BOB: "I don't like 'men'/'women' options on medical forms. Can't I just check off the questions that apply to me?"
ALICE: "Let's just have more options. After all, men and women have different health concerns and we can't track that if we don't know what someone's gender is."
BOB: "Just to be clear, when you say that 'men and women have different health concerns', do you mean that there is a set M of health concerns for men, and a set W of health concerns for women, and that men share the concerns in set M, while women share the concerns in W, and the contents of M and W are disjoint?"
BOB: "Well, I'm a guy, but one of my health concerns includes the fact that I need to get regular Pap smears, which I suspect you wouldn't include in set M."
ALICE: "No, I wouldn't include it."
ALICE: "When I said 'men' and 'women', I really meant regular men and women. Of course, you know what I mean."
BOB: "No, I don't know what you mean. You agree that I'm a man, right?"
ALICE: "Of course!"
BOB: "So when you say that 'men have health concerns that don't include Pap smears', do you mean that since my health concerns do include that, I'm not a man?"
ALICE: "No, of course not. But you know what I mean."
BOB: "Are you saying that I'm a less typical exemplar of the category 'men' than is my friend Ted, who has a prostate and doesn't have a cervix?"
ALICE: "Of course I'm not saying that! That would be wrong."
BOB: "So if I'm just as much of a representative of 'men' as is Ted, why does 'men's health' refer only to Ted's health and not to mine?"
BOB: "I mean, you don't like it when people claim that 'he' is gender-neutral in the sentence 'Everyone must tie his own shoes' while the same people would never write the sentence 'If a person is pregnant, then he should take folic acid,' right?"
This imaginary conversation is about:
semantics (as in, what words mean)
semantics (as in, stuff I don't care about)
decentering the discourse
politically correct fascism
none of the above
Where is Carol in all of this?