Growing up, I frequently thought about what it meant to be a woman and when this pivotal transition in my life would begin. I thought I had a fairly good understanding of the idea. Being a woman meant surfing the crimson wave. It meant throwing away the training bras your mom bought you from Macy's and learning to successfully navigate the clearance section of Victoria's Secret.
I remember being on the bus in middle school, listening, as these two older girls talked about losing their virginities and I thought to myself, THAT is when I'll become a women. Luckily, as I've got older, I have realized the degree of my womanhood is about so much more than a 34C cup, a swiped v-card by this month's issue of Tiger Beat, or how well my shoes match my shirt.
I think about the women I've admired growing up - some have been married, others single, some young and others old, some leaders at the peak of their careers and others who just entered the workforce. The list goes on, but the point is these women have provided me an understanding of what being a woman means.
Although, I'm sure if you asked these women the secret of womanhood they'd each have differing opinions. They'd have varying perspectives and philosophies on how to abide by the 'rules of feminism', if you will.
So, if this is true, then what does it really mean to be a woman?
By definition, wom·an·hood /ˈwo͝omənˌho͝od/ is a noun that means “the state or condition of being a woman."
What the fuck?
If you ask me, being a woman is so much more than biology or what science has to say about us. The truth is, I don't think womanhood can be defined. The degree of your femininity is exactly that: yours - not your friends, your spouse, your boss, or your parents. When we allow others to make this decision for us, we jeopardize understanding ourselves.
You become somebody you're not in order to be understood. You overlook aspects of a “category" you've been assigned to because, well, you'd rather be accepted.
Of course there's an obvious fear that some girl will read this article who, having never met me will sum me up and meticulously pick apart my role not only as a woman, but as a person. It seems almost inevitable though, that as humans, we have a desire to classify others.
We have a habit of limiting women, by categorizing them as “that kind of woman". What does “that kind of woman" even mean? Due to this, we're pinned as one who is a virgin or a whore, conservative or liberal, kind-hearted or a bitch, a feminist or not a feminist.
Being a woman means being human, which means we are dynamic. Dynamic enough to be a whole slew of people. To the person who has a problem with me being both the virgin and the whore, fuck you.
The sad part about it all is we live in a world where women don't support women enough. Maybe it's a women thing, or maybe it's just a human thing, but it seems as though we are constantly putting each other down. How can we expect men to respect us when we're sitting on the other end of our phones criticizing the way Stacy looks in her new bikini.
I can guarantee Stacy doesn't give a shit what you think.
No, I'm not perfect. It would be wrong for me to sit here and say I don't fall prey to my own insecurities. Judging before getting to know a person or hating out of envy. I vow, right here, right now, to be better about this unfortunate yet conditioned response.
There is an uphill battle we can all mutually agree we face. Some more challenging than others, but an uphill battle nonetheless. So, why then are we constantly pitting against one another? Ladies, we're on the same team.
How has such a powerful, complex, and intriguing group of individuals been condensed to such a basic form of categorization? To that I say, enough is enough.
After extensive research via Google Chrome, I can confidently say one key component of being a woman is supporting other women. Cheers ladies!