to say that legally sanctioning abortion is a fool’s errand. To each woman her own personhood, her own psychology rooted in her biology, her physiology and her experiences? She has reason; she is capable of reasoning, of being rational or irrational; capable of being passionate or dispassionate. She will have different levels of education, different jobs or careers; her income will vary, as will her home situation, her relationship status, her religion, and so on and so on. But the roller coaster she rides will be hers to ride  when and where she chooses. To decide or not to decide should be her question and hers alone. I have shifted gears quickly.

Now, if Roe versus Wade were a complete fabrication, if it were a docudrama, would that mean that the majority ruling was somehow made weaker, argumentatively?  Would the truth of it, whether true or not in the most pedantic sense of trueness become other than true?  Roe versus Wade is just as strong in support of pro-choice whether or not the trial was justified on its factual merits. A trial is just that, an essay on a thesis, and whether it was factually justified does not undermine the results of the debate. The text could have been fabricated entirely by a novelist and placed in a novel. Would that make the argument irrelevant, invalid. Would the argument be void of all veracity? No.

Fictional truths have as much valency as actual. I should say that veracity in fiction is deeper than verisimilitude; it carries metaphysical weight; it has epistemological density. But this is not solely the point. Hypotheses are presented all the time in politics and law; the Constitution of the United States when subject to ratification was a hypothesis subject to the most critical examinations. It took a great deal of intellectual effort to get The Constitution ratified. The majority ruling in the case does not become invalid for us epistemologically, ethically, no; it remains valid in its thesis.

Nonetheless, the prime thesis here in any discussion of a woman’s right to choose is a Woman is.



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