I spend a lot of mental bandwidth, both alone or in conversation, considering definitions. For whatever series of afflictions my brain has, I am constantly trying to find the most appropriate word or clarifying definitions in a hopeless effort to communicate as clearly as possible. Which brings us to today's deliberation: genders.
To be clear, if you tell me how you identify, I don't have a problem accepting that. But as political discourse is determined to keep this some kind of smoldering volcano of debate, I have been attempting to think through some kind of airtight argument, should the need arise to educate the ignorant in my life. As it so happens, I found a post on the clock app also working through the same thing. It wasn't the cleanest argument, despite offering some inspiration for how to approach the situation, though frankly the content is a bit beside the point on this one.
It was the comments.
The comments were...I would call them 'oof', but at this point they were exactly as you would expect them to be. Specifically, one exchange really stuck out:
A: Don't y'all get any dictionaries anymore? B: We do, even updated ones. You should try reading it sometime C: Look up the definition of 'woman', you'll see it's backed by science D: It's defined as “one who identifies with the female gender E: Forget that, I'm going back to the OLD definition
It finally dawned on me that definitions DON'T MATTER.
At the end of the day, both sides are arguing about their feelings and beliefs, desperately grasping for something we consider “objective” as the yard stick to measure the world by and proudly proclaim “By this measure, I am right.” Words, language, definitions, none of it is set in stone, despite centuries of schooling trying to convince us otherwise. However, there's something more fundamental about words, language, and definitions we tend to overlook.
They are just tools.
Tools to uplift, tools to divide, tools to group, tools to examine, tools to destroy. Language is largely a sloppy, thrown together system of sounds and symbols in an attempt to convey our interior worlds to the outside world.
And so I wonder what the interior worlds of other people are like. To the naysayers, the the angry ones who put down others, is this all life is to them? What makes them so determined to argue until blue in the face about the meaning of a word or how someone identifies? Fear? Anger? A walled garden they have never seen over the hedges of?
What kind of compassion does it take for everyone to realize we're all flung into the cosmos on this silly little blue marble together? Probably more than some silly words lost in a silly place, but things have started from stranger places.