Historically, women have been underrepresented in fields such as science, engineering, technology, mathematics and computer science. At the present, all over the world, women are shattering glass ceilings proving that a woman has what it takes to be successful in whatever endeavor she sets her heart into.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE A WOMAN?
Growing up with two sister siblings, I thought I had a pretty good idea what being a woman meant. Looking back, it was pure joy sharing secret childhood crushes, exchanging garments at times and the usual teeny-winy bickering when it comes to doing household chores to menstrual tantrums and mood swings. Oh, how time just fly so swiftly! Those were nostalgic memories that I doubt my own daughter will be able to experience with her two brother siblings. I vowed though to be her mother/sister throughout the way.
Presently, with the three of us all grown, each with own kids and a marriage to attend to, with different philosophies on how to go about living a healthy, happy life, I find myself wondering; " What exactly does it mean to be a woman?"
Being a woman is more than biology, and maybe it even goes beyond critically looking at gender as a social construct. Of course, there are a plethora of women (and men) who challenge me on this, and that’s fine, they’re entitled. But in my construction of reality, I choose to hold on to womanhood as sometimes similar but sometimes different from manhood. But with so many different representations of womanhood, who gets to decide what constitutes womanhood and what it means to be a woman? I think one of the unfortunate traits of human nature is that we feel a need to categorize people and this is evident in how we categorize women. We limit them and we say that she is, “that kind of woman,” and that kind of woman is categorized as one who is traditional or modern or a feminist or not a feminist or liberal or conservative or a virgin or a whore. The list goes on.
To me, being a woman, in the first place is being a human and recognizing the complexity that comes with all of that. Too often, we make people the sum-total of one characteristic or value that they may embody, and apart from the fact that people, believe it or not, are dynamic, they’re also complicated. Being a woman is a recognition of some of the weaknesses that you may be ascribed from birth and the uphill battle you might face in a less than perfect world. But it’s also recognizing the strengths that come with womanhood – the strength of your heart, your mind, and your body, which differ from woman to woman, which differ culturally. Being a woman means being strong, because you’ll find that your womanhood will need that strength, and when you let it, sometimes that strength will even find you. When you’re a woman, you take responsibility for your life and for what you want from that life. And you might be afraid, but you go beyond that fear to define your womanhood, and not allow somebody else to define it for you.
I enjoy being a woman, and I enjoy being the woman I am becoming. I especially enjoy challenging the notion that I can be put in a box. Some of it admittedly is directly from socio-economic and intellectual privilege and some of it is self-created. I am strong-willed, smartly independent, simultaneously sweet; confident most times but painfully introvert and awkward at other times. Talking about having impacted others, well, I am more than glad to share what I thought I've become as a woman should be. I love reading, which to great extent I am happy sharing those thoughts through delivering speakership to fellow women from the shelter and to those women inmates in the city. I love looking good in my vlogs and pages for followers where I share engaging vids as well as my colorful and charcoaled art pieces which significantly an added hues to my already magnificently colored world. I can be with anybody and may have an interesting conversation under the sun with some drinks in hand. I am pursuing life as a mother, an educator, an artist, and an advocate, and I want to serve my community the best way I can. I want to be the best mom my own children could have,and a good wife to my better half, all the while maintaining my identities as child of God, a daughter, a sister, and a good friend. But I don’t think that any of this makes me a more special kind of woman or better than any other woman; it’s just MY own definition of womanhood. And though it may need some work, for the most part, and until further notice, I love it.
YOU ARE A GREAT WOMAN.