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Ketanji Brown Jackson defined what it means to be a woman, just not the way Ted Cruz and Marsha Blackburn wanted

I was asked to define the meaning of this woman being a woman and I saw her answer that she couldn’t.

If you miss exchange, Can Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) Provide a definition of the word “female”? It started by asking. When she asked Jackson about a transgender athlete.

“Can you provide a definition? No, you can’t,” Jackson replied.

It was clear what Blackburn wanted an answer: something chromosome. It has to do with the uterus or double X or estrogen — don’t worry about millions of women who don’t fit these definitions (after menopause, after hysterectomy, infertility, or living with Turner syndrome). Or maybe what Blackburn wanted was exactly what she got. Jackson refused to answer so that conservative groups could use it as a political feed.

Looking at Jackson in this exchange reminded me of Supreme Court judge Potter Stewart. Potter Stewart refused to provide the definition of pornography in 1964. “Maybe I couldn’t succeed in doing so in an understandable way,” Potter said. “But when I see it, I know it.”

The Ketanji Brown Jackson hearing was four days defining the meaning of being a woman. And I don’t know one woman who couldn’t see it-cis or trance.

She defined what it means to be a woman every time she sits with a gentle smile through the accusations that she is tolerant of child pornography or that she was paid by “dark money.” A gentle smile is a feminine armor and expectation. “For unqualified women who must remain calm, friendly, knowledgeable and professional in front of unqualified men,” wrote one online worshiper of Jackson. “Lord, listen to our prayers in your mercy.”

She defined what it means to be a woman She talked The act of balancing work and motherhood in an impossible way. “I fully admit that I wasn’t always balanced,” Jackson said, an almost male senator who probably never felt the pressure to make bake sale cupcakes at dawn before hearing an important incident. I told her daughter in the room.

She defined what it means to be a woman — Especially black women — Over a long period of time, she took to find a response to Senator Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), “Do you … agree that your baby is a racist?” He was exhibiting pictures of books for children. She was measuring her words in front of the man who had her future in her hands. Even if he said something unpleasant, she seemed to try not to offend him.

She was a woman when she tapped her eyes quietly after a heartfelt compliment from Senator Cory Booker (DN.J.) — “You are here, and you sit in that seat. I know what I need to do. “—And I had to wonder if her tears would probably be considered too emotional for the Supreme Court judge. Too emotional in the wrong way. Feminine way.

I remember the moment Brett M. Kavanaugh Confirmation Hearing,concern A skilled black woman who was a member of the committee, not a candidate. She asked Kavanaugh about the topic of abortion, and then-Sen. Kamala D. Harris asked: Man body? “

“I’m not — I’m not thinking about the Senator right now,” Kavanaugh replied with a slight stutter.

Perhaps Harris was trying to do what Blackburn later tried to do at Jackson’s hearing. She stumbled upon the candidate she disapproved, hoping she would earn political points.

Or maybe Harris simply knew that Jackson seemed to know later. The act of being a woman is often less related to biology than how to move around the world and see or worry along the way. How people treat you. Respect you have been given or denied. Knowledge you have or don’t think you have. A law that allows you to regulate the most intimate parts of your body.

For some people, the definition of being a woman may feel immutable and fixed. This is limited to the genetic makeup or reproductive organs that have at birth. Our others remind us of our femininity as we step into the world every day and provide ourselves for judgment.

Later in the hearing, Cruz returned to work trying to get Jackson to define a woman. “I think you’re the only Supreme Court candidate in history who couldn’t answer the question,” he said — defining gender is a centuries-old Supreme Court application. As if it were part.

The judge again refused to answer the question from a biological point of view. Instead, she answered honestly: “I know I’m a woman,” she said. And any woman looking at her would have known it.

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