What Does It Mean To Be a Woman? - Voices from the World
God is, without a doubt, working with me/my life and continuing to expand my horizons.
One month ago, I found myself in deep thought about women and (what most people call) their “struggles” over time. It began when I was sent an article titled the “10 Worst Ways Companies Have Used Feminism to Sell Women Products.” I thought about the many roles, restrictions and treatment of women in the Bible. Then I took the time to study the modern views and definitions of feminism and womanism. I had conversations with many women in my life about the article, my research, my questions, my confusion, my anger towards the men of yesterday/today, and how (unfortunately) tomorrow doesn’t look any different.
The next step that I took was a bold one… I reached out to women around the world and simply asked them: “In your opinion, what does it mean to be a woman?”
Immediately, I was faced with hesitancy. Although I approached the subject with positive intentions, I soon realized the odd piece to this puzzle… I have a penis. I am a man.
I thought about it… It’s no different than a white man approaching me and asking me: “what does it mean to be black?” – Naturally, I would respond with: “What the hell is that supposed to mean?”
I understand. Regardless of my natural curiosity and positive intentions, the fact that I am male and asking this question will rub people the wrong way. However, I am able to confidently say that I began this project with selfless and respectful motives. The purpose of this article is not to compare their responses to my personal beliefs and opinions. You will see that the content below features no opinion or response from me. My goal is to simply showcase women and what they believe to be true about their existence. This is an opportunity for all parties involved, readers and writers, to be educated and to share opinions.
All of the responses below feature fresh, genuine content from friends of mine around the globe… I chose to only feature a name and age with each response. This takes away any possible assumptions from the reader based on location, nationality, sexual orientation, physical appearance, etc.
Thank you to everyone who has given their responses, and to you, the reader, for taking the time to view this showcase. Please feel free to share this article with your friends and family.
What does it mean to be a woman?
To me, it means to be
multi-faceted; resourceful; determined; resilient; thick-skinned; flexible; self-disciplined, self-motivated, self-sufficient yet willing and able to be a team player; introspective enough to be thoughtful in life’s choices, but not so introspective that you don’t get out there and give-it-a-go-despite-risking-everything.
A deep understanding of community and relationships is critical and, when done well, could be the hallmark of being a successful female.
- Martha, 57
It means being confident enough to know you can do it all, just not at the same time, knowing that you can have high heels and high standards, and recognizing your vulnerabilities but not letting them be your limitations. It means recognizing that we are the bearers of life and not to take that lightly.
One of my favorite depictions of womanhood (besides Proverbs 31) is this quote: "A good woman knows God. She knows that with God the world is her playground, but without God she will just be played.
- Vanessia, 23
It means being able to wear both a dress and baggy shorts, but preparing to be criticized as slutty or a lesbian. It means free drinks at the bar, but being afraid to walk to your car alone. It means having to prove your strength and ability to those who doubt it. It’s a blessing and a hazard, but I’m rather fond of being a woman.
- Carrie, 22
Being a woman means a lot of different things. It's not about possessing a vagina or breasts, for I know women who do not. Being a woman means you are, naturally, a paradox. You are told to behave one way, and if you do, you can be condemned for it, and vice versa. Being a woman is a sort of damnation. However, it is beautiful because we are more than just one role. We take on many hats, and even though our male counterparts also have to abide to rules and roles, I feel womyn have a bit more on their plate since we are still striving to be "equal". Women fight to survive. We fight to exist, and in turn, we do. Beautifully and with a subtle power.
- Mikey, 18
I'm pretty sure if I had any say so in the pre-existence spirit world, I marveled at such beings and begged the Most High to make me a woman. We are the most powerful, considerate, and yet the most sensitive species on the planet. I fully believe that we can do anything when our hearts and minds are properly aligned with the Most High's plan.
Unfortunately, that which makes us great is also our great downfall. Any man with wisdom and knowledge can recognize our strength both historically and in the present day. However, such knowledge in the mind of an insecure man makes us vulnerable to his will. Most religious and some governmental laws seek to subjugate women and their power by requiring silence and submission to the will of any man when I am certain that God's law only requires it for her loving, self-sacrificing husband. Again, silence and submission are two very powerful tools that women use to their benefit, but it was not meant to create inferiority and second class citizenship. At times, we can be considerate to a fault, placing other’s dreams, visions, and ideals before our own. Finally, because we are so sensitive, if we are not careful, we will take on perceptions of who we are, positive or negative, devised by other people, neglecting whom we had once imagined ourselves to be.
We are superheroes, but our kryptonite is, for the most part, that we don't even know it.
- Linetta, 39