Capitalizing on controversy, Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., plans to sell “Define A Woman” t-shirts on her campaign website this week. According to a preview shared with The Federalist, the hot-pink shirts include a dictionary definition of the word “woman” and will sell for $35.
Blackburn took heat from the media last week for asking Kentanji Brown Jackson whether she could provide a definition of “woman” during the judge’s confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Jackson, nominated to the Supreme Court by President Joe Biden, declined to define the word, replying, “I’m not a biologist.”
Asked about Blackburn’s decision to lean into the controversy, a senior GOP communications official told The Federalist, “When the lunacy of the left has infiltrated every aspect of American life — corporations, sports, media, and politics — it shouldn’t surprise anyone that Republicans are leaning into moments like this.”
“The culture war is being waged by the left on battlefields that were unthinkable just a few years ago — what is a woman, teaching sex to kindergarteners,” the GOP official continued. “Republicans are well within the mainstream for suggesting a woman is, well, a woman.”
The New York Times claimed Blackburn’s question “added another social issue to the list of cultural grievances the G.O.P. is foisting upon [Jackson] in her confirmation hearings.” Jimmy Kimmel called Blackburn “a horrible woman” on his late-night show, and a Philadelphia Inquirer columnist called her a “bigot.” The Washington Post’s national correspondent claimed the question was asked in “remarkable bad faith,” while feminist blog Jezebel said the senator’s inquiry served as “a shining example of how white women help uphold white patriarchy.”
Perhaps most memorably, a USA Today correspondent wrote a story headlined, “Marsha Blackburn asked Ketanji Brown Jackson to define ‘woman.’ Science says there’s no simple answer.”
Almost none of the coverage mentioned that Blackburn asked the question in the context of U.S. v. Virginia, a landmark Supreme Court case that dealt with sex differences. Jackson said she was “not familiar” with the case.
In a statement to The Federalist, Blackburn referenced the case again. “It is absurd that Joe Biden pushed for a female nominee who cannot even define the word ‘woman.’ As Justice Ginsburg said in United States v. Virginia, there are physical differences between men and women that are enduring,” said the senator. “It is frightening that, if confirmed, Judge Jackson will be expected to rule on cases involving women — in schools, in sports, and in the workplace — yet refuses to comment on the fundamental difference between a man and a woman.”
Blackburn further framed her pushback as a fight “against the radical Left’s attempt to destroy our nation and our values.”
While the pro-trans agenda may be popular in legacy media, it remains unpopular among Blackburn’s constituents. A Vanderbilt University poll of Tennessee voters conducted last year “found that 60% of respondents support requiring students in middle and high school to play on the sports team corresponding with their sex at the time of birth,” according to The Tennessean.